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.
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.
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.
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.
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.