Training Camp 2013/14

I would imagine that there are a lot fans like me. Throughout May, June and July, soaking up any small amount of NFL they can. Starting new seasons on Madden, listening to American Football podcasts that you’ve already listened to saying “its my favourite episode”. It feels like it will never end and then BAM! It hits you like a Julius Peppers tackle but way more awesome. Training Camp. All of sudden we have NFL news other than favourite Jerseys and Cheerleaders. So now we’re nearly there (we can do this guys), I figured I’d go through some of the training camp stories. Yes some of them are obvious, but it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t talk about it.

Conditioning Tests

Most players understand that the career of an NFL player is short. Some really like fries. Every year there is some surprising players that turn up “not in football shape”. We’ve already seen Eric Wright fail a physical for the Niners and upon being sent back to the Bucs, immediately released. So who will join him? There is usually at least one starter.

Cowboys Defense/ Romo

I’m cheating a bit. Some training camps have already opened like the Dolphins and the Cowboys. So lets look at whats happened already for Americas Team. The big issue is the loss of three key defensive players. Jay Ratliff’s injured strained a hamstring, but looks set to start the season. Anthony Spencer has a nagging injury that hopefully wont prove to be too much of a problem. But Tyrone Crawford is out for the season. The main issue the Cowboys Defense will have, will be getting used to a change from a 3-4 to a 4-3 with a new Defensive Co-ordinator Monte Kiffin and new D-line coach Rod Marinelli. On the plus side, these two are masters of this system and should be able to bring years experience to get the injured players up to speed quickly. On the Offense. Tony Romo. Of course we’re talking about Tony Romo, it’s a day that ends in ‘y’. So what can we expect. Exactly the same as we expect every season. If the Cowboys get to the Playoffs this year it will be down to a much improved defense.

Vick or Foles?/ Chip Kelly/ Eagles/ College System… blah blah blah

So it’s all change in Philadelphia. We’re looking at a new system led by Chip Kelly with a QB battle between Vick and Foles to see who runs it. So what to look for in training camp? Well firstly, we should be able to get a clear view of the system in play. What to expect for the season and how well the players are adapting to a system the NFL has never really seen. We also get a clear indication of who will be starting QB at the start of the season. Finally we get to see how much control Chip Kelly really has. Don’t expect too much however, there’s a very good chance the new system might take up to season to click.

The Browns

So it’s all change in Cleveland. I’ve already stated my case for why I like this team for the playoffs (see previous blogpost) and I’m looking forward to sitting down and seeing them in action. We’ll get to see how good Weeden is and how fit Richardson is. Also I can’t wait to see how good this Defense is. Finally its a good opportunity to see if I will spend all season wondering why I made such a silly prediction.

Superbowl Contenders

I have said before, I don’t remember a season with so many contenders but lets look at the serious contenders. The Broncos now have issues on defense thanks to a looming four match ban for Von Miller. However during camp we get to see a relationship develop. We get to see if Welker will fall for Payton as much as he did with Mr Brady. We also get to see how the Broncos can get the run game going. In San Francisco we have to watch for how well the new pieces fit into the defense. We also get a chance to see the play style of Kaepernick. Will he throw more? Will they still be running the Pistol? Who will he throw to? Similar issues for division rivals the Seahawks. Can Wilson carry on playing at a high level? (I think we know my opinion). How good is this defense? How will youth effect this team in training camp?

The Patriots Saga

No Hernandez. No Gronk. Does it matter? I guess we’ll find out, but I wouldn’t bet against a Bill Belichick that has been backed into the corner. I’m also interested in a the weird wrinkles Belichick throws into his offenses. Shane Vereen as a receiver? Lets be honest, Pats training camp hasn’t been this exciting in a long time.

Camp Tressman

Yup I’m a Bears fan, but it is a pretty interesting situation. Cutler is on the last year of his contract with a new Head Coach and a new Offensive Co-Ordinator. He has the chance to improve his contract money at the end of the season or he could be out on his ear. At training Camp we get to see how well he is taking on Tressman’s offense. We also get to see how good is the Bears defense with out Rod Marinelli and Brian Urlacher.

So many exciting times ahead throughout training camp. In truth it’s just nice to have the NFL back in our lives.

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