Fact or Fiction for the Biggest NFL Training Camp Rumors So Far
Even though NFL training camps have just begun, we're already seeing the rumor mill in full swing.
From positional battles to free-agent signings, rumors will continue to fly until the regular season starts. Unfortunately, it can be hard to distinguish whether these rumors are true or false.
Lucky for you, we're going to play a little fact or fiction. We'll look at the top rumors floating around training camp and let you know whether to believe them or not.
NFL Teams Moving to Los Angeles
While this doesn't necessarily involve NFL training camps, it is a pretty big rumor worth mentioning before we get into the others.
Dallas Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones was recently asked about an NFL team in the great city of Los Angeles. Jones' reply, per Dan Hanzus of NFL.com:
I feel more imminent about a team being in here, that it's more imminent than any time since we haven't had a team in Los Angeles. And yes, this market is a huge market, it's a little bit of a black eye for all of us to have had this many years and not had an NFL team in Los Angeles.
Jones added, "There won't be any expansion. So it will be teams that move."
A handful of teams have been mentioned as possible teams to relocate, with the San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders being two of the most likely candidates.
Considering how huge of a market Los Angeles is, it's hard to imagine the NFL not wanting to put a team there.
Braylon Edwards to Be No. 1 Receiver for New York Jets
While Braylon Edwards recorded only 18 receptions in 13 games last year between the Seattle Seahawks and New York Jets, the Jets signed him to a one-year contract for the 2013 season.
Edwards has struggled in recent seasons to make any impact at all, but the Jets may be forced to start him as their No. 1 receiver come Week 1, according to Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News. If this rumor is true, it's terrible news for the Jets and fantastic news for their first-week opponent, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
There is simply no way Edwards should be a team's No. 1 option at this point of his career. Unfortunately, due to Santonio Holmes still being injured and Stephen Hill still recovering from his knee injury, New York may have no other option than for Edwards to be atop the depth chart.
As terrible of a rumor as this is for the Jets, all signs point to it being true.
Matt Cassel to Replace Christian Ponder as Vikings Quarterback
We all know that quarterback Christian Ponder had his struggles last year. Of course, he still made the playoffs thanks to the superhuman legs of running back Adrian Peterson.
This year, however, Ponder could have a shorter leash with the Minnesota Vikings. With Matt Cassel coming to town via free agency, ESPN's Adam Schefter had this to say about him potentially replacing Ponder (subscription required):
I’m not sure he has to get Minnesota to the playoffs again this season, but he does have to play well. If he struggles, my sense is the Vikings wouldn’t hesitate to go to Matt Cassel.
There is no doubt that Ponder has potential, but he's failed to improve significantly during his two years in the league. While Cassel has shown to be a good game-managing quarterback, it's hard to see the Vikings replacing Ponder if he has some struggles.
Ronnie Hillman over Montee Ball for the Denver Broncos
One of the surprise draft picks of the 2013 draft was the Denver Broncos selecting running back Montee Ball. However, Ball seems to be more and more of a perfect fit in the Broncos offense.
As much as people want to anoint Ball as the premier back, the Broncos aren't quite there yet. As Jeff Legwold of The Denver Post points out, Ronnie Hillman has started training camp as the No. 1 back on the depth chart.
This will be one of the closest-watched battles as training camp progresses. The fact that Hillman has started camp ahead of Ball points to him having a leg up in this battle.
While Ball will eventually be the top back in Denver, right now he's taking a backseat to Hillman.
Randy Moss to Call It a Career
It certainly looked like Moss had at least another year left in his tank to be a complementary receiver for a team. However, Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com reports that Moss likely won't be playing this year:
Per a league source, it’s highly unlikely Moss will play.
It’s going to take a perfect situation to get Moss back to the NFL, with the right combination of quarterback, role, compensation, and prospects for contending.
An ideal situation for Moss does seem rather unlikely, especially with the fact that he's already 36 years old. What's working in his favor, however, is that teams have already been hit some with hard injuries.
The Philadelphia Eagles lost receiver Jeremy Maclin for the season with an ACL injury, and the Baltimore Ravens lost tight end Dennis Pitta for the season with a hip injury. Both teams could be looking for help in the passing game with Moss becoming a potential option.
We could see a similar situation with Moss like we did last year where he was a surprise signing. Look for him to ultimately find a roster for the start of the 2013 season.
Ravens to Re-Sign Fullback Vonta Leach
Few would argue that Vonta Leach is the best traditional fullback in the NFL right now. However, the league continues to transition away from players like Leach to more athletic and versatile fullbacks.
That's probably why the Baltimore Ravens initially released Leach at the start of the offseason. While his name bounced around with a few other teams, it now seems that he may end up back with his old team.
As Jeff Zrebiec of The Baltimore Sun reports, Leach and the Ravens are continuing their contract talks. The likely issue is money, but without other teams willing to pay Leach what he likely wants, he'll probably be forced to take whatever the Ravens offer him.
This should be a done deal sooner rather than later, with running back Ray Rice being a very happy man.
Rookie Aaron Dobson to Start for the New England Patriots
For the first time in years, the weakest part of the New England Patriots roster will be their receiving corps. With the departure of Wes Welker and Aaron Hernandez, combined with the injury concerns surrounding Rob Gronkowski, the Patriots lack options for quarterback Tom Brady.
Offseason acquisition Danny Amendola will likely be the team's No. 1 receiver, but after that the depth chart is wide open. Michael Jenkins and Julian Edelman are veterans who'll be fighting for a starting job.
However, as training camp started, the receiver who was lining up with the first team was rookie Aaron Dobson, according to Jeff Pini of Boston.com. New England drafted Dobson in the second round, and he figured to be a factor as a rookie even before all the Patriots' offseason issues.
Whether or not Dobson will remain part of the first team is the big question. At 6'3" and 210 pounds, Dobson certainly has the size to line up on the outside for a team. His spot in the starting lineup will likely come down to how quickly he jells with Brady.
Unless Jenkins, Edelman or rookie Josh Boyce has an incredible training camp, Dobson should be starting in Week 1 for the Patriots.