NFL training camps are all in full swing all the throughout the league, as the first week of practice has raised several questions for teams.
Luckily for them, they have an entire month to find a solution.
Most teams have a blueprint of how their rosters will look in 2012, with all of the lineup changes taking place during organized team activities (OTAs). The majority of the roster moves were dictated by financial constraints from the salary cap. But, after all the preparation, teams still need training camp to evaluate their personnel and hopefully come up with answers to new questions that suddenly arise.
Here are the biggest questions that need answers after the first week of training camp.
At the beginning of training camp, Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton struggled to gain any chemistry with his receiving corp. It was a laundry list of errors, as he over-threw his targets, had balls go through the hands of the intended receivers or had passes being tipped at the line of scrimmage.
Yes, Dalton had a decent rookie season, but he did struggle with making critical mistakes late in games and was inconsistent throwing the football all throughout the year. Head coach Marvin Lewis is counting on him to show more maturity on the field.
Early in the first week, terrible news came out of New York Giants training camp: It was announced that cornerback Terrell Thomas had re-injured his right knee once again (via NY Daily News) He was attempting to come back from a second ACL surgery (Thomas first injured the ligament in 2005 at USC).
Right now, he’s scheduled to have exploratory surgery to determine the true extent of the knee injury. But, if the ACL is torn once again, then Thomas will miss the 2012 season and possibly could see the end of his career.
It would be very hard to return from three ACL injuries to one knee.
The Giants are hoping Thomas’ replacement is currently in camp, as general manager Jerry Reese did draft two corners (Prince Amukamara and Jayron Hosley) the last two years to help provide depth to this position. The original plan was for them to develop at their own pace, but now, they will compete for a starting job.
In the offseason, the San Diego Chargers thought they solved their backup quarterback situation with the re-acquisition of Charlie Whitehurst via free agency. Then, he injures his knee that will keep him out of training camp for two weeks.
To replace Whitehurst, the Chargers signed Kyle Boller, who promptly retired after one practice with the team. The Chargers next choice was former backup Billy Volek, as they offered him a one-year veteran’s minimum deal. He promptly turned them down. Finally, the Chargers resorted to signing unproven QB Kevin O’ Connell to a contract.
Hopefully, Charger fans can find some humor in all of this. But right now, please make sure Philip Rivers is wearing a red vest in practice.
In the ever-changing world of the NFL, the new concussion protocol has made its first impact on the league. Detroit Lions team doctors haven’t cleared running back Jahvid Best for contact in training camp due to lingering concussion symptoms, according to USA Today.
Lions general manager Martin Mayhew is a bit disappointed with Best’s current status, but he’s confided that his RB will play at some point this season.
The Lions are in a holding pattern, as they must upgrade the position if Best cannot play in 2012.
But how long do they wait before making a roster move? The Lions are evaluating talent all throughout the league in case they have make a RB addition ASAP.
The Philadelphia Eagles had a devastating start to their training camp, as defensive end Jason Babin suffered a strained calf muscle in drills (ESPN). This injury could keep him out for the entire preseason.
If Babin can maintain his conditioning, then he could see some action in obvious pass-rushing situations on opening weekend. But, if Babin cannot suit up, then his absence will be a major loss to the defense.
This injury could be a blessing in disguise, as the Eagles can now evaluate defensive end Brandon Graham with the first unit. His pro career has been plagued by various injuries that have kept him off the field. Graham’s play in the preseason will determine how many snaps he receives in the regular season.