2012 NFL OTA Updates: June 1st
Within the past couple weeks, all 32 NFL teams have begun their OTA’s, (organized team activities) and that is exciting for anyone who can’t wait to see what the 2012 season brings. No it doesn’t provide the same sense of urgency or excitement that training camps and actual games do, but hey, it’s a step in the right direction.
As you can see, this column is titled “NFL Depth Chart Watch.” What may not be so obvious is that it’s going to be a weekly column that focuses on any significant or important changes that teams around the NFL currently are dealing with. These changes may be due to injury, a player retiring, trades or simply where certain guys are playing in their teams activities.
With that being said, let’s begin!
Drew Brees – QB New Orleans Saints
I can’t think of a bigger hit to any NFL team than if the Saints and Drew Brees don’t get their contract negotiations worked out. The Saints signed Drew Brees to the franchise tag, a provision that allows the Saints to keep Brees, but only for one year and a cool $16.3 million dollars (Brees is seeking a multi-year extension).
Drew Brees has been instrumental since coming over from San Diego after the 2005 season in turning a bad Saints team and a hurricane-ravaged city, into a consistent Super Bowl contender every year. Last season, Brees shattered Dan Marino’s single-season passing yards record of 5,084 yards, by throwing 5,476 yards, a mark that had stood for 27 years. There is no way to sugarcoat it, so I won’t even make an attempt to. The Saints know they need to re-sign Brees and the Brees knows he belongs in New Orleans.
Without Brees, the Saints would have to rely on Chase Daniel, a 4th year player who has completed only 6 passes in his career. I just don’t see this contract stalemate lasting into the start of training camp or affecting the Saints and Brees’ season given the fact that New Orleans assistant head coach Joe Vitt said this week that he is confident Brees will be in training camp. The Saints have until July 16th to sign Brees to a new multi-year deal otherwise Brees has to decide to play with the franchise tag or holdout the entire season. Stay tuned.
Hakeem Nicks – WR New York Giants
Last week, the Giants broke the news that one of their star wide-receivers broke his foot during OTA’s. That man was Hakeem Nicks. Nicks is no stranger to succumbing to injury as he has missed 5 games in his brief career with New York so far. Nicks is one of quarterback Eli Manning’s favorite targets and to lose him for any length of time would be a significant blow to New York’s receiving corps. In 2011, Nicks caught 76 passes for 1,192 yards and 7 TD’s. When asked this week if Nicks would be back by the time the regular season starts, he replied, “I don’t have any doubt.” A broken foot is an injury that isn’t something to take lightly and I would suggest monitoring Nicks’ status in the weeks to come leading up to training camp and the regular season.
Aside from Hakeem Nicks, the Giants have Victor Cruz, who burst onto the scene as a stud wide-out in 2011, and a bunch of relatively unknown recievers to back them up. Mario Manningham was a solid option, but he was signed in the offseason by the San Francisco 49ers. So just keep an eye out.
Aside from Hakeem Nicks, the Giants have Victor Cruz, who burst onto the scene as a stud wide-out in 2011 and a bunch of relatively unknown recievers to back them up. Mario Manningham was a solid option, but he was signed in the offseason by the San Francisco 49ers.
That means rookie Rueben Randle could be a guy to watch, while Rames Barden and Domenik Hixon likely battle for scraps. Any of the three could claim the number three spot when the dust settles, though, and whoever does could have a big role if Nicks misses any time due to his foot injury.
Who will emerge as the main man in Arizona?
There is a full-fledged quarterback competition in Arizona once again. Just like Kurt Warner and Matt Leinart duked it out a few years back, Kevin Kolb and John Skelton will do battle against one another to see who emerges as the 2012 starting quarterback for the Arizona Cardinals. So far in OTA’s, Cardinals head coach Ken Wisenhunt is splitting first-team reps down the middle between his two quarterbacks. Although Wisenhunt did say that the reps would be split evenly, he has come out and said the job would not simply be gifted to Kolb because of the massive $63 million contract, ($20 million guaranteed) that he signed before last season. That means the bulk of the pressure lands squarely on Kolb’s shoulders, not only due to his contract, but also because he couldn’t stay healthy in 2011, as he played in only nine games.
Skelton on the other hand, doesn’t have the pressure of a huge contract weighing him down and he had numbers that were similar in stature to the numbers Kolb put up. If he can improve in the slightest as a more accurate passer and learn the offense better, he may have a shot at the starting gig. However, If I were a betting man, which I am occasionally, I would look for Kevin Kolb to be the Cardinals starter Week 1 when they host the Seattle Seahawks.