Let the AFC Begin!


Let the AFC Begin!

~ Amy Lignor



Yes, camp begins! Here is a first look at some of your AFC teams and what they are hoping to bring to the field when the NFL season kicks-off.


With “experts” already weighing in that the Pack will take the NFC, a majority are stating that the Colts have a shot at doing the same in the AFC. Can Indianapolis defeat Denver? The Patriots? Well, anything can happen.
AFC teams, Colts, Andrew, New England Patriots,  WR Demaryius Thomas, training camp,  Luck, Denver Bronco's, Super Bowl, Ross Ventrone, Buffalo Bills, TE Rob GronkowskiThis time around QB Andrew Luck reported to training camp, completely clean-shaven and eager to begin. He was actually one of the first to arrive. His play was great, and his attitude about worrying about the playoffs instead of thinking about the Super Bowl is right on track. Receiver Andre Johnson and RB Frank Gore, are together at camp in Indy. And OL Robert Mathis appeared on Sunday when the on-field work began. Still coming back from the torn left Achilles’ tendon, he wants him to be ready for the season opener. RB “Boom” Herron is on-site, as well as Pro Bowl receiver T.Y. Hilton, already doing well. Unfortunately, from the onset, the questions were all about the Patriots controversy, and how Brady being suspended helps Indy perhaps win a Super Bowl.


The Denver Bronco’s camp had a whole new feel. Manning is refreshed, and over 4,000 fans appeared to cheer the old guy on. Watching the first day was like watching the Super Bowl, when popular WR Demaryius Thomas exited the locker room to the sound of 4,000 fans cheering. Thomas will be eased slowly back into the wide out position throughout camp, but he did participate in individual receiving drills. He will need to bone up on the Kubiak ways of coaching, but Manning loves the fact he has him back and believes Thomas will have no problems getting back on the horse. (Bronco, to be exact). This is the first training camp under Head Coach Gary Kubiak, and rookies were excited to meet the veterans that would be mentoring them. DeMarcus Ware and Von Miller are up to speed and helping others learn fast.


The Steel Curtain is up in Pittsburgh, and already Ross Ventrone (a much-needed safety and special teams pro) suffered an ankle injury and had to be carted off the field. Head Coach Mike Tomlin reported that it was a “lower leg” issue, but the team then signed DE Jordan Sullen on Wednesday and released linebacker Shawn Lemon, which may lead to the belief that Ventrone has a more serious injury. QB Ben Roethlisberger played only one period of the drill, with Landry Jones playing the rest. The defense looked solid, with a lot of buzz being heard about rookie FB Roosevelt Nix.


The Buffalo Bills were gathering press as the season wound down last year. Now, most of their headlines out of camp come from the QB spot. Rex Ryan has three contenders that he will be judging during camp: E.J. Manuel, Tyrod Taylor, and Matt Cassel. The first two, between them, have only played 28 NFL games, whereas Cassel actually has a pair of 10-win seasons and a Pro-Bowl in his background. But this contender will have to work and prove himself, even over two men who do not have the experience to lead.


This is the AFC, so… The New England Patriots are the Super Bowl defenders, and even though the yapping is all about Deflategate and whether or not Brady will be suspended, training camp was all business which began for the linemen Saturday morning. One-on-one and full contact team drills were run, with the “least smiling coach in the world” looking on. First time RB LeGarrette Blount, and DE Dominique Easley, also practiced, with Blount returning to what some would call ‘championship form.’


Whether it be veterans or the new rookies showing off, almost every name on the team was heralded for their skills. Julian Edelman, rookie safety Jordan Richards, WR Aaron Dobson – take your pick, the Patriots’ camp was full of talented players who are still in Super Bowl form. Not to leave out fan favorite, TE Rob Gronkowski, is back at camp and (like always) catching passes easily from Brady during team drills.


Source:  Baret News