NFL: Top 10 Most Intriguing Training Camp Backup Position Battles
With everyone focusing on the starter battles, everyone forgets there are a bunch of little battles going on around the league for backup positions.
Sometimes the backup positions are the most important ones to win. When the starter goes down, or fails miserably, the backup becomes the savior at that position, whether it's quarterback, cornerback, running back, or defensive lineman.
Up and down the league, guys are battling for jobs, here's a look at some of the more interesting ones.
Sammy Morris Versus Kevin Faulk
Laurence Maroney is the starting running back for Bill Belichick, but who gets the bulk of the rest of the carries?
That battle will come down to Sammy Morris and Kevin Faulk. Morris is younger, but Faulk has been around the team longer.
Don't forget Fred Taylor is lurking in the mix as well.
The only thing certain in this battle is that Belichick will not tip his hand either way. The battle will be won or lost through the reps, and the players will find out five minutes before everyone else does.
Phillip Dillard Versus Keith Bulluck
With Jonathon Goff starting at middle linebacker, rookie Phillip Dillard is fighting for second team snaps with newly-signed veteran Keith Bulluck.
Bulluck is coming off of reconstructive knee surgery, but he obviously has the kind of experience Dillard just isn't old enough to have yet.
This battle will be between the experienced but slowing vet and the young but inexperienced rookie.
Cooper Carlisle Versus Bruce Campbell
With Cooper Carlisle starting at right guard, fourth-round pick Bruce Campbell is hoping his rookie status doesn't keep him from falling too far down the depth chart.
At the moment, Campbell is listed as the backup guard, with Brandon Rodd listed as the third option.
Rodd was an undrafted free agent in 2008 who has fought his way onto NFL rosters, so don't think he's going to go away without a fight.
Tavaris Jackson Versus Sage Rosenfels
I give up.
Brett Favre is coming back, that's all there is to it. So Tavaris Jackson and Sage Rosenfels will be competing for that all important backup spot once the season starts.
Jackson was the starter at one point, but his inability to own the role is the reason Favre was there last year in the first place.
Rosenfels has been a backup most of his career with starting roles popping up in Miami and Houston.
Dwight Lowry Versus Kyle Wilson
Darrelle Revis will be on the field at some point in 2010, so the backup spot goes to one of two people, Dwight Lowry or rookie Kyle Wilson.
In a surprisingly unselfish act, Lowry has been advocating more first team snaps for Wilson in the absence of Revis.
The question now is: Has Lowry engineered his own fall down the depth chart once Revis returns?
Tim Dobbins Versus Austin Spitler
The Miami Dolphins have added Tim Dobbins to their inside linebacker mix. With Channing Crowder listed as the starter, Dobbins will be fighting for the backup spot with Austin Spitler.
Dobbins has had a setback with a minor ankle injury, and head coach Tony Sparano said that just gives more opportunities to Spitler.
Linebacker A.J. Edds is out for the year with a knee injury, meaning Dobbins has an edge in keeping the job, but Spitler has a window to make an impact this week until Dobbins returns.
Ziggy Hood Versus Brett Keisel
Defensive end Ziggy Hood was the Steeler's first-round pick last year and didn't make much of an impact.
Hood wants to change that this year by challenging Brett Keisel for his place on the depth chart.
Pittsburgh's defensive coordinator Dick Lebeau has noted Hood's improvement over last year's camp, and head coach Mike Tomlin has singled him out in press conferences, noting his improvement.
Keisel is 32 years old, but doesn't look to be slowing down. However, the Steelers defense broke down as the 2009 season wore on, and Hood's youth may end up giving him the edge over Keisel's experience.
Patrick Crayton Versus Everybody
Patrick Crayton is not the No. 1 wide receiver on the Dallas Cowboys roster, that's Austin Miles. He's not even No. 3.
Going into training camp, Crayton was listed as the No. 4 receiver on the depth chart. While depth can be a little misleading when it comes to the wide receiver position, Crayton knew his salary made him expendable and promptly demanded a trade.
Rookie first-round draft pick Dez Bryant is nursing a minor injury at the moment, so Crayton has a chance to move up the depth chart, or face being cut.
Keyunta Dawson Versus John Chick
Keyunta Dawson was adjusting to playing defensive end in 2009, and he's still behind Dwight Freeney on the right side.
Challenging him for the backup spot is John Chick, the defensive MVP of the Canadian Football League in 2010 signed by the Colts this past January.
Chick had success in the Canadian Football League, but the question now is if he can translate that experience to success in the NFL.
Tim Tebow Vs. Brady Quinn
Kyle Orton has been named the starter going into camp, but Tim Tebow was drafted in the first round, and Brady Quinn is a former first-round pick looking for a new start in Denver.
The question of the offseason about Tebow has been where he will be placed on the Broncos depth chart once the season opens.
Tebow wasn't drafted to be buried as a third quarterback, but Quinn certainly has had enough of riding the bench during his time in Cleveland.
The preseason should be very interesting in Denver.
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