- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 26, 2017

The Washington Redskins aren’t the only team to start training camp Thursday.

Twelve other teams reported to camp Wednesday and the NFL season is right around the corner. Every team will have reported by Saturday.

With that in mind, the Redskins aren’t the only team that bears watching in 2017. As usual, drama and storylines will dominate the NFL. But which stories, in particular, are worth keeping an eye on?

Let’s take a look.

Denver Broncos quarterback battle

Questions in the NFL usually need the season, or at least halfway through, to answer. Sure, the possibility of the New England Patriots going 16-0 again is fascinating to wonder about, but that’s a hard question to answer during camp. Instead, there will be plenty of situations that will have an answer by the end of the preseason.

The Denver Broncos have a quarterback battle on their hands for the second straight season, again with the same two quarterbacks. Trevor Siemian won the job last season and performed relatively well, all things considered.

But the Broncos spent a first-round draft pick on Paxton Lynch in 2016 and there will be pressure for him to start. Furthermore, has Lynch taken a step forward and in what ways has his game improved? The Broncos have a new head coach in Vance Joseph and we’ll see what he prefers.

Other quarterback battles of note: Houston (Tom Savage or Deshaun Watson), Cleveland (Brock Osweiler, Cody Kessler or DeShone Kizer) and possibly Kansas City (Alex Smith or Patrick Mahomes).

Cowboys dysfunction

Is there a suspension coming for star running back Ezekiel Elliott? The Cowboys have spent most of their offseason battling dysfunction, the most recent being releasing receiver Lucky Whitehead despite him not actually being arrested.

But the Cowboys are still the favorites to win the NFC East after going 13-3 last season. What will training camp tell us about the team heading into next season? It’s worth keeping a close eye on quarterback Dak Prescott, too. The last thing Dallas wants is for Prescott to have a sophomore slump and have rumblings of Tony Romo coming out of retirement to become the starter again.

Training camp will be a good indicator of how much drama the Cowboys will be carrying into the season.

Oh God, the Jets

The New York Jets figure heavily to be one of the worst teams in the league next season, but seriously, have you looked at their roster? Here are the quarterback options for Jets coach Todd Bowles: Josh McCown, Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg.

The receiving options get even more depressing. Say hello to No. 1 receiving option Quincy Enunwa.

Matt Forte seems like the only veteran not to have been released at this point with the team cutting Eric Decker and David Harris earlier in the offseason.

Why are the Jets worth keeping an eye on, if they’re going to be so bad? Because it might be impossible to look away.

Will Colin Kaepernick get an NFL job?

Michael Vick got another job in the NFL before Colin Kaepernick did.

Granted, it was a job as a coaching intern with the Kansas City Chiefs, but Vick caused a frenzy last week when he said Kaepernick needed to get a haircut to help reshape his image. Still, when will Kaepernick get another opportunity?

Kaepernick, at the very least, is qualified to be a backup somewhere, but so far, teams have stayed away. The debate is whether that’s because of his dip in play, or because of his social stances and protesting racial inequality.

Yet when Robert Griffin III is reportedly getting looked at by the Los Angeles Chargers and players like Austin Davis get signed before Kaepernick does, his lack of NFL opportunity becomes harder to ignore.

Hey, so Andrew Luck is going to be healthy, right?

The AFC South might suddenly be the most interesting division in football. The Tennessee Titans have loaded up on offense to support quarterback Marcus Mariota. The Jacksonville Jaguars have a promising defense. The Houston Texans were already great on defense and are getting JJ Watt back, and they drafted a quarterback.

But perhaps the most intriguing question surrounding the division is Andrew Luck’s health. The Indianapolis Colts quarterback had offseason shoulder surgery, resulting from an injury that occurred during the 2015 season. The Colts also announced Luck is going to begin training camp on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list.

If Luck is still on the PUP list to begin the season, he will miss a minimum of six games. The Colts have said the right things about Luck and don’t seem to be worried about his availability to start the season, but when he gets back is the Colts’ No. 1 priority during camp.


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