Ultimately, in most training camps, only about a dozen players either gain or lose enough traction for their careers to change shape in a significant way. The majority of these guys simply prepare for the season without much fanfare or criticism.
But for several players every year, training camp either makes or breaks their football lives. We're looking at some of the clear 2012 camp winners and losers in the NFC East. Next up: the New York Giants.
Which training camp "winner" will make a bigger impact in 2012?
In the first two weeks of training camp, you couldn't read a single practice report that didn't mention Douglas' name. The undrafted rookie out of Arizona missed the preseason opener in Jacksonville, but he'll still have a chance to win the No. 3 receiver job.
Jernigan is another guy who stood out throughout camp yet failed to deliver in the preseason opener. In his case, he was healthy, but ineffective. He's still a winner for now, but that could change if he can't deliver in a game situation soon.
Bennett has been a pleasant surprise in camp, causing me to believe that he could finally live up to his physical potential and become a reliable, versatile playmaker with the Giants. Losing Jake Ballard hurt, but if Bennett can stay on track, he could be the most effective tight end this team has had since Jeremy Shockey.
Herzlich has been sensational in camp, displaying a nice combination of strength and speed and faring much better than expected in pass coverage. The 24-year-old is already outplaying Chase Blackburn in the battle for the starting middle linebacker job, and he's only going to get better.
As expected, the last pick of the first round in April has looked downright dangerous with the ball in camp and in the preseason. He's still trying to work his way up the depth chart, but if he keeps running the ball in such an electric fashion, the G-men won't be able to keep Wilson off the field.
There's a lot of pressure on Beatty to step up and become a reliable left tackle this season. But he's once again missing practice and game time. He's back on the field now, but it's concerning that a sore back has forced him to miss pretty much all of camp.
He actually looked real solid early in camp, but he was abysmal on the only full series he played against the Jaguars last week. That's enough to move the former first-round pick into the loser category for now, but he has three games and plenty of practices to remove himself from this spot. I have a feeling he'll do just that.
He's still on the physically unable to perform list as he recovers from offseason knee surgery. But you get the feeling that the Giants and their fans are becoming frustrated with the lack of a timetable in place for his return to action. Considering the injuries that have already hit the defensive line, the Giants are really missing Canty right now.
Thomas' balky knee acted up early in camp, and while the prognosis isn't completely gloomy, he'll likely miss the rest of the preseason and the start of the regular season. Tough break for a guy who hasn't had many good ones in his NFL career (at least from a health standpoint).
He got hurt again and missed the first preseason game. The only thing that's keeping Domenik Hixon from becoming the No. 3 receiver this year is Domenik Hixon's body. While he hasn't looked bad in camp, Jernigan and Douglas have been better, and at least Ramses Barden is staying on the field.