Without asking the obvious, let’s look at 3 questions heading into each team’s training camp.
Los Angeles Chargers
Obvious Question – Should this team really be considered the class of the AFCW?
- Can the defense repeat and even build upon their successes of 2017? It sure looks like they have all the pieces in place to be one of the best defenses in the AFC. If there is a weakness, it may be in the middle of the front 7. With the ability to line up one on in on the outside, they can get creative in providing support for the middle.
- Will they be able to stay as healthy as they were able to in 2017? This team is usually bitten by the injury bug more often than they were in 2017. This may be worth keeping an eye on heading into training camp.
- How will the offensive line come together? Forrest Lamp should be ready to go in year 2, Dan Feeney has a solid rookie season, Mike Pouncey was signed in Free Agency. The pieces seem to be there, but the question will be is how they all come together.
Kansas City Chiefs
Obvious Question – Patrick Mahomes.
- Will the revamped defense turn things around? The Chiefs defense was bipolar last year. Rather than replacing their defensive coordinator, the Chiefs decided to part ways with players like Marcus Peters and Derrick Johnson. Not the route I would have gone, but we’ll see if it pays off.
- Can the offense live up to the lofty expectations? There is a ton of hype surrounding the Chiefs offense heading into the season, as many expect them to be one of the best in the league despite the unproven QB.
- Can Kareem Hunt repeat his extraordinary rookie season? He has all the tools to be able to be once of the best backs in the league, but it will be tough to replicate what he did in 2017. With Spencer Ware back, maybe he won’t have to.
Obvious Question – Case Keenum.
- Is the secondary ready to handle the loss of Aqib Talib? The Broncos have an immediate replacement at the #1 CB position in Bradley Roby, the question will be if the rest of the group is ready to step in and provide he and Chris Harris Jr the necessary support to do what Denver has done so well the last few seasons with Talib in the mix.
- Who starts on the offensive line, and where? The coaching staff has their work cut out for them putting the best unit together. I think you will see a myriad of combinations running in 1st/2nd team throughout training camp.
- Are there enough weapons to help ease the pressure for Case Keenum? Despite putting up gawdy career numbers, Demaryius Thomas just doesn’t seem like a trustworthy receiver to help alleviate that pressure. Denver drafted Courtland Sutton and Desean Hamilton, but questions still linger at the TE and RB positions.
Las Vegas Raiders by way of Oakland
Obvious Question – Jon Gruden
- Will Derek Carr bounce back into form? Carr was miserable in 2017. Sure, a lot of that can be attributed to those around him, but Carr still shoulders plenty of responsibility as well. Regaining his health, and hopefully a significant improvement schematically are great starts.
- Is Paul Guenther capable of putting a respectable defense together? Oakland added a lot of guys this offseason on that side of the ball. It sure seems like Guenther has a few more pieces in the secondary that the previous defensive coordinator didn’t have, but with the sheer amount of new faces, Guenther has his work cut out for him.
- How will Tom Cable and this offensive line co-exist? I still don’t know what the idea is up front, but on paper we have a predominantly zone scheme OL coach coaching up one of the heaviest offensive lines in the league. Not typically how you’d draw this up, and when Todd Downing tried running zone last year, it failed miserably.
Football Is Back!!