GIANTS: SUPER BOWL OR BUST
Expectations are high for the Giants, who are among the serious Super Bowl contenders in the NFC. Eli Manning will have some added star power to an already potent offense with receiver Brandon Marshall joining Odell Beckham Jr. and Sterling Shepard. Rookie tight end Evan Engram also figures to play a key role. The Giants have work to do in training camp to implement the new pieces. “I’m excited about the group that we have,” Manning said last month at a youth football camp. “I think we have guys who work hard. It’s important to them. They’re committed to it.”
JETS: REBUILD OR BUST
The Jets have started their rebuild after getting rid of veterans David Harris, Eric Decker, Darrelle Revis, Nick Mangold, Calvin Pryor and Marshall in the offseason. The Jets will focus on developing their young players and that includes finding a long-term answer at quarterback. The battle for the starting job will dominate training camp for the Jets. Veteran Josh McCown was brought in, but Christian Hackenberg and Bryce Petty will get an opportunity to win the job. “I feel like his confidence has grown every day and he improves every day,” McCown said about Hackenberg during last month’s minicamp.
THE RICH GET RICHER
Not surprisingly, the Patriots are the favorites to win Super Bowl LII. The Patriots added receiver Brandin Cooks, tight end Dwayne Allen and cornerback Stephon Gilmore. Plus, they re-signed many of their key free agents. With Bill Belichick and Tom Brady around, it won’t take too much time for the Patriots to implement their new additions in training camp.
LIFE AFTER REX
The Rex Ryan era lasted only two seasons in Buffalo with a 15-17 record and no playoff appearances. Now the Bills will start over yet again with former Panthers defensive coordinator Sean McDermott in his first training camp as a head coach. The first thing McDermott needs to figure out is whether Tyrod Taylor remains the starting quarterback.
IS LYNCH THE FINAL PIECE?
The Raiders had a busy offseason. They gave quarterback Derek Carr a record five-year deal worth $125 million and secured Las Vegas as their future home. They also added running back Marshawn Lynch in a trade with the Seahawks. Training camp will give interested observers a chance to see if Lynch is the player who puts the Raiders, 12-4 in 2016, over the top in 2017.
SLEEPER IN NFC
The Buccaneers finished 9-7 last season, missing the playoffs. But Tampa Bay is serious about getting into the playoffs in 2017. The Buccaneers added veteran receiver DeSean Jackson in free agency and drafted tight end O.J. Howard and receiver Chris Godwin. Training camp will give quarterback Jameis Winston a chance to get in sync with his new teammates.
HISTORY CAN’T REPEAT ITSELF
Historically, the team that loses a Super Bowl usually does not make it back the next season. The Falcons will look to reverse that and put the painful memories of their Super Bowl collapse against the Patriots behind them. It will be interesting to see how the Falcons respond in training camp. The Falcons’ high-powered offense also will start work under new offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian.
THE COUSINS SAGA
Quarterback Kirk Cousins could not agree to a long-term contract with Washington before Monday’s deadline. It’s been reported that Cousins chose to play under the franchise tag this season and see what direction the team was headed in before committing to the future. This situation has the potential to be a distraction for Washington, starting in training camp.
THE FINAL RUN?
The Steelers likely will play with a high level of urgency this season. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger contemplated retirement in the offseason. Running back Le’Veon Bell could not agree to a long-term deal before Monday’s deadline, meaning he will become a free agent after this season. If there was ever a season that the Steelers needed to dethrone the Patriots in the AFC, this might be it.
PRESSURE IS ON IN BIG D
Quarterback Dak Prescott is being counted on to lead the Cowboys to Super Bowl LII. Prescott had a tremendous rookie season, throwing for 3,667 yards and 23 touchdowns. But he’ll need to guard against a sophomore slump. Running back Ezekiel Elliott could get a short suspension from the NFL for his off-the-field issues, which would be a distraction for the Cowboys.
When, how to watch
+Mondays and Thursday from July 31 to Aug. 24
Gates open 1 p.m., practice begins 1:50 p.m.
Activities: Jets Fest & rides, Jets Experience
+Green & White Practice/Scrimmage
Aug. 5, 7:30 p.m.
Admissiion is free to above events but each requires a valid ticket, available on Jets’ website.
July 28, 11:40 a.m.
July 29-30, 10:55 a.m.
Aug. 1-3 10:55 a.m.
Aug. 4, 11:55 a.m.
Aug. 8-9, 10:55 a.m.
Aug. 13, 11:10 a.m.
Aug. 14, 10:55 a.m.
Admission is free