1 Thing We Have Learned About Each NFL Team from OTAs
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Organized team activities are coming to a close this week around the NFL for six teams, while 26 teams have already completed theirs.
OTAs, which are voluntary but most veterans and rookies typically participate in, are just one early piece of the summer training schedule for NFL players. They will be followed (or already have been followed) by mandatory minicamp, before players get a break until training camps begin in late July.
Nonetheless, OTAs have begun to give each team's followers an idea of which players may be in line for new roles and/or increased playing time this fall.
They have also brought light to injuries players are dealing with, how rookies will fit in alongside veterans and how teams may be experimenting with new schematics for the 2013 season.
Let's take a look at one revelation that has emerged from each team's OTAs thus far.
Arizona Cardinals: First-Round Pick Jonathan Cooper Displacing Daryn Colledge
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Arizona Cardinals left guard Daryn Colledge was the only strong and steady starter on what was arguably the NFL's worst offensive line last season. He'll continue to be a starter in 2013, but the team will look for him to solidify the other side of the line.
While Colledge is a very solid starting guard, the Cardinals invested in Jonathan Cooper with the No. 7 overall draft selection to be an elite NFL guard. As a result, the Cardinals are keeping Cooper at left guard, the position he played at North Carolina, while moving Colledge over to replace Adam Snyder at right guard.
Cooper has lined up at left guard in OTAs while Colledge has been at right guard, according to the Associated Press. Colledge will also get repetitions at center, via Josh Weinfuss of AZCardinals.com.
Installing an outstanding talent in Cooper on the left side of the line while replacing Snyder at right guard should significantly improve both sides of the offensive line.
Atlanta Falcons: Mike Johnson In Line to Start at Right Tackle
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When the Atlanta Falcons released Tyson Clabo in April, many expected that the move opened the door for 2012 third-round pick Lamar Holmes to move into a starting spot at right tackle. Holmes, however, is currently trailing Mike Johnson in that battle, according to Fox Sports South.
Johnson's offensive line experience is at guard, but he is a lean, athletic offensive lineman who may be a better pass-blocking option than Holmes. His move to right tackle comes as a surprise.
There is still plenty of time for Holmes to end up winning the battle, but Johnson's experience seems to be giving him a leg up in the right tackle competition thus far.
Baltimore Ravens: Deonte Thompson To Replace Anquan Boldin in Lineup?
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The Baltimore Ravens opened up a big hole in their offensive starting lineup when they traded No. 2 wide receiver Anquan Boldin to the San Francisco 49ers for a sixth-round pick. With Torrey Smith as the No. 1 and Jacoby Jones in the slot, there is no obvious replacement for Boldin.
The favorite to take Boldin's starting spot is second-year receiver Deonte Thompson, signed as an undrafted free agent last season. Mike Preston of the Baltimore Sun said the Ravens think Thompson has the "inside track" to be the team's No. 2 wideout.
Thompson is a very different player than Boldin. While Boldin is a big, physical wideout who makes up for a lack of speed with his ability to make plays on the football, Thompson is a true speed receiver who was timed between 4.23 to 4.33 seconds at his pre-2012 draft pro day, according to the Baltimore Sun.
Adding that speed to the starting lineup could give the Ravens one of the NFL's fastest trio of wideouts. Thompson's speed forces opposing defenses to take his playmaking ability seriously.
"He's a gifted route-runner, and he is getting better," offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell told the Sun. "He's young, and he's developing ... He has speed, can catch the ball, and he's tough."
Buffalo Bills: Tarvaris Jackson Cut by Bills; Opportunity for EJ Manuel?
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The recent trend has been for quarterbacks taken in the first round to start as rookies. Of the 15 first-round quarterbacks drafted since 2008, 10 have been Week 1 starters. The trend may or may not continue with this year's only first-round quarterback, EJ Manuel.
Veterans Kevin Kolb and Tarvaris Jackson split first-team repetitions during OTAs for the Buffalo Bills under center, according to BuffaloBills.com. However, USA Today reports that Jackson was cut Monday evening.
There is still plenty of time for Manuel's repetitions to increase, and his chances can only go up with Jackson out of the picture. Though Kolb was a second-round pick in 2007, he has never established himself as a true starter.
Manuel is more of a project than most recent first-round quarterbacks. While he has the physical tools to develop into a big playmaker for the Bills offense, he needs to become more refined as a pocket-passer with his downfield accuracy and decision-making.
He would likely benefit by having a year to learn from the bench to prepare for the 2014 season.
Carolina Panthers: Secondary Competitions to Watch in Training Camp
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The Carolina Panthers have one of the NFL's shakiest secondary situations. Their best cornerback, Chris Gamble, subsequently retired after being cut. Starting cornerback Captain Munnerlyn and free safety Haruki Nakamura are back this season, but both players were shaky in starting roles last season.
Safety Charles Godfrey is the only Panthers defensive back assured of starting this season, according to the Charlotte Observer. The Panthers did not draft any defensive backs, which will leave the team with a combination of returning players and free-agent signings fighting to crack the starting lineup in training camp.
D.J. Campbell, free-agent signing Mike Mitchell and undrafted free-agent signing Robert Lester are expected to compete for the starting strong safety job, so says CarolinaPanthers.com.
The cornerback competition is also considered wide open. Munnerlyn, Josh Norman and Josh Thomas should face competition from free-agent additions D.J. Moore and Drayton Florence for the two starting spots.
According to Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer, one day's starting secondary in OTAs consisted of Godfrey and Campbell as the starting safeties, with Thomas and Norman as starting cornerbacks and Moore as the nickel cornerback.
Chicago Bears: Lance Briggs Taking on Leadership Role
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The Chicago Bears moved on from a great leader of their defense when they declined to re-sign middle linebacker Brian Urlacher. Fortunately for the Bears, they have another veteran linebacker in Lance Briggs who is filling his role as the play-caller for the defense.
Middle linebackers are typically the play-callers, but weakside linebacker Briggs is taking on that responsibility, according to Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune. The leadership responsibility is well-deserved for Briggs, who is entering his 11th season with the Bears (all as a starter).
Briggs will be the only returning starter to the Bears linebacker corps. Free-agent signings D.J. Williams and James Anderson are competing with rookie draft picks Jon Bostic and Khaseem Greene for the other two starting spots.
Cincinnati Bengals: James Harrison Still a Pass-Rusher
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James Harrison has been one of the NFL's best pass-rushing outside linebackers over the past six seasons, racking up 60 sacks for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Harrison is now with the Cincinnati Bengals, where he is transitioning from the Steelers' 3-4 scheme to playing strongside linebacker in the Bengals' 4-3 defense. The outside linebacker position is not viewed typically as a pass-rushing spot in a 4-3 scheme, but Harrison said he will still be used to get after the quarterback.
"I'm playing SAM, so I'm basically doing the same thing I do in a 3-4 defense," Harrison told the media, via Bengals.com.
Harrison also said that he is likely to rush the passer even more than he did in Pittsburgh and cover even less, even though the transition to a 4-3 from a 3-4 is typically the opposite for an outside linebacker.
Harrison added that by blitzing as a rusher, he expects to get more one-on-one matchups with interior offensive linemen while still allowing the defensive ends to do their jobs as outside rushers.
Cleveland Browns: Brandon Weeden In Line to Remain Starting QB
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The free-agent additions of veteran quarterbacks Jason Campbell and Brian Hoyer made it appear as though second-year quarterback Brandon Weeden would face significant competition to start this offseason. That has not looked to be the case in OTAs.
Weeden has received the full allotment of first-team quarterback repetitions during OTAs, according to ESPN Cleveland’s Tony Grossi. Rather than competing for the starting job, Grossi reported Campbell and Hoyer have been splitting second-team quarterback repetitions.
While Campbell and Hoyer receiving no first-team reps may be a mild surprise, the starting job is certainly Weeden's to lose.
The Browns made a big investment in Weeden as a 2012 first-round pick, while their total investments in Campbell and Hoyer over the next two seasons is less than $6 million combined.
To keep his starting job going forward, the Browns will expect Weeden to improve upon his 57.4 completion percentage and 14-to-17 touchdown-to-interception ratio from last season.
Dallas Cowboys: Bill Callahan to Make Offensive Play Calls
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Jason Garrett is still the Dallas Cowboys head coach, but he won't be making offensive play calls anymore as he once did as offensive coordinator. That role will go to former Oakland Raiders head coach Bill Callahan, who is the team's offensive coordinator and offensive line coach.
While the change has been expected since January, Callahan's role as play-caller was not confirmed until June 4.
Callahan's new role could bring changes to the Cowboys offense. Former NFL scout Bryan Broaddus said in a radio appearance that he expects Callahan to "bring toughness" to the team's play calling, via the Dallas Morning News.
Mike Fisher of 105.3 The Fan wrote that Callahan appears to be installing more zone-blocking elements to the Cowboys offensive line.
Some were surprised that Garrett was retained as head coach after the Cowboys had an 8-8 season and missed the postseason again. His job security appears to have decreased even more with the play-calling shift.
Denver Broncos: Quentin Jammer Moving to Safety
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When the Denver Broncos signed former San Diego Chargers cornerback Quentin Jammer in late May, he joined a roster that was already full of cornerbacks capable of competing for significant playing time. As a result, the Broncos are moving Jammer to free safety, so says Mike Klis of the Denver Post.
Jammer can provide depth and competition for starting free safety Rahim Moore, whose first two NFL seasons have been shaky. A 6'0'', 204-pound defensive back who plays with physicality and has 11 years of NFL experience, Jammer should be able to make the transition and contribute in a situational role.
Along with third-round pick Kayvon Webster and another free-agent signing in cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, the Broncos have made moves to bolster their secondary depth this offseason.
Detroit Lions: Ron Bartell In Position to Start at Cornerback
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The Detroit Lions have one very solid starting cornerback in Chris Houston, but they are looking to solidify the No. 2 cornerback spot this offseason.
Leading the charge early on appears to be Ron Bartell, who played just one game for the Lions as a late-season addition last year. He is an experienced cornerback with good length and size.
Bartell has been taking first-team cornerback repetitions opposite Houston throughout OTAs, according to the Detroit Free Press.
Bartell should face competition for that role from second-year cornerback Bill Bentley, who Josh Katzenstein of the Detroit News believes is the leading candidate to be the team's No. 2 cornerback.
Bentley is a natural fit to play nickel slot cornerback, however, where he has been lining up in OTAs. Second-round pick Darius Slay should also factor into the competition, but he has "practiced sparingly" in OTAs as he continues to recover from surgery on his torn meniscus.
Green Bay Packers: Mike Neal Taking Snaps at Outside Linebacker
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Mike Neal was a defensive tackle at Purdue, drafted by the Green Bay Packers in 2010 to take advantage of his athleticism and interior-rush ability as a 5-technique defensive end in their 3-4 scheme. During OTAs, however, it has appeared Neal might be making an unusual switch to outside linebacker.
Neal remains a defensive lineman in size, listed at 6'3" and 294 pounds, but Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers has always been one to be creative.
With heavy competition at the defensive end position, including first-round pick Datone Jones, Neal has been working at linebacker in OTAs, according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.
Neal has lost weight, but he will have to learn how to make plays in space and drop back into coverage.
While Neal is a good athlete, making the transition to outside linebacker is a move that will truly test his athleticism and pass-rushing ability. But if he can make the move successfully, he could provide much-needed depth behind starters Clay Matthews and Nick Perry.
Houston Texans: DeAndre Hopkins In Line to Start Immediately
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The Houston Texans drafted Clemson wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins with the No. 27 overall selection in the 2013 NFL draft because they needed to add a legitimate No. 2 receiving threat opposite Andre Johnson. OTAs have indicated that Hopkins should be in line to take that role immediately.
Hopkins has worked as a first-team receiver in OTAs, according to HoustonTexans.com. Hopkins will receive competition from Lestar Jean and Keshawn Martin, but Hopkins stands out as the favorite to start.
Hopkins is a talented possession receiver who runs great routes, has very good hands and does a great job of going up and getting the football. He is very good at getting open, and he will help draw double/triple coverages away from Johnson.
Indianapolis Colts: Kerwynn Williams Expected to Return Kickoffs
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The Indianapolis Colts got a potential seventh-round steal in Utah State running back Kerwynn Williams, an explosive change-of-pace runner with dynamic speed and quickness. It should come as little surprise that Williams is expected to return kickoffs for the Colts, according to Phillip B. Wilson of the Indianapolis Star.
Williams has good speed (4.48-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine) and acceleration, and he is a very smooth runner who can make defenders miss with quick and subtle cuts. Williams is worth a roster spot as a situational back, but returning kickoffs only increases his value.
Williams was Utah State's kickoff returner in his first three collegiate seasons, averaging 25.1 yards per return on 135 career kickoff returns (with one touchdown).
Jacksonville Jaguars: Jonathan Cyprien, Dwayne Gratz Appear Ready to Start
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The Jacksonville Jaguars needed to overhaul their secondary this offseason, and they brought in many new pieces, including three draft picks. Two of those draft picks are already in position for starting jobs, according to Ryan O'Halloran of the Florida Times-Union.
Second-round pick Jonathan Cyprien and third-round pick Dwayne Gratz have been working alongside veteran starters in OTAs, and they are expected to be Week 1 starters. O'Halloran said both rookies "looked completely in place."
Cyprien, the No. 33 overall selection in the 2013 draft, is a big, hard-hitting and rangy safety who was expected to take over as Dawan Landry's replacement at strong safety.
Gratz may not have been expected to be an immediate starter, but in a secondary where Marcus Trufant is the only experienced starting cornerback, the instinctive Gratz looks like the best option.
Kansas City Chiefs: Donald Stephenson Moving Inside to Guard
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Donald Stephenson's window to a starting spot at offensive tackle was shut when the Chiefs retained Branden Albert on a franchise tag and drafted Eric Fisher with the No. 1 overall pick. As a result, it appears that he may be making a position change to guard.
Stephenson received "plenty of work" at guard during OTAs, according to Adam Teicher of the Kansas City Star. If he continues to impress in training camp, he will have a shot to win the left guard competition, which should also include incumbent starter Jeff Allen and free-agent signing Geoff Schwartz.
Teicher also reported that Allen has been receiving work at center, where he could challenge Rodney Hudson for his starting spot. If Stephenson cannot beat out Allen, who was drafted one round above him in last year's draft, the spot could open up if Allen kicks inside to guard.
Stephenson's versatility to play both offensive tackle and guard makes it likely that he will see the field a good amount this season, whether it be as a starter or as a fill-in if injuries occur at either tackle or guard.
Miami Dolphins: Lamar Miller To Fill Reggie Bush's Shoes
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The Miami Dolphins lost Reggie Bush to unrestricted free agency, but they have a second-year running back with many of the similar dynamic qualities Bush brings to the field. That back is Lamar Miller, who is in line to be the Dolphins starting running back this season.
Miller has received the bulk of first-team snaps at running back in OTAs, so says Adam H. Beasley of the Miami Herald. Additionally, Ryan Tannehill told NFL Network last week that Miller is the Dolphins running back.
"He's doing a great job this offseason, really has a great handle on the offense and he's doing a great job protecting," Tannehill said. "They can (all) run the ball but being able to understand the pass game, understand the checkdowns and where they're protecting really makes a big difference and makes me more comfortable."
Miller is a speed back with the quickness to make defenders miss, but he is also a big back listed at 218 pounds. As he is now making strides as a receiver and pass-blocker, he has huge potential and could be in line for a breakout sophomore season.
Minnesota Vikings: Joe Webb Playing Wide Receiver
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When Joe Webb was called into duty to fill in for injured starting quarterback Christian Ponder in last year's NFC Wild Card playoff game against the Green Bay Packers, the results were disastrous. Webb completed just 11-of-30 passes for 180 yards.
While Webb is not an NFL-caliber passer, he is a dynamic athlete. As a result, the Vikings have moved him to wide receiver, where they can take advantage of his athletic ability and find ways to get him on the field (and determine whether he is worth keeping on the roster).
Webb has apparently turned some heads as a receiver in OTAs. Tom Pelissero of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities tweeted that Webb has "caught everything in workouts." He is also receiving work as a punt returner, according to another Pelissero tweet.
Webb has the size and athleticism to make an impact as a receiver and/or punt returner, but he needs to progress quickly. Pelissero tweeted that while Webb's hands "aren't an issue," he has to learn "everything else."
Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier said Webb needs to progress as a route-runner, according to Pro Football Talk.
Webb will have to earn his roster spot. He will have to compete with Jerome Simpson, Greg Childs, Rodney Smith and others for one of what will probably be two roster spots along with Greg Jennings, Cordarrelle Patterson and Jarius Wright.
New England Patriots: Tight End Jake Ballard Back in Action
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The New England Patriots made a move praised by many but scrutinized by others when they claimed tight end Jake Ballard, who suffered a torn ACL against the Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI, off waivers last offseason before the New York Giants could put him on injured reserve.
Ballard did not play at all for the Patriots last season, but he returned to the field for them in OTAs. According to ESPNBoston’s Field Yates, "Ballard didn't appear to be showing the effects of his major knee injury suffered in Super Bowl XLVI."
Ballard could play a very important role for the Patriots this season if tight end Rob Gronkowski, who is scheduled to undergo back surgery, misses any time during the regular season. While Ballard is not the athletic downfield threat Gronkowski is, he is a big tight end who can be a reliable target over the middle and also a strong run-blocker.
Another tight end who apparently took advantage of his opportunity during OTAs was undrafted rookie Zach Sudfeld. Ben Volin of the Boston Globe said Sudfeld, who comes to the Patriots from Nevada, was "hard not to notice" in OTAs, and is a "more fluid athlete and better pass-catcher" than Ballard.
New Orleans Saints: Will Smith Moved Back to Outside Linebacker
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The New Orleans Saints are trying to find the right personnel for their defensive conversion to a 3-4 scheme, and one of the players making a transition is longtime starting defensive end Will Smith to outside linebacker.
According to Mike Triplett of the New Orleans Times-Picayune, Smith is receiving first-team reps opposite Martez Wilson as an edge-rushing outside linebacker.
Although Smith has been a starter in all nine of his seasons with the Saints, his first-team role in the 3-4 defense comes as a mild surprise. Smith is a much less natural fit to play 3-4 outside linebacker than Junior Galette and Victor Butler, who are currently working behind Smith as second-team outside linebackers.
Whether Smith will remain a starter in training camp or is simply getting the first crack at a starting job because of his experience is unknown. Still, it appears the Saints are on board with moving Smith to outside linebacker.
Smith does not have experience at linebacker and may lack the all-around athleticism for the position. He is a talented pass-rusher who has accrued 67.5 sacks over nine seasons, but he is in decline at 31 years old.
New York Giants: Mark Herzlich Receiving First-Team MLB Reps
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The New York Giants needed to rework their starting linebacker corps, especially at middle linebacker, where Chase Blackburn's play was subpar last season. They signed former Dallas Cowboys linebacker Dan Connor as a potential starter at the position, but so far he appears to be behind a returning Giant.
Mark Herzlich has not been great in his first two NFL seasons as a rotational linebacker for the Giants. Undeterred, the cancer survivor and former undrafted free agent has received first-team middle linebacker snaps during OTAs, according to Giants.com.
Connor played in the 3-4 defense in Dallas, so this may be a matter of Herzlich's experience within the defense as Connor adjusts to playing in a 4-3. Nonetheless, it seems Herzlich will have a shot at winning the starting middle linebacker job on a position group that remains very much in flux for the Giants.
New York Jets: No Clear Answer in Quarterback Competition
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The New York Jets have a predicament at the quarterback position. Incumbent starter Mark Sanchez is coming off a horrendous season in which he completed just 54.3 percent of his passes and had a 13-to-18 touchdown-to-interception ratio.
Second-round pick rookie Geno Smith, however, still needs to develop significantly before he can thrive as an NFL passer.
A front-runner has not yet emerged in the competition yet, according to ESPN New York's Rich Cimini. Cimini said a starter is unlikely to be named until the preseason.
"I don't believe we're close to that right now," Ryan said after the team's ninth OTA practice. Obviously, we don't have to make that move right now. Until we feel 100 percent comfortable with that decision, we'll leave it to competition."
Jets fans are certainly hoping Smith will progress quickly and emerge as the starting quarterback, as Sanchez is the past and Smith is the future. However, the Jets would be smarter to start Sanchez if Smith is not ready to be thrown into the fire in Week 1.
One surprising development on the Jets quarterback depth chart is the battle to be the third-string quarterback. Greg McElroy started a game for the Jets late last season, but he lost third-team reps in OTAs to Matt Simms, according to NFL.com.
Oakland Raiders: Matt Flynn Is Starting Quarterback...For Now
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The Oakland Raiders training camp could feature one of the league's most intriguing starting quarterback competitions between trade acquisition Matt Flynn, athletic returner Terrelle Pryor and fourth-round pick Tyler Wilson.
That competition, however, will be Flynn's job to lose."Matt's our starting quarterback as we go forward right now," Raiders head coach Dennis Allen told the Contra Costa Times, "and until the competition dictates otherwise, that's where we're going."
The competition could, of course, dictate otherwise. Flynn went into last year's Seattle Seahawks training camp expected to be the starting quarterback, but he ended up losing the job to rookie phenom Russell Wilson in a three-way competition.
Flynn has been impressive in his only two career NFL starts, completing a combined 55-of-79 passes for 731 yards and nine touchdowns with only two interceptions in those two games. He is going to have to be impressive in training camp, however, to remain the starter for the regular season.
During the early part of OTAs, Wilson outperformed Flynn, according to Steve Corkran of the Contra Costa Times. Wilson may be the most talented pocket passer of the three quarterbacks. Pryor is a dynamic athlete with a big arm who has upside as a dual-threat quarterback if he can become more accurate downfield.
A fourth quarterback, undrafted free agent Matt McGloin, has made a "huge impression" in OTAs and is "pushing Tyler Wilson and Terrelle Pryor," according to a report from ESPN's Chris Mortensen (via Rotoworld).
Philadelphia Eagles: Michael Vick, Nick Foles Continuing to Compete at QB
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Michael Vick started 10 games for the Philadelphia Eagles at quarterback last season, while then-rookie Nick Foles started the other six. Many have expected that Vick would get his job back this season as an athletic dual-threat for new coach Chip Kelly's offense, but Foles is right on his heels.
Vick and Foles consistently split repetitions with the first-team offense throughout OTAs, but it does not appear a front-runner has emerged in the competition yet.
On the final day of OTAs two weeks ago, Foles received 25 first-team reps while Vick received 12, according to Jordan Raanan of NJ.com. On the final day of last week's mandatory minicamp, Vick received 25 first-team reps while Foles received 14, although Raanan felt Foles performed better for the day.
As the quarterbacks split reps throughout offseason workouts, this appears to be a battle that could continue well into training camp and the preseason. Vick offers more athletically than Foles, but Foles is a young quarterback on the rise who is a more efficient pocket passer.
Pittsburgh Steelers: New Running Back, New Running Scheme
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The Pittsburgh Steelers could have a new starting running back by the start of the regular season in rookie second-round pick Le'Veon Bell. They will also have a new running scheme, according to Mark Kaboly of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
The Steelers have a new offensive line coach, Jack Bicknell Jr., who is installing an outside-zone, one-cut run-blocking system.
The Steelers have become famous for their inside-zone and power-running schemes, but with a back in Bell who combines both inside power and outside agility, they could find new success by running outside more often.
According to Kaboly, the Steelers "plan to use the outside zone scheme to supplement their power style in order to take advantage of their all-of-a-sudden big, nimble and young offensive line."
As for the Steelers running back competition, Jonathan Dwyer has taken first-team repetitions in OTAs, so says Scout.com.
Fellow returner Isaac Redman and Bell should both factor into the rushing rotation early as well, and any of them could end up being the team's Week 1 starter at running back.
San Diego Chargers: Vincent Brown, Malcom Floyd Battling for Starting WR Spot
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The San Diego Chargers have a very deep group of wide receivers, but the top spots on the depth chart are open for competition. Thus far, however, Vincent Brown and Eddie Royal seem to be the receivers on the rise, while Malcom Floyd could be primed to slide down the depth chart.
Brown missed all of last season due to injury, but has worked his way up from the slot to rotating with Floyd for a starting spot opposite starter Danario Alexander, according to Michael Gehlken of Union-Tribune San Diego. With Brown taking snaps on the outside, Royal has been the team's slot receiver in OTAs.
Floyd was the Chargers' leading receiver last season with 56 receptions for 814 yards, but Brown showed big upside in his rookie season in 2011. That is a competition that could continue throughout training camp and the preseason, but if Brown can unseat Floyd in the starting lineup, Floyd could drop to No. 4 on the depth chart if Royal can establish himself in the slot.
Robert Meachem, who is entering his second season with the Chargers, and talented third-round pick Keenan Allen could also factor into the Chargers receiving competition in training camp.
San Francisco 49ers: Who Will Fill in for Michael Crabtree?
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The defending NFC champions may have suffered the most significant loss of any team during OTAs, when No. 1 wide receiver Michael Crabtree went down with a torn Achilles that will likely cost him his entire 2013 season. With Crabtree out of the mix, the 49ers will be counting on their other receivers to step up.
Anquan Boldin, who the 49ers acquired for a sixth-round pick in March from the defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens, has made a big impression in OTAs, according to Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee.
That said, Jim Harbaugh said Boldin will still line up as the "Z" receiver, as he would have opposite Crabtree. That leaves a group of up to five receivers to compete for Crabtree's role as the "X" receiver.
The leading candidate to take that role should be 2012 first-round pick A.J. Jenkins, who has a prime opportunity to prove himself after playing sparingly as a rookie.
Fourth-round pick Quinton Patton should also factor into the competition immediately, while Barrows also listed Ricardo Lockette, Marlon Moore and Chad Hall as competitors for the spot.
Returning veterans Kyle Williams and Mario Manningham are both sidelined by knee injuries and did not participate in OTAs, and how they factor into the offense could depend upon their health.
Seattle Seahawks: Christine Michael Getting First-Team Work Early
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The second-round selection of Texas A&M running back Christine Michael by the Seattle Seahawks came as a surprise to many. Not only is Michael a risky prospect who has significant character and durability concerns, but he joins a roster that already included a solid running back duo of Marshawn Lynch and Robert Turbin.
The competition, however, hasn't stopped Michael from seeing the field. He has received first-team work often throughout OTAs, including last Wednesday when Lynch was practicing but working with mostly second- and third-team offenses, according to the Seattle Times.
That doesn't mean Michael is about to supplant Lynch, who finished third in the NFL with 1,590 rushing yards last season, on the depth chart.
It does indicate that the Seahawks expect Michael to factor into the offense as a rookie, and he could be on pace to move ahead of Turbin on the depth chart. Turbin ran for 354 yards on just 80 carries as a rookie.
While Michael has both on- and off-field concerns, he is an incredible athlete with huge upside. He put up jaw-dropping explosive measurables at this year's NFL Scouting Combine, including a 4.54-second 40-yard dash and a 43-inch vertical jump, while weighing in at 220 pounds and bench pressing 225 pounds for 27 repetitions.
Another rookie, sixth-round pick Spencer Ware, could also factor into the Seahawks running back competition this season.
St. Louis Rams: Darian Stewart In Line for Starting Safety Job
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The St. Louis Rams were bad at the safety position last year. After releasing Quintin Mikell and not re-signing Craig Dahl, they have an even bigger question mark at the position in finding two new starters. One of those starters is set to be fourth-year safety Darian Stewart.
Jeff Fisher said last week that Stewart is "penciled in" as one of the team's two starting safeties, according to StLouisRams.com. Stewart started 13 games in 2011 but struggled considerably. His Pro Football Focus (subscription required) grade for the season was minus-12.5 overall, the fifth worst among NFL safeties in 2011.
The Rams will be relying on Stewart to step up his game in 2013, as they have few other options at the safety position. The favorite to start next to Stewart will be third-round pick T.J. McDonald out of USC, a high-upside safety with good size and athleticism but who needs to become more consistent in coverage.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: No Shortage of Intensity at Bucs' OTAs
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One of the most controversial reports of organized team activities came from Tampa Bay and Tampa Tribune reporter Roy Cummings. According to Pro Football Talk, Cummings said in a radio interview that there was contact occurring during drills, which is prohibited during OTAs.
"It's football practice, without pads," Cummings was quoted as saying by PFT. "I'll tell you what, Greg Schiano is right on the border of getting investigated and possibly—I don't know if they would fine him, I don't know what the penalty is—but these guys are out there, they're hitting ... There's no pads on, but I'm telling you, the linemen, these guys are hitting. People are going down on the ground."
The contact also led to a fight between rookie nose tackle Akeem Spence and center Jeremy Zuttah, according to Joe Bucs Fan.
If contact was indeed occurring during the Buccaneers' OTAs, they could face league investigation and penalties. It comes as no surprise that the intensity is high, however, even this early in the offseason in Schiano's workouts.
Notably, Schiano created controversy last season when his team continued to hit New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning during a late-game kneel-down situation.
Tennessee Titans: Alterraun Verner Getting Moved Around
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Alterraun Verner has established himself as a very solid starting cornerback for the Tennessee Titans, yet that may no longer be the case as he enters his contract year in Nashville. Verner is being moved around the secondary during OTAs, including the nickel slot cornerback and safety positions.
Verner most recently worked at safety, according to Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean. If Verner gets moved to free safety, he could compete with Michael Griffin, who is coming off a disappointing 2012 season, for a starting spot.
Wyatt also reported that Tommie Campbell has been taking first-team snaps at cornerback, and he could be in line to take over Verner's starting spot.
Verner will also face competition from third-round pick Blidi Wreh-Wilson for a starting cornerback spot. According to Wyatt, Verner could move to slot cornerback because he is not an ideal fit for the Titans' new press-man coverage scheme.
Washington Redskins: RG3's Recovery Progressing Quickly
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
It wasn't more than a few years ago that recovery from a torn ACL was considered to be a full-year process. But as surgical technologies and recovery methods have developed, ACL recoveries are becoming possible in much shorter periods of time.
Washington Redskins starting quarterback Robert Griffin III could be next in line to recover from a late-season torn ACL to start the regular season on time.
Griffin has been doing "explosive sprints" during OTA practices, according to Mike Jones of the Washington Post. Griffin has also been throwing on the side of practice to rehabbing teammates, though he has been unable to participate in team drills as he continues his recovery.
Griffin, however, anticipates being ready for training camp to start his preparation for his sophomore season. He told Jones that returning for the start of training camp is "without a doubt" a realistic goal, and he hopes to play Week 1 of the regular season.
Dan Hope is an NFL draft featured columnist for Bleacher Report.