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This week we’re whipping around every NFL camp with the key details. It might be a little dense, but with so much happening around the league we have no option but to try to keep up.
A couple receivers signed massive contracts.
The Pats have the weirdest coaching staff structure in the history of the NFL.
Dan Campbell got his kneecap bit.
A couple of AFC West holdouts.
Nobody loves the Washington Commanders.
And, the preseason will start with the Hall of Fame Game on Thursday when the Jaguars take on the Raiders in Canton, Ohio. Don’t be shocked when virtually nobody you’ve heard of takes the field. And don’t forget to bet the under.
Here’s what’s up across the NFL…
Arizona Cardinals – The talk of the NFL world last week was a clause in Kyler Murray’s new contract that mandated he study at least four hours per week on his own. This week, the Cardinals took that clause out of the contract.
The contract also includes a clause that prohibits him from playing baseball. Murray was a top-notch prospect and a first-round draft pick of the Oakland A’s. When asked about the clause, Arizona’s GM Steve Keim pointed out that Murray will make $46 million per year from the cardinals and the entire A’s payroll was $47 million on opening day.
Murray took a day off for wrist discomfort and now has covid, which will keep him out for five more days.
Isaiah Simmons is playing the nickel spot instead of a true linebacker position on passing downs.
Also, J.J. Watt doesn’t seem thrilled to have a day off.
Atlanta Falcons – The Falcons named Marcus Mariota their starting quarterback after just one training camp practice. He was 15-for-15 passing the ball that day.
Baltimore Ravens – The biggest story out of Baltimore is Lamar Jackson showing up to camp at 230 pounds. That’s a big number. It’s worth remembering he was 216 pounds at the combine back in 2018. He also said that he doesn’t plan on negotiating a new contract during the season. Sounds like it’s either on the way soon or won’t be happening until the offseason.
Offensive coordinator Greg Roman says he’s never seen Jackson throw the ball as well as he has the last week. I guess tweaking the throwing motion in the offseason paid off.
A clip of safety Kyle Hamilton, the 14th pick in this year’s draft, getting absolutely torched by an undrafted free agent in one-on-ones went viral this week. Very tough look for the 21-year-old.
Buffalo Bills – Josh Allen is out here playing fullback. (Not literally.)
Personally, I’d wrap my franchise quarterback in bubble wrap during training camp but what do I know?
Carolina Panthers – The Panthers are letting their two quarterbacks, Baker Mayfield and Sam Darnold, alternate days with the starting offense.
On Day 1, Darnold worked with the starters and he torched Mayfield.
Mayfield bounced back, finding DJ Moore for multiple touchdowns on Day 2.
Chicago Bears – Roquan Smith may have held out of camp as he tries to secure a contract extension but the team put him on the PUP list before he had the chance.
And the Justin Fields-N’Keal Harry connection is off to a great start.
Cincinnati Bengals – All-Pro safety Jessie Bates is holding out of camp. That’s not ideal for a team coming off a Super Bowl appearance.
Joe Burrow needed his appendix removed just before camp but he’s back practicing now.
Cleveland Browns – So… the NFL screwed up again.
Six games for DeShaun Watson. WTF.
Dallas Cowboys – Newly-acquired wide receiver James Washington was carted off the practiced field after breaking his foot. He’ll be out 6-10 weeks, leaving the Cowboys even shallower at a position that used to be their strength. Michael Gallup will also be unavailable at the start of the season as he recovers from an ACL injury.
Meanwhile, Jerry Jones is making a loud push for Ezekiel Elliott to be the team’s featured back.
Denver Broncos – You’ve probably heard, but Tim Patrick tore his ACL on Tuesday. That’s a big blow for unit that just went from very deep to pretty shallow. Jerry Jeudy and KJ Hamler need to step up. Rookie Montrell Washington has made a play per practice, too.
Before Tuesday, the massive storyline was Pat Surtain II demolishing anything in his way. He could be the league’s best cornerback this season. That sounds crazy but it’s so easy to imagine when you watch him play.
Quinn Meinerz appears to be winning the competition for right guard, but it’s tough to say for sure. Netane Muti could still be right on his heels. The right tackle battle hasn’t gotten off the ground yet. Calvin Anderson won’t have competition until Billy Turner or Tom Compton gets off the PUP list.
Detroit Lions – Early reports on second-overall-pick Aidan Hutchinson are resoundingly positive.
Meanwhile, Dan Campbell is leaning into being Dan Campbell.
Green Bay Packers – Last week wide receiver Davante Adams said the transition from Green Bay to Vegas has been easy since he’s moving from Hall of Fame quarterback to another.
This week, Aaron Rodgers was asked about wide receiver Allen Lazard’s ability to replace Adams.
His answer: “It’s always tough going from Hall of Famer to Hall of Famer.”
He dressed as a Nic Cage character on the first day of practice, too.
By the way, fourth-round wide receiver Romeo Doubs has been the story of Packer camp. He’s an undersized burner but don’t be surprised if he’s one of the top rookie receivers this year, based on early reports.
Houston Texans – Cornerback Derek Stingley, the third-overall pick in this year’s draft, is on-track to play Week 1.
And they worked out Jonathan Greenard? And Davis Mills acknowledged he has a long neck?
I don’t know. It’s the Texans. There isn’t much going on.
Indianapolis Colts – Practices are flying by in Indy, where Matt Ryan is pushing the pace. Mike Sando of The Athletic wrote last week that the Colts were trying hard to move on from previous quarterback Carson Wentz, according to an anonymous NFL executive.
“They were telling us they would prefer anyone over him,” the executive said.
Sure Ryan is ancient at this point, but maybe this is a bigger quarterback upgrade than we’ve been giving the Colts credit for.
Oh, and Stephon Gilmore has been as nasty as you’d expect. He’s thriving in a pure press-man scheme.
Also, Darius Leonard wants to go by Shaquille Leonard, which is what his friends and family have always called him.
Jacksonville Jaguars – The Jags won’t play Trevor Lawrence when they take the field to open the preseason in the Hall of Fame Game.
Running back Travis Etienne has garnered rave reviews in camp. He missed his rookie season last year but the former first-round pick has the tools to be one of the league’s most electric backs. He won’t play on Thursday either.
Pass rusher Josh Allen threw some shade at previous Jags head coach Urban Meyer while he was praising new head coach Doug Pederson.
“Man, it feels good to be a part of a professional locker room.”
Just as I was starting to consider the scariest thought in pro sports—I think I’m buying the Jacksonville Jaguars hype—I saw this very Jacksonville Jaguars tweet:
Don’t forget to pray for Trevor Lawrence when you go to bed at night. He doesn’t deserve this.
Kansas City Chiefs – Star tackle Orlando Brown held out of the first week of Chiefs camp but reported on Monday and plans to play under the franchise tag.
The Chiefs also picked up Carlos Dunlap, a two-time Pro Bowl defensive lineman who has averaged more than seven sacks per season in his 13-year career.
Justyn Ross, the most-hyped undrafted free agent this season, will spend the season on injured reserve instead of competing for snaps at wide receiver. It sounds like JuJu Smith-Schuster is off to a hot start though.
Las Vegas Raiders – The Davante Adams-Hunter Renfrow combo has lived up to the hype so far in camp. That’s scary for the rest of the division but could point to a weakness in the Raider secondary. Backup tight end Foster Moreau has made some plays too.
And Josh McDaniels is still Josh McDaniels…
Los Angeles Chargers – The Chargers have some drama. Star safety Derwin James reported to camp but is not practicing, which we call a “hold-in.” He wants a new deal and won’t play until he has one.
Isaiah Spiller is the only running back taking first-team reps other than Austin Ekeler. This isn’t huge news or a huge surprise but it is an opportunity for me to once again remind you that this man is going to be the bane of Broncos’ fans existence someday soon.
Los Angeles Rams – Allen Robinson finally has a quarterback, and the results are what you’d expect.
The Pro Bowl receiver has caught balls from Blake Bortles, Mitch Trubisky, Chase Daniel, Nick Foles, Andy Dalton, and Justin Fields in the past but is now paired with Matthew Stafford in a high-powered offense. I just took Robinson to surpass 825 receiving yards this season at even odds.
Another receiver, Robert Woods, is hoping to be back by Week 1 as he recovers from a torn ACL.
Aaron Donald caught some heat for practicing a neck punch team on a teammate.
I’ve got two thoughts: 1. This is a real move and it makes sense to practice your moves during training camp. 2. Maybe use a tackling dummy or something instead of a rookie.
And Sean McVay is campaigning to bring back OBJ.
Miami Dolphins – I know I said I was bored of the Dolphins storylines last week, but I’m bought back in. Jaylen Waddle and Tyreek Hill have performed as advertised and, obviously, that means Tu’a Tagovailoa is hot. (And I still think the defense will be the team’s strength.)
I’m not ready to buy into the Raheem Mostert hype yet, but his speed could play up when combined with the rest of the speed in this offense.
Minnesota Vikings – Vikings GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah didn’t hold back when talking to USA Today about quarterback Kirk Cousins, who he extended for an extra year through 2023 in exchange for $35 million. He called Cousins a good quarterback, but said the Vikings don’t have a Tom Brady or a Patrick Mahomes.
“The one asset where you get nervous about not burning it down is quarterback.”
Star wide receiver Justin Jefferson said he isn’t concerned that Cousins didn’t want to attend the workouts the Minnesota wide receivers set up in Florida.
“He’s a family guy, so he likes to be with his family in the offseason and stuff.”
New England Patriots – Why is everything in New England always so weird?
The Patriots have opted to not name offensive or defensive coordinators this season.
“We’re not really big on titles and all that,” head coach Bill Belichick said. “It’s important that we all work together and create a good final product. That’s what we’re going to try to do. That’s what we’ve always done.”
Belichick, meanwhile, hasn’t spent much time with the defense at all, according to cornerback Malcom Butler. Matt Patricia, who spent a dozen seasons as a defensive coach with the Patriots before spending three as the head coach of the Lions, is back after his firing and is, apparently, running the offense with Belichick. Joe Judge, who was recently fired by the Giants, is also around.
We don’t know who the play-caller will be, it was Patricia on Day 1 of camp, but what we do know is that this is all weird as hell and will probably work out because everything always does for the Patriots.
Also, Mac Jones and Devante Parker have created a nasty combination.
New Orleans Saints – Michael Thomas is back in practice and he seems to be combining well with rookie wide receiver Chris Olave. More importantly, Jameis Winston has been able to get the ball to them. He’s been the first player on the field at every practice.
New York Giants – Jimmy Garoppolo’s people were reportedly talking with the Giants about a potential deal. Now the Giants are reportedly uninterested in Garoppolo.
Second-year defensive back Darnay Holmes intercepted Daniel Jones three times in the first five practices of Giants camp. Jones had his best day on Tuesday, which isn’t saying much.
Wide receiver Kadarius Toney, a first-round pick in 2021, has made some plays, too.
New York Jets – Mekhi Becton, a first-round draft pick last year, is moving to right tackle this season after starting at left tackle before an injury ended his rookie season.
Robby Anderson now wants to be known as Robbie Anderson.
The Jets signed Pro Bowl linebacker Kwon Alexander. They’ll still be bad.
Philadelphia Eagles – The story in Philly was supposed to be Jalen Hurts’ offense but rookie defensive tackle Jordan Davis has stolen the show. At 6-foot-6 and 336 pounds, Davis always stands out but he’s been a game-wrecker so far for the Eagles.
The Eagles are also fully bought in on Miles Sanders as their No. 1 running back.
Oh, and Gardner Minshew spent the summer living in a prison bus.
Pittsburgh Steelers – We’ve got two notes here: First, Mitchell Trubisky is an overwhelming favorite to be the Steelers’ starting quarterback.
Second, rookie wide receiver George Pickens is wrecking camp. Pickens was a star receiver at Gerogia but only played four games last season as he recovered from a torn ACL, so he slipped to the late second round. The man is going to be a monster.
Also, safety Minkah Fitzpatrick is on the PUP list after falling off his bike.
San Francisco 49ers – Drama is stirring up in The Bay. The 49ers have told Jimmy Garoppolo and the media that Trey Lance is the team’s quarterback. Meanwhile, Lance hasn’t exactly inspired confidence with his performance. The big plays are there. So are some brutal mistakes. We shouldn’t be surprised given his lack of experience.
The good news is he seems to be improving every day, and how could you not day-dream after seeing this throw:
The biggest news out of 49ers camp is an extension for wide receiver Deebo Samuel. He’ll make $71.6 million over three years.
Defensive lineman Erik Armstead sprained his MCL during practice. He’ll miss a few weeks, which is notable since the Broncos play San Francisco in Week 3.
Seattle Seahawks – Speaking of big deals for receiver, D.K. Metcalf just signed a three-year, $72 million deal. Signing on to the Seattle passing game is a bold decision but with that kind of money in his pocket, it’s tough to see Metcalf having regrets.
Running back Chris Carson retired because of a neck injury, leaving Rashaad Penny and Kenneth Walker as potential starters.
Head coach Pete Carroll is currently missing practice with covid.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Bucs camp has been jam-packed with news. Tampa added tight end Kyle Rudolph and wide receiver Julio Jones, a pair of veteran weapons for Tom Brady. They also lost center Ryan Jensen to a knee injury, which will keep him out at least a couple of months and maybe the entire season. After losing guard Alex Cappa in free agency, the interior of Tampa’s line is a question mark at best.
And on Tuesday, star tackle Tristan Wirfs went down with an apparent knee injury. Tampa is fearing the worst.
Why is Julio wearing No. 85 though? It just looks wrong.
Russell Gage, a 26-year-old wide receiver, has been the star of the show so far.
Tennessee Titans – Rookie corner Roger McCreary is looking sharp. Not much going on.
Here’s a cute video of Derrick Henry and his daughter.
Washington Commanders – Our old friend Nicki Jhabvala tweeted a couple of pictures from opening day of Commanders camp, and it’s a tough look for Washington.
Chase Young won’t be back for Week 1.
Russell Wilson set the internet on fire with his “Broncos Country, Let’s Ride” shoot.
In case you missed, or in case you haven’t seen it in a few weeks, here’s a look:
Since then, college football programs across the nation have held their media days and a lot of quarterbacks are following in Wilson’s footsteps.
We’re counting down the best Russ imitations we’ve seen so far…
5. Spencer Rattler — South Carolina
Rattler doesn’t change up the inflection enough. The takes are hardly different from each other.
4. JT Daniels — West Virginia
Daniels nails the inflection, but his posture isn’t quite right. He’s a little too stiff.
3. Taulia Tagovailoa — Maryland
Tua’a’s little brother did some solid work. A couple of the takes in the middle ran together, but he tried a few different cadences and the vibe was almost spot on. Lose the serial killer look and we’ve got a winner here.
2. Quinn Vaughn — North Dakota
Short. Sweet. Right vibe. Right tones. Maybe just a little bit rushed with the delivery.
(We aren’t holding the setup against him. Camera technology in North Dakota will catch up soon.)
1. Matt McDonald — Bowling Green
I want to hold changing “let’s ride” to “let’s fly” against him, but this is pretty spot on.
Congrats on first place.
A lot has been going on on the field in Dove Valley, but there are a few non-football notes that we haven’t touched on yet on the website…
KJ reaches out
I wrote about K.J. Hamler’s battle back from depression but I didn’t include his new role as the guy who reaches out to injured teammates.
“I’ll for sure be that person,” he said. “You need somebody at that time. You don’t need to always be alone. You don’t need to always isolate yourself.”
When Tim Patrick went down on Tuesday, Hamler jumped into action. Just a few minutes after Patrick went to the locker room, Hamler left the field to join him. After practice, Hamler said they prayed together while he was in there.
Joe Schobert works out
The Broncos brought Pro Bowl linebacker Joe Schobert in for a workout on Saturday, but Schobert does not have a deal… at least not yet.
Schobert, a fourth-round pick out of Wisconsin in 2016, built his brand as one of the league’s top cover linebackers. He’s also posted at least 100 tackles in each of the last five seasons, while averaging more than 125 per year. His 144 tackles in 2017 led the NFL and helped him become the only Pro Bowler for the Cleveland Browns.
Last season he was traded to the Steelers and wasn’t himself. He played about 84% of the team’s snaps, the first time he didn’t push 100% since his rookie season, and was only mediocre as a cover man. The Steelers released him to save $8 million against the cap this offseason.
Just two years removed from signing a 5-year, $53.75 million contract, the 28-year-old should have plenty left in the tank. If the Broncos decide they need help at inside linebacker, don’t be surprised if Schobert is at the top of the list of options.
Russell Wilson rolled up to Broncos camp in an absolute monster of a truck.
This thing is unbelievable.
I don’t have much to say here, other than I don’t think Wilson has ever needed a truck that big.
Wilson’s wife, the pop star Ciara, has been at every one of the Broncos’ practices.
She and her kids show up a few minutes before practice starts with an entourage. On Tuesday, that entourage was seven members deep, not counting the Wilsons. They watch practice from their own tent in the family seating area on the south side of the practice field and then join Russell on the field once practice concludes to throw a ball around and hang out for a half hour or so. Then, Russell takes a lap in front of the fans to sign autographs.
Tweet of the Week
Why is Marlon Humphrey wearing a hoodie in the hot tub?
Comments of the Week
Goodbye, July. I am really looking forward to the rhythm of the season.BroncosOnly, 4 points for being nice to me
Henry, I love your food ratings for practice. A steak with no sides one day, pork chops the next.
With all the flare Zac and RK have for food, you keep it simple. My crew and I eat our pregame meals at Texas Roadhouse in Northfield.
I’d trade it all for some more touchdowns
Well, well, well… we can’t keep meeting like this Henry. More points please. (great article btw)Cullin’ for Mullens, 3 points for abusing the system smartly
7 pts – Cullin’ for Mullens
6 pts – BroncosOnly
3 pts – BroncoAggie24