- Associated Press - Thursday, July 17, 2014

NFC preseason capsules, by division:



OPEN CAMP: July 25, Philadelphia.

LAST YEAR: Went from worst to first in Chip Kelly’s first year as coach, lost first-round playoff game to New Orleans. Kelly’s fast-paced, up-tempo offense set several club records, with All-Pro RB LeSean McCoy and Pro Bowl QB Nick Foles leading way. Foles had spectacular sophomore season after filling in when Michael Vick was injured in Week 5. Defense came long way after terrible first month, but struggled in playoff loss.

IMPORTANT ADDITIONS: Ss Malcolm Jenkins and Chris Maragos; RB Darren Sproles; CB Nolan Carroll; LB Marcus Smith; QB Mark Sanchez; WRs Jordan Matthews and Josh Huff.

IMPORTANT LOSSES: WR DeSean Jackson; QB coach Bill Lazor.

CAMP NEEDS: Find way to replace Jackson and RT Lane Johnson. Jackson, three-time Pro Bowler, team’s best deep threat and most accomplished receiver was released in March, signed with Washington. Jeremy Maclin, who missed last year with ACL injury, returns and should help. Rookies Matthews and Huff also will be counted on to fill void. Johnson, No. 4 overall pick in 2013, suspended for first four regular-season games for violating NFL’s PEDs policy.

EXPECTATIONS: Eagles should enter season as team to beat in NFC East. But key to success is largely dependent on whether Foles is the real thing. Foles threw 29 touchdowns and only two interceptions in 11 starts, including playoffs, and had third-highest passer rating (119.2) in NFL history. Defense needs to show improvement for the Eagles to be legitimate Super Bowl contenders.


OPEN CAMP: July 24, Oxnard, California.

LAST YEAR: Cowboys finished third straight 8-8 season with third consecutive loss in finale against NFC East foe with playoff berth on line. Eagles beat them in 2013.

IMPORTANT ADDITIONS: OL Zack Martin; DE DeMarcus Lawrence; DTs Henry Melton and Terrell McClain; passing game coordinator Scott Linehan.

IMPORTANT LOSSES: LB Sean Lee; DE DeMarcus Ware; DT Jason Hatcher.

CAMP NEEDS: Top priority is replacement for MLB Lee (torn ACL); is that player on roster? Justin Durant enters camp as starter, fourth-round pick Anthony Hitchens and second-year player DeVonte Holloman also in mix. QB Tony Romo enters camp without having worked any competitive situations for second straight offseason, but he’s much further along with latest back issue. Overhaul of defensive line kicks into high gear, with rookie second-rounder Lawrence possible heir to Ware, free agent Melton trying to show he’s recovered from knee surgery.

Story Continues →