32 things we choose to take away from NF

  • Its the short time of year when every NFL city becomes a ghost town, at least for its NFL players. Minicamps just ended, and those players can enjoy a month of freedom before everything heats up again for good in training camp.Reading between the coachspeak and beyond, heres what were taking and filing away during their summer vacations:MORE: Training camp schedule, locations | Jets' QB competition | FANTASY: Mock Draft 1. Its really still Johnny Manziels job to lose. Its just a matter of time, and with the Browns door going from ajar to wide open in spring, hes still got plenty of it to slide past Brian Hoyer. MORE: Browns bad QB history 2. It still really is Teddy Bridgewaters job to lose. A lot more so than Hoyer in Cleveland, Matt Ca sel is the Vikings pre-camp No. 1 on the depth chart in name only.3. Colin Kaepernick is about to pa s a lot more for his money. A Vernon Davis no-show wasnt enough to keep the 49ers from expanding Kaps playbook and personnel right along with his wallet.4. Von Miller is on track for a huge bounce-back. Hes slimmed, hes rehabbed his knee well and hes got DeMarcus Ware to help. Hes set up to be his old self after camp.5. Were not buying Michael Vick as a happy backup. Still dont see him as a mentor type if he loses to Geno Smith, and whats more troubling, is that he didn't have a great minicamp. Thats not the veteran Jatavis Brown Jersey No. 2 you want.6. Were buying Jay Gruden was the right guy for Robert Griffin III. We were skeptical about the Redskins still offensive-minded coaching change, but JG2s focus on RG3s pa sing and not all on running has been just what he needed.7. The Eagles are just fine without DeSean Jackson. Sure, Jackson will make RG3 better, but Nick Foles really got three receivers to help replace him: a healthy Jeremy Maclin, Darren Sproles and highly acclaimed rookieJordan Matthews.8. The Saints are just fine without Darren Sproles. They wont mi s a beat without Sproles or Lance Moore, because rookie Brandin Cooks has shown he can do a lot of what both did. Khiry Robinson has made sure they havent lost the backfield speed, either.9. Now thats Steeler football. In an appropriate unintentional nod to late great coach Chuck Noll, Mike Tomlin and Dick LeBeau will make therunning game and defense the team's bread and butter.10. Tony Romos back better hold up. The po sibility of losing to Kyle Orton in a staredown has the Cowboys potentially left with a much le ser backup in Brandon Weeden.11. The Packers are putting the pep back in Julius Peppers step. As if moving from the rival Bears wasn'tenough, Dom Capers has done everything to make Peppers pa s-rush life easier. Thats tough to do with a 34-year-old in an unfamiliar 3-4.12. Were still worried about Dexter McCoil Jersey the Giants front- four. Justin Tuck is gone, Jason Pierre-Paul is still battling a bad back. Damontre Moore is being asked to do too much, and Mathias Kiwanuka is unhappy after a pay cut . Thats a lot to sort through in camp.13. Were worried le s about the Lions front four. Ndamukong Suh will get paid at some point during or after camp, and the contract carrot is even bigger for Nick Fairley. A healthier shoulder will allow Ziggy Ansah to break out as expected.14. The Bears receiving corps just got more dangerous. Alshon Jeffery was right in calling him and Brandon Marshall the best duo in the game . But just wait until the league gets the load of Marque s Wilson addeed to this explosive trio.15. Were expecting to see a much better Trent Richardson. He was terrible in 2013, but he also was in the tough position of being traded to the Colts in early midseason. A productive full offseason should help greatly.16. Were expecting to see a lot more of Andre Ellington. Bruce Arians may have been only slighltly exaggerating about the Cardinals giving him up to 30 touches a game. Hes that dynamic and that important to their entire offense.17. The Patriots secondary is shaping up as a primary force. You already saw them copycat Seattle with Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner joining Devin McCourty. Now wait until Duron Harmon delivers his promise at strong safety.18. The Texans need to work to make it work for Andre Johnson. You can bet naming vet Ryan Fitzpatrick as the starter before camp was a baby step. But given everything Bill OBrien is trying to put on his receivers, they have to cater to Johnson to make him a happy camper.19. The Ravens need a little more than fire from Steve Smith. Sure, its nice hes brought needed fight (quite literally) to an offense led by stoic Joe Flacco, but it needs to come with Smith producing in more of a slot role.20. Cam Newton and Kelvin Benjamin are at the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Unlike 5-9 Smith, the 6-5 Newton can see more eye-to-eye with the 6-5 Benjamin (quite literally), and that should make their pre-camp chemistry natural.21.Lets ease the pre sure on Andy Dalton. The Bengals are doing that with a mix of more running game stability matched by more pa sing game diversity. Theres no reason to worry about getting paid, because theres no one to push him.22. Lets curb our enthusiasm on Sammy Watkins (for now). Watkins can be awesome, and needs to be with what it took Philip Rivers Jersey to get him, but patience, gra shopper. The Bills still claim to be a run-heavy offense and EJ Manuel continues to sort out plenty of bugs.23. The Falcons can start to relax on Julio Jones. For Jones to be the game-changing receiver he is, that foot cant bother him one bit , and he should come out of camp looking better than ever.24. The Chiefs look really smart drafting Dee Ford. A deemed luxury non-offensive pick, hehas become a defensive nece sity with Tamba Halis continued conditioning concerns and Justin Houstons lingering holdout. It doesnt hurt that Ford has been a lights-out freak so far as a rookie.25. The Dolphins already regret signing Knowshon Moreno. After he lost major ground to incumbent running back Lamar Miller early, weve found out about his undisclosed injury late before camp. What was that $3 million for again?26. Meet Toby Gerhart, the Jaguars Marshawn Lynch. Heres some running money spent well ($4.5 million), because Gerhart, Adrian Petersons former ace understudy, has exceeded expectations as a power runner and underrated receiver. Thats only made them more comfortablegiving him a heavy load early.27. Meet Christine Michael, the Seahawks new Marshawn Lynch? OK, not yet, but Seattles strongly suggested its backfield is morphing into more of a committee. That hasnt sat wellwith a high-mileage 28-year-old, and he couldnt afford to mi s minicamp because his team has gone gaga for Michael.28. The Titans wont give Jake Locker all kinds of time. We know this is his last chance in Tenne see with no option picked up, but how long will it last? If he doesn't stay healthy and impre s in camp, Ken Whisenhunt may soon settle for hand-picked backup Charlie Whitehurst.29. The Rams will give Sam Bradford all kinds of time. They are paying him a lot one more time to see if hes worth it, Forrest Lamp Jersey and they have to be patient and optimistic, because theres no other option. Obvious health concerns aside, they are expecting him to be more effective .30. The Raiders wont rein in Derek Carrs ascent. Theres been a lot of praised heaped on Matt Schaub, but they also cant ignore how quickly rookie Derek Carr has a) ascended to No. 2 before camp and b) how much more upside comes with starting Carr after camp.31. The Buccaneers defense just needs it safeties healthy to dominate. Lovie Smith and Leslie Frazier need Mark Barron (hamstring) and Dashon Goldson (foot) to be their Tampa 2 anchors behind a strong front seven, but theyll need to wait to see how it all comes together in camp.32. The Chargers defense needs something real from Manti Teo. Coming off a lost rookie season, Teo is trying to get healthy again after foot surgery. It would be nice if he could show in camp that hes ready to do a lot more in Year 2.