clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

NFL training camp position battles: Teddy Bridgewater in the mix for Vikings starter

Bridgewater is splitting even reps with incumbent Matt Cassel in practice and has the best shot of the rookie quarterbacks to start. It's not going quite as well for Johnny Manziel in Cleveland, but that could change as the playbook continues to open up.

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

With training camp in full swing, we take a look at the latest news in some of the top position battles around the NFL, including Teddy Bridgewater vs. Matt Cassel, Johnny Manziel vs. Brian Hoyer and Tyler Lewan vs. Michael Oher.

Vikings quarterback

Despite his rather inexplicable slide in the lead up to draft, it was speculated that Teddy Bridgewater was the most NFL-ready of the rookie quarterbacks, and indeed he seems to have the best shot to come out of camp with a starting job. Jay Glazer of Fox Sports reported on Sunday that Bridgewater is splitting first-team reps with incumbent Matt Cassel and that the rookie has been "more impressive than the [Vikings] expected."

Head coach Mike Zimmer told NFL Network's Ian Rapoport that Bridgewater will get reps with the first team during preseason games.

Cassel is still the slight favorite to come out of camp with the job, but this should be a very tight race.

Browns quarterback

Mike Pettine has said he'd like to make a decision between Brian Hoyer and Johnny Manziel before the third preseason game. If he had to name one today, it would almost certainly be Hoyer.

Jason La Canfora reported Monday that "Hoyer is much more comfortable and effective than Manziel so far." Hoyer's grasp of an NFL offense seems to be the difference, as Manziel has struggled in more traditional tasks like taking the ball under center, executing straight drop-backs and executing play action.

That could change, however, as the team begins to introduce read-option and quarterback keeper concepts -- Manziel's bread and butter. Lindsay Jones of USA Today Sports says the two quarterbacks have been working through generic scripts thus far in camp.

Bengals running back

Rookie Jeremy Hill has been impressive so far, and that's bad news for veteran rusher BenJarvus Green-EllisHill has been running ahead of Green-Ellis in practice, and with second-year man Giovani Bernard penciled in as the starter, Hill's performance threatens to drop Green-Ellis to third string, if not off the 53-man roster altogether.

Though Green-Ellis was the leading rusher in 2013, the fact that Cincinnati has spent second-round picks on running backs in each of the last two drafts (Bernard and Hill) means the Bengals are looking to move on from the 29-year-old vet. Unless he can make a move in camp, that could be coming sooner rather than later.

Titans offensive line

We expected to see a showdown between first-rounder Tyler Lewan and free agent signing Michael Oher at right tackle, but it seems like Lewan will get a crack at the interior of the line as well. A minor surgery to Andy Levitre has pushed Lewan into heavy use at left guard, according to Music City Miracles.

There's been no clear indication as to whether Lewan -- who's locked out of his natural left tackle position by the presence of Michael Roos -- has a real shot to start at guard or whether he's just filling in until Levitre returns. Either way, it's good news for Oher. Lewan already had a late start -- he was the last rookie in the league to sign a contract -- and now he's splitting his reps between different positions.

Jets quarterback

This is starting to look less and less like a real competition. Vick, whose reps with the starters have been few and far between (ESPN's Rich Cimini reported Sunday that Vick had only four of 19 reps), has all but conceded the job to Geno Smith.

"I'm cool with it," Vick told ESPN in response to being a mentor figure as opposed to the starter. "I understood the situation coming in, and I know it was Geno's job and my job was to push Geno. The thing I'm going to be is, I'm going to be a guy who's going to help Geno. But it this team needs me to play, I'm going to be ready to play."

Barring an injury to Smith, it doesn't look like the Jets will need Vick to play, at least not in Week 1. A poor start to Smith's second season could change that.