2012 NFL Training Camp Preview
Peyton Manning. Tim Tebow. Bounty Gate. These are the headlines we’ve all heard this offseason. But with training camp beginning this week, let’s take a look at a storyline or two for each of the 32 NFL teams:
BUFFALO BILLS – Newly acquired Mario Williams and Mark Anderson should bolster the defense. A healthy Fred Jackson helps the running game, and CJ Spiller, who came on strong last season, should also see more touches.
MIAMI DOLPHINS – Will rookie Ryan Tannehill become the Dolphins’ starter? And how will wide receiver Chad Johnson fair, after making all of 16 catches last season?
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS – With BenJarvus Green-Ellis departing, the Patriots need a No. 1 running back. Training camp and preseason will help determine weather it’s Stevan Ridley or perhaps the newly signed Joseph Addai.
NEW YORK JETS – Tim Tebow could earn more playing time if he impresses, perhaps even taking over the starting quarterback job from Mark Sanchez at some point. Also, cornerback Darelle Revis could be a hold out for the second time in three seasons.
HOUSTON TEXANS – Coming off their first-ever division title and playoff appearance, the Texans lost a lot of players to free agency and didn’t improve that much. Keeping Andre Johnson and Matt Schaub healthy will be their biggest concerns.
INDIANAPOLIS COLTS – A 2-14 season gave them Andrew Luck, but they lost Dallas Clark and Pierre Garcon. Someone will have to emerge as his favorite target behind Reggie Wayne.
JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS-Bolstered up on wideouts signing Lee Evans and Laurent Robinson as well as drafting Justin Blackmon. Passing game should be formidable, but what will the Jags do if Maurice Jones-Drew holds out?
TENNESSEE TITANS – Need more out of their wide receivers, especially if their first option Kenny Britt is suspended for any time after being arrested again this offseason.
BALTIMORE RAVENS – Ray Rice got a new deal, and the majority of the team is back from last season. Should be contenders for the Super Bowl again.
CINCINNATI BENGALS – Andy Dalton is coming off an impressive rookie season in which he led the Bengals to the playoffs. Added BenJarvus Green-Ellis who should help the rushing attack, but the receiving core needs to step up.
CLEVELAND BROWNS – A lot of questions surrounding this team. Running back Trent Richardson should replace Peyton Hillis as the No. 1 running back, and rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden will compete for the starting job.
PITTSBURGH STEELERS – Hines Ward retired, but Ben Roethlisberger still has Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown to throw to. The defense is good, but these guys aren’t getting any younger.
DENVER BRONCOS – Tim Tebow may be out, but with Peyton Manning in, this team is in good hands. Don’t expect to see much of Manning during the preseason, though, as his health is still a major concern.
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS – Added TE Kevin Boss and RB Peyton Hillis, two nice pieces which should help the offense. Team played hard for new coach Romeo Crennel down the stretch last season, but how will the defense fair?
OAKLAND RAIDERS – Lost key offensive pieces in TE Kevin Boss and RB Michael Bush. How will Carson Palmer fare in his second year as quarterback?
SAN DIEGO CHARGERS – Vincent Jackson and Mike Tolbert who departed were two underrated players in the NFL. Philip Rivers should still be okay, but the defense has got to get better.
DALLAS COWBOYS – Have two new starting corner backs, a position which was a problem last year. Also have capable backup in Kyle Orton if Tony Romo gets hurt.
NEW YORK GIANTS – Super Bowl Champs lost Brandon Jacobs and Mario Manningham to the 49ers. They have yet to name a backup running back behind starter Ahmad Bradshaw, and need to figure out who will be Eli Manning’s third option behind Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks.
PHILADELPHIA EAGLES – The so-called “dream team” of last season lost some defensive pieces, and that will be the teams’ biggest concern this season.
WASHINGTON REDSKINS – Washington hasn’t had a quarterback in a long time. Robert Griffin III changes that, and should instantly make this team better.
ATLANTA FALCONS – A playoff team from a year ago, added cornerback Asante Samuel. Should only get better this season.
CAROLINA PANTHERS – With one year under his belt, Cam Newton won’t be making as many mistakes as he did last season.
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS – Drew Brees has been signed and the Saints are always contenders. The big thing will be how the interim coaching staff and players respond to “Bounty Gate” .
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS – New coach, new No. 1 tight end and wide receiver. Also additions to the defense. A lot of positions up for grabs, but
CHICAGO BEARS – Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall are reunited which is a good thing. But he was sacked a lot last year and the offensive line hasn’t changed.
DETROIT LIONS – Four players were arrested this offseason, one of whom- cornerback Aaron Berry- was cut. The good news is, the Lions still have Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson.
GREEN BAY PACKERS – Aaron Rodgers and the passing attack are set. But the running back situation is not.
MINNESOTA VIKINGS – Biggest concern is the health of Adrian Peterson. He needs to be 100-percent for this team to have any chance.
ARIZONA CARDINALS – Kevin Kolb is not Peyton Manning, who the Cardinals spent the offseason trying to acquire. The good news is, this is the weakest division in football, so they could win it.
SEATTLE SEAHAWKS – New starting quarterback Matt Flynn was solid in his limited action with Green Bay. It will all hinge on his playmaking ability as well as the new defensive players- and there were a handful of them.
ST. LOUS RAMS – Will this be the year Sam Bradford breaks out? He doesn’t have many receiving options, but has to play better in year No. 3. Cornerback Cortland Finnegan should help this abysmal defense.
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS – The defense lost no one, and the offense got Mario Manningham and Brandon Jacobs- both of whom will help Alex Smith.
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