Here are the quarterback story lines to watch at the OTAs
With the NHL and NBA playoffs heating up and Major League teams rounding into form with the regular season well into its second month, it may be easy to forget that the NFL's offseason training activities are next week. Here's a look at some of the more notable quarterback-related story lines heading into the annual OTAs:
New kid in town
Robert Griffin III, who succeeded reigning Offensive Rookie of the Year Cam Newton as the Heisman Trophy winner last year, is expected to step in and help the Redskins climb to the top of one of the most challenging divisions in the league. Competing against the likes of two-time Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning, Philadelphia's Michael Vick and Dallas' Tony Romo in the NFC East, RG3 will have to prove he can take his versatile game to the next level in a hurry. Redskins coach Mike Shanahan, who traded three first-round picks and a second-rounder for the right to select Griffin with the No. 2 overall pick, has already made it clear there will be no quarterback competition when the 'Skins open OTAs next Monday. "He's the starter, period," Shanahan told reporters.
The Dolphins, who spoiled the Jets' faint playoff hopes in January, failed in their bid to land free agent Peyton Manning and also watched Green Bay backup Matt Flynn sign with Seattle, leaving them with a gaping hole at the league's most prominent position on draft day. They addressed the need - or did they? - by drafting Texas A&M's Ryan Tannehill with the No. 8 overall pick. While he won't remind anyone of Dan Marino right away, Tannehill has the advantage of working alongside ex-Aggies coach Mike Sherman, who was hired as the Dolphins' new offensive coordinator.
Every little Brees
With the ongoing Bountygate scandal gobbling up virtually every Saints-related headline, the embattled franchise is still looking to lock up its most important player: Drew Brees. The Super Bowl XLIV MVP threw for an NFL-record 5,476 yards last season - 392 more than previous record holder Dan Marino compiled nearly three decades ago. Though the Saints and Brees are reportedly nearing an agreement, the sides are about $3 million apart annually on a long-term deal. If Brees isn't inked by next week's OTAs - and he isn't expected to be - the Saints will continue to stagger toward training camp with coach Sean Payton suspended for the season and his fill-in, Joe Vitt, out for the first six games due to his part in the pay-for-performance bounty scandal. July 15 is the deadline for the Saints to sign Brees, and the clock on the future of their once-rejuvenated franchise is ticking toward that date.
Go West old 'Mann'
By the time Payton Manning and his surgically repaired neck take the field in Denver for the Sept. 9 Sunday night opener against the Steelers, his much-ballyhooed replacement, Luck, will have made his NFL debut for Indianapolis in Chicago. Manning, who got plenty of love on his free-agent tour through Tennessee, San Francisco and Miami, will be asked to produce like a Hall of Famer for the first time since the Colts' 17-16 wild-card playoff loss to the Jets at Lucas Oil Field in January 2011. The four-time MVP will spend next week trying to get in sync with his new receivers during OTAs and begin proving that Denver icon John Elway didn't stick his own neck out too far by believing in Manning's oft-injured one.