Let all the worrying begin.
Too soon? Hey it's not just the reputation of the Chargers running back for, uh, not being available. For a two-week span, it seemed like tons of players were going down ... Jeremy Maclin, Dennis Pitta, Dan Koppen and on and on. Fans have been cringing -- understandably -- with each gloomy video clip from camp. See: A.J. Green taking a tumble on HBO's "Hard Knocks." Thankfully, the Cincinnati Bengals' star wideout turned out to be OK, merely tweaking his knee.
All of which is to say that our first non-offseason Power Rankings were heavily influenced by the franchise health-o-meter. That starts right at the top, as the last time we took stock of all 32 clubs, there was a different team at No. 1. You'll see that has changed -- because of the loss of a slot receiver. Take a look at that and the rest of the NFL totem pole after a week of preseason action.
Remember, we welcome your thoughts ... @Harrison_NFL is always the dropbox. Let the dissension commence!
NOTE: The following pecking order reflects changes from the June 25 Power Rankings, which were compiled at the close of minicamps.
All that said, we still have the 49ers on top ...
The guy we're watching? Doug Baldwin. He can play, and he should be a primary option in the slot sans Harvin. There's a reason teams inquired about Baldwin's availability this offseason.
By the way, with the New England Patriots' passing game still in flux and Denver losing its center, this is the year to get it done in Houston.
On the subject of Green, awkward spills involving little-to-no contact have destroyed guys' careers. Jamal Anderson in 1999 at Texas Stadium comes to mind. Robert Edwards, who rushed for 1,000 yards as a rookie with the New England Patriots in 1998, was an up-and-coming player like Green before leaping for a ball in a beach -- yes, beach -- flag football game. He was never the same. Anyway, disaster averted here for the Bengals.
As with many teams, health is the mitigating factor here. But if all goes well, the Redskins are the favorites in the NFC East.
On a sad note ... I mentioned Cardinals rookie wideout Ryan Swope in this space last time. Unfortunately, Swope had to call it quits before he ever got started due to lingering concussion symptoms. Hate to see a kid have to give up the dream -- his dream -- so quickly.
*Power Rankings side note:* This is the squad most primed for a surge, at least among the bottom-tier teams. </content:power-ranking>