By Tyler McMullen @Direct_Snap on July 12, 2014
NFL Training Camp is just around the corner and a team's success can change through the course of a few minor moves to either help or hurt a team. This is a chance for the coaching staff to gauge where their team is physically and mentally. Injuries, cuts, and team battles will define whether a team heads into the regular season as a contender or a pretender. Here are the five NFL teams with the most to lose during training camp:
The Carolina Panthers had quite a successful season in 2013 winning the NFC South and almost competing for a Super Bowl title. The team was absolutely destroyed this offseason at receiver and corner, however, and the offensive line has yet to be truly addressed. Carolina will ask a few lesser known players to fill those voids, but if they struggle the team may not see the same success in 2014 as they did in 2013 behind a great defense.
The Cleveland Browns knew that they would be missing their star receiver Josh Gordon for a decent portion of 2014, but they did not expect Gordon to be banned indefinitely from the NFL after receiving another traffic violation just a few short days ago. Gordon's absence leaves a void outside for the receiver needy Browns and the team will need some young players to step up immediately. Their success relies upon such players producing in 2014.
The Houston Texans' longest tenured player WR Andre Johnson has informed the team that he would like to be traded, yet Houston is reluctant to ship their star receiver out-of-town at the current moment. Johnson's absence would create a large void in Houston's offense as WR DeAndre Hopkins is only entering his second season and there is little depth behind Hopkins. This Johnson situation could get messy if it is not resolved soon.
The Miami Dolphins have lost their star center to hip surgery and will be without C Mike Pouncey for roughly three months. Pouncey's absence leaves a huge void in the middle of Miami's revamped offensive line and the team will have a short time to prepare their new center for a tough task in Week 1 when the team faces NT Vince Wilfork and the New England Patriots. Questions arise as Miami is just 14 days away from their training camp opener.
The Oakland Raiders were big spenders this offseason, but the team actually spent their money wisely. Pick-ups such as DE Justin Tuck, RB Maurice Jones-Drew, QB Matt Schaub (via trade), OLB/DE LaMarr Woodley, WR James Jones and others will bring veteran leadership and experience to a young and talented team. But, Oakland is riding on the hopes that these aged veterans can stay healthy and produce at a high level. We shall see if that holds true.
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