The most underrated 2022 NFL training camp scenarios: Tom Brady’s Buccaneers are still stacked in the NFC

Training camps are underway in the NFL, and there is already no shortage of notable headlines. Between quarterback competitions and contracts not acceptedthe summer should offer plenty of intrigue before the real games begin.

But what about topics that don’t get the attention they deserve? Here’s a look at five of the most underrated camp stories worth watching as teams prepare for the 2022 season:

The Buccaneers are (still) loaded

Mike Evans and Tom Brady

SATISFACTION

This offseason, Tom Brady has literally retired, returned (after a reported flirtation with the Dolphins), said goodbye to Bruce Arians, and is now going for an eighth Super Bowl ring at nearly 45, and… somehow, the Bucs don’t even feel like they’re close to being the talk of the town. Maybe we’re so used to the clockwork of Brady’s march to a playoff run, but has anyone been watching Tampa Bay’s depth chart lately? Even with Chris Godwin recovering from injury, TB12 might have the best weapons he’s ever had in Florida: Mike Evans, Leonard Fournette, Julio Jones, Russell Gage, a gold line and defense. If you take a moment to stop watching AFC West, you’ll soon realize that the old man and his pals still stand out as an NFC powerhouse.

Odell Beckham Jr. is still without a team

Odell Beckham Jr.

SATISFACTION

No, he won’t be available early in the year as he recovers from his ACL Super Bowl tear, and no, he’s not a spring chicken as he nears 30. But it’s truly surprising that he hasn’t yet reconnected with the Rams or cashed in elsewhere. Once he got far enough out of the black hole that was his home stretch in Cleveland, OBJ re-emerged as a legit weapon on the outside, helping fuel Los Angeles’ title chase. His hands and his energy remain intact. If Julio Jones can get as much as $8 million as a side piece at this point in his career, then Beckham almost surely can too. Someone will be happy to roll it out in December.

The glaring holes on the Packers and Raiders

Aaron Rodgers and Randall Cobb

SATISFACTION

It’s just that they’re linked, with Green Bay shipping Aaron Rodgers favorite Davante Adams to Las Vegas, and Rodgers now poking fun at Adams’ romance with Derek Carr. Both teams have high hopes, with the Packers looking to translate regular-season dominance into playoff victory and the Raiders looking to justify their costly offseason. And both can be good; Rodgers, in particular, assures that Green Bay will at least remain competitive. But are the Packers really heading into 2022, potentially A-Rod’s final season, with Allen Lazard, Sammy Watkins and Randall Cobb as their top veteran receivers? Brian Gutekunst has to use some of his new expansion money to explore any possible last-minute trades, right? As for the Raiders, the receiver is no longer an issue now that Adams is in town, but thank goodness will Carr have time to deliver the ball behind his line? His starting five was already in doubt after a tough 2021, then right guard Denzelle Good abruptly retired this week.

Trubisky’s coast as QB for the Steelers

Mitchell Trubisky

SATISFACTION

So far, everything outside of Pittsburgh indicates that Mitchell Trubisky, the Bears castoff who has started all nine games the past two years, is essentially a lock to open 2022 under center as Ben Roethlisberger’s successor. Which is good, considering he was once full-time, unlike rookie Kenny Pickett. And Trubisky’s setup is certainly better than the one he often had in Chicago; relying on Najee Harris, an improved line and spirited defense could actually allow the QB to play the spoiler. But the Steelers still made Pickett the 20th player picked in the entire 2022 draft class — the first Day 1 QB they’ve selected since Big Ben himself. Is he really unable to steal the job early? Or was Trubisky also composed?

The staff behind the Trey Lance takeover

Trey Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo

SATISFACTION

Lance has rightfully been the poster child for change in San Francisco, opening camp as a proclaimed QB1 while the tried but injury-prone Jimmy Garoppolo awaits his departure. His athletic gifts should help make the 49ers a must-watch TV in 2022. What doesn’t get a ton of publicity, though, is the turnover that’s been happening on the sidelines this offseason, especially in the areas keys to Lance’s development. As NFL Network’s “Good Morning Football” noted this week, San Francisco didn’t just lose Mike McDaniel, Kyle Shanahan’s right-hand man, to a head coaching job. He also named former NFL QB and broadcaster Brian Griese, who has never been an assistant before, as Lance’s QB coach. It’s a lot of uncertainty. A name that could also help unlock Lance: Anthony Lynn, the former Chargers coach who essentially replaced McDaniel as run-game leader.

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