The Broncos were first into camp on July 17.
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (13-5)
OPEN CAMP: July 27, St. Joseph, Missouri
LAST YEAR: First-year starter Patrick Mahomes shattered nearly every franchise passing record while winning league MVP award and leading Chiefs to third straight AFC West title. Kansas City reached AFC title game despite one of NFL's worst defenses, falling to New England in overtime. Offseason has been spent overhauling that side of ball with new coordinator and key players.
IMPORTANT ADDITIONS: FS Tyrann Mathieu, LBs Damien Wilson and Darron Lee, DEs Frank Clark, Alex Okafor and Emmanuel Ogbah, CB Bashaud Breeland, TE Blake Bell, RBs Carlos Hyde and Darwin Thompson, WR Mecole Hardman, SS Juan Thornhill.
IMPORTANT LOSSES: OLBs Justin Houston and Dee Ford, CB Eric Murray, SS Eric Berry.
CAMP NEEDS: WR Tyreek Hill remains suspended from team as NFL investigates domestic violence case that resulted in no legal fallout, so building depth behind Sammy Watkins is crucial. Chiefs also must sort out depth at RB and identify TEs to play behind Travis Kelce. Defense is adjusting to new 4-3 scheme of coordinator Steve Spagnuolo with plenty of new personnel, with Clark and Mathieu key additions.
EXPECTATIONS: Chiefs made big step forward last year in reaching AFC title game, but still have not played for championship since Super Bowl 4. Window is now with Mahomes still on rookie contract and pricey new additions on defense. If their young QB can come close to replicating performance last season, and rebuilt defense can show improvement, Chiefs should be class of West once again.
LOS ANGELES CHARGERS (13-5)
OPEN CAMP: July 25, Costa Mesa, California.
LAST YEAR: Coach Anthony Lynn in his second season led Chargers to playoffs for first time since 2013. They beat Baltimore in wild-card game before playing worst game of season at New England in divisional round. RB Melvin Gordon was sixth in AFC with 1,375 yards from scrimmage and 13 touchdowns while QB Philip Rivers threw two or more touchdowns in first 13 games. Defense was without DE Joey Bosa for first nine games but had one of top rookies in league last season in S Derwin James. All-Pro became first rookie defensive back in NFL history to have three sacks in first four games.
IMPORTANT ADDITIONS: LB Thomas Davis, QB Tyrod Taylor, DE Jerry Tillery, S Nasir Adderley.
IMPORTANT LOSSES: WR Tyrel Williams, TE Antonio Gates, DT Darius Philon, CB Jason Verrett.
CAMP NEEDS: Lynn said during last month's minicamp he wanted to give some younger players majority of snaps, especially during preseason games. Despite strong record, Chargers dealt with their share of injuries last season, from Bosa's at beginning of schedule to Gordon's late in regular season, as well as three starters at linebacker.
EXPECTATIONS: Chargers will be in mix of teams considered one favorites in AFC, but holdout by Gordon, who is in final year of rookie contract, could disrupt team unity Lynn said was one of keys to their emergence last season.
DENVER BRONCOS (6-10)
OPENED CAMP: July 17, Englewood, Colorado
LAST YEAR: Denver posted back-to-back losing seasons for first time since 1971-72, costing head coach Vance Joseph and QB Case Keenum their jobs. Broncos had hope at 6-6 but lost CB Chris Harris Jr. (leg), RB Phillip Lindsay (wrist) and WR Emmanuel Sanders (Achilles tendon) to injuries that led to winless December and stretched playoff drought to three seasons.
IMPORTANT ADDITIONS: Coach Vic Fangio, QBs Joe Flacco and Drew Lock, RT Ja'Wuan James, CBs Kareem Jackson and Bryce Callahan, OLB Dekoda Watson, G Dalton Risner, TE Noah Fant, DE Dre'Mont Jones, OL coach Mike Munchak.
IMPORTANT LOSSES: C Matt Paradis, QB Case Keenum, RT Jared Veldheer, NT Domata Peko, ILB Brandon Marshall, CB Bradley Roby, SS Darian Stewart.
CAMP NEEDS: Broncos need Munchak to work his magic on LT Garett Bolles, whose holding and footwork issues need to get fixed so that Flacco can stay upright. Denver also needs first-time offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello to find ways to get Fant and Lindsay ball through air to take pressure off young receiving corps as Sanders works his way back.
EXPECTATIONS: Elway has gone from "No Plan-B" with Peyton Manning to "day to day," refusing to publicly divulge his expectations with Flacco under center and Fangio on sideline. Denver remains way behind Chiefs and Chargers in AFC West, so 8-8 would represent stop-bleeding sort of progress.
OAKLAND RAIDERS (4-12)
OPEN CAMP: July 27, Napa, California
LAST YEAR: Jon Gruden's first season back in Oakland was a disappointment. Star edge rusher Khalil Mack was traded before season following contract holdout and top receiver Amari Cooper was dealt in October. Defense never made up for Mack's absence and offense had few playmakers and provided little protection for QB Derek Carr. Result was first last-place finish since 2014.
IMPORTANT ADDITIONS: WRs Antonio Brown, Ryan Grant and Tyrell Williams, T Trent Brown, DEs Clelin Ferrell and Benson Mayowa, RB Josh Jacobs, Ss Lamarcus Joyner and Johnathan Abram, CB Trayvon Mullen, OL Richie Incognito, LBs Vontaze Burfict and LB Brandon Marshall.
IMPORTANT LOSSES: TEs Lee Smith and Jared Cook, RB Marshawn Lynch, WRs Seth Roberts and Jordy Nelson, OL Kelechi Osemele, DBs Rashaan Melvin, DB Marcus Gilchrist and DB Reggie Nelson, DL Frostee Rucker, T Donald Penn.
CAMP NEEDS: Big-ticket offensive additions in free agency period and draft have that side of ball mostly set heading into camp. Finding best combination on defense will be task this summer. Ferrell being counted on as three-down lineman to be strong vs. run and provide needed pass rush for team with NFL-low 13 sacks in 2018. Finding end to play opposite Ferrell and figuring out best combinations at safety, linebacker will be paramount.
EXPECTATIONS: Raiders looking for positive send-off in final season in Oakland before planned move to Las Vegas. Competing in tough AFC West with Chiefs and Chargers will be difficult. But offense should be more dynamic with Brown and Williams out wide, Jacobs as main running back and Carr in second season in Gruden's system. Success will depend on 2018 first-round LT Kolton Miller giving Carr time to throw, and defense taking major step forward behind young DLs Ferrell, Maurice Hurst and P.J. Hall, and improved secondary led by CB Gareon Conley.
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