Training camp is mostly about about guys winning jobs through position battles. It's about fine-tuning new plays and schemes. More than anything, it's about staying healthy.
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During the early days of Training Camp Buzz way back in July, we'd often list an "unlucky team of the day." After nearly a month, let's look at the unlucky teams so far this preseason. What squads have had a rough training camp?
San Diego Chargers: The Chargers wanted to build their offense around Ryan Mathews, and they don't have a quality backup running back. Mathews broke his clavicle and probably won't be ready for Week 1. Emerging deep threat Vincent Brownbroke his ankle, and the team is counting on an injury-prone wideout trio of Malcom Floyd, Robert Meachem, and Eddie Royal to stay healthy. Royal has missed almost all of camp.
The starting left tackle (Jared Gaither) who received big money in the offseason hasn't been seen. The starting left guard and center (concussion) are both unavailable this week. Philip Rivers is throwing interceptions again. And this is just the offense.
Dallas Cowboys: Last year's biggest problem -- the interior offensive line -- remains ravaged by injuries and uncertainty. Wide receiver remains a thin position with the starters still injury-prone. Miles Austin won't play in the preseason and Dez Bryant will likely miss half of it. With the No. 3 receiver spot up for grabs, tight end Jason Witten's role is more important than ever. He's questionable for Week 1 with a lacerated spleen.
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Green Bay Packers: The Packers still might be my pick to win the Super Bowl, but they haven't had a great training camp. Linebacker Desmond Bishop is one of their best defensive players and he's expected to miss the season. James Starks was expected to take over the No. 1 running back role; he's hurt and there are questions whether he'll make the team. Cedric Benson can be competent, but he would have been on the team in June if he was Plan A.
Graham Harrell's preseason has raised concerns about the backup quarterback job. The offense hasn't quite been in synch because of a ton of training camp injuries, although that should work itself out with Jermichael Finley and Greg Jennings back on the field. Last year's first-round pick, Derek Sherrod, appears to be headed for the reserve/physically unable to perform list. The nickel safety role remains wide open and a surprise cornerback (Davon House) beat out two veterans for a starting job. You could argue that last one is a good thing.
These are all problems the Packers can and probably will recover from. But it hasn't been a smooth month.
New York Jets: Gang Green's spot on this list has more to do with preseason performance than luck. The Jets are the only team not to score a preseason touchdown. Their quarterbacks barely completed 50 percent of their passes in training camp, and they've struggled just as much in games. Wayne Hunter remains a huge liability at right tackle.
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The receivers are either injured (Santonio Holmes, Jeremy Kerley, Chaz Schilenz), quiet (Stephen Hill), or not actually a receiver (Antonio Cromartie). No one has stepped up at running back. The questions on offense for the Jets haven't been answered this month.
On the Agenda
It was good to see our highly scientific head coach power rankings be embraced by every reader. There were absolutely no disagreements on our evaluations. On Thursday, we'll try to keep everyone happy at the Best Buy Theatre in New York. I'll be part of a Fantasy Draft Week panel that includes Jake Plummer, Sterling Sharpe, Kordell Stewart, Michael Fabiano and the NFL.com fantasy gang. Stop on by. We'll have coverage all day leading up to Thursday night's games and a "what we learned" column posting late night after they are done. Less than two weeks until Opening Day. Let's do this.