Training Camp Preview: NFC West

2017-07-31 09:41:51
By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer
RealTime Fantasy Sports

Tyler Lockett is still recovering

This is the final preview in a series of training camp previews. We will continue to release the previews throughout the week. The previews give you a quick look at each team, going over position battles and injuries to watch in camp. The season is right around the corner.

Rams

The Rams have a new coaching staff and some new players on both sides of the ball. So much of camp will be dedicated to getting up to speed in the new system. There is a lot to learn and some positions to get sorted. It should make for a pretty heated camp for the Rams, who look to turn the corner in year two in Los Angeles. This team is going to need to start making waves in a hurry to keep the Rams fans engaged.

Position battle: The tight end position is going to be one to watch for the Rams, especially since the new offense likes to utilize the positin. The starter for the Rams could get a lot of targets in an offense that should throw often. Rookie Gerald Everett might have a leg up to start but don't discount Tyler Higbee. Both are talented pass catching tight ends. The player that picks up the offense the quickest is likely to start. It is a battle to watch during training camp.

Injury watch: Receiver Tavon Austin had offseason wrist surgery. He has missed workouts this offseason but is on track to be ready for the start of training camp. He could miss a little time early in camp as the Rams take it cautious with him. The good news is Austin should be up to speed shortly and should be a big part of the offense this year as long as he is healthy.

Cardinals

The Cardinals didn't have quite the season as expected last year. Injuries really hurt the team and some inconsistent play at quarterback from Carson Palmer was an issue. Training camp should be dedicated to getting Palmer back to his old form and the team staying healthy. If both those things happen, Arizona can be a very dangerous team. There is a lot of talent on both sides of the ball.

Position battle: The Cardinals don't have a lot to decide in training camp when it comes to positions. One position that might turn into a battle is the No. 3 receiver spot. J.J. Nelson seems to have a leg up for the spot but don't sleep on Jaron Brown. He could challenge for the No. 3 job if he plays well in camp and shows he is healthy. Nelson won't be handed the job.

Injury watch: Receiver Jaron Brown tore his ACL early last season and missed the rest of the year. He is making good progress from the injury, though, and has a shot to be ready for the starting of training camp. He could be slowed some early in camp but all indications are he will be ready for the start of the year. He could challenge for the No. 3 receiving role if healthy and looking like his old self.

49ers

The 49ers won just two games last season, leading to the team making a move with their coaching staff. San Francisco really has a lot of new pieces in place, which will make training camp very important for the team. The 49ers will need to get on the same page in a hurry if this team hopes to make any progress. San Francisco has a long ways to go to make the playoffs once again, but having a strong training camp could be a step in the right direction for the team.

Position battle: The 49ers have a lot of players competing for playing time at receiver. Pierre Garcon is the clear No. 1 for the team but after that, it is wide open for playing time. Marquise Goodwin, Jeremy Kerley, Aldrick Robinson, DeAndre Smelter, Bruce Ellington and Aaron Burbridge will battle out for playing time at receiver for the 49ers. It is a situation to watch because the team is likely to throw often, meaning there should be a lot of targets for the starter opposite Garcon and the No. 3 or 4 receiver for the team.

Injury watch: Receiver Bruce Ellington was setup to have a big season last year but tore his hamstring and missed the entire season. A new coaching staff this year could make it harder for him to play a big role with the team. And he had a sore hamstring during offseason workouts, which kept him out of practice. This doesn't help matters for him going forward. Ellington needs to show he can stay healthy if he hopes to make the team and serve as the No. 3 or 4 receiver for the team.

Seahawks

The expectations are high in Seattle once again. This team is very talented and can make a run at the Super Bowl if all goes well for them. The Seahawks had a few disturbances in the clubhouse last year, so getting everyone happy again could be the focus of this training camp. Coach Pete Carroll needs to get this team on the same page and focused on getting the job done on the field.

Position battle: The Seahawks signed Eddie Lacy this offseason in hopes of him becoming the No. 1 back for the team, but he won't be handed the job. Lacy will have to hold off Thomas Rawls, who has produced well with past chances. If Lacy isn't in shape and performing near his levels of past years, don't discount Rawls to be the starter for the Seahawks. Lacy is going to have to provide his worth with his new team.

Injury watch: Receiver Tyler Lockett broke his leg late last season. He has endured a long road back and done little this offseason. There is hope he will be ready for the start of training camp, but he might not be 100 percent for a few weeks. Either way, it looks like Lockett will be ready for Week 1 and should serve his normal role in the offense.

jeff@rtsports.com