The NFL next year should be exciting to watch. Many players are returning from injury, fans are allowed in the stands, and the NFL added a game. That being said, there are a lot of unanswered questions for each team. Not all of our questions will be addressed before the season begins, but some will be answered in training camps, which begin on July 27 for most teams. That being said, I’ll be going over the most pressing questions for all 32 teams as training camps begin. These articles will be released by division, so be on the lookout for your favorite team. THIS YEAR, the NFC South will look different without the Drew Brees run Saints, and some of the teams could surprise fans next year.
New Orleans Saints- How will the Saints’ offense run without Drew Brees?
Now for the first time in 15 years, the Saints will be without Drew Brees. Brees’ career in NOLA was legendary, and he won’t be easy to replace. Although he wasn’t the greatest in his final years, he’s given the Saints consistency for his entire career. Taysom Hill has been Sean Payton’s favorite gadget player but now has a real chance to be the full-time starter. The Saints will likely be a run-first team next year with limited passing options and Hill’s versatility. Alvin Kamara will likely be the core of their scheme, with designed pass plays for him. As for the starting QB, I think Payton will roll with both as starters next season. With Winston’s passing ability and Hill’s dual-threat ability, the Saints should still be playoff contenders. To dethrone Brady and the Bucs as NFC South champs, they’ll need good quarterback play.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Will the Bucs be affected by the Super Bowl curse?
Tampa Bay started rocky last year but finished in the best way possible. They returned all of their starters and did have a good chance to repeat. However, what’s known as the Super Bowl curse has come with regression to whichever team wins the big game. I don’t think they’ll have that much regression, and it will be more like the Ravens in 2020. They’ll still be a playoff team, but teams will take advantage of everything that they can. The only thing that will hold them back is father time catching up to Brady. He did have knee surgery this past offseason, so health will be something to monitor next season. They did retain all of their core players and have one of the easiest schedules, so they should still be contenders.
Carolina Panthers- Can Sam Darnold have a career resurgence in Carolina?
The Panthers traded for the former Jet this past offseason in the hopes that he can be their next franchise QB. For a full analysis of the Sam Darnold trade, check out my other article here. Darnold has the best weapons he’s ever had in his career, so he should have all the help he needs to succeed. Offensive Coordinator Joe Brady made Teddy Bridgewater look like a decent QB, so he should do a good job with Darnold. One of his main problems was the lack of talent surrounding him, so he should improve now that that’s taken care of. If the coaching staff can help with some of his mistakes, he can have a bounce-back year. The Panthers are slowly becoming a threat in the NFC South, and if Darnold exceeds expectations.
Atlanta Falcons- Will the passing game be the same without Julio Jones?
The face of the franchise Julio Jones won’t be in Atlanta this upcoming season but is the rest of the team ready to pick up the slack? Julio was a key aspect of their offense during his career, and replacing him will be difficult. Right now, they do have a good receiving core, with Kyle Pitts and Calvin Ridley leading the way. Ridley, in particular, performed like a true WR1 without Julio, and Pitts should be a good addition. Pitts was regarded as the best tight-end prospect in a while, which was why the Falcons picked him at 4. The other receiver I think will make a big impact this year is Russell Gage. Gage had career highs in yards and TDs and should be a good compliment to Ridley. Despite the loss of Jones, Atlanta still has a strong core of pass catchers for Matt Ryan.