While the Bears and Ravens are fully underway, due to their Hall of Fame Game matchup, this coming week marks the debuts for the rest of the league. Here’s what’s new in the NFC going into training camp week.
- Matt Cassel represents competition for Jake Rudock‘s job as the Lions‘ backup quarterback, especially considering his history with the Patriots during the respective New England tenures of Bob Quinn and Matt Patricia. And Kyle Meinke of MLive.com expects the 36-year-old veteran to beat out Rudock for the top job behind Matthew Stafford. The Lions aren’t expected to keep three quarterbacks on their roster, per Meinke, which could make Rudock a trade candidate if it looks like Cassel will take his job. Rudock drew trade interest in the past, but the Lions did not have what they determined to be another viable backup prior to signing Cassel.
- If the Seahawks do end up trading Earl Thomas, 2017 third-rounder Delano Hill would be the top incumbent to replace him. However, Seattle could consider Eric Reid or Tre Boston in the event Thomas is dealt, however, per Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times (Twitter links). Though, Condotta adds the team believes Hill and Bradley McDougald has the makings of a chance to be a solid safety tandem. The Seahawks’ Reid fit would be interesting, given how proceedings unfolded between the franchise and Colin Kaepernick the past two offseasons. However, neither Reid nor Boston would be expensive at this stage.
- James Daniels could well occupy a Bears starting spot in Week 1, and it’s likely the second-round pick (on whom the Bears placed a first-round grade) will be a starter this season. But for now, the Iowa product is running with the second-string offense as a guard and the third-team group as a center, according to Patrick Finley of the Chicago Sun-Times, who adds fifth-year veteran Eric Kush represents Daniels’ primary competition at guard. These early placements are interesting, given Daniels primarily played center in college. But the Bears are believed to view him as more of a guard.
- Fifth-round pick R.J. McIntosh signed his Giants contract and ended a months-long process. But the defensive lineman will begin camp on the active/non-football illness list. McIntosh was diagnosed with a thyroid condition at the Combine and underwent an undisclosed procedure in June.