2012 NFL Season: Injury-Plagued Stars Who Need Big Training Camp Performances
With NFL training camp beginning at the end of July, Peyton Manning is just one of the many notable NFL stars that were plagued by injuries last season. As the 2012 season fast approaches, these stars need to perform well in training camp and put their injury history behind them.
In some cases, these players have joined new teams and cannot afford to have injuries affect their performance in training camp.
Players are also seeking more money with their current teams, but have not been offered an extension due to previous injuries.
Here are ten NFL stars that need to perform well at training camp after suffering with injuries in 2011.
10. Kevin Kolb
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Kevin Kolb may not be viewed as a star player around the league, but that didn't stop the Arizona Cardinals from paying him a lot of money to make him their franchise quarterback.
Unfortunately, his first year in Arizona did not bold well for the former Philadelphia Eagle. His inconsistent play along with injuries led him to miss the majority of the season. John Skelton replaced Kolb during the year and kept the Cardinals competing for a playoff spot late in the season.
As the Cardinals prepare for training camp, Kolb now finds himself in a quarterback competition with Skelton. He needs to take charge both on and off the practice field during training camp, asserting himself as the leader of the franchise.
The organization will not improve if his teammates do not have faith in Kolb's ability to perform. He needs to avoid any serious injuries this season and play at a high level these next two months.
9. Steven Jackson
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The St. Louis Rams made plenty of changes in the off season, most notably convincing Jeff Fisher to accept a rebuilding project with this young roster.
Steven Jackson, the Rams' most explosive position player, did not start in the right direction with his new coach and general manager when asking for a new contract. He hasn't been granted with a new extension due to his durability issues.
He fought through injuries last season and only missed one game, but he continues to add wear and tear to his body and is likely to suffer through more injuries in the near future.
This may be one of the more crucial training camps of Jackson's career. Clearly, he will be the starting running back for the Rams this upcoming season. However, he will need to prove that he can still handle the amount of carries being given to him.
Jackson needs to make a first good impression with the new Rams coaching staff.
8. Jon Beason
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Jon Beason has been one of the more dominating line backers in the NFL the last few years, and was awarded a $50 million extension last off season by the Carolina Panthers.
The Panthers were not able to see Beason playing at an All-Pro level during the prime of his career. He suffered a serious Achilles injury during the first game of the season and was sidelined for the 2011 season.
As Beason returns from his first major injury, has he fully recovered from the devastating injury? Will he show the same explosiveness that propelled him to earn a new contract?
Ron Rivera is continuing to coach up a young defense on the rise, and it's crucial that Beason leads this unit by performing well on the field this season.
7. Hakeem Nicks
Hakeem Nicks emerged as one of the NFL's elite wide receivers this past season and was a crucial play maker during the Giants run to their second championship in four years.
His injury history, though, has been a major concern throughout his career. Nicks suffered another injury in May and had to undergo foot surgery that will sideline him for around twelve weeks.
This training camp will be a very important one for Nicks. Even though he has built great chemistry with Eli Manning, it would hurt the Giants if Nicks is unable to continue working with Manning and second year starter Victor Cruz.
It's important for Nicks not to rush back to the practice field. He may feel comfortable in speeding up the rehab process, but this injury could potentially affect his performance in 2012 if he is not fully healed.
6. Jahvid Best
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Jahvid Best is an explosive running back when given the opportunity to stay on the football field. He is a potential All-Pro running back, but his concussion history displays plenty of concerns within the Lions organization.
After suffering another concussion last season, this training camp will help the Lions staff gauge if Best can play at a high level and emerge as the starter in camp.
Not only is it crucial for Best to avoid any injuries this upcoming season, it may even more important for Best to prove that his injury history does not need to be a concern by standing out as the Lions best running back this summer.
5. Dez Bryant
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Dez Bryant has not proven to be the star receiver that he could become while a member of the Dallas Cowboys. His first two seasons have been plagued with injuries, which has limited Bryant from forming a good chemistry with quarterback Tony Romo and the other receivers on the team.
As Ian Rapoport of NFL.com mentions in a recent article, Bryant has not fully translated his raw talent into immediate All-Pro caliber numbers. He is still a young receiver developing, which is why this training camp is crucial for his growth as a football player.
Bryant believes that he can easily elevate his game from a solid 2011 campaign. In order to do that, he needs to direct his full attention to performing well in camp and to improve his relationship with head coach Jason Garrett.
Obviously, Bryant wants to say healthy, as he says he never felt 100% healthy last season. His health needs to be at its best about the time camp ends, and Bryant could make sure he is at full strength by spending more time with the team trainers when given the opportunity.
4. Andre Johnson
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While the Houston Texans appeared in the playoffs for the first time in franchise history, Andre Johnson endured his worst season as a professional football player.
Johnson missed nine games last season, which resulted in career lows in receptions, receiving yards, and touchdowns.
Clearly, there is no question that Johnson will be one of the league's elite receivers if healthy. However, at age 31, will Johnson begin to show signs of losing his speed? Will he need to alter the way he plays as a receiver after missing over half of the season in 2011?
There hasn't been much pressure on Johnson during his career, but it is very important for Johnson to show Matt Schaub and Gary Kubiak that he is still the league's best receiver despite his lackluster season.
3. Kenny Britt
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Kenny Britt's potentially bright career has been overshadowed by off the field issues along with injuries. He missed the majority of last season after tearing his ACL, which clearly hurt the Tennessee Titans chances of making the post season.
This training camp is important with regards to Britt's future as a member of the Titans. Will Britt display the same speed that he had prior to the injury?
Mike Munchak has not spent too much time with Britt as he enters his second year as head coach. With rookie Kendall Wright ready to step in, Britt needs to show he is still the number one option in the passing game no matter who will be throwing him the ball next year.
2. Adrian Peterson
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In 2012, Peterson will be facing his toughest challenge of returning from injury after tearing his ACL near the end of last season.
With a year usually the average time to recover from an ACL tear, how will Peterson look in training camp? Can he regain any of his explosiveness as a runner?
Peterson's injury will affect his style of running, which could lead to a lackluster campaign in 2012. Potentially, the majority of the season could be lost if Peterson is unable to renew football activities in training camp.
1. Peyton Manning
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Peyton Manning will make his return to the NFL after missing an entire season due to neck surgery. For the first time in his career, he is no longer a member of the Indianapolis Colts.
He joins a new organization in Denver, and must continue building chemistry with his young wide receivers.
Is Manning capable of regaining all of his physical tools that are needed to play the quarterback position? Will we see a major decline in strength and accuracy in Manning's first season with the Broncos?
Aside from learning the playbook and practicing with his teammates, Manning needs to continue building up his stamina in order to play near the level the future Hall of Famer has played at his entire career.
Matt Miselis is an NFL Featured Columnist for BleacherReport.com. Follow him on twitter.