1 Burning Question from Every NFL Team's OTAs
What is the biggest, most important question coming out of all 32 NFL teams from their OTAs?
We look at the big picture for every NFL team, looking at key personnel decisions, deciding on starting quarterbacks, removing players that don't fit well with new regimes and other pressing issues.
Some of these burning questions will be answered sooner than others, but until they do get answered, they will be sure to remain a topic of conversation for some time to come.
Burning OTAs question: Who will win the competition between Kevin Kolb and John Skelton for the starting quarterback job?
It seemed that there was going to be an open competition for the Arizona Cardinals starting quarterback job between Kolb and Skelton. But the latest developments show that may not be the case after all.
According to this report from Adam Green of Arizona Sports.com, head coach Ken Whisenhunt responded that he prefers to see Kolb earn the starting quarterback job this summer.
Whisenhunt feels that the amount of money they have invested in Kolb is part of the reason for tilting this race. Despite these admissions, Whisenhunt promises that both of his quarterbacks will have a chance to win the job during camp.
This is clearly a situation that bears watching throughout the rest of the summer.
Burning OTAs question: What do the Atlanta Falcons have to do to go further in the playoffs in 2012?
Nobody knows the answer to that question, but doing whatever they can to improve the team on both sides of the ball is all they can do right now.
The Falcons improved the secondary with the trade for Asante Samuel, which is a double-win, since it removed Dunta Robinson from the outside cornerback (where he was less than advertised) and moves him into slot corner, where he can do less damage.
As for the playoffs, the Falcons have been humiliated by losing their first playoff game each of the last two years, with consecutive losses of 22 points against the New York Giants and 27 points at home against the Green Bay Packers. It is little consolation that both teams went on to win the Super Bowl. The Falcons want to experience a postseason victory of their own.
Hopefully, the experiences they have learned together as a team have prepared them for what they have to do in 2012 to take that next step.
Burning OTAs question: Do the Baltimore Ravens still have the personnel and depth to have a top-10 NFL overall defense?
Every year since 2003, the Baltimore Ravens defense has finished in the top-10 overall and in five of those years they finished in the top three. You have to wonder, though, if 2012 is the first time they will fall out of their lofty ranking as a top defense in the league.
The major blow was losing NFL Defensive Player of the Year Terrell Suggs to his Achilles tendon injury. Defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano left to become the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts, and took some defensive personnel with him, such as Cory Redding and Tom Zbikowski. They also lost Jarret Johnson to San Diego.
Then there is the age factor and health issues with Ray Lewis and Ed Reed. It helped out that the Ravens were able to draft Courtney Upshaw, but he may prove to be the source of some rookie mistakes.
Can the Ravens collectively as a unit dig deep enough to come up with another solid year, or is 2012 the year when the cracks in the armor start to become more noticeable?
Burning OTAs question: Can Ryan Fitzpatrick lead the Buffalo Bills to the playoffs in 2012?
The Buffalo Bills didn't bring in the same number of expensive free agents as the Philadelphia Eagles did last year, but they did bring in some high-priced talent. Can the new players mesh together to be effective, or will that take most of the season to develop like it did in Philadelphia? There is also the Vince Young connection in comparing those two teams, but that is more coincidence than anything else.
Some of the questions going on with the Bills OTAs are who will step up to be the No. 2 wide receiver and can Cordy Glenn actually handle the left tackle job as a rookie. How much have the Bills improved their rush defense?
The Bills burning question involves Fitzpatrick's leadership ability and to see if he can finally improve his throwing mechanics by working with quarterback guru coach David Lee. Fitzpatrick has a record of 14-23 as a starter for the Bills, and his 23 interceptions led the NFL last year.
Coach Lee believes that he can correct a number of Fitzpatrick's issues with better footwork and that is the focus of their work in OTAs, as per this article from Chris Brown of Buffalo Bills.com. The Bills will be counting on Fitzpatrick to take his game up another level this year. He will have to if they are to make the playoffs.
Burning OTAs question: The Carolina Panthers want to know if they can still rely on veteran linebackers Jon Beason and Thomas Davis to anchor the defense in 2012?
Serious injuries have been impacting this dynamic duo and you have to wonder how effective they can still be. Davis has injured his ACL three times, while Beason hurt his Achilles tendon early in 2011.
The Panthers are trying to bring them along slowly for 2012, but if either one gets hurt again, that will be a severe blow to the defense, as per this story by Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer.com.
At least in 2012 the Panthers have a ready replacement if just one of them goes down in first-round draft pick Luke Kuechly. He will figure into the Panthers linebacker unit, but it is also a function of who is healthy and who is not.
Burning OTAs question: The Chicago Bears and Matt Forte still have not been able to work out a new contract, and until he signs a new deal, you have to wonder how effective the Bears offense will be without him?
Clearly the Bears added some help to the offense with the addition of Brandon Marshall, Michael Bush and Alshon Jeffery, but Forte was the main weapon that allowed the Bears offense to really move the ball in 2011. If you remove Forte from the equation, the Bears could still function, but they wouldn't be operating at full capacity, and in a division with the offense of the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions, you need to be at full capacity.
But getting back to Forte, it has started to turn into a full-blown soap opera. David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune ran a story that Chicago was worried about Forte's knees, which is somewhat comical since Forte is only 26 and he had never missed a game up until the 2011 season. The next day, the Chicago Sun-Times came back with a reply from Forte's agent calling the Bears claims as absurd.
This looks like it could get ugly, if it isn't ugly already.
Burning OTAs question: Cincinnati would like to see the Bengals return to the playoffs for the first time in Marvin Lewis' tenure. Can he do it?
Lewis has guided the Bengals to the playoffs in 2005 and 2009, but both times they failed to repeat the following year. Now, they have another chance to make a repeat playoff appearance in 2012, but can they? Joe Fortenbaugh of National Football Post.com writes an interesting story looking at the Bengals ability to follow up in the playoffs.
They won't be sneaking up on teams this year, as the rest of the league will be ready for Andy Dalton and A.J. Green. The Bengals continue to bring in talented players with questionable off-the-field issues when they drafted Dre Kirkpatrick and signed Vontaze Burfict after the draft ended. If either of them wind up being major distractions this year, perhaps the Bengals will re-think their strategy.
If the Bengals can eliminate the distractions and stay focused, they have the talent to reach the playoffs again in 2012.
Burning OTAs question: Who will become the Cleveland Browns starting quarterback, and when will he be named? It would also be nice to know who are the Browns starting wide receivers, but the biggest question by far is who will be the quarterback? Will it be Brandon Weeden or will it be Colt McCoy?
Based on where he was selected in the draft, combined with his age (28 years old), you would like to think the answer is Weeden, but there were players drafted higher than Weeden last year that started the season on the sidelines.
For now, Weeden is taking some reps with the first-team offense, as per this tweet from Mary Kay Cabot. The Browns are alternating Weeden with McCoy and that practice probably will continue for a reasonable amount of the summer.
But when we are getting closer to preseason games, I suspect that the Browns will announce that they are going to go with Weeden. He has the bigger arm, is more physical than McCoy and even as a rookie will give the offense more opportunities to make bigger plays.
Burning OTAs question: The pressure seems to be turned up on the Dallas Cowboys to win it all now in 2012, since owner Jerry Jones has determined that the window of time to win is beginning to close.
Jones looks around his roster and sees that Tony Romo is 32 now, while other key veterans are also getting up there. Jason Witten, Nate Livings and Jay Ratliff are all 30, while DeMarcus Ware is 29. Okay, I understand that the Cowboys have four or five veterans that are getting up there, but what team doesn't.
The reality is if you look at the Cowboys current roster on ESPN.com, you will find that they 60 players that fall between the ages of 22 to 24. Window is closing, Mr. Jones? Seriously?
Personally, I find this to be nothing more than noise.
Burning OTAs question: What will the Denver Broncos offense look like in 2012?
An interesting article was written at the National Football Post by Terry McCormick on the subject of what will the Denver Broncos offense be like in 2012?
The probable end-product will be a combination of things that Manning has successfully done over his career at Indianapolis, but there will also be a healthy mix of what offensive coordinator Mike McCoy was doing with the Denver personnel that was also successful.
It would not be a surprise to consider that both parties have a broader range of plays, formations or patterns that they would like to implement, only to see them pared down as the rest of the offseason unwinds.
We asked the question earlier on the Green Bay slide, but should ask it with Denver as well. What happens to the Broncos offense if Manning gets hurt? If the Broncos have to turn to either Caleb Hanie or Brock Osweiler, their season is over.
Burning OTAs question: What is going on with the Detroit Lions organization in 2012? What is Jim Schwartz and the rest of the coaches and front office doing to encourage players to make better choices off of the field?
The questionable moves made by members of the Detroit Lions in the 2012 offseason has resulted in way too many negative headlines than anyone imagined could happen. The Lions should be celebrating the moral victory of finally reaching the playoffs in 2011, but instead all you keep hearing about or reading about is one Lions player after another getting arrested.
One possible clue as to the Lions mentality came from general manager Martin Mayhew prior to the draft. In a story that appeared in Pro Football Talk, Mayhew stated that the team wouldn't shy away from players that had smoked marijuana in college.
If that is part of the prevailing attitude going around at Lions headquarters, is it a big surprise when their players are arrested for marijuana possession?
If the Lions fall flat in 2012 and miss the playoffs, the Lions might consider taking a long look in the mirror.
Green Bay Packers
Burning OTAs question: The most pressing issue that I have heard raised regarding the Green Bay Packers in 2012 comes from a story by Aaron Schatz of Football Outsiders, that was published on ESPN. Schatz wonders what would happen to the Packers if Aaron Rodgers got hurt?
Obviously, we just recently went through this with what happened to the Indianapolis Colts last year when Peyton Manning went down. As things stand now, with Matt Flynn in Seattle, should something happen to Rodgers, we are looking at Graham Harrell running the Packers offense.
When the Packers lost Flynn in free agency, they didn't replace him with another experienced backup. That is not to say that they still can't add somebody, but wouldn't you already want them with you in OTAs to be learning the playbook?
This seems like a calculated gamble that the Packers are taking.
Burning OTAs question: For the Houston Texans, the biggest burning question is how does this team that finally qualified for the playoffs in 2011 continue to thrive in 2012 based on all of the players they lost in the offseason?
In free agency, the Texans lost defensive end Mario Williams (Buffalo), tackle Eric Winston (Kansas City), cornerback Jason Allen (Cincinnati), tight end Joel Dreessen (Denver), fullback Lawrence Vickers (Dallas) and guard Mike Brisiel (Oakland). Not only that, but the Texans also traded away linebacker DeMeco Ryans to Philadelphia for a draft pick.
The Texans may be able to endure some of these losses, but I think the loss of continuity and loss of depth on the roster are two key issues that can't be shrugged off or explained away. The Texans suffered some key injuries to Mario Williams, Matt Schaub, Arian Foster and Andre Johnson in 2011, but they had the depth then to deal with those losses.
It will be interesting to see how healthy the Texans will be in 2012 and how far they can go in the playoffs.
Burning OTAs question: With a team in need of rebuilding, what will the 2012 Indianapolis Colts look like and how competitive will they be behind Andrew Luck?
The Colts are close to getting Luck signed to a deal, as per this tweet from owner Jim Irsay. The deal appears to be very close to what Cam Newton received in 2011, in the vicinity of $22 million for a four-year deal with a signing bonus of around $14.5 million, as per this update from Rotoworld.com.
As for the offensive line around Luck, it is looking like Mike McGlynn will be at right guard with Winston Justice at right tackle. Joe Reitz at left guard, Samson Satele at center and Anthony Castonzo at left tackle. Ben Ijalana would be the top lineman for depth purposes. That overview was part of this story from Phil Richards of the Indianapolis Star. Richards says that the Colts line with be younger and much bigger. The line will average 6'5.5', with an average weight of 316 pounds.
With new offensive coordinator Bruce Arians, the Colts will run either two-tight end sets with rookies Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen, or will run three-to-five wide receiver sets featuring Reggie Wayne, Austin Collie, Donnie Avery and rookies T.Y. Hilton and LaVon Brazil. It sounds like Luck will be winging the ball often in 2012.
That means the Colts will be relying heavily on rookies and second-year men. With so much youth you can expect plenty of mistakes, as the learning curve will be steep. But when you are rebuilding, this is the first step of many steps in the long road back to respectability.
Burning OTAs question: The burning question for the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2012 surrounds the development of quarterback Blaine Gabbert. Will he be able to take a major step forward in 2012, or were all of the concerns about him reacting to ghosts in the pocket (happy feet) true?
If Gabbert is able to use the 2012 offseason and receive some solid hands-on coaching and shows improvement, that would be a positive step in his growth and development. If the extra coaching doesn't seem to be taking hold, the Jaguars can turn to Chad Henne, who has plenty of starting experience.
The Jaguars have taken some steps to improve the weapons on offense by adding three wide receivers in blue-chip rookie Justin Blackmon, and free agents Laurent Robinson and Lee Evans. With a better array of receivers, the onus is now on Gabbert to take the next step forward.
It would also help Gabbert for the Jaguars to come to terms with Maurice Jones-Drew, as the team needs their leading rusher to keep defenses honest. Having Jones-Drew in the fold would go a long way towards giving Gabbert some added comfort, but without him there, the exact opposite is also true.
Kansas City Chiefs
Burning OTAs question: The Kansas City Chiefs biggest question marks in OTAs centers around the health of their biggest star players that are returning from I.R. in 2011, such as Jamaal Charles, Matt Cassel,Tony Moeaki and Eric Berry. There is also the potential holdout of wide receiver Dwayne Bowe.
Adam Teicher of the Kansas City Star.com, writes that the Chiefs are going to let Charles, Moeaki and Berry ease their way back into playing shape by restricting what they will be allowed to do before training camp. By the time that training camp rolls around in July, head coach Romeo Crennel hopes that all three will have received medical clearance from team doctors.
All three play a key role on the team, so if all three can return healthy, it would greatly enhance the Chiefs chances for success. As for Bowe, nobody knows how that situation is going to shake out. He is asking for the stars and the moon, according to another story by Adam Teicher of the Kansas City Star.com.
Burning OTAs question: The Miami Dolphins will be HBO's choice to represent the NFL in Hard Knocks for the 2012 season, so we can all watch the drama unfold as to how the Dolphins will determine who their starting quarterback will be this year.
Right now, it is anybody's guess as to who will get the nod between David Garrard, Matt Moore or rookie Ryan Tannehill. In addition to the quarterback mystery, there is also a certain amount of intrigue about what Reggie Bush's role will be, and how the carries are going to be divided between Bush, Daniel Thomas and Lamar Miller.
There hasn't been much news about the Dolphins quarterback battle so far. We were aware that Garrard had to miss some time due to damage to his home from a storm, but outside of that it has been quiet. We will just have to sit back and wait for Hard Knocks to air, so we can see all the action unfold. The show might reveal who winds up being the new No. 1 wide receiver in Miami since Brandon Marshall has departed.
Burning OTAs question: Will Adrian Peterson be able to return to the Minnesota Vikings close to his old level of health?
The Minnesota Vikings seem to have dodged a bullet with the amazing recovery powers, attitude and mental toughness of Peterson. Somehow Peterson has managed to come back much sooner than his doctors imagined that he could from his ACL and MCL injury of 2011.
A story that ran on ESPN.com, told how Peterson was seen racing up a hill against Percy Harvin, and beat him both times. So much for any concerns about how far behind Peterson was in his rehab efforts.
Peterson's goal is to be ready for Week 1. His physical therapists think that Peterson is a freak, because he has a different protoplasm than the rest of the world.
The Vikings, Christian Ponder and all of their fans can breathe easier, because a healthy Peterson is crucial to the Vikings being competitive in 2012.
New England Patriots
Burning OTAs question: Have the New England Patriots done enough in the 2012 offseason to improve their defense?
It is well-documented that the Patriots defense took a major step backwards in 2011, as they were ranked No. 31 overall in the league. The pass defense was also ranked No. 31 while the rush defense was ranked No. 17.
In the offseason, the Patriots signed the following free agents for their defense: defensive end Jonathan Fanene, defensive end/outside linebacker Trevor Scott, safety Steve Gregory, cornerback Will Allen, linebacker Bobby Carpenter and cornerback Marquice Cole.
In addition, the Patriots went defense all the time with their first six picks in the 2012 NFL draft. They picked up defensive end Chandler Jones (pictured) from Syracuse, linebacker Dont'a Hightower from Alabama, safety Tavon Wilson from Illinois, defensive end Jake Bequette from Arkansas and cornerbacks Nate Ebner from Ohio State and Alfonzo Dennard from Nebraska.
Whether or not all of these additions will be sufficient to bring the defense to the level that head coach Bill Belichick needs to see to come closer to what he needs to see, remains to be seen. The Patriots could still sign defensive end Andre Carter, who is still a free agent and rehabbing from his 2011 injury.
The Patriots defense should be better in 2012, but will it be good enough?
New Orleans Saints
Burning OTAs question: There are a number of burning questions that we could go on at length about all of the New Orleans Saints issues, but I would rather focus on just one burning issue with the Saints organization, which is why can't they sign Drew Brees to a new deal?
The latest on the Brees negotiations is that there has been a recent snag that needed to be addressed due to a technicality. The hang up is explained in a story at ESPN.com, that states that the NFLPA is seeking clarification on how many times Brees has been franchise tagged, and does the tag that San Diego applied earlier in his career count? If it is ruled that it does, it will have an impact on future negotiations between Brees and the Saints. It also limits what options they can pursue with him.
Between the bounty investigation, the subsequent suspensions to both coaches, front office and players, the last thing the remaining players needed was to see their team leader home during OTAs and expressing frustration over the lack of movement.
Here we are in June and nothing has been finalized. This offseason has certainly tested the resolve of the Saints, the coaches and the fans. Hopefully the end result will be worth the anguish they have suffered.
New York Giants
Burning OTAs question: The New York Giants have been able to successfully deal with most offseason issues, so is this team good enough to repeat as Super Bowl champions?
The Giants expected to lose some key players when the offseason rolled around, and the damage hasn't been that severe. They lost Brandon Jacobs, Mario Manningham, Aaron Ross and Dave Tollefson. The Giants will also have to hope that there are no setbacks in the rehab of Hakeem Nicks foot surgery.
The additions to the Giants roster included tight end Martellus Bennett, defensive lineman Shaun Rogers, safety Stevie Brown, cornerback Antwaun Molden and tackle Sean Locklear.
New York also re-signed wide receiver/kick returner Domenik Hixon, cornerback Terrell Thomas, quarterback David Carr, punter Steve Weatherford, linebacker Chase Blackburn, extended linebacker Mathias Kiwanuka and signed Osi Umenyiora to a new deal.
With the nucleus of the team back, the Giants will have to be better in the regular season in 2012 than they were in 2011, where they just squeaked into the playoffs in the last week. This year the NFC East looks to be improved across the board, so the Giants will have their work cut out for them.
New York Jets
Burning OTAs question: For the 2012 New York Jets, the biggest question in OTAs seems to be centered around how are Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow getting along, how will they be able to share the job and who will be the starting quarterback in the second half of the year?
With respect to the media frenzy that was created when Tebow joined the Jets, you have to admit that the principal parties involved have handled the attention pretty well so far. Nobody has gone crazy yet, but that hasn't stopped the agents involved from going a little out of the way to make a dig.
For now, the Jets will let Sanchez run as the first-team quarterback, and continue to find some plays for Tebow to run in his own unique package. But when the season begins, and the pressure is on to produce, things could easily switch with Tebow taking over, especially if Sanchez struggles coming out of the gate.
Burning OTAs question: Now that Al Davis (R.I.P.) has passed on, how will the organization change and evolve going forward?
The passing of Al Davis marks the end of his legendary run with the Raiders franchise. Reggie McKenzie and Dennis Allen were hired to run the team and coach the Raiders into the next chapter of the Raiders team history.
McKenzie will probably he holding his draft picks and not trading them away. Allen will focus on defense and making the Raiders a more disciplined team, and leading the NFL in penalties is hopefully a thing of the past.
More attention will be paid to the salary cap situation and not letting things run crazy where the team is forced to release a number of good veteran players because the salary cap got our of control.
The changes will be more gradual and subtle, but I think you will see the Raiders evolve into a different organization going forward, presumably for the better.
Burning OTAs question: The biggest question in 2012 surrounding the Philadelphia Eagles is is this the year that Andy Reid has to win it all to remain as head coach? If they don't win the Super Bowl, how far would Reid have to take this team to keep his job?
Reid is the longest-tenured current head coach in the NFL, but even though the Eagles have usually been a contending team during his watch, they have only advanced to the Super Bowl one time during his tenure. The Eagles have been very patient with Reid and have given a very long leash over the years to run the program the way that he wants to run it.
But still, this is a results oriented business, and what exactly have you done for me lately? With the big commitment to the expensive free agents that the Eagles signed in 2011, this new season with a full offseason and plenty of coaching to weave everything together properly, needs to result in a playoff run that will take them to at least the NFC Championship for Reid to be assured he still has a job.
Anything short of that might mean the end of the line in Philadelphia.
Burning OTAs question: There are plenty of stories about trying to determine how Ben Roethlisberger and new offensive coordinator Todd Haley will be able to co-exist this year. I agree that is an important topic, but the one I really want to focus on is the Steelers desire to return to a more physical, running attack led offense.
I truly wonder if the Steelers have the proper personnel in place to return to a rushing-oriented attack. Here is a story from this past week via Pittsburgh radio station 93.7 The Fan, where Roethlisberger talks about the Steelers running the ball more in 2012.
For starters, nobody knows exactly when Rashard Mendenhall will receive medical clearance to resume playing. Until Mendenhall is back, you are then asking players like Isaac Redman and Mewelde Moore to carry the load, which is something that they have not proved they are capable of doing.
The negotiations with Mike Wallace have gone very slow, so that also has to be something of a concern to the Steelers and Roethlisberger. The more that I think about the changes with the offense and what is going on with the team, I wouldn't be surprised if the Steelers come out and struggle for the first few weeks of the 2012 season.
They will still have time to make adjustments and take advantage of their talent, but the desired plans to become a more physical run-oriented team, might have to be scaled back midseason if it is clear that the current version of the Steelers aren't prepared to pull that off.
San Diego Chargers
Burning OTAs question: Similar to the slide we did on the Philadelphia Eagles, the San Diego Chargers also find themselves in a situation where they have to win now to save their head coach, Norv Turner's job.
Turner was thought to be on the outs in San Diego following a failed season that ended in not qualifying for the playoffs. The Chargers relented and gave Turner one more year to prove that he could win with the current talent base and veteran team that has been amassed in San Diego.
The Chargers had as solid an offseason as any other NFL team. They signed key free agents on both sides of the ball and came away with a very well-thought of draft class.
So, all the ingredients are there for the Chargers to win in 2012. Phillip Rivers will need a bounce-back year, and he can't afford to go into a prolonged slump like he did in 2011. Could this be the year the Chargers make a surprising run deep in the playoffs?
San Francisco 49ers
Burning OTAs question: The San Francisco 49ers would like to think that they have adequately addressed their offensive unit shortcomings with all of the moves they made in the 2012 offseason. Can they blend in all of these weapons together or will this be a repeat of Philadelphia from 2011?
The 49ers already had a tough-tier defense that is returning all their key players from 2011. But the offense that came up short in the 49ers playoff run has been fortified by a number of new additions.
Added to the mix on offense were first-round draft pick A.J. Jenkins, second-round draft pick LaMichael James and then the free-agent veteran players like Randy Moss, Mario Manningham, Brandon Jacobs and Josh Johnson.
For starters, Alex Smith now has plenty of weapons to distribute the ball to. If the 49ers continue to be more committed to running the ball, then there is the potential for some disgruntled receivers who won't be seeing enough touches to keep them happy. Moss in particular is known to be moody, so you want to try to keep him happy if you can.
Will this be a repeat of what the Eagles did last year, by adding a number of key parts, but not being able to have it all mesh in time to be on any real consequence?
Burning OTAs question: The Seattle Seahawks have multiple questions coming from their 2012 OTAs, but the most burning questions to me are identifying their starters on offense, and who are going to be their go-to guys to lead the offense this year?
The Seahawks offense hasn't produced many top performers in the last six years. Since 2006, the Seahawks have only had one 1,000-yard rusher (Marshawn Lynch with 1,204 yards in 2011) and one 1,000-yard receiver (Bobby Engram with 1,147 yards in 2007). That is it. At least the Seahawks know their featured running back is Marshawn Lynch and he will be their workhorse back.
Taking it a step further, who is their go-to receiver? The Seahawks have had a different leading receiver every year since 2004. In 2011, it was Doug Baldwin. Prior to that it was; Mike Williams, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, John Carlson, Bobby Engram, Darrell Jackson, Engram and Jackson again.
But to me, the biggest issue will be identifying who is their starting quarterback. Pete Carroll is splitting reps between veterans Tarvaris Jackson, Matt Flynn and rookie Russell Wilson. According to ESPN Seattle.com, Brock Huard thinks that the team will ask Jackson to renegotiate his contract in August. If he refuses that would probably eliminate the competition by one less player.
The starter may not be identified until we get into the preseason games. But if Carroll names somebody, and then changes his mind later, all bets are off. Musical chairs every year doesn't get you very far.
Ideally, you want to have an offense like the Dallas Cowboys of the early 1990s where everything was built around the big three (Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith and Michael Irvin). I realize it is hard to come up with players of that exact caliber, but having established leaders on your offense that you can structure your offense around from one year to the next is ideal. Hopefully Seattle is getting there slowly but surely.
St. Louis Rams
Burning OTAs question: Between hiring head coach Jeff Fisher, and the strategy to keep trading down to acquire more draft picks, have the Rams done enough to significantly improve their team from the 2011 version?
For St. Louis Rams head coach Jeff Fisher, he preferred to go with quantity over quality, as he disdained the opportunity to draft a blue-chip player in the 2012 NFL draft, preferring to keep trading down and accumulate additional draft picks. To the extent that this move will either succeed or backfire is something we will get a better handle on as the 2012 season progresses.
Another interesting side note will be how well Fisher can bring out the talent level of corner Janoris Jenkins, but keep him out of trouble at the same time.
Also of interest to Rams fans will be how well Sam Bradford develops this year under new offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer. There are lots of changes in St. Louis, but we can only assume that most of them will wind up making the Rams a more complete and competitive team.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Burning OTAs question: How well will the Tampa Bay Buccaneers respond to no-nonsense head coach Greg Schiano?
Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Greg Schiano was able to send a message to the rest of his team with the way that they handled the Kellen Winslow situation by trading him away to the Seattle Seahawks.
You are expected to be here, come ready to work and we will improve together as a team. If you don't think you can do that, you will be gone. Message received loud and clear.
That message will probably get through to most of the players, but it doesn't mean that there won't be additional fallout going forward, as Schiano looks to identify the players that aren't fully on board and escort them out of the facility for good.
Burning OTAs question: The biggest question coming out of the Tennessee Titans has to be who will be the starting quarterback in 2012?
Could second-year man Jake Locker do enough to steal the job away from Matt Hasselbeck, or will the Titans ultimately decide to stick with the veteran for one more year?
For the Titans, it had to be considered a positive sign that Chris Johnson decided to attend OTAs this season, the first time that he has done that in his career. The sooner the Titans identify who their starter is, the sooner he can work on getting in sync with Johnson and the other key weapons on offense, including Kendall Wright.
If Johnson is back to form, that places less of a burden on either Locker or Hasselbeck to have to carry the Titans offense. Tennessee is in a position to surprise some people this year, so the quarterback decision is an important decision on the fate of the 2012 team.
Burning OTAs question: For the Washington Redskins in 2012, have they surrounded Robert Griffin III with enough weapons to take advantage of his special skills?
Griffin has impressed the Redskins coaching staff and the veteran players with what he has been able to demonstrate so far in OTAs. One has to wonder if the Redskins truly have enough weapons in place for Griffin to be as effective as he could be.
It is conceivable that the Redskins had additional plans in place to add more talent, but when the decision came down from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to strip them of millions of dollars from their 2012 salary cap number, it probably served to squash whatever else the Redskins had in the works.
The Redskins will clearly have an improved offense in 2012, but I have the feeling that they will only be scratching the surface with RG3 this year, and will be set up to expand what he can do by adding more weapons in 2013.