The Lions start camp first on July 24.
CHICAGO BEARS (12-5)
OPEN CAMP: July 26, Bourbonnais, Illinois
LAST YEAR: In his first year, coach Matt Nagy took Bears to playoffs for first time since 2010 with NFC North title. Linebacker Khalil Mack, safety Eddie Jackson and lineman Akiem Hicks led NFL's top scoring defense. Nagy's creative play calling contributed, but offense ranked only 21st. Quarterback Mitchell Trubisky improved drastically over his rookie year, but was inconsistent. Ground attack was also spotty, leading to trade of RB Jordan Howard. Season ended on Cody Parkey's double-doink field goal miss vs. Eagles, and Parkey was cut.
IMPORTANT ADDITIONS: S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, DB Buster Skrine, WR/KR Cordarrelle Patterson, RB David Montgomery, RB Mike Davis, K Eddie Pineiro, defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano.
IMPORTANT LOSSES: S Adrian Amos, DB Bryce Callahan, RB Howard, WR Josh Bellamy, K Parkey, defensive coordinator Vic Fangio.
CAMP NEEDS: Trubisky has to make fewer risky throws and expand knowledge of Nagy's offense. Either Montgomery or Davis must win starting running back job because Tarik Cohen is Mr. Excitement, but not every-down runner. Pagano's scheme changes need to take hold. Above all, kicker must be identified between Pineiro and Elliott Fry following massive kicker search.
EXPECTATIONS: Chicago is going for first back-to-back playoff berths since 2005-06, and Nagy's high-energy approach has Bears moving in right direction. Mack had 12 ½ sacks and should benefit from training camp after missing it last year while holding out before being traded by Raiders. Bears led NFL at forcing turnovers, but duplicating that will be tough. So they may need more production from wide receiver Allen Robinson, who had slow start while getting beyond previous anterior cruciate ligament tear.
GREEN BAY PACKERS (6-9-1)
OPEN CAMP: July 25, Green Bay, Wisconsin.
LAST YEAR: Packers' 2018 campaign was defined by friction between star quarterback and embattled coach. Mike McCarthy was fired after loss to lowly Arizona dropped Green Bay to 4-7-1. Packers split final four games and finished with worst record in more than decade. Aaron Rodgers threw only two interceptions and compiled second-most passing yards in 11 years as starter. But his 25 touchdown passes were fewest of career when he's played all 16 games. That total was due in part to WR Randall Cobb, now with Dallas, being sidelined for large part of season with hamstring injury.
IMPORTANT ADDITIONS: Coach Matt LaFleur, offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, quarterbacks coach Luke Getsy, offensive line coach Adam Stenavich, OL Billy Turner, OLBs Za'Darius Smith, Preston Smith and Rashan Gary, Ss Adrian Amos and Darnell Savage, CB Ka'dar Holloman, RB Dexter Williams.
IMPORTANT LOSSES: McCarthy, Cobb, OLB Clay Matthews, FB John Kuhn, LB Nick Perry.
CAMP NEEDS: Packers need ambitious LaFleur and headstrong Rodgers to build bond within LaFleur's offense. Green Bay also needs Gary to show why he was 12th overall pick and develop into force to form premium pass-rush personnel package with Za'Darius Smith and Preston Smith.
EXPECTATIONS: As long as Rodgers is healthy and under center, expectations for Green Bay will be high. But height of those expectations for this season depends on how well Rodgers and LaFleur jell. Packers have missed playoffs in each of last two seasons. Last time they were postseason spectators for three straight years, Rodgers was in diapers.
MINNESOTA VIKINGS (8-7-1)
OPEN CAMP: July 26, Eagan, Minnesota
LAST YEAR: Stumbled underneath weight of Super Bowl goal they carried with expensive new QB Kirk Cousins into 2018, following trip to NFC championship game previous year. Won just one of seven games against teams that made playoffs, including home loss in finale to rival Bears to miss postseason for third time in five years under coach Mike Zimmer. Fell from 10th in NFL in scoring to 19th, with kicking trouble partly to blame. Rookie Daniel Carlson was dumped after three missed field goals cost team victory over Packers in tie on road in Week 2, with Dan Bailey now on duty. Offensive line failed to help running game get going and keep Cousins upright, though he made share of mistakes in tense season that led to firing of offensive coordinator John DeFilippo before end of first year.
IMPORTANT ADDITIONS: C Garrett Bradbury, RG Josh Kline, DT Shamar Stephen, TE Irv Smith Jr., RB Alexander Mattison, WR Jordan Taylor, assistant head coach/offensive adviser Gary Kubiak.
IMPORTANT LOSSES: DTs Sheldon Richardson and Tom Johnson, RB Latavius Murray, RG Mike Remmers, PR Marcus Sherels, SS Andrew Sendejo, WR Aldrick Robinson.
CAMP NEEDS: Establish continuity and confidence up front, with rookie Bradbury anchoring line and Pat Elflein shifting from C to LG. Identify reliable No. 3 WR behind Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs, with under-radar free agent signing Taylor emerging in pack that includes so-far-failed 2016 first-round draft pick Laquon Treadwell. Get Bailey, league's fifth-most accurate FG kicker of all time, back on track. Decide on third-rounder Mattison or returnee Ameer Abdullah as reliable backfield complement to RB Dalvin Cook in light of Murray's departure.
EXPECTATIONS: Though Zimmer recently had contract option exercised to be on books through 2020, failure to return to playoffs, or perhaps even advance in postseason, could mean end of 63-year-old's run in Minnesota. Cousins enters critical second season of fully guaranteed $84 million contract, determined to better slightly less than-.500 career record. Committing new money to stalwarts LB Anthony Barr, Thielen and TE Kyle Rudolph, on top of megadeals doled out in 2018 to Cousins, Diggs, DE Danielle Hunter and LB Eric Kendricks, has pushed team even harder against salary cap and further cemented aggressive approach to securing franchise's elusive first championship.
DETROIT LIONS (6-10)
OPEN CAMP: July 24, Allen Park, Michigan
LAST YEAR: First-year coach Matt Patricia lost seven of last 10 games, saddling franchise with double digits in losses for first time since 2012. Rookie running back Kerryon Johnson provided desperately needed production, but he and WR Marvin Jones had season-ending knee injuries to hurt offense that never recovered from trading receiver Golden Tate. Detroit made move that worked out during season, acquiring run-stuffing defensive tackle Damon "Snacks" Harrison.
IMPORTANT ADDITIONS: DE Trey Flowers, WRs Jermaine Kearse and Danny Amendola, TEs T.J. Hockenson and Jesse James, RB C.J. Anderson, OL Oday Aboushi, S Andrew Adams, CBs Marcus Cooper, Justin Coleman and Rashaan Melvin.
IMPORTANT LOSSES: S Glover Quin, DE Ezekiel Ansah, DT Ricky Jean Francois, OG T.J. Lang, CB Nevin Lawson, RB LeGarrette Blount, TEs Michael Roberts, Levine Toilolo and Luke Willson, WRs TJ Jones and Bruce Ellington, LB Trevor Bates.
CAMP NEEDS: QB Matthew Stafford must learn new system led by first-year offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell. Run game needs to take another step after improving to 23rd in league following a string of finishing at or near bottom of NFL in rushing. Patricia's challenge in second camp includes helping defense, which ranked 31st in takeaways, figure out how to generate more turnovers.
EXPECTATIONS: Finishing at or around .500 seems realistic and postseason appearance would register as surprise outside organization. Stafford, No. 1 pick overall in 2009, has not been on a team good enough to consistently beat opponents with winning records — and this season probably won't be exception.
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