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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Friday, July 21, 2017 at 2:48 PM


The National Football League summer camps are in full bloom—there will be pads popping in all 32 team sites by this time next week with rookies reporting to a host of different teams these past couple of days.

So, let's pick up where we left off in yesterday's column and bring you another handful NFL team notes as training camps swing into action:

BALTIMORE - at Under Armour Performance Center in Owings Mills, MD
The Ravens ranked a horrid 28th in the league in rushing last year while averaging just 91.4 yards per game and so the off-season move to hire "run-game doctor" Greg Roman was looked upon as a real positive even if Roman didn't last very long in Buffalo during the failed Rex Ryan Era. Note that RB Terrance West is listed as the team's #1 guy on the depth chart after rushing for 774 yards (4.0 ypg average) a year ago.

CAROLINA - at Wofford College in Spartanburg, SC
No doubt there's some major upheaval going on in Panthers' camp where GM Dave Gettleman was axed and Marty Hurney was named as interim general manager - is that chaos gonna filter down onto the field? Head coach Ron Rivera doesn't believe so but he's got his own issues as QB Cam Newton looks to work through shoulder issues.

DETROIT - at Allen Park, MI
Guess the Lions liked what they saw from the University of Florida defense last year 'cause the NFC North crew nabbed their first two draft picks from this Gainesville "D". Inside linebacker Jarrad Davis was picked #21 overall and then CB Teez Tabor was drafted in Round II and both will be under the media microscope this summer while trying to upgrade a Detroit defense that allowed 42, 31 and 26 points in the team's final three games in 2016.

NEW YORK JETS - at Atlantic Health Training Center in Florham Park, NJ
Everywhere you look this summer you see media reports that the J-E-T-S are gonna be an historically bad team (maybe even worse than that 1996 edition that finished 1-15?) but third-year head coach Todd Bowles doesn't want to hear any "tanking" talk this summer. The numero uno player that will gain plenty of attention at camp is second-year QB Christian Hackenberg who was basically "redshirted" last year - can he show enough in practices/scrimmages to win this job over Josh McCown?

TENNESSEE - at Saint Thomas Sports Park in Nashville, TN
As QB Marcus Mariota continues to work his way back from last year's broken fibula in his right leg suffered in a Week 16 game … but while Mariota's on the med he's been given a new dose of wide receiver help including a pair of draftees in Western Michigan's Corey Davis (No. 5 pick) and Western Kentucky's Taywan Taylor (third-round pick). Gut feel is the Titans would welcome 130-to-150 catches between 'em here in 2017.

Good stuff in the bigs this late July weekend and here's some of what we'll be watching - and winning with - this Friday/Saturday/Sunday:

ST. LOUIS (46-49) at CHICAGO (49-45) - Don't look now but the Cubbies have won six in a row and now trail Milwaukee by a mere one game and this weekend new LHP Jose Quintana gets a shot to impress the North Side fans once again. In fact, since Quintana's 8-0 win at Baltimore last Sunday afternoon, Chicago's other starting pitchers have allowed a grand total of six runs in the past three games (a three-game sweep in Atlanta).
On the flip side, the Cardinals continue to bungle their way through the '17 season - in yesterday's 3-2 loss at the New York Mets there was reliever Trevor Rosenthal failing to cover first base on a rocket-hard ground ball by SS Jose Reyes that wound up plating the winning run in the bottom of the ninth.

WASHINGTON (57-37) at ARIZONA (55-40) - Let's stick right here in the National League where the Nationals are playing .606 ball (and still ain't in the Los Angeles Dodgers' league as LA's won 30 of its last 34 games). Note that Washington gave All-Star RF Bryce Harper a night of rest in Wednesday's 7-0 loss in Anaheim - he won't be facing RHP Zach Greinke who pitched Wednesday in a 4-3 extra-inning loss in Cincinnati - but remember there's lots of folks keeping a close eye on those new relievers Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson for the Nats.

NOTE: Lots more Football coming in the next editions of Jim Sez.

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