Much has been made about Idzik's competition mantra. I am a big fan of Idzik's team building philosophy, but even I know that there are limits when it comes to having competition at every position. Some positions are locked in by our best players. Other positions have more than one good player, so it can still be labeled as a competition. Still other spots have no proven veterans and these are the real competitions.
Let's break this into a five categories:
Lead-pipe Locked-in Starters - These guys could start on most teams. 0% Competition
- DE - Wilkerson
- DE - Richardson
- WR - Decker
- C - Mangold
- LT - Ferguson
- K - Folk
- OLB - Colpes - on the cusp, but i think he will break out in 2014
- ILB - Harris - on the cusp, trending in the wrong direction
- Slot - Kerley - on the cusp and only counts if you count the slot as a starter
Starters by Default: This group of guys are not household names, but they will almost certainly start, because there is virtually no viable alternative on the current roster, unless someone comes out of nowhere alla Damon Harrison, or we sign someone not currently on our camp roster.
- CB - Miliner
- ILB - Davis
- OLB - Pace
- RT - Giacomini
- P - Quigley
- LS - Purdum
Competition of Strength: These are competitions between two quality guys. In these cases, it is likely that both guys will get a lot of snaps, so it is more about who gets to say there own name on MNF. In most of these positions there is an assumed starter, but the other guy is good enough to steal the reigns. I list the presumed starter first.
- QB - Smith/Vick - you all know the story, and yes I am stretching it to call them two quality guys or two say that they will both get a lot of snaps!
- NT - Harrison/Ellis - Snacks played too well in 2013 to be supplanted, but Ellis is too good to go unmentioned
- RB - Johnson/Ivory - They have to start CJ1K, but Ivory deserves 1B status as a quality incumbent.
- TE - Cumberland/Amaro - How Jace's game will translate to the pro level has yet to be seen, but I think he will be able to push Cumby. If he can't then it will be a huge disappointment.
Three Guys - Two Spots
- G - Colon/Winters/Aboushi - Three guys, three questions. Will Colon be able to get and stay healthy? Will Winters show any improvement? Is the Aboushi hype just hype, or is has he really made a giant leap? Colon is the assumed to be the starting RG, but I think his health makes this more of a competition than it would be.
- S - Pryor/Allen/Landry - Landry will inevitably be phased out, but how quickly will the young guys be ready to step in?
Wide open - these are the positions that make gang green nation fans lack confidence in Idzik. I think that ultimately, if we find diamonds in the rough here, our new GM will be called a genius, and if we dont, he will be called a fool!
- WR 2 - Nelson/Hill/Ford/Evans/Saunders/Enunwa/Salas/Gates - I think it is really between Nelson and Hill to start the year. I like Nelson's sure handedness and route running over Hill's speed and measurables.
- CB 2 (and nickel) - Patterson/Wilson/Walls/McDougle/Dowling/Lankster/Patrick/Dixon - Most likely we will see Dmitri at the 2 and Klye Wilson at the nickel, but really, who knows what could happen. Every player on this list has an injury history, a high ceiling and limited experience. Many are hopeful that Dex will step up, but we all know how hard it is to step in as a rookie starting corner. Cincy's Marvin Jones will be licking his lips after what he did to Miliner. This is the ultimate five-and-dime store grab bag. Heaven help us.
- FB - Bohanan/Young - Where is terminator when you need him? T-bow is the incumbent, but he was bad enough that any challenge has to be considered legit.
So, what do you think of my pre-camp roster competition assessment? What categorical changes would you make?
Who do you think will win these battles? Do you see any big surprise starters?