The Complete NFL Training Camp Guide for All 32 Teams

Andrew Garda@andrew_gardaFeatured ColumnistJuly 24, 2013

The Complete NFL Training Camp Guide for All 32 Teams

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    We made it folks.

    Training camps are kicking off, and that means the actual NFL season is almost here. Meanwhile, we can shut down the random, rampant speculation that has filled the hours over the last few months and direct our attention to actual football.

    By the end of the week, everyone will be in camp—both rookies and veterans—save for a few holdouts fighting for contract leverage.

    Despite the fact that it's been a slow month or so of news for the NFL, there's still a ton of stuff to go over as camps start.

    So in case you missed it because you were distracted by things like "outside" or "sunshine" or maybe even "family," we've compiled this little slideshow to make sure you can find all the information you need to follow your team during training camp.

AFC East Overview

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    If you're going to be the best, you need to beat the best.

    As it stands, the New England Patriots remain the team to beat in the AFC East.

    It's not about how good the Patriots are, though, because this may be the most vulnerable they've been.

    It's about the issues and question marks the other teams have.

    As it stands, the Patriots remain the "Big Dog" in the division, followed by the Miami Dolphins, the New York Jets and Buffalo Bills.

    Will one rise up and take King Brady's crown?

    There's never been a better time.

New England Patriots

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    It hasn't been the best offseason for the New England Patriots.

    Rob Gronkowski has had multiple surgeries and could start the year on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list, while Aaron Hernandez has been released and arrested.

    Wes Welker is in Colorado, and the remaining receivers are filled with question marks.

    Can Brady overcome this as he did throwing to nobodies in 2006? Will the running game be the cornerstone of the offense with so many issues in the passing game? How will the defense hold up?

    This could be a final referendum on just how good Bill Belichick is.

    Featured Columnist Mike Dussault breaks down what the big questions are in his training camp guide.

Miami Dolphins

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    This entire season comes down to Ryan Tannehill and whether he can take a big step forward in his development.

    Sure, his rookie season was at times underwhelming, but, overall, he played well under difficult circumstances.

    This year, the team added some new weapons in the personages of Mike Wallace and Dustin Keller. Tannehill still has Lamar Miller in the backfield, as well as Brian Hartline at receiver, so it's not as if he's having to get to know all new players.

    What they didn't do is add offensive line help, hoping, instead, that second-year tackle Jonathan Martin can replace Jake Long. Sure, Long had a rough 2012, but Martin wasn't exactly an All-Pro either. Beyond that, the Dolphins didn't do much to help the offensive line.

    Can they overcome this? What else is haunting the Dolphins? Check out Thomas Galicia's training camp guide

New York Jets

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    The New York Jets have a lot of work to do on the offensive side of the ball. After surviving a horrid 6-10 season, the team looks to rebuild quickly, focusing on a trademark Rex Ryan defense and the hopes that the offense can pull itself together.

    Whether it's Geno Smith vs. Mark Sanchez, questions about Chris Ivory's durability, Quinton Coples' transition to outside linebacker or if the defense can rebound from a down season, the Jets face a lot of big questions.

    Check out Aidan Mackie's guide to the Jets' training camp for a breakdown of what to expect.

Buffalo Bills

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    The Buffalo Bills spent a truckload of cash on defense last year, but they didn't get their money's worth. Now they're hoping the defense can turn it on for the 2013 season, while the offense gets itself on track as well.

    The biggest question is who will be the starting quarterback. Will it be veteran Kevin Kolb, who has not impressed since leaving the Philadelphia Eagles? Or will it be rookie EJ Manuel, the raw, but talented, No. 16 overall pick in the 2013 NFL draft?

    Chris Trapasso has your complete guide to the Bills' 2013 training camp.

AFC North Overview

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    The Baltimore Ravens are Super Bowl champions, for at least a while.

    As always, the rest of the North is hot on their heels, especially the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals, both of whom worked to improve this offseason.

    Even the Cleveland Browns, despite some quarterback chaos, will make things tough on the Ravens.

    It's going to be a tight division again, and Baltimore has no room for error.

Baltimore Ravens

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    It's not easy being the champ.

    The Ravens will see everybody's best shot this season and have lost what seems like half their defense to retirement and poachers this offseason.

    Can they overcome the defensive departures of Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Cary Williams, Dannell Ellerbe and Paul Kruger?

    Offensively, they lost Anquan Boldin, but they still have Joe Flacco, with a fresh, new (and fat) contract, as well as Ray Rice. The offense started out slowly last year, and fans hope that the momentum it had in the postseason carries over to this year.

    Shawn Brubaker asks those questions and more in his Ravens training camp guide.

Cincinnati Bengals

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    When you have A.J. Green in your offense, things are apt to look pretty good for it on most days.

    Even though Andy Dalton still has some growing to do as a quarterback, even though there is bound to be a battle in the backfield between BenJarvus Green-Ellis and rookie Giovani Bernard and even though Jermaine Gresham has underperformed and the rest of the receivers are far behind Green in skill—as long as you can throw it to Green, you should be OK.

    On top of that, defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer does a great job on defense, often without any real "big-name" players—though this year, he has Geno Atkins, Vontaze Burfict and Michael Johnson coming off solid seasons.

    What can you expect from camp? Check out Sean O'Donnell's complete Bengals training camp guide and find out. 

Pittsburgh Steelers

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    It was surprising the Pittsburgh Steelers went 8-8 last season, but maybe it shouldn't have been. A shaky run game, a battered offensive line and an aging defense spelled trouble.

    Maybe we just didn't want to see it.

    A new running back, some O-line work, the departure of unhappy Mike Wallace and a shifting defense point to a team trying to rebuild on the fly. But the Steelers are always ready to play and may relish being an almost-underdog.

    In a tough division, can they regain the ground they lost to the Bengals in 2012? What other issues have to be dealt with in camp?

    Chris G. has your complete Steelers training camp guide ready to go. 

Cleveland Browns

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    Jason Campbell wasn't exactly fantastic in limited action last season for the Chicago Bears. However, Brandon Weeden didn't light the world on fire either.

    Who ends up at quarterback may decide an awful lot about the future of this team for 2013 and beyond.

    A new coaching staff, some new players, a solid defense—is this the year the Browns take a step forward?

    Or is it just more of this?

    Take a look at Gary Davenport's Browns training camp guide for more information. 

AFC South Overview

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    Last season, the expectation was that this division would be all about the Houston Texans.

    While they won the division, they were pushed hard by an Andrew Luck-led Indianapolis Colts team—and it looks like the Colts are only getting better as we approach the 2013 NFL season.

    Both the Tennessee Titans and Jacksonville Jaguars appear to be a distant third and fourth, neither one doing well within the division last season.

    Can either improve enough to enter the race between Indy and Houston for the AFC South crown?

Houston Texans

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    The Houston Texans and quarterback Matt Schaub were so close to a Super Bowl appearance before getting curb-stomped in the second half of their game in the divisional round by the New England Patriots.

    A fantastic J.J. Watt-led defense gets Brian Cushing back, while the offense has added a potentially fantastic No. 2 wide receiver in DeAndre Hopkins whom the team hopes will pull some coverage off Andre Johnson.

    The Texans hit camp in high spirits, hoping that this is the year to push their franchise over the top. Matt Goldstein has everything you need to follow the action in his Texans training camp guide.

Indianapolis Colts

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    After a horrible 2011 season, not even the must-be-myopic Colts fan expected an 11-win season in 2012.

    Yet, that's what the Indianapolis Colts delivered, in large part to the transcendent play of rookie Andrew Luck.

    This year, the expectations are high for both Luck and the Colts. The team went on a spending spree this offseason, with some sharp signings (backup Matt Hasselbeck and offensive lineman Gosder Cherilus) and some head scratchers (Erik Walden).

    Is it enough to catch the Houston Texans?

    Check out Kyle Rodriguez's Colts training camp guide to get prepped on what to watch for.

Tennessee Titans

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    Is Jake Locker the future for the Tennessee Titans?

    The Titans are hoping to answer that question this year, but do they have enough tools for him to utilize?

    Can Kendall Wright or Nate Washington be a legitimate No. 2 receiver? Will Chris Johnson be able to rediscover the end zone? Has the offensive line improved enough? Did Kenny Britt get arrested yet this week? (kidding on the last one.)

    Locker is only one piece of the puzzle and certainly can't do it by himself, but he has the highest profile, and, potentially, the most to lose.

    On the other hand, you've got nothing to lose and everything to gain by checking out Chad Minton's Titans training camp guide.

Jacksonville Jaguars

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    Nobody is happier to be heading back into camp than Jaguar Nation.

    If it isn't the unkillable rumors that the team is going to move to London, Los Angeles, Oklahoma or Timbuktu, it's "hey you know what would help this team? TEBOW" making the rounds again.

    Actual football? Yes please.

    The Jaguars have a full schedule of activities you can hit up if you're in the area and want to check out the action live. You can find their training camp schedule at

    A team coming off the worst season in franchise history (its previous worst was four wins in its initial season as a franchise) is bound to be dealing with many changes. The Jags have a new head coach in former Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator Gus Bradley and a new general manager in David Caldwell, added Luke Joeckel with the second overall pick and are adding a zone-blocking scheme to the offense.

    All that change is good, but there are a few big issues that the team will need to figure out this season.

    Maurice Jones-Drew is coming off a Lis Franc injury, and the Jags aren't sure what his workload will be this year. They added Justin Forsett, but he's never carried close to a full load, so it will be interesting to see if rookie wide receiver/quarterback/running back Denard Robinson will get a chance to really show his stuff early on in camp.

    The other huge offensive question is Blaine Gabbert at quarterback.

    Gabbert's second season was cut short due to injury—a torn labrum as well as nerve damage—but he hasn't exactly been fantastic even healthy. His competition is Chad Henne who did OK last season but wasn't exactly Joe Montana either.

    Jacksonville needs to figure out whether either of these guys can step up or if it's back to the drawing board for 2014.

    Of course, Justin Blackmon's suspension complicates that, though it also allows Cecil Shorts to continue to rightfully grab the spotlight and could provide room for someone like Mohamed Massaquoi, Jordan Shipley or Ace Sanders to take a bigger role in the offense.

    The battle for position among the linebackers should be interesting to watch as well. Geno Hayes arrives from the Chicago Bears and could line up next to middle linebacker Paul Posluszny, but he's battling with the incredibly fast Julian Stanford and rookie Jeremiah Green.

    Hayes should win that battle, and it will be a little concerning if he can't.

    The Jaguars are a bit of a mystery. They look bad—there's no way around it. But if the defense plays well and a few offensive pieces fall into place, they could be decent this year and a pain in the rear end for divisional foes.

AFC West

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    Is the AFC West going to be all about the Denver Broncos, or is it far more competitive than we think it is?

    The Kansas City Chiefs think so. They added a potential franchise quarterback and shored up the offensive line in the hopes they can catch the "Orange Crush" napping.

    On the other hand, the Broncos managed to improve their offense by adding Wes Welker, so even with Von Miller's looming four-game suspension, they might score enough points to win most games.

    Meanwhile, the Oakland Raiders are rebuilding on the fly, and the San Diego Chargers are trying to avoid that post-Norv Turner mess.

Denver Broncos

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    In the space of a few days, the tone has gone from "how much money do you want to put down on the Broncos as Super Bowl champions?" to "how will Von Miller's suspension keep the Broncos out of the playoffs?"

    Miller is appealing the four-game suspension, but for a second, let's consider what could happen if he is suspended.

    The first four games of the season are no joke—playing the Baltimore Ravens and New York Giants are rough matches, and while the Oakland Raiders and Philadelphia Eagles were terrible in 2012, the Raiders always play the Broncos tough, and the Philadelphia Eagles don't look like pushovers for this season.

    Miller being gone could hurt this team, and it wouldn't shock to see them drop two or three of the first four games.

    So, this training camp, we'll be watching the defense. Even with new weapons like Wes Welker and Montee Ball, the Broncos' season may pivot more on the defense than the offense.

    For more training camp info, check out Jon Heath's training camp guide.

Kansas City Chiefs

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    This entire season is likely to come down to whether Andy Reid can replicate the success Jim Harbaugh had in resurrecting Alex Smith's career.

    Smith played well for the San Francisco 49ers the last few seasons before being sidelined due to injury and replaced by Colin Kaepernick.

    He's entering an offense that looks pretty solid on paper, with Dwayne Bowe finally reaching his full potential and an excellent running back in Jamaal Charles.

    The defense will still need to keep things close—Smith isn't a guy who will throw deep to bring you back from a big deficit— but the Chiefs are looking to gain on the Denver Broncos now, and, ultimately, it will come down to Smith.

    For a full look at the Chiefs' training camp, check out Farzin Vousoughian's guide.

San Diego Chargers

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    To say that San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers has had a disappointing few years might be a huge understatement.

    New head coach Mike McCoy shaped offenses around three very different quarterbacks in Kyle Orton, Tim Tebow and Peyton Manning. Can he pull Rivers' career back from the brink?

    We should start to see some progress (hopefully) in training camp.

    The defense, offensive line and backfield need to do their part as well, but, ultimately, Rivers will have to find a way to carry this team.

    The other big hurdle is staying healthy. The Chargers had too many injuries last season, and if they hope to improve on a 7-9 record and a third straight season out of the playoffs, they have to stay off the trainer's table.

    For more on what to expect at training camp, check out Marcelo Villa's complete guide to the Chargers' camp.

Oakland Raiders

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    Matt Flynn is hoping his tenure as starting quarterback for the Oakland Raiders is longer than the one for the Seattle Seahawks.

    Of course, who could have foreseen Flynn losing the job in camp to third-round pick Russell Wilson?

    Probably the same people wondering if Raiders fourth-round pick Tyler Wilson can do the same. Tyler Wilson isn't as good as Russell Wilson was right out of college, but Flynn has to be looking over his shoulder at least a little bit.

    Questions surround second-year head coach Dennis Allen as well, and it seems like Raider Nation has very little patience for a repeat of last year's lackluster season.

    What does Allen have to look forward to in camp? Dan Wilkins has you covered with his complete guide to the Raiders' training camp.

NFC East Overview

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    As is almost always the case, expect the unexpected this season.

    Last year, most thought the Washington Redskins would be trying to fight their way out of last place—not winning the division.

    Who will surprise us this year? Well, there are a lot of factors to consider.

    Will Robert Griffin III be ready to go Week 1? Can the New York Giants build up their secondary? Will the Philadelphia Eagles be able to right the ship with their new coach? Who will be their quarterback? Can the Dallas Cowboys and Tony Romo find a way to win the games that matter?

    There's no way to predict what will happen this year.

    It's every fan for himself.

Washington Redskins

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    The biggest questions for Washington revolve around Robert Griffin III and his rehab. While he may not play a snap in the preseason, there are still some who feel he has rushed (or been rushed) back into action before he should have been.

    How much Griffin plays—and if he can avoid further injury—will be the major theme this season. Alfred Morris' second season, the defense, any emerging wide receivers—all these things will pale in comparison to RG3's health and performance.

    As far as Griffin is concerned, though, as long as it isn't about his wedding registry, he's probably happy.

    For everything else as well as Griffin-related news, check out Shae Cronin's guide to Washington's training camp.

New York Giants

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    With the departure of Ahmad "Ow My Foot" Bradshaw, second-year player and former doghouse occupant David Wilson will get first crack at carrying the load.

    While the Giants will throw the ball early and often—when you have Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks, that's what you do—they still need a reliable ground game. Can Wilson avoid the bad case of fumbles he had last year, or will Andre Brown get an early look at the starting job?

    That and other questions get looked at by Tamer Chamma in the Giants training camp guide.

Dallas Cowboys

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    Tony Romo is going to find himself under an even more intense microscope this year after signing a $108 million contract extension. It doesn't help that Cowboys owner Jerry Jones decided to criticize his quarterback's work ethic after the contract was signed. 

    Forget Miles Austin and DeMarco Murray's health, forget the issues on the offensive line, and forget the question marks on the defense.

    It's Romo who will be the one most scrutinized this round of camp.

    That's the realm of a quarterback, one which Romo is well familiar with. And the expectations are fair.

    You get the big money, then you get the big expectations.

    Now he needs to make good on them.

    Alex Hall talks about those and other expectations in his Cowboys guide for training camp.

Philadelpha Eagles

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    With new head coach Chip Kelly, there is a lot of potential changes and training camp battles for the Eagles this summer.

    Michael Vick could find himself out of a job, the Eagles have to do a better job protecting whoever the quarterback is, the defense has some holes and the new offense has everyone excited.

    The Eagles are in a position where the expectations are a bit lower than normal, but, as always, the NFC East is wide open. A strong camp, followed by a strong preseason, could go a long way to getting the Eagles' bandwagon rolling again.

    Seems like a lot is going on in Eagles camp—so check out Cody Swartz's guide to everything going on over the next few weeks.

NFC North Overview

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    Never has this division been tighter.

    The Green Bay Packers won the title last year, but the Chicago Bears and surprising Minnesota Vikings were hot on their heels, behind by only one game.

    It could very well be that close again this year.

    However, while the Packers continue along with very little drama and concern (aside from that pesky pass rush they can't find), the Vikings and Bears are in a bit of transition. They will both be fighting through some questions that aren't easily answered.

    For the Vikings, it's whether Christian Ponder and the offense can pass more effectively or if Adrian Peterson will, once again, have to carry the full load.

    In Chicago, it's whether new head coach Marc Trestman can find a way to wrest more out of Jay Cutler, while not losing control of the tremendous defense the team has relied on for years.

    Meanwhile in Detroit, the Lions look to rebound from an awful 4-12 record. They've added Reggie Bush and some defensive pieces—are they enough to catch the rest of the division?

Green Bay Packers

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    The Packers don't have a ton of question marks to deal with in camp.

    Yes, the offensive line needs to decrease the amount of sacks it allows Aaron Rodgers to take, while Rodgers needs to get rid of the ball more swiftly.

    And sure, the pass rush needs to materialize. It can't just be all Clay Matthews all the time.

    But, by and large, the Packers are in good shape.

    One place to watch closely will be the backfield. The Packers went after Eddie Lacy in the second round and then doubled up on the position in the fourth with Johnathan Franklin.

    Add to that DuJuan Harris, who did pretty well toward the end of last year, and Alex Green, who Tyler Dunne of the Journal-Sentinel says ended minicamp in the nominal "lead" for the featured role. 

    There are a ton of fun battles to watch, but that one will be the most entertaining.

    For more of what you need to keep an eye on, my man Zach Kruse has you covered in his Packers guide.

Minnesota Vikings

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    When not trolling Packers fans, Greg Jennings is busy building a rapport with Christian Ponder.

    Easily the biggest story of camp, whether Ponder and Jennings can give this offense a vertical threat is something you have to watch. It's very likely the biggest key to a successful season for the Vikings' offense.

    Ponder has his critics, those who look at his play last year and feel he's already peaked. He also has his supporters, who look at some of the games at the end of the season and see a marked improvement in patience, accuracy and decision-making.

    How he plays this season will be closely watched by both groups.

    There's lots more going on as well—and Tim Arcand has it all covered with his Vikings guide to training camp.

Chicago Bears

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    A new head coach has arrived, and with him, a shift from the defensive-minded schemes of Lovie Smith.

    How the defense reacts to losing Smith is almost as important to the Bears this season as how Jay Cutler responds to Marc Trestman.

    Cutler has always been a very productive quarterback who seemed to have the ability to do more. He just never does it.

    Trestman has been successful helping good quarterbacks play great during his time with them, most notably with Rich Gannon and the Raiders during the former's NFL MVP season.

    He also has been successful as a head coach in the Canadian Football League.

    Along with Trestman, Cutler has Brandon Marshall, Earl Bennett and Alshon Jeffery back and healthy, as well as new tight end Martellus Bennett.

    The Bears need Cutler to improve, and, if he does, this offense could be fantastic.

    For all this and more, you need to check out Andrew Dannehy's complete guide to the Bears training camp.

Detroit Lions

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    Last year, Matt Stafford threw to Calvin Johnson almost every single down, in part because he really had nobody else.

    Nate Burleson went down early with a broken leg, Ryan Broyles came along slowly and then tore another ACL, while Titus Young spent more time imploding than playing.

    On top of that, there was very little help from the ground game, which, while not horrible, wasn't very explosive or much help in pulling coverage off Johnson or whatever receiver they'd signed that week for the one that got injured the week before.

    Reggie Bush hopes to change all that. Fresh off two seasons with the Miami Dolphins where he ran for 1,086 and 986 yards, Bush brings a game-changing ability to the backfield.

    It will take more than Bush to change the offense's fortunes, but his presence will help it get back on track.

    Dean Holden has that and a lot more in his complete Lions training camp guide.

NFC South Overview

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    So how did everyone like their time without Sean Payton running the New Orleans Saints?

    The Atlanta Falcons can't be thrilled to see Payton return from exile, though if any team is ready to go head to head with the Saints, it's the Falcons. Both teams have the firepower to make a run at not only the division title and a playoff berth, but the Super Bowl as well.

    However, as good as those two teams are, don't totally count out the Carolina Panthers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

    The Bucs have an emerging defense, two great receivers and one of the top young running backs in the NFL.

    Meanwhile, the Panthers have an underrated offense and a defense in need of a little bit more consistency. Also, Cam Newton is a quarterback who takes way more heat than he deserves and is poised to have a great season.

    Even if they don't contend for the title outright, both of these teams will factor into who wins it.

Atlanta Falcons

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    The Atlanta Falcons were so close to the Super Bowl last year, but they face some stiff competition in their own division this year.

    If Matt Ryan and company are going to get over that last hurdle, they'll need to keep that offense moving.

    To that end, the Falcons picked up Steven Jackson. The run game could have been better last season—since Michael Turner's production pretty much fell off a cliff—but Jackson is a more dynamic runner than the team had last year and will have no problems taking advantage of the room the receivers will create for him.

    In fact, that's probably the Falcons' plan. They intend to make a defense choose between defending the run and leaving its corners in man coverage against Roddy White, Julio Jones and Tony Gonzalez or to double up those guys and hope the front seven is up to the task of slowing Jackson down.

    One guy definitely up to the task is Scott Carasik, so make sure you check out his Falcons camp guide.

Carolina Panthers

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    With all the hype surrounding the Atlanta Falcons and the return of Sean Payton to the New Orleans Saints, people are overlooking the Carolina Panthers.

    Sure, a 7-9 team tends to get overlooked, but if the rest of the NFC South doesn't watch out, this team could catch them napping.

    Cam Newton gets far more heat from the media than is warranted. His posture, facial expressions and celebrations are scrutinized to a ridiculous degree, so much so that it overshadows his play on the field.

    He and Jay Cutler should start a club.

    Newton is in charge of a "simplified" offense, one where he doesn't need to manage as much or make as many pre-snap reads, and that should speed up his release and help his development.

    If the team wants him to be successful, though, the run game has to be more effective. With Jonathan Stewart's ankles keeping him sidelined, that could be up to DeAngelo Williams.

    He needs to justify that huge contract anyway.

    Meanwhile, Charles Edwards doesn't need to justify anything. Don't believe me? Check out his excellent guide to the Panthers' training camp.

New Orleans Saints

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    In the wake of Bountygate, the New Orleans Saints had what could be termed a bad year. Well, if they weren't the Saints, it would be bad.

    For a perennial playoff team and Super Bowl contender, 7-9 is a disaster.

    Expect a bounce-back season, as head coach Sean Payton returns and the team sets its sights on making us forget all about his suspension and the poor 2012 season.

    He wants to remind us that the Saints are all about winning.

    The whole gang is back, and the Saints are supposed to have improved the defense. They're ready to make a run at the Atlanta Falcons and wipe away the last season.

    There's a lot to focus on in the next few weeks, so Zach Kruse has you covered with everything you need to know in his Saints training camp guide.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    An emerging young defense, two fantastic receivers and a stud running back.

    Yet, all of it seems to come down to Josh Freeman.

    Since hitting the league, Freeman has had an up-and-down career marred by inconsistencies both year-to-year and game-to-game.

    He has the support around him, so now it's time for him to use it.

    If the Bucs are going to seriously challenge in this tough division, he needs to step his game up.

    Meanwhile, the expectations for second-year running back Doug Martin have been set high after his 1,454-yard, 11-touchdown season. Add in another 472 yards in receptions and you've got a pretty spectacular rookie year.

    Matching that will be tough, and it's hard to imagine the team runs him 300-plus times again this year. If Freeman plays well, they probably won't have to.

    There's not much behind him. Rookie Mike James is a sixth-rounder who, while solid, is going to take some time to develop, especially in pass protection. On the other hand, he's a big dude who can get the short yards, so he might see some goal-line work.

    The other option is former Bengal Brian Leonard who, while solid, is unlikely to break in for many carries. He's not dynamic like Martin nor strong and tough like James. If Martin needs a breather on third down, Leonard could see the field because of His pass-protection skills. 

    On the other side of the ball, this is a defense that made major upgrades in the secondary but will need help from the front seven to really take advantage of the talent.

    Adding Darrelle Revis—even off a severe knee injury—is a huge upgrade for this unit. Dumping Eric Wright (first in trade, then when he failed the physical, by cutting him) allows rookie Johnthan Banks to step into a starting role. Banks is incredibly talented but needs to work on his footwork if he's to hang with the NFL's best.

    The Bucs improved the safety position by adding Dashon Goldson. Goldson isn't an elite safety, but he's coming off two solid years and should solidify the coverage by pivoting off the middle. Paired with second-year player Mark Barron, fresh off a ridiculous rookie season, this safety tandem will be very effective.

    Yet, the whole defense can still fall short if the front seven cannot improve.

    Gerald McCoy had a great third season and will have to continue his upward progress if the defense is to really step up. Beyond him, though, are some issues.

    Adrian Clayborn and Da'Quan Bowers have both had injury issues and are also both slated to have much bigger roles going forward.

    This defensive line has a lot of potential but also needs to stay healthier. However, the Bucs believe in both players—especially Bowers, since they let Michael Bennett walk.

    If the defense and offense can stay on point, the Buccaneers are another team that can sneak up on their NFC South foes.

    If you want to attend the practices (or just track them better) you can check out the schedule at the team website

NFC West Overview

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    The San Francisco 49ers were one play away from a Super Bowl title.

    If that doesn't motivate Colin Kaepernick and Jim Harbaugh, nothing will.

    That said, they won't have it easy.

    The Seattle Seahawks and Russell Wilson have actually managed to get better (it should be illegal), while the St. Louis Rams added new weapons for quarterback Sam Bradford to use.

    Meanwhile, everyone is counting out the Arizona Cardinals, despite a new quarterback who might actually be able to throw the ball to Larry Fitzgerald.

    But the defense carried the Cards early in the season—if it can do that again and the offense is effective, this division might not be the two-horse race it appears to be at first glance.

San Francisco 49ers

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    This team goes pretty much as far as Colin Kaepernick carries it.

    Sure, the defense is outstanding and will stifle most offenses, but that was the case with Alex Smith. The difference between what Smith could bring to the table and what Kaepernick delivers is like the difference between an eclipse and a solar flare.

    People think Kaepernick is a read-option quarterback, but he deserves far more recognition for his ability as a pocket passer. Just watch the playoff run last year and you'll see. He can kill defenses either way.

    Losing Michael Crabtree for at least half the season will hurt, but the team added Anquan Boldin, which should help. A.J. Jenkins is likely to be the other guy Kaepernick relies on early, as the two have bonded this offseason.

    He also has Vernon Davis, with whom he created some great chemistry during the playoffs.

    Oh, and he might get Crabtree back too by midseason.

    So yeah, this defense is fierce.

    It's the offense that will really knock people off their feet, though.

    To learn more about what to watch in camp, check out Dylan DeSimone's 49ers training camp guide.

Seattle Seahawks

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    Russell Wilson was definitely one of the best stories in the NFL last year—really the whole team was in many ways.

    Wilson, overlooked because of his height, stole Matt Flynn's job, blew everyone away and nearly rode his momentum into the NFC title game.

    He has a high bar to reach this year, but the Seahawks did their best to get him the one thing he lacked last season—a top-shelf wide receiver.

    Enter Percy Harvin. Disgruntled and unhappy in Minnesota, Harvin was acquired for a first-round pick, but he will be more than worth it. Wilson now has someone who can create plays after the catch and make it that much harder to contain him when he does the occasional read-option play.

    The Seahawks got better this offseason. The rest of the NFL should be nervous.

    For more on what to expect in camp, check out Dan Tylicki's training camp guide.

St. Louis Rams

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    Sam Bradford has struggled to find his footing in large part because his wide receivers have been either hurt or just plain not good.

    The Rams set out to change that, acquiring tight end Jared Cook and then drafting Tavon Austin in the first round of the 2013 NFL draft.

    Bradford just needs to stay upright now, right?

    If only it were that simple. Steven Jackson left for Atlanta, while Danny Amendola took off for New England. Austin may be able to replace Amendola (he'll do well if he can just avoid freak injuries), but can the combination of Zac Stacy and Daryl Richardson replace the consistent Jackson?

    If the answer to that question is yes, the Rams could contend in a tough division.

    For more on the training camp stories you need to track, check out Steven Gerwel's camp guide.

Arizona Cardinals

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    If there is one thing Carson Palmer can do, it's chuck the ball. When you're chucking the ball to Larry Fitzgerald—well, do you really need to do more?

    It would seem not, though the empirical evidence from the past few years might say otherwise.

    Really, Palmer was able to do a lot with a less-talented group of receivers in Oakland, so it's no stretch to think he will succeed in the desert as well.

    Of course, if the offensive line isn't better he might not survive long enough to do it.

    If the offense can find a way to be productive on any level, this team could be interesting. Remember, this was a decent defense for chunks of the last couple of years. With a real offense, the Cardinals could make some trouble.

    To get ready for camp, Shaun Church has put together a solid Cardinals training camp guide. Do yourself a favor and check it out.

    Andrew Garda is a member of the Pro Football Writers Association. He is also a member of the fantasy football staff at and the NFL writer at You can follow him at @andrew_garda on Twitter.