I love the “My Wish” series and seeing Team USA dominate everyone in its path, but Summer SportsCenter is some of the worst TV ever. Thankfully, NFL training camps begin opening this week, so it’s time for us to talk some football at BroBible. Here are ten of the most intriguing camp battles that will decide who gets the starting spot on Sundays this fall.
10. New York Jets’ Safeties
Candidates: LaRon Landry, Yeremiah Bell, and Eric Smith
Rundown: Believe it or not, Mark Sanchez, Tim Tebow, and Darrelle Revis are not the only players on the Jets’ roster. The safety position was easily the weakest link in the 2011 edition of Rex Ryan’s famed defense, and it was heavily addressed in the offseason. The Jets brought in both Bell and Landry this spring to compete with each other and the incumbent, Smith, for the two starting positions. Landry is the most talented, highest paid, and scariest (see photo above) of the three, but Bell is coming off a season where he was one of the only players worth mentioning on the Dolphins (107 tackles).
Prediction: Landry and Bell get the start in week one, but Smith will definitely see the field all season. Don’t be surprised to see all three on the field at once.
9. Dallas Cowboys’ 2nd Cornerback
Candidates: Morris Claiborne, Orlando Scandrick, and Mike Jenkins
Rundown: The Cowboys were also very active in adding pieces to their secondary this spring. They first signed free agent cornerback Brandon Carr to a big deal, and then traded up in the draft to snag Claiborne with the sixth pick. In a division with so much talent at wide receiver, one lock down corner is not enough. Carr will definitely be starting, but Claiborne, Scandrick, and Jenkins are left to battle for the second spot. Jenkins was solid two seasons ago, but he and Scandrick both battled injury and poor play in 2011.
Prediction: I’ll be very surprised if Claiborne isn’t the starter week one. It’s the Cowboys, they’re flashy, and the super talented rookie will be on the field. We’ll see how he fares opening night against the New York Giants Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz.
8. Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Starting Running Back
Candidates: LeGarrette Blount and Doug Martin
Rundown: We have all seen Blount’s punishing runs and right hooks. He is an extremely talented running back with a massive upside. The problem is that he has had some off the field problems, accompanied by some issues holding on to the rock last season. Martin is one of the Bucs’ two first round draft picks. He is an all-purpose back that probably has better hands than Blount out of the backfield, and immediately drew comparison to Ray Rice after being picked by former Rutgers coach, Greg Schiano.
Prediction: The Bucs have two solid options here, and the truth is that Blount and Martin will likely split carries all season long. However, I see Blount getting the nod, at least on opening day.
7. Miami Dolphins’ Quarterback
Candidates: David Garrard, Matt Moore, and Ryan Tannehill
Rundown: Word on the street is that this is Tannehill’s job in the future, but he will not be starting this year. What better way to begin a guy’s career than by having him learn from David Garrard and Matt Moore? Good luck, Ryan, but at least you still have your hot wife to go home to. So between Garrard’s experience and Pro Bowl past, and Moore’s mediocrity and few bright spots in 2011, Miami is left with two pretty sh*tty options at QB.
Prediction: Sorry if I’m being harsh on the Dolphins, but they’re one of my early picks to be the worst team in the league this season. This one is tough because while I personally would go with Moore, signing Garrard this offseason would be a total waste of money if he doesn’t play. For that reason alone I’ll go with Garrard.
Good for you, Ryan.
6. Atlanta Falcons’ Cornerbacks
Candidates: Brent Grimes, Asante Samuel, and Dunta Robinson
Rundown: This one is not as much of a battle as it is a question of what to do with a lot of talent in the Atlanta secondary. Grimes has emerged as the top corner on the Falcons and one of the top corners in the NFL. He’ll be starting. Samuel’s style of play did not fit in Philadelphia, allowing the Falcons to get him for pretty cheap. Even though his level of play is not where it used to be, there is no question that he can improve a defense. As for Dunta Robinson, just ask DeSean Jackson.
Prediction: Grimes and Samuel will be the starters for Atlanta against the Chiefs in week one, but Robinson is too talented to be left on the sideline. I see the Falcons using a nickel set a lot this season, with all three corners on the field.