NFL Whip Around: What to Watch for in the Western Divisions

The NFL’s offseason is at a conclusion as teams start to have an eye towards camp. Some teams want to wash the bitter taste of last season out of their mouths while others want more than the sweet appetizer they experienced. The Philadelphia Eagles hope to get comfortable at the head of the table in an all-out buffet.

Yes, it is an exciting time in around the NFL as everyone is undefeated at 0-0. With that being said, let’s take a look at both Western divisions in the league.

Eastern Divisions

Northern Divisions

Southern Divisions

AFC West

Denver Broncos

2017 Record: 5-11

Key Addition: Case Keenum

Notable Loss: Aqib Talib

Key an eye on…: a new look team.

Bradley Chubb and Von Miller will look to dominate on the defensive line together. Keenum will look to jell with his new receiving core in Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders. Joe Woods, new defensive coordinator, will look to find a corner to replace Talib who was traded earlier in the offseason.

Kansas City Chiefs

2017 Record: 10-6

Key Addition: Sammy Watkins

Notable Loss:  Derrick Johnson

Key an eye on…: how the team reacts to moving pieces.

Patrick Mahomes will start at quarterback after the team traded Alex Smith. Will the loss of Tamba Hali, Marcus Peters, and Johnson effect a marginal Chiefs defense? Will Kareem Hunt have a sophomore slump after leading the NFL in rushing in 2017? All things to keep an eye on entering training camp for Kansas City.

Los Angeles Chargers

2017 Record: 9-7

Key Addition: Derwin James

Notable Loss:  Hunter Henry

Key an eye on…: the tight end position. Who will step up and win the tight end battle between Virgil Green and Cole Hunt? The Chargers lost Henry to a season-ending injury before they could even meet for training camp.

Oakland Raiders

2017 Record: 6-10

Key Addition: Doug Martin

Notable Loss:  Marquette King

Key an eye on…: how Jon Gruden will fare in his return.

Gruden is returning to the sidelines for the first time since 2008 with Tampa Bay. Also, it will be interesting to watch the running back competition between Martin and Marshawn Lynch.

NFC West

Arizona Cardinals

2017 Record: 8-8

Key Addition: Josh Rosen

Notable Loss: Tyrann Mathieu

Key an eye on…: the quarterback competition in camp.

Sam Bradford is listed as the starter for the Cardinals, but Rosen, the team’s first round pick, will look to continue and impress the coaches and possibly take over. Players returning from injury is another aspect like Markus Golden and David Johnson. Finally, can Steve Wilks get his players to buy into what he is selling?

Los Angeles Rams

2017 Record: 11-5

Key Addition: Brandin Cooks

Notable Loss: Alec Ogletree

Key an eye on…: a revamped defense.

Out goes Trumaine Johnson and in comes the aforementioned Talib and Peters. Not to mention, they added Ndamukong Suh to that stellar defense as they sent Robert Quinn packing. It will be interesting to see how Wade Phillips gets this group focused and on one accord.

San Francisco 49ers

2017 Record: 6-10

Key Addition: Richard Sherman

Notable Loss:  Eric Reid

Key an eye on…: Jimmy Garoppolo.

The 49ers won their last five games with Jimmy G starting. Look for them to continue to improve and get better as well as seeing Garoppolo get more comfortable in the offense. He will need to spend training camp and the preseason working with his offense and continue to jell with his receivers like he did at the end of the 2017 season. Sherman will need to show veteran leadership with the young 49ers secondary to help them improve defensively.

Seattle Seahawks

2017 Record: 9-7

Key Addition: Rashaad Penny

Notable Loss: Cliff Avril

Key an eye on…: the rookie runner.

Penny, 2018 first rounder, enters training camp as the favorite to win the lead back role for the Seahawks. Will he still be the lead back after preseason or will that job be taken over by second year running back Chris Carson? That is a battle to pay attention to. Rookie defensive end Rasheem Green will have some big shoes to fill replacing Avril on the defensive line.

Each of these team will have something worth paying attention to during training camp and the preseason. Those situations on each team could pay dividends in helping each team find their groove before the start of the regular season.


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