2012 NFL Training Camp has lifted off, so let's take a look at the top position battles on offense for each AFC team!
AFC Offensive Battles
WR Battle: Jones vs. Doss
- With Anquan Boldin & Torrey Smith being the clear #1 & #2 receivers respectively, Jacoby Jones & Tandon Doss compete for the 3rd spot. Jones is unquestionably more talented than Doss, but with his mistakes of holding onto the ball last season, Doss could use his terrific hands to grab the open spot.
RB Battle: Jackson vs. Spiller
- Fred Jackson exploded last season, but that does not mean his job is secure this season. Even if Jackson has the starting job going into training camp, look for the extremely talented Spiller push him for the starting gig.
WR Battle: Jones vs. Sanu vs. Tate
- We all know who is going to be #1 this year in A.J. Green, but the #2 spot is up for grabs. Sanu & Tate have a little bit of experience, but Marvin Jones is the fastest of the 3, and may use his speed & talent to be a solid compliment for Green. Andy Dalton will definitely enjoy throwing the long ball to Marvin when not looking A.J.'s way.
QB Battle: Weeden vs. McCoy
- In our eyes, this is not much of a battle. While McCoy has that small amount of experience over Weeden, don't forget that Brandon is already 28 years old. With that in mind, he has the maturity to take over a team, as he is not the average rookie coming out of college.
WR Battle: Caldwell vs. Stokley vs. Hill vs. Willis
- Of course it is already know that Eric Decker & Demaryius Thomas are the top 2 guys, but the question on the #3 guy is still pending. Considering we are talking Peyton Manning here, he realistically could be getting every receiver involved every week, but in regards to the 3rd spot, we believe Stokley could get back to his old form & become a solid 3rd option this season.
WR Battle: B.Johnson vs. Jackson vs. Iglesias vs. Martin vs. Walter vs. Maehl
- Who will be the #2 & #3 wide receivers for Schaub this season? After Andre Johnson, it looks like newly acquired Bryant Johnson has the best shot at #2, while Kevin Walter has a firm grasp at the #3 spot. Although these are the favorites, the Texans have a ton of rookies pushing for these starting gigs, so look for an interesting training camp in Houston this summer.
RB Battle: Brown vs. Carter
- Both backs had the chance to fully take the job last season, but none capitalized on the other's mistakes. With a new QB of Luck in the picture, look for Donald Brown to start off the season trying to maintain this job, as his time is running out to show the league what he has, but do not sleep on the explosive Delone Carter.
WR Battle: Robinson vs. Blackmon vs. Thomas vs. Evans vs. Shorts III
- After Jacksonville went out & signed Justin Blackmon at #5 overall pick, they knew they upped their receiving core drastically, but with recent problems off the field, their #1 spot is up grabs. During the offseason they also went out and grabbed ex-Cowboys WR Laurent Robinson, who looks to fill the #1 spot. After Blackmon gets over his issues, look for him to grab the #2 spot, but time will tell how long it will take for him to do that. After that, we are left with Mike Thomas, Lee Evans, & Cecil Shorts III competing for that 3rd spot, with Thomas being the lead candidate here.
Kansas City Chiefs
WR Battle: Bowe vs. Breaston vs. Baldwin vs. McCluster vs. Wylie
- It looks like Bowe has the #1 spot, while Baldwin & Breaston compete for the #2 spot. Jonathan Baldwin has the talent to become a #1 WR on any team in the league, so if he is able to live up to his potential this year and stay healthy, Cassel is looking at a dangerous duo on the outside. Breaston looks to grab the #3 spot, but look for the speedy & young McCluster to make a lot of noise this year as the utlity guy on offense, as well as Wylie to show some flashes of brilliance.
QB Battle: David Garrard vs. Matt Moore vs. Ryan Tannehill
- Although the Dolphins took Tannehill with 8th overall pick, it looks as if the beginning job is between Moore & Garrard, with Moore taking the 1st snaps under center at training camp.
New England Patriots
RB Battle: Ridley vs. Vereen
- With Green-Ellis out of the picture, Ridley & Vereen go into training camp competing for the starting job. Ridley actually pushed BenJarvus for the job at the latter end of last season, but we think Vereen, second-round pick in 2011, will be hold too many ideal traits as the Patriots starting back. Even though Vereen could be the guy, let's remember how diverse Belichick is with player packages & personnel.
New York Jets
WR Battle: Hill vs. Schilens vs. Turner
- With experienced players Santonio Holmes & Jeremy Kerley atop the depth chart going into preseason, look for an intense battle to break out between Chaz Schilens & Stephen Hill. Although Schilens has the speed, Hill has all the talent in the world to become the next big thing. Look for Stephen to grab that starter spot & become a big target for Sanchez this season.
RB Battle: Jones vs. Goodson
- We are not going to put Darren McFadden in competition with these 2 guys above, but he is very injury-prone, so Taiwan Jones & Mike Goodson could easily become Oakland's #1 running back this season. With Bush gone, Jones finally has his opportunity to take the reigns, but will be pushed by former Carolina Panthers' Goodson. We believe Jones will come out the successor & possibly even give Darren a run for his money, even if he stays fully healthy.
RB Battle: Dwyer vs. Redman vs. Rainey vs. Batch
- An injury to Mendenhall last season has given opportunity to others to grab a starting gig. It looks like Redman is the leader of all to take down the #1 spot, but Dwyer may be the closest to knocking Isaac off the top of the depth chart. Rainey is in more of a competition with Batch for the 3rd down/goalline carries, but still have a limited shot in competing as the starter.
San Diego Chargers
WR Battle: Meachem vs. Floyd vs. Royal vs. Parrish
- While Vincent Jackson was signing a new deal in Tampa Bay, San Diego was scrambling to find its new #1 target for Phillip Rivers. They may have found one in ex-Saints' Robert Meachem, but they also have Malcolm Floyd, who went on a tear at the end of the 2011 season. Look for both players to become hot targets for Rivers, while Royal & Parrish battle it out for the 3rd spot.
QB Battle: Hasselbeck vs. Locker
- In Tennessee, experience may prove to be more effective than talent, as Hasselbeck has been in the league for too many years to lose a job in training camp. Even with Hasselbeck winning the job out of training camp, that does not mean his job is at all secure, as he has a very short leash this season.