The Biggest Question Every NFL Team Must Answer in Training Camps

Brent Sobleski@@brentsobleskiNFL AnalystJune 28, 2019

The Biggest Question Every NFL Team Must Answer in Training Camps

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    Training camp brings NFL teams back to reality. 

    The offseason tends to create excitement. Organizations spend in free agency to acquire top performers, while no franchise is ever disappointed with its draft class. 

    The influx of talent provides an optimistic point of view in almost every situation. 

    Yet, roster deficiencies become obvious during training camp once the entire squad is together on the field with pads on for the first time. The roster's construction and how the group will perform as units start to emerge. 

    There are always training camp battles, relationship dynamics, scheme changes and potential comebacks to closely monitor. The volatility found within these crucial components often dictates a team's regular season success.

Arizona Cardinals: How Quickly Will Kyler Murray Adjust?

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    Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press

    Kyler Murray's maturation as the Arizona Cardinals' quarterback is the only thing that matters between now and the regular season since the organization made it clear the No. 1 overall pick will start the season opener against the Detroit Lions. 

    Fortunately, Murray's fit in Kliff Kingsbury's offensive scheme was a primary reason the team selected him.

    "He knows the system better than we do," veteran wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald said, per Mike Jurecki of the team's official site. "He can get us into any play at any time and then he has the ultimate weapon in the exit button."  

    But an adjustment period exists for all rookie signal-callers. 

    "Everybody is not on the same page like I was with my guys in college right now," Murray told Fox Sports Arizona (via the Sporting News' Kirstie Chiappelli). "I've only been here for a couple of months, so it's going to take time, it's going to take reps."

Atlanta Falcons: Where Does Vic Beasley Fit?

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    Jeff Haynes/Associated Press

    Vic Beasley is entering a make-or-break season. The Atlanta Falcons picked up his fifth-year rookie option even though he's combined for only 10 sacks over the last two seasons, which pales in comparison to his 2016 15.5-sack performance. 

    "We believe in him," head coach Dan Quinn said, per The Athletic's Jason Butt. "... It's important to show that we can reconnect to that kind of energy to have that kind of production."

    Preparation for that kind of production starts in training camp. Beasley can't afford to bounce back and forth between positions; he's an edge-rusher. 

    As soon as general manager Thomas Dimitroff addressed the offensive line this offseason, Beasley's ability to get back to top form became a major discussion topic. 

Baltimore Ravens: How Will Lamar Jackson Adjust to New Offensive Scheme?

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    Gail Burton/Associated Press

    Lamar Jackson provided a spark for the Baltimore Ravens once inserted into the lineup midway through his rookie season. The dynamic dual-threat reshaped the Ravens offense and helped lead the team to a playoff berth. 

    Building upon that early success seemed like a natural course of action. Instead, the coaching staff decided to start from scratch and create a new offensive system without telling its quarterback. 

    "There are several coaches on our staff that have always wanted to do this: 'What would I do if I could start from square zero?'" offensive coordinator Greg Roman said at Ravens minicamp, per the Washington Post's Adam Kilgore. "So we've been granted that opportunity."

    Concocting a new offense might be fun for the coaches, but Jackson is a young quarterback learning his craft. The second-year signal-caller will spend training camp digesting a new scheme while simultaneously trying to improve his throwing mechanics. 

Buffalo Bills: How Do All the New Pieces Fit into the Offense?

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    Jeffrey T. Barnes/Associated Press

    The Buffalo Bills front office spent all offseason reconfiguring the team's offense with multiple free-agent signings and draft picks. Those additions must sort themselves out during training camp.

    The offensive line should be significantly better, but the starting five is far from complete. Left tackle and center are the only two set positions, with holdover Dion Dawkins manning the blind side and Mitch Morse taking over snapping duties. Wyatt Teller, Jon Feliciano, Quinton Spain, Spencer Long and Vladimir Ducasse will compete at guard, while Ty Nsekhe, LaAdrian Waddle and second-round rookie Cody Ford vie for right tackle. 

    Wide receiver is more flexible because the group can rotate. Still, how everyone fits and the number of reps they'll receive is up for grabs. Cole Beasley and John Brown joined Zay Jones and Robert Foster. Tyler Kroft (once healthy) and rookie Dawson Knox are at tight end. 

    Frank Gore and rookie Devin Singletary, meanwhile, will take some pressure off former workhorse running back LeSean McCoy. 

Carolina Panthers: How Will Defense Adjust to New Scheme?

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    Jason E. Miczek/Associated Press

    The Carolina Panthers defense is in the middle of a transition from heavy four-man front usage to more three-man packages. Head coach Ron Rivera decided to create more flexibility by utilizing a hybrid look. 

    As such, the Panthers changed some of their personnel to better fit the approach. In free agency, the team signed Bruce Irvin as an outside linebacker. The front office also drafted Brian Burns and Christian Miller as edge defenders. Furthermore, Gerald McCoy signed as a free agent to complete the defensive line alongside Dontari Poe and Kawann Short. 

    Some of the components never played in a three-man front and need time to adjust through repetition. 

    Of course, Cam Newton's surgically repaired shoulder will be a massive talking point throughout training camp, but he recently resumed throwing a football. The transitioning defense is more of a work-in-progress. 

Chicago Bears: How Will Mitchell Trubisky Grow in Matt Nagy's Second Year?

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    Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

    The Chicago Bears already feature a Super Bowl-caliber defense. The offense must catch up, and the unit's improvement falls on quarterback Mitchell Trubisky. 

    Last season, the Bears fielded the NFL's 21st-ranked offense. Furthermore, general manager Ryan Pace traded the team's leading rusher and touchdown-maker, Jordan Howard, to the Philadelphia Eagles. 

    Trubisky must become the offense's focal point. 

    "Last year he learned [this offense]; now he's trying to master it," head coach Matt Nagy said at minicamp, per the Chicago Sun-Times' Mark Potash. "He's done a wonderful job of trying to get to some of the adjustments we have within the plays, concepts and schemes."

    How Trubisky handles the offense throughout camp and the preseason will provide a glimpse into potential regular-season improvement. 

    "If your quarterback's in a huddle and he's playing with confidence and conviction ... all these players feel that," quarterbacks coach Dave Ragone said. 

Cincinnati Bengals: How Will Reworked O-Line Look?

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    John Minchillo/Associated Press

    The Cincinnati Bengals drafted the 2019 class' best left tackle prospect, but Jonah Williams is expected to miss the 2019 campaign after he underwent left shoulder surgery Tuesday. 

    "We look forward to Jonah being a major contributor in the future, and know that he won't let this injury deter him from still being an important part of this team," head coach Zac Taylor said in a statement.

    Williams' absence creates ripple effects throughout the Bengals' offensive front. Last year's left tackle, Cordy Glenn, should move back to the blind side after Cincinnati planned a transition to guard. Now, neither guard spot is settled, while the Bengals plan to start Bobby Hart at right tackle for another season. 

    The group must come together without Williams, or Taylor's new offense won't get off the ground.

Cleveland Browns: Who Will Start at Right Guard?

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    On paper, the Cleveland Browns offense is one of the league's best. But multiple key components changed since last season. Kevin Zeitler's inclusion in the Odell Beckham Jr. trade created a void at right guard with no clear successor. 

    According to Pro Football Focus, Zeitler graded as the game's best pass-blocking guard last season. Whoever steps into the starting role will be a downgrade. 

    However, the Browns drafted Austin Corbett atop last year's second round, and he's the obvious replacement. 

    "I've got to go make it happen. It's all on me. There's no one else," Corbett said, per the Browns Zone's Scott Petrak. "If I don't get the starting job, it's my fault I didn't do well, and if I do, that means I'm stepping up and I've got to keep showing them that."

    If Corbett falters, Kyle Kalis and Eric Kush will receive opportunities to claim the spot. 

Dallas Cowboys: Is Travis Frederick Ready to Go?

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    Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

    Travis Frederick's progression from an All-Pro center, to missing all of last season with Guillain–Barre syndrome, to back on the field and ready to snap the football is impressive. A return to form isn't a given, though. 

    "Anytime you take time away from it you get rusty—you get rusty normally in an offseason as well," Frederick told reporters.

    While the Cowboys expect Frederick to start this fall, the veteran knows he still has a ways to go, per Pro Football Talk's Charean Williams

    "I've come a really long way. It's interesting because there’s three things holding me back now. There’s the return from Guillain-Barré. I had an umbilical hernia repair, so that kind of knocked out my lowers for a while, and I had the shoulder repair, so it knocked out my uppers for a while. So I'm still coming back."

    Frederick's work during training camp will show if he's ready. 

Denver Broncos: How Will the Team Take to Joe Flacco?

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    David Zalubowski/Associated Press

    The Denver Broncos organization is fully invested in Joe Flacco as its starting quarterback even though he's yet to take a meaningful snap with the organization. 

    The transition from the Baltimore Ravens to the Broncos injected life into the 34-year-old quarterback. 

    "I'm really looking forward to improving and really getting going during training camp," Flacco said, per Aric DiLalla of the Broncos official site. 

    Flacco's teammates must buy in, though. 

    How a team responds to an individual is crucial to quarterback play. Flacco may be excited, but those around him must be as well. 

    "Our team and the team that we have around him will be a little energy boost for him," Von Miller said, per USA Today. "This is the year that he's going to be able to do everything that he wants to do."

    So far, so good. 

Detroit Lions: How Will T.J. Hockenson Be Used?

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    Paul Sancya/Associated Press

    The Detroit Lions spent the eighth overall pick on tight end T.J. Hockenson. Yet the investment doesn't necessarily entail a large role for Hockenson in the passing game. 

    Hockenson's draft value derived from dual capabilities as a blocker and receiver. How he'll be utilized remains in question because the Lions made other investments in the tight end position. 

    Jesse James signed a four-year, $22.6 million free-agent contract, and general manager Bob Quinn doubled down on the position in the draft with the seventh-round selection of Isaac Nauta. 

    The reigning John Mackey Award winner is a complete performer. That may lead to the Lions leaning more on his ability as a blocker with James gaining a larger role in the passing game. 

    "I'm not putting any (pressure) on myself and no one is putting any on me," Hockenson said, per the Associated Press (via Fox Sports).

Green Bay Packers: Will Aaron Rodgers Mesh with Matt LaFleur?

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    The Aaron Rodgers-Matt LaFleur relationship is the most important dynamic within the entire Green Bay Packers organization. 

    The first concession is already ongoing. Rodgers has had full autonomy at the line of scrimmage for several years, and LaFleur told NFL.com's Michael Silver that he's never had a quarterback have that:

    “Aaron and I have had some good talks, and we’re going to have to talk a lot more—and one thing we have to work through is the audible thing. We’re running a system I first picked up while working with Kyle [Shanahan] in Houston a decade ago, and we’ve never really had a quarterback who’s had complete freedom to change plays at the line, because that’s not really the way the offense is set up. But, I mean, this is Aaron Rodgers. He’s had a lot of freedom to make those calls, and deservedly so. Now, how do we reconcile that, and get to a place where we put him in the best position to succeed?”

    LaFleur's approach should build trust, and they'll need that trust to coexist in the difficult times. 

Houston Texans: How Will the Offensive Line Take Shape?

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    Michael Wyke/Associated Press

    The Houston Texans acknowledged and addressed their biggest problem area this offseason. 

    The Texans signed Matt Kalil in free agency and drafted offensive tackles Tytus Howard and Max Scharping with two of their first three draft picks. 

    While the interior appears set, both tackle spots are up for grabs. Kalil disappointed at his previous two stops with the Minnesota Vikings and Carolina Panthers. Howard, who the Texans selected with the 23rd overall pick, is still learning the position. Scharping will be in the mix, but so will a now-healthy Seantrel Henderson and last year's left tackle Julie'n Davenport.

    Basically, the Texans coaching staff doesn't have a clue who will start until training camp. 

    "I think without pads, so I think you really have to qualify that answer to make sure that you know they don't have pads on," head coach Bill O'Brien said at minicamp, per Mark Lane of USA Today's Texans Wire. "Everything on the front, whether it's offensive or defensive line, is determined by when you put the pads on."

Indianapolis Colts: Who Will Man the Defensive Middle?

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    Most NFL personnel talk about adding talent to create competition, but the statement tends to be more cliche than an actual approach. In most cases, front offices don't spend valuable assets at positions with entrenched starters. But the Indianapolis Colts are a little different. 

    Anthony Walker finished second on the defense last season with 105 total tackles. Yet, the team used a third-round pick to draft another middle linebacker in Bobby Okereke.

    "It will be a heck of a battle," general manager Chris Ballard told reporters after drafting Okereke. 

    The rookie is longer and more athletic. But the winner will come down to who is in charge of the entire unit. 

    "We are talking Northwestern vs. Stanford here, and two highly intelligent kids here," Ballard said, per ESPN 107.5 the Fan. "To be the starting MIKE right off the bat, make the calls, see everything that is going on, all the checks that you have to do, that’s what you have to be able to handle."

Jacksonville Jaguars: Who Will Replace Telvin Smith?

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    Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

    Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Telvin Smith chose to step away from football this year. His abrupt decision left the organization in a difficult position. 

    Myles Jack has the athleticism necessary to play weak-side linebacker, but he's not open to the possibility of switching positions. 

    "When we go out there and run plays, I'm playing Mike," Jack said, per the Florida Times-Union's John Reid. "I am the Mike. That's what it is. I'm not really too open to (moving to Will) to be honest."

    With Leon Jacobs on the strong side, the Jaguars weak-side options aren't promising. General manager David Caldwell choose Quincy Williams in this year's third round, and the staff may thrust the rookie onto the first-team defense.

    Otherwise, the Jaguars will be forced to play veterans like Jake Ryan, Najee Goode or Ramik Wilson, and each lacks the necessary athletic profile to a be a successful run-and-chase option. 

Kansas City Chiefs: Can the Chiefs Offense Cope Without Tyreek Hill?

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    The NFL met with Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill for eight hours Wednesday, according to Pro Football Talk's Michael David Smith

    While Hill is not facing any criminal charges for child abuse, the NFL operates under a different purview and could suspend the wide receiver.

    If Hill does miss time, the Chiefs offense will look drastically different. 

    In an apparent attempt to offset Hill's potential loss, Kansas City traded up in the second round and chose Mecole Hardman, who ran a 4.33-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. 

    "We're asking him to do a lot, and he staying up on it," Reid said of Hardman, per The Athletic's Nate Taylor

    "That's the way you learn. There are certain things that are finesse, and there's certain things you have to roll on. He's sorting all that and learning."

    Kansas City's depth behind Sammy Watkins and Hardman is suspect at best. 

Los Angeles Chargers: How Do the New Pieces Fit in the Defense?

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    Chris Carlson/Associated Press

    The Los Angeles Chargers finished ninth in total defense last season, yet the front office decided significant changes were necessary at each level. 

    Up front, the Chargers invested a first-round pick in defensive tackle Jerry Tillery. The interior needed an injection of talent after they moved on from Corey Liuget and Darius Philon. Tillery was a top interior pass-rusher at Notre Dame, according to Pro Football Focus

    At linebacker, Thomas Davis Sr. joins Denzel Perryman and Uchenna Nwosu. Jatavis Brown, Kyzir White and rookies Drue Tranquil and Emeke Egbule will compete for playing time. 

    The Chargers even used a second-round pick on safety Nasir Adderley despite the unit's depth. The reason is simple: Adderley adds flexibility as a cornerback convert to play alongside Derwin James. Defensive coordinator Gus Bradley must be salivating at the chance to use both all over the field. 

Los Angeles Rams: Who Will Take over for Ndamukong Suh?

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    The destruction defensive tackle Aaron Donald demonstrates is the stuff of legend. He will produce no matter what. But his job can be a little easier if the Los Angeles Rams' nose tackle takes some pressure off him.

    Ndamukong Suh did his job well next to Donald, but he signed a free-agent deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. 

    Two options—Greg Gaines and Sebastian Joseph-Day—will compete for the spot, though this year's fourth-round rookie appears to have an early edge. 

    "He's out there working, grinding, and you can see it on film, every day he's been getting better," Donald said of Gaines, per Andrew Ortenberg of USA Today's Rams Wire. 

    Nose tackles never receive any glory, but they'll garner plenty of attention during the Rams' summer sessions.

Miami Dolphins: Will Josh Rosen Win the Starting Quarterback Job?

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    Lynne Sladky/Associated Press

    The Miami Dolphins' highly anticipated quarterback competition remains stuck in neutral because, well, head coach Brian Flores doesn't view the battle between Ryan Fitzpatrick and Josh Rosen as a competition until training camp. 

    In fact, Flores told reporters he doesn't put much stock into quarterback reps "until we get into the nitty-gritty of training camp." 

    The coach's stance benefits Rosen since the second-year signal-caller faces a "steep learning curve," per the Palm Beach Post's Joe Schad

    "He's smart," Flores said. "He's got a big arm. He's talented. He's got some leadership ability. But he's got a lot to learn. There's no doubt about that."

    Rosen can't fall any further behind Fitzpatrick. The 14-year-veteran is a legitimate option with plenty of experience playing in the AFC East. His spells of Fitz-magic are legendary. Rosen is much less likely to be the future of the Dolphins franchise if he doesn't win the job.  

Minnesota Vikings: What Will Kevin Stefanski's Offense Look Like?

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    Andy Clayton-King/Associated Press

    Kevin Stefanski took over as the Minnesota Vikings' interim offensive coordinator with three games left to play during the 2018 campaign. Now the full-time offensive coordinator, Stefanski gets to build the system in his image. 

    "The plan is to pull this thing apart, see what we did well and then add some things. We are not going to just change for the sake of change," Stefanski said upon his hiring, per Eric Smith of the team's official site. "We are going to change it for the better. That is the goal."

    The Vikings also hired Gary Kubiak as an offensive adviser. 

    There's already a major personnel change along the offensive front. First-round center Garrett Bradbury is an ideal fit for a heavy zone-blocking approach. Pat Elflein's move to guard only reinforces the new system.

    How much Stefanski plans to rely on play-action, pocket movement, bootlegs and the running game compared to last year's pass-happy attack will become evident during training camp practices. 

New England Patriots: Who Will Man Tom Brady's Blind Side?

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    Jeff Haynes/Associated Press

    An unexpected option took over left tackle upon Trent Brown's free-agent departure. Joe Thuney, who started every game over the last three seasons mainly at guard, moved to Tom Brady's blind side during spring sessions. 

    "I was open-minded (about playing tackle)," Thuney said, per the Boston Herald's Kevin Duffy. "It's whatever the coaches ask of me. I'm grateful to be out there playing, and just excited to be on the field."

    Thuney's position switch may be temporary since last year's 23rd overall pick, Isaiah Wynn, continues to recover from a torn Achilles tendon. 

    "I'm feeling pretty good," Wynn said three weeks ago, per the Herald's Karen Guregian. "I'm still learning with the mental reps. It's all good. I'm out here."

    The organization drafted Yodny Cajuste in the third round as well, but he continues to deal with a leg injury.

    Wynn is the projected starter, though Thuney appears ready if needed. 

New Orleans Saints: Who Will Snap to Drew Brees?

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    Gerald Herbert/Associated Press

    Max Unger's retirement left the New Orleans Saints directionless at center. 

    The Saints signed Cameron Tom as an undrafted free agent in 2017. Tom stuck on the roster and looked like Unger's heir apparent. But he bounced between center and guard during organized team activities and minicamp, according to ESPN.com's Mike Triplett

    General manager Mickey Loomis signed Nick Easton to a four-year, $22 million free-agent deal. As a result, Easton looked like a shoo-in as the starting center until the organization traded up in the second round (and gave up a 2020 second-round draft pick) to select Erik McCoy. 

    The urgency and investment to obtain the rookie might give him the edge in the center competition, especially if he continues to impress head coach Sean Payton. 

    "He's exceptionally smart,” Payton said, per 247Sports' James Parks. "He picks things up well. He's a strong player."

New York Giants: Is Daniel Jones Ready to Play?

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    Eli Manning is the New York Giants' starting quarterback for now, but rookie Daniel Jones may force his way into the lineup. 

    "We are gonna play the very best player, and I know we're dancing around the words there," head coach Pat Shurmur said, per SB Nation's Ed Valentine. "... We feel good where Eli is, he's our starting quarterback, and we've got a young player that we think is going to be an outstanding player getting himself ready to play."

    The Giants spent this year's sixth overall draft pick on Jones. The Giants view Jones as Manning's long-term successor without any pressure to play early in the process. But Jones impressed during his initial practices with the team. 

    "I think he has had a really good offseason," Shurmur said, per ESPN.com's Jordan Raanan. "I think he has had a really, really productive offseason. He is on track with the goal to be ready to play Day 1." 

    If Jones is ready, the Giants must seriously consider starting him. 

New York Jets: How Will Adam Gase Utilize Le'Veon Bell?

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    Adam Gase's reported disapproval of Le'Veon Bell's contract no longer matters. The New York Jets head coach must find ways to utilize the $52.4 million running back without overworking him. 

    "You can wear a guy out with too many rushes, too many touches, too many snaps and too many practice snaps," Gase told reporters. "We'll keep an eye on that. This is not going to be where we burn him out in the first six months. We're aware of that."

    The Jets have a lot options for using Bell, who is a versatile playmaker. They will look to find the right balance in training camp. In any event, they need Bell to take pressure off second-year signal-caller Sam Darnold. 

    "Any time you put another veteran player with a young quarterback, I think that's a positive, especially a guy that's been on a team that's been a playoff team," Gase said. "He knows what it looks like."

Oakland Raiders: Will Vontaze Burfict Take over as Defensive Leader?

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    Ben Margot/Associated Press

    Oakland Raiders defensive coordinator Paul Guenther believes in Vontaze Burfict despite all of the things that went wrong during their six seasons together in Cincinnati. 

    "Anytime you can add a guy with his talent and knowledge of the system, [it's a good thing]," Guenther said, per NBC Bay Area's Doug Williams. "When he became available, it was very attractive to us. He knows the system inside and out, he can get us out of (play) calls." 

    Burfict's fiery attitude can be positive if properly channeled. His nose for the football and ability to diagnose plays make him a prolific tackler. But he also brings volatility and a lengthy injury history. 

    Even so, Guenther plans to lean on the 28-year-old linebacker. 

    "It's like having a quarterback that you have coached, so you can get in and out of calls at the line of scrimmage," the coordinator said. "Last year, we didn't do that as much."

Philadelphia Eagles: Who Will Take over for the Injured Brandon Brooks?

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    Philadelphia Eagles right guard Brandon Brooks tore an Achilles tendon during January's divisional-round playoff game against New Orleans. 

    Brooks posted a video of himself doing pass sets last week. While that's impressive, the Eagles can't rely on the two-time Pro Bowler to be ready for the regular season. They need a new starting right guard. 

    Matt Pryor replaced an injured Brooks in last year's training camp but didn't see the field during the season. Still, the reps were valuable and may help with an increased role this fall as Brooks' potential replacement. 

    However, former starting left tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai made a move to guard. 

    "V has never really done this, and it was time to do it, and he's done a great job because it is really a different position," offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland said, per Penn Live's Daniel Gallen

    The front office also re-signed Stefen Wisniewski after he started seven games last season.

Pittsburgh Steelers: Which Wide Receivers Will Help Replace Antonio Brown?

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    Keith Srakocic/Associated Press

    Antonio Brown is gone. His departure has both positive and negative aspects. The Pittsburgh Steelers can't replace his production. At the same time, Brown isn't a disruptive force anymore.

    "I'm comfortable with the guys we have in the room at this juncture," head coach Mike Tomlin said, per the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review's Chris Adamski

    JuJu Smith-Schuster becomes the Steelers' No. 1 target after last year's Pro Bowl performance. The rest of wide receiver corps remains suspect. 

    James Washington shoulders big expectations to produce in his second season. According to Adamski, Tomlin "expects ... a big leap in year two." 

    Washington is preparing for the opportunity by slimming down to an expected 210 pounds, per ESPN.com's Jeremy Fowler.

    If he doesn't excel in training camp, other options exist on Pittsburgh's roster in Donte Moncrief, Ryan Switzer, Eli Rogers and rookie Diontae Johnson. 

San Francisco 49ers: How Will the Running Back Rotation Develop?

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    Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

    Two seasoning-ending injuries derailed the San Francisco 49ers' 2018 campaign. Jimmy Garoppolo's Week 3 knee injury garnered the most attention. But the 49ers also lost the quarterback's backfield mate before the season started. 

    Running back Jerick McKinnon signed a four-year, $30 million free-agent deal but suffered a torn ACL Sept. 1. McKinnon will return this year, but significant competition exists at running back. 

    San Francisco signed Tevin Coleman to a two-year, $8.5 million deal in free agency. Coleman and McKinnon, along with holdover Matt Breida, give the 49ers three starting options. 

    "He's definitely more creative than he was in Atlanta, everything he's doing with the backs, tight ends and receivers," said Coleman, who played under Niners coach Kyle Shanahan with the Falcons as well, per the San Jose Mercury News' Cam Inman

    The head coach will provide glimpses of how he'll use all three backs during summer sessions. 

Seattle Seahawks: Which Young Wide Receiver Will Contribute?

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    Ted S. Warren/Associated Press

    The Seattle Seahawks' wide receiver corps consists of Tyler Lockett and...

    Doug Baldwin's retirement forced the Seahawks to reevaluate the offense and spend multiple draft assets on the position. General manager John Schneider selected three wide receivers, starting with DK Metcalf at No. 64 overall. 

    Metcalf impressed through minicamp, and his professionalism caught the eye of quarterback Russell Wilson, per ESPN.com's Brady Henderson

    "Everybody knows about his ability to run and everything else, and jump and catch and all that. You guys have been talking about that for months, but I think more than anything else, it's his brain and how he processes information and how quickly he understands it. ... He's a legit pro wide receiver. He's everything that everybody was talking about in terms of what he's capable of and more."

    Fellow rookies Gary Jennings and John Ursua can contribute in different ways. While Metcalf is a traditional X-receiver, Jennings plays multiple spots and Ursua is best in the slot.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Will Ronald Jones Emerge?

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    Chris O'Meara/Associated Press

    The Tampa Bay Buccaneers own the NFL's worst backfield. Peyton Barber and Ronald Jones combined to average 3.6 yards per carry last season. Jones' effort was the real disappointment, though. 

    Last year's 38th overall pick didn't establish himself. Jones carried the ball 23 times for a woeful 44 yards. His potential maturation in year two is a major part of the Buccaneers' focus. 

    "Some really young players really stepped up, especially Ronald Jones," head coach Bruce Arians said during the team's spring practices, per the Tampa Bay Times' Eduardo A. Encina. "... I really enjoy watching where he's at right now in the backfield."

    Arians' offense emphasizes a vertical passing attack. The Buccaneers did last year as well. So, Jones must show he's more patient and establish a comfort level with hitting the hole instead of forcing things. If not, Barber will retain the starting role as doubt envelops Jones' future. 

Tennessee Titans: Will the Offensive Rookies Immediately Contribute?

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    Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

    Marcus Mariota's maturation remains high on the Tennessee Titans' list of priorities, but the quarterback has lacked a complete supporting cast. The additions of wide receivers Adam Humphries and A.J. Brown along with new guards should help. 

    Corey Davis shouldered too much of the burden in the passing game. Humphries is a lightning-quick slot receiver and a potential security blanket for the quarterback. The coaching staff, meanwhile, plans to utilize this year's second-round pick in a variety of ways. 

    "He's got that big body," wide receivers coach Rob Moore said of the 6'0", 226-pound Brown, per The Athletic's Travis Haney. "He's tough. He plays well in traffic. That's all the things you have to do be effective inside and outside. We expect that. At some point, he'll be that guy that you can move around." 

    At guard, the Titans signed Rodger Saffold to man the left side. There'll be a competition between Kevin Pamphile and third-round rookie Nate Davis for the other spot.

Washington Redskins: Who Will Start at Quarterback?

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    Patrick Semansky/Associated Press

    A strong training camp performance from Dwayne Haskins should secure the rookie's status as the Washington Redskins' starting quarterback. 

    "You're talking about a guy that comes from a situation where nobody went up under center. To see a guy walk out the huddle, the poise that he has, the patience that he's exhibited," senior vice president of player personnel Doug Williams told NFL Network's Steve Wyche of Haskins. 

    "There's room to have a lot of hope."

    Case Keenum provides competition. If Haskins doesn't pick up the system, Washington can take the safer route by starting the 31-year-old veteran. Either way, a group decision will determine the starter.  

    "I know there's words out there that [Haskins] might end up starting, and that could happen. But at the end of the day, that's going to be on Jay [Gruden], myself and probably Bruce [Allen] and the owner and what he does during preseason and to see where we are as a team to make that decision," Williams said.