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DOGFISH: Camp Preview – QB’s & RB’s

July 9, 2007

With mini-camp starting today, I thought it would be nice to begin considering what’s in store for us during Training Camp later this month.  Conveniently for me, one of my favorite forum members has recently written a great camp preview for each position.  Dogfish has impressed me with his insightful articles on everything from the draft to special teams.  And with permission to re-post these great articles here, we will begin with Dogfish’s look at Quarterbacks and Running Backs.

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GUEST AUTHOR: DOGFISH 

Here is an advance preview to take a look at some of the most interesting position battles, and hopefully spark some discussion. . .

QUARTERBACKS

OVERVIEW:

What really needs said here? The purpose of Training Camp (TC) is clear at this position–get Jay Cutler ready! This TC will be big for Cutler, as it’s his first as the unquestioned starter.  And he will need all of those first-team reps to help develop chemistry with all the new targets he’s going to have this year.   He showed a great rappoire with Marshall and Scheffler when inserted into the starting lineup last season, so it will be of particular importance for him to get his timing down with his most dangerous weapon, Javon Walker.   He also needs to get in more reps with Tom Nalen–and clear up the issues they had with the exchange.  And I suspect we’ll be installing more shotgun formations, as well.   In addition to working on his mechanics, reads and pocket presence, Cutler will continue to delve into the playbook–and facing Champ Bailey and Dre Bly every day in practice should also be a good learning experience for him. 

TC will also be an opportunity for newly-acquired backup QB Patrick Ramsey to start learning the denver system, and will give the coaches their first real chance to see what he can do first-hand.   And for Preston Parsons and Darrell Hackney, it will be a chance to prove that they belong on the team.

PLAYER TO WATCH:

Obviously, this is Jay Cutler– no individual player’s performance is likely to be more pivotal to the success of the team.   So, hopefully, he can get off to a good start in TC and begin to establish himself as a leader on offense.

BEST POSITION BATTLE:

Preston Parsons vs. Darrell Hackney for the #3 QB spot– IF we even keep a third QB on the 53-man roster, which I suspect we won’t.  I’m not sure if Parsons has practice squad eligibility left or not.  If he doesn’t, Hackney may win this battle by default unless parsons impresses so much in camp that they just can’t cut him.

PROJECTED DEPTH CHART:

1. Jay Cutler
2. Patrick Ramsey

RUNNING BACKS & FULL BACKS

OVERVIEW:

This feels like the first time in a while that we’re going into TC without the top tailback spot being up for grabs.   Although he’s the newcomer, I feel that camp will be more important for some of the younger backs than for Henry.  Of course he needs to learn our playbook and get comfortable in the Zone Blocking Scheme (ZBS), but RB is the easiest plug-and-play position in the game.   Henry is an instinctive runner who fits perfectly into our system, and he has little to prove in camp–the coaching staff will want to get a more precise read on his abilities than what they can get watching film, but hopefully keeping him healthy and fresh will be the top priority. 

Mike Bell, however, will have to show that he’s improved on a few weak spots if he wants to hold off Cecil Sapp, Andre Hall and Selvin Young for the #2 spot on the depth chart. 

The picture at fullback is a little muddier, and there should be plenty of tough competition.  It’ll be interesting to see if Sapp plays exclusivley at tailback, or if he’s in the mix at FB as well– if he’s not, veteran Kyle Johnson would seem to have the first chance at the starting role.   TC should help determine whether Paul Smith will be used on offense, or merely on special teams.  Troy Fleming, who has blocked for Henry before, should get a chance to unseat KJ, and Thump Belton will be facing an uphill battle to free himself.  🙂   

I see us most likely keeping two FBs (an offensive starter, and Smith as a special teamer), plus Sapp in a swing role, so all of these guys will have to be at their best.

PLAYER TO WATCH:

Cecil Sapp– This will be a big camp for ‘Cecil the Deisel,’ as he finally gets a legit chance to make his presence felt at tailback (the spot where he starred at CSU).   His versatility and unselfishness will likely earn him a roster spot either way, but you can bet he’ll be highly motivated.  He’s reportedly lost weight to maximize his quickness, and I look for the more powerful Sapp to give Mike Bell all he can handle in the battle for the top backup spot.

BEST POSITION BATTLE:

Selvin Young vs. Andre Hall for what’s likely to be the last RB spot on the roster.   I’ll have my eye on this battle as closely as any in camp.   These are both guys I wanted to see here coming out of college, and I think they have pretty comparable skill sets–both are undersized but quick and shifty, scatback types who are solid receivers out of the backfield.   I think Young may have a bit more footspeed, but he has some fairly serious durability concerns. . . Hall has the advantage of a year in our system.   Whoever wins, I think the loser is very likely to land on the practice squad–if he clears waivers.  It may be a bit of a longshot, but i also wouldn’t put it past one of these two to really shine in camp and get a chance to fight for the #2 spot.

PROJECTED DEPTH CHART:

1. Travis Henry
2. Mike Bell
3. Cecil Sapp
4. SelvinYoung

1. Kyle Johnson
2. Paul Smith

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Tomorrow Dogfish takes on WR’s & TE’s. 

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One comment

  1. […] posted a breakdown by positions by my fellow internet blogger Dogfish.  They can be found here: QBs & RBs, WRs & TEs, D-line, O-line, […]



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