NFC TRAINING CAMPS NOTES
Lots to examine in training camps 'round the land and here's some rapid-fire bold comments regarding the NFC teams and some really important topics this summer ... here goes:
NFC EAST -
WASHINGTON - The 'Skins have some uber-interesting battles at linebacker this training camp and all eyes are on ILB Perry Riley who's hoping to bounce back from a 2015 season-ending injury. Will he be holding down a starter's spot come September?
PHILADELPHIA - All sorts of looming quarterback questions here but would have to believe incumbent Sam Bradford will be the starter unless he shows absolutely nothing this summer. The former Heisman Trophy winner could conceivably play his way off the roster with bad preseason week two and three outings.
NEW YORK GIANTS - If first-year head coach Ben McAdoo has any real concerns about this offense then it's the right side of the line that's a potential bugaboo as RT Marshall Newhouse is considered a below-average starter ... can someone unseat him this training camp?
DALLAS - No question that the Cowboys need to scour the waiver wire come August 'cause having lefty Kellen Moore serve as QB Tony Romo's chief backup ain't gonna work. Could you see a scenario where the aforementioned Bradford packs his bags and goes to "Big D" by late August?
NFC NORTH -
MINNESOTA - Maybe the most scrutinized wide-out in this division is Vikings' rookie Laquon Treadwell who claims he was playing "on one leg" last year at Ole Miss. Will he be a 75-catch guy from the get-go and will his rapport with QB Teddy Bridgewater be solid from the start?
GREEN BAY - Maybe there is an internal tug-of-war to see where Clay Matthews will play this year ... inside or out?
DETROIT - Just when we all thought the Lions needed to pick up a pass catcher, they just inked veteran WR Anquan Boldin who might wind up being this team's third-down star.
CHICAGO - Speaking of third-down stars, maybe the Bears have one in RB Jacquizz Rodgers who has a shot to take over all of RB Matt Forte's past receptions now that the latter's on the New York Jets.
NFC SOUTH -
CAROLINA - The defending NFC champs are banking on Bene' Benwikere to step into the vacated shoes of Josh Norman (Washington) but expect the Panthers' preseason foes to test 'em 24/7.
ATLANTA - Is this gonna be a swan song season for QB Matt Ryan who has taken steps backwards in recent years ... the Falcons would love to pry a veteran slinger off another team and have 'em "threaten" Ryan's job security.
NEW ORLEANS - If TE Coby Fleener wanted a new lease on life then he chose the right place as former Colts' pass-catcher now is on team with #1 passing offense (311 ypg) and can't you see him being the "new Jimmy Graham" in N'Oreleans?
TAMPA BAY - The Bucs' defense needs to swipe a few more passes this year and CB Alterraun Verner (one INT last year) needs to be more of a ball-hawk.
NFC WEST -
ARIZONA - It's possible the Cardinals' defensive line will get shuffled this summer with DE Frostee Rocker on the PUP list with a foot injury (he's questionable to be ready by the start of the regular season) and maybe there will be a battle at NT where Rodney Gunter and Corey Peters battle for snaps.
SEATTLE - Any talk that the Seahawks might let head coach Pete Carroll face a do-or-die year here in 2016 is out the window as he just signed an extension through the 2019 campaign, but we didn't really think he was going anywhere.
LOS ANGELES RAMS - It's a whole new story for this St. Loo-to-LA crew but life really is gonna feel different without MLB James Laurinaitis calling the signals. It's Alec Ogletree that's the man in the middle for these Rams.
SAN FRANCISCO - The Chip Kelly Era will include loads of looks at potential offensive playmakers this summer ... we keep hearing WR Quinton Patton (30 receptions last year) is gonna be a major target.
In other NFL Training Camp News & Notes ...
One of the major soap opera stories in the NFC will be the relationship between new Tampa Bay Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter and his second-year QB Jameis Winston - will things get more stressful now that Koetter's moved up from being solely the offensive coordinator? ...
In terms of your NFL Fantasy League, here's a couple of NFC players that should be on your proverbial radar: Philadelphia TE Zach Ertz (75 receptions) was a primary target last year in the failed final season for the above-mentioned Chip Kelly but new Eagles' head coach Doug Pederson loves to incorporate tight ends into his passing game (see Kansas City last year) and so Ertz should be on your short list of TEs; while Atlanta RB Tevin Coleman - a backup to Devonta Freeman - should get more touches this year and should be considered with one of your later-round selections as he could be a 40-catch guy with 100-plus carries.