Training Camp Position Battles: Vol. 2

Back-up/2nd String Quarterback

Not too much has changed in this battle.  Cassel really struggled in the preseason opener.  Gutierrez looked okay.  Cassel looked decent in practice, Gutierrez looked okay in practice.  So far, it’s been really hard to say who has the upper hand.  Right now, if I had to place a bet, I would say that chances are Cassel gets traded for a conditional pick, and Goots stays on as number two.  However, Gutierrez would only be there for a year, as O’Connell, who looked good in the opener, will be waiting in the wings.

Wide Receiver:

The #2 wide receiver spot was Chad Jackson’s job to lose, and, as of today, he looks like he’s lost it.  After looking lost at times during practice, and especially during last Thursday’s game, it looks like Chad Jackson has been booted down to #4 on the depth chart.  Jabar Gaffney, who has been consistent as usual, will assume the #2 spot, with Welker manning the slot, and Moss #1 on the outside.  Behind Jackson, is Kelley Washington at #5.  With Sam Aiken’s status in question, there could be an opening at the sixth spot (if there is a sixth spot).  C.J. Jones has looked horrific, while Matt Slater has looked really good (I can just about guarantee that Slater makes the roster at this point).  I have also been surprised by the play of Ray Ventrone, who keeps on looking  more and more like a receiver.

Right Tackle:

I really can’t say anything about this position.  It’s such a mess right now.  It could be O’Callaghan, it could be Kazcur, it could be Britt, it could be Welbourn.  My hunch is that, in the end, it will be Kazcur, but we won’t know until Light and Neal come back.

Inside Linebacker:

I thought this was going to be a big battle heading into camp ( that is between Jerod Mayo vs. Victor Hobson).  At one point, I thought Hobson was going to make a big impact.  However, so far, he has struggled to make the move inside, as Mayo has flourished.  Amazingly enough, rookie free agent Gary Guyton has looked a lot better than Victor Hobson, and that is REALLY saying something.

Cornerback:

I think the cornerback position is looking a bit more solidified then when I last spoke about the position.  At this point I think the starters will be Fernando Bryant and Ellis Hobbs, with Terrence Wheatley as the third cornerback.  Jason Webster was looking good, but injuries have held him back a bit.  Jonathan Wilhite looked good at the start of camp, but again, injuries have held him down.  Mike Richardson, a slightly bigger corner, is a guy who I really like, but I think he might not make the final roster.  Then, the wildcard is Lewis Sanders.  A free-agent pickup this offseason, Sanders looked tremendous in the Ravens game, making two great knock-downs.  Sanders is by far the biggest and most physical cornerback on the roster, and that alone may help him gain a roster spot.

Running Back:

To see my thoughts on this position, check out my post from two days ago.  But here’s the skinny.  Maroney is starter.  Heath Evans is most likely safe because he is the truest fullback on the roster.  Lamont Jordan has looked great, and adds the most versatility, so I would think that he will be on the roster.  Kyle
Eckel is all but gone.  BenJarvus Green-Ellis will be practice squad.  Then there’s Kevin Faulk and Sammy Morris.  Both could be at risk, and in the end, I think Morris gets cut (well, I would rather keep Faulk), although there’s an outside shot Belichick keeps all five.

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