Good morning, and welcome to a week for which we've been waiting quite a long time. The Eagles' rookies reported for training camp Sunday, and by the end of this week each of our teams will have held at least one training-camp practice. I begin my tour of the division's four camps with a stop in Albany to see the Super Bowl champion Giants on Friday and Saturday. It is a sign that the long, dull summer is nearing an end and that real NFL football looms around the next couple of corners. You are welcome to be excited. And to enjoy your links.
The Eagles had hoped to have defensive tackle Mike Patterson back for the start of camp, but his recovery from January brain surgery is being watched closely by doctors, who have recommended he skip training camp and possibly sit out a few months for the sake of his own health. Obviously, the team wouldn't rush him anyway, since we're talking about potential brain injury here, but the Eagles have the luxury of being loaded at defensive tackle and can start Antonio Dixon, Derek Landri or first-round draft pick Fletcher Cox in Patterson's place.
Michael Vick isn't backing off last week's comments about the Eagles' potential to build a dynasty. Heck, he's not backing off of Vince Young's ill-advised "Dream Team" comment from last summer. Hey, look, you guys know how I feel about this, but I also think it's good that a team and its leaders don't care what the outside world thinks. Vick gets points for that. And while the only thing that matters now is whether he delivers on the big talk, he seems to know that, too.
One of the areas on which we'll have our eye when the Redskins open camp later this week is the tight end position. Mark Maske breaks down the questions facing Fred Davis, Chris Cooley and Niles Paul.
Another such area is the wide receiver position, where the Redskins have a few guys coming off of injuries and looking to use the coming weeks to show how healthy they are and convince the coaches they can be starters. Rich Campbell breaks down the questions facing Santana Moss, Leonard Hankerson and Josh Morgan.
Tony Romo made it clear last week that he was standing behind troubled receiver Dez Bryant and would do what he could to support him. Tim MacMahon thinks that should put to rest any questions about Romo as the Cowboys' team leader. The Romo-Bryant relationship is an interesting one. Bryant speaks of Romo in reverent tones, as though he'd follow him anywhere. Romo seems to understand the way the young players in the locker room view him, and that a guy like Bryant wants and needs to be led by him.
New York Giants
Veteran safety Deon Grant told his hometown paper he expects to re-sign with the Giants at some point during training camp. We have discussed this possibility here, and it obviously makes sense. The question is not whether the Giants would like to have Grant back, since they like him a great deal, but rather what role they have for him in their 2012 defense.
And no, this isn't about football, but I got a kick out of ESPNNewYork.com's interview with Michael Boley about his Call of Duty obsession. I guess who among us hasn't played a video game until the sun came up, and sometimes it's fun to see these guys as great big kids.