NFC Camps Begin
~ Amy Lignor
There is a collective sigh of relief across America when NFL camps begin. This is the most loved, watched and wanted sport. Rookies are showing their stuff, big names are speaking their minds, and debates are already arising regarding who, exactly, will be the NFC team on the Super Bowl field.
In the Dallas Cowboys camp, all the talk since last season has been about losing the best RB in the NFL and paying megabucks for a player that can’t even step on the field unless Romo and his good offensive line win. Greg Hardy strained his ribs on Thursday, which is the first ‘gasp’ to be heard in camp. But he also donated cash for a “WE STILL DEM BOYZ!” banner to be flown over the Eagles camp on August 9th, making sure their rivals know that even though they did give up that star, it doesn’t matter.
Enter the Eagles…Fans are actually getting together to fly a banner over Dallas’s camp that says: “We Got DeMarco!” These signs are all in fun, but these two teams have a lot of work to do. The Eagles gained DeMarco, but they lost many veterans. Young talent has been gained, but QB Sam Bradford is coming off a torn ACL, and it looks like Tim Tebow may just be added to the Eagles roster on the QB list. In other words, DeMarco is there, but the QB position is in trouble.
From the NY Giants camp, there are three top stories being talked about. One: Eli Manning has grasped the new offense and, by the look of his play, may just end up being in the running for MVP. Second: Veteran James Jones, brought in as WR, replacing undrafted rookie Ben Edwards, looks extraordinary at camp and may be the one that pushes the Giants to a division win. Third: WR Odell Beckham Jr. is mucho-popular, causing a stir on Friday when a rush of fans made “bleachers buckle.” Seems that Giants stadium will not have to worry about empty seats for home games.
Just like the…Packers stadium that’s always full. Aaron Rodgers is back in perfect form at camp. Friday, Damarious Randall, a hugely talented rookie cornerback did extremely well, showing fantastic play and ball skills that will one day make his name synonymous with the NFL’s best. Left guard Josh Sitton has a toe injury and back issues but was on the practice field. And when it came to Burnett, he grabbed an interception against Aaron Rodgers, which he enjoyed. After all, barely anyone can say that.
The Seahawks camp began with excitement. The field was loud, as if shouting could be used to block out what happened at the Super Bowl. Biggest story was QB Wilson who landed a great contract and looked as if he deserved every penny. However, both Pro-Bowl safeties were non-existent at camp; Kam Chancellor didn’t report, while Earl Thomas was on the physically unable to perform list. But Safety was tested, with DeShawn Shead moving to Chancellor’s spot. Shead is a name being counted on, and Carroll stated that Shead has been waiting for his opportunity to arise and this season he will see it happen. Marshawn Lynch was finally present, getting into his first practice with the team since last season. The ego is still huge, and the skill is still present as he caught several passes out of the backfield. Newcomers: receiver Tyler Lockett showed an innate ability for the game. Frank Clark, listed as a DE, spent camp moving around the field and even proving himself a viable rusher.
We go to the 49ers camp which is…well, in a state of reassessment. Vernon Davis, who was panned because all he spoke about was his “brand” last year, said at Friday’s camp that money was not his motivation…any longer. He, and the rest of the veterans, reported for camp showing enthusiasm and a change of spirit.
Colin Kaepernick is gearing up for his third season as QB after working overtime in the offseason to become the star that the 49ers desperately need. He was motivated on Friday as camp began, and let everyone know that work and winning is what he’s all about. He also spoke about RB Reggie Bush, now a 49er and the NFL’s active leader in receptions. Kap is excited about his talent, and it shows. It will be interesting to see if the reassessment worked.