Not that training camps are shuttered or anything, but with six games on the docket tonight camp news is pretty thin. So to celebrate the return of multiple football games, let’s run down what’s on tap for tonight…
The Jets have new skill position players across the board. Does Geno Smith look more comfortable in Year Two? Is Michael Vick, already well-versed in Marty Mornhinweg’s system, pushing him for the starting gig? Does Chris Johnson still have the 2K speed, and does Mornhinweg know how to use it? How will Eric Decker handle the dropoff in quarterbacking from Peyton Manning to Smith/Vick, and can another receiver (Stephen Hill, we’re looking at you) step up to join him? And is rookie tight end Jace Amaro ready to contribute now or will his NFL transition take a bit longer?
And you’ll have maybe a series or two of the Jets’ first teamers to answer those questions.
On the Indy side of the ball, we aren’t going to see if Reggie Wayne is back to full speed so check out how Hakeem Nicks looks. Also, are the Colts splitting time with their tight ends or using two TE sets? Does Trent Richardson know the offense better? And finally, is Pep Hamilton still a run-heavy play-caller?
- Be sure to check out our latest hot topic “Where To Draft Rookie Quarterbacks“.
It’ll be the battle of the backup running backs in Harbaugh Bowl XXX. Is Bernard Pierce ready to take Ray Rice’s job and run with it? And can Carlos Hyde do the same in San Francisco.
Also keep an eye on the Ravens’ new offense. Are there enough deep shots to keep Torrey Smith happy and productive, or will Joe Flacco be dinking and dunking to the delight of Steve Smith and Dennis Pitta?
Another new system, and while we won’t see DeSean Jackson we will get to see how Jay Gruden intends to turn Robert Griffin III loose. Pay particular attention to whether or not the backs are involved in the passing game, and if it’s Alfred Morris or a third-down back like Roy Helu.
New England still needs to find some steady receivers for Tom Brady, and no better time than the present to do so. Also watch rookie James White, who could be pushing for a more prominent role next year with both Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen entering their walk year. And don’t be surprised if Ryan Mallett gets extended playing time, as the Patriots would love to turn him into a bonus draft pick like they did with Matt Cassel a few years back.
Andy Dalton will unveil Hue Jackson’s offensive tweaks, and with the expectation of more running there should be a good chance to see who wins the complementary role to Giovanni Bernard. Also, sans Jermaine Gresham it will be a chance for everyone outside of Bengals training camp to see if they hype surrounding Tyler Eifert holds water.
The biggest question for the Chiefs is how their offensive line will come together in front of Jamaal Charles. But it wouldn’t hurt if a receiver—any receiver—emerged to proved an alternative to Dwayne Bowe. Tight ends included.
Yes, it’s a Super Bowl rematch but don’t look for Manning vs. Sherman for more than a drive or two. Instead, fantasy owners will want to see if Ronnie Hillman or CJ Anderson offers the best upside as Montee Ball’s handcuff. Also it will be interesting to see how the likes of Emmanuel Sanders and Cody Latimer fit into the receiver rotation.
On the Seattle side, with Marshawn Lynch being used sparingly it’s another opportunity for Christine Michael to set dynasty hearts aflutter. You can also watch the receiver battle shake out, but given that no team threw the ball less last season than the Seahawks why bother?
Finally, the evening concludes with the Tony Romo-less Cowboys taking on Philip Rivers and the Chargers. Not much to glean from the Dallas side, other than “is there a backup on the Cowboys roster who could salvage Dez Bryant’s fantasy value if Romo’s back isn’t better by Week 1”? In San Diego, there’s a three-back rotation to watch, a time-share at tight end to consider, Keenan Allen’s reported increase in speed and a gaggle of complementary targets vying for Rivers’ attention.
Welcome back, football!