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SCOUT'S HONOR: NFC's top camp battles

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foxsports admin

 
   
 
TEAM:
Dallas

POSITION:
Quarterback

CANDIDATES:
, Bill Parcells is leaving his options open at quarterback. has displayed the pedigree to develop into a productive passer. There were flashes of success in 2002, but also ended his rookie season on an erratic note behind a horrible offensive line. So there are unanswered questions whether Hutchinson will develop into a championship quarterback. There are enough questions that has Parcells keeping an eye on . Carter has been very erratic and made a lot of questionable decisions with the football. But Parcells is intrigued by a few things with Carter. There¿s no question that Carter has a strong arm and can make things happen with his feet. And Parcells feels Carter has untapped leadership potential. Right now, a fresh attitude after not meshing with former offensive coordinator Bruce Coslet could prove beneficial for Carter. TEAM:
Carolina

POSITION:
Quarterback

CANDIDATES:
, Dan Henning builds his offense around a physical run game. That puts his quarterback in a position to succeed with a complement of high percentage passes. That philosophy was a perfect fit for last season, despite having a mediocre run game supporting him. Peete knows how to avoid mistakes and stabilize an offense. But the know they can only get so much mileage out of Peete at this stage of his career. That¿s why they would be disappointed if former ¿ backup doesn¿t emerge with a strong camp. Delhomme has the potential to become a solid leader and a heady quarterback who will keep the chains moving with his intermediate accuracy. TEAM:
Green Bay

POSITION:
Wide Receiver

CANDIDATES:
, established himself as ¿s primary target in the passing game last season. Now the are looking for Javon Walker and to make similar strides in 2003. Both can¿t start, creating a much anticipated battle to watch over the next month. Walker has the ability to stretch opposing defenses vertically and create significant matchup problems. But he must get off the line with better technique and avoid dropping too many balls. Ferguson is more of an intermediate pass catcher who is tough over the middle and isn¿t very easy to tackle. The key for Ferguson will be improving his ability to find openings in coverage to exploit. TEAM:
Philadelphia

POSITION:
Running Back

CANDIDATES:
Duce Staley, Correll Buckhalter The writing is on the wall for Staley not being included in the ¿ long-term plans. But the question is what do they really have in Correll Buckhalter? Coming off an ACL injury from last season, Andy Reid would like to give Buckhalter a lot of carries. Reid and the feel Buckhalter brings a little more pop and quickness to the run game. The question that needs to be answered is whether Buckhalter is a 16-game starter for the long-term. Staley will play a key role, especially in the passing game. He¿s a superior pass blocker to Buckhalter and the coaches will be creative with his skills in the passing game. But don¿t be surprised if a motivated Staley plays his way into more playing time. This should be one of the more intriguing battles to watch throughout August. TEAM:
Tampa Bay

POSITION:
Running Back

CANDIDATES:
, , , , , Even without ¿s legal problems, there¿s a lot of uncertainty in the Tampa Bay backfield. Some within the Buccanneer organization feel the Super Bowl was the turning point for Pittman as a runner. Now, nobody knows. has had his moments. When Alstott runs hard, he can physically wear down opposing defenses. But Alstott has too many stretches thinking he¿s a 200-pound halfback who can get fancy. That¿s just not Alstott¿s game. has had flashes in a situational role, but doesn¿t have the run skills to threatened opponents over the course of a full season. A change of scenery was needed for . Jones has competent run skills, but didn¿t display much toughness and had trouble staying healthy in Arizona. has deceptive run skills and could be effective in a change of pace role. But he¿s no factor in the passing game. And is a situational player and return specialist at best. But if anyone can squeeze production from this group, it¿s Jon Gruden.

Other battles to watch

  • Chicago : The feel could bounce back behind a healthier offensive line this season, but will be given a long look by the coaches because he¿s runs hard and extremely tough. But the also have kept their eyes open for available running backs. could really struggle if he isn¿t backed by a strong run game.
  • New Orleans : held up at right tackle last season, but will be challenged by former Chief . Riley would provide more pop in the run game. He¿s worked hard to improve as a pass blocker this spring, which is the strong point of Folau. If Riley wins the starting job, Folau will play a key role as a swingman.
  • Atlanta : hasn¿t been a liability as Atlanta¿s starting center, but the would prefer a more physical presence in the pivot. will make a hard push here after establishing himself as a starting guard. Garza was a center in college and should give the more push up the middle if he wins the spot.
  • Minnesota : has been shuttled between safety and cornerback during his short career with the . But they must give him every opportunity to become Minnesota¿s number two corner behind . Former Bill and Saint would start if Williams doesn¿t. Irvin is a savvy veteran who is best suited in a nickel role.
  • Arizona : has been a mainstay at middle linebacker within Arizona¿s defense for years. But the Cardinal brass feels McKinnon is beginning to fade. That opens the door for free agent , who played a key reserve role with the during the past few years.
  • Tagged: Falcons, Bears, Cowboys, Packers, Dolphins, Vikings, Saints, Jets, Eagles, Buccaneers, Panthers, Cardinals, Todd McClure, Roberto Garza, Ken Irvin, Denard Walker, Brett Favre, Victor Riley, Jake Delhomme, Correll Buckhalter, Ronald McKinnon, Thomas Jones, Kordell Stewart, Aaron Stecker, Brian Williams, Spencer Folau, Adrian Peterson, Chad Hutchinson

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