The dog days are here. Nearly two weeks into training camp, teams are tired of practicing against each other. Beat writers are struggling to find new storylines. Everyone needs a change of pace.
That will arrive this week with the true start of the preseason. Before the games begin, let's take another look at some early winners and losers from camp thus far. (Our first roundup is right here.)
James White, New England Patriots: No rookie in the league has had a more steadily growing drumbeat than the fourth-round rookie out of Wisconsin. Teammates, coaches and media alike have raved about White's three-down potential. White has seen a lot of short-yardage work, and there are questions about whether White could cut into Stevan Ridley's early yardage work.
Kenny Britt, St. Louis Rams: It's hard to believe, but he's consistently lining up as a starter. And winning. Britt is listed as a starter on the Rams' initial depth chart. Training camp is about earning snaps, and Britt is making believers out of the Rams coaching staff. Chris Givens might be relegated to being a role player.
Matt Schaub, Oakland Raiders: The quarterback competition with Derek Carr hasn't developed because Schaub has been sharp while Carr has been up and down. The rookie will need a strong preseason to make Raiders coaches think about a midseason change, but it's clear Schaub won't be challenged anytime soon.
49ers' run defense: When it rains, it pours. They lost Glenn Dorsey to a torn biceps muscle -- Dorsey was a vastly underrated run stuffer last year. Linebacker NaVorro Bowman isn't likely to be back until midseason; Aldon Smith is facing a potential suspension; and nose tackle Ian Williams has undergone four ankle surgeries since February. Dorsey's injury should not be overlooked.
Hakeem Nicks, Indianapolis Colts: Durability is a skill in the NFL, and Nicks doesn't have it. He hasn't stayed consistently healthy since the Giants won the Super Bowl. It's not a good sign that Colts offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton openly questioned Nicks' conditioning. After losing running backVick Ballard and guard Donald Thomasfor the season, the Colts are crossing their fingers that Nicks comes through as a free-agent pickup and Reggie Waynerecovers well from his ACL tear.
Jon Baldwin, Detroit Lions: It's rare to see a first-round pick fall out of the league before their third season, but it looks likely to happen to Baldwin after the 49ers released him. It sounds like Baldwin's work ethic was an issue, and we don't expect him to make the Lions' 53-man roster after he was claimed him off waivers.