With NFL training camps underway, lots of interesting nuggets are coming out regarding a number of fantasy football players. From first-round picks to deep sleepers, "Word around camp" will track the best quotes from players and coaches throughout each day. We'll do our best to sift through the smoke and see what insight can be lifted as you prepare for your fantasy draft.
» Joe Philbin: "Again, we'll have to see. We've only had him for a portion of the OTAs and a little bit of the offseason program. I don't have great familiarity with him as a player, so it's hard for me to really project that. I think that it's better that he's a veteran and has played a lot of football. I think it's a little easier for somebody like that to get right back into the thick of things. We haven't really decided anything. We won't honestly decide until, we'll have an idea, but the Friday before we play the Patriots is when we will make the decision as to how many snaps we envision each particular player participating in the game."
Our analysis: The way Philbin talks about Moreno, you'd think the Dolphins had been catfished by the former Broncos running back, and he hasn't even bothered to video chat with his coach. With no timetable for his return, Moreno continues to rehab his knee from surgery he underwent six weeks ago, exceeding the original recovery estimate of one month. Things are not looking good for his availability in September but for some reason he continues to be drafted ahead of backs like Terrance West and DeAngelo Williams. Don't let Moreno catfish your fantasy draft.
» Mike Pettine: "You have a lot of guys competing. You're hoping that you have some guys rise to the top. I think Miles Austin is proving that he can very quickly get back to his old form. We're very pleased with [Andrew] Hawkins in the slot. Then you have a bunch of those other jobs where you've got some young guys, some veteran guys that are competing."
» Andrew Hawkins: "We have a bunch of hard-working guys with chips on their shoulders who come out here and bust their butt every day. I'll take that 10 times out of 10."
Our analysis: With a decision still pending on the fate of Josh Gordon, coach Mike Pettine said that the Browns are going to incorporate a wide receiver "by committee" approach in the passing game. Although there is no real order in Cleveland's receiving corps so far, Hawkins seems to be the only wideout to establish himself as a potential fantasy asset, projecting to see a high volume of receptions. There's also a chance that Charles Johnson who's been a "revelation" in camp emerges as a deep sleeper. The second-year receiver has yet to play a snap in the NFL due to an ACL tear last season--an injury the Browns found out about after they picked up up off of the Packers practice squad last year. The oft-injured Miles Austin also has a shot to make an impact but at this point Hawkins is the only receiver worth a look for fantasy rosters until this group is more defined.
» John Fox: "I think the addition of all those young guys has really helped that competition go along. I know Ronnie [Hillman] and C.J. [Anderson] have been here for a little bit and those young guys really are pushing them and we will see how it goes. Once we get into preseason I think guys will separate themselves and we will find out who is really going to rise to the top."
Our analysis: Marcas Grant touched on this competition in a recent Training Camp Notebook concluding that both Denver backs are extremely talented, but that it really comes down to which runner gets the best opportunity--and is able to make the most of it. Coach Fox reiterated this notion, confirming that there is quite a backfield battle brewing in the Mile High City and that the preseason will ultimately determine who wins the job. Although Anderson seemed to have an early lead, it's now Hillman who has pulled ahead for the No. 2 gig behind Montee Ball. This is one we'll have to keep tabs on throughout the preseason. Whoever wins out will serve as a handcuff to Ball and if the second-year back with immense potential should falter early, perhaps Hillman or Anderson will see an increased workload as the season wears on.
» Jay Gruden: "Any time you get a chance to practice against somebody like that, I think it's a great benefit for a lot of people and hopefully Robert will see the way Tom Brady handles the huddle, handles his teammates and as a leader and as a person and as a player. Any time you get a chance to learn from somebody like that firsthand, you better use it to your benefit. I intend to use it with Coach Belichick and hopefully our whole team gets a chance to watch a team play like that and learn from them. And maybe they'll learn something from us, too."
Our analysis: The Redskins will host New England for three days of joint practices next week, and RGIII has expressed a desire to "pick Tom Brady's brain" while the teams are sharing some space. We highly doubt that Brady and #Belitricks will be willing to give up any secrets but if Griffin III can absorb a smidge or two of wisdom from the 37-year-old veteran, it probably wouldn't hurt his value. In a fantasy land delusion, the ideal hybrid signal-caller would wield Brady's championship winning instincts coupled with RGIII's young athleticism, ground breaking speed and prodigious mobile ability. Look to target the dangerous and elusive Tombert Grady III hybrid in Round -1. Hey, a fantasy owner can dream because that's what it's all about, right?