NFL Training Camp Previews

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New York Giants 2007 Training Camp Preview
July 19th, 2007
(Sports Network) -

REPORT DATES: Rookies July 27th, Veterans July 27th

SITE: University at Albany, Albany, NY

CAMP OBJECTIVES: Uncertainty abounds on the Giants offense as camp begins, with the new brain trust of coordinator Kevin Gilbride and quarterbacks coach Chris Palmer under a great deal of pressure to have the oft-maligned attack playing at a high level by September. In what figures to be a pivotal year for quarterback Eli Manning, there will be a new starting running back (Brandon Jacobs takes over for Tiki Barber), left tackle (David Diehl moves over from guard in place of the released Luke Petitgout), and fullback (Jim Finn was placed on injured reserve last month, and has yet to be replaced). Two of the top three receivers, Amani Toomer and Sinorice Moss, come off injury-plagued 2006 seasons, and there is little tight end depth behind starter Jeremy Shockey. In other words, Gilbride and Palmer have their work cut out for them. The defense looks to be in better shape, especially with Michael Strahan scheduled to return to an end slot and linebacker Kawika Mitchell and rookie cornerback Aaron Ross looking like upgrades to their predecessors. One interesting item on defense is the proposed move of Mathias Kiwanuka from end to strongside linebacker. In the kicking game, there is hope that either former Chief Lawrence Tynes or former Ohio State Buckeye Josh Huston can make everyone forget about Jay Feely (Dolphins).

PRESEASON SCHEDULE: 8/11 vs. Carolina; 8/19 at Baltimore; 8/25 vs. NY Jets; 8/30 at New England

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New York Giants 2007 Training Camp Preview
July 19th, 2007
(Sports Network) -

REPORT DATES: Rookies July 27th, Veterans July 27th

SITE: University at Albany, Albany, NY

CAMP OBJECTIVES: Uncertainty abounds on the Giants offense as camp begins, with the new brain trust of coordinator Kevin Gilbride and quarterbacks coach Chris Palmer under a great deal of pressure to have the oft-maligned attack playing at a high level by September. In what figures to be a pivotal year for quarterback Eli Manning, there will be a new starting running back (Brandon Jacobs takes over for Tiki Barber), left tackle (David Diehl moves over from guard in place of the released Luke Petitgout), and fullback (Jim Finn was placed on injured reserve last month, and has yet to be replaced). Two of the top three receivers, Amani Toomer and Sinorice Moss, come off injury-plagued 2006 seasons, and there is little tight end depth behind starter Jeremy Shockey. In other words, Gilbride and Palmer have their work cut out for them. The defense looks to be in better shape, especially with Michael Strahan scheduled to return to an end slot and linebacker Kawika Mitchell and rookie cornerback Aaron Ross looking like upgrades to their predecessors. One interesting item on defense is the proposed move of Mathias Kiwanuka from end to strongside linebacker. In the kicking game, there is hope that either former Chief Lawrence Tynes or former Ohio State Buckeye Josh Huston can make everyone forget about Jay Feely (Dolphins).

PRESEASON SCHEDULE: 8/11 vs. Carolina; 8/19 at Baltimore; 8/25 vs. NY Jets; 8/30 at New England

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Detroit Lions 2007 Training Camp Preview
July 19th, 2007
(Sports Network) -

REPORT DATES: Rookies July 25th, Veterans July 25th

SITE: Detroit Lions Training Facility, Allen Park, MI

CAMP OBJECTIVES: Though fans will be interested to see just how coordinator Mike Martz plans to distribute the football in an offense that now includes wide receivers Roy Williams, Calvin Johnson, and Mike Furrey along with running backs Kevin Jones and Tatum Bell, the real key to Detroit's season rests on the defensive side of the ball. To that end, defensive-minded head coach Rod Marinelli and his new coordinator, Joe Barry, need to pull a lot of the right strings during camp. Gone are the team's best cover corner, Dre' Bly (Broncos), its most recognizable safety, Terrence Holt (Cardinals), and its most consistent pass rusher, James Hall (Rams), with the pressure to step into those voids being heaped mainly on former backups or rookies. Last year's pass rush was particularly ineffective, meaning the likes of free agent pickup Dewayne White (ex-Buccaneers) and second-round draft choice Ikaika Alama- Francis (Hawaii) will have to generate an impact. One year after setting an NFL record for fewest team rushes in a 16-game season, the Lions brought in the likes of Bell, tackle George Foster (ex-Broncos), and guard Edwin Mulitalo (ex-Ravens) to help augment the running game. Perhaps, during training camp, we'll learn if Martz actually has any rushes in his playbook.

PRESEASON SCHEDULE: 8/9 vs. Cincinnati; 8/18 at Cleveland; 8/25 at Indianapolis; 8/30 vs. Buffalo

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Green Bay Packers 2007 Training Camp Preview
July 19th, 2007
(Sports Network) -

REPORT DATES: Rookies July 27th, Veterans July 27th

SITE: St. Norbert College, De Pere, WI

CAMP OBJECTIVES: The Packers had very little turnover among their starting 22, though there will be some intriguing position battles on both sides of the football. The most interesting will come in the backfield, where head coach Mike McCarthy is seeking new blood following the departure of running back Ahman Green (Texans) and fullback William Henderson (released). Incumbent Vernand Morency will battle second-round draft pick Brandon Jackson (Nebraska) for the tailback job, while holdover Brandon Miree will have to beat out sixth-round pick and converted linebacker Korey Hall (Boise State) at fullback. The depth chart at wide receiver is uncertain behind starters Donald Driver and Greg Jennings, and veteran Robert Ferguson will have to hold off draft choice James Jones (San Jose State) and David Clowney (Virginia Tech) for playing time. The biggest training camp question marks on defense are on the interior line, where first-round draft pick Justin Harrell (Tennessee) will be given a chance to contribute, and in the secondary, where the team is seeking a replacement for strong safety Marquand Manuel. The Packers drafted kicker Mason Crosby (Colorado) with the thought that he could beat out the underwhelming Dave Rayner.

PRESEASON SCHEDULE: 8/11 at Pittsburgh; 8/18 vs. Seattle; 8/23 vs. Jacksonville; 8/30 at Tennessee

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Carolina Panthers 2007 Training Camp Preview
July 19th, 2007
(Sports Network) -

REPORT DATES: Rookies July 27th, Veterans July 27th

SITE: Wofford College, Spartanburg, SC

CAMP OBJECTIVES: Things have changed within the Carolina offense, where coordinator Dan Henning is history and ex-Browns offensive head Jeff Davidson is in. Davidson will try to ignite the underachieving running game by employing a zone-blocking scheme, which the team will try to perfect throughout camp. Among the other issues for Davidson and head coach John Fox is the No. 2 receiver slot, where rookie Dwayne Jarrett is expected to take over for the departed Keyshawn Johnson. Defensively, the Panthers need much greater things from a linebacking corps that was a mess throughout the 2006 campaign. All three of the projected starters - middle man Dan Morgan (history of concussions), strong side candidate Thomas Davis (a former first-round pick and college safety who has yet to become a notable playmaker as a pro), and potential weak side leader Jon Beason (a rookie) are question marks, however. Improved play from the front seven should help the secondary, which needs to re-gain its confidence in the summer after struggling to make plays a year ago.

PRESEASON SCHEDULE: 8/11 at NY Giants; 8/17 at Philadelphia; 8/24 vs. New England; 8/30 vs. Pittsburgh

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St. Louis Rams 2007 Training Camp Preview
July 19th, 2007
(Sports Network) -

REPORT DATES: Rookies July 26th, Veterans July 26th

SITE: Rams Park, St. Louis, MO

CAMP OBJECTIVES: The Rams paid close attention to revamping their defense in the offseason, and head coach Scott Linehan and coordinator Jim Haslett will look for that group to come together early in camp. Rookie lineman and first- round draft pick Adam Carriker (Nebraska), former Lions end James Hall, and ex-Panthers middle linebacker Chris Draft are among the newbies slated to step into starting roles right away. Another projected starter, cornerback Fakhir Brown, will miss four games due to a drug-related NFL suspension, thus creating an opportunity for holdover Ron Bartell and former Chief and Bronco Lenny Walls. There have been some interesting tweaks to the offense as well, with former Titan Drew Bennett immediately becoming the league's most dangerous No. 3 receiver, and ex-Dolphin Randy McMichael seeking to rehabilitate his reputation at the tight end slot. Of some concern is the fact that last year's hot-and-cold offensive line was not upgraded in the offseason, meaning Linehan should be playing special attention to the work of that unit throughout camp. New to the return game is former Chiefs standout Dante Hall, who will be looking to regain his early-career magic on the other side of the Show-Me State.

PRESEASON SCHEDULE: 8/10 at Minnesota; 8/18 vs. San Diego; 8/25 at Oakland; 8/30 vs. Kansas City

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Washington Redskins 2007 Training Camp Preview
July 19th, 2007
(Sports Network) -

REPORT DATES: Rookies July 27th, Veterans July 27th

SITE: Redskins Park, Ashburn, VA

CAMP OBJECTIVES: Though last year's offense was nothing to write home about, it was a Washington defense that was allergic to stopping opponents and making plays that was the major disappointment. To that end, the Redskins added immediate starters in middle linebacker London Fletcher-Baker (ex-Bills), rookie safety LaRon Landry (LSU), and prodigal cornerback Fred Smoot (ex- Vikings). Gregg Williams will need to integrate those players into his scheme during camp, and will also have to find a way for one of the league's worst pass-rushing teams to get to the opposing quarterback. The main storyline on offense has less to do with quarterback Jason Campbell, who begins his first year as the unquestioned starter, and more with how coordinator Al Saunders will divide the touches between running backs Clinton Portis and Ladell Betts. Betts, who took over starting duties when Portis was hurt last year, played extremely well and provided more of a between-the-tackles presence than the smaller Portis ever had. Saunders' other major training camp mission will be finding a reliable complement to Santana Moss in the receiving game, with Brandon Lloyd, Antwaan Randle El, and James Thrash the somewhat underwhelming candidates. On special teams, the Skins must evaluate whether journeyman Shaun Suisham can handle the kicking load, or whether they need to scan the free agent wire for a replacement.

PRESEASON SCHEDULE: 8/11 at Tennessee; 8/18 vs. Pittsburgh; 8/25 vs. Baltimore; 8/30 at Jacksonville

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New Orleans Saints 2007 Training Camp Preview
July 19th, 2007
(Sports Network) -

REPORT DATES: Rookies July 25th, Veterans July 25th

SITE: Millsaps College, Jackson, MS

CAMP OBJECTIVES: The Saints added quite a few defensive pieces in the offseason, so head coach Sean Payton and coordinator Gary Gibbs will spend much of August evaluating where guys like linebackers Brian Simmons (ex- Bengals), Dhani Jones (ex-Eagles), cornerback Jason David (ex-Colts), safety Kevin Kaesviharn (ex-Bengals), and defensive tackle Kendrick Clancy (ex- Cardinals) fit in. Simmons and Jones, who could unseat incumbents Mark Simoneau and Scott Fujita in the middle and on the strong side, respectively, have the best chance to win positions. Clancy could also get the early nod over veteran tackle Brian Young, who is expected to miss the start of camp with a foot injury. Last year's prolific offense has undergone some change, as receiver Joe Horn and tight end Ernie Conwell were released. Horn is likely to be replaced by rookie Robert Meachem (Tennessee) or holdover Devery Henderson, while the leading candidate for the tight end role is oft-injured 49er Eric Johnson. Changes are also afoot on special teams, where former Dolphin Olindo Mare takes over for John Carney (released), and a replacement must also be found for popular kick returner Michael Lewis (released).

PRESEASON SCHEDULE: 8/5 vs. Pittsburgh (Canton); 8/10 vs. Buffalo; 8/18 at Cincinnati; 8/23 at Kansas City; 8/30 vs. Miami

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Seattle Seahawks 2007 Training Camp Preview
July 19th, 2007
(Sports Network) -

REPORT DATES: Rookies July 26th, Veterans July 28th

SITE: Seahawks Kirkland Headquarters, Kirkland, WA

CAMP OBJECTIVES: Keeping everyone healthy will be a primary objective for a Seattle team that was nearly sunk by all its bumps and bruises in 2006. Seahawks fans shouldn't expect to see much of Matt Hasselbeck, Shaun Alexander, Deion Branch, or Walter Jones during the preseason. The offensive players to watch during camp will be at receiver, where D.J. Hackett and Nate Burleson will be fighting for a starting job opposite Branch, and at tight end, where the team is hoping that 35-year-old Marcus Pollard has something left after the club parted ways with Jerramy Stevens. Meanwhile, defensive coordinator John Marshall will be keeping a close eye on the safety slots, where free agent additions Deon Grant (ex-Jaguars) and Brian Russell (ex- Browns) are expected to take over. The Hawks will also be trying to get an early read on how former Falcons defensive end Patrick Kerney, who the team signed to a $39.5 million deal back in March, will be able to impact the defense.

PRESEASON SCHEDULE: 8/12 at San Diego; 8/18 at Green Bay; 8/25 vs. Minnesota; 8/30 vs. Oakland

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Minnesota Vikings 2007 Training Camp Preview
July 19th, 2007
(Sports Network) -

REPORT DATES: Rookies July 25th, Veterans July 25th

SITE: Minnesota State University, Mankato, MN

CAMP OBJECTIVES: Every piece of the Vikings offense will be scrutinized, from day one of training camp through the final preseason game. Is young Tarvaris Jackson really ready to take over the quarterback job, or will Brooks Bollinger outplay him and win starting duties? How will rookie Adrian Peterson and incumbent Chester Taylor co-exist in the backfield? Who in Bud Grant's name is going to play wideout or tight end on a team where the most accomplished pass-catcher is Jim Kleinsasser? Can an inconsistent offensive line hold up over the course of a season? There are fewer questions defensively, though the team did lose coordinator Mike Tomlin and failed to address a poor pass rush during the offseason. Former first-round draft pick Erasmus James, who missed 14 games with a knee injury in 2006, might not be ready for the start of training camp. Another former first-round pick who had his '06 wiped away by injury but is being counted on for big things is Chad Greenway, who is expected to emerge on the weak side with E.J. Henderson shifting back to the middle. The most significant offseason addition on defense was former Colts safety Mike Doss, who will try to beat out either Darren Sharper or Dwight Smith for a starting assignment.

PRESEASON SCHEDULE: 8/10 vs. St. Louis; 8/17 at NY Jets; 8/25 at Seattle; 8/30 vs. Dallas

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