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NFL Training Camp Storylines, Ranked

FOXBOROUGH, MA - JULY 29, 2021: Gunner Olszewski #80 of the New England Patriots performs a drill during training camp at Gillette Stadium on July 29, 2021 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images)
Kathryn Riley/Getty Images

This portion of the NFL season is a trap. Do not fall for it. The doldrums of the preseason exist to distract fans from making the most of the dwindling summer. Why would you spend your final weeks without football worrying about who makes the 53-man roster? They're not going to ask for your input! Besides, it'll likely change one week into the season anyway.

The urge to care about football in August seems like self-inflicted and unnecessary agitation to me. I watched five minutes of the Patriots losing a preseason game to the Texans before I tapped out. Unless someone's getting hurt or arrested, very little of it will influence a team's trajectory. Look, do I remember every year that Nate Davis once aired out a 65-yard pass in a 2010 exhibition game? Yes. Has it had any material effect on my life? No.

All the NFL storylines are interchangeable in the month before the regular season anyway. Every player looks slimmed down, or bulked up, or sharper, or quicker. There are 32 public-relations campaigns being waged across the country, and they all insist they can win. Then they actually have to play somebody.

Oh, hold on—Eagles first-round rookie Jalen Carter bulldozed an offensive lineman? That's crazy. Surely it'll be more significant than last year, when Eagles first-round rookie Jordan Davis bulldozed an offensive lineman. Davis's debut season turned forgettable after a foot injury along with a gradual reduction in snaps. Maybe this will be his year. You'll never believe this, but he's looking a little leaner in camp. Sounds like he's in the best shape of his life!

Since all the training camp storylines are the same, below is a ranking of these archetypes:

1. Quarterback misthrows ball. Ideally, into a hospitality tent.

2. Fight breaks out in joint practice. Coach loves the intensity, but we don't want anyone to get hurt doing something stupid.

3. Fight breaks out among teammates. Coach loves the intensity, but we don't want anyone to get hurt doing something stupid.

4. Incredible touchdown connection between third-string quarterback and fourth-string receiver. You will never hear about either of them again in your life.

5. Rookie beats veteran in a one-on-one. Whoa, this guy might be ready to be a starter!

6. Rookie looks overmatched in a one-on-one. Fire the GM.

7. Backup gets more reps than expected. The team's trust in him is building! Could this be a sign of things to come?

8. Starting quarterback ends practice with an interception. Bad. Even if the defender made a great play, it's still bad and it means your team made the wrong call when it draft/signed/traded for this guy. Give the backup a look; he's getting more reps these days.

9. New coach keeps players accountable. They made the right call when they hired this guy. Things are going to be pretty different around here now.

10. Reporter takes blurry photo.

11. Devastating injury. Fuck. They're getting the cart. It's over. It's so over.

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