Training camp is a laid-back affair for fans. You show up, park and lounge while watching grown men run drills.
By itself, it's not particularly stimulating, but it's the return of football, so fans flock to it. But amidst the drills, the seven-on-sevens and full scrimmages, there's a real element of competition, one that makes the trip to training camp more than just a practice: Roster battles.
With a roster of 90 to be cut down to 53, players are fighting for their jobs during training camp. Players sticking out in training camp make a name for themselves, giving them a leg up on the competition. It's impossible to gauge exactly how much it affects things, but looking back at past reactions from training camp is fairly revealing.
This Stock Up, Stock Down from the first week of 2013 training camp, for example, actually proved to foreshadow some of the key themes for the 2013 season, like Greg Toler's injury issues, the struggles of the rookie linemen, Griff Whalen's importance, etc.
This year, it's a new year, but the training camp battles will prove to be crucial in several key areas once again. Today we look at those areas with the five most important roster battles of 2014.