As the Falcons prepare for their first preseason game against the Redskins tonight, De’vondre Campbell is one of the many players trying to grab a starting job, and for some, a spot on the team. Campbell is a fourth round linebacker who’s been impressing in practice, meaning all eyes will be on his come game time. Also in contention for the spot is Deion Jones, the second rounder from LSU, who most likely will gain the edge on Campbell and those challenging due to his speed and freak ability to jump the line. Atlanta also signed Cyrus Gray, former Chiefs running back, to help reduce the load and cover as insurance for the backups throughout preseason. Although his chances of making the team are slim. But to kickoff their first match-up, legendary Ric Flair showed up to woo the dirty birds.
— Everything Georgia (@GAFollowers) August 9, 2016
No practice the day before the big game, so it’s all about preparation for the swagger heavy Panthers. It’s already been alluded that many starters are bound to play a series or two, meaning the backups will have a lot to prove for four quarters. As Carolina travels to Baltimore to face the Ravens, one of those competing for a second string spot is Daryl Worley. The third rounder is behind James Bradberry, another rookie, to help fill the role Josh Norman left behind when he signed for the Redskins this summer. But he also has to go up against Robert McClain and Bene’ Benwikere, so it won’t come easy. Also fighting for a role are punters Mike Scifres and Swayze Waters, in which the latter has an advantage from Scifres’ sore knee. Waters was the special teams player of the year in the CFL in 2014, meaning he’s got an upside to his game yet to be seen in the NFL. Also be on the lookout for Mike Tolbert and and Cameron Artis-Payne, who will seemingly battle out a role for the backup position. Tolbert functions in niche scenarios but Jonathan Stewart also needs someone to lift the load as he heads into ninth year in the league.
New Orleans Saints
A joint practice for the Patriots and the Saints is exactly what coach Sean Payton ordered to ready for the preseason kickoff. Although noticeably missing from the action were Keenan Lewis and Cameron Jordan, in which Jordan was witnessing his daughter’s birth. The rain came down hard during the morning, but thankfully it was merely walkthroughs going on. A few players made plays such as Ken Crawley, yet little bragging rights are to be had on such a day. A big time player to lookout for during their meeting Thursday night will be Mike Thomas, the playmaking receiver everyone has been talking about since the start of camp. His chemistry with Brees and the other QB’s is reportedly flowing well, and it’ll be interesting to see how he pans out in the game. But off the field there has been reports of Drew Brees wanting another improved contract, although the team is holding off due to his aging body. With him as their only real option, it’ll be tricky if the situation evolves into something more.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
With the young talent Tampa Bay boasts, there’s a lot to see when the Bucs take the field against the Eagles. Tight end Cameron Brate is just one of them, as the 25-year-old is ready to snag the top spot from Austin Seferian-Jenkins. Such a situation may call for a spike in performances from Seferian-Jenkins, meaning the spot light could shine on the tight end position during the game. But their quarterback Jameis Winston, now in his second year, will look to show off his mechanics which he’s worked on for so long, vying to perfect them. His solid outings in training camp need to translate onto the field in order for any progress to be made from last season. Also be on the lookout for Josh Robinson and Johnathan Banks, who are dogfighting in the corner position that’s ultimately manned by Vernon Hargreaves. Defense will be the big key to whether or not the Bucs compete for a playoff spot in January.