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NFL 5 43 NFL training camp: 32 burning questions 31218709 Arizona Cardinals Arizona+Cardinals NFL

Who will win the quarterback competition between Kevin Kolb and John Skelton? The Cardinals thought enough of Kolb to tender a six-year, $65 million contract last season after acquiring him from Philadelphia for a second-round draft pick and cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. The club will be experiencing buyer’s remorse if Kolb can’t beat out Skelton for a starting spot.

Mark J. Rebilas - USA TODAY Sports
NFL 5 43 NFL training camp: 32 burning questions 31220006 San Francisco 49ers San+Francisco+49ers NFL

How will the 49ers integrate the offensive weapons added during the offseason? Although it’s unrealistic to expect San Francisco to reveal all of its new wrinkles for 2012 during preseason games, the franchise still must help quarterback Alex Smith become comfortable with his new receiving targets — Randy Moss, Mario Manningham and 2012 first-round pick A.J. Jenkins. Speedy rookie running back LaMichael James also could fill a niche role coming out of the backfield.

Kelley L Cox - USA TODAY Sports
NFL 5 43 NFL training camp: 32 burning questions 31218710 Seattle Seahawks Seattle+Seahawks NFL

Will Matt Flynn assert himself as the starting quarterback? If he doesn’t, that will be another major disappointment for a franchise that made a huge quarterbacking blunder in 2010 when it signed Charlie Whitehurst to compete for a first-team spot. Flynn, who served as Aaron Rodgers’ backup in Green Bay, was inked to a three-year, $19.5 million contract with $10 million guaranteed. Flynn, though, is being forced to compete against incumbent Tarvaris Jackson and rookie Russell Wilson for the starting nod in training camp after failing to separate himself during the offseason.

Joe Nicholson - USA TODAY Sports
NFL 5 43 NFL training camp: 32 burning questions 31223111 St. Louis Rams St.+Louis+Rams NFL

How quickly can new offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer get quarterback Sam Bradford back on track? Bradford, who won NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year honors in 2010, experienced a major sophomore slump last season under a different offensive coordinator (Josh McDaniels) and with a ragtag collection of receiving targets. Schottenheimer had success developing quarterback Mark Sanchez while with the New York Jets but lost his way at times last season with too heavy an emphasis on the passing game. Don’t expect conservative Rams head coach Jeff Fisher to let Schottenheimer make that same mistake.

Jeff Curry - USA TODAY Sports
NFL 5 43 NFL training camp: 32 burning questions 31220005 Atlanta Falcons Atlanta+Falcons NFL

Who will protect quarterback Matt Ryan’s blindside? Improved protection at left tackle is a must for Ryan to receive the time needed to thrive in coordinator Dirk Koetter’s new offense, which will place a greater emphasis on vertical routes by the wide receivers. Sam Baker, Will Svitek and rookie Lamar Holmes are the top three candidates for the job. Baker lost the spot last season to Svitek. The big-bodied Holmes was a third-round pick from Southern Mississippi.

Jim O'Connor - USA TODAY Sports
NFL 5 43 NFL training camp: 32 burning questions 31220008 Carolina Panthers Carolina+Panthers NFL

Can linebackers Jon Beason and Thomas Davis mount successful comebacks? Beason, who reached three Pro Bowls in his first four NFL seasons, suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon in the 2011 season opener. Davis is trying to become what is believed the first player in NFL history to recover from three torn anterior cruciate ligaments in the same knee (right). Although both players are expected on the field for the start of training camp, the Panthers still addressed the linebacker position by drafting Boston College’s Luke Kuechly with the No. 9 overall pick.

Mark J. Rebilas - USA TODAY Sports
NFL 5 43 NFL training camp: 32 burning questions 31220007 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Tampa+Bay+Buccaneers NFL

How will Greg Schiano adjust to being an NFL head coach? Schiano did an outstanding job transforming Rutgers into a relevant football program once again. But even college coaches who won national championships — Nick Saban, Steve Spurrier, Dennis Erickson and Schiano adviser Butch Davis among them — failed to make a successful transition to the pro ranks. Schiano’s last taste of NFL coaching came in 1998, when he handled defensive backs for Chicago.

Kim Klement - USA TODAY Sports
NFL 5 43 NFL training camp: 32 burning questions 31218711 New Orleans Saints New+Orleans+Saints NFL

What will training camp be like without Sean Payton as head coach? Interim replacement Joe Vitt (pictured supervising a workout) will steer the ship in the same fashion as Payton, who is suspended for the 2012 campaign for his role in the Saints’ bounty scandal. But at some point in the preseason, Vitt himself will have to surrender the wheel as he prepares to serve a six-game ban to start the regular season. The transition from Vitt to his own temporary on-staff replacement — Pete Carmichael, Steve Spagnuolo and Aaron Kromer are considered the leading candidates — could be clunky if not handled properly.

Derick E. Hingle - USA TODAY Sports
NFL 5 43 NFL training camp: 32 burning questions 31220009 Dallas Cowboys Dallas+Cowboys NFL

Who will emerge as the No. 3 wide receiver? The Cowboys couldn’t afford to keep Laurent Robinson, who signed a lucrative contract with Jacksonville after a surprising 54-catch season in 2011. They also didn’t sign a veteran replacement in free agency. It would be unfair to expect 2012 fifth-round pick Danny Coale to contribute immediately. Fourth-year veteran Kevin Ogletree (pictured) will have first crack at the spot, but expect Dallas to monitor veteran wide receivers who become available because of suspect depth at the position.

Matthew Emmons - USA TODAY Sports
NFL 5 43 NFL training camp: 32 burning questions 31223113 Philadelphia Eagles Philadelphia+Eagles NFL

Who will win the backup quarterback job behind Michael Vick? This is especially important considering Vick has completed only one 16-game season in his nine-year NFL career. The Eagles didn’t re-sign Vince Young, opting for a cheaper journeyman replacement in Trent Edwards. That reflects confidence in third-year quarterback Mike Kafka, who got his first taste of NFL action last September when he replaced an injured Vick against Atlanta. The team’s 2012 third-round pick, Nick Foles, is a developmental project and likely third-stringer.

Evan Habeeb - USA TODAY Sports
NFL 5 43 NFL training camp: 32 burning questions 31218712 New York Giants New+York+Giants NFL

How will the competition at tight end shake out? The Giants lost two of them in Super Bowl XLVI when Jake Ballard and Travis Beckum suffered major knee injuries. Ballard was claimed by New England when the Giants mistakenly thought they could sneak him through waivers to open a roster spot; Beckum won’t be ready for the start of the regular season. Bear Pascoe is the only tight end on the roster with playing experience in New York’s offense. Pascoe has limited tools and is best suited as a backup. Ideally, free-agent signing Martellus Bennett would have the kind of breakout season he never achieved in four years with Dallas. Bennett didn’t get off to a good start when he reported heavier than expected for offseason workouts. Keep an eye on rookie Adrien Robinson, a raw fourth-round pick with plenty of athletic talent.

Jim O'Connor - USA TODAY Sports
NFL 5 43 NFL training camp: 32 burning questions 31220010 Washington Redskins Washington+Redskins NFL

How will Robert Griffin III’s supporting cast shake out? The Redskins finally have a franchise quarterback once again, but Griffin can’t carry the offense all by himself. Washington must find better consistency along the offensive line and produce more in the running game. The Redskins averaged 100.9 rushing yards a game last season, marking the uncharacteristic second consecutive season of sub-par output from a Mike Shanahan-coached team. Running backs Tim Hightower, Roy Helu and Evan Royster are competing for snaps.

Geoff Burke - USA TODAY Sports
NFL 5 43 NFL training camp: 32 burning questions 31220014 Green Bay Packers Green+Bay+Packers NFL

Will the Packers tackle anyone? It’s a good thing Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy took his team skeet shooting during the offseason. That’s because the defense hadn’t hit a target since 2010. Green Bay missed far too many stops last season, especially in the secondary. The struggles were epitomized when Tampa Bay running back LeGarrette Blount broke eight tackles on a 54-yard touchdown run in November. The Packers must try to improve their skills while being limited in contact practices under rules of the collective-bargaining agreement.

Benny Sieu - USA TODAY Sports
NFL 5 43 NFL training camp: 32 burning questions 31220012 Detroit Lions Detroit+Lions NFL

Who will replace cornerback Aaron Berry, and can that player stay out of jail? Berry fumbled his way out of a starting spot — and off the roster entirely — when he was arrested last weekend for the second time during the offseason. The Lions will now be forced to promote a veteran backup — most likely Jacob Lacey or Alphonso Smith — into the starting lineup opposite Chris Houston. Detroit’s 2012 third-round pick, Bill Bentley, also will get a crack at extensive playing time.

Mike Carter - USA TODAY Sports
NFL 5 43 NFL training camp: 32 burning questions 31220013 Chicago Bears Chicago+Bears NFL

How quickly can rookie defensive end Shea McClellin make an impact? The Bears entered the offseason wanting to improve their pass rush and lessen the constant double-teaming that Julius Peppers was receiving. To that end, McClellin was chosen with the No. 19 pick in the NFL Draft. Chicago hopes the Boise State product can work his way into the defensive line rotation and share playing time with starter Israel Idonije, who is better against the run than affecting opposing quarterbacks.

Jerry Lai - USA TODAY Sports
NFL 5 43 NFL training camp: 32 burning questions 31223118 Minnesota Vikings Minnesota+Vikings NFL

Will Adrian Peterson receive any work during preseason games? Peterson has attacked his rehabilitation from a serious knee injury with the same aggression that he usually reserves for defenders in his path. The Vikings, though, will be extra cautious with their franchise player. Toby Gerhart will handle the starting role until Peterson is ready to return.

Bruce Kluckhohn - USA TODAY Sports
NFL 5 43 NFL training camp: 32 burning questions 31223120 New York Jets New+York+Jets NFL

How will Tim Tebow be deployed? Jets coaches would be morons if that was exposed in the preseason. Expect teases of Tebow's projected jack-of-all-trades role on offense and special teams but nothing that gives opponents the chance to prepare game plans to stop it during the regular season.

Ed Mulholland - USA TODAY Sports
NFL 5 43 NFL training camp: 32 burning questions 31220015 Buffalo Bills Buffalo+Bills NFL

Was general manager Buddy Nix right about Cordy Glenn? Nix admittedly — and successfully — created a smokescreen with pre-draft comments that he didn't regard Glenn as a left tackle. The 6-foot-5, 342-pound Glenn, who was chosen in the second round, will have the first crack to prove he is nimble enough to handle the position. If he falls short, the Bills may rue letting Demetress Bell leave via free agency to Philadelphia.

Timothy T. Ludwig - USA TODAY Sports
NFL 5 43 NFL training camp: 32 burning questions 31223112 New England Patriots New+England+Patriots NFL

Can the Patriots find a bell-cow running back? The Patriots haven’t had one since Corey Dillon, opting instead for a committee approach that last season featured BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Danny Woodhead. Green-Ellis signed with Cincinnati in the offseason, opening the door for Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen to log more carries. Whoever gets those snaps must prove as reliable as Green-Ellis in protecting the football.

Stew Milne - USA TODAY Sports
NFL 5 43 NFL training camp: 32 burning questions 31223117 Miami Dolphins Miami+Dolphins NFL

When will the quarterback carousel stop spinning? Multiple media reports indicate that 2012 first-round pick Ryan Tannehill isn't a viable candidate to start. That isn't a surprise considering his lack of experience at the position at Texas A&M. The frontrunners are incumbent Matt Moore and David Garrard, who is trying to stage a comeback after spending last year out of football following back surgery.

Steve Mitchell - USA TODAY Sports
NFL 5 43 NFL training camp: 32 burning questions 31223119 Cincinnati Bengals Cincinnati+Bengals NFL

How quickly can the secondary become a cohesive unit? Ravaged by injuries last year, the Bengals added three cornerbacks this offseason: 2012 first-round pick Dre Kirkpatrick and veterans Jason Allen and Terence Newman. That trio will compete for starting spots along with Leon Hall, who is coming off a ruptured Achilles tendon. Strong safety is unsettled following the offseason release of starter Chris Crocker. Taylor Mays is the early favorite to win the job. The secondary also has a new coach, Mark Carrier, after Kevin Coyle left to become Miami's defensive coordinator.

Frank Victores - USA TODAY Sports
NFL 5 43 NFL training camp: 32 burning questions 31223116 Cleveland Browns Cleveland+Browns NFL

How long until Colt McCoy gets traded or cut? McCoy's fate was sealed in April when the Browns drafted Oklahoma State quarterback Brandon Weeden with the No. 22 overall pick. The strong-armed Weeden has wowed Cleveland's coaching staff and began taking first-team reps during offseason practices. McCoy, who himself once had "quarterback of the future" hype in Cleveland, is expendable with veteran Seneca Wallace on the roster. Ideally for Browns management, McCoy impresses enough in limited preseason duty to generate a trade market for a franchise that surrendered its 2013 second-round pick by selecting Baylor wide receiver Josh Gordon earlier this month in the supplemental draft.

Eric P. Mull - USA TODAY Sports
NFL 5 43 NFL training camp: 32 burning questions 31220016 Pittsburgh Steelers Pittsburgh+Steelers NFL

How different will the Steelers' offense look with Todd Haley as the new coordinator? Haley's tough-love approach with his players stands in stark contrast to the cozy relationship quarterback Ben Roethlisberger enjoyed with previous coordinator Bruce Arians. As Haley and Roethlisberger develop their own bond, the Steelers are expected to try to place greater emphasis on the running game than in previous seasons under Arians. A revamped offensive line should result in a better ground attack and Roethlisberger taking less of a beating. But there is no proven replacement for Rashard Mendenhall as he recovers from the torn anterior cruciate ligament suffered last season in the first-round playoff loss to Denver.

Charles LeClaire - USA TODAY Sports
NFL 5 43 NFL training camp: 32 burning questions 31220017 Baltimore Ravens Baltimore+Ravens NFL

Who will replace injured outside linebacker Terrell Suggs? The Ravens lost one of the NFL's top pass-rushers when Suggs suffered a torn Achilles tendon during an offseason workout. Suggs is vowing to return this season. Regardless, the Ravens immediately need one of their young backups to fill the void. Courtney Upshaw is the early favorite, but the 2012 second-round pick must prove he can handle coverage responsibilities. Sergio Kindle and Albert McClellan are dark-horse candidates.

Mitch Stringer - USA TODAY Sports
NFL 5 43 NFL training camp: 32 burning questions 31220018 Denver Broncos Denver+Broncos NFL

Will Peyton Manning look like Peyton Manning? All signs remain encouraging for a full recovery from the four neck surgeries that forced Manning to miss the 2011 season and ultimately led to his release by Indianapolis. Manning, though, has admitted he isn't completely back to form just yet. Manning's progress will be one of the NFL's top preseason storylines.

Ron Chenoy - USA TODAY Sports
NFL 5 43 NFL training camp: 32 burning questions 31220020 San Diego Chargers San+Diego+Chargers NFL

How long will it take before the Chargers can ditch the "Hello, my name is ..." tags? After two seasons without a playoff appearance, San Diego general manager A.J. Smith made an uncharacteristic foray into free agency with a slew of veteran signings that continued into last week with defensive tackle Aubrayo Franklin and running back Jackie Battle. Other notable additions include outside linebackers Jarret Johnson (Baltimore) and first-round rookie Melvin Ingram, and four new wide receivers, highlighted by Eddie Royal (Denver) and Robert Meachem (New Orleans). Getting all these new faces on the same page will be a major focus of training camp for Chargers head coach Norv Turner.

Kent C. Horner - Getty Images
NFL 5 43 NFL training camp: 32 burning questions 31220021 Kansas City Chiefs Kansas+City+Chiefs NFL

Who is the real Matt Cassel? Is it the quarterback who threw for 27 touchdowns with only seven interceptions in 2010? Or is it the guy who struggled during Kansas City's 4-5 start last year before he suffered a season-ending hand injury? The Chiefs felt confident enough in the former that the team didn't sign or draft a quarterback to compete with Cassel for a starting spot after an unsuccessful free-agent pitch to Peyton Manning. Cassel, though, could be on the outs if he doesn't rebound this season. Perfecting the offense under new coordinator Brian Daboll during training camp is the first step toward doing so.

Denny Medley - USA TODAY Sports
NFL 5 43 NFL training camp: 32 burning questions 31220019 Oakland Raiders Oakland+Raiders NFL

Can Darren McFadden stay out of the trainer's room? McFadden was leading the league in rushing after six games last year before suffering a season-ending foot injury. This is an all-too-familiar pattern. McFadden, the No. 4 overall draft pick in 2008, is an extremely talented player who has showcased his skill only in bursts because of ailments that have prevented him from completing a 16-game season. A healthy McFadden is even more essential for Oakland's success in 2012 with quality backup Michael Bush having left to Chicago via free agency. Getting out of the preseason unscathed is the first step.

Brett Davis - USA TODAY Sports
NFL 5 43 NFL training camp: 32 burning questions 31223122 Indianapolis Colts Indianapolis+Colts NFL

Can Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis reinvent themselves as outside linebackers? The two have combined for 186 career sacks playing exclusively as 4-3 ends. That role is changing with new head coach Chuck Pagano installing a 3-4 defensive system. Mathis and Freeney must master how to play standing up before the snap and must handle occasional coverage responsibilities. The Colts are banking on both players making the transition. Mathis was re-signed to a five-year, $36 million contract extension in February, and Indianapolis retained Freeney and his $14 million base salary for 2012 rather than try to trade him.

John Grieshop - Getty Images
NFL 5 43 NFL training camp: 32 burning questions 31218726 Jacksonville Jaguars Jacksonville+Jaguars NFL

Can new head coach Mike Mularkey salvage Blaine Gabbert? The fact this question is being asked with Gabbert having spent only one year in Jacksonville reflects the disastrous nature of the quarterback's rookie season. Prematurely thrust into the starting lineup, Gabbert was overmatched and received little help from a poor supporting cast, outside of running back Maurice Jones-Drew. Mularkey, who had success grooming Matt Ryan while serving as Atlanta's offensive coordinator, must work to make Gabbert less jittery in the pocket and more willing to let plays develop downfield. Gabbert also has better wide receivers to work with after the Jags drafted Justin Blackmon and signed free agent Laurent Robinson (Dallas).

Phil Sears - USA TODAY Sports
NFL 5 43 NFL training camp: 32 burning questions 31220022 Tennessee Titans Tennessee+Titans NFL

Can Chris Johnson regain his mojo? Even though he posted a fourth consecutive 1,000-yard rushing season, Johnson's 2011 campaign was considered disappointing on the heels of a six-year, $55-million contract extension. Johnson averaged a career-low 4.0 yards a carry and rushed for 64 yards or less in 12 of his 16 starts. The drop-off might be attributable to Johnson having missed training camp in a contract holdout and difficulty in learning a new offensive system. He doesn't have those excuses this season.

Troy Taormina - USA TODAY Sports
NFL 5 43 NFL training camp: 32 burning questions 31223121 Houston Texans Houston+Texans NFL

Is Matt Schaub a bona fide franchise quarterback? The Texans want to know the answer as well before signing Schaub to a lucrative contract extension. Schaub's passing numbers were among the NFL's gaudiest in 2009 and 2010. But the health problems that plagued Schaub earlier in his career came back last year when he suffered a season-ending foot injury. Entering the final year of his contract, the 31-year-old Schaub must perform and stay on the field to guarantee his long-term future in Houston. The process begins in training camp as Schaub receives full medical clearance to return to practice.

Thomas Campbell - USA TODAY Sports
NFL 5 43 NFL training camp: 32 burning questions 31220023 Ready for camp? Ready+for+camp%3F NFL

Hope springs eternal at this time of year for every NFL team. So do concerns that must be addressed for each of them to make a Super Bowl run.

Here’s a look at some of the burning questions facing the league’s 32 franchises as training camps open for the 2012 season. — Alex Marvez

Greg M. Cooper - USA TODAY Sports
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