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Every NFL Team's Biggest Flaw Heading into Training Camps

Wes StueveContributor IIIJune 12, 2013

Every NFL Team's Biggest Flaw Heading into Training Camps

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    Every NFL team has flaws. Some are huge, and some are small. All are noticeable, and entering training camp, NFL teams are looking at how they can improve them.

    For the 49ers, their biggest weakness may be something small. It may not even be a weakness on most teams. Yet it stands as their biggest flaw.

    The Raiders, on the other hand, may have weaknesses that are small for them but huge for another team. In other words, not all flaws are created equal.

    Just what is each team looking at as training camp approaches? What will be the biggest issue for each team in 2013?

Chicago Bears

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    Biggest Weakness: Safety

    The Bears have a great, yet somehow underrated team. Its safety position really isn't even all that bad, but it is the team's weakest unit. 

    Major Wright is an average player. He is strong against the run and unspectacular against the pass. He gets the job done. Chris Conte is perhaps a bit below-average, but even he isn't too bad. 

    Recently, this would have undoubtedly been the offensive line. But between development, free agency and the draft, Chicago has turned a terrible unit into a decent one.

    Now, the team doesn't have any glaring weaknesses. 

Cincinnati Bengals

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    Biggest Weakness: Quarterback

    This is Andy Dalton's chance. He showed promise as a rookie but took a slight step back in 2012. He needs to prove that he is capable of leading a team to the playoffs, or he may not get another chance in Cincinnati.

    The Bengals have a talented roster across the board. There are dynamic players on both sides of the ball, and the team is a legitimate contender. 

    If Cincinnati can't make a run, it will likely be because of Dalton. The rest of this roster is more than good enough, and Dalton hasn't proven he is.

    And at quarterback, no team can afford to wait. 

Buffalo Bills

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    Biggest Weakness: Quarterback

    Starting for the Bills at quarterback will be either E.J. Manuel or Kevin Kolb. Regardless of who wins the job, the position will be a weakness for Buffalo.

    In Arizona, Kolb proved he wasn't a capable starting quarterback. Manuel hasn't done that, but he is extremely raw. His ball placement is erratic, and he will need to adjust to an NFL offense. He will struggle at first.

    Manuel has potential, but that potential won't show itself immediately. Kolb, on the other hand, may be a bit better at first but has no upside moving forward.

    Either way, the quarterback position won't be doing Buffalo any favors. 

Denver Broncos

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    Biggest Weakness: Defensive End

    Last year, defensive ends Robert Ayers and Derek Wolfe combined for eight sacks. The two are starting for Denver in 2013 despite this lack of production.

    Last year, this wasn't a huge issue for the Broncos, as Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil were there to rush the passer. This year, Dumervil is gone, and the Broncos are sure to miss him.

    Sure, Miller will continue to make the Broncos' pass rush acceptable, but wouldn't it be nice if the team's defensive ends were helping the cause? That would make an already-great defense even more dominant. 

Cleveland Browns

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    Biggest Weakness: Quarterback

    Cleveland has a much more talented roster than many people realize. Holding the team back, though, is Brandon Weeden, the 29-year-old second-year quarterback.

    A first-round pick in 2012, Weeden struggled as a rookie. He showed a strong arm and occasional big-play ability, but his game, on the whole, was bad.

    It is possible, even likely that Weeden improves under Rob Chudzinski and Norv Turner in 2013. He still probably won't be great, however, and he is without a doubt Cleveland's biggest question mark moving forward. 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    Biggest Weakness: Defensive Line

    Gerald McCoy is a star. The rest of this unit is not.

    Starting defensive ends Da'Quan Bowers and Adrian Clayborn have a combined career 12 sacks after two years in the NFL. Both have had injury issues, but they haven't exactly dominated when on the field.

    Next to McCoy at defensive tackle is Gary Gibson. You know, the 31-year-old with 22 career starts and 57 career tackles. 

    Regardless of how much McCoy dominates along the interior offensive line, this is going to be a bad unit. The only alternative is if Bowers and Clayborn finally play up to their draft statuses, which doesn't seem particularly likely. 

Arizona Cardinals

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    Biggest Weakness: Running Back

    This is, without question, one of the worst running back units in the NFL. Rashard Mendenhall butted heads with coaches in Pittsburgh, and he hasn't been overly productive when on the field.

    Behind Mendenhall, Ryan Williams is talented but rarely healthy. Expecting anything of him would be a mistake, and his career 164 rushing yards backs that up. 

    Rookies Stepfan Taylor and Andre Ellington both have potential, but they lasted to the fifth and sixth rounds for a reason—they aren't that good.

    This could have also been quarterback, as Carson Palmer isn't a good player, and there is little depth behind him. The sheer awfulness of Arizona's running backs beat out the importance of quarterback, however. 

San Diego Chargers

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    Biggest Weakness: Offensive Line

    San Diego spent the No. 11 pick on D.J. Fluker, who is expected to start at right tackle. Despite this, the Chargers' offensive line is still pretty terrible. 

    Max Starks was signed as an otherwise-unwanted free agent, and he should start at left tackle. Neither of San Diego's guards—Chad Rinehart and Jeromey Clary—inspire any confidence.

    After years of being loaded with talent, the Chargers now have a bad roster. Many units lack talent and depth, and the offensive line is just one of many problematic areas. 

Kansas City Chiefs

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    Biggest Weakness: Wide Receiver

    In Dwayne Bowe, the Chiefs have a legitimate star wide receiver. The issue lies in what Kansas City has after him.

    Former first-round pick Jonathan Baldwin has yet to pan out, and 20 receptions for 325 yards last year don't inspire much confidence. Donnie Avery is expected to compete with Baldwin, but he is currently hurt, and again, is nothing special.

    It may be surprising, since they were the NFL's worst team last year, but the Chiefs really don't have a bad roster. This is the team's worst unit, and even it isn't completely terrible, with one great player there. 

Indianapolis Colts

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    Biggest Weakness: Linebacker

    Most teams that switch to a 3-4 defense has some problems at linebacker. The Colts have more than most. 

    A year after initiating the switch, this is still a terrible unit. Robert Mathis has struggled a bit with the adjustment from defensive end, and Pat Angerer is a weak presence on the inside.

    The addition of Erik Walden doesn't help. The former Packer shouldn't be anything more than a backup, but he will start for the Colts. 

    The only player here with a future is first-round pick Bjoern Werner, and he too will face an adjustment as he transitions to playing linebacker. 

Dallas Cowboys

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    Biggest Weakness: Head Coach

    Jason Garrett wasn't even a good offensive coordinator. Then, of course, the Cowboys made him their head coach, with predictable results. 

    Garrett's play-calling has been terrible—enough so that he is no longer doing it. More importantly, though, Garrett has never been able to make the most of the talent in Dallas. The Cowboys have been talented under Garrett, but they haven't played up to their ability.

    This will likely be Garrett's last year in Dallas. Unless the team finally does break out under him in 2013, he will have given Jerry Jones plenty of reason to move on to someone more qualified. 

Miami Dolphins

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    Biggest Weakness: Offensive Line

    Thanks to a couple solid drafts and high-price free-agent acquisitions, Miami's roster has come a long way in a short period of time. One area the team has failed to sufficiently improve, though, is its offensive line.

    Last year, second-round pick Jonathan Martin started at right tackle, The results weren't good. He was abused in both the run and pass game. This year, Martin will be playing left tackle, where he will be even worse.

    Tyson Clabo does offer a huge upgrade at right tackle, but he doesn't make up for how bad Martin will be on the blindside. Guards John Jerry and Richie Incognito don't help matters, as they are both below average. 

    This unit has two strong spots in Clabo and center Mike Pouncey, but the other three players more than make up for them. 

Philadelphia Eagles

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    Biggest Weakness: Defensive Backs

    All four of Philadelphia's projected starting defensive backs are new to the team. Only one of them—Kenny Phillips—can really be considered good, and he has major injury problems. 

    The Eagles' two starting cornerbacks—Cary Williams and Bradley Fletcher—are both average at best and better suited as No. 2 corners or nickel backs. The team's nickel back will be second-year pro Brandon Boykin, who could still be good.

    Next to Phillips is Patrick Chung, a pure strong safety who often looks foolish in coverage; he could prove to be a liability.

    The Eagles added many players over the offseason, but their work is far from over.

Atlanta Falcons

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    Biggest Weakness: Pass Rush

    Despite the addition of Osi Umenyiora, Atlanta's pass rush still looks to be a weakness in 2013. 

    In 2012, Umenyiora had just six sacks, and the Falcons' other starting defensive end, Kroy Biermann, had just four. Atlanta's starting defensive tackles combined for 3.5 sacks in 2012.

    In other words, picking up sacks could be an issue for the Falcons. They struggled to do it in 2012—Atlanta was No. 28 in sacks—and that was before losing John Abraham and his 10 sacks. 

    The Falcons' roster is far from perfect, but its pass rush could be a major issue moving forward. 

San Francisco 49ers

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    Biggest Weakness: Wide Receiver

    This is wide receiver only because of Michael Crabtree's torn Achilles. If Crabtree were healthy, the answer would be different. 

    But Crabtree is hurt, and wide receiver is a bit of an issue for the 49ers. 

    Anquan Boldin is well-established as a solid but unspectacular player, and that is exactly what he will be for San Francisco. After Boldin, things get a bit more troublesome, with Mario Manningham filling in as the team's No. 2 wideout. 

    Then, it gets even worse. The disappointing A.J. Jenkins might be the team's No. 3, but the 49ers are either hoping Jenkins shows drastic improvement or someone else steps up. 

    This is a unit lacking both star power and depth. Fortunately, the rest of the team's roster has both. 

New York Giants

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    Biggest Weakness: Linebacker 

    This unit is lacking both durability and talent. The oft-injured Keith Rivers and Dan Connor are probably New York's best linebackers, but both have struggled with injuries throughout their careers.

    Neither is that good, either.

    Then, there is Jacquian Williams. A rookie in 2012, Williams didn't show anything too impressive, though he still does have some potential moving forward. There isn't much reason to expect greatness, however. 

    Fortunately, the Giants have a strong defensive line, or the team's run defense might be disastrous. Of course, it could be anyway. 

Jacksonville Jaguars

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    Biggest Weakness: Quarterback

    It's hard to believe, but the Jaguars are once again trotting out Blaine Gabbert as their starting quarterback. Over the past two years, there probably hasn't been a worse quarterback, and the team is expected to draft someone new in 2014. 

    The quarterback is the most important position in football, and Jacksonville has the NFL's worst one. Clearly, the position has to be the team's biggest weakness. 

    The Jaguars still don't have a great roster, but the quarterback position stands out from the rest as especially awful. 

New York Jets

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    Biggest Weakness: Head Coach

    Who, at this point, still has faith in Rex Ryan?

    He opens his mouth far too often, and he simply hasn't been successful. He has become the epitome of all-talk-no-game in the NFL. And this is a head coach, the supposed leader of the team.

    Ryan has mismanaged nearly every major issue the Jets have faced. He has handled the team's disastrous quarterback situation even more poorly than Mark Sanchez has played. 

    Quite simply, Ryan should have been fired along with general manager Mike Tannenbaum. This team won't be good until the memory of both has faded. 

Detroit Lions

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    Biggest Weakness: Offensive Line

    It seems like we've been saying this for years, but Matthew Stafford could die with this offensive line. 

    2012 first-round pick Riley Reiff, who spent last year as a backup, will be protecting Stafford's blind side at left tackle. Reiff would be better suited on the right side, and he may not even be great there.

    Then, at right tackle, is a competition between Jason Fox and Corey Hilliard. The two are 25 and 28 years old, respectively, and have a combined five starts. 

    That inspires confidence. 

    The team's interior offensive line isn't amazing, though it likely won't be bad. The bigger concern here is the team's tackles, which are both huge issues. 

Green Bay Packers

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    Biggest Weakness: Running Back

    This isn't an indictment of or a lack of faith in Green Bay's running backs. It is more a sign of how strong the rest of this team is and how unproven the team's running backs are.

    The Packers spent a second-round pick on Eddie Lacy and a fourth-round pick on Johnathan Franklin in an attempt to fix its running back situation. And it may have. Both players are talented.

    However, Green Bay's running backs are much less proven than most of its team is. There is potential there, sure, but there is potential everywhere on the Packers' roster. 

    It's a great sign of things to come if this is Green Bay's weakest unit.  

Carolina Panthers

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    Biggest Weakness: Defensive Backs

    Of their four starting defensive backs, the Panthers do not have a single player who could be considered above-average. 

    That isn't good. 

    Second-year cornerback Josh Norman still has potential, but the starter opposite him, Captain Munnerlyn, is established as an average-at-best player. Safeties Charles Godfrey and Haruki Nakamura don't help matters.

    A solid pass rush could keep Carolina's pass defense from being awful, but when offenses have time to throw, they should be able to pick apart the Panthers secondary. 

New England Patriots

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    Biggest Weakness: Wide Receiver

    With Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez at tight end, the Patriots don't really need great wide receivers. That doesn't make this unit look any better, though.

    Danny Amendola, whom New England signed in free agency, is clearly the team's best wideout, and even he is nothing amazing. He doesn't offer anything Wes Welker didn't. 

    Behind Amendola is the slow-footed journeyman in Michael Jenkins. Then, there is second-round pick Aaron Dobson, whom the Patriots are clearly relying on to stretch the field and pose a vertical threat.

    If Dobson does that, this unit looks a lot better, but it still lacks star power. 

Oakland Raiders

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    Biggest Weakness: Quarterback?

    The question mark is not a typo.

    The Raiders are terrible. There isn't a worse team in the NFL, and Oakland is the easy favorite for the No. 1 overall draft pick.

    So what is the team's biggest weakness?

    Quarterback, because why not? Oakland doesn't have a legitimate starter—Tyler Wilson has potential but isn't ready yet—and it's the most important position.

    So, if you have to pick a position, it might as well be quarterback where, whether it's Matt Flynn, Terrelle Pryor or Wilson, the starter will be awful. 

St. Louis Rams

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    Biggest Weakness: Safety

    Currently, the Rams' starting safeties look to be Darian Stewart and T.J. McDonald.

    Sound promising?

    There is a reason St. Louis was often projected to draft a safety in the first round of the 2013 NFL draft. It's because the team's current players are bad—and that is after drafting McDonald in the third round.

    The Rams should be a better team in 2013 after making key offensive upgrades. At safety, however, the team is just as weak as ever, and the position might prove devastating. 

Baltimore Ravens

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    Biggest Weakness: Wide Receiver

    With Anquan Boldin now a 49ers, the Ravens' wide receiver unit isn't the rock-solid group it once was. Baltimore will need Torrey Smith to step up, which he is capable of, but it's after him that things get shaky.

    Jacoby Jones had some big plays in 2012, but he was unspectacular overall, catching 30 passes for 406 yards. He will likely be Baltimore's No. 2 wide receiver. After Jones, it gets even shakier, as Tandon Doss—he had seven catches for 123 yards in 2012—should fill in as the team's No. 3 receiver.

    This unit isn't terrible—there are definitely worse wide receiver corps—but it is easily Baltimore's weakest. Remember, though, this team won the Super Bowl last year. It's pretty good.

Washington Redskins

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    Biggest Weakness: Pass Defense

    The Redskins used three draft picks on its defensive backs, but these moves likely won't pay dividends until at least another year. The rookies are too raw to have significant impacts immediately.

    DeAngelo Hall is a well-known player, but he isn't that good, as he gets burnt far too often. Opposite Hall, Josh Wilson is nothing special.

    The team's safeties are similarly below-average. A weak defensive backfield combined with an average pass rush isn't a great combination. 

New Orleans Saints

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    Biggest Weakness: Pass Rush

    As they transition to the 3-4 defense, the Saints will have some defensive growing pains. The biggest one will be the team's pass rush, which isn't too strong at the moment.

    In a 3-4 defense, outside linebackers are the primary players responsible for the pass rush. The Saints are starting Will Smith, a career 280-pound defensive end, and Victor Butler, a career backup. 

    Now, defensive coordinator Rob Ryan is known for his creative blitzes and effective pass rush. Even he may struggle to get much out of this group, though. 

Seattle Seahawks

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    Biggest Weakness: Tight End

    Maybe?

    It is extremely difficult to pick a weakness for the loaded Seahawks. Because it lacks a truly elite player, the tight end position gets the title.

    While not a superstar, starting tight end Zach Miller is a solid player. He is a strong blocker with good-enough catching ability. Behind Miller, rookie Luke Wilson has potential.

    Again, this is a default pick. At every other position, Seattle has either a legitimate star player or terrific depth. This is the only spot lacking that. 

Pittsburgh Steelers

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    Biggest Weakness: Running Back

    Yes, the Steelers did spend a second-round pick on Le'Veon Bell, but that doesn't make the unit strong. Jonathan Dwyer is expected to start the season, and he is far from an average starting running back. 

    In time, Bell could prove decent, but he is raw and inexperienced. For as talented as he is physically, Bell doesn't know how to use his natural ability, and it could take him some time to be successful in the NFL.

    Many NFL teams have two better backs than Pittsburgh's best runner. That leaves the position an obvious weakness on a playoff-contending roster. 

Houston Texans

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    Biggest Weakness: Offensive Line 

    In Duane Brown, the Texans have one of the NFL's premier left tackles. They also have another great player in center Chris Myers.

    It's the rest of the unit that's the problem.

    Right tackle Derek Newton is especially bad, and left guard Wade Smith is also a below-average player. At right guard, Houston has a competition between 2012 rookies Brandon Brooks and Ben Jones, though Brooks is expected to win

    Overall, Houston is a good team. The offensive line isn't terrible by any means, but it isn't great, and it stands out on one of the NFL's strongest rosters. 

Tennessee Titans

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    Biggest Weakness: Defensive Line

    Many expected Tennessee to address its defensive line through the 2013 NFL draft, but the team instead focused on offense with its first two picks. The unit remains a weakness, as it was completely ignored during the offseason. 

    In 2012, Derrick Morgan led the Titans with just 6.5 sacks. Kamerion Wimbley added six of his own, but no other Tennessee lineman had more than 3.5.

    It wasn't just the pass rush, though. The team also had the No. 24 run defense despite a solid linebacker unit. Tennessee's defensive line lacks a single upper-level talent, and it will continue to be an issue in 2013.

Minnesota Vikings

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    Biggest Weakness: Quarterback

    Minnesota's top two quarterbacks are Christian Ponder and Matt Cassel, both of whom are proven bad players. Ponder's 2012 stats were lackluster despite benefiting from arguably the best rushing season of all time, courtesy of Adrian Peterson.

    Cassel, on the other hand, was terrible in Kansas City, leading the team to release him and trade for Alex Smith. He won't provide an upgrade.

    The Vikings' roster has holes in several places, but none is more severe than the quarterback position. It's difficult for a team to succeed in spite of a bad quarterback, and Minnesota needs to realize this and upgrade.

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