From quarterback controversies to replacement officials, five story lines to watch as preseason games begin
1 How long will it take Peyton Manning to become one with his wideouts in Denver?
Manning had great timing with his receivers in Indy, but his new corps includes Demaryius Thomas, a big downfield threat not known for running precise routes. The Broncos' talented backs will help: If defenses are forced to play a safety in the box to counter the ground threat, it could create more one-on-one matchups on the outside, which means a larger window to throw in to.
2 Will the Mark Sanchez--Tim Tebow coverage become a distraction for the Jets?
Sanchez (6) will always look better than Tebow in practices, but what happens if Tebow performs well in preseason games? The New York media have never met a controversy they didn't like—or one they couldn't manufacture—and this one already is dominating back pages.
3 What will the 49ers get from Randy Moss?
The big-play wideout is returning after a one-year retirement that was preceded by the worst season of his career. The Niners are already a front-runner to reach the Super Bowl because of their elite defense and special teams. The running game will become even more dangerous if opponents have to keep a safety deep in coverage to account for Moss.
4 Who will win the starting QB jobs in Arizona, Seattle, Miami and Jacksonville?
Will it be Kevin Kolb or John Skelton in Arizona? Tarvaris Jackson, Matt Flynn or Russell Wilson in Seattle? Blaine Gabbert or Chad Henne in Jacksonville? David Garrard, Matt Moore or Ryan Tannehill in Miami? Rookie first-round pick Tannehill (left) was slated to be the No. 3, but he was better than expected early on and could make things interesting with a strong preseason.
5 How will replacement officials fare during the preseason?