San Diego Chargers
(Practice begins on Wednesday, July 25th at Chargers Park in San Diego, CA.)
*San Diego has to find out whether or not Eddie Royal and Robert Meachem can replace the production of Vincent Jackson (gone to Tampa Bay via free agency).
*The entire left side of the Chargers offensive line are gone through being released (Marcus McNeill) and because of retirement (Kris Dielman). Can Jared Gaither protect Phillip Rivers’ blind side?
Who will come out on top in a battle to be the starting strong safety? Will it be 2012 third-round pick Brandon Taylor or veteran Atari Bigby?
*San Diego is looking to put more pressure on the quarterback. How big of an impact will newly signed linebacker Jarret Johnson and first-round pick Melvin Ingram have?
Kansas City Chiefs
(Practice begins on Thursday, July 26th at Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph, MO.
*Key players on both offense and defense must be healthy and ready to contribute particularly tight end Tony Moeaki, safety Eric Berry and running back Jamaal Charles.
*The offensive line has to form continuity. Free agent acquisition Eric Winston and first time starter Rodney Hudson at center are important clogs in the Chiefs renewed emphasis to running the football first and effectively.
*Was wide receiver Jonathan Baldwin’s incredible mini camp a glimpse of a breakout? How will the receivers adjust with or without Dwayne Bowe in camp?
*Kansas City has to find a way to stop the run game in and game out as well as getting pressure on the quarterback with Glenn Dorsey, Dontari Poe and either Tyson Jackson or Allen Bailey.
(Practice begins on Thursday, July 26th at Paul D. Bowlen Memorial Broncos Centre in Englewood, Colo.)
*The Broncos checklist begins in a big way with new starting quarterback Peyton Manning. Health issues whether they exist or not will not be known until preseason football begins and he takes a hit at game speed.
*While the consensus is that Manning makes others around him better – you still have to have talent. Manning had Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark in Indianapolis. They had talent and skill. Under Manning’s tutelage can wide receivers like Eric Decker, Demaryius Thomas and tight end Jacob Tamme, be equally as lethal?
*Denver through one or multiple players must replace the leadership of retired safety Brian Dawkins.
*Pass rushers are in abundance for new defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio in AFC Defensive Rookie of the Year Von Miller and defensive end Elvis Dumervil. Denver has to find some tackles to go with them and help stop the run. Injuries have taken away players inside like Ty Warren, Justin Bannan and Kevin Vickerson.
(Practice opens on Sunday, July 28th at the Napa Valley Marriott in Napa, CA.)
*Health will be a common theme as we go through our checklists and that is very true for the Raiders and running back Darren McFadden. The former two-time Doak Walker Award winner as the best running back in college football while at Arkansas is yet to stay healthy for a full season. Oakland lost four of its last five ending the season with an 8-8 mark. Michael Bush is gone (free agent to the Bears) so depth is an issue with Mike Goodson next on the depth chart.
*Can Carson Palmer with a full training camp under his belt take command of the offense? Offensive coordinator Greg Knapp must find out just how comfortable and effective Palmer is making plays outside of the pocket in his offense.
*The Raiders have to find a way to stop the run.
*The secondary- particularly at corner is unproven and has little depth.
Dave Barr is a 19-year sports radio veteran who has worked for ESPN, Sporting News Radio and in markets like Cincinnati, Little Rock and Tulsa. Currently Barr is the program director for 1450 The Score in Joplin, Missouri and hosts the A.M. Grind weekday mornings from 6-9am.
WARPAINT ILLUSTRATED MESSAGE BOARDS:
Which AFC West team has fewer questions heading into training camp?
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