It’s the Fourth of July, and the NFL league offices are closed for the week, while players and coaches are taking advantage of the down time between the offseason program and the start of training camp in just three weeks to enjoy a small bit of relaxation before the grind of the season arrives.
The end of the offseason has nearly arrived, and teams have their rosters effectively set. The Hall of Fame Game between the Denver Broncos and the Atlanta Falcons is scheduled for just four weeks from today, meaning those two teams report to training camp in just two weeks. In short, the long, slow offseason is nearly over, and there will be some sort of football to enjoy very soon.
Basically, it’s time to start getting excited about the upcoming season. In just a matter of weeks we’ll start to get reports on the players the team added in free agency and the draft, as those players take the field for the team. Just five weeks from today, on August 8, the Seattle Seahawks will host the Broncos in the Hawks’ preseason opener.
That game should give the first real glimpses into the competitions at various spots for starting roles in 2019. Will veterans Mike Iupati and D.J. Fluker stay healthy and hold off the competition from youngsters Phil Haynes and Jordan Simmons at guard? Who will emerge as the second wide receiver behind Tyler Lockett? Will it be Jaron Brown, David Moore or DK Metcalf, or will Keenan Reynolds, John Ursua or Gary Jennings steal one of the starting roles? How will the secondary turn out with the addition of Marquise Blair and Ugo Amadi? How will Ziggy Ansah’s recovery from shoulder surgery progress and at what point in the season will he be available to destroy opposing quarterbacks?
On the roster side of things, will the team extend Bobby Wagner, Jarran Reed or some other player, such as Germain Ifedi or George Fant? Will Mychal Kendricks indeed be available to play as his situation continues to be drawn out? With the amount of turnover the roster has seen over the past couple of years, specifically on the defensive side of the ball, there are more questions heading into training camp than there have been in seasons past. Now it’s just a matter of waiting until the fireworks of training camp and the preseason to see how things will progress.
On the subject of fireworks, since it is the Fourth of July and I was up early this morning and bored, please feel free to enjoy the short fireworks animation I put together for the holiday.