Training camp for the Denver Broncos begins next week, and some would say this year it should be renamed “Manning Camp”. Players have had several weeks off now in order to rest up, and get their bodies and minds ready for the grueling 5-6 months ahead. This time period has been that quiet lull every year during the NFL calendar, as almost nothing happens on the NFL news front. Right now is a perfect time to take a look at some potentially interesting situations that will have fans glued to their TV’s beginning in early August. So with that said, here are my “Top 7″ NFL storylines to watch for during the upcoming 2012 season……
7 – Rookie QB’s - Last year, rookie QB’s had some truly amazing success that had never really been seen before. Cam Newton had possibly the greatest year ever for a rookie signal caller, and looks like he will be a stud for the next decade. Andy Dalton led his Bengals to the playoffs, surprising nearly everyone. Even guys like Jake Locker, Blaine Gabbert, and Christian Ponder got significant playing time, and showed flashes of why they were selected in the first round. This year, it’s all about Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III, and if they can do what last years rookie QB’s did. They will both be opening day starters, and have every chance to shine. Are they the QB’s of the future for the Colts and Redskins, or will they struggle and disappoint? This will be fun to watch.
6 – America’s Team - Regardless of what year it is, the spotlight always seems to be on the Dallas Cowboys. For several years now, they have been a huge disappointment, as they never seem to put it all together. The roster has a good amount of talent, and they have shown moments where they look like contenders. Undisciplined play, and key mistakes in big moments have crippled them year after year. Is Tony Romo the guy? He has his fans, as well as his critics. Numbers say he is one of the better QB’s in the NFL, but the months of December and January have been his Achilles heel. Is 2012 the end for Tony in Dallas if they don’t make a deep playoff run? We will all surely find out.
5 – Can The Super Bowl Teams Repeat? - It’s been a little over 5 months since the Giants defeated the Patriots, just like they did 4 years ago. After shocking the world in 2008, New York really struggled the following year and never regained their edge. Can they avoid complacency this time around and make another charge towards the Super Bowl? Will New England and Tom Brady make their 6th trip to the Super Bowl in the last 11 years? It’s always difficult to repeat in either Conference, and is rarely achieved.
4 – The Dream Team - Once the 2011 lockout was over, the Philadelphia Eagles put together a team that was quickly labeled “The Dream Team”, as many experts had them going to the Super Bowl. Things quickly unraveled in the city of brotherly love, and the Eagles finished the year at 8-8. Andy Reid is the longest tenured coach in the NFL, and he is squarely on the hot seat to win big now. Can Philly rise up to the expectations, or will they crumble again under the pressure?
3 – Bountygate - What a mess….Suspensions, lies, bounties….this upcoming season will be fascinating to see in the Big Easy. The Saints are going to attempt to push the scandal aside, and try to win football games. Along with this, they were in the midst of a ridiculous contract dispute with Drew Brees. They finally got it done last week and locked him up for the next 5 years, as both he and the rest of the organization can now move on and focus on the field. He is the one guy who could keep New Orleans competitive this season because of his sheer brilliance on the field. 2012 is going to be mighty compelling stuff in the deep south.
2 – Sanchez vs Tebow - Juicy….that is one word to describe the potential circus for the New York Jets. You have a struggling, shaky QB in Mark Sanchez, and you bring in the media chaos that is Tim Tebow. This is gonna be fun. How long before the chants start? Tebow, Tebow, Tebow, Tebow……wait, they already have. How long before Timmy is the starting QB? How does Mark handle being benched? What if Tebow plays, and is just as bad or worse? The possible storylines are really endless here, and it’s anyones guess as to how this pans out. Odds are, it gets really messy, and watching it unfold will be every NFL fans guilty pleasure.
1 – Peyton Manning - “The Sheriff” is now in orange and blue. His days as a Colt are over and he has moved on to the Denver Broncos to win Super Bowls, now. Is he truly healthy? Is he the Peyton Manning of old, or just an old Peyton Manning? Can he make all of his backs and receivers better in Denver like he always did in Indy? Can he lead an aerial assault that Broncos fans have not seen since the days of John Elway? The expectations are huge now, as nearly all Denver fans have their Broncos penciled in to win big in 2012. All NFL fans will be massively intrigued to see how this story plays out in the Mile High City. I have a hunch that the opener vs the Steelers will have some mighty big TV ratings
Denver Sports by J Simp