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NFL training camps will be full of questions

Discussion in 'Latest Chargers News & Headlines' started by robdog, Jul 25, 2005.

  1. robdog
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    robdog Code Monkey Staff Member Administrator

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    <strong>July 25, 2005</strong>
    Source: <a href="http://tennessean.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050725/SPORTS01/507250396/1002/SPORTS">Tennessean.com</a>

    Training camps are upon us, and all the offseason conversations of who did what are ready to resurface.

    This time around we'll get a slew of new evidence and information from padded practices.

    Storylines abound, so we picked our ten favorites as NFL clubs start the grueling work that gets them ready for the 2005 season.


    Follow the young quarterbacks

    A number of teams are counting on young quarterbacks to make a significant jump: Kyle Boller in Baltimore, David Carr in Houston, Byron Leftwich in Jacksonville, Patrick Ramsey in Washington and Joey Harrington in Detroit.

    Another group - J.P. Losman in Buffalo, Carson Palmer in Cincinnati, Eli Manning in New York with the Giants, and Rex Grossman in Chicago - have more leeway but will also be under the microscope.

    Meanwhile, fans will be on the lookout for signs of a sophomore slump for last year's breakout QB, Pittsburgh's Ben Roethlisberger.

    How will the Patriots do minus assistants?

    The best coach in the game huddled with his coordinators at the end of the Patriots' Super Bowl victory to cherish the moment, then Romeo Crennel (defense) went to the Browns and Charlie Weis (offense) went to Notre Dame.

    Now Bill Belichick will likely call the offensive plays himself.

    The defending champs look to resurrect wide receiver David Terrell and a couple of veteran cornerbacks, Duane Starks and Chad Scott.

    Who will lead the rookie RBs?

    The Dolphins took Ronnie Brown second in the draft, the Bears got Cedric Benson fourth and the Buccaneers picked Cadillac Williams fifth.

    And can the second-rounders - Arizona's J.J. Arrington and Carolina's Eric Shelton - edge their way into the conversation?

    Is Minnesota for real?

    The Vikings always find a way to blow it. But there is no denying they had one of the NFL's best offseasons and they expect to end Green Bay's three-year run as NFC North champs.

    Minnesota will look to rookie wide receiver Troy Williamson to help offset the loss of Randy Moss. The Vikings did a ton of work on the league's 28th-ranked defense, adding tackle
    Pat Williams, cornerback Fred Smoot, safety Darren Sharper, and linebackers Sam Cowart and Napoleon Harris.

    What happens with bad-boy WRs?

    It's hard to imagine Terrell Owens isn't back playing for Philadelphia by the time they open the season in his adopted hometown of Atlanta. If he is back, he'll face his old team (San Francisco) in Week 2 and match up against Randy Moss and Oakland in Week 3.

    Moss is made in the Raiders' image, and they are counting on him to team up with Kerry Collins and Jerry Porter to form a scary, quick-strike offense.

    How do new regimes get off the ground?

    The Cleveland Browns look to have gotten two quality guys in GM Phil Savage and Coach Crennel, but they have a ton of bad decisions from their predecessors to overcome.

    The San Francisco 49ers have lost their luster, and turned to Coach Mike Nolan to put back some shine.

    Rookie QB Alex Smith is likely to take his lumps as the Niners begins the long, slow climb back to respectability.

    In Miami, Nick Saban will draw a spotlight as he tries to reconstruct a proud franchise.

    Will Joe Gibbs fare better?

    The Redskins coach didn't do so well in his first season back in the league. Coordinator Gregg Williams should have another high-quality defense, but it will still need the offense to score some points.

    Gibbs and the old-timers on his staff have to have a better handle on how the league works now. Their willingness to use some shotgun formation may indicate they will adjust.

    But if Washington falls flat again, what can owner Dan Snyder possibly do next?

    Can Michael Vick take the next step?

    More comfortable with the West Coast element of Atlanta's offense, many expect Vick to approach a 60 percent completion rate.

    The question is: Can receivers Peerless Price, Dez White, Michael Jenkins and first-round draft pick Roddy White give Vick enough options beyond tight end Alge Crumpler and running back Warrick Dunn?

    Can the Chargers match last season?

    San Diego was the breakout surprise of the league last year and lost no one significant outside of offensive line coach Hudson Hauck.

    But the Chargers had minimal injuries and a schedule that saw them seem to catch everyone at the right time.

    QB Drew Brees will look to prove 2004 wasn't a fluke, but he'll have to do it against a schedule that includes matchups with seven playoff teams, including road games against New England, Philadelphia and Indianapolis.

    If the Lightning Bolts can win the AFC West again or earn a wild card, Coach Marty Schottenheimer will be under huge pressure to win a playoff game.

    Bonus questions

    How do Detroit's three big-name receivers - Roy Williams, Charles Rogers and Mike Williams - fare?

    Can Kurt Warner help boost Arizona after the team made a solid series of offseason moves?

    Will Kansas City finally be able to play winning defense?

    Will the Jaguars sell out some home games far enough in advance to avoid local TV blackouts? n

    Can Indianapolis finally find a way to beat arch-nemesis New England?

    Will Dallas' revamped defense put Bill Parcells' team in the playoff hunt?

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