The first preseason game of the 2022-2023 season is officially over and the only team in the NFC East to win their game was the New York Giants. But, does a win at this point really prove anything?
Typically head coaches will play their starters for a series or two. It acquaints them to the field, decreases the chance of injury, and allows the team to see what their other players can do before roster cuts are made. So, what did the glimpses show fans?
As the NFC East prepares for game two beginning on Saturday, here are the winners and (sadly) losers who came out of Week 1.
Winners: Jalen Hurts & Cam Jurgens
Quarterback Jalen Hurts can do more than run. The 23-year-old knew he had to improve on his passes, and fans certainly saw that during Philadelphia’s game Friday night against the Jets. Hurts completed six out of six passes for 80 yards, one touchdown, and zero interceptions. Though his sample size is small, he finished with a 158.3 passer rating displaying quick movement, accuracy, and confidence.
Cam Jurgens was drafted to become center Jason Kelce’s prodigy, and it happened a lot sooner than everyone expected. Last week, Kelce underwent elbow surgery, leaving Jurgens to take his place during the Eagles’ preseason opener. Jurgens knew where to be and showed athleticism, giving fans hope that things will be okay in the center once Kelce retires. Kelce will return in time for Week 1, but until then Jurgens will get more practice over the next two weeks.
Watch the center.
— Mar’Quell Fripp-Owens (@iNoSports_) August 13, 2022
Loser: J.J. Arcega-Whiteside
J.J. Arcega-Whiteside made the switch to tight end from wide receiver in hopes of recovering his career before it was too late. Unfortunately, progress wasn’t shown fast enough.
The tight end played late in the fourth quarter during Friday’s game against the Jets, dropping a pass. Over the weekend, Arcega-Whiteside was listed on the team’s injury report, however, it wasn’t due to injury. Monday, it was announced that the Eagles had traded him to the Seattle Seahawks.
Winners: Rico Dowdle & Malik Davis
The Cowboys’ offense wasn’t great, but their running backs played well. Rick Dowdle led in the rushing attack with 17 snaps and nine carries for 36 yards. He also forced a missed tackle. Leading the way in terms of yardage was Malik Davis who totaled 51 yards on eight tries (6.4 average). Davis finished with a 75.0+ rushing grade.
Losers: The Cowboys
Aside from not winning the first preseason game since 2017, the Dallas Cowboys had one major thing to work on, and failed to do that. Last season, Dallas led the league with the most penalties and during their game on Saturday against the Denver Broncos, they were penalized 17 times. The Cowboys lost a total of 129 yards for roughing the passer, playing offsides, holding, and a false start.
NEW YORK GIANTS
Winners: Daniel Jones & Collin Johnson
The Giants needed to make significant improvements to their offense this offseason, and with this new offensive system, fans were excited to see what they learned. Quarterback Daniel Jones played most of the first quarter, displaying speed and precision. He completed six out of ten passes for 69 yards and rushed once for six yards.
Wide receiver Collin Johnson isn’t a starter, but he showed glimpses of his skillset that will be beneficial as the season progresses. As a fifth-round pick, originally by the Jacksonville Jaguars, Johnson provides the Giants with depth and was the most productive wide receiver during their first preseason game.
Loser: Kenny Golladay
Last offseason, the New York Giants signed Kenny Golladay to a whopping four-year, $72 million contract. Unfortunately, in his first year since the big payday, he caught less than 50 percent of passes, scoring zero touchdowns. In his first 2022 preseason appearance against the New England Patriots, Golladay didn’t do so well again. In a pass intended for him, he wasn’t able to secure his hands around the ball, dropping it and losing a potential touchdown.
3rd down and…. Kenny Golladay drops it. pic.twitter.com/u5nLX1nZ7h
— Bobby Skinner (@BobbySkinner_) August 11, 2022
With a top-five wide receiver salary, the Giants are hoping to get more out of him, but only time will tell.
Winners: Carson Wentz & Sam Howell
The Commanders’ preseason game provided the team with assurance when it came to the quarterback position. After acquiring Carson Wentz through a trade with the Indianapolis Colts, many weren’t sure how he would perform with his third team (over the last three seasons).
Though Wentz had some accuracy issues during training camp, this wasn’t a problem in Washington’s first preseason game against the Carolina Panthers. He completed ten of 13 passes for 74 yards, leading an 82-yard drive for a touchdown.
Fifth-round pick and third-string quarterback, Sam Howell got some playing time, completing nine of 16 passes for 145 yards. He also showed that he can add to the rush game with two touchdowns.
Losers: Antonio Gibson
As Washington’s starting running back, Antonio Gibson found great success last season. However, fumbles have always been an issue, and those were apparent again in the Commanders’ first preseason game. Gibson fumbled again, finishing the game with only four carries for two yards. He played with the second-team offense, while a rookie third-round pick led the team in carries.