The offseason has dragged on even longer than usual in 2017, thanks to endless 28-3 jokes and the interminable passage of time. We are nearly there, though, which means it’s time to think of that most vital aspect of training camp: Position battles.
Kelsey Conway with the Falcons recently asked which position battle fans are most interested in, and I thought the results were interesting because they didn’t quite match my expectations. It also sets us up for a discussion about which battles are the most important.
Falcons fam, which position battle are you most interested in watching during the preseason?— Kelsey Conway (@FalconsKelsey) July 11, 2017
What’s most interesting to me is that linebacker is the most popular selection here. The Falcons have announced that De’Vondre Campbell will play the strong side and Duke Riley will be an early favorite for the weak side. The only true competition, then, would appear to be between Riley and Kemal Ishmael for the starting weak side gig. To me, that’s less compelling than the right guard scrap between Ben Garland and Wes Schweitzer, and the nickel back competition between Brian Poole and Damontae Kazee. That may just be because I’ve seen and heard plenty about how over the moon this team is with Riley, and thus my initial optimism about Ishmael’s chances is fading.
The reality is that there simply aren’t a ton of hotly-contested, hugely important battles this year, because this is a relatively settled roster. Right guard, linebacker, nickel back and perhaps free safety are the only spots where young players are contending for open spots and we’re at all worried about regression from last year. That’s a nice feeling.
I’m interested to hear from you guys which battles are important to you, which will help us prioritize our own previews. So let’s have you vote on our poll and see how closely it matches the one the Falcons put together.
Which position battle matters the most to you/the team during training camp?
This poll is closed
Stay tuned! We’ll be running down each of the key position battles anew next week.