Behind The Scoreboard
As the NFL training camps are underway, here are some top position battles for the following teams:
New England Patriots: inside linebacker – it seems like the coaching staff has big plans for veteran David Harris. After signing Harris back in June, the veteran could have a significant trickle-down effect on the rest of the group. One indication of this was how Harris was wearing the green dot on his helmet as the primary communicator and leader of the huddle as drills began during the first full-pads practice of camp. So, with Harris a top candidate to play alongside Dont’a Hightower, what does that mean for the other linebackers such as Shea McClellin, Kyle Van Noy, Elandon Roberts and Jonathan Freeny?
Houston Texans: quarterback – for now, Tom Savage is the starter. However, general manager Rick Smith said first-round pick Deshaun Watson is also competing for the job. It’s likely Savage will open the season as the starter as Coach Bill O’Brien said, “he has earned it so far.” But a big camp from Watson could change all that. The Texans have been impressed with what Watson has done so far and believe he is ahead of schedule from where they expected him to be a week into training camp.
Green Bay Packers: cornerback – it’s possible the Packers could have two new starting cornerbacks – Davon House and Kevin King, but don’t count out Quinten Rollins just yet. The 2015 second-round pick has taken plenty of reps with the starting defense. Coach Mike McCarthy said not to read too much into the rotations early in camp.
Carolina Panthers: right tackle – Daryl Williams came into camp as the starter, but rookie Taylor Moton is giving him the push. The Panthers want Moton to focus on that position instead of swinging back and forth between right and left tackle as he did during offseason workouts. Also, the Panthers are trying to work backup guard Amini Silatolu as the backup to Matt Kalil on the left side. If Silatolu doesn’t prove worthy, don’t be surprised if the Panthers sign another tackle to fill that role.
New York Giants: backup quarterback – it’s between Geno Smith and Josh Johnson for the backup job, with rookie Davis Webb playing the role of long shot. Smith is an intriguing player who is receiving a fresh start, but his main competition, Johnson, has a full grasp of the offense and is likely the front-runner for the job. Smith has to prove he can play at a high level despite coming off a serious knee injury.