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AFC North Training Camp Previews

Sigmund Bloom runs down injuries, position battles, and offensive changes to watch for AFC North and gives his view on the direction the team is headed.

Training camp openings are coming, so it's time to focus our attention on the changes, injury recoveries, and position battles that will inform our last tweaks to our draft boards before we draft. It's also good to record our thoughts on the direction of the offense as it affects fantasy bottom lines before camp and preseason twists and turns make us doubt what we have spent months mulling over waiting for football to come back. I'll try to give insight into where I think the puck is going with these teams, because like Wayne Gretzky said, we should skate there instead of where the puck has been, i.e. last year's results.


Offensive Change(s) to Watch: The team added RB Kenneth Dixon to a muddled backfield in the fourth round. The high effort, multi-faceted back could be the next man up behind Justin Forsett with a good summer. Mike Wallace was signed in the offseason to add another deep threat to a vertical, pass-heavy offense. Left tackle Eugene Monroe was released after the team took Notre Dame tackle Ronnie Stanley #6 overall. Ben Watson signed to bolster a deep but uncertain tight end group after a late career renaissance in New Orleans.

Injury Situation(s) to Watch: WR Breshad Perriman suffered a partially torn ACL during OTAs and received a stem cell injection to aid healing. The team says they expect him to be ready for Week 1, but we remember how his knee injury situation went during his rookie year. WR Steve Smith is rehabbing from a torn achilles and will likely miss the entire preseason, if not regular season games. TE Dennis Pitta is attempting a comeback after hip fractures cost him most of the last three years. TE Crockett Gillmore had surgeries on both shoulders in the offseason, but the team expects him to be ready for training camp. QB Joe Flacco suffered a torn ACL and MCL late in the season, but he has recently indicated that he expects to be on the field for the first practice of training camp. RB Trent Richardson is trying to revive his career, but he had knee surgery in June.