July 28, 2012; Englewood, CO, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) signs autographs following training camp at the Broncos training facility. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-US PRESSWIRE
NFL training camps are only a few days old but already story lines are developing. Here are six of them with less than a week into training camp.
Training camp is underway for every NFL team and there are a few notable story lines developing ranging from the success of the NFL's rookie wage scale in preventing rookie holdouts to quarterback competitions to Peyton Manning's new home.
These aren't all the story lines in camp; I'm missing roughly 1,000 of them, at least it seems. Let us know in the comments what the biggest story is in your team's training camp.
Almost all the draft picks were in camp on time thanks to rookie wage scale
There were a few stragglers but the vast majority of the rookie deals were done in time. Dontari Poe was the third to last 1st round draft pick to sign and he inked his deal shortly before Chiefs camp began. Kendall Wright was a couple days late to the Titans training camp before he signed his contract and Justin Blackmon, the Jaguars top pick, has yet to sign. Blackmon is the lone unsigned pick at this time and it may not be done for a while.
Save Blackmon and Wright, the NFL's rookie wage scale worked out great this year.
Quarterback competitions are all the rage
Three teams are going through quarterback competitions. In Arizona, the Cardinals will start Kevin Kolb over John Skelton in their preseason opener against the Saints this weekend. In Tennessee, Jake Locker is reportedly the favorite to win the job over Matt Hasselbeck, but that's a ways from being decided. In Miami, David Garrard, Matt Moore and Ryan Tannehill are all competing for a job.
My pick on the Week 1 starters would be Kolb for the Cardinals, Hasselbeck for the Titans and Moore for the Dolphins. The most intriguing race could eventually come down to if or when Tannehill steps in for the Dolphins.
The status of the injured players
Adrian Peterson is the biggest name returning from an injury. He tore up his knee last year but AP is a machine and there's a legitimate chance he'll return to the Vikings for the season opener. He's currently on the PUP list after the December ACL and MCL tear but could see some time in training camp. Returning from that injury in nine months would be more than impressive.
Matt Schaub played just 10 games for the Texans last year before suffering a season-ending injury but he's back in action. The Texans made the playoffs with T.J. Yates at the helm down the stretch. Think of how much better than can be with a healthy Schaub.
The Chiefs have three stars returning from ACL tears -- Tony Moeaki, Eric Berry and Jamaal Charles. Moeaki has been injury prone dating back to college so he's a concern. Berry and Charles both look healthy and have been participating in Chiefs training camp, as has Moeaki. They're all on track to return to full health by Week 1.
Maurice Jones-Drew is the big name holdout
Every year, there's a player under contract who is upset with this deal and doesn't report to training camp. This year, that's Maurice Jones-Drew and the Jaguars. He's not reporting to camp, accruing fines of $30,000 per day (if the team chooses to fine him).
There doesn't appear to be an easy answer to this one. If MJD is skipping camp and willing to pay the fines, he means business. The Jaguars have publicly stated he's not getting a new deal so there's no way they can give him a new deal and save face.
The Peyton Manning show rolls on
If you've watched NFL Network or ESPN lately, you probably saw Manning throwing to his Broncos teammates. Besides Tim Tebow and the Jets, Manning is the biggest name in a new place. He doesn't feel 100 percent yet, but he's on his way.
The question with Manning is how quickly he'll be able to acclimate to his new teammates. You can only do so much in training camp. At some point -- like the first preseason game -- he'll need to go full action. I want to see him get hit the first time. I want to see his first deep ball. I want to see him read a defense. All those things we haven't seen him do in over a year, we need to see.
Every player is more excited about this season and in the best shape of their life
Carson Palmer just told me: "I've never been this excited for a football season in my life."— Peter King (@SI_PeterKing) July 31, 2012
Of course he is. Find a player who has said:
- He's not more excited about this season than any other
- He's not in the best shape of his life
- He's taking it two days at a time, and not one
Keep looking. You probably won't be finding that.