We dig deep in our twitter bag for a few tweets.
Where do we start?
How will Dre Kirkpatrick rebound? Will he unseat Terence Newman and Adam Jones on his way to the top? Orson Charles' conversion as an H-Back is very intriguing, especially considering the variable he adds. A variable which disrupts our simplistic rosterology perspectives. Is Brandon Tate's wide receiver spot in serious trouble from Cobi Hamilton and Ryan Whalen? Will someone supplant him as our return man? The story I am perhaps most interested in, pertains to cornerbacks Brandon Ghee and Shaun Prater. How far can they climb after returning from season ending injuries in 2012? They both showed us something last year before their respective injuries.
As for the best starting position battle, I'm sticking with the one I've been looking forward to since last year. Center. Offensive linemen are rarely given the credit that they deserve. One of the few times that people intentionally point them out is when a block is missed and a quarterback is destroyed. An offensive linemen will never trend on twitter -- unless he's the one destroyed by someone like Geno Atkins. Every once in a while you get the:
Television Example (not based on a true story)
Announcer One: "The quarterback is throwing lasers out there today."
Announcer Two: "Like his eyes. Laser, blue."
Announcer One: "Like Superman."
Announcer Two: "That would be A.J. Green."
Announcer One: "Maybe Boy Wonder."
Tony Siragusa: "Get me the **** out of here."
Dan Hoard: "Andy Dalton has played well today."
Dave Lapham: (fifteen minute speech about the offensive line, with a few involuntary hoots, woots and hollers)
Every position battle is exciting. When it's all said and done, the players that proved themselves the most have earned that right to start. At least that's how it's supposed to work.
I'll never dispute or criticize someones redemption story. And it's good that Jones has, for the most part, turned his life around while detailing the consequences of his personal choices. Unfortunately, I believed that once before.
With an assault charge lingering over his head while speaking to the newest crop of players at the NFL rookie symposium this week, we wonder this: How can rookies take him seriously right now?
Don't get me wrong. I hope that Jones continues on this path of redemption that he believes he's on. But whatever. I've stopped promoting the idea, thought, or care that he has.
But if I'm asked about examples on how an NFL player can completely change his life for the better, I will always go with Chris Henry before Jones. Someone has to tell his story.
@CincyJungle Will Andre Smith do another shirtless workout to show how ripped he is now for Hard Knocks?— Walt (@walzav31) June 26, 2013
It would make sense, considering how unconcerned his teammates and coaches are about his conditioning after having missed the team's entire offseason training program.
Yes. Considering I'm more Jack Shephard than John Locke (in season one and two), I need visual proof to lower my concerns.
@CincyJungle Sleepers to start by mid season?— Matthew Yoo (@ooYJM) June 25, 2013
My favorite right now is linebacker Emmanuel Lamur starting at WILL (with Vontaze Burfict moving inside). And it wouldn't be surprising if Lamur is one of two linebackers in basic nickel packages. Does that really make him a sleeper? What about Carlos Dunlap, who has started all of two games throughout his entire NFL career? Or is that too easy? Shawn Williams at safety and Dre Kirkpatrick at cornerback are also high on my sleeper list.
@CincyJungle you guys see mccalebb as a practice squad guy??— 85 (@B_Reynolds85) June 22, 2013
One thing I enjoy about reading about Onterio McCalebb is that you can feel his ambition when reading his comments. He's spending time talking to one of the greatest Bengals cornerbacks in franchise history. On multiple occasions, he has said that he'll do whatever it takes to help Cincinnati win. Of course he's a rookie trying to find his place in the NFL, so it's almost expected.
But how do you not like a guy with that infectious desire?
On the other hand, his transition from running back and cornerback is going as well as one could expect. Slowly. He won't make the 53-man roster this year. If the Bengals find something in him to develop, the practice squad is a very real possibility.
We're not giving anything away, but did anyone notice the Battlestar Galactica alumni in Man of Steel? Fun movie, by the way.
NOTE: We're adding this line because our total word count for this posting was 666 words. We might be more Shephard, but we're not going to have our day ruined if we don't have to.