5 Most Buzzed-About NFL Position Battles
With NFL training camps in full swing, position battles are now taking center stage league-wide. While there are a ton of big-time spots up for grabs around the NFL, some are being focused on more than others.
Here is a look at the top five NFL position battles that are being buzzed about as most teams approach their first preseason games.
Miami Dolphins Quarterback
Now that HBO's Hard Knocks has started, the Miami Dolphins quarterback situation will get even more buzz than it already has.
It appears rookie Ryan Tannehill won't be in the mix because of his lack of experience.
That means the Dolphins will let their quarterback of the future sit and learn this season unless he wows in the preseason.
The battle is currently between returning starter Matt Moore and free-agent pickup David Garrard.
According to Ben Volin of the Palm Beach Post, the 34-year-old Garrard is currently on top of the depth chart. That means the former Jacksonville Jaguars signal-caller is likely to start the team's preseason opener against Tampa Bay on Friday.
This will almost certainly stay a Moore-Garrard battle, and whichever guy picks up offensive coordinator Mike Sherman's system faster will probably win the job. Tannehill will likely have to be almost perfect in the preseason to even get a sniff of the starting gig as a rookie.
Seattle Seahawks Quarterback
The Seattle Times reported that Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll announced free-agent pickup Matt Flynn would be taking the first-team reps this week.
That means Flynn is almost certain to start Seattle's exhibition opener against the Tennessee Titans on Saturday.
The interesting twist in this move is that returning starter Tarvaris Jackson won't likely be the team's backup.
Instead, rookie Russell Wilson will be given every chance to make himself the team's second quarterback. That means Jackson could be looking for work in just a few weeks.
Flynn was given a three-year, $19.5 million contract this offseason, so it's no surprise that he has moved up to starter status. In fact, even if he performed poorly in training camp, he was probably destined to start eventually.
While this quarterback competition might not be completely over, it isn't looking good for Jackson.
Arizona Cardinals Quarterback
The Arizona Cardinals have a serious battle going on for their starting quarterback spot.
John Skelton outplayed Kevin Kolb last season, as the former Eagles quarterback battled injuries and inconsistency.
But thanks to Kolb's six-year, $65 million contract, the Cardinals are going to give him every opportunity to win the starting gig.
After Kolb injured his ribs during Arizona's preseason opener, Skelton stepped in and played well. Kolb returned to 11-on-11 drills this week, so he appears to be fine.
But right now it looks like the $65 million man is losing his grip on the starting job. Skelton has just produced better results as the starter and looks far more comfortable under center.
Still, Kolb will likely start the remaining preseason games in an effort to give him a chance to prove himself.
This one should go down to the wire.
Tennessee Titans Quarterback
The Tennessee Titans appear to be in a real bind here and aren't sure which way to go.
Head coach Mike Munchak told Terry McCormick of TitansInsider.com that he and his staff were going to meet Wednesday night and decide who to start against the Seahawks on Saturday.
Second-year man Jake Locker is obviously the quarterback of the future, while returning starter Matt Hasselbeck is the placeholder until the younger guy emerges.
Obviously the Titans would love it if Locker jumped up and grabbed the starting gig, but Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean reported that the Washington product has again had accuracy issues during camp.
Locker's struggles with his accuracy have held him back in the past and his ability to consistently complete passes is the only thing keeping him out of the starting role.
Eventually Locker will win the job from Hasselbeck, but if he can't be more consistent it might take him a lot longer than it should.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Running Back
When the Tampa Bay Buccaneers traded back into the first round of the 2012 NFL draft to select Boise State running back Doug Martin, it was obvious they weren't comfortable with their current depth at the position.
In fact, most experts expected Martin to overtake incumbent starter LeGarrette Blount quickly and become the team's top back.
The Tampa Bay Times is reporting that Martin took most of the first-team reps on Tuesday, but new head coach Greg Schiano also posted a depth chart that listed Blount as the No. 1 back. Schiano also cautioned not to put too much stock into that depth chart because the team is forced to put it out by the league.
From reports that have been leaking out of Tampa Bay, Martin has looked as good as advertised and he should eventually take over the top spot from Blount. He is a well-rounded, legitimate three-down back, while Blount is essentially just a short-yardage hammer.
It shouldn't be long before Martin is officially named the starter.