The Biggest Question for Each NFL Team Coming out of OTAs

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistJune 1, 2019

The Biggest Question for Each NFL Team Coming out of OTAs

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    Patrick Semansky/Associated Press

    With summer officially on our doorstep, we've reached the point in the NFL offseason where not a lot is happening on the surface. The draft is in the past, and free-agency movement has dwindled to a trickle. Early organized team activities (OTAs) are wrapping up, and except for some sporadic OTAs and June minicamps, there won't be a ton of action between now and training camp.

    While this part of the offseason isn't going to bring a lot of breaking news, it's incredibly important for NFL franchises. They'll take what they've learned in the early offseason and start developing game plans for camp, the preseason and the coming regular season.

    Naturally, there are several big questions that still need to be answered. Are rookies ready to play? Are there glaring weaknesses on the roster that need to be addressed? Are there position battles that must be decided sooner than later? Every team has questions.

    Here, we'll examine each team's biggest question coming out of OTAs.


Arizona Cardinals: Is Kyler Murray Ready to Be a Day 1 Starter?

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    Matt York/Associated Press

    The Arizona Cardinals dumped former first-round pick Josh Rosen during the draft and scooped up Oklahoma's Kyler Murray with the No. 1 overall pick. Murray seems to be a perfect fit for new head coach Kliff Kingsbury's high-octane offense, but what if Murray isn't ready to start in Week 1?

    The likely alternative is former Green Bay Packers backup Brett Hundley. Yikes.

    Early impressions are that Murray is going to be good, as he drew comparisons during early OTAs to reigning MVP Patrick Mahomes.

    "I think you can say that, yeah. That's a good comparison," running back David Johnson said, per Bob McManaman of the Arizona Republic. "It's high praise, but I think it's a good comparison. Kyler's got one heck of an arm, that's for sure."

    Of course, there's a big difference between slinging the ball in OTAs and actually being prepared to lead an offense against true opposition. Arizona must determine if Murray can be the Week 1 starter before training camp, or it needs to start working on a better backup plan.

Atlanta Falcons: What Is the Plan at Running Back?

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    Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press

    The Atlanta Falcons parted with Tevin Coleman in free agency, which means they have to sort out their depth chart at running back.

    Devonta Freeman, who signed a five-year, $41.2 million extension in 2017, should remain the starter. After him, the Falcons have Ito Smith, Kenjon Barner and fifth-round rookie Qadree Ollison. One of them needs to emerge as a clear No. 2 back in Atlanta's offense.

    The reason for this is twofold. For one, Freeman is often at his most efficient when splitting time with another back, as he did with Coleman for four seasons. Secondly, Freeman has an extensive injury history. He's started all 16 games just once in his career and missed 14 games in 2018 due to knee and groin injuries.

Baltimore Ravens: How Quickly Can Lamar Jackson Absorb New Offense?

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    Gail Burton/Associated Press

    The Baltimore Ravens have a new offensive coordinator in Greg Roman. It should go without saying that Roman will install his own offense in 2019, though that wasn't initially clear to quarterback Lamar Jackson.

    "When I got here, Coach was like, 'Yeah, we have a totally new system. You're going to have go through this and that.' It's been getting to me a little bit," Jackson said, per the team's official Twitter account.

    With Jackson being the clear centerpiece of Baltimore's offense, it's fair to wonder just how quickly he can absorb Roman's system and learn to thrive in it. His ability to do so will largely determine Baltimore's offensive success early in the regular season.

Buffalo Bills: Who Are Josh Allen's Best Weapons?

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    Jeffrey T. Barnes/Associated Press

    As is the case in Baltimore, the Buffalo Bills have their own second-year quarterback who is expected to be the centerpiece of the offense. In their case, it's Josh Allen, a dual-threat quarterback in his own right.

    The question for Buffalo is which players are going to emerge as Allen's best weapons in Year 2. The Bills added the likes of Cole Beasley and John Brown to the receiving corps and drafted running back Devin Singletary as the heir apparent to LeSean McCoy.

    What the Bills really need to identify is a No. 1 receiver Allen can take advantage of. They also need to determine if McCoy is still the best option at running back or if it's already time to hand the proverbial keys over to someone else.

Carolina Panthers: Will Cam Newton Be Healthy for Week 1?

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    Chuck Burton/Associated Press

    Will Cam Newton's shoulder be strong enough for him to start the regular season? This is the biggest question coming out of OTAs, and one that is going to linger throughout the offseason.

    Newton clearly wasn't himself late in 2018, and his shoulder was obviously the problem. He didn't post a passer rating above 70 in his final three starts of the year, and the Panthers dropped their final six games with Newton under center.

    In January, Newton underwent shoulder surgery. While he should have time to heal before the start of the regular season, shoulder repairs can be tricky, and there's no guarantee Newton will be at 100 percent come Week 1.

Chicago Bears: Is There a Reliable Kicker on the Roster?

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    David Banks/Associated Press

    The Chicago Bears' 2018 season came to a crashing halt when Cody Parkey missed a 43-yard field-goal attempt in the Wild Card Round. Chicago needs to find a more reliable kicker to carry into the 2019 season.

    Chicago currently has Chris Blewitt, Elliott Fry and Eddy Pineiro on the roster and could bring all three into training camp, according to Patrick Finley of the Chicago Sun-Times. There's no guarantee, of course, that any of these three is actually an upgrade over Parkey. Worse yet, the Bears may not know if they have an upgrade until they're able to audition kickers in pressure situations in the preseason.

    If the Bears' next kicker isn't already on the roster, they need to find one—preferably long before they return to the postseason.

Cincinnati Bengals: Is Andy Dalton a Fit for Zac Taylor's Offense?

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    Gary Landers/Associated Press

    As long as he remains healthy, Andy Dalton is going to be the Cincinnati Bengals' starting quarterback in 2019. He may even play well in new head coach Zac Taylor's offense. Adam Schein of even believes that Dalton is in store for a career year.

    The reality, though, is that Taylor inherited Dalton when he took the Cincinnati job; he didn't hand-pick him. Now is the time for Taylor and the Bengals to determine if Dalton is still the quarterback of the future, or if he'll simply be a placeholder for 2019.

    Dalton has two years remaining on his contract but has no dead cap on the deal. This means he can be released after 2019 and owed nothing. If the Bengals don't believe Dalton can be the answer beyond this season, they can begin planning their pursuit of a different signal-caller. This could, of course, mean tanking this season so Taylor can land his guy in the 2020 draft.

Cleveland Browns: Will Odell Beckham Jr. Be Ready to Contribute?

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    Ron Schwane/Associated Press

    What kind of impact will wideout Odell Beckham Jr. have on the Cleveland Browns offense in Week 1, and how quickly will he make a difference? These are questions that not even the Browns have answers to because Beckham has missed all but one voluntary OTA this offseason.

    So what has Beckham missed during his absence?

    "A lot," head coach Freddie Kitchens said, per Mary Kay Cabot of "The offense."

    The Browns are installing a new offense with Kitchens as head coach and Todd Monken as offensive coordinator. There's going to be a learning curve, even for the players who were in Cleveland last season. Beckham is now behind everyone else, and that could carry over into training camp, and potentially even the regular season.

Dallas Cowboys: Can the Cowboys Depend on Ezekiel Elliott?

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    Michael Ainsworth/Associated Press

    The Dallas Cowboys know at this point that they can depend on running back Ezekiel Elliott on the field. But can they trust him to stay eligible to be on that field for the remainder of the offseason? This is a fair question, considering the NFL is "likely" to investigate Elliott's recent altercation with a Las Vegas security guard, according to Yahoo Sports' Charles Robinson.

    Elliott has a history of off-the-field issues, including a six-game suspension for violating the NFL's personal conduct policy in 2017. While this latest altercation may not result in league discipline, the Cowboys will have to trust that Elliott will stay out of further trouble between now and training camp.

    If Dallas is unsure of Elliott's ability to do so, they need to start putting together a backup plan—and should likely table extension talks until after the season.

Denver Broncos: Is Joe Flacco a Playoff Quarterback or a Placeholder?

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    David Zalubowski/Associated Press

    The Denver Broncos traded for veteran quarterback Joe Flacco earlier this offseason, hoping that the former Super Bowl MVP has enough left in the tank to turn Denver into a playoff contender.

    However, it's fair to wonder if he actually does. Flacco played in just nine games last season before losing his starting job to Lamar Jackson. He was serviceable in those games but did not dominate, posting a season passer rating of just 84.2.

    If Flacco's best days are truly behind him, then Denver needs to approach the season as if he is merely a placeholder at the position. At the same time, the Broncos need to begin preparing rookie Drew Lock to eventually take over the starting gig.

Detroit Lions: Is Kerryon Johnson Ready to Rebound?

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    Paul Sancya/Associated Press

    The Detroit Lions added some offensive pieces during the offseason, including wideout Danny Amendola and rookie tight end T.J. Hockenson. However, the player most worth watching in 2019 is running back Kerryon Johnson.

    Johnson showed a ton of promise as a rookie, averaging 5.4 yards per carry before a sprained knee prematurely ended his campaign. Before the injury, it looked like the Lions had finally found their franchise running back.

    The question is whether Johnson is fully recovered from the knee injury and if he can be relied upon to be an every-down back beginning in Week 1. If so, Detroit should have its bell-cow back for the 2019 season. If not, the Lions need to start forging a committee with the likes of C.J. Anderson, Zach Zenner and Theo Riddick.

Green Bay Packers: How Is Aaron Rodgers Meshing with Matt LaFleur's Offense?

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    Mike Roemer/Associated Press

    It's safe to say Aaron Rodgers wasn't a fan of Mike McCarthy's offensive system. Will he mesh better with new head coach Matt LaFleur? Rodgers' initial impression was certainly positive enough.

    "He's an energetic guy, he's really intelligent, he's a good communicator, he's creative," Rodgers said back in April, per Zach Kruse of Packers Wire.

    However, Rodgers is having to learn a new offensive system, really for the first time since he arrived in Green Bay. His ability to quickly embrace LaFleur's scheme and to embrace LaFleur himself will determine whether or not the Packers truly will unleash a more dynamic offense in 2019.

Houston Texans: Is the Offensive Line Improved Enough?

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    Stephen B. Morton/Associated Press

    If the Houston Texans are going to take the next step and actually make a run in the postseason, they're going to have to keep quarterback Deshaun Watson healthy and upright. This means they desperately need to improve an offensive line that allowed an absurd 62 sacks in 2018, most in the league.

    Houston drafted tackles Max Scharping and Tytus Howard in the first two rounds in April, but are these additions enough to fix a woeful blocking unit? That's what the Texans need to figure out sooner than later.

    If Scharping and Howard aren't ready to contribute right away, Houston needs to look at other options—perhaps a free-agent tackle like Byron Bell. Otherwise, the line may be just as unreliable as it was a season ago, which would be bad news for Watson.

Indianapolis Colts: How Do New Pieces Fit into the Defense?

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    Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press

    The Indianapolis Colts should be formidable on offense as long as quarterback Andrew Luck remains healthy. If Indianapolis is going to be a legitimate title contender, though, it needs to see some improvements on the defensive side of the ball.

    The Colts were good defensively in 2018, but certainly not elite—especially against the pass. They allowed an average of 237.8 yards passing per game, 16th in the NFL.

    So the question becomes this: How quickly can new pieces like cornerback Rock Ya-Sin and pass-rusher Justin Houston impact Indianapolis' pass defense? If it appears there will be a slow transition, the Colts may need to adjust their offseason strategy and perhaps take a look at available free agents, like cornerback Morris Claiborne.

Jacksonville Jaguars: How Can the Offense Play to Nick Foles' Strengths?

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    John Raoux/Associated Press

    The Jacksonville Jaguars signed Nick Foles to be their new franchise quarterback earlier in the offseason. New offensive coordinator John DeFilippo knows how to get the most out of Foles, thanks to his time as quarterbacks coach of the Philadelphia Eagles.

    The question is, how can the Jaguars utilize their personnel to accentuate what Foles does well?

    Foles was often at his best when throwing to tight end Zach Ertz and big-bodied receiver Alshon Jeffery. Jacksonville doesn't have pass-catchers of their ilk on the roster, though, so the Jaguars may have to look in a different direction.

    Can Jacksonville get a bounce-back season out of Leonard Fournette in order to gift Foles the benefit of play-action? That's another fair question. The biggest goal, though, should be ensuring that Foles is a notable upgrade over 2018 starter Blake Bortles.

Kansas City Chiefs: How Will the Offense Handle Possible Tyreek Hill Discipline?

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    Gregory Payan/Associated Press

    Kansas City Chiefs receiver Tyreek Hill, who is under investigation for possible child abuse, may face discipline from the NFL or the Chiefs. Kansas City and the league haven't acted yet because they're waiting for the investigation to conclude.

    "As you know, there's a court proceeding still going on involving CPS—Child Protection Service—and we will not interfere with that," Commissioner Roger Goodell said, per Herbie Teope of

    For now—and from an X's and O's standpoint—the Chiefs need to determine how they'll handle the temporary or permanent departure of Hill.

    The Chiefs added speedy second-round receiver Mecole Hardman in this year's draft, and they have 2014 first-round pick Sammy Watkins. Can either slide into the No. 1 receiver role? Can offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy change the scheme to account for not having a true No. 1 receiver? Will Kansas City need to bolster its receiving corps?

    The Chiefs need to have a plan in place, because discipline could come down at virtually any point before or during the season.

Los Angeles Chargers: How Close Is Hunter Henry to 100 Percent?

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    Alex Gallardo/Associated Press

    The Los Angeles Chargers were one of the league's most complete teams in 2018, yet they didn't even have star tight end Hunter Henry due to a torn ACL. With Henry back in the fold, L.A. should be even more formidable on offense, assuming he can play at the same level he did before the injury.

    So far, his recovery is promising.

    "Right now, we expect him to be ready to go, and he looks good," head coach Anthony Lynn said, per ESPN's Eric D. Williams.

    There's a big difference between being ready to go in Week 1 and being ready to be dominant at his position. Remember, while Henry was the top tight end in 2017, he still split time with Antonio Gates. If Henry isn't ready for a heavy workload, the Chargers need to plan accordingly, whether that means prepping Virgil Green for a significant role or looking for outside help at the position.

Los Angeles Rams: Just How Healthy Is Todd Gurley?

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    Patrick Semansky/Associated Press

    Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley suffered a knee injury late last season and wasn't himself even upon returning. What's more worrisome is that he may never again be the same runner he was when playing at his best.

    Jeff Howe of The Athletic reported back in March that Gurley is dealing with arthritis in his knee, which is problematic for anyone, let alone a lead running back.

    Los Angeles needs to determine just how healthy Gurley is and what his on-field future looks like. The Rams took precautions this offseason, re-signing Malcolm Brown and drafting Darrell Henderson, but the possibility exists that those two may have to be L.A.'s Plan A if Gurley isn't back to 100 percent.

    Coach Sean McVay has a specialized plan laid out for Gurley that likely doesn't involve much on-field work in the offseason. That's probably beneficial to Gurley's health, but the Rams still need to figure out if he's going to be a workhorse back or merely part of a rotation in 2019.

Miami Dolphins: What Does Miami Want to Accomplish in 2019?

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    Lynne Sladky/Associated Press

    For the Miami Dolphins to properly prepare for the coming season, they first must figure out what their actual goals for 2019 are. Will they give Josh Rosen a fair shot at becoming the franchise quarterback? Will they try to make an unexpected push for the postseason? Will they tank the season away in an effort to get a quarterback like Tua Tagovailoa in the 2020 draft?

    Now is the time for Miami and new head coach Brian Flores to find the answer. The problem is that if Rosen plays well enough to deliver a mid-first-round draft pick but not well enough to be a clear quarterback of the future, then the season will be an even bigger waste than if the Dolphins simply set out for the No. 1 overall pick.

    Miami should have a good idea of Rosen's upside in his first year as a Dolphin by the start of training camp. That should help dictate how they proceed from there.

Minnesota Vikings: Can Dalvin Cook Be an Every-Down Back?

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    Jose Juarez/Associated Press

    The Minnesota Vikings used a second-round pick on Dalvin Cook in the 2017 draft hoping to get an every-down back in return. While Cook has shown promise as both a runner and a receiver, injuries have largely derailed that plan.

    Cook suffered a torn ACL as a rookie, appearing in just four games that season. He then missed another five games in 2018 due to injury. Latavius Murray helped the Minnesota ground game function in both seasons, but he's now with the New Orleans Saints.

    So is Cook ready to be the full-time running back for the Vikings? Can he stay healthy enough to do so? Minnesota needs to find answers, while at the same time preparing a Plan B—possibly third-round rookie Alexander Mattison.

New England Patriots: Who Replaces Rob Gronkowski as the Biggest Mismatch?

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    Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

    Tight end Rob Gronkowski was a shadow of his former self in 2018, catching just 47 passes for 682 yards and three touchdowns in the regular season. However, he was still a massive offensive mismatch that the New England Patriots are going to miss now that he is retired.

    The biggest question at this point is whether the Patriots can find another mismatch who can dominate defenses the way Gronkowski once did.

    First-round wide receiver N'Keal Harry has the potential to be a similar mismatch as an outside receiver, but he is a rookie who could take time to develop. The Patriots also added tight end Ben Watson, but he'll be suspended for the first month of the season for a violation of the league's banned substance policy.

    Can the New England offense survive without a weapon like Gronkowski? Yes, because this is one of the most adaptable teams we've seen in the modern NFL. However, if the Patriots can identify their next big mismatch before the start of the regular season, they'll be one step ahead of the competition.

New Orleans Saints: Is the Team over Their Latest Playoff Heartbreak?

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    Gerald Herbert/Associated Press

    For the second time in two years, the New Orleans Saints had their postseason end in heartbreaking fashion. This time, it was a blown non-call against the Rams. As we've seen in the past—the Falcons' 28-3 Super Bowl collapse is a prime example—the hangover from a devastating postseason loss can loom large.

    So are the Saints ready to move on and focus on the coming season? Perhaps not, but maybe they can learn from it.

    "You always try to take your experiences from the year before and turn it into something positive," quarterback Drew Brees said, per Mike Triplett of "Use it as momentum, use it as motivation, a chip on your shoulder, unfinished business—whatever you want to term it."

New York Giants: Will This Be Eli Manning's Team for All of 2019?

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    Adam Hunger/Associated Press

    The New York Giants used the sixth overall pick on Duke quarterback Daniel Jones back in April. At some point, Jones is going to take over for Eli Manning, who is in the final year of his contract. What New York needs to determine is if that changeover will occur in 2019—possibly even by Week 1.

    "He obviously has a great foundation for playing the position," head coach Pat Shurmur said, per Paul Schwartz of the New York Post. "He was ready to compete when he got here, it was just a matter of learning how we do it here."

    There are essentially three ways the Giants could handle Jones this season. They could allow him to compete for the job in training camp; they could groom him to take over if and when they're out of playoff contention; or they could plan to sit him the entire year while letting Manning play out his final season.

    Each game plan will require a different approach, and deciding whether this will be Manning's team for most or all of the season is the first step.

New York Jets: Is the Receiving Corps Strong Enough to Support Darnold?

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    Seth Wenig/Associated Press

    The New York Jets got a shiny new toy for quarterback Sam Darnold in the form of running back Le'Veon Bell. He'll certainly help the second-year signal-caller, but have the Jets done enough to upgrade the wideout position?

    New York brought in Jamison Crowder and Josh Bellamy, but they've done little else to upgrade the receiving corps. There doesn't appear to be a legitimate No. 1 receiver on the roster, and the Jets will really need someone like Robby Anderson to step up and fill that role.

    Is it enough? That's the question, because when we've seen quarterbacks make big Year 2 jumps recently—Jared Goff and Mitchell Trubisky, in particular—it's in large part because teams have done a good job of surrounding those quarterbacks with fresh talent.

    Of course, with Bell on the roster, New York will at least be able to lean on the run when it needs to.

Oakland Raiders: Is Clelin Ferrell Enough to Boost the Pass Rush?

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    The Oakland Raiders' pass rush was laughable in 2018. As a team, Oakland produced a mere 13 sacks, which obviously isn't going to cut it in a division with Patrick Mahomes and Philip Rivers. However, the Raiders did little to address the pass rush outside of drafting Clemson defensive end Clelin Ferrell fourth overall.

    So will the addition of Ferrell be enough to boost Oakland's pass rush to a respectable level? That's the big question. Yes, the Raiders may get contributions from the likes of Arden Key and rookie fourth-rounder Maxx Crosby. However, the responsibility of transforming the sack attack is going to rest largely on Ferrell's shoulders.

    If Ferrell doesn't appear to be enough, Oakland may want to take a chance on a free agent like Dion Jordan.

Philadelphia Eagles: How Healthy Is Carson Wentz?

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    Matt Slocum/Associated Press

    Can Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz return to Pro Bowl form? Some people, like ESPN's Louis Riddick, seem to believe so.

    A bigger question, though, is whether Wentz is going to be back to 100 percent in time to start the regular season.

    Wentz certainly wasn't at his best in 2018, even before a back injury knocked him out of the latter part of the season. Of course, the Eagles had Nick Foles on the roster to bail them out and push them into the playoffs. Foles, though, is no longer with the team.

    This means the Eagles are going to go as far as Wentz can carry them in 2019. Just how far is that? Philadelphia should have at least an initial idea coming out of OTAs.

Pittsburgh Steelers: Is the Locker Room Drama a Thing of the Past?

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    Joe Sargent/Getty Images

    In retrospect, it's not hard to see how locker room drama and a lack of chemistry helped derail the Pittsburgh Steelers' 2018 season. Running back Le'Veon Bell sat out the entire season, and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and wideout Antonio Brown clearly had their issues. The question now is whether the departures of Bell and Brown have made everything copacetic in Pittsburgh.

    According to new No. 1 wideout JuJu Smith-Schuster, the answer is yes.

    "The chemistry is on point," Smith-Schuster said, per Will Graves of the Associated Press. "Everyone is on the same page. Everyone is communicating. There's really no—how do you say?— drama in our locker room."

    Of course, just because everything is peachy now doesn't mean that drama is a problem of the past. Pittsburgh needs to determine if this is an issue that could again present itself before or during the 2019 season.

San Francisco 49ers: Will Jimmy Garoppolo Be Ready for Week 1?

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    Josie Lepe/Associated Press

    The San Francisco 49ers lost starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to a torn ACL early last season, which played a part in derailing the rest of their campaign. The good news is that he appears to be on track to start in Week 1.

    "Everyone says they're ahead of schedule," head coach Kyle Shanahan said, per Chris Biderman of the Sacramento Bee. "He is. I mean, he's been healing great and he hasn't had knee trouble before."

    There's a big difference between being on schedule and being back to 100 percent, though, as Carson Wentz reminded Eagles fans last season. San Francisco must determine if Garoppolo really will be fully healed for Week 1 before the start of the preseason.

    If the 49ers have doubts, they can prepare last year's pleasant surprise Nick Mullens to start early in the season. If they don't, they can then proceed as normal with Garoppolo getting the first-team reps in the preseason.

Seattle Seahawks: Who Is the New No. 1 Receiver?

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    Daniel Gluskoter/Associated Press

    Now that Doug Baldwin has retired, the Seattle Seahawks are left looking for a new No. 1 receiver. This is one of the biggest goals of the offseason, and it's a search that needs to be completed ahead of training camp.

    The most likely candidate is Tyler Lockett, who racked up 965 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns in 2018. However, rookie second-round pick D.K. Metcalf has No. 1 receiver measurables and could claim the role if he develops quickly enough.

    Regardless of who emerges as Seattle's new No. 1 receiver, someone needs to. The Seahawks may well field a run-based offense again in 2019, but Russell Wilson will still need his go-to target in clutch situations.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Is the Defense Improved Enough?

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    Chris O'Meara/Associated Press

    The drafting of linebacker Devin White should make the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense better at the second level, and defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh may prove to be an upgrade over Gerald McCoy. The big question is whether Tampa has done enough to turn its defense from a laughingstock into a functional unit.

    The Buccaneers were atrocious on defense for most of 2018. They allowed an average of 29.0 points per game—second-most in the league—and regularly squandered away games in which the offense played more than well enough to win.

    If new defensive coordinator Todd Bowles does not believe he has the pieces in place to field an improved unit in 2019, the Buccaneers may want to start looking at the trade and free-agent markets before the start of training camp.

Tennessee Titans: Is Marcus Mariota Back to 100 Percent?

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    Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

    Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota was hampered by an elbow injury for much of 2018, which forced Tennessee to lean heavily not only on the run but also on backup quarterback Blaine Gabbert at times. If the Titans passing attack is going to improve in 2019, Mariota has to be healthy and back at 100 percent.

    The early signs, at least, are promising.

    "Mariota looked sharp for the duration of the practice—sharper than last week's open spring practice," Erik Bacharach of The Tennessean recently reported. "His timing was on, and his passes were crisp in tight windows."

    If Mariota is indeed back to 100 percent, then the next question becomes whether he can stay healthy for the duration of the regular season.

Washington Redskins: Is Haskins the Best Option for Week 1?

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    Patrick Semansky/Associated Press

    The Washington Redskins used a first-round pick on former Ohio State signal-caller Dwayne Haskins, and they're hoping he can emerge as a franchise signal-caller sooner than later. For now, though, they have to be wondering if he or Case Keenum is the team's best option at quarterback for Week 1.

    The results in OTAs have been mixed.

    "Dwayne Haskins looked like the much better QB when the media was able to watch the Redskins back on May 20," Peter Hailey of NBC Sports Washington wrote. "On May 29, however, Case Keenum stepped up. That's not to say he was necessarily better than Haskins — both had their moments—but the veteran seemed more sure of himself and had a few really impressive throws."

    The Redskins should feel that they have a realistic shot at the NFC East crown, as they were competitive in the division up until Alex Smith was lost for the season in November. If Haskins isn't their best option, then they should start grooming him for backup duties and to take over if/when Washington falls out of playoff contention.


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