Plenty of reasons for optimism

Editor's note: PFW breaks down each team heading into training camp and gives a reason for optimism. In addition to the reasons for optimism, you can click on the links below to see each team's most significant change, cause for concern and training camp battle to watch.

AFC East

Reasons for optimism: The new regime has breathed new life into veterans like
Drew Bledsoe and Eric Moulds. The hiring of ace offensive line coach Jim McNally has
bolstered a blocking unit that underachieved in 2003. Plus, the addition of
rookie wide receiver Lee Evans is expected to fill a desperate need for speed that was
sorely lacking last year. More on Bills camp.

Reason for optimism: David Boston has shown signs of returning to his Pro Bowl
form, while Chris Chambers is out to prove he's one of the NFL's elite receivers.
Whichever quarterback emerges as the starter will have a gifted receiving
corps at his disposal. More on Dolphins camp.

Reason for optimism: Nearly all of the principals from last year's Super Bowl
team are back, including Super Bowl MVP Tom Brady; star coordinators Charlie
Weis and Romeo Crennel, who surprisingly failed to land head-coaching jobs;
and formerly disgruntled cornerback Ty Law, who apparently made amends with
management in the spring. More on Patriots camp.

Reasons for optimism: Wide receiver Justin McCareins gives the Jets the big, fast
receiving target that they lacked last year. With McCareins paired up with
Santana Moss, New York now has an explosive WR duo. Plus, star quarterback Chad Pennington, is healthy and poised for a big season. More on Jets camp.

AFC North

Reason for optimism: The league's third-best defense a season ago remains largely intact with linebacker Ray Lewis still leading the way. In fact, the defense is so strong that it could carry the team deep into the playoffs. More on Ravens camp

Reason for optimism: The Bengals are a much more talented team on both sides
of the ball than they had been for some time. Head coach Marvin Lewis
oversaw a turnaround from 2-14 in 2002 to 8-8 a season ago; finally, Bengals
fans are seeing a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. More on Bengals camp

Reasons for optimism: The offense has been bolstered by Jeff Garcia and rookie tight end
Kellen Winslow and has a pair of capable tailbacks (Lee Suggs and William Green). The other side of the ball lacks playmakers but generally holds its
own. The Browns adapted well to defensive coordinator Dave Campo's scheme in
2003. More on Browns camp

Reason for optimism: LeBeau's return should bolster the defense, which should
feature its fastest secondary in some time now that Chris Hope and Troy Polamalu are the starting safeties, and young Ricardo Colclough and Ike Taylor will see time at cornerback. More on Steelers camp

AFC South

Reason for optimism: A defense that lacked depth a season ago and finished
next-to-last overall received an infusion of talent in the offseason. Former
Titans defensive tackle Robaire Smith was signed to play defensive end in the 3-4.
Dunta Robinson and fellow first-round pick Jason Babin, an outside linebacker,
have the talent to be successful from the start. Former Vikings cornerback Eric Kelly will provide depth in the secondary. More on Texans camp

Reasons for optimism: The Colts have everyone back on offense, including
contract-year candidates Marvin Harrison and Edgerrin James. Defensive end Dwight Freeney didn't have the great season he is capable of, and the additions of
safety Bob Sanders and linebckers Gilbert Gardner and Kendyll Pope provide more team
speed on defense. More on Colts camp

Reasons for optimism: Head coach Jack Del Rio and quarterback Byron Leftwich are no
longer rookies. In Year 2 of the Del Rio era, there are many reasons --
from its talented defensive tackle duo to running back Fred Taylor -- to think Jacksonville will make
life difficult for foes in the AFC South. Also, wide receiver Jimmy Smith is in the
best shape of his career. More on Jaguars camp

Reasons for optimism: The Titans appear to have weathered what could have
been a major salary-cap-related storm this offseason, despite the losses of
Jevon Kearse and Robaire Smith. They locked up linebacker Keith Bulluck, tight end Erron Kinney and
backup quarterback Billy Volek and still have one of the best playmakers in the game
in quarterback Steve McNair, last season's Associated Press co-MVP winner, and a
solid supporting cast. More on Titans camp

AFC West

Reasons for optimism: Quarterback Jake Plummer looked sharp in his first year in
Denver, the Broncos have loads of running back depth and have also added Champ Bailey, strong safety
John Lynch, defensive end Raylee Johnson, defensive tackle Luther Elliss and first-round pick D.J.
Williams to a defense that finished fourth in the league in 2003. More on Broncos camp

Reason for optimism: Barring any surprising cuts, the Chiefs are set to
return 21 out of 22 starters from a squad that went 13-3 last season and
made the playoffs for the first time since 1997. The K.C. offense has
finished fifth, fourth and second, respectively, in the league over the last
three years. More on Chiefs camp

Reason for optimism: The Raiders, after a trying year, have reloaded with key
veteran acquisitions such as quarterback Kerry Collins, guard Ron Stone, defensive linemen Warren Sapp and Ted Washington and defensive backs Denard Walker and Ray Buchanan. With young talent
and an improved atmosphere, the Raiders are ready to put 2003 behind them. More on Raiders camp

Reason for optimism: LaDainian Tomlinson has proven capable of carrying the
offense without much help, and the Chargers are hoping they have the makings
of a balanced offense now with Philip Rivers. A young secondary is very talented
and should continue to make strides. More on Chargers camp