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NFL teams ready for training camp this week

The Associated Press

By The Associated Press

NEW YORK – NFL preseason capsules as training camps open:

AFC EAST

BUFFALO BILLS (6-10)

OPEN CAMP: July 29

IMPORTANT ADDITIONS: Chan Gailey hired as new head coach, expected to provide vision and running identity to perennially dysfunctional offense; DE Dwan Edwards and LB Andra Davis, both familiar with newly installed 3-4 defense; First-round draft pick RB C.J. Spiller.

IMPORTANT LOSSES: WRs Owens and Josh Reed (free agency), RB Brad Butler (retired) and potentially DE Aaron Schobel (contemplating retirement).

CAMP NEEDS: Too many to count. Three-way QB competition needs to be settled. WR James Hardy to finally show signs he’s healthy and prepared to play regular role opposite starter Lee Evans. RB Marshawn Lynch to shake dissatisfaction of still being in Buffalo and prove he can contribute to three-back rotation. O-line unsettled with no starting LT named yet, and LG Eric Wood missing most of spring practices while recovering from broken leg. Revamped defense to show signs of jelling with numerous newcomers and position changes.

NEW YORK JETS (9-7)

OPEN CAMP: Aug. 2

IMPORTANT ADDITIONS: RBs LaDainian Tomlinson and fourth-round pick RB James McKnight, WR Santonio Holmes, CBs Antonio Cromartie and first-round pick Kyle Wilson, S Brodney Pool, DE-OLB Jason Taylor, K Nick Folk, second-round pick LG Vladimir Ducasse.

IMPORTANT LOSSES: RBs Thomas Jones and Leon Washington, LG Alan Faneca, S Kerry Rhodes, CB Lito Sheppard.

CAMP NEEDS: Sanchez appears healthy after coming off offseason knee surgery, but must continue to develop and limit mistakes which resulted in a few losses. Second-year RB Shonn Greene needs to show he can stay healthy and Tomlinson must prove he still can be a threat on offense in order for the running game to be successful. Ducasse and unproven Matt Slauson will compete for Faneca’s job. Chemistry will also be a major focus in camp with so many new faces joining the mix.

MIAMI DOLPHINS (7-9)

OPEN CAMP: July 30

IMPORTANT ADDITIONS: WR Brandon Marshall, defensive coordinator Mike Nolan, LB Karlos Dansby, G Richie Incognito, DE Marques Douglas, rookie DE Jared Odrick, rookie LB Koa Misi.

IMPORTANT LOSSES: LBs Jason Taylor, Joey Porter and Akin Ayodele, NT Jason Ferguson, WR-KR Ted Ginn Jr., G Justin Smiley.

CAMP NEEDS: The Dolphins must sort out their offensive line, which is set only at the tackle spots. There are significant changes in the defensive front seven, which will play a more aggressive 3-4 under Nolan. There will be position battles in the secondary, where Miami has three starting-caliber cornerbacks but a dearth of experienced safeties. Henne must get comfortable with new go-to receiver Marshall, who is being counted on to stretch defenses, and the Dolphins must confirm RB Ronnie Brown is fully recovered from a season-ending right foot injury last November.

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

(10-6)

OPEN CAMP: July 29

IMPORTANT ADDITIONS: WR Torry Holt, TE Alge Crumpler, DL Gerard Warren, CB Devin McCourty, LB Brandon Spikes, DE Jermaine Cunningham.

IMPORTANT LOSSES: LB Adalius Thomas, DE Jarvis Green, TE Benjamin Watson, CB Shawn Springs.

CAMP NEEDS: Welker needs to show he is healthy again, and so does Brady, who is now two years removed from major knee surgery. Randy Moss is in a contract year, and after rehabbing his reputation in New England can earn a big payday if he delivers. The team still needs to establish a running game – Laurence Maroney was the best they had last year, averaging 50 yards per game. Two-time Pro Bowl G Logan Mankins, upset with negotiations over a new contract, skipped the team’s three-day minicamp last month. He’s a restricted free agent after completing his original five-year contract.

AFC NORTH

BALTIMORE RAVENS (9-7)

OPEN CAMP: July 26

IMPORTANT ADDITIONS: WRs Anquan Boldin and Donte Stallworth, QB Marc Bulger, K Shayne Graham, DT Cory Redding, CB Travis Fisher, LB Sergio Kindle.

IMPORTANT LOSSES: DTs Dwan Edwards and Justin Bannan, OT Adam Terry.

CAMP NEEDS: The Ravens need one thing: good health. There’s a good chance S Ed Reed could start camp on the physically unable to perform list, and Baltimore needs to keep quarterback Joe Flacco and his new receivers up and running so they can get properly tuned up for the regular season.

PITTSBURGH STEELERS (9-7)

OPEN CAMP: July 30.

IMPORTANT ADDITIONS: OL Maurkice Pouncey, LB Larry Foote, WR Antwaan Randle El, S Bryant McFadden, QB Byron Leftwich.

IMPORTANT LOSSES: RT Willie Colon (to season-ending Achilles’ tendon injury), WR Santonio Holmes, RB Willie Parker.

CAMP NEEDS: The Steelers must figure out quickly if third-year QB Dennis Dixon will push Leftwich to start during Roethlisberger’s 6-game (can be reduced to 4) suspension for his aberrant behavior in a Georgia nightclub in March. Endless snaps aren’t available in camp, especially since Roethlisberger must get his work in, too – he can’t practice once his suspension starts. With their QB out, the Steelers know they must get their running game going, and what better time to start than camp?

CLEVELAND BROWNS (5-11)

OPEN CAMP: July 31

IMPORTANT ADDITIONS: President Mike Holmgren, general manager Tom Heckert, QBs Jake Delhomme, Seneca Wallace and Colt McCoy, LBs Scott Fujita and Chris Gocong, CB Sheldon Brown, RB Montario Hardesty, TE Benjamin Watson.

IMPORTANT LOSSES: QBs Derek Anderson and Brady Quinn, WR Braylon Edwards, RB Jamal Lewis, C Hank Fraley, TE Steve Heiden, S Brodney Pool.

CAMP NEEDS: Delhomme is hoping to resurrect his career and bounce back from a disastrous season in Carolina. The Browns signed the veteran to stabilize the troublesome position and provide leadership to a team needing an infusion of positive energy and confidence. They lack an experienced wide receiver and are counting on Mohammed Massaquoi and Brian Robiskie to develop in their second years. Mangini needs to avoid the drama that hung over the team all season.

CINCINNATI BENGALS (10-6)

OPEN CAMP: July 28

LAST YEAR: A young and fast-improving defense helped them go 10-6 – only their second winning record since 1990 – and make the playoffs as AFC North champions.

IMPORTANT ADDITIONS: WR Antonio Bryant, K Mike Nugent, K Dave Rayner, CB Adam “Pacman” Jones, S Gibril Wilson, TE Jermaine Gresham, WR Jordan Shipley.

IMPORTANT LOSSES: K Shayne Graham.

CAMP NEEDS: The Bengals have to figure out what they’re going to be on offense. The run-first philosophy won a division title, but lacked the firepower to go deep into the playoffs. They drafted TE Jermaine Gresham and WR Jordan Shipley to give QB Carson Palmer more targets. They also replaced WR Laveranaeus Coles with Antonio Bryant. Mike Nugent and Dave Rayner will compete for the kicking job of departed Shayne Graham, gone to Baltimore.

AFC SOUTH

INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (14-2)

OPEN CAMP: Aug. 1

IMPORTANT ADDITIONS: DE Jerry Hughes, OL Adam Terry, OL Andy Alleman

IMPORTANT LOSSES: OL Ryan Lilja, LB Tyjuan Hagler, LB Freddy Keiaho

CAMP NEEDS: Improving offensive line and running game, getting Hughes into defensive line rotation, making sure Robert Mathis and Reggie Wayne are themselves after spring contract holdouts

TENNESSEE TITANS (8-8)

OPEN CAMP: July 31

IMPORTANT ADDITIONS: LB Will Witherspoon, top draft pick DE Derrick Morgan, DE Jason Babin, CB Tye Hill and assistant running backs coach Kennedy Pola.

IMPORTANT LOSSES: LB Keith Bulluck, DE Kyle Vanden Bosch, C Kevin Mawae and assistant RB coach Earnest Byner.

CAMP NEEDS: The Titans will spend camp figuring out what they have on defense. Leaders Bulluck and Vanden Bosch are gone, though Bulluck has an outside shot at being re-signed as he heals from a torn ACL. They must find a new starter opposite CB Cortland Finnegan, see if LB David Thornton is healthy enough to start while Gerald McRath sits out a four-game suspension and finally measure what Morgan can add to the pass rush. They made Chris Johnson happy for now with a pay raise for 2010, ensuring he has an entire camp to erase any rust from his offseason holdout. Young also must continue improving as a passer and prove he’s their franchise quarterback.

HOUSTON TEXANS (9-7)

OPEN CAMP: July 30

IMPORTANT ADDITIONS: TE Owen Daniels, K Neil Rackers, LB Danny Clark.

IMPORTANT LOSSES: CB Dunta Robinson, G Chester Pitts.

CAMP NEEDS: The Texans must find a consistent running game, and second-round pick Ben Tate could challenge incumbent Steve Slaton for the starting job in the backfield. Slaton rushed for 437 yards and lost five fumbles in 2009. Houston is also looking for a dependable kicker, and brought in the free agent Rackers to challenge Kris Brown, the kicker since the franchise’s inception in 2002. Brown missed 11 of 32 attempts last year, including last-minute tries in close losses to Indianapolis and Tennessee.

JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (7-9)

OPEN CAMP: July 30

IMPORTANT ADDITIONS: DE Aaron Kampman, LB Kirk Morrison, G Kynan Forney.

IMPORTANT LOSSES: DT John Henderson, DE Reggie Hayward, LB Clint Ingram, WR Torry Holt.

CAMP NEEDS: With several new defensive starters, Jaguars need to find chemistry and stability on that side of the ball while figuring out ways to fix the league’s worst pass rush. Also need to solidify interior offensive line and settle receiving corps alongside Mike Sims-Walker.

AFC WEST

KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (4-12)

OPEN CAMP: July 30

IMPORTANT ADDITIONS: Coordinators Charlie Weis and Romeo Crennel, S Eric Berry, WR-RB Dexter McCluster, OL Jon Asamoah, RB Thomas Jones, OL Ryan Lilja.

IMPORTANT LOSSES: OL Wade Smith.

CAMP NEEDS: After camping for 20 years in the cool north woods of Western Wisconsin, Pioli and Haley have returned the Chiefs to the Midwest’s summer swelter. If oppressive heat and energy-sapping humidity in their new camp in St. Joseph, Mo., prove a problem, Pioli’s program could stumble.

OAKLAND RAIDERS (5-11)

OPEN CAMP: July 28

IMPORTANT ADDITIONS: QB Jason Campbell, LB Rolando McClain, DL John Henderson, DL Lammar Houston, LB Kamerion Wimbley.

IMPORTANT LOSSES: QB JaMarcus Russell, LB Kirk Morrison, DT Gerard Warren, DE Greg Ellis, RB Justin Fargas, OL Cornell Green.

CAMP NEEDS: Establish a credible passing game. In what has increasingly become a passing league, the Raiders have had trouble moving the ball through the air ever since Kerry Collins left town following the 2005 season. A parade of quarterbacks from Aaron Brooks to Andrew Walter to Russell were unable to fix it. Now comes Campbell, who had an up-and-down tenure in Washington. If he is to be successful in Oakland, Campbell will need improved play from the receivers, especially last year’s first-round pick Darrius Heyward-Bey.

DENVER BRONCOS (8-8)

OPEN CAMP: July 29

IMPORTANT ADDITIONS: QBs Tebow and Quinn, RB J.J. Arrington, LB Akin Ayodele, WRs Demaryius “Bay-Bay” Thomas and Eric Decker, DLs Jamal Williams, Jarvis Green and Justin Bannan.

IMPORTANT LOSSES: Marshall, TE Tony Scheffler, C Casey Wiegmann.

CAMP NEEDS: The Broncos will work in a youth-filled offensive line while hoping tackles Ryan Harris (foot) and Ryan Clady (knee) return from injuries to restore what’s a solid pocket of protection when healthy. They’ll also want an answer quickly to who will be taking the snaps – it’s Orton’s job to lose.

SAN DIEGO CHARGERS (13-3)

OPEN CAMP: July 26

IMPORTANT ADDITIONS: RB Ryan Mathews, LT Tra Thomas, CB Nathan Vasher, CB Donald Strickland.

IMPORTANT LOSSES: RB LaDainian Tomlinson, DT Jamal Williams, CB Antonio Cromartie.

CAMP NEEDS: Thomas is entering his 13th season and is being asked to protect Rivers’ blind side in place of Marcus McNeill, who is holding out because Chargers haven’t given him a long-term contract. Also holding out is Pro Bowl WR Vincent Jackson, so Legedu Naanee and oft-injured Craig Davis will have to step up. Mathews is expected to replace Tomlinson.

NFC EAST

DALLAS COWBOYS (11-5)

OPEN CAMP: July 24

IMPORTANT ADDITIONS: WR Dez Bryant, their first-round draft pick; OT Alex Barron; LB Sean Lee.

IMPORTANT LOSSES: LT Flozell Adams, S Ken Hamlin, LB Bobby Carpenter, OL Cory Procter.

CAMP NEEDS: Determine who will protect Romo’s blind side after Adams, the expensive, 35-year-old, five-time Pro Bowl, left tackle was cut. Doug Free is being given the first chance, but Barron was acquired from St. Louis for Carpenter in a swap of underachieving former first-round picks. Marion Barber, Felix Jones and Tashard Choice – how will that talented running back trio be used? The secondary, with converted cornerback Alan Ball taking over for the cut Hamlin at safety.