It's officially football season, as training camps around the NFL are open for business. The journey to the Super Bowl begins now, marking the end of the long offseason and turning the focus back to the play on the field.
41 Days...We. Can. DO IT!!! #CountdownToKickoff— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) July 27, 2013
Even though many veterans are simply going through the motions as they await the regular season, training camp is crucial for fringe players hoping to make a roster. They get an opportunity to make an impact, forcing coaches into some tough decisions on cut days.
As always, hope springs eternal throughout the league when camps begin, which is one of the great things about sports. With that in mind, let's check out all the key information about each team's camp, followed by some storylines to watch.
2013 Training Camp Schedule (via NFL.com)
|Baltimore Ravens||Under Armour Performance Center||Owings Mills, Md.||July 21||July 24|
|Buffalo Bills||St. John Fisher College||Pittsford, N.Y.||July 22||July 27|
|Cincinnati Bengals||Paul Brown Stadium||Cincinnati, Ohio||July 24||July 24|
|Cleveland Browns||Cleveland Browns Training Facility||Berea, Ohio||July 19||July 24|
|Denver Broncos||Paul D. Bowlen Memorial Broncos Centre||Englewood, Colo.||July 24||July 24|
|Houston Texans||Methodist Training Center||Houston, Texas||July 21||July 25|
|Indianapolis Colts||Anderson University||Anderson, Ind.||July 23||July 27|
|Jacksonville Jaguars||Florida Blue Health & Wellness Practice Fields||Jacksonville, Fla.||July 25||July 25|
|Kansas City Chiefs||Missouri Western State University||St. Joseph, Mo.||July 22||July 25|
|Miami Dolphins||Miami Dolphins Training Facility||Davie, Fla.||July 20||July 20|
|New England Patriots||Gillette Stadium||Foxboro, Mass.||July 21||July 25|
|New York Jets||SUNY Cortland||Cortland, N.Y.||July 22||July 25|
|Oakland Raiders||Napa Valley Marriott||Napa, Calif.||July 25||July 25|
|Pittsburgh Steelers||Saint Vincent College||Latrobe, Pa.||July 26||July 26|
|San Diego Chargers||Chargers Park||San Diego, Calif.||July 24||July 24|
|Tennessee Titans||Baptist Sports Park||Nashville, Tenn.||July 24||July 24|
|Arizona Cardinals||University of Phoenix Stadium||Glendale, Ariz.||July 23||July 25|
|Atlanta Falcons||Atlanta Falcons Training Facility||Flowery Branch, Ga.||July 24||July 24|
|Carolina Panthers||Wofford College||Spartanburg, S.C.||July 21||July 25|
|Chicago Bears||Olivet Nazarene University||Bourbonnais, Ill.||July 25||July 25|
|Dallas Cowboys||City of Oxnard Fields||Oxnard, Calif.||July 20||July 20|
|Detroit Lions||Detroit Lions Training Facility||Allen Park, Mich.||July 22||July 25|
|Green Bay Packers||St. Norbert College||Green Bay, Wis.||July 25||July 25|
|Minnesota Vikings||Minnesota State University, Mankato||Mankato, Minn.||July 25||July 25|
|New Orleans Saints||New Orleans Saints Training Facility||Metairie, La.||July 18||July 25|
|New York Giants||Timex Performance Center||East Rutherford, N.J.||July 26||July 26|
|Philadelphia Eagles||NovaCare Complex||Philadelphia, Pa.||July 22||July 25|
|St. Louis Rams||Rams Park Training Center||Earth City, Mo.||July 21||July 24|
|San Francisco 49ers||Marie P. DeBartolo Sports Center||Santa Clara, Calif.||July 19||July 24|
|Seattle Seahawks||Virginia Mason Athletic Center||Renton, Wash.||July 24||July 24|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||One Buccaneer Place||Tampa, Fla.||July 17||July 24|
|Washington Redskins||Bon Secours Training Center||Richmond, Va.||July 24||July 24|
Storylines To Watch
Can the Baltimore Ravens repeat as champions?
The Ravens completed a miraculous run through the playoffs, which included an improbable comeback against the Denver Broncos, by defeating the San Francisco 49ers to win Super Bowl XLVII. Now, they must try to do it again.
Which team is your early Super Bowl pick?
Although a couple of longtime defensive stalwarts are gone in Ray Lewis and Ed Reed, Baltimore is still built for success.
The defense is still built for success thanks to players like Haloti Ngata, Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil, but somebody needs to accept the leadership role. The onus on offense falls squarely on the shoulders of Joe Flacco. He will spend the entire season attempting to show he's a top-tier quarterback and simply didn't have a perfectly-time hot streak in the playoffs. Another deep run would go a long way in proving his worth.
Will any injuries change the course of the season?
Unfortunately, injuries are part of the game, and it seems like, every season, a couple of playoff races are altered by training camp ailments. This year probably won't be any different, and there are already early signs of that.
Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Jeremy Maclin is undergoing testing to determine the severity of a knee injury, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. Losing him for any significant portion of the season, or potentially the whole thing, would be a huge setback for the Eagles.
Upon first examination, #Eagles fear a torn ACL and MCL for WR Jeremy Maclin, I’m told. Awaiting official word, though. In MRI now.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) July 27, 2013
Other teams will find themselves hoping for the best in similar situations throughout camp. Hopefully the number of significant injuries suffered by players, from stars to niche contributors, is limited. But odds are there's going to be a couple key ones.
Which unheralded players step up and steal the spotlight?
In today's world, where fantasy football owners are constantly searching for potential sleepers, there are more eyes than ever watching role players. Backup running backs and No. 3 wide receivers are no longer forgotten commodities. Instead, they have a tremendous chance to shine.
Standout performances during training camp practices paired with some big preseason games can cause a player to become a household name among football fans. The opportunity is available.
One player to keep an eye on is Buffalo Bills rookie wideout Robert Woods. He enters camp as the No. 3 option, but he's more talented than T.J. Graham and could easily move into a starting spot. And with defenses focused on Stevie Johnson, he should see plenty of targets.