2012 training-camp reports
Site: St. John Fisher College, Pittsford, N.Y.
Report dates: July 24 (rookies and veterans).
Key veteran arrivals: DE Mark Anderson, TE-FB Dorin Dickerson, DE Mario Williams, QB Vince Young.
Key veteran departures: OLT Demetress Bell, CB Drayton Florence, WR Ros-coe Parrish.
Juiciest story lines: DEs Mario Williams and Mark Anderson joined the Bills this offseason in an effort to revamp the defensive line and the pass rush. With Kyle Williams and Marcell Dareus manning the interior, there are high expectations for the defensive front under coordinator Dave Wannstedt. In general, though, expectations are soaring in Buffalo for a squad that has the longest playoff drought in the NFL.
Burning questions: Will Vince Young win the backup QB job over Tyler Thigpen? ... Can Shawne Merriman finally stay healthy and show he can make an impact? ... Who will win the No. 2 WR job opposite Stevie Johnson? ... Who will win the starting CB jobs? ... Can rookie Cordy Glenn beat out Chris Hairston as the starting left tackle? ... How will carries be divied between Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller?
Fearless prediction: Terrence McGee has the experience, and Leodis McKelvin is entering a contract year and impressed in OTAs, but it will be youngsters starting at cornerback by the end of camp. Rookie Stephon Gilmore and second-year CB Aaron Williams will man the outside spots.
Fantasy nugget: His numbers tailed off at the end of last season, but TE Scott Chandler — who had six touchdown catches in 2011 (all in the first seven games) — is someone to keep an eye on in deep leagues. He is the Bills' best pass-catching weapon near the goal line and figures to be on the field often, as he is also a solid run blocker.
Site: Miami Dolphins Training Facility, Davie, Fla.
Report dates: July 26 (rookies), July 26 (veterans).
Key veteran arrivals: QB David Garrard, LB Gary Guyton, OT Artis Hicks, S Tyrell Johnson, DB Richard Marshall, WR Legedu Naanee, WR Chad Ochocinco, OLB Jamaal Westerman.
Key veteran departures: CB Will Allen, SS Yeremiah Bell, OT Marc Colombo, QB Chad Henne, RB Lex Hilliard, DE Kendall Langford, WR Brandon Marshall, DE Phillip Merling.
Juiciest story lines: With HBO’s “Hard Knocks” cameras set to roll, NFL fans will learn a lot more about the Dolphins, and the show certainly will focus on the quarterback battle between Matt Moore, David Garrard and Ryan Tannehill. The focus also will be on new head coach Joe Philbin and his staff as they attempt to right the ship in Miami. And how could we forget WR Chad Ochocinco, who will be fighting to make the team and quiet his doubters after disappointing in New England last season?
Burning questions: Who will win the QB competition, and how will Tannehill look in his first camp? ... How will the HBO cameras affect camp? ... Who will win open starting spots at right guard, safety and right tackle? ... How will the defense manage playing more “40” fronts? ... Will Brian Hartline step up and look like the No. 1 receiver he is expected to be in 2012?
Fearless prediction: Even though indications point to a starting quarterback not being named until the preseason, and Garrard may have been more effective in OTAs and minicamp, Moore will impress enough in training camp to earn the starting job before preseason games begin.
Fantasy nugget: The Dolphins are currently without a clear-cut starting outside receiver opposite Hartline. That player should get targets in the new offense, and Legedu Naanee, who is coming off a career year in Carolina, impressed observers in minicamp. If he continues that success in July and August and earns a starting spot, he might be worthy of a flier in fantasy drafts.
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
Site: Gillette Stadium, Foxboro, Mass.
Camp dates: July 19 (rookies), July 25 (veterans).
Key veteran arrivals: RB Joseph Addai, CB Will Allen, TE Jake Ballard, CB Marquice Cole, DE Jonathan Fanene, TE Daniel Fells, WR Jabar Gaffney, OG Robert Gallery, S Steve Gregory, WR Brandon Lloyd, TE Bo Scaife, DE Trevor Scott, WR Donté Stallworth.
Key veteran departures: DE Mark Anderson, RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis, OLT Matt Light, CB Antwaun Molden, WR Chad Ochocinco.
Juiciest story lines: The Patriots made a big haul in free agency, and it sets them up to make some difficult decisions this summer. There are going to be heated position battles at wide receiver and defensive end, and it’s very likely that a few talented veterans find themselves on the cutting-room floor after camp.
Burning questions: How long will OLG Logan Mankins be out after offseason ACL surgery? ... With two free-agent additions at fullback and a blocking tight end in Daniel Fells, should we expect differences in the Patriots’ spread attack? ... Who will step up on defense to grab hold of starting jobs up for grabs, mainly at defensive end?
Fearless prediction: Heading into the spring, it seemed that RB Stevan Ridley would be primed for a breakout year as the team’s top back. But Shane Vereen, who impressed in OTAs and minicamp, will benefit greatly from a full training camp and being healthy. It will be the battle for carries between Ridley and Vereen that most people will be talking about.
Fantasy nugget: All reports from the OTAs that were open to the media indicated that WR Brandon Lloyd had little trouble getting used to his new team and reuniting with his former coordinator, Josh McDaniels. Don't be afraid of the several weapons in Tom Brady's arsenal taking points away — look what Randy Moss was able to put up on the outside before 2010. Lloyd should be capable of earning consideration as a No. 2 or No. 3 fantasy wideout.
NEW YORK JETS
Site: SUNY Cortland, Cortland, NY
Camp dates: July 23 (rookies), July 26 (veterans).
Key veteran arrivals: SS Yeremiah Bell, PK Josh Brown, S LaRon Landry, WR Chaz Schilens, QB Tim Tebow.
Key veteran departures: CB Marquice Cole, TE Matthew Mulligan, DE Ropati Pitoitua, S Brodney Pool, RB LaDainian Tomlinson.
Juiciest story lines: It doesn’t get much juicier than the league’s most popular backup quarterback, Tim Tebow, who is now with Gang Green. Every move Tebow makes will attract attention, but the more important story line will be the potential holdout by CB Darrelle Revis, who wants a new contract. Revis missed time in camp two years ago before getting a “Band-Aid” deal done. As a whole, this is a Jets team entering a crucial season after a disappointing 2011 campaign, with plenty of pressure mounting on Rex Ryan and QB Mark Sanchez.
Burning questions: How will the Jets’ defensive front look after Mike Pettine said to expect more four-man fronts? ... Who will win the starting jobs at safety and can LaRon Landry get healthy in time for the start of the season? ... Will Wayne Hunter maintain his starting spot at right tackle? ... Can rookie WR Stephen Hill adjust quickly enough to the NFL playbook to be the team’s No. 2 receiver opposite Santonio Holmes?
Fearless prediction: Landry has the type of size-speed ratio to look very impressive to observers in camp — if he’s healthy. It might not be until the end of camp, but Landry will make his mark, raising expectations for what he will bring to the back end of the Jets’ defense. Whether or not that will translate to a full, productive season is another question.
Fantasy nugget: Keep an eye on how RB Joe McKnight is utilized in training camp and, more importantly, the preseason. Tony Sparano has always preferred a two-back set, and the Jets tried to get McKnight on the field more last season. As the change-of-pace back to Shonn Greene, McKnight could benefit from the new offense and be worth a look in deep leagues.