BUFFALO BILLS (8-8)
OPEN CAMP Thursday, Pittsford, N.Y.
Quarterback Cam Newton led the Carolina Panthers to a 15-1 record and their second Super Bowl appearance last season.
LAST YEAR Rex Ryan acknowledged he made a mistake in attempting to mesh defensive philosophies in first year as coach. Led by Mario Williams, several players went public with complaints about Ryan’s scheme, and defense managed 21 sacks, franchise low for 16-game season, in extending Buffalo’s playoff drought to 16 years — NFL’s longest active streak. QB Tyrod Taylor showed promise in going 8-6 as first-time starter, while overseeing offense that led league in rushing and in scoring 24 touchdowns of 20 yards or longer. IMPORTANT ADDITIONS LB Zack Brown, rookie DE Shaq Lawson, rookie LB Reggie Ragland, assistant head coach/defense Rob Ryan
IMPORTANT LOSSES DE Mario Williams, CB Leodis McKelvin, LB Nigel Bradham
CAMP NEEDS Bills need to stay healthy and out of trouble after unsettled offseason began with RB LeSean McCoy being investigated for role in bar fight in Philadelphia. No charges were filed against him. RB Karlos Williams was suspended by NFL for four games for violating league’s substance abuse policy, and rookie RB Jonathan Williams (Arkansas Razorbacks) was arrested for DWI earlier this month. Starting WR Sammy Watkins (foot surgery) is expected to miss beginning of camp, while Lawson is expected to miss first month of season after having shoulder surgery.
MIAMI DOLPHINS (6-10)
OPEN CAMP Friday, Davie, Fla.
LAST YEAR For seventh year in row Dolphins failed to finish above .500, triggering yet another round of turnover at top. Coach Joe Philbin and coordinators were fired during season, and general manager Dennis Hickey departed afterward. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill’s play declined in fourth season, and the defense was bad, ranking 28th against run and allowing franchise-record 4,000 net yards passing. IMPORTANT ADDITIONS DE Mario Williams, rookie G Laremy Tunsil, RB Arian Foster, LB Kiko Alonso, CB Bobby Maxwell, S Isa Abdul-Quddus.
IMPORTANT LOSSES DEs Olivier Vernon and Derrick Shelby, CBs Brent Grimes, Brice Mc-Cain and Jamar Taylor, RB Lamar Miller, LB Kelvin Sheppard, WRs Rishard Matthews and Greg Jennings.
CAMP NEEDS New Coach Adam Gase must find starters at both guard spots to solidify perennially shaky offensive line. Jobs are also open at cornerback, defensive tackle and running back, where Jay Ajayi will compete with newcomer Arian Foster, four-time Pro Bowler who said he has recovered from torn Achilles tendon.
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (12-4)
OPEN CAMP Wednesday, Foxborough, Mass. LAST YEAR Tom Brady was initially hit last offseason with four-game suspension for role in Deflategate. An appeal overturned Commissioner Roger Goodell’s punishment in time for Brady to suit up for 2015 season, but he can’t avoid missing the start of this season as the suspension was reinstated. Led by league-best 36 regular season touchdowns, New England weathered rash of injuries on way to AFC East crown. But Patriots couldn’t overcome health issues in AFC Championship Game, as they fell to eventual Super Bowl champion Broncos. IMPORTANT ADDITIONS TE Martellus Bennett, G Jonathan Cooper, WR Chris Hogan, LB Shea McClellin, DT Terrance Knighton, CB Cyrus Jones, QB Jacoby Brissett
IMPORTANT LOSSES DE Chandler Jones, DTs Akiem Hicks and Dominique Easley, WR Brandon LaFell
CAMP NEEDS Despite having punishment reinstated, Brady will participate in all preseason practices and games. Still, team will need to balance how he splits reps with backup Jimmy Garoppolo and Brissett, who will both need to be ready to play. The readiness of RB Dion Lewis, working way back from torn left ACL, is a focal point.
NEW YORK JETS (10-6)
OPEN CAMP Wednesday, Florham Park, N.J. LAST YEAR Came within victory of making playoffs in Coach Todd Bowles’ first season, but fell to former coach Rex Ryan and Buffalo Bills in season finale. QB Ryan Fitzpatrick took over as starter and set franchise record with career-best 31 TD passes. WR Brandon Marshall had team-record 109 catches for 1,502 yards and 14 TDs. DE Muhammad Wilkerson set career high with 12 sacks while anchoring stout line.
IMPORTANT ADDITIONS RBs Matt Forte and Khiry Robinson, LT Ryan Clady, DL Jarvis Jenkins, NT Steve McLendon, LB Bruce Carter, WR Jeremy Ross, rookies LB Darron Lee, QB Christian Hackenberg, LB Jordan Jenkins
IMPORTANT LOSSES LT D’Brickashaw Ferguson, NT Damon Harrison, RB Chris Ivory, CBs Antonio Cromartie and Darrin Wells, LB Demario Davis (Arkansas State), WR-PR Jeremy Kerley, P Ryan Quigley, TE Jeff Cumberland CAMP NEEDS The biggest question is whether Fitzpatrick, locked in contract stalemate with Jets, will re-sign before camp opens. After solid offseason, Geno Smith will get another chance at starting if Fitzpatrick doesn’t return. Can Forte, coming off career-low 898 yards with Bears, replace Ivory as three-down lead back? Clady coming off torn ACL that sidelined him for 2015 with Broncos, but expected to be ready to replace retired Ferguson.
BALTIMORE RAVENS (5-11)
OPEN CAMP Wednesday, Owings Mills, Md. LAST YEAR The Ravens stumbled to first losing season since Coach John Harbaugh took over in 2008. Injuries began on first day of training camp, when top draft pick WR Breshad Perriman tore ligament in knee that sidelined him entire season. Injuries to LB Terrell Suggs, WR Steve Smith, RB Justin Forsett and QB Joe Flacco followed.
IMPORTANT ADDITIONS S Eric Weddle, WR Mike Wallace, TE Benjamin Watson, RB Trent Richardson, rookie OT Ronnie Stanley
IMPORTANT LOSSES OL Kelechi Osemele, LBs Courtney Upshaw and Daryl Smith, QB Matt Schaub, S Brynden Trawick, OT Eugene Monroe, DE Chris Canty
CAMP NEEDS The Ravens need to be healthy. Flacco returns from a knee injury that sidelined him over final six weeks, and will be used sparingly in camp. Elsewhere, Ravens have several positions up for grabs. The release of Daryl Smith leaves LBs C.J. Mosley and Arthur Brown competing for playing time inside.
CINCINNATI BENGALS (12-4)
OPEN CAMP Thursday, Cincinnati
LAST YEAR The team tied franchise record for victories in season, then extended one of longest streaks of playoff futility in NFL history. A meltdown in closing minutes of 18-16 loss to Pittsburgh at Paul Brown Stadium made it 25 years without playoff victory, sixth-longest such streak. They’ve lost first-round playoff games each of past five seasons, NFL record — nobody else has done it more than three consecutive seasons. Coach Marvin Lewis returns despite falling to 0-7 in playoffs.
IMPORTANT ADDITIONS WR Brandon LaFell, LB Karlos Dansby
IMPORTANT LOSSES WRs Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu, RT Andre Smith, S Reggie Nelson
CAMP NEEDS TE Tyler Eifert had ankle surgery that will limit him for training camp and could affect him for regular season, so Bengals need to choose temporary fill-in from cast of backups with limited NFL experience. Defense has to get ready to play without middle linebacker Vontaze Burfict for first three games, his suspension from NFL for numerous illegal hits.
CLEVELAND BROWNS (3-13)
OPEN CAMP Friday, Berea, Ohio
LAST YEAR More of same for the Browns, who couldn’t get out of own way and remained one of NFL’s most inept teams. Although Cleveland’s offense was serviceable, defense couldn’t stop pass or run and Coach Mike Pettine was fired following finale, along with General Manager Ray Farmer.
IMPORTANT ADDITIONS Coach Hue Jackson, QB Robert Griffin III, LB Demario Davis (Arkansas State), OL Alvin Bailey (Razorbacks), DB Rahim Moore, LB Justin Tuggle, rookie WR Corey Coleman
IMPORTANT LOSSES C Alex Mack, OT Mitchell Schwartz, S Donte Whitner, S Tashaun Gipson, LB Karlos Dansby, WRs Brian Hartline and Dwayne Bowe, QB Johnny Manziel, TE Jim Dray
CAMP NEEDS Griffin is getting chance to resurrect once skyrocketing career which crashed badly in Washington. Jackson believes he and offensive system can help rehabilitate RG3, who didn’t play last season. Lack of playmakers hurt last season, which is why Browns used first-round pick on speedy Coleman, who must develop quickly.
PITTSBURGH STEELERS (10-6)
OPEN CAMP Friday, Latrobe, Pa.
LAST YEAR The NFL’s third-ranked offense — led by quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and All-Pro wide receiver Antonio Brown — led Steelers to second consecutive playoff berth. Pittsburgh actually led eventual Super Bowl champion Denver on road in fourth quarter of division round before a fumble by Fitzgerald Toussaint — filling in for injured Le’Veon Bell and DeAngelo Williams (Wynne) — gave the Broncos a chance for late comeback.
IMPORTANT ADDITIONS TE Ladarius Green, LT Ryan Harris, CB Artie Burns, S Sean Davis
IMPORTANT LOSSES TE Heath Miller, LT Kelvin Beachum, CB Cortez Allen, K Shaun Suisham, WR Martavis Bryant (suspended), QB Michael Vick, S Will Allen
CAMP NEEDS Settle the secondary and figure out who will protect Ben Roethlisberger’s blind side. Bell’s health coming off second season-ending knee injury will be a focus during camp.
HOUSTON TEXANS (9-7)
OPEN CAMP July 31, Houston
LAST YEAR Inconsistency and injuries forced Texans to use four quarterbacks and they lost running back Arian Foster to season-ending Achilles tendon injury in October. Despite those setbacks the defense, led by Defensive Player of Year J.J. Watt, helped them win seven of last nine games to shake off 2-5 start, win AFC South and reach playoffs for first time since 2012. But Brian Hoyer had career-high four interceptions and fumble in embarrassing 30-0 wild-card loss to Kansas City to end season. IMPORTANT ADDITIONS QB Brock Osweiler, RB Lamar Miller, rookie WRs Will Fuller and Braxton Miller, rookie OG Nick Martin, and OG Jeff Adams
IMPORTANT LOSSES QB Hoyer, C Ben Jones, RB Foster, TE Garrett Graham, and S Rahim Moore
CAMP NEEDS New quarterback Osweiler needs to show he’s mastered Coach Bill O’Brien’s offense and develop rapport with star receiver DeAndre Hopkins as well as rookie receivers Fuller and Miller.
INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (8-8)
OPEN CAMP Tuesday, Anderson, Ind.
LAST YEAR Andrew Luck never looked right and neither did Colts. Luck missed nine games because of injuries, forcing Coach Chuck Pagano to survive worst season of four-year tenure with five quarterbacks. Instead of contending for Super Bowl trip, as widely expected, the Colts missed the playoffs for only second time since 2002.
IMPORTANT ADDITIONS C Ryan Kelly, CB Patrick Robinson, RB Robert Turbin, QB Scott Tolzien, OL Le’Raven Clark
IMPORTANT LOSSES TE Coby Fleener, LB Jerrell Freeman, S Dwight Lowery, CB Greg Toler, QB Matt Hasselbeck, WR Andre Johnson, C Khaled Holmes
CAMP NEEDS The team’s top priority hasn’t changed: finding offensive line combination to reduce number of hits Luck takes. Adding Kelly in draft should help. Indianapolis also believes Luck can help himself by taking fewer chances; running less could keep him healthy. Throwing ball away more frequently should reduce turnovers, too.
JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (5-11)
OPEN CAMP Thursday, Jacksonville, Fla.
LAST YEAR Made significant strides offensively, with QB Blake Bortles, WR Allen Hurns and WR Allen Robinson putting up big numbers in second seasons and looking like core pieces of franchise’s future. Ranked 14th in league in scoring despite giving up 51 sacks and struggling to run ball consistently. The defense was the biggest issue, ranking near bottom of league in nearly every category, prompting Coach Gus Bradley to fire coordinator Bob Babich and promote assistant Todd Wash.
IMPORTANT ADDITIONS DT Malik Jackson, S Tashaun Gipson, RB Chris Ivory, OT Kelvin Beachum, CB Prince Amukamara, P Brad Nortman, rookie CB Jalen Ramsey, rookie LB Myles Jack
IMPORTANT LOSSES C Stefan Wisniewski, DE Chris Clemons
CAMP NEEDS After committing more than $120 million to defensive starters Jackson and Gipson in free agency and then drafting Ramsey and Jack, the main priority is to jell on defense. Throw in the return of highly touted DE Dante Fowler Jr. (knee), and the Jaguars could have five or more new starters on that side of ball.
TENNESSEE TITANS (3-13)
OPEN CAMP Friday, Nashville, Tenn.
LAST YEAR The Titans hit bottom in 2015 and Coach Ken Whisenhunt was fired Nov. 3 after 1-6 start. Mike Mularkey earned full-time job by proving he would make protecting QB Marcus Mariota his top priority. Only five victories over two seasons also cost GM Ruston Webster his job.
IMPORTANT ADDITIONS RBs DeMarco Murray and Heisman Trophy winner Derrick Henry, C Ben Jones, RT Jack Conklin, QB Matt Cassel, S Rashad Johnson, WR Rishard Matthews, CBs Brice McCain and Antwon Blake, LB Kevin Dodd
IMPORTANT LOSSES QB Zach Mettenberger, CB Coty Sensabaugh, LB Zach Brown
CAMP NEEDS The Titans need to prove they finally have fixed offensive line after investing three first-round picks in RG Chance Warmack, LT Taylor Lewan and now Conklin. They have to keep Mariota healthy after his impressive rookie season, while opening holes for Murray and Henry.
DENVER BRONCOS (12-4)
OPEN CAMP Thursday, Englewood, Colo.
LAST YEAR The Broncos won their third Super Bowl in Peyton Manning’s farewell season thanks to a dominant defense. The ball bounced Denver’s way all season and Von Miller stepped up in playoffs and carried Broncos to win in Super Bowl 50.
IMPORTANT ADDITIONS QB Mark Sanchez, rookie QB Paxton Lynch, LT Russell Okung, RT Donald Stephenson, FB Andy Janovich, RB Devontae Booker, TE Garrett Graham, rookie TE Henry Krieger Coble, rookie S Will Parks and Justin Simmons
IMPORTANT LOSSES QB Manning, QB Brock Osweiler, DL Malik Jackson, ILB Danny Trevathan, S David Bruton Jr., TE Owen Daniels CAMP NEEDS Coach Gary Kubiak plans to throw lots at QBs Sanchez, Lynch and second-year pro Trevor Siemian early in camp to determine starter. Sanchez has most NFL experience and Lynch the most potential, but it was actually Siemian who looked best in offseason. Despite taking just one snap as rookie, Siemian is only veteran of Kubiak’s offense. LBs Todd Davis and Corey Nelson are vying to replace Trevathan, and Davis is leader heading into camp. Vance Walker is leading candidate to replace Jackson at DE.
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (11-5)
OPEN CAMP Friday, St. Joseph, Mo.
LAST YEAR Started 1-5 before winning 10 consecutive to reach playoffs, beating Houston for first postseason victory since 1993 season. The Chiefs made the run without RB Jamaal Charles (right ACL) and with OLBs Justin Houston and Tamba Hali dealing with injuries late in year.
IMPORTANT ADDITIONS OT Mitch Schwartz, WRs Rod Streater and rookie Demarcus Robinson, LB Jonathan Massaquoi, DT Chris Jones, OL Parker Ehinger
IMPORTANT LOSSES FS Husain Abdullah, SS Tyvon Branch, DT Mike DeVito, OG Jeff Allen, OT Donald Stephenson, QB Chase Daniel
CAMP NEEDS Team needs to test recovery of Charles and Hali from knee surgery and the progress of Houston after surgery to left ACL in February. Identify backup quarterback a from among Aaron Murray, Tyler Bray and Kevin Hogan. They also need to decide how carries will be split with Charles returning to RB corps that includes Spencer Ware, Charcandrick West and Knile Davis (Razorbacks).
OAKLAND RAIDERS (7-9)
OPEN CAMP Friday, Napa, Calif.
LAST YEAR The Raiders more than doubled victory total in first year under Coach Jack Del Rio, going from 3-13 to 7-9. QB Derek Carr took major step in second year as starter with help from some talent at receiver in Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree. DE Khalil Mack became a star opposing offenses must deal with as edge rusher with 15 sacks.
IMPORTANT ADDITIONS OL Kelechi Osemele, CB Sean Smith, LB Bruce Irvin, S Reggie Nelson, rookie S Karl Joseph
IMPORTANT LOSSES S Charles Woodson, DE Justin Tuck, OL J’Marcus Webb, LB Curtis Lofton
CAMP NEEDS After filling most needs with productive free-agent haul, Raiders enter camp with few glaring holes for a change. The biggest questions will be figuring out whether Austin Howard or Menelik Watson will start at right tackle, whether rookie RB DeAndre Washington can emerge as capable backup to 1,000-yard back Latavius Murray, and who will play slot cornerback and inside linebacker.
SAN DIEGO CHARGERS (4-12)
OPEN CAMP Saturday, San Diego
LAST YEAR The Chargers finished 4-12, their worst record in 12 seasons, including being swept in AFC West, as ownership angered fan base with failed attempt to move to Los Angeles. First-round pick Melvin Gordon failed to score a touchdown or have 100-yard game, mostly due to ineffective offensive line.
IMPORTANT ADDITIONS C Matt Slauson, WR Travis Benjamin, NT Brandon Mebane, FS Dwight Lowery, CB Casey Hayward, rookie DE Joey Bosa
IMPORTANT LOSSES S Eric Weddle, TE Ladarius Green, DE Kendall Reyes, WR Malcom Floyd
CAMP NEEDS Bosa needs to show up after missing mandatory minicamp in June in contract dispute and it’s unclear how long he might sit out. Gordon must have strong recovery from microfracture knee surgery in January. Offensive line needs to jell after miserable 2015 season.
DALLAS COWBOYS (4-12)
OPEN CAMP Saturday, Oxnard, Calif.
LAST YEAR Slid from first to worst in NFC East with QB Tony Romo missing 12 games with twice-broken left collarbone, and 2014 All-Pro WR Dez Bryant never fully healthy after breaking right foot in opener. Defense didn’t help, lacking game-changing plays while finishing last in NFL in takeaways and turnover margin. IMPORTANT ADDITIONS RB Ezekiel Elliott, LB Jaylon Smith (likely out for season recovering from knee surgery), DEs Benson Mayowa and Charles Tapper
IMPORTANT LOSSES DEs Greg Hardy and Jeremy Mincey, DT Nick Hayden
CAMP NEEDS Romo and Bryant need time together after fourth consecutive offseason without much, and coming off injury-plagued year. Camp will be first chance for fourth overall pick Elliott to take hold as lead back with Darren McFadden (Pulaski Oak Grove, Razorbacks) sidelined by elbow injury. Cowboys have to figure out pass rush with young DEs DeMarcus Lawrence and Randy Gregory suspended for first four games for substance-abuse violations. Middle linebacker also in question with Rolando McClain getting 10-game substance abuse ban.
NEW YORK GIANTS (6-10)
OPEN CAMP Wednesday, East Rutherford, N.J. LAST YEAR After missing playoffs for fourth consecutive year, Tom Coughlin and team agreed to part ways. Offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo was promoted to head coach and Steve Spagnuolo was kept as defensive coordinator. Front office bought Spagnuolo a defense in offseason, re-signing Jason Pierre-Paul and adding end Olivier Vernon, DT Damon Harrison, linebacker Keenan Robinson and cornerback Janoris Jenkins through free agency. IMPORTANT ADDITIONS DE Vernon, DT Harrison, CB Jenkins, LB Robinson, CB Eli Apple and WR Sterling Shepard
IMPORTANT LOSSES CB Prince Amukamara, WR Rueben Randle, DE Robert Ayers, DT Markus Kuhn, S Brandon Meriweather, G Geoff Schwartz, LB Jon Beason
CAMP NEEDS LT Ereck Flowers and offensive line need to establish running game to make offense consistent as they look for a receiver to play opposite Odell Beckham Jr. The defense needs to mesh all those new pieces, get Pierre-Paul closer to what he was before fireworks accident in 2015 and find someone to cover players coming out of backfield.
PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (7-9)
OPEN CAMP Monday, Philadelphia
LAST YEAR Chip Kelly was fired before the final game and the Eagles missed the playoffs for the second consecutive year. Sam Bradford showed enough in the second half to get twoyear contract extension, but the team traded a slew of picks to move up to No. 2 overall to select Carson Wentz. New Coach Doug Pederson brings familiarity back to organization; he played behind Donovan McNabb for Andy Reid and was an assistant under Reid in Philadelphia and Kansas City.
IMPORTANT ADDITIONS QBs Wentz and Chase Daniel, CB Leodis McElvin and Ron Brooks, G Brandon Brooks, S Rodney McLeod, WR Rueben Randle, OL Stefan Wisniewski IMPORTANT LOSSES RB DeMarco Murray, LB DeMeco Ryans, CB Byron Maxwell, LB Kiko Alonso
CAMP NEEDS Determine starters at wide receiver, left guard, two of three cornerback spots and kicker. Get acclimated to Pederson’s offense and new defense under Jim Schwartz. Build chemistry with new faces on both sides of ball. Keep Bradford healthy and have Wentz adjust to NFL.
WASHINGTON REDSKINS (9-7)
OPEN CAMP Thursday, Richmond, Va.
LAST YEAR When QB Kirk Cousins found his groove, Redskins won three consecutive games late in season to clinch the NFC East. Cousins threw for 300 yards in all three victories to get Washington to the playoffs, where it lost to Green Bay in the wild-card round. IMPORTANT ADDITIONS CB Josh Norman, TE Vernon Davis, S David Bruton Jr., rookie WR Josh Doctson, rookie LB Su’a Cravens
IMPORTANT LOSSES RB Alfred Morris, DT Terrance Knighton, FS Dashon Goldson, DE Jason Hatcher, QB Robert Griffin III
CAMP NEEDS Without another NFL team coming in for joint practices, the Redskins’ new-look defense must come together with Cousins and Co. as its main competition. The team must integrate Norman and Bruton defensively, while the offense needs to figure out whether Matt Jones can be every-down running back.
CHICAGO BEARS (6-10)
OPEN CAMP Wednesday, Bourbonnais, Ill. LAST YEAR The Bears finished last in the NFC North in their first season under GM Ryan Pace and Coach John Fox, but looked more like professional outfit after being engulfed by chaos in 2014. QB Jay Cutler had career-high 92.3 rating. The defense struggled to make plays, tying for 22nd in sacks and 30th in interceptions. IMPORTANT ADDITIONS ILBs Danny Trevathan and Jerrell Freeman, RT Bobby Massie, QB Brian Hoyer, OLB Leonard Floyd, G Cody Whitehair
IMPORTANT LOSSES RB Matt Forte, TE Martellus Bennett, S Antrel Rolle, G Matt Slauson, LT Jermon Bushrod
CAMP NEEDS The defense and offensive line will need to jell after overhauls. The Bears also will have to overcome the loss of two key playmakers on offense after choosing not to offer Forte a contract and trading Bennett to New England. The Bears are banking on WR Kevin White to form dynamic tandem with Alshon Jeffery.
DETROIT LIONS (7-9)
OPEN CAMP Thursday, Allen Park, Mich.
LAST YEAR Lions lost first five games and seven of eight, leading to the firing of team president Tom Lewand, General Manager Martin Mayhew and offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi. They won seven of their last nine games, helping Coach Jim Caldwell retain his job for a third season, under first-year General Manager Bob Quinn.
IMPORTANT ADDITIONS WRs Marvin Jones and Jeremy Kerley, rookie OT Taylor Decker, rookie DT A’Shawn Robinson, OG Geoff Schwartz
IMPORTANT LOSSES WR Calvin Johnson, RB Joique Bell, DE Jason Jones, LB Stephen Tulloch, CB Rashean Mathis, SS James Ihedigbo CAMP NEEDS QB Matthew Stafford has to work on chemistry with receiving corps without Johnson, especially veteran newcomers Jones and Kerley. Detroit must figure out how to protect Stafford better and to open more holes for running game. Defensively, coaches are hoping any DE — perhaps Devin Taylor — emerges to start opposite rising star Ezekiel Ansah. Lions also need DT — ideally, Robinson — can be paired with veteran Haloti Ngata.
GREEN BAY PACKERS (10-6)
OPEN CAMP Monday, Green Bay, Wis.
LAST YEAR The offense stumbled following a season-ending knee injury in preseason to WR Jordy Nelson and the struggles of RB Eddie Lacy. QB Aaron Rodgers’ 92.7 passer rating was the lowest of his career since taking over as a starter in 2008. Coach Mike McCarthy took back play-calling duties late in season, though the Packers still ended up losing last two games of regular season, and a fouryear run atop NFC North ended.
IMPORTANT ADDITIONS TE Jared Cook, DL Kenny Clark, LB Blake Martinez, OL Jason Spriggs
IMPORTANT LOSSES DL B.J. Raji, WR James Jones, FB John Kuhn, QB Scott Tolzien, TE Andrew Quarless, CB Casey Hayward
CAMP NEEDS The Packers will proceed slowly in camp with Nelson as a precaution, though McCarthy has marveled about the WR’s work ethic in rehab. Lacy hopes to bounce back after slimming down in offseason. Clay Matthews is headed back to outside linebacker, meaning the Packers are looking for stability again on inside.
MINNESOTA VIKINGS (11-5)
OPEN CAMP Friday, Mankato, Minn.
LAST YEAR The Vikings surpassed rival Packers to win the NFC North for the first time in six years, before a crushing one-point loss to Seahawks at home in record cold capped by Blair Walsh’s miss of a 27-yard field goal. The defense ranged from decent to dominant under sage supervision of Coach Mike Zimmer. Teddy Bridgewater was better than his rookie season, but ranked in bottom third of league in major QB statistical categories except completion percentage (ninth, 65.3).
IMPORTANT ADDITIONS Rookie WR Laquon Treadwell, LG Alex Boone, RT Andre Smith, SS Michael Griffin, rookie CB Mackensie Alexander, LB Emmanuel Lamur
IMPORTANT LOSSES WR Mike Wallace, SS Robert Blanton, CB Josh Robinson
CAMP NEEDS Allow Bridgewater to relax behind beefed-up OL and foster chemistry between him and first-round draft pick Treadwell. Keep Peterson fresh at age 31. Keep 27-and-under stars of defense healthy: LB Anthony Barr, FS Harrison Smith, LB Eric Kendricks, CB Xavier Rhodes and DT Sharrif Floyd. Pick starter at SS next to Smith.
ATLANTA FALCONS (8-8)
OPEN CAMP Thursday, Flowery Branch, Ga. LAST YEAR There was great buzz when the Falcons started 5-0 under first-year Coach Dan Quinn, but the team couldn’t overcome 30 turnovers as it lost seven of eight, including six consecutive, and missed the playoffs. Quarterback Matt Ryan’s production declined in his first year with offensive coordinator Kyle Shanaha. RB Devonta Freeman emerged with strong dual-threat numbers.
IMPORTANT ADDITIONS C Alex Mack, WR Mohamed Sanu, LB Courtney Upshaw, DE Derrick Shelby, rookie S Keanu Neal, QB Matt Schaub, rookie OLB Deion Jones, rookie TE Austin Hooper
IMPORTANT LOSSES LB Justin Durant, WR Roddy White, S William Moore, NT Paul Soliai, WR Leonard Hankerson
CAMP NEEDS Sanu and second-year WR Justin Hardy need to establish themselves as complements to Jones. Mack is being counted on to provide leadership at center, something the O-line has lacked since Todd McClure was pushed into retirement following the 2012 season. Defense is still looking to establish pass rush after finishing last in league with only 19 sacks, and 2015 first-rounder Vic Beasley Jr. is moving to outside linebacker in base defense, though he’ll remain the pass-rushing end on passing downs.
CAROLINA PANTHERS (15-1)
OPEN CAMP Thursday, Spartanburg, S.C.
LAST YEAR Panthers won third consecutive NFC South championship under NFL Coach of Year Ron Rivera and went to the Super Bowl for the second time in franchise history before losing to Denver 24-10. Quarterback Cam Newton had a breakout season, winning league MVP honors while scoring combined 45 touchdowns. Carolina had league’s highest-scoring offense in 2015.
IMPORTANT ADDITIONS CB James Bradberry, CB Daryl Worley, DT Vernon Butler
IMPORTANT LOSSES: CB Josh Norman, CB Charles Tillman, WR Jerricho Cotchery, S Roman Harper, DE Jared Allen
CAMP NEEDS Carolina needs to figure out its cornerback situation following the departure of last year’s starters Norman and Tillman. They drafted three rookie cornerbacks hoping to fill void and will get Bene Benwikere back from a broken leg. Carolina is counting on Kony Ealy to step up as pass rusher after an outstanding performance in the Super Bowl.
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (7-9)
OPEN CAMP Wednesday, White Sulphur Springs, W.Va.
LAST YEAR With the defense languishing near the bottom of NFL, the Saints labored through their second consecutive non-playoff season. Defensive deficiencies ultimately led Coach Sean Payton to fire coordinator Rob Ryan during the season and transfer duties to senior defensive assistant Dennis Allen, who remains coordinator.
IMPORTANT ADDITIONS TE Coby Fleener, LB James Laurinaitis, rookie WR Michael Thomas, rookie DT Sheldon Rankins, S Roman Harper, DT Nick Fairley
IMPORTANT LOSSES WR Marques Colston, TE Benjamin Watson, RG Jahri Evans, RB Khiry Robinson, S Rafael Bush
CAMP NEEDS The Saints want to see if promising rookie Thomas or lanky third-year pro Brandon Coleman is the best replacement for Colston. They also need to figure out if 2015 top pick Andrus Peat, drafted as offensive tackle, fits at guard without clear-cut successor to Evans. The interior defensive line rotation remains uncertain as top pick Rankins aims to contribute immediately and Fairley aims to salvage career.
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (6-10)
OPEN CAMP Thursday, Tampa, Fla.
LAST YEAR Missed playoffs for eighth consecutive season, despite making strides on offense with 2015 No. 1 overall draft pick Jameis Winston throwing for 4,042 yards, 22 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. Tripled victory total from previous year, but it wasn’t enough to save job of Coach Lovie Smith, who led the team to 6-6 start before losing final four games. Dirk Koetter was promoted from OC to replace Smith. IMPORTANT ADDITIONS Rookies CB Vernon Hargreaves III, DE Noah Spence, K Roberto Aguayo; CB Brent Grimes, DE Robert Ayers, Jr., LB Daryl Smith, G J.R. Sweezy
IMPORTANT LOSSES G Logan Mankins, LBs Danny Lansanah and Bruce Carter, CB Sterling Moore, K Connor Barth
CAMP NEEDS With Lovie Smith out as coach, the Bucs head in a new direction on defense with Mike Smith, ex-Falcons head coach, taking over as coordinator. The team figures to have at least three — maybe four — new starters on that side of ball, so installing a new scheme and getting offseason acquisitions acclimated will be major priorities.
ARIZONA CARDINALS (13-3)
OPEN CAMP Wednesday, Glendale, Ariz.
LAST YEAR The Cardinals soared to the second-best record in the NFC, setting a multitude of franchise records, including points (489), touchdowns (59) and total yards (6,533). Their 408.5 yards per game led the NFL. Carson Palmer, who turned 36 in December, had his best season, breaking franchise marks in yards passing (4,671), touchdown passes (35) and quarterback rating (104.6). It all came to a crashing end with a 49-16 drubbing at Carolina in the NFC Championship Game. Palmer and just about every other player had their worst game of season.
IMPORTANT ADDITIONS OLB Chandler Jones, G Evan Mathis, DL Robert Nkemdiche, CB Tyvon Branch, C Evan Boehm
IMPORTANT LOSSES S Rashad Johnson, CB Jerraud Powers, OLB Dwight Freeney, C Lyle Sendlein, G Ted Larsen
CAMP NEEDS There’s competition at center with veteran A.Q. Shipley trying to hold off rookie Evan Boehm. Coaches will keep a close eye on right tackle D.J. Humphries. Arizona’s first-round draft pick in 2015 didn’t suit up last season, but coaches feel he’s ready for starting role. Free agent Branch will battle incumbent Justin Bethel at cornerback. And if Tyrann Mathieu isn’t back from knee surgery by the opener, several players will compete for safety spots.
LOS ANGELES RAMS (7-9)
OPEN CAMP Friday, Irvine, Calif.
LAST YEAR The Rams bade farewell to St. Louis after their 12th consecutive nonwinning season and 11th consecutive nonplayoff season. While the defense was solid and rookie running back Todd Gurley became a star, they also fielded the NFL’s worst offense and worst passing game.
IMPORTANT ADDITIONS QB Jared Goff, CB Coty Sensabaugh, TE Tyler Higbee, WR Pharoh Cooper
IMPORTANT LOSSES CB Janoris Jenkins, DB Rodney MacLeod, LB James Laurinaitis, DLs Chris Long and Nick Fairley
CAMP NEEDS Aside from finding out whether Goff is ready to be immediate starter, the Rams must identify and train replacements for defensive regulars lost to free agency and cost-cutting measures. Alec Ogletree is taking over middle linebacker responsibilities of Laurinaitis, leading tackler in franchise history.
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (5-11)
OPEN CAMP July 31, Santa Clara, Calif.
LAST YEAR After Jim Harbaugh’s departure to Michigan following an 8-8 season and their first missed playoffs in four years, the 49ers were even worse last season under first-year Coach Jim Tomsula. Promoted from defensive line coaching spot, it was one-and-done for Tomsula before Chip Kelly was hired to replace him. General Manager Trent Baalke knows his future is hardly safe for this franchise without a turnaround. The 49ers avoided their worst record since going 4-12 in 2005.
IMPORTANT ADDITIONS Kelly, LG Zane Beadles, rookies CB Rashard Robinson, WR Aaron Burbridge, OG Joshua Garnett, DE DeForest Buckner
IMPORTANT LOSSES TE Vernon Davis, WR Anquan Boldin, G Alex Boone, returner/RB Jarryd Hayne
CAMP NEEDS The 49ers must figure out whether Colin Kaepernick is healthy enough — let alone reliable again — to win back the starting quarterback job in Kelly’s up-tempo offense or whether Blaine Gabbert will keep the spot after being promoted over Kaepernick last November. There also will be competitions at many key spots in Kelly’s first training camp.
SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (10-6)
OPEN CAMP Saturday, Renton, Wash.
LAST YEAR Thanks to again having top defense and continued maturation of quarterback Russell Wilson, the Seahawks endured a rocky first half of regular season before a late charge ensured fourth consecutive playoff appearance. Seattle somehow won in frigid temperatures of Minnesota in the wild-card round before falling to eventual NFC champion Carolina. IMPORTANT ADDITIONS G Germain Ifedi, T J’Marcus Webb, DT Jarran Reed, DE Chris Clemons, rookie RBs Alex Collins (Razorbacks) and C.J. Prosise, CB Brandon Browner
IMPORTANT LOSSES RB Marshawn Lynch, T Russell Okung, LB Bruce Irvin, G J.R. Sweezy, DT Brandon Mebane
CAMP NEEDS Develop some stability in the offensive line as Wilson has become a better pocket passer. Finding a backup QB also is a need.
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