NFL

2014 NFL Training Camps: Complete Guide, Schedule for Each Team

Nick KostosContributor IJuly 14, 2014

2014 NFL Training Camps: Complete Guide, Schedule for Each Team

1 of 33

    Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

    Can you smell it? Can you feel it? Can you taste it?

    After a long offseason of waiting, football is almost back, with training camps set to begin over the next two weeks throughout the NFL.

    Training camp is the true beginning of a club’s journey. It’s where identities are forged, camaraderie is built, starting jobs are claimed and futures are irrevocably altered.

    When training camps commence, it means the season isn’t far off. We’re almost there, football fans. The 2014 campaign is nearly at hand.

    Here is a complete guide and schedule for each NFL team heading into training camp.

Arizona Cardinals

2 of 33

    Stephen Brashear/Associated Press

    Report date: July 25

    Location: University of Phoenix Stadium (Glendale, Arizona)

     

    Overview

    The Arizona Cardinals will enter training camp hoping for a breakthrough.

    Despite finishing 10-6 last season, the Cardinals missed the postseason, and if the team is to qualify for this year's tournament, it will need to ascend to the level currently occupied by two division rivals in the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers. Training camp provides the perfect launching pad for that lofty goal.

     

    Top Storyline

    The team's 2013 first-round pick, guard Jonathan Cooper, missed his entire freshman campaign with a broken leg. His progress is one to monitor, as he'd greatly improve the offensive line if healthy.

     

    Player to Watch

    By all accounts, third-year receiver Michael Floyd has authored a fantastic offseason. If he can step up his game alongside star pass-catcher Larry Fitzgerald, it'll add a new dimension to the Cardinals offense.

     

    Marquee Position Battle

    While the team signed Ted Ginn Jr. to be the third receiver (replacing the departed Andre Roberts), rookie third-round selection John Brown has turned heads in OTAs. 

Atlanta Falcons

3 of 33

    David Goldman/Associated Press

    Report date: July 24

    Location: Atlanta Falcons Training Facility (Flowery Branch, Georgia)

    Joint practices: Tennessee Titans (at Falcons) on Aug. 4, Houston Texans (at Texans) on Aug. 13

     

    Overview

    The Atlanta Falcons suffered through a miserable 2013 season, finishing the year with a bitterly disappointing 4-12 record. 

    After an offseason of retooling, the club seeks to return to the postseason behind revamped lines on both sides of the ball and the right arm of quarterback Matt Ryan.

    The Falcons are this year's participants on HBO's Hard Knocks, and the first episode will air Tuesday, Aug. 5.

     

    Top Storyline

    How will the team handle the omnipresent cameras and added pressure brought on by the Hard Knocks crew? Will it throw off the routine laid out by coach Mike Smith? The Falcons head man doesn't think so, comparing HBO's cameras to the same atmosphere of an NFL crew on game day, via D. Orlando Ledbetter:

    They capture everything that is happening on a sideline, and they are just there for a two-hour period. It’s no different. They are just going to be around when we are on the practice field, when we are in meetings, so it really doesn’t change. That’s what we do when we are playing on game day.

    Will the Falcons players see it the same way?

     

    Player to Watch

    Star receiver Julio Jones played in only five games last season before suffering a right foot fracture, and the team's offense went into the gutter without him. He's expected to participate fully in camp, and his return to form is much needed for Ryan and the rest of the team.

     

    Marquee Position Battle

    When linebacker Sean Weatherspoon was lost for the season with a ruptured Achilles tendon, it created a hole in the middle of the team's defense. The fight to replace him in the starting lineup will be fierce.

Baltimore Ravens

4 of 33

    Nick Wass/Associated Press

    Report date: July 23

    Location: Under Armour Performance Center (Owings Mills, Maryland)

    Joint practice: San Francisco 49ers (at Ravens) on Aug. 8 

     

    Overview

    Last season, for the first time in the coach John Harbaugh and quarterback Joe Flacco era (2008), the Baltimore Ravens missed the postseason.

    Now, with some new weapons on offense and an improved offensive line, the team seeks to return to the top of the AFC and make yet another Super Bowl run.

     

    Top Storyline

    The Ravens couldn't run the ball last year, with backs Ray Rice (3.1 yards per carry) and Bernard Pierce (2.9 yards per carry) struggling behind an underachieving offensive line. The line should be better this year, and Rice and Pierce, along with incoming rookie Lorenzo Taliaferro, must step up and rush the ball with more success.

     

    Player to Watch

    Tight end Dennis Pitta played in just four games last year, and his absence greatly affected the team's passing attack. Now healthy and the owner of a new contract, Pitta will be counted on to be a security blanket for Flacco.

     

    Marquee Position Battle

    The Ravens have a lot of talent at the linebacker position, and while first-round pick C.J. Mosley is expected to start alongside Daryl Smith in the middle of the team's 3-4 defense, don't discount last year's second-round selection, Arthur Brown.

Buffalo Bills

5 of 33

    Bill Wippert/Associated Press

    Report date: July 19

    Location: St. John Fisher College (Pittsford, New York)

    Joint practice: Pittsburgh Steelers (at Steelers) on Aug. 13 and 14

     

    Overview

    The Buffalo Bills went all in with their draft-day trade for receiver Sammy Watkins, and the club is clearly trying to end its 14-year playoff drought, the longest current streak in the NFL.

    It's postseason or bust this year in lovely Western New York.

     

    Top Storyline

    The Bills couldn't protect quarterback EJ Manuel last year, allowing 48 sacks. Watkins could end up being the next Jerry Rice, but it won't matter if the offensive line can't keep Manuel upright.

     

    Player to Watch

    All eyes will be on Manuel. Last year's first-round selection had an inconsistent rookie campaign, tossing only 11 touchdown passes against nine interceptions, and he missed six contests due to various maladies. The Bills will only go as far as Manuel takes them. He must show progress in year two.

     

    Marquee Position Battle

    Second-year linebacker Kiko Alonso was lost for the season after suffering a torn ACL while working out in Oregon, which is a massive loss for the team's defense. The battle to replace him will be competitive, and the winner will be expected to contribute immediately. 

Carolina Panthers

6 of 33

    Bob Leverone/Associated Press

    Report date: July 24

    Location: Wofford College (Spartanburg, South Carolina)

     

    Overview

    The Carolina Panthers broke through in 2013, garnering a 12-4 record and winning the NFC South. But after an offseason of head-scratching decisions, the question is whether 2014’s team can be as good as last year’s division-winning iteration.

     

    Top Storyline

    The Panthers are without a number of their top pass-catching options from 2013, including receivers Steve Smith, Ted Ginn Jr. and Brandon LaFell. While rookie Kelvin Benjamin was nabbed in the first round, the rest of the receiving corps is suspect at best. Can the unit step up collectively in support of quarterback Cam Newton?

     

    Player to Watch

    Linebacker Luke Kuechly is among the best defensive players in football, and he should once again be marvelous. He could end up being the Defensive Player of the Year.

     

    Marquee Position Battle

    As Bleacher Report’s Russell S. Baxter noted, the battle to replace retired left tackle Jordan Gross is an important one for Carolina’s 2014 hopes.

Chicago Bears

7 of 33

    Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

    Report date: July 24

    Location: Olivet Nazarene University (Bourbonnais, Illinois)

     

    Overview

    The Chicago Bears missed the postseason in heartbreaking fashion in 2013, dropping a Week 17 thriller to the Green Bay Packers. With a retooled defense, the Bears appear poised to qualify for the playoffs for the first time since 2010.

     

    Top Storyline

    Last season, the Bears couldn’t stop a nosebleed on defense, allowing a preposterous 5.3 yards per carry. Defensive coordinator Mel Tucker was retained, and new faces include defensive ends Jared Allen, Lamarr Houston, Willie Young and first-round cornerback Kyle Fuller.

    We know the offense will be explosive, but can the defense improve enough to ensure a postseason berth?

     

    Player to Watch

    After missing five games last season, it’s imperative that quarterback Jay Cutler stays healthy. With former backup Josh McCown now in Tampa Bay, the offense needs Cutler in order to put points on the board.

     

    Marquee Position Battle

    The competition at safety will be fun to watch, as rookie Brock Vereen will compete with veteran signings M.D. Jennings and Adrian Wilson for the spot opposite Ryan Mundy.

Cincinnati Bengals

8 of 33

    Al Behrman/Associated Press

    Report date: July 23

    Location: Paul Brown Stadium (Cincinnati)

     

    Overview

    For the third consecutive year, the Cincinnati Bengals made the playoffs, but for the third consecutive year, they lost in the Wild Card Round.

    Now, the team seeks to advance to at least the divisional round of the postseason, but the upside is a run at the Lombardi Trophy.

     

    Top Storyline

    Despite putting up eye-popping statistics, quarterback Andy Dalton has struggled in big spots. Too often, he’s been the albatross slung around the team’s collective neck, holding it back from achieving bigger and better things. He’s entering the final year of his rookie deal, and his next contract will surely be predicated on how the 2014 season plays out.

     

    Player to Watch

    Second-round running back Jeremy Hill has impressed this offseason and looks set to claim the No. 2 running-back job behind Giovani Bernard. Don’t be shocked if Hill receives a huge workload as a greenhorn in new coordinator Hue Jackson’s offense.

     

    Marquee Position Battle

    The team features a glut of talented linebacker options, and it’ll be fascinating to see how things shake out on the strong side.

Cleveland Browns

9 of 33

    Mark Duncan/Associated Press

    Report date: July 25

    Location: Cleveland Browns Training Facility (Berea, Ohio)

     

    Overview

    After a headline-making offseason, the Cleveland Browns are set to enter yet another new era, this one headlined by coach Mike Pettine and rookie quarterback Johnny Manziel. The question remains if the Browns will be good enough to contend this year in the ultra-tough AFC North.

     

    Top Storyline

    The impending suspension of star receiver Josh Gordon leaves the offense in a perilous bind. With no other top option at wide receiver, the Browns will likely struggle to fashion together an effective passing attack.

     

    Player to Watch

    While the team has downplayed Manziel’s chances of starting in Week 1, don’t believe the Brian Hoyer hype. Manziel was drafted in the first round for a reason: to start. All eyes will be on the former Heisman Trophy winner from the moment camp begins.

     

    Marquee Position Battle

    Manziel vs. Hoyer for the starting-quarterback job isn’t just the top battle in Browns camp; it's one of the best camp battles set to take place in the entire league.

Dallas Cowboys

10 of 33

    Alex Brandon/Associated Press

    Report date: July 23

    Location: City of Oxnard Fields (Oxnard, California)

    Joint practice: Oakland Raiders (at Cowboys) on Aug. 12 and 13

     

    Overview

    The Dallas Cowboys missed the postseason for a fourth consecutive year last season, and this is surely coach Jason Garrett’s last chance to guide the team into January.

     

    Top Storyline

    Last year, the Cowboys fielded the worst defense in the NFL, and unfortunately for fans of America’s Team, the unit doesn’t look to be much improved this season. The torn ACL suffered by linebacker Sean Lee on the first day of OTAs didn’t help matters.

    Can the defense play well enough to keep the club in games?

     

    Player to Watch

    Safety J.J. Wilcox has put together a nice offseason and is poised to break out in a major way.

     

    Marquee Position Battle

    Who will start in Lee’s place at middle linebacker? Rookie Anthony Hitchens and veteran Justin Durant would seem to be the two most likely candidates.

Denver Broncos

11 of 33

    Ed Andrieski/Associated Press

    Report date: July 23

    Location: Paul D. Bowlen Memorial Broncos Centre (Englewood, Colorado)

    Joint practice: Houston Texans (at Broncos) from Aug. 19-21

     

    Overview

    The Denver Broncos were an offensive juggernaut in 2013, but that didn’t matter in Super Bowl XLVIII, as they were blown out by the Seattle Seahawks.

    This year, the directive remains the same: Reach and win the Super Bowl on the strength of quarterback Peyton Manning’s right arm.

     

    Top Storyline

    General manager John Elway improved the defense with a trio of tremendous signings: pass-rusher DeMarcus Ware, cornerback Aqib Talib and safety T.J. Ward. Will the additions be good enough to elevate Denver’s defense to the level occupied by top NFC rivals San Francisco and Seattle?

     

    Player to Watch

    Star linebacker Von Miller played in only nine games last year before suffering a torn ACL, and his play will be vital to the success (or failure) of the defense. His continued progress as he returns from that injury will be of paramount importance. If Miller is back to form, he and Ware could form the top pass-rushing duo in the league.

     

    Marquee Position Battle

    The battle at middle linebacker should be intriguing. Don’t discount the ability of fifth-round pick Lamin Barrow, who could end up as the starter.

Detroit Lions

12 of 33

    Rick Osentoski/Associated Press

    Report date: July 27

    Location: Detroit Lions Training Facility (Allen Park, Michigan)

     

    Overview

    Last year, the Detroit Lions should have won the NFC North. Instead, they finished 7-9 and coach Jim Schwartz was relieved of his duties. Now, new coach Jim Caldwell seeks to restore the roar and return the Lions to the postseason.

     

    Top Storyline

    Despite possessing overwhelming physical talent, quarterback Matthew Stafford has yet to put it all together, and it seemed like he regressed last season. The addition of Caldwell should help Stafford in his quest to become one of the league’s top passers on a more consistent basis.

     

    Player to Watch

    Running back Theo Riddick has been the source of much offseason hype and looks set to carve out a fairly prominent role on offense.

     

    Marquee Position Battle

    While second-year player Darius Slay is a lock to start at cornerback, the rest of the spots are very much up in the air, with veteran Rashean Mathis competing with Bill Bentley and Nevin Lawson, among others.

Green Bay Packers

13 of 33

    Mike Roemer/Associated Press

    Report date: July 25

    Location: St. Norbert College (Green Bay, Wisconsin)

     

    Overview

    With a revamped defense, the goal for the Green Bay Packers is simple: Win the NFC North and make a run at the Super Bowl.

     

    Top Storyline

    Pass-rusher extraordinaire Julius Peppers was signed in the free-agent period, and his presence should greatly improve the Packers defense. He should join linebacker Clay Matthews in keeping opposing offensive coordinators up at night.

     

    Player to Watch

    The Packers drafted safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix in the first round to shore up the back end of the secondary, and he has the potential to shine as a greenhorn.

     

    Marquee Position Battle

    While Andrew Quarless will open up camp as the club’s starting tight end, don’t discount the potential of third-round rookie Richard Rodgers to earn significant playing time.

Houston Texans

14 of 33

    Eric Gay/Associated Press

    Report date: July 25

    Location: Methodist Training Center (Houston)

    Joint practice: Atlanta Falcons (at Texans) from Aug. 13-14, Denver Broncos (at Broncos) from Aug. 19-21

     

    Overview

    After crashing and burning to the tune of a 2-14 record, the Houston Texans cleaned house and are set to usher in a new era in team history. New coach Bill O’Brien and the team's No. 1 overall draft pick, defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, will seek to return the club to the top of the AFC South.

     

    Top Storyline

    Will receiver Andre Johnson participate in camp? He is unhappy with the team’s direction and has yet to participate in any offseason activities. While he would like to be traded, don’t expect that to happen, as the Texans would have to eat $12 million in dead money. Johnson’s potential participation is a big deal, as he would greatly aid the team’s hopes of fielding a winner.

     

    Player to Watch

    Clowney is undoubtedly the player to watch. If he can flash the form he did on the collegiate level at South Carolina, it would take pressure off of star batterymate J.J. Watt and ramp up the pressure on opposing quarterbacks.

     

    Marquee Position Battle

    Ryan Fitzpatrick might be locked in as the club’s starting quarterback, but rookie passer Tom Savage is waiting in the wings. Savage won’t overtake Fitzpatrick in camp, but if he performs well in practice and the preseason, he could lay the groundwork for playing time in 2014.

Indianapolis Colts

15 of 33

    Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

    Report date: July 23

    Location: Anderson University (Anderson, Indiana)

     

    Overview

    The Indianapolis Colts are coming off of a second consecutive playoff appearance and, with quarterback Andrew Luck in tow, look to once again be the class of the AFC South.

     

    Top Storyline

    Oftentimes last season, it appeared as if Luck was trying to do it all himself. In an effort to aid him, the club added receivers Hakeem Nicks (free agency) and Donte Moncrief (draft). Plus, tight end Dwayne Allen returns from injury, giving Luck his best supporting cast yet.

     

    Player to Watch

    After the team traded for him early last season, running back Trent Richardson struggled mightily and bottomed out with a nonexistent performance in the postseason. Considering what the Colts gave up to acquire him (a first-round pick), Richardson must play better in 2014.

     

    Marquee Position Battle

    With longtime safety Antoine Betha off to San Francisco, the battle to start alongside LaRon Landry should be a competitive one, with veteran Mike Adams the current favorite to claim the job.

Jacksonville Jaguars

16 of 33

    John Raoux/Associated Press

    Report date: July 24

    Location: Florida Blue Health and Wellness Practice Fields (Jacksonville, Florida)

     

    Overview

    Year two of coach Gus Bradley and general manager David Caldwell’s plan in Jacksonville is sure to provide more growing pains, but the hope is that a foundation for future success will continue to be laid and that young stars will continue to emerge.

     

    Top Storyline

    Are the Jacksonville Jaguars ready to field a competitive unit? Running back Toby Gerhart should energize the rushing attack, and the return of left tackle Luke Joeckel will help. But the pass rush doesn’t appear to have much teeth, and starting quarterback Chad Henne fails to inspire confidence. Right now, the Jaguars appear earmarked for a fourth consecutive losing season.

     

    Player to Watch

    The Jaguars drafted quarterback Blake Bortles with the third overall pick in May’s draft, and he represents the hopes and dreams of the team’s fanbase. While he won’t start at the beginning of the year, the smart money is on Bortles playing once the team bows out of playoff contention, so his development in camp will be vital.

     

    Marquee Position Battle

    The competition at wide receiver should be strong, with rookie second-round picks Marqise Lee and Allen Robinson vying for playing time.

Kansas City Chiefs

17 of 33

    Bill Wippert/Associated Press

    Report date: July 23

    Location: Missouri Western State University (St. Joseph, Missouri)

     

    Overview

    Coach Andy Reid guided the Kansas City Chiefs to an 11-5 mark and a wild-card berth in his first season on the sideline, but after an offseason in which they lost a number of key contributors, are the Chiefs good enough to return to the postseason?

     

    Top Storyline

    Are there enough weapons in the passing attack to support quarterback Alex Smith? Running back Jamaal Charles is among the best in the league at catching the ball out of the backfield, but outside of Dwayne Bowe, the receiver position is a total black hole.

     

    Player to Watch

    First-round rookie linebacker Dee Ford was brought in to bolster the pass rush, and if he can aid Justin Houston and Tamba Hali in their quest to bring down the opposing quarterback, the Kansas City defense has a chance to be special.

     

    Marquee Position Battle

    While Smith is entrenched as the starting quarterback, the spots behind him are up in the air, as veteran Chase Daniel, Tyler Bray and rookie Aaron Murray will likely compete for two spots on the active roster.

Miami Dolphins

18 of 33

    J Pat Carter/Associated Press

    Report date: July 24

    Location: Doctors Hospital Training Facility (Davie, Florida)

     

    Overview

    Last year, the Miami Dolphins collapsed down the stretch, losing their final two games in gut-wrenching fashion to miss the postseason. Now, coach Joe Philbin seeks to lead a more cohesive locker room and bring the Dolphins back to the playoffs for the first time since 2008.

     

    Top Storyline

    The Dolphins couldn’t protect quarterback Ryan Tannehill last year, allowing a ridiculous, league-worst 58 sacks. The unit looks improved with the free-agent additions of left tackle Branden Albert and guard Shelley Smith, plus the selection of right tackle Ja’Wuan James in the first round, but all that matters is how the unit plays come September.

     

    Player to Watch

    The Dolphins will ride or die with the right arm of Tannehill. If he can continue to improve, Miami has a realistic chance of making the postseason.

     

    Marquee Position Battle

    Running back Knowshon Moreno was signed to be the presumptive starter, but he had to undergo arthroscopic knee surgery last month. While he’s expected to be ready for camp, his absence has given Lamar Miller a leg up in the competition.

Minnesota Vikings

19 of 33

    ANDY CLAYTON-KING/Associated Press

    Report date: July 24

    Location: Minnesota State University, Mankato (Mankato, Minnesota)

     

    Overview

    The Minnesota Vikings feature a new coach (Mike Zimmer) and quarterback (rookie Teddy Bridgewater) as the club looks to contend in the difficult NFC North.

     

    Top Storyline

    The Vikings traded back into the first round to nab Bridgewater, and it would be a major disappointment if he didn’t see significant playing time this season. If Bridgewater can develop under the tutelage of offensive coordinator Norv Turner, the Vikings could be a potentially dangerous offense, especially with weapons like running back Adrian Peterson and receiver Cordarrelle Patterson.

     

    Player to Watch

    First-round linebacker Anthony Barr should be an immediate Zimmer favorite and provide pass-rushing oomph.

     

    Marquee Position Battle

    It’s most certainly at quarterback, where Bridgewater will duel with incumbent Matt Cassel for the starting job. Bridgewater has to be considered the slight favorite to be under center in Week 1.

New England Patriots

20 of 33

    Stephan Savoia/Associated Press

    Report date: July 23

    Location: Gillette Stadium (Foxborough, Massachusetts)

    Joint practice: Washington Redskins (at Redskins) from Aug. 4-6, Philadelphia Eagles (at Patriots) from Aug. 12-14

     

    Overview

    After falling in last year’s AFC Championship Game to the Broncos, the New England Patriots reloaded for yet another run at the Lombardi Trophy. As of right now, they rank as the second-best team in the AFC, behind only (you guessed it) Denver.

     

    Top Storyline

    Coach Bill Belichick made a major free-agent splash with the signing of cornerback Darrelle Revis, who fits in perfectly with the club’s defensive scheme. Revis will allow Belichick extraordinary flexibility on that side of the ball and is good enough to lock down top receivers. He’ll amplify what’s been a weak point of the team’s defense over the last few seasons.

     

    Player to Watch

    Star tight end Rob Gronkowski is coming off a torn ACL, and while he’s progressed nicely throughout the offseason, he’s not a lock to be on the field in Week 1. Gronkowski’s continued rehab remains a major storyline, as he’s a favorite target for quarterback Tom Brady.

     

    Marquee Position Battle

    Who will end up starting at running back? While Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen appear the most likely candidates, veteran Brandon Bolden and rookie James White are also in the equation, and Belichick has been known to ride the hot hand at the position.

New Orleans Saints

21 of 33

    Elaine Thompson/Associated Press

    Report date: July 24

    Location: The Greenbrier (White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia)

     

    Overview

    Last season, the New Orleans Saints crashed and burned in a divisional-round loss in Seattle, prompting the team to make a big splash on both sides of the ball in an effort to match the elite squads of the NFC.

     

    Top Storyline

    The acclimation of rookie receiver Brandin Cooks and new safety Jairus Byrd will be huge. Cooks is expected to have a major role on offense, while Byrd should join second-year man Kenny Vaccaro to form one of the best safety combinations in the NFL.

     

    Player to Watch

    Running back Khiry Robinson really came on at the close of last season, averaging 4.9 yards per carry in the postseason. Don’t be shocked if he evolves into the team’s bell cow at the position.

     

    Marquee Position Battle

    Keenan Lewis is locked into one of the starting-cornerback spots, but the other is very much up in the air. Veteran Champ Bailey will compete with Patrick Robinson and rookie Stanley Jean-Baptiste to start alongside Lewis.

New York Giants

22 of 33

    Ron Antonelli/Getty Images

    Report date: July 21

    Location: Quest Diagnostics Training Center (East Rutherford, New Jersey)

     

    Overview

    After a second consecutive season out of the postseason, the New York Giants will look to rejoin the NFC’s elite and put forth a better showing in 2014.

     

    Top Storyline

    Big Blue has a new offensive coordinator in former Packers quarterback coach Ben McAdoo, who replaces the retired Kevin Gilbride. The Giants offensive line couldn’t stay on its blocks long enough to give Eli Manning ample time to throw, and Manning himself was atrocious, tossing a league-high 27 interceptions. The running game wasn't much better, making it difficult to sell the play-action fakes. It’ll be up to McAdoo to fix a broken unit, and rookie receiver Odell Beckham Jr. should be a major help in doing so.

     

    Player to Watch

    Star defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul will be counted on to spearhead the team’s pass rush, but he’s authored consecutive lackluster seasons (6.5 sacks in 2012 and two sacks in 2013). He’s also entering the final year of his rookie deal, meaning the Gotham spotlight will shine brightly on him for the duration of the campaign.

     

    Marquee Position Battle

    The battle at tight end looks especially intriguing. While Adrien Robinson is penciled in as the starter, undrafted free agent Xavier Grimble has turned some heads and could be in line for playing time.

New York Jets

23 of 33

    Mel Evans/Associated Press

    Report date: July 23

    Location: SUNY Cortland (Cortland, New York)

     

    Overview

    The New York Jets enter training camp with a revamped offense and solid defense, but questions at the quarterback position linger. Coach Rex Ryan likely needs to secure a playoff berth to keep his job.

     

    Top Storyline

    Incumbent Geno Smith and free-agent signing Michael Vick will compete to start at quarterback, and while Smith is the odds-on favorite, Vick cannot be discounted. The battle should last throughout all of training camp and the majority of the preseason.

     

    Player to Watch

    Eric Decker was signed to be the club’s No. 1 receiver, and it remains to be seen if he can produce at a high level without significant talent around him. If the Jets offense is to make a leap into the 21st century, Decker must play well and prove that he’s viable as a team’s top option in the passing attack.

     

    Marquee Position Battle

    Quarterback, with Smith seeking to stave off Vick.

Oakland Raiders

24 of 33

    Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

    Report date: July 24

    Location: Napa Valley Marriott (Napa, California)

    Joint practice: Dallas Cowboys (at Cowboys) on Aug. 12 and 13

     

    Overview

    After a spate of new additions, the Oakland Raiders finally have the look and feel of a competitive franchise. A decent win-loss record will likely be needed to save the jobs of coach Dennis Allen and general manager Reggie McKenzie.

     

    Top Storyline

    While the Raiders traded for former Texans quarterback Matt Schaub to be their starter, they also selected signal-caller Derek Carr in the second round of May’s draft, and by all accounts, Carr has impressed throughout the offseason.

    Schaub struggled mightily in 2013, and Carr represents the future of the franchise, so don’t be surprised if Carr ends up starting more games than Schaub does.

     

    Player to Watch

    The team grabbed pass-rushing linebacker Khalil Mack with the fifth overall selection in May’s draft, and he profiles as a beast in Allen’s defense. He could provide the Raiders with their finest defensive weapon in years.

     

    Marquee Position Battle

    Maurice Jones-Drew was signed to compete with incumbent Darren McFadden at running back, and the winner of the competition should see the lion’s share of carries, at least early in the season.

Philadelphia Eagles

25 of 33

    Matt Rourke/Associated Press

    Report date: July 25

    Location: NovaCare Complex (Philadelphia)

    Joint practice: New England Patriots (at Patriots) from Aug. 12-14

     

    Overview

    Coach Chip Kelly had an incredibly successful first season on the Philadelphia Eagles sideline, guiding the team to the NFC East title. The question now becomes if the Eagles can repeat as division winners and advance deep into the postseason.

     

    Top Storyline

    Quarterback Nick Foles was a revelation in 2013, tossing 27 touchdown passes against only two interceptions. While there’s virtually no chance he can repeat that kind of performance, he’ll still need to improve on his general play as a full-time starter to elevate the Eagles to the next level.

     

    Player to Watch

    As NFL.com’s Marc Sessler scribed, tight end Zach Ertz is a major breakout candidate.

     

    Marquee Position Battle

    With receiver DeSean Jackson released and now in Washington, the position appears nebulous. Jeremy Maclin and Riley Cooper were both re-signed, and Jordan Matthews and Josh Huff were added in the draft, but it’s currently unclear how the depth chart at receiver will shake out.

Pittsburgh Steelers

26 of 33

    Keith Srakocic/Associated Press

    Report date: July 25

    Location: Saint Vincent College (Latrobe, Pennsylvania)

    Joint practice: Buffalo (at Steelers) on Aug. 13 and 14

     

    Overview

    Two consecutive 8-8 marks without postseason trips might not have coach Mike Tomlin and general manager Kevin Colbert squarely on the hot seat, but it would behoove both men to field a winner in 2014.

     

    Top Storyline

    Have the Steelers done enough to match the Bengals and Ravens in the AFC North? First-round linebacker Ryan Shazier adds needed speed and playmaking ability on defense, while fourth-round receiver Martavis Bryant has looked good in OTAs. If both neophytes can step right in and be effective, the Steelers could end up back in the postseason.

     

    Player to Watch

    It’s no secret that Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger adores tossing the ball up to big targets in the red zone, and the 6’4” Bryant could fit the bill. If Bryant can develop chemistry with Roethlisberger throughout camp, he could end up being a major contributor.

     

    Marquee Position Battle

    While second-year man Le’Veon Bell will receive the majority of the work at running back, free-agent signing LeGarrette Blount and third-round pick Dri Archer will also compete for carries.

San Diego Chargers

27 of 33

    Gregory Bull/Associated Press

    Report date: July 23

    Location: Chargers Park (San Diego)

     

    Overview

    The San Diego Chargers made a surprise run to the postseason last year and will look to build upon that success and exceed expectations once again.

     

    Top Storyline

    The Chargers offense should be fine with coach Mike McCoy and quarterback Philip Rivers calling the shots, but can the defense rise up and play well enough to make the Chargers a legitimate Super Bowl contender?

     

    Player to Watch

    First-round cornerback Jason Verrett was brought in to start alongside Shareece Wright, and he’ll be relied upon in a major way in 2014. If Verrett transitions well, the Chargers could be even better on defense than initially thought.

     

    Marquee Position Battle

    The roster is loaded at outside linebacker, with Dwight Freeney being joined by veterans Jarret Johnson, Melvin Ingram and Larry English, not to mention second-round pick Jeremiah Attaochu. It’ll be fascinating to see who wants it more and which players end up making an impact.

San Francisco 49ers

28 of 33

    Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

    Report date: July 23

    Location: SAP Performance Facility (Santa Clara, California)

    Joint practice: Baltimore Ravens (at Ravens) on Aug. 8

     

    Overview

    After three consecutive trips to the NFC Championship Game but no titles to show for it, is this the year the San Francisco 49ers break through and claim the franchise’s sixth Lombardi Trophy?

     

    Top Storyline

    The 49ers currently have a host of unhappy campers, including tight end Vernon Davis and guard Alex Boone. Both men would like new contracts, but Boone is the major worry, as Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com recently reported that he won’t show up to camp without a new deal.

     

    Player to Watch

    After he inked a big-money contract, all eyes will be on quarterback Colin Kaepernick. He’ll be expected to improve upon his past performance, and anything short of a Super Bowl title will be considered a disappointment.

     

    Marquee Position Battle

    The competition at running back behind Frank Gore appears fierce. The 49ers selected Carlos Hyde in the second round, but they also have Kendall Hunter and LaMichael James fighting for carries. Plus, Marcus Lattimore waits in the wings as well, and no one knows what to expect out of the former South Carolina product after suffering a devastating knee injury in college that sidelined him for his entire rookie season.

Seattle Seahawks

29 of 33

    Elaine Thompson/Associated Press

    Report date: July 24

    Location: Virginia Mason Athletic Center (Renton, Washington)

     

    Overview

    After claiming the franchise’s first Super Bowl championship this past February, the goal of coach Pete Carroll, general manager John Schneider and quarterback Russell Wilson is simple: Deliver another championship and begin a potential dynasty.

     

    Top Storyline

    Although he did report to OTAs, running back Marshawn Lynch would reportedly like a pay raise, according to ESPN.com's Terry Blount, and the Seahawks would be wise to appease their bell cow and make sure he’s happy heading into the season.

     

    Player to Watch

    Running back Christine Michael has emerged this offseason and profiles as Lynch’s eventual replacement. He should get a long look in training camp and the preseason.

     

    Marquee Position Battle

    The battle for the starting-right-tackle job will likely come down to Michael Bowie and second-round pick Justin Britt. Expect Britt to eventually claim the job.

St. Louis Rams

30 of 33

    Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

    Report date: July 24

    Location: Rams Park Training Center (Earth City, Missouri)

     

    Overview

    2014 is a big year for the St. Louis Rams, as the club enters year three of the coach Jeff Fisher and general manager Les Snead regime. The team has the talent to field a winner for the first time since 2003, but it will have to overcome the league’s toughest division, the NFC West, to make it happen.

     

    Top Storyline

    Is this the year that quarterback Sam Bradford finally proves that he was worthy of the No. 1 overall selection in the 2010 draft? Fisher and Snead could have hit the reset button at the position this season, but they opted to stick with Bradford. Now, it’s up to him to stay healthy and elevate his game to the next level.

     

    Player to Watch

    Safety T.J. McDonald played well in 2013 as a rookie and is a major breakout candidate this season. NFL Media’s Bucky Brooks recently wrote that McDonald will become a "monster" in new coordinator Gregg Williams’ defense.

     

    Marquee Position Battle

    Zac Stacy is the incumbent starting running back, but the Rams drafted Tre Mason in the third round to provide legitimate competition. Expect this battle to last throughout training camp.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

31 of 33

    Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

    Report date: July 24

    Location: One Buccaneer Place (Tampa, Florida)

     

    Overview

    The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a new coach (Lovie Smith), a new general manager (Jason Licht) and a new quarterback (Josh McCown), and they improved just as much (if not more than) as any team in the league over the offseason.

     

    Top Storyline

    The Buccaneers took a gamble in signing McCown and naming him the starting quarterback, but if he plays like he did while filling in for the injured Jay Cutler last season in Chicago, they could be a playoff team. The question is if they can hang in the very competitive NFC South.

     

    Player to Watch

    Linebacker Lavonte David was a stud before Smith came to town and installed the Tampa 2 defense. Expect him to garner Defensive Player of the Year consideration after a year in Smith’s system.

     

    Marquee Position Battle

    Free-agent signing Alterraun Verner is a lock to start at cornerback, but the other starting role is up in the air. Expect second-year man Johnthan Banks to compete with Mike Jenkins and Leonard Johnson for the spot.

Tennessee Titans

32 of 33

    Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

    Report date: July 25

    Location: Saint Thomas Sports Park (Nashville, Tennessee)

    Joint practice: Atlanta Falcons (at Falcons) on Aug. 4

     

    Overview

    The Tennessee Titans have endured five consecutive seasons without a playoff berth, but they have a new coach in Ken Whisenhunt who will make an effort to establish a team identity during training camp.

     

    Top Storyline

    The season likely hinges on the right arm of quarterback Jake Locker, who has failed to dazzle in his first three seasons. Locker has also been injury prone, having missed 14 games over the past two campaigns. The Titans didn’t pick up Locker’s fifth-year option, meaning this is his last chance to prove he’s capable of being the team’s long-term answer at quarterback.

     

    Player to Watch

    Rookie running back Bishop Sankey should have little difficulty climbing the depth chart and will surely receive a heavy workload. He could end up making Titans fans (and fantasy owners) very happy in 2014.

     

    Marquee Position Battle

    With Alterraun Verner now in Tampa Bay, the starting-cornerback job opposite Jason McCourty is up for grabs. Look for Blidi Wreh-Wilson to compete with Coty Sensabaugh and rookie Marqueston Huff for the spot.

Washington Redskins

33 of 33

    Nick Wass/Associated Press

    Report date: July 23

    Location: Bon Secours Training Center (Richmond, Virginia)

    Joint practice: New England (in Virginia) from Aug. 4-6

     

    Overview

    The Washington Redskins have a new head coach in Jay Gruden, and it will be up to him to help coax quarterback Robert Griffin III to return to his 2012, pre-injury form.

     

    Top Storyline

    Last season was a total debacle, as former coach Mike Shanahan clearly rushed Griffin back too soon from his ACL tear and then made a mockery of the situation by benching a healthy Griffin for the final three games of the campaign. But Griffin is now a full season removed from that nightmare, and with an arsenal of weapons around him, he should have a massive bounce-back season.

     

    Player to Watch

    New receiver DeSean Jackson was signed to provide a deep threat and playmaking ability for Griffin. While he won’t log as many catches as fellow receiver Pierre Garcon (and potentially not as many as tight end Jordan Reed), Jackson will be a vital cog in Gruden’s offensive machine.

     

    Marquee Position Battle

    While Alfred Morris should open camp as the starting running back, the Redskins no longer employ the zone-blocking scheme favored by Shanahan, opting for a power approach under Gruden. Look for rookie Lache Seastrunk to challenge for carries throughout camp and the preseason.

Where can I comment?

Stay on your game

Latest news, insights, and forecasts on your teams across leagues.

Choose Teams
Get it on the App StoreGet it on Google Play

Real-time news for your teams right on your mobile device.

Download
Copyright © 2017 Bleacher Report, Inc. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. All Rights Reserved. BleacherReport.com is part of Bleacher Report – Turner Sports Network, part of the Turner Sports and Entertainment Network. Certain photos copyright © 2017 Getty Images. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of Getty Images is strictly prohibited. AdChoices