|NFL team capsules for training camp|
|Written by Admin|
|Wednesday, 18 July 2007 13:53|
INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (12-4, won Super Bowl)
OPEN CAMP: July 29, Terre Haute, Ind.
LAST YEAR: Colts became first NFL team to start consecutive seasons 9-0, then used vastly improved defense in playoffs to finally win Super Bowl.
IMPORTANT ADDITIONS: WR Anthony Gonzalez, CB Daymeion Hughes, DT Quinn Pitcock.
IMPORTANT LOSSES: CB Jason David, CB Nick Harper, LB Cato June, DT Montae Reagor, RB Dominic Rhodes, WR Brandon Stokley.
CAMP NEEDS: Replacing two starting cornerbacks and June, keeping Bob Sanders healthy and figuring out where Gonzalez fits in.
EXPECTATIONS: Four-time AFC South champs have one goal: winning a second straight Super Bowl. Peyton Manning has most of his supporting cast back on offense, so Indy's success or failure will again be dictated by the defense. If it plays as well as it did in the playoffs, the Colts should contend.
TENNESSEE TITANS (8-8)
OPEN CAMP: July 27, Nashville, Tenn.
LAST YEAR: Offensive rookie of year Vince Young teamed with Travis Henry to turn an 0-5 start into an 8-8 finish, one loss short of unexpected playoff berth. Titans reeled off eight wins in final 11, including magical 24-21 comeback against Giants after trailing 21-0 in final 10 minutes.
IMPORTANT ADDITIONS: CBs Nick Harper and Kelly Herndon give experience with Adam ``Pacman'' Jones' season-long suspension. Re-signing RB Chris Brown adds veteran with LenDale White still struggling with his weight and health. Rookie RB Chris Henry's speed could make him a draft steal, and veteran DT Rien Long is back after missing 2006 with torn Achilles' tendon.
IMPORTANT LOSSES: Jones. NFL will review his case after 10th game Nov. 19, but an early return isn't expected. RB Travis Henry was released to avoid multimillion bonus and now is in Denver. WRs Drew Bennett and Bobby Wade left for more money elsewhere. Receivers coach Ray Sherman now is in Dallas and secondary coach Everett Withers in college ranks at Minnesota.
CAMP NEEDS: Find which receivers can play catch with Young. Find starters at cornerback and defensive end opposite Kyle Vanden Bosch to improve pass rush.
EXPECTATIONS: Titans believe they can pick up where they left off last season despite major personnel losses. Young's added experience and leadership give them a chance.
JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (8-8)
OPEN CAMP: July 28, Jacksonville, Fla.
LAST YEAR: Jaguars ended season with three-game losing streak and missed playoffs for sixth time in seven years. QB Byron Leftwich (ankle) sat out final 10 games, and passing game mostly struggled with backup David Garrard.
IMPORTANT ADDITIONS: RT Tony Pashos, TE Jermaine Wiggins, WR Dennis Northcutt.
IMPORTANT LOSSES: S Donovin Darius, S Deon Grant.
CAMP NEEDS: After losing Grant in free agency and then cutting Darius, Jags need to solidify secondary. They expect first-round draft pick Reggie Nelson and third-year player Gerald Sensabaugh to step up. Leftwich needs to stay healthy and fine-tune new offense installed by first-year coordinator Dirk Koetter. Team still looking for go-to receiver. Coach Jack Del Rio stripped former first-round picks Reggie Williams and Matt Jones of starter status, giving Northcutt and third-round pick Mike Walker a good shot at supplanting them.
EXPECTATIONS: Jags are built to win now, with one of best defenses in league and running game that ranked second to San Diego last season. But they will only be as good as Leftwich, who has missed 17 games the last three years.
HOUSTON TEXANS (6-10)
OPEN CAMP: July 26, Houston.
LAST YEAR: In first season under Gary Kubiak, Texans tripled win total from 2005, but still fell far short of the playoffs. Overall No. 1 pick Mario Williams was disappointment and David Carr had another mediocre season, prompting Texans to release him. Won three of last five games, including stunning upset of Indianapolis on Christmas Eve, and that gave long-suffering fans glimmers of hope.
IMPORTANT ADDITIONS: QB Matt Schaub, RB Ahman Green, DT Amobi Okoye.
IMPORTANT LOSSES: QB David Carr, WR Eric Moulds, LB Kailee Wong.
CAMP NEEDS: The sooner Schaub learns Kubiak's system, the better. Carr threw only two touchdown passes in last 10 games, and finished with more interceptions (12) than TDs (11) for first time since 2003. Offensive line must improve - Carr was sacked 249 times in five seasons and Texans averaged less than 4 yards per rush in 2006.
EXPECTATIONS: Texans are banking on Schaub to execute Kubiak's complex schemes better than Carr did. Backfield was bolstered by signing of free agent Green, who ran for more than 1,000 yards in 2006. Defense is young, but talented, with first-round draft pick Okoye joining Williams on line, and LB DeMeco Ryans, last year's Defensive Rookie of Year, behind them.
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (12-4, lost to Indianapolis in AFC title game)
OPEN CAMP: July 27, Foxborough, Mass.
LAST YEAR: Patriots were headed for shot at fourth championship in six years, but blew 21-3 lead in 38-34 loss in AFC championship game at Indianapolis. They were 6-1, then went 6-3 after their streak of 57 games without consecutive losses ended. With strong defense led by DLs Richard Seymour and Ty Warren and CB Asante Samuel, they allowed second-fewest points in NFL. But running game was inconsistent late in season and passing game missed Deion Branch (traded to Seattle) and David Givens (signed with Tennessee as a free agent).
IMPORTANT ADDITIONS: WRs Randy Moss, Donte' Stallworth, Wes Welker and Kelley Washington, LB Adalius Thomas, RB Sammy Morris, TE Kyle Brady, DB Brandon Meriweather.
IMPORTANT LOSSES: RB Corey Dillon, TE Daniel Graham. DL Marquise Hill.
EXPECTATIONS: Sky high. Tom Brady has full complement of talented receivers, led by Moss; that position was in flux most of last year once holdout Branch was traded before playing a game. Second-year RB Laurence Maroney must step up with Dillon gone, and Moss must adopt the Patriots' team-first concept. Thomas adds youth and versatility to a reliable but relatively old group. Secondary could suffer if Samuel stays away as he seeks multiyear contract after Patriots designated him as franchise player. But coach Bill Belichick always finds ways to fill holes and keep team winning.
NEW YORK JETS (10-6, lost to New England in first round of playoffs)
OPEN CAMP: July 27, Hempstead, N.Y.
LAST YEAR: After gloomy predictions, surprising playoff berth capped successful season under rookie coach Eric Mangini. QB Chad Pennington stayed healthy, completing impressive return from successive rotator cuff tears and was NFL Comeback Player. Veteran Laveranues Coles combined with young Jerricho Cotchery to form one of league's best receiving duos. Defense, particularly LBs Jonathan Vilma and Eric Barton, struggled early adjusting to new roles in 3-4, but came on strong late.
IMPORTANT ADDITIONS: RB Thomas Jones, CB Darrelle Revis (first-round pick), LB David Bowens, DE Kenyon Coleman, LB David Harris (second-round pick), QB Marques Tuiasosopo, FB Darian Barnes.
IMPORTANT LOSSES: FB B.J. Askew, QB Patrick Ramsey, RB Kevan Barlow, DT Rashad Moore.
CAMP NEEDS: With Pennington healthy, there are no starting QB issues. If Jets don't settle stalemate with LG Pete Kendall, looking for $1 million raise, team must address his spot on offensive line. Speedy WR Brad Smith, former college QB, could be a key if he can develop into No. 3 receiver.
EXPECTATIONS: Hopes are high after playoff year, but schedule is much tougher. A step back isn't out of question, but with Jones a legitimate No. 1 playmaking running back, and players familiar with and buying into Mangini's philosophy and style, another 10-6 wouldn't be huge surprise.
BUFFALO BILLS (7-9)
OPEN CAMP: July 26, Pittsford, N.Y.
LAST YEAR: Injuries, offensive sputters led to 2-5 start, too deep to overcome in first year under coach Dick Jauron and GM Marv Levy. QB J.P. Losman gradually progressed, easing questions whether he can develop into bona fide starter, and found chemistry with emerging star WR Lee Evans.
IMPORTANT ADDITIONS: LG Derrick Dockery, RT Langston Walker, first-round draft pick RB Marshawn Lynch, CB Jason Webster and DT Darwin Walker (if he clears up contract dispute).
IMPORTANT LOSSES: CB Nate Clements, LBs Takeo Spikes and London Fletcher, RB Willis McGahee and DT Darwin Walker (if he refuses to report by Aug. 5 and is returned to Philadelphia as condition of trade).
CAMP NEEDS: Finding serviceable CB out of patchwork group - Webster, Kiwaukee Thomas, Ashton Youboty, Jabari Greer - to replace Clements. Angelo Crowell must lead young and revamped linebacking corps. Losman must continue building off last year, and Lynch has to show he's ready to take over for McGahee.
EXPECTATIONS: Very much lowered because of unsettled defense after another offseason of turnover. Higher hopes for offense, which returns mostly intact and is bolstered by O-line additions and Lynch, who provides added dimension as a receiver - something McGahee lacked.
MIAMI DOLPHINS (6-10)
OPEN CAMP: July 28, Davie, Fla.
e talent in secondary.
IMPORTANT ADDITIONS: Coach Cam Cameron, QB Trent Green, rookie QB John Beck, top draft pick WR-KR Ted Ginn Jr., LB Joey Porter, TE David Martin, C Samson Satele, FB Cory Schlesinger, S Cameron Worrell, K Jay Feely, WR Az-Zahir Hakim, G Chris Liwienski, rookie RB Lorenzo Booker.
IMPORTANT LOSSES: Coach Nick Saban, TE Randy McMichael, QB Joey Harrington, K Olindo Mare, WR Wes Welker, DE David Bowens, OL Seth McKinney, P Donnie Jones, G Bennie Anderson, G Jeno James, FB Darian Barnes, DE Kevin Carter, T Damion McIntosh, RB Travis Minor, RB Sammy Morris, DT Jeff Zgonina, DT Dan Wilkinson, WR Marcus Vick, DT Manny Wright.
CAMP NEEDS: Green will be caretaker this season while Dolphins groom Beck, and progress of both will be focal point of camp. Dolphins will need to learn Cameron's offense, and there will be position battles on both sides of ball and changes in lineup from last season.
EXPECTATIONS: Dolphins hope addition of Cameron, Green and Ginn will upgrade offense that has been primary reason for playoff drought. But revamped OL remains question mark, and aging defense may be in decline, so .500 record would be an achievement.
BALTIMORE RAVENS (13-3, lost to Indianapolis in second round of playoffs)
OPEN CAMP: July 29, Westminster, Md.
LAST YEAR: Ravens completed best regular season in franchise history, earned first-round bye, then failed to score a touchdown in loss at home against Indianapolis. Despite disappointing finish, Ravens showed improvement on offense with Steve McNair at quarterback, and ranked No. 1 in defense for first time.
IMPORTANT ADDITIONS: RB Willis McGahee, QB Troy Smith, G Ben Grubbs.
IMPORTANT LOSSES: RB Jamal Lewis, LB Adalius Thomas, G Edwin Mulitalo, T Tony Pashos, FB Ivie Mughelli.
CAMP NEEDS: McGahee must adjust to new system and offensive line must make up for loss of Pashos and Mulitalo. Providing protection for McNair and running room for McGahee is imperative, so line must come together quickly.
EXPECTATIONS: Ravens got McNair in 2006 offseason, so they're hoping his familiarity with playbook and receivers will lead to better things this season. If McNair and McGahee do their part and defense adjusts to loss of Thomas, Baltimore should return to playoffs.
PITTSBURGH STEELERS (8-8)
OPEN CAMP: July 23, Latrobe, Pa.
LAST YEAR: After short and distraction-filled offseason following Super Bowl victory, Steelers lost six of first eight and scrambled to finish 8-8. It wasn't good enough to make playoffs or persuade coach Bill Cowher to return for 16th season.
IMPORTANT ADDITIONS: Coach Mike Tomlin, RB Kevan Barlow, OL Sean Mahan, P Daniel Sepulveda.
IMPORTANT LOSSES: LB Joey Porter, C Jeff Hartings, P Chris Gardocki.
CAMP NEEDS: Quick understanding of new offensive coordinator Bruce Arians' system, which should allow Ben Roethlisberger to throw more and TE Heath Miller to become bigger part of offense. Steelers leaned on the run so heavily under Cowher, it may take time to understand that a run won't be automatic on first down or second-and-4.
EXPECTATIONS: Steelers must come together quickly in camp under Tomlin, only their third coach since 1969. They still hadn't stopped celebrating Super Bowl when last season started, and they can't be distracted by new coach this year - not with favorable schedule that could lead to good start.
CINCINNATI BENGALS (8-8)
OPEN CAMP: July 26, Georgetown, Ky.
LAST YEAR: Much too streaky - four-game and three-game winning streaks, two slides of three losses - and undependable on defense, Bengals slipped from division champs to 8-8 in a season marked by nine arrests that made the team synonymous for players in trouble with the law.
IMPORTANT ADDITIONS: DT Michael Myers, DT Kenderick Allen, LB Edgerton Hartwell, C Alex Stepanovich, DB Blue Adams.
IMPORTANT LOSSES: WR Chris Henry (first eight games), LB Brian Simmons, CB Tory James, S Kevin Kaesviharn, C Rich Braham, G Eric Steinbach, DT Shaun Smith, TE Tony Stewart, QB Anthony Wright, DT Sam Adams, LB A.J. Nicholson.
CAMP NEEDS: Bengals must identify a No. 3 receiver to replace Henry, suspended for first eight games for violating NFL's conduct policy. Tab Perry is leading candidate. With James gone, second-year CB Johnathan Joseph must move into starting role. CB Leon Hall, first-round pick, also needs to settle in fast, providing quality depth to one of league's worst pass defenses.
EXPECTATIONS: A pivotal year for Bengals, who finished 8-8 for third time in four years under coach Marvin Lewis. QB Carson Palmer has fully recovered from reconstructive knee surgery that limited him in training camp and early part of 2006. Lewis needs to upgrade defense and provide more discipline to team that leads NFL in arrests.
CLEVELAND BROWNS: (4-12)
OPEN CAMP: July 27, Berea, Ohio.
LAST YEAR: Overrun with injuries - again - Browns lost six of last seven to finish with double-digit defeats for fourth straight season. First-time starter QB Charlie Frye struggled behind battered line that lost Pro Bowl center LeCharles Bentley to injury during camp. Rookie Kamerion Wimbley's 11 sacks provided glimmer of future hope for improving defense.
IMPORTANT ADDITIONS: G Eric Steinbach, RB Jamal Lewis, OT Joe Thomas, QB Brady Quinn, DB Eric Wright, DL Shaun Smith, WR Tim Carter and LB Antwan Peek.
IMPORTANT LOSSES: RB Reuben Droughns, WR/PR Dennis Northcutt, S Brian Russell, FB Terrelle Smith, G Joe Andruzzi, CB Daylon McCutcheon, G Cosey Coleman, RB Lee Suggs.
CAMP NEEDS: A three-way competition has been under way since minicamp at quarterback with Frye, Quinn and Derek Anderson. None has looked good while learning new offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski's system. If Quinn holds out, he may be too far behind to start in Week 1. Lewis has looked quicker following offseason surgery to remove bone spurs in ankles. Rookie CB Wright may move into starting spot right away.
EXPECTATIONS: A .500 finish might be only thing that can save coach Romeo Crennel's job. Browns play AFC North rivals Pittsburgh, Baltimore and Cincinnati in first four weeks, making a good start essential in Crennel's third season. TE Kellen Winslow had remarkable '06 (club record-tying 89 catches) while playing essentially on one leg and is coming off microfracture surgery. WR Braylon Edwards needs to tone down his selfishness and play like Pro Bowler for offense to succeed.
SAN DIEGO CHARGERS (14-2, lost to New England in second round of playoffs)
OPEN CAMP: July 25, San Diego.
LAST YEAR: With NFL MVP LaDainian Tomlinson leading way with league-record 31 touchdowns, Chargers had NFL's best record. But they melted down in 24-21 home playoff loss to New England, and a month later coach Marty Schottenheimer was fired due to personality clash - or as team president Dean Spanos put it, a ``dysfunctional'' relationship - with GM A.J. Smith, whose teams are 0-2 in playoffs. Norv Turner brings 58-82-1 record as a head coach, but Chargers still use system he installed when he was offensive coordinator in 2001.
IMPORTANT ADDITIONS: Turner, defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell.
IMPORTANT LOSSES: Schottenheimer, offensive coordinator Cam Cameron, defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, LB Donnie Edwards.
CAMP NEEDS: Top draft pick WR Craig Davis will see where he fits on team without deep threat, and Antonio Cromartie will compete with Drayton Florence for starting job opposite CB Quentin Jammer.
EXPECTATIONS: Anything short of Super Bowl title would be disappointment for a team loaded with talent. But Chargers have traditionally underachieved the season following a playoff appearance. While Chargers will continue to run Turner's system, players will have to get used to lots of new coaches.
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (9-7, lost to Colts in first round of playoffs)
OPEN CAMP: July 27, River Falls, Wis.
LAST YEAR: Sneaked into playoffs in Herm Edwards' first year as coach, only to get embarrassed. Supposedly suspect Indianapolis defense held Larry Johnson to shocking 32 yards on 13 carries in KC's second playoff appearance since '97. Johnson set NFL record with 416 carries and finished runner-up in league rushing.
IMPORTANT ADDITIONS: LT Damion McIntosh, LB Donnie Edwards, LB Napoleon Harris, WR Dwayne Bowe, DT Alphonso Boone, RB Kolby Smith, PK Justin Medlock.
IMPORTANT LOSSES: QB Trent Green, RG Will Shields, KR Dante Hall, PK Lawrence Tynes.
CAMP NEEDS: Find out if second-year QB Brodie Croyle can play, ready a revamped offensive line, get rookie placekicker Medlock up and running, and figure out how to use Bowe, top pick from LSU.
EXPECTATIONS: Defense will be improved if veteran LBs Harris and Edwards, both newcomers, can find another good year in their aging bodies. But offensive line could have long year with new faces at both tackles and right guard. Most attention at training camp will focus on QB battle between career backup Damon Huard and Croyle. If Johnson boycotts camp, as he's threatening to do unless he gets new contract, brace for this Edwards quote: ``I only worry about the players who are here.''
DENVER BRONCOS (9-7)
OPEN CAMP: July 29, Englewood, Colo.
LAST YEAR: Broncos turned things over to quarterback Jay Cutler with five games left and he did well for being rookie thrown into playoff race. But Broncos blew lead against San Francisco at home on final day of season and let Kansas City slip into playoffs instead. Things took tragic turn hours later when rising star CB Darrent Williams was slain in drive-by shooting. Two months later, backup RB Damien Nash died following charity basketball game in St. Louis.
IMPORTANT ADDITIONS: CB Dre Bly, RB Travis Henry, TE Daniel Graham, WR Brandon Stokley, P Todd Sauerbrun, QB Patrick Ramsey, G Montrae Holland, DT Sam Adams.
IMPORTANT LOSSES: LB Al Wilson, QB Jake Plummer, CB Darrent Williams, DL Courtney Brown.
CAMP NEEDS: Broncos need to whittle 17 defensive linemen down to 10, plugging middle with muscle and putting some speed on the edges. That's where draft picks Jarvis Moss, Marcus Thomas and Tim Crowder come in. New MLB D.J. Williams needs to show he can handle Wilson's old spot as defensive leader.
EXPECTATIONS: Broncos expect not only to return to playoffs but to go pretty far behind Jim Bates' retooled defense and offense that should be much better with Henry, Graham and a healthier line.
OAKLAND RAIDERS (2-14)
OPEN CAMP: July 27, Napa, Calif.
LAST YEAR: Raiders set franchise records for losses and offensive ineptitude, leading to Art Shell's firing after just one season in second stint as coach. Finished with 168 points, fifth-lowest total in 16-game season, and failed to score offensive touchdown in half their games. Defense, led by Pro Bowl DE Derrick Burgess and CB Nnamdi Asomugha, was bright spot.
IMPORTANT ADDITIONS: Coach Lane Kiffin, QB JaMarcus Russell, QB Josh McCown, RB Dominic Rhodes, WR Travis Taylor, TE Zach Miller, OL Cooper Carlisle, OL Jeremy Newberry, FB Justin Griffith; S Donovin Darius.
IMPORTANT LOSSES: WR Randy Moss, QB Aaron Brooks, OL Langston Walker, Shell.
CAMP NEEDS: Get offensive line and quarterback position settled. Even though Russell was No. 1 overall pick in draft, McCown appears the front-runner to start opener against Detroit. Kiffin spent much of offseason workouts moving people around on offensive line, playing former No. 2 overall pick Robert Gallery at LT, LG and RT. Carlisle and Newberry have experience with line coach Tom Cable's zone-blocking schemes and will be counted on to anchor unit.
EXPECTATIONS: Kiffin, 32, will have tough rebuilding task as youngest coach in league. Raiders can't help but be better, especially on offense, but still have long way to go to be respectable. Priority is getting Russell ready to take over offense and start becoming franchise player Raiders envision.
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (10-6, lost to Chicago in NFC championship game)
OPEN CAMP: July 27, Jackson, Miss.
LAST YEAR: Under new coach Sean Payton, Saints were team in transition. By end of 2006 training camp, half of roster had changed from squad that went 3-13 in 2005. Thanks in part to Payton's leadership, new quarterback Drew Brees' successful rehabilitation from shoulder surgery and quick learning curve for top draft pick Reggie Bush, Saints started 5-1, made first playoff appearance since 2000 and their first appearance ever in NFC championship game.
IMPORTANT ADDITIONS: Rookie WR Robert Meachem, CB Jason David, LB Brian Simmons, LB Dhani Jones, S Kevin Kaesviharn, TE Eric Johnson, WR David Patten.
IMPORTANT LOSSES: WR Joe Horn.
CAMP NEEDS: Horn was hurt for nearly half of 2006 but was still one of Saints' top receivers when healthy. His departure to Atlanta means open competition for at least one receiver spot to join projected starters Marques Colston and Devery Henderson. Meachem was drafted for that reason, but has had injury problems since rookie camp. Patten, who earned three Super Bowl rings with New England, could end up in that role.
EXPECTATIONS: Saints lost very few key players and made several free-agent signings in effort to shore up defense. On paper, at least, they're better than last season. Barring major injuries, it's Super Bowl or bust.
CAROLINA PANTHERS (8-8)
OPEN CAMP: July 27, Spartanburg, S.C.
LAST YEAR: One of league's most disappointing teams. Lost three offensive line starters to injury, had no running game and averaged only 16.8 points a game, nearly eight fewer than 2005, when they reached NFC championship game. Offensive coordinator Dan Henning was fired.
IMPORTANT ADDITIONS: QB David Carr, LB Jon Beason, WR Dwayne Jarrett.
IMPORTANT LOSSES: WR Keyshawn Johnson, LB Chris Draft, S Shaun Williams, TE Kris Mangum.
CAMP NEEDS: Quickly embrace new offensive coordinator Jeff Davidson's system, designed to get star WR Steve Smith the ball more. LB Dan Morgan is cleared to return following at least fifth concussion of career, but will be brought along slowly. Avoid distracting holdout involving DT Kris Jenkins. He was on trading block during draft weekend, then skipped June's voluntary workouts. LT Travelle Wharton and DE Mike Rucker need to recover from major knee injuries.
EXPECTATIONS: Carr, a five-year starter in Houston, is upgrade over former backup Chris Weinke. He could challenge for starting job if Jake Delhomme struggles early. They won't face preseason pressure of last season, and coach John Fox has relished underdog role. Still, they're dangerously thin at safety and need Morgan to stay healthy. Smith may have to carry the offense if running game doesn't improve.
ATLANTA FALCONS (7-9)
OPEN CAMP: July 27, Flowery Branch, Ga.
LAST YEAR: Lost last three games to miss playoffs despite leading league in rushing for third straight year. Disappointing finish cost Jim Mora his job two years after leading team to NFC championship game. Michael Vick became NFL's first quarterback to rush for 1,000 yards in a single season, but he ranked 31st in completion percentage and Atlanta finished last in passing.
IMPORTANT ADDITIONS: QB Joey Harrington, WR Joe Horn, FB Ovie Mughelli, PK Aaron Elling, DE Jamaal Anderson, CB Lewis Sanders, LB Marcus Wilkins. Anderson, team's first-round pick, could immediately start at left end.
IMPORTANT LOSSES: DE Patrick Kerney, FB Justin Griffith, PK Morten Andersen, QB Matt Schaub, FB Fred McCrary, WR Ashley Lelie, CB Chris Cash.
CAMP NEEDS: Falcons must improve passing game under new coach Bobby Petrino and offensive coordinator Hue Jackson, but recent indictment of Vick on dogfighting charges places whole team in limbo. Team must establish Harrington as Vick's new backup and develop chemistry between quarterbacks and Horn, the new leader among receivers. One offseason key was to settle dispute with defensive tackle Grady Jackson, but another concern is finding help at position while Rod Coleman recovers from ruptured right quadriceps suffered in boating accident.
EXPECTATIONS: The heat was on Vick even before the indictment, with pressure to boost his passing statistics and prove he can be more than a one-dimensional quarterback. Falcons haven't had winning record since 2004. Petrino was known for his potent offenses at Louisville, but his challenge with Falcons is more difficult as he converts offensive line's blocking schemes.
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (4-12)
OPEN CAMP: July 26, Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
LAST YEAR: Injuries, poor play at quarterback and lack of consistent pass rush contributed to disappointing season. Even before QB Chris Simms (spleen) was lost in third game, Bucs were off to horrendous start, and things never got better offensively with rookie QB Bruce Gradkowski. Defense began showing its age after ranking among NFL's best for a decade.
IMPORTANT ADDITIONS: QB Jeff Garcia, T Luke Petitgout, LB Cato June, DE Kevin Carter, DE Gaines Adams, TE Jerramy Stevens, LB/DE Patrick Chukwurah.
IMPORTANT LOSSES: LB Shelton Quarles, CB Juran Bolden, OT Kenyatta Walker.
CAMP NEEDS: With Garcia aboard, coach Jon Gruden feels he has quarterback to make offense work. Top priorities include giving Garcia enough work to ensure he's comfortable with Gruden's system, settling on backup for the 37-year-old QB, and improving offensive line that struggled in 2006.
EXPECTATIONS: Bucs had losing records three of past four seasons, leaving Gruden on hot seat for 2007. If he can't get offense rolling with a quarterback he's coveted for years, and if Derrick Brooks-led defense doesn't rebound from subpar season, it may cost Gruden his job.
PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (10-6, lost to New Orleans in second round of playoffs)
OPEN CAMP: July 27, Bethlehem, Pa.
LAST YEAR: Overcame losing quarterback Donovan McNabb to season-ending knee injury in Week 11, won five straight games behind backup Jeff Garcia, capturing fifth NFC East title in six years. Fell three points short of going to conference championship game.
IMPORTANT ADDITIONS: LB Takeo Spikes, WR Kevin Curtis, DT Ian Scott, DT Montae Reagor, RB Tony Hunt.
IMPORTANT LOSSES: WR Donte' Stallworth, QB Jeff Garcia, CB Rod Hood, SS Michael Lewis.
CAMP NEEDS: Make sure McNabb is healthy after suffering worst injury of career. Same for DE Jevon Kearse (knee), who went down in Week 2. Replace Stallworth's game-breaking skills. Find right mix on deep defensive line and at linebacker.
EXPECTATIONS: A healthy McNabb puts Eagles among the elite of NFC. They should contend for another East title and an improved defense gives them legitimate chance to make run at Super Bowl.
DALLAS COWBOYS (9-7, lost to Seattle in first round of playoffs)
OPEN CAMP: July 24, San Antonio.
LAST YEAR: In final season under coach Bill Parcells, Cowboys found new quarterback in Tony Romo and went soaring into December. Then Dallas stumbled and blew chance at first postseason win in a decade when Romo botched hold of field goal against Seattle.
IMPORTANT ADDITIONS: Coach Wade Phillips, OL Leonard Davis, OLB Anthony Spencer, QB Brad Johnson, S Ken Hamlin.
IMPORTANT LOSSES: Parcells, QB Drew Bledsoe, RG Marco Rivera.
CAMP NEEDS: Phillips must show that just because he's a ``player's coach'' doesn't mean he's a softie. New offensive coordinator Jason Garrett must establish play-calling only three years after he was suiting up. And Romo must convince teammates he's QB who started out 5-1, not one who finished 1-4. Owner Jerry Jones will keep fingers crossed that Terrell Owens can be drama-free.
EXPECTATIONS: Phillips will add aggressiveness to defense Parcells rebuilt but didn't always trust. If Phillips can turn Roy Williams, DeMarcus Ware and top pick Anthony Spencer into sack-hungry, turnover-forcing playmakers, that would ease burden on Romo and Garrett. Dallas had one of league's top-scoring offenses last year. Fewer drops by T.O. would keep it cranked up.
NEW YORK GIANTS (8-8, lost to Philadelphia in first round of playoffs)
OPEN CAMP: July 28, Albany, N.Y.
LAST YEAR: Amid turmoil and injuries collapsed in second half of season (2-6) and backed into playoffs with win in final game.
IMPORTANT ADDITIONS: CB Aaron Ross (first-round draft pick), PK Lawrence Tynes, LB Kawika Mitchell, backup QB Anthony Wright, RB Reuben Droughns, Kevin Gilbride as offensive coordinator, Steve Spagnuolo as defensive coordinator.
IMPORTANT LOSSES: Franchise career-leading rusher Tiki Barber, LT Luke Petitgout, PK Jay Feely, LB LaVar Arrington, LB Carlos Emmons, FB Jim Finn.
CAMP NEEDS: Bruising RB Brandon Jacobs has to replace Barber and stay healthy. WR Amani Toomer needs to return to form after knee surgery. LT David Diehl has to make transition from guard, and Mathias Kiwanuka moves from DE to LB without a hitch.
EXPECTATIONS: With Barber gone, Toomer coming off injury and TE Jeremy Shockey and WR Plaxico Burress still immature, could be tough year for QB Eli Manning. Defense has potential if DE Michael Strahan stays healthy and line exerts pressure to make up for shaky secondary. Missing playoffs could cost coach Tom Coughlin his job.
WASHINGTON REDSKINS (5-11)
OPEN CAMP: July 27, Ashburn, Va.
LAST YEAR: Defense fell apart due to injuries and age, ranked 31st overall and set NFL record in non-strike season with only 12 takeaways. Offense faced learning curve under new assistant Al Saunders, and QB Mark Brunell was benched midseason for Jason Campbell. Team-wide overconfidence from previous year's playoff berth led to complacency.
IMPORTANT ADDITIONS: LB London Fletcher, S LaRon Landry, CB Fred Smoot, CB Vernon Macklin.
IMPORTANT LOSSES: G Derrick Dockery.
CAMP NEEDS: Aging defensive line needs to show it can stay healthy. Fletcher and Landry need to assert themselves quickly. Todd Wade, a tackle, faces challenges trying to move into Dockery's guard spot. Campbell has to show leadership in first full season at QB.
EXPECTATIONS: Redskins are gambling big-time on their defensive line staying healthy, and hope for residual effects of better linebacker corps (with Fletcher in the middle) and deeper secondary. Campbell had outstanding spring, and offense will be better in second year under Saunders. Then again, depending on performance of the defense, they might need to score a lot.
CHICAGO BEARS (13-3, lost in Super Bowl to Indianapolis)
OPEN CAMP: July 27, Bourbonnais, Ill.
LAST YEAR: Won division title with best record in NFC, beat Seattle in overtime, then New Orleans, but lost in Super Bowl.
IMPORTANT ADDITIONS: DT Anthony Adams, S Adam Archuleta, TE Greg Olsen (first-round pick).
IMPORTANT LOSSES: RB Thomas Jones, DT Tank Johnson, defensive coordinator Ron Rivera.
CAMP NEEDS: Resolve contract impasse with LB Lance Briggs, franchise tag player threatening holdout. Acclimate special teams superstar Devin Hester to offense. Strengthen DT position with Tommie Harris coming off surgery. Cut down on QB Rex Grossman's mistakes and keep RB Cedric Benson healthy.
EXPECTATIONS: Go back to the Super Bowl and win it. Anything less will be considered failure.
GREEN BAY PACKERS (8-8)
OPEN CAMP: July 28, Green Bay, Wis.
LAST YEAR: Green Bay sputtered through most of season as defense gave up too many big plays early on and offense couldn't score in red zone. But Packers finished on four-game winning streak under first-year coach Mike McCarthy, including victory in season finale at Chicago, providing hope and momentum for 2007.
IMPORTANT ADDITIONS: CB Frank Walker, DT Justin Harrell (first-round pick).
IMPORTANT LOSSES: RB Ahman Green, TE David Martin, FB William Henderson.
CAMP NEEDS: Running game is most pressing concern going into 2007. Ground game wasn't particularly effective last year, and team lost Green to big free-agent offer from Houston. Barring surprise last-minute addition, last year's backup, Vernand Morency, and second-round rookie Brandon Jackson are expected to compete for carries.
EXPECTATIONS: Defense hit its stride toward end of last season and should be Packers' real strength this year. Brett Favre cut down on interceptions under McCarthy, and young offensive line should improve. If running game gets better, Packers might be playoff contender in what is expected to be weak NFC Central.
MINNESOTA VIKINGS (6-10)
OPEN CAMP: July 27, Mankato, Minn.
LAST YEAR: Offense was miserable in coach Brad Childress' first season, setting team records for fewest first downs (272) and TD passes (13) in a season. Dropped passes, penalties and turnovers kept once high-flying offense grounded, and drew ire of a defense that was No. 1 at stopping the run.
IMPORTANT ADDITIONS: RB Adrian Peterson, No. 7 overall pick in draft; WR Bobby Wade; defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier.
IMPORTANT LOSSES: Defensive coordinator Mike Tomlin, a wildly popular assistant who spent just one season on job, then was hired to coach Steelers; QB Brad Johnson, only quarterback with significant experience on roster; MLB Napoleon Harris; CB Fred Smoot.
CAMP NEEDS: Unheralded group of receivers must show unproven set of QBs that they can catch the ball. Second-year QB Tarvaris Jackson also needs some experience running offense and reading defenses. Frazier has to find way to get more pressure on passer. For all the success defense had against the run last season, it also struggled mightily against the pass because of lack of pressure on opposing QBs.
EXPECTATIONS: Not much. Team has done little in offseason to garner optimism from eroding fan base. Despite abundance of cap room, Vikings did not sign big-time free agent; Peterson was only impact addition to roster. Vikings seem to be hoping things will go smoother in second year under Childress.
DETROIT LIONS (3-13)
OPEN CAMP: July 25, Allen Park, Mich.
LAST YEAR: In Matt Millen's sixth season in charge, only Oakland won fewer games as Detroit fell to NFL-worst 24-72 since 2001 - one of worst stints in league history. Rod Marinelli seemed to instill much-needed toughness in first year as a head coach, but it didn't add up to wins.
IMPORTANT ADDITIONS: WR Calvin Johnson, DE Dewayne White, CB Travis Fisher, G Edwin Mulitalo, OT George Foster, RBs Tatum Bell and T.J. Duckett.
IMPORTANT LOSSES: CB Dre' Bly, DE James Hall, FS Terrence Holt and FB Cory Schlesinger.
CAMP NEEDS: Offensive line, with two new starters, has to become cohesive and effective unit for Mike Martz's impressive scheme to work. White and/or underachieving DE Kalimba Edwards must emerge as pass-rushing threat.
EXPECTATIONS: Double-digit wins have been predicted by Lions, who might have trouble avoiding seventh-straight season with at least 10 losses. If offensive line and defense is better than expected, Detroit might have decent record headed into final month with games at San Diego, Green Bay and Minnesota, home dates with Dallas and Kansas City.
SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (9-7, lost to Chicago in second round of playoffs)
OPEN CAMP: July 28, Kirkland, Wash.
LAST YEAR: Won NFC West for third consecutive season despite major injuries to RB Shaun Alexander, QB Matt Hasselbeck and most of offensive line. Lost to Chicago in overtime in NFC divisional playoffs.
IMPORTANT ADDITIONS: TE Marcus Pollard, DE Patrick Kerney, S Deon Grant, S Brian Russell, CB Josh Wilson.
IMPORTANT LOSSES: WR Darrell Jackson, C Robbie Tobeck, TE Jerramy Stevens, DE Grant Wistrom, CB Kelly Herndon, S Ken Hamlin.
CAMP NEEDS: Find solidified, healthy offensive line. Seahawks would like Floyd Womack to start at LG, but he can't stay healthy, even in offseason. They want Chris Spencer to replace Tobeck, but he missed most offseason workouts with shoulder injury. RG Chris Gray is at end of his career, RT Sean Locklear is getting challenged by Ray Willis. Good thing Pro Bowl LT Walter Jones is still around.
EXPECTATIONS: Seattle brought in Pollard to replace Stevens as pass-catching TE coach Mike Holmgren craves. Team is relying on return to health of Alexander and Hasselbeck and more production from WR Deion Branch, after trade of Darrell Jackson to San Francisco, to get offense back to 2005 standard as NFL's most prolific. Defense expects better pass rush with Kerney, coming off injury, replacing Wistrom. And it demands better pass coverage from secondary that will have three new starters - likely Grant, Russell and Kelly Jennings, Seattle's top pick in '06.
ST. LOUIS RAMS (8-8)
OPEN CAMP: July 27, St. Louis.
LAST YEAR: Had strong finish in Scott Linehan's first season as coach, winning four of last six. Surge coincided with Linehan's decision to delegate play-calling duties to offensive coordinator Greg Olson.
IMPORTANT ADDITIONS: TE Randy McMichael, WR Drew Bennett, KR-WR Dante Hall, DE James Hall.
IMPORTANT LOSSES: WR Kevin Curtis, CB Travis Fisher, RB Marshall Faulk, G Adam Timmerman, DT Jimmy Kennedy.
CAMP NEEDS: Groom first-round pick Adam Carriker, slotted to start at one DT spot, as part of overall defensive overhaul. Indoctrinate new receivers.
EXPECTATIONS: A team that could go either way, it has potent offense led by Steven Jackson and Marc Bulger, and defense that has been shaky. Linehan is hoping familiarity in second year of defensive coordinator Jim Haslett's system results in improvement.
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (7-9)
OPEN CAMP: July 29, Santa Clara, Calif.
LAST YEAR: Improved for second straight season under coach Mike Nolan, but missed playoffs for fourth consecutive campaign. Offense improved from NFL's worst in 2005, highlighted by RB Frank Gore's record-setting campaign.
IMPORTANT ADDITIONS: CB Nate Clements, S Michael Lewis, LB Tully Banta-Cain, WR Darrell Jackson, WR Ashley Lelie, DT Aubrayo Franklin, LB Patrick Willis.
IMPORTANT LOSSES: Offensive coordinator Norv Turner, defensive coordinator Billy Davis, special teams coordinator Larry Mac Duff, WR Antonio Bryant, TE Eric Johnson.
CAMP NEEDS: Integrating three rookie coordinators into Nolan's game plans while meshing new acquisitions into defense that floundered for most of last season. Quarterback Alex Smith also must work on communication with new crop of pass-catchers.
EXPECTATIONS: Nolan said 49ers should expect to win this season for first time in his tenure, and their free-spending personnel additions make playoffs a realistic goal in mediocre NFC. But coaching turnover and offensive changes could make learning curve too steep to climb in one season.
ARIZONA CARDINALS (5-11)
OPEN CAMP: July 27, Flagstaff, Ariz.
LAST YEAR: Cardinals added Edgerrin James and still had worst running game in NFL, thanks mainly to woeful offensive line. Lack of balanced offense helped lead to eight-game losing streak in midseason and ended Dennis Green's three-year term as coach. Playing to sellout crowds in their new stadium, Cardinals stumbled to eighth consecutive losing season.
IMPORTANT ADDITIONS: OT Levi Brown, DT Alan Branch, C Al Johnson, G/T Mike Gandy, S Terrence Holt, FB Terrelle Smith, CB Roderick Hood, CB Ralph Brown, LB Buster Davis.
IMPORTANT LOSSES: OT Leonard Davis, DT Kendrick Clancy, FB Obafemi Ayanbedejo, WR Troy Walters, C Alex Stepanovich, LB Orlando Huff, LB James Darling, FS Robert Griffith, QB John Navarre.
CAMP NEEDS: New coach Ken Whisenhunt and assistant coach Russ Grimm look to solidify revamped offensive line and install run-oriented offense patterned off the one Whisenhunt had as coordinator of Pittsburgh Steelers. There will also be new-look defense, although coordinator Clancy Pendergast is a holdover from Green regime.
EXPECTATIONS: Whisenhunt is working to build toughness that was Steelers' trademark, but he isn't making any grand predictions for this team. Cardinals are loaded with talent at skill positions. Key to a turnaround will come in trenches.