NFC South teams hoping to see defensive improvements during training camp

The Carolina Panthers ran away with the NFC South a year ago. Even coming off an extremely successful season that culminated in a Super Bowl appearance, there are still areas of concern. Without Josh Norman, the secondary includes three rookie cornerbacks competing during training camp for playing time.

In Atlanta, the biggest question is on the other side of the ball — will Matt Ryan and the offense be able to perfect their communication during Falcons camp to take a step forward this season?

One of the main storylines Tom Jackson Authentic Womens Jersey for Bucs fans will be whether rookie cornerback Vernon Hargreaves will earn a starting role in Tampa Bay’s defense. Hargreaves got some work in the nickel as well as outside during OTAs and minicamp and will compete for playing time with experienced veterans Alterraun Verner and Johnthan Banks. The team also brought in veteran cornerback Brent Grimes, a four-time Pro Bowler, after he was waived by the Dolphins.

Quarterback Jameis Winston had a Trevor Siemian Authentic Womens Jersey strong rookie campaign, but the team wants to see him continue to develop in his second year. The good news is that Winston has a lot of offensive help. Doug Martin and Charles Sims are still around to keep things going on the ground. Austin Seferian-Jenkins is a solid receiving tight end, and Winston has two quality receivers to work with in Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson. The battle for the third spot on the receivers depth chart will be an important one for the Bucs — perhaps this could be a breakout season for Kenny Bell.

General manager John Elway didn’t succumb to Brock Osweiler’s contract demands — he signed with the Texans and appears to be on acrimonious terms with the organization — but he did wind up giving in to Von Miller. The ferocious outside linebacker signed a six-year, $114.5 million deal, including $70 million guaranteed, with the Broncos, ensuring that the team will be led by its defense once again.

The need to re-sign Miller was likely magnified by their losses of defensive lineman Malik Jackson and linebacker Danny Trevathan. Denver has two starting spots to fill at linebacker this training camp, and will likely try to find ways for its dominant pass-rush to cover up any warts.

Monitoring Jamaal Charles’ progress as he battles back from a torn ACL will probably be the dominant storyline this training camp for the Chiefs. Charles wrecked his ACL in mid-October, meaning he’s roughly nine months removed from the gruesome injury. Though the timeline for recovery for knee injuries gets shorter every year, the Chiefs will have to keep an eye on his workload.

The biggest personnel hole on the Chiefs is in the secondary, where they’ll aim to replace cornerback Sean Smith, who signed with the Raiders in free agency. Sophomore Marcus Peters emerged as the unequivocal No. 1 corner with his eight interceptions last season, but the Chiefs will have to find someone to complement him. The most probable candidates are Phillip Gaines and third-round pick KeiVarae Russell.

Eric Berry got stuck the franchise tag and no long-term deal. He will not report for the start of camp, so that’s a situation to keep an eye on. They’ll look to build off the momentum from their 2015 campaign, where they won their final 11 contests and routed the Houston Texans in the first round of the playoffs.

With the emergence of Derek Carr and Amari Cooper last year, the Raiders sought to shore up their defense this offseason. Oakland brought in Malcolm Smith, Bruce Irvin and Reggie Nelson to join a unit that surrendered the 11th-most points in the league last season. They’ll join star linebacker Khalil Mack, who recorded a whopping 15 sacks in his sophomore campaign.