With the beginning of training camp, we can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. Football is nearly upon us, and all 32 teams have different things to work on to get ready for the NFL season. Here's my top story line from each team in the NFL.
Coming off of two very mediocre seasons in Oakland, can Carson Palmer still lead a winning NFL team? If not, the Cardinals will be back to square one. If he can be an efficient passer, they have a chance to do some very good things.
For the Falcons, it's all about breaking through in the playoffs. There seems to be no doubt they'll be in the show at the end of the season, but can they win the big games?
The Ravens are minus a handful of key players that helped them get to the Super Bowl. How much will those losses hurt the Ravens in a very tough AFC West?
The Bills are in rebuild mode. Since the draft, we've all been wondering if E.J. Manuel was worth a first round selection when it appeared he wouldn't go until about the third round.
The Panthers get confident, then their bubble is burst. They get confident; bubble burst. Can the Panthers transfer their preseason confidence to actual wins on Sundays or will they fall flat again in 2013?
The Bears took big hits on defense, and they didn't get Jay Cutler a lot of extra help in pass protection. Are the Bears just another mediocre team, or are we all missing something?
The Bengals finally look to be in position to not just make the playoffs, but to do so as the AFC North champions. The Ravens are significantly weaker, at least on paper, than they were last year, and it's unclear if the Steelers will be back to their former role as a divisional power. Can the Bengals capitalize and win a division title?
The Browns will be taking one last hard look at Brandon Weeden. If they don't like what they see, you can bet they'll be moving on from another draft disaster.
Is Jason Garrett on the hot seat? Can Tony Romo get the Cowboys back to the playoffs? There's a lot of people in Dallas feeling nervous as the Cowboys enter a make-or-break year for the current regime.
With all the pieces seemingly in place, stars aligned and all, can Peyton Manning take Denver to the promise land?
The Lions look like a solid team on paper, but every year, we see discipline issues de-rail the team. Can Jim Schwartz keep his team focused on and off the field, or is this his last ride?
Green Bay Packers
Can Aaron Rodgers carry the Packers deep into the playoffs without much outside help? If he can, he could cement himself as the best quarterback in the league today.
The Texans are a solid roster, but like the Falcons in the NFC, they've been unable to break through in the big games. In addition, their Super Bowl window seems to be getting smaller. Can the Texans make a run in the AFC this time around?
Andrew Luck was outstanding in his rookie year, but the Colts as a team overachieved. This season, we'll find out if 2012 was simply a fluke or if this team is the real deal.
The Jaguars are operating with a brand new regime, but ultimately their success depends on their quarterbacks. Is Blaine Gabbert going to finally come through, and if not, is Chad Henne the answer?
Kansas City Chiefs
New coach? Check. New quarterback? Check. Can this rebuilt team function smoothly out of the gates or is it too much to ask in such a short time? The Chiefs are a hard team to forecast, meaning they should be a fun group to watch.
The Dolphins have been a trendy team all offseason. Still, it all comes down to Ryan Tannehill's ability to progress. Last season, the Chiefs were in a similar position, and it all fell apart.
We know Adrian Peterson is the king of all running backs, but can he get any offensive help outside the running game? Christian Ponder has the best group of receivers he's ever worked with, making this a no-excuses year for the young quarterback.
New England Patriots
Tom Brady is working with a depleted offensive unit and a suspect defense. Can the Patriots retain their divisional title with so many pieces of their puzzle missing?
New Orleans Saints
Last season, it seemed that the Saints never got going, largely due to multiple interim head coaches and the absence of Sean Payton. With Payton back, will the Saints be back to their old ways?
New York Giants
The Giants aren't the class of the field, but even in their two recent Super Bowl years, they simply got hot at the right time. It's that competitiveness I'll be watching for going into football season.
New York Jets
How long until Geno Smith takes over as the Jets' starting quarterback?
The Raiders are one of the worst rosters in football. Can they find wins in their schedule, or are they destined for the first overall pick?
Chip Kelly is expected to run the most unique offense in football, but it's not yet clear whether it'll be Michael Vick or Matt Barkley taking the snaps. That's the battle I'll be watching in preseason action.
The Steelers look like a team that's in need of some re-tooling, but with a weakened division, especially in regard to the Ravens, the Steelers could still win the division. Keep an eye on the Steelers running game, now featuring three viable backs.
Saint Louis Rams
The Rams took a big step forward last season by simply playing competitive football. Still, Sam Bradford hasn't been worthy of a top draft pick, and the Rams' success depends on him taking the next step forward.
San Diego Chargers
I've debated all offseason whether this is a team that needs blown up and the roster rebuilt or if it just needed a new head coach. That's exactly what we'll find out, most likely, early in the regular season.
San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers bet the farm on Colin Kaepernick when they let Alex Smith go. Now we'll find out if Kaepernick's extraordinary year last season was how he'll play in the future or just a fluke
The Seahawks outperformed any reasonable preseason expectations a season ago. Can this young squad continue forward or suffer a setback this season?
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Is Tampa Bay a good football team that just under-performed over the past few years or are they just a bad football team? Is Josh Freeman the answer at quarterback? Is Greg Schiano a jerk, or just misunderstood? So many stories to choose from in Tampa Bay, I couldn't pick just one.
Mike Munchak will be heading into a make-or-break year as the Titans' head coach as will Jake Locker as the team's quarterback. The whole squad is primed for destruction. Can they put off a complete roster overhaul for one more year, or is this that team's swan song?
Redskins fans will be watching only one thing when their team takes the field in week 1 of the regular season. Will Robert Griffin III's knee hold up?
|Like TGS on Facebook||Follow TGS on Twitter|