One key storyline for all 32 teams heading into 2019 NFL season

With this weekend marking the first in which all 32 teams have reported to training camp for the 2019 season, NFL Network analyst and Super Bowl-winning former executive Charley Casserly provides a key storyline to watch this year for each club.

Arizona Cardinals: This season is all about Kyler Murray and Kliff Kingsbury. Yes, the world is waiting with bated breath for the joint debut of a 5-foot-10 1/8 rookie quarterback and a first-year head coach with a losing record at the college level -- but when you consider what Murray and Kingsbury can potentially accomplish together, the hype is justified.

Atlanta Falcons: In Dan Quinn's two years as Seahawks defensive coordinator, Seattle had the top-ranked D in the NFL. In his four years as Atlanta's head coach, the Falcons' defense has finished in the top 10 just once. Will his taking over of the play-calling duties pay dividends for a young unit that took a step back in an injury-riddled 2018?

Baltimore Ravens: Baltimore is reinventing itself on offense after the Chargers cooled off Lamar Jackson and the ground-based attack in the playoffs. Rookie receivers Marquise Brown (drafted in the first round) and Miles Boykin (drafted in the third) should help. It would also be nice to see Jackson improve his accuracy.

Buffalo Bills: Is Josh Allen the franchise quarterback the team hoped he was when they selected him seventh overall in 2018? With a supporting cast built to accentuate his skill set in Year 2, we should get a better idea.

Carolina Panthers: Carolina finished with 35 sacks last season, the second lowest total of the Ron Rivera era. Will switching to a 3-4 base and adding talent like rookie Brian Burns and veterans Gerald McCoy and Bruce Irvingoose a defense that finished outside of the top 10 for just the second time in five seasons?

Chicago Bears: The Bears were able to stop the Rams in Week 14, long before New England did the same in the Super Bowl -- but that achievement was overshadowed by the flubbed field-goal attempt that knocked Chicago out of the playoffs. The offense should be better this year, and the defense looks strong again, but all eyes will be on a position battle between two kickers who have never kicked in the NFL before.

Cincinnati Bengals: Even among his fellow rookie head coaches, new Bengals coach Zac Taylor is unique in never having been a coordinator or play-caller in the NFL or a head coach at the college level before this season. And the task in front of him -- reviving a once-competitive core in a stacked division -- is not exactly an easy one.

Cleveland Browns: After assembling an impressive roster led by 2018 rookie QB Baker Mayfield and stud receiver Odell Beckham, the Browns are favored by many to win the AFC North. Will first-year head coach Freddie Kitchens and Cleveland's young stars be able to handle the expectations facing a team that has registered just three winning seasons since 1989?

Dallas Cowboys: With DeMarcus Lawrencelocked up, Dallas faces the cap-challenging conundrum of signing the Big Three of Ezekiel Elliott, Amari Cooper and Dak Prescott to extensions. With Elliott and Cooper combining for 2,737 yards from scrimmage, the trio generated nearly half (49.8%) of Dallas' offensive yardage last season, despite Cooper only playing nine games with the team.

Denver Broncos: The Broncos haven't made the playoffs since their Super Bowl-winning 2015 campaign. Joe Flacco hasn't won a playoff game since the season before that. Can Flacco turn his career around in Denver and return to the postseason arena?

Detroit Lions: Matt Patricia's first season as head coach did not exactly go swimmingly, ending in a 6-10 record and the Lions' first last-place finish in the NFC North since 2012, but the 10th-ranked defense showed promise. Will a successful offseason -- headlined by the addition of pass rusher Trey Flowers, whom Patricia should know well from their time together in New England -- translate into more wins?

Green Bay Packers:Aaron Rodgers will have a new (non-interim) head coach for the first time in his 12-year career. How the relationship and trust between Rodgers and Matt LaFleur develops over the next five weeks will play a major part in the Packers' success in 2019.

Houston Texans: Quarterback Deshaun Watson was sacked a league-high 62 times in 2018. In response, Houston added veteran Matt Kalil and drafted Tytus Howard and Max Scharping. Whether or not the Texans can better protect Watson will bear watching.

Indianapolis Colts: The Colts were a nice story in 2018, making their way back to the postseason behind a resurgent Andrew Luck. The next step will be proving they can compete with the other top teams in the AFC for a championship.

Jacksonville Jaguars: Jacksonville's defense, which has finished sixth or better in each of the last three seasons, is strong. New quarterback Nick Foles will be key to elevating the offense, as will running back Leonard Fournette mounting a bounce-back campaign.

Kansas City Chiefs: A defense that ranked 31st overall, 31st against the pass and 27th against the run in 2018 has undergone some major changes, with new coordinator Steve Spagnuolo taking over for Bob Sutton and installing a 4-3 defense. Old mainstays like Justin Houston, Eric Berry and Dee Ford are gone, replaced by the likes of Frank Clark, Tyrann Mathieu, Alex Okafor and Juan Thornhill. Will the unit be in a better position to support an electric offense?

Los Angeles Chargers: On paper, this team is better than Kansas City, at least, presuming Melvin Gordon ends up reporting. Can the Chargers win their division for the first time since 2009?

Los Angeles Rams: After rolling through (most of) the opposition in 2018, the Rams failed to score more than 3 points in a dud of a Super Bowl loss. The effectiveness of running back Todd Gurley and the impact of veteran additions like Clay Matthews and Eric Weddle will be key to Los Angeles maintaining its perch in the upper echelon of the NFC.

Miami Dolphins: In one corner, you have Josh Rosen, a former first-round pick who was dealt a tough card in Arizona last season. In the other, you have FitzMagic. This is a surprisingly compelling quarterback battle for a rebuilding team that has posted a losing record the past two seasons.

Minnesota Vikings: The Vikings gave Kirk Cousins a three-year, fully guaranteed contract last offseason, then proceeded to miss the playoffs. Making big plays in pressure situations to carry Minnesota to the Super Bowl in Year 2 would be a great way for Cousins to justify that contract.

New England Patriots: The Patriots have reached eight straight AFC Championship Games, winning five (including the last three). But they also lost tight end Rob Gronkowski to retirement and have undergone significant turnover on the coaching staff. Will Tom Brady and Co. still be the team to beat in the conference?

New Orleans Saints: After two heartbreaking playoff losses in a row, can the Saints get back to the Super Bowl with 40-year-old Drew Brees at the helm? Or has this group peaked?

New York Giants: Setting aside how many games this team will win in 2019, it will be important to see signs that No. 6 overall draft pick Daniel Jones can be the Giants' quarterback for the next 10 years.

New York Jets:Sam Darnold showed flashes as a rookie, closing out 2018 with a 64 percent completion rate, 6:1 TD-to-INT ratio and 99.1 passer rating in his last four games. Will the next phase of the Jets' turnaround -- marked by the acquisition of big-money free agents Le'Veon Bell and C.J. Mosley and the installation of new head coach Adam Gase -- proceed apace?

Oakland Raiders: Jon Gruden said in March he wanted "to have the best receiving corps in football" when explaining the addition of Antonio Brown. Now, Brown, Tyrell Williams and Co. will get the chance to show whether he accomplished his goal.

Philadelphia Eagles:Carson Wentz signed a big extension this offseason, so now would be a good time for him to prove his worth by playing at an MVP level while making 16 starts for the first time since his rookie year.

Pittsburgh Steelers:Antonio Brown and Le'Veon Bell are gone, meaning JuJu Smith-Schuster and James Conner need to step up. Will Ben Roethlisberger's optimism around the offense bear itself out?

San Francisco 49ers: The defense ranked a solid 13th overall but 28th in scoring last season, and San Francisco registered just two interceptions, seven total takeaways and a dismal takeaway differential of minus-25. Will adding No. 2 overall pick Nick Bosa and veteran Dee Ford to an already talent-packed defensive line help turn the rest of the unit around?

Seattle Seahawks: The Seahawks made it back to the playoffs in 2018, but with Frank Clark gone and Jarran Reedsuspended for the first six games, the pass-rushing burden will be on rookie L.J. Collier and veteran Ziggy Ansah.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers:Jameis Winston has posted a sub-.500 record (21-33) and a passer rating of 87.8 in his four NFL seasons. Can the former No. 1 overall pick finally make good on his potential under new head coach Bruce Arians?

Tennessee Titans: Entering the final year of his contract, the pressure is on Marcus Mariota to stay healthy for 16 games and be the difference-maker this team envisioned when selecting him second overall in 2015.

Washington Redskins: With first-round pick Montez Sweat joining Ryan Kerrigan, Jonathan Allen and Matt Ioannidis, Washington could have the best combination of pass rushers in the NFL.

Follow Charley Casserly on Twitter @CharleyCasserly.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content