Planning ahead in a sport with such a high injury rate is more than difficult: It's impossible. The best coaches and general managers are able to win on scheme, culture and depth more than anything else, but that doesn't stop a team from having a vision to start the new year.
Unfortunately as we approach training camp, there are already more than a few teams that have gone off the rails. Is it too late for them to recover? Of course not.
Should they be a little concerned? Absolutely.
Here are our four teams that haven't seen much go according to plan thus far in 2015:
1. San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers have endured quite possibly the most painful offseason in modern NFL history. Two of their best defensive players, Chris Borland and Patrick Willis, retired. Willis was rounding out his prime years, while Borland just finished a more-than-promising rookie campaign. Oh, and then star right tackle Anthony Davis retired at 25, which was followed by veteran defensive end Justin Smith, quite possibly one of the only experienced players who could have held San Francisco together amid all the stress. Frank Gore, another veteran leader on Smith's level, bolted for Indianapolis, a move that will encourage the 49ers to dip into a promising young core of backs but also force them to find new leaders. The chain of explosive news was set off by a bitter divorce between the team and coach Jim Harbaugh, who is now the head coach at the University of Michigan. Almost overnight, a roster overstocked with talent will have to find a way to survive in an increasingly brutal NFC West.
2. New York Giants
The drafting of mammoth offensive tackle Ereck Flowers seemed like a brilliant move and was followed by a smooth trade at the opening of the second round for safety Landon Collins. A week later, though, starting left tackle Will Beatty sustained a significant injury, which forced Flowers into a left tackle role he might not be ready for. The team went from having almost all first- and second-round picks across the board (Justin Pugh moving to guard and Weston Richburg rotating back in at center) to likely starting Marshall Newhouse at right tackle on opening day. Of course, that was nothing compared to the firestorm that currently surrounds star pass rusher Jason Pierre-Paul, who had his right index finger amputated following a July 4 fireworks accident. He sustained a broken thumb as well. All the while, the team has had no contact with its best defensive player and have yet to get him to sign the franchise tag. For a team desperately trying to reclaim its status atop the NFC East, this is nothing but miserable news.
3. Oakland Raiders
The team did an excellent job of compiling salary cap space for a spending spree but ended up whiffing on most of its big-time targets. Despite an upgrade at head coach and a more-than-solid draft, Oakland was hoping to look a little differently coming into the 2015 season. Still, compared to some of the other teams on this list, the beginning of a new season hasn't been nearly the couch fire that some other clubs have seen.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars
Like the Raiders, the Jags loaded up on space and wanted to go big. After a rigorous free agency period, they only ended up with three of their top five targets, missing out on Randall Cobb and Devin McCourty. They also forked over a hefty salary to linebacker Dan Skuta, who inked a deal worth more than $20 million. The biggest blow, however, came when first-round pick Dante Fowler tore his ACL weeks after the draft. Gus Bradley had planned a lot more for his defense than just Jared Odrick.