10 NFL Offensive Players That Can Silence Haters with a Great Training Camp
People can be irrational when it comes to their favorite NFL teams. If a player makes a remark in a moment of frustration, the fans will turn on him quicker than the Colts' decision to draft Andrew Luck.
The only proven way to quiet the hate is to perform on the field.
For instance, LeBron James was widely ridiculed for his shortcomings. The fact that he won the 2012 NBA Finals MVP will bring most of that criticism to a head.
Football fans are no different than their basketball counterparts in that respect.
Conveniently, the way to begin a good season is to turn in a terrific training camp.
Chad Ochocinco Can Revive His Rep with the Miami Dolphins
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Home cooking might be just what Chad Ochocinco needs.
The boisterous wide receiver flamed out with the New England Patriots. The accusations of his inability to learn the offense were bolstered by his meager 15 catches and one touchdown.
The Miami Dolphins recently signed Ocho to a one-year deal that will give them some interesting fodder to peddle on HBO's Hard Knocks.
On the field, the 'Phins lack an alpha-dog pass-catcher, and the hometown kid could fill the void with a good camp showing.
Chad shouldn't squander the opportunity to revive his career, because this is likely the swan song of his chances.
The Atlanta Falcons Need Matt Ryan to Make the Leap
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Matt Ryan has had a nice career so far.
His two touchdowns for every interception demonstrate a reliable quarterback who takes care of the football.
His lack of a 30-touchdown season brings into question his ability to be a game-changer.
The Atlanta Falcons offense has been heavily reliant on the running game, but the time has come to unleash Ryan and determine his ceiling.
The cupboard is stocked with weapons, as Roddy White, Julio Jones and Jacquizz Rodgers form a trio of playmakers.
Now is the time for Matty Ice to explode into the top tier of the position or settle in as an above-average player.
James Starks Is Trying to Ground Out Some Respect
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James Starks doesn't need your respect. He has a Super Bowl ring. What does he care what Skip Bayless has to say about him?
While the above is a mature approach to criticism, the Green Bay Packers would like Starks to add that fuel to his fire anyway.
If Starks can force a defense to have a semblance of respect, the opposing defensive linemen won't be able to pin their ears back and pursue Aaron Rodgers relentlessly. That slight hesitation to confirm that the play is a pass will give the league MVP more time than he needs.
We all know what happens when Rodgers is given an opportunity to dominate a game. Starks can provide that, and it starts with training camp.
LeGarrette Blount Must Fight to Regain Top-Dog Status
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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers drafted Doug Martin to add a new threat to their arsenal.
LeGarrette Blount can't be too happy about this.
Blount was the Buc declaring that he'd be upset if the squad selected Alabama running back Trent Richardson in the draft. The versatile Martin may prove to be a bigger concern.
The rookie does things (catch and provide pass protection) that Blount hasn't yet. If Blount is to remain more than a run-out-the-clock fullback, he'll need to show that his first offseason spent with the team was beneficial.
Alex Smith Can Cement His Status as a Contender-Leading Quarterback
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Nobody believes Jim Harbaugh.
Alex Smith had better have gotten the real message underlying that statement.
The offense has a sturdy line and picked up explosive offseason additions to pair with Frank Gore and Vernon Davis. LaMichael James, Randy Moss and Mario Manningham leave Smith with few excuses should the offense not take several steps forward in 2012.
Is Blaine Gabbert the Next Young Quarterback to Distinguish Himself?
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The only thing worse for a young player than constant scrutiny is not being talked about at all.
Blaine Gabbert found himself in that sour spot after one dismal season with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
It wasn't entirely his fault. Besides Maurice Jones-Drew, the receiving threats for the Jags ranged from dismal to "pretend he's not there."
Reports out of minicamp (via BigCatCountry.com) have Gabbert looking impressive while showing a deeper understanding of the offense.
Gabbert could be ready to jump from draft afterthought to blog buzzword.
Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall Could Be the Perfect Ingredients
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Alshon Jeffery was a first-round pick. The Chicago Bears grabbed him in the second round.
The Bears receiving corps picked up a potential top-five duo for Jay Cutler to exploit. Its presence should blow the top off of defenses while Matt Forte keeps their focus divided.
Both wide receivers have been in the news for all the wrong reasons lately. Training camp will be the next opportunity to change the dialogue.
The New York Jets Offense Should Probably Find an Identity
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Nothing drives web traffic like Tim Tebow.
The New York Jets brought the largest media attraction to the biggest market in the country. It's amazing the web didn't completely collapse.
The efforts to form an identity shouldn't be solely focused on the starting quarterback. Shonn Greene needs to take a step forward, and Santonio Holmes would do well to put forth a great effort.
It's Time for Chris Johnson to Back Up His Bold Statement
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The Tennessee Titans made a large investment in Chris Johnson before last season.
He repaid the team's confidence by promptly putting together his worst season in his young career.
That didn't deflate Johnson's ego. He still believes he is the best back in the league, per The Tennessean (via USAToday.com).
Johnson isn't far removed from his ridiculous 2010 season, but fans are already turning on him. Apparently, holding out for a payday and then not delivering is a pet peeve of theirs.
Percy Harvin Is a Man of His Word
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Percy Harvin missed the the beginning of minicamp, and the obvious reason was because he was upset with his contract.
Then, he apparently wanted to be traded.
The implication was that Harvin (the only proven wide receiver on the roster) would hold out of training camp if his demands weren't met.
The speedster put the Minnesota Vikings fans at ease by insisting he would be on time when the season's preparations started.
Should he follow through and excel on the field, all will be quickly forgiven.