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What we learned: NFC training camp notes

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After more than a day's worth of Geno Smith news and Tom Brady court updates, we have a burning desire to write about football stories. And about teams outside of the Northeast.

Luckily, there is nothing stopping that from happening. Wednesday's "What we learned" will have actual football information from all 16 NFC teams. Let's do this.

NFC West


Arizona Cardinals: Everyone predicting improvement for the Cardinals should consider all the changes in their defense. Inside linebacker is one example. They are counting on Kevin Minter and free agent pickup Sean Weatherspoon to start, but Weatherspoon is already struggling with injuries like he did so often in Atlanta. He experienced a setback in his hamstring injury, and is out at least another week.

Seattle Seahawks: While Kam Chancellor continues his holdout, his half-brother Keenan Lambert is trying to take his spot. Lambert is an undrafted rookie that has been taking snaps as the No. 3 safety with Chancellor out. Dion Bailey has moved into Chancellor's role in the starting lineup.

St. Louis Rams: The details of Nick Foles' contract were interesting. He is fully guaranteed $6.75 million in 2016, according to NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport. That means he'll be a member of the Rams next season even if this season is a disaster. ... Rapoport also snuck in some surprising news about No. 10 overall pick Todd Gurley: The Rams don't expect him to be ready for the first 2-3 games of the season. 

San Francisco 49ers: Keep an eye on NaVorro Bowman and Jerryd Hayne in San Francisco's opener. It will be Bowman's first action since his knee injury in the NFC Championship game against the Seahawks. It's insane to think how much has changed for the 49ers since then. Hayne, the rugby star, is expected to get a lot chances to touch the ball to build on an impressive training camp.

NFC South


Atlanta Falcons: Ricardo Allen, featured on Hard Knocks last season, didn't even make the team. Now he's expected to be the starting free safety. ... The running back duo of Tevin Coleman and Devonta Freeman continue to be out of practice because of dueling groin injuries.

Carolina Panthers: Jerricho Cotchery started 14 games last season, including the team's Divisional Round loss to Seattle. But he no longer seems guaranteed to make the team after Devin Funchess' drafting. ... With all the contracts for linebackers going down of late, Luke Kuechly could be next in line. The Charlotte Observer believes there's a 50-50 chance it happens before the season.

New Orleans Saints: Two names that have received a lot of buzz in camp: Rookie linebacker Stephone Anthony and receiver Brandon Coleman. It's possible that Coleman wins the No. 3 receiver job over Nick Toon. And Anthony could be one of the key players on the entire defense. ... Anthony was the No. 31 overall pick. The No. 13 overall pick, tackle Andrus Peat, has not enjoyed a strong camp according to Jeff Duncan of the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: After an uneven start to camp, NFL Media's Jeff Darlington reported Wednesday that Jameis Winston is starting to string positive outings together in practice. ... Louis Murphy missed the first 11 days of camp. He was the favorite to be the slot receiver. Guys like Kenny Bell, Rannell Hall and second-year pro Robert Herron are now contenders for the job. This is not good news for Winston.

NFC North

Chicago Bears: While Marcus Mariota was getting all the attention, Jay Cutler hasn't thrown an interception during team drills in training camp. Which is a reminder that these practice interception streaks are utterly meaningless.

Detroit Lions: It would be a surprise at this point if Ameer Abdullah wasn't Detroit's primary runner to start the season. He's been a standout in camp and Joique Bell looks unlikely to be healthy anytime soon.

Green Bay Packers: I was struggling to find a good Packers note, so instead I'll include this ESPN headline without any context: "Packers backup quarterback Scott Tolzien should resemble Aaron Rodgers."

Minnesota Vikings: There is some question about Captain Munnerlyn's role following his absence in the team's preseason opener. It sounds at least possible that he could be out of a job. He may not be a fit for Mike Zimmer's system.

NFC East


Dallas Cowboys: Because of injuries, the Cowboys' top two running backs for their preseason opener will be undrafted rookie Gus Johnson and Lache Seastrunk. Joseph Randle has reportedly had a strong camp overall, and Darren McFadden is finally expected to make his camp debut on Saturday.

New York Giants: The Giants listed Bennett Jackson as a starter at safety for the preseason opener. Jeromy Miles is also getting a crack at the job with Jackson taking snaps at nickel cornerback. This could be the weakest safety position in the NFL. ... Victor Cruz will not play the team's preseason opener as the Giants remain careful with his recovery. ... At this point, it looks like Rashad Jennings' "starter" title will be nominal. We'd expect a close split in snaps between him and Shane Vereen, with Andre Williams' role also growing.

Philadelphia Eagles: It sounds like the Eagles are being very proactive in maintaining DeMarco Murray's health. He continues to take "individualized" workout sessions instead of always practicing.

"We're just doing some different things to get different parts of my body activated and strengthen certain areas," Murray explained to PhillyMag.com.

We wouldn't assume quite yet that rookie first round pick Nelson Agholor will be a starter in Week 1. The Eagles are still working him into the mix slowly.

Washington Redskins: Brandon Scherff, last seen getting abused by J.J. Watt on Hard Knocks has been kicked inside to right guard. Consider that a disappointment considering the team had him at tackle throughout the offseason. Scherff was the No. 5 overall pick in the draft.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast breaks down what Geno Smith's injury means for the Jets and recaps the first Hard Knocks episode in Houston.

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