THE NFL SUMMER CAMPS OPENING ALL AROUND
No lie. Here we are on the 20th of July and NFL rookies are reporting to camp in five different locations and by this time next week most (and almost all) NFL teams will have their veterans in camp too. Right, you're ready for some football! Let's zip 'round the league a bit and check out some of the training sites and stories that will be key to a batch of NFL teams:
ATLANTA - at Flowery Branch, GA
Last year's stinging 34-28 overtime loss in the Super Bowl will be the front-and-center topic not just in training camp but it'll dog the Falcons all year long ... still, right from the start there's questions regarding new offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian and whether he can get this high-tech offense flying as former OC Kyle Shanahan did last year (minus Shanahan's SB meltdown, of course!).
CINCINNATI - at Paul Brown Stadium
Lots of camp questions for the Bengals who didn't make the playoffs last year for the first time since 2010 and now must answer the continuing queries regarding rookie RB Joe Mixon (Oklahoma) whose off-the-field violence is well-documented ... right, Brent Musberger?
DALLAS - at Oxnard, California
Better believe that the Cowboys' media relations folks are gearing up for all sorts of questions regarding second-year RB Ezekiel Elliott and his latest alleged transgressions and so that makes the running back battle behind Elliott a compelling story should "Zeke" be suspended for a game or two. Suddenly, the everyday actions of RB Darren McFadden will be scrutinized in camp this summer. Can this dude stay healthy through the summertime drills?
INDIANAPOLIS - at Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center (Indianapolis)
When we last saw Colts' QB Andrew Luck in early July, he was busy telling reporters that he had yet to start his throwing program following labrum surgery in his right shoulder some seven months ago. Not sure that Indy will press Luck for anything more than simple light tossing in the first week in camp and so bottom line is we'd say Luck won't play in the first couple of preseason games and might only wind up throwing 5-to-10 passes in a Preseason Week 3 game.
MINNESOTA - at Minnesota State, Mankato (MN)
There's no timetable for the return of QB Teddy Bridgewater who missed all of last year with a brutal late-camp knee injury a year ago but insiders say Vikings' head coach Mike Zimmer has the utmost confidence in QB Sam Bradford who did set the NFL record for single-season completion percentage (71.6 percent). Expect Bridgewater updates each and every day in Mankato and count on Bradford and Zimmer getting tired of the questions sooner rather than later.
SEATTLE - at Virginia Mason Athletic Center in Rento (WA)
All eyes will be on the running back spot this summer as the Seahawks signed former Green Bay star Eddie Lacy plus one-time starter Thomas Rawls and C.J. Prosise are in the picture to but we're here to tell you don't sleep on RB Alex Collins who has lost weight and either will make inroads for more snaps or gain interest from outside with the 'Hawks potentially trading 'em for O-line help.