3 NFL Training Camp Battles That Will Define The Team’s Season
Training camp has begun for most teams in the NFL.
With so many new names and faces vying for a starting spot on a team, battles have been formed that will shape a organization’s offseason.
As you can tell from the battles, some of these names had a huge impact on the team’s success.
Russell Wilson was selected as the quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks and went on to the lead the team to an 11-5 regular season. Wilson had a successful season that brought 3,118 passing yards, 26 passing touchdowns and a playoff run that eventually ended in the Divisional Round.
John Skelton eventually won the starting job and was well on his way to proving he deserved it after two wins against the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks. Unfortunately, Skelton came down with an injury and Kolb replaced him. Although Kolb started off with 2 consecutive wins, the Cardinals finished with an abysmal 5-11 record.
While Doug Martin did have a successful career with Boise State, no one anticipated he would be one of the best running backs in the league. Martin won the job over Blount and finished the season with 1,545 rushing yards and 11 TDs. Martin was so good last season that he got invited to the Pro Bowl and he got Blount shipped out of Tampa.
With these training camp battles being so important to the teams’ success in 2012, we now will look at some battles that could be game changers this season.
1. Green Bay Packers Running Backs
The Green Bay Packers averaged 104.6 yards per game last season, ranking them at 22nd in the league.
There is no question that the Packers have a great offense featuring Aaron Rodgers at quarterback. However, it would allow Rodgers to have more protection and give the Packers a more dynamic offense if they had a solid running back.
Harris, who was signed later in the 2012-13 season, actually was the starting running back in the playoffs and was very effective.
Starks enjoyed being in the starting spot when the Packers went on to win the Super Bowl against the Steelers in 2011.
And Green played a few times last season until he suffered a injury in Week 8.
While at some points the running backs have been very effective, the three veterans haven’t seemed like the right fit into the offense. The Packers decided to fill the void by drafting Eddie Lacy and Jonathan Franklin in the 2013 Draft.
Both players bring a different dimension to the already crowded backfield — Lacy as a hard charging inside runner and Franklin as a fast open-field player with great hands.
It is safe to say that this battle will have a huge impact on if the Packers can finally have a run game. If it works, they might be able to even get back to the Super Bowl.
2. New England Patriots Wide Receivers
With Wes Welker and Brandon Lloyd gone from the team, Aaron Hernandez being cut by the team because of his scandal and Rob Gronkowski out for most of the season due to injury, Tom Brady will be looking for some receivers during training camp.
The best option for Brady will be Danny Amendola who will most likely be one of the starters. However, Amendola has many concerns due to his past injury issues. So Brady will be looking for others to step up.
Some of the veteran options on the team will be recently signed Michael Jenkins and Lavelle Hawkins. As well as longtime Patriot Julian Edelman, who like Amendola, has struggled with many injuries (concussions).
The rookie choices include TCU’s Josh Boyce, Marshall’s Aaron Dobson, Rutger’s Mark Harrison and Cincinnati’s Kenbrell Thompkins.
It will definitely be a fight to the finish to see who will get some playing time. Some of the receivers might even be fighting for a spot on the roster.
While it will be a crazy battle, Tom Brady has almost always had success with anyone he throws to. However, the receivers will have huge influence if the Patriots can make another playoff push in 2013.
3. Washington Redskins Safeties
Brandon Meriweather, who is pictured above, is a returning player who is one of the favorites to start the free safety position.
Although he may be the favorite, the Washington Redskins have questions at both strong and free safety for the second year in a row.
Reed Doughty is the favorite for the strong safety position, despite his inconsistent play in coverage.
The two other safeties looking to steal a starting job are rookies Bacarri Rambo and Phillip Thomas.
Both Rambo and Thomas have great skill sets that will ultimately allow them to play either position. Rambo is a bit sharper with his game due his ability to play deep coverage.
The rookies will push the veterans for the starting spots, making this battle very interesting.
Robert Griffin III and his offense will come back and try to repeat their performance from the 2012 season. If they are successful in that, the Redskins will have the opportunity to go to the Super Bowl.
But not without a good defense.
With the right safeties playing for the Skins’, the team will be a better team all around. That is why this battle will have such an impact on their season.
Stay tuned for more training camp articles as we get closer to NFL season!