LaRon Landry of Jets and 10 other safety battles


Training camp is finally almost here. They allow tackling there and everything. Around the League will count down the top 30 position battles to watch throughout the preseason.

Top 30 training camp position battles

No. 30: Seahawks running backs
No. 29: Packers No. 3 receiver
No. 28: Broncos backup running back
No. 27: Bengals cornerbacks
No. 26: Raiders backup quarterback
No. 25: Cardinals receiver
No. 24: Jets right tackle
No. 23: Jets linebacker
No. 22: Redskins running back
No. 21: Giants No. 3 receiver
No. 20: Patriots receiver
No. 19: Colts tight end
No. 18: Rams receivers
No. 17: Jaguars quarterbacks
No. 16: Bears wide receivers
No. 15: NFL safety battles
No. 14: Jaguars No. 2 receiver
No. 13: Bears left tackle
No. 12: Randy Moss vs. Father time
No. 11: Lions receivers
No. 10: Cardinals running back
No. 9: Ravens pass rusher
No. 8: Dolphins quarterback
No. 7: Buccaneers running back
No. 6: Steelers defensive end
No. 5: Dolphins wide receiver
No. 4: Cardinals quarterback
No. 3: The Oakland Raiders
No. 2: Titans quarterback
No. 1: Seahawks quarterback

No. 15. The safety dance: 11 battles to choose from

• OK, this isn't just one battle. When I was putting together my original list of possible battles, I noticed that there was a competition for at least one starting safety spot on seemingly every other team. So let's combine the best of them.

• No defensive position has been more impacted by the evolution at tight end than safety. Coaches want versatility. They want guys that can cover and hit. That can line up all over the field. That can be a third cornerback. They want Troy Polamalu or Ed Reed. This is impossible, of course. Which leads to a lot of dissatisfaction and a lot of competition. Let's review some of the best battles.

• New York Jets safety LaRon Landry vs. health: The top three Jets safeties are Yeremiah Bell, Landry, and Eric Smith. It's the soft spot of Rex Ryan's defense.

• Denver Broncos safety Quinton Carter vs. Rahim Moore: This is a battle of 2011 draft picks. Carter was better as a rookie despite getting taken later.

• Washington Redskins safety Tanard Jackson vs. Madieu Williams vs. Reed Doughty: It is a really bad sign for the Redskins safety group when Brandon Meriwether is viewed as the most reliable option.

• Dallas Cowboys safety Brodney Pool vs. Barry Church vs. Matt Johnson: Pool is trying to avoid getting discarded by both of the Ryan brothers.

• Philadelphia Eagles safety Kurt Coleman vs. O.J. Atogwe vs. Jaiqwuan Jarrett: There have been suggestions that Jarrett could be on the roster bubble despite being a second round pick last year. Yikes.

• New England Patriots safety Steve Gregory vs. Tavon Wilson vs. James Ihedigbho: New England's safety spot still looks like a weakness.

• Cincinnati Bengals safety Taylor Mays vs. the field: The former 49ers second round pick is trying to revive his career.

• Minnesota Vikings free for all: First round pick Harrison Smith is the frontrunner for one spot, but it's wide open between him, Mistral Raymond, Jamarca Sanford, and Robert Blanton.

• Cleveland Browns safety Eric Hagg vs. Usama Young: Dick Jauron once again will try to make chicken salad out of lesser defensive parts.

• San Diego Chargers free for all: When Atari Bigby is the leader in the clubhouse, you might give up a lot of big plays.

• Miami Dolphins safety Chris Clemons vs. Jimmy Wilson: With Reshad Jones at the other spot, Miami is looking thin at the position.

• Get the idea? That is a massive list and we probably missed some.