Posted by Matt Olson

Weekend Wrap-up and Monday Recap

July 7, 2023

NFC North

  • Irv Smith envisions a larger role in 2020. “I kind of got a good feel of the offense, everything the coaches are asking from me,” Smith said. “Now it’s just making that big jump in year two.”
  • Aaron Rodgers first “wow” throw of camp was to Allen Lazard, whose hype continues to grow. Lazard is the penciled in starter opposite Devante Adams.
  • Tyler Ervin has impressed in Packers camp. He’s on his way to becoming the part-time slot/full-time gadget guy in the Packers offense
  • AJ Dillon’s tree trunk legs were all the rage during the Packers first couple practices. He is just a big, well built dude. Evidence –
  • According to Beat Writers, the Packers offense looks light years ahead of where it was at this time last year.
  • Matt LaFleur on Jordan Love: “He’s very natural. There’s a lot to clean up right now. He’s a young quarterback that is learning a new system. Just how specific we are with the footwork, I think that takes time.”
  • Rookie WR Justin Jefferson is “exactly what we drafted,” Gary Kubiak said. Vikings have him with 2’s for now, in all spots. “When you sit there and talk routes and stuff, this kid’s very knowledgeable. He’s been coached by some good coaches before he got here. So he’s working.”
  • Lions signed Jonathan Williams
  • T.J. Hockenson is at practice and moving well, but says the ankle has been an issue for him this offseason. He notices it’s still not quite 100%, but he’s out there running around and trying to push forward.
  • Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones are still really good. Jones speared a long ball with one hand on the first play of 7 on 7s, Golladay skied for a beautiful TD in tight coverage along the back line of end zone
  • AJ Dillon has been getting a lot of work and has shown nice hands catching the ball.

NFC East

  • Mike McCarthy: “I think Blake (Jarwin) is going to make a real impact on our offense. …The ability to attack the middle of the field, in my view, is always critical to the passing game. …I’ve been so impressed with him and really the entire tight end group.”
  • The Cowboys coaching staff seem to have bigger plans for Tony Pollard
  • Ceedee Lamb seems to make a wow play every day. Has been as advertised in Cowboys practices. He consistently shows a natural feel for game. Already seems to have good grasp of offense, playing multiple receiver positions. Will see plenty of slot reps in 11 personnel, but he can work outside in that package, too.
  • Greg Ward has the inside track to be the starting slot receiver for the Eagles. He has exceeded expectations and built off his strong finish from last year.
  • Doug Pederson told Miles Sanders “You’re the guy this season”
  • JJ Arcega-Whiteside is sitting out right now
  • Ron Rivera said that RB Bryce Love has gotten more comfortable and confident each day he’s out there. “He actually did something the other day that I thought was reminiscent of when he was at Stanford.” 
  • Desean Jackson, Jalen Reagor, and Greg Ward were the starting WRs for the Eagles first padded practice.
  • Alshon Jeffery is sitting out
  • Miles Sanders looks “lightning quick”
  • Elijah Holyfield has also been impressive for the Eagles.
  • Corey Clement is looking the best he’s looked since 2017, running hard and catching everything
  • Dallas Goedert made the catch of the day at Eagles practice on Monday

NFC South

  • Curtis Samuel is showing out in camp again. So is DJ Moore.
  • Scotty Miller caught a nice bomb from Tom Brady, where he burnt the defense with his speed. He’s battling Justin Watson for the WR3 spot.
  • Dare Ogunbowale is the heaviest RB for the Bucs. Goal line back?
  • Tom Brady still has some arm strength, which has been on display.
  • Olamide Zaccheaus has made some impressive catches for the Falcons. 
  • Todd Gurley is running like he has something to prove
  • Julio Jones thinks Calvin Ridley will go over 1,000 yards.
  • Omar Bayless, Panthers rookie WR, keeps turning heads. He’s made several plays. Very raw WR from Arkansas State.

NFC West

  • Jerick McKinnon has been impressive as he returns from a lost 2019 season. His agility and route running are showing. None of the 49ers LBs could cover him during one-on-one drills.
  • Kyle Shanahan on Brandon Aiyuk: “We’ll see when we go watch the film, but I’ve been real impressed with him, just being around him. He was very impressive on the Zoom meetings, just his attention to detail.”
  • Aiyuk has been extremely impressive and smooth in practice thus far.
  • Trent Taylor is back, has had a very strong showing for the Niners
  • DK Metcalf is standing out in Seahawks camp. He’s only getting better and has developed a nice relationship with Russell Wilson.
  • Chris Carson is back at practice
  • DeAndre Hopkins hasn’t practiced due to a hamstring, but should be back soon.
  • Dante Pettis has looked good, but is still buried on the depth chart.
  • Kendrick Bourne has been the second best WR in Niners camp, behind Aiyuk.
  • Jalen Hurd suffered a torn ACL. Huge disappointment for him

AFC North

  • Jarvis Landry has looked good coming off hip surgery
  • Odell Beckham looks healthy. His speed isn’t really what stands out. It’s his cuts, changes of directions and ability to contort his body. He made a few really impressive catches in Sunday’s practice, but the most notable was working over the middle, going up for the ball
  • AJ Green is back and healthy, developing chemistry with Joe Burrow
  • Burrow’s arm has shown nice zip and accuracy.
  • Lamar Jackson was solid in throwing the ball in first open practice of the year. His best throw was 15 yards down the seam to Hollywood Brown.

AFC East

  • The first Jets touchdown of camp was a beautifully thrown bomb from Sam Darnold to Breshad Perriman
  • Jeff Thomas is getting some buzz at Pats camp (he did sit out practice on Monday). Thomas was the 5th ranked WR in the 2017 recruiting class.
  • Jamison Crowder called Chris Herndon the “X Factor” for the Jets passing game
  • Adam Gase on Herndon: “He’s our starting TE … Chris gives us a lot of flexibility … It’s rare to have a guy with the ability to be as effective as a pass catcher and a guy that’s explosive when he gets the ball in his hands, and still be an on-the-line TE that can block.” Herndon has lined up at slot receiver, outside receiver, and tight end already. He’s made some big catches and is getting rave reviews from both coaches and teammates.
  • Breshad Perriman called Sam Darnold a “receiver’s dream”
  • Denzel Mims continues to sit out valuable practice time
  • Mike Gesicki has looked good in the early parts of training camp.
  • Trevon Wesco, Jets TE, looks significantly larger than last year and has made a couple nice catches.
  • John Brown said Bills rookie WRs Gabe Davis and Isaiah Hodgins know the playbook better than anyone on that offense
  • Cam Newton, Jarrett Stidham and Brian Hoyer had a fairly equal share of reps during the training camp opener. Stidham was 14 of 15 with the lone incompletion on his last pass of the day deep to Harry. Newton was 10 of 11. Hoyer 11 of 15. Stidham was the most impressive QB on Monday by a slim margin.
  • Stefon Diggs has displayed his crisp route running, made contested catches, and has been getting consistent separation
  • Damien Harris dominated the backup defensive group, but he’s still behind Rex Burkhead.
  • Preston Williams is looking good coming off of ACL surgery. Caught several contested passes and appears to be moving without restriciton.
  • The 3rd WR battle in Miami will be something to keep an eye on. Jakeem Grant got off to a quick start, hauling in a 75-yard bomb from Rosen on team drills, as well as a long pass from Tua on 1-on-1 drills.
  • Tua Tagovailoa is being eased in on team drills, mostly handing off and throwing short passes.
  • Devin Asiasi has been getting significant reps at TE. It appears Asiasi and Dalton Keene will receive the most work at TE, with little competition. Asiasi is the favorite to start week 1.

AFC South

  • Gardner Minshew on Laviska Shenault: “Laviska is a freak, man. I knew it when we played him at Colorado. He’s a lot better route runner, a lot better at catching the ball than I even expected.
  • Minshew’s deep ball has been on target
  • Although he had a couple fumbles early on, Darrynton Evans has shown shiftiness and explosiveness. Should be a nice complement to Derrick Henry
  • Chris Conley has been impressed with Minshew taking some chances that he didn’t necessarily take last season.
  • DJ Chark has been one of the best players on the field all week, if not the overall best. He took his game to a new level last season, and so far it looks as if he is not satisfied with being complacent.
  • Devine Ozigbo had a lot of hyping going into the 2019 training camp that eventually fizzled out. The hype is back as “Ozigbo looks to have come to this year’s camp on a mission. He looked explosive downhill and in and out of his cuts on Sunday and it was hard not to be impressed by him in the admittedly limited showing”
  • Mason Kinsey, rookie WR for the Titans, is a end of the roster guy to watch. Has made several nice catches.
  • Kalif Raymond is another Titans WR to watch. He’s extremely fast and shifty. Hard for DBs to keep up with him.
  • Josh Oliver suffered a broken foot
  • Phillip Rivers targeted TY Hilton early and often
  • Kenny Stills passed his physical and is at practice for the Texans
  • Corey Davis has been taken off the PUP list.
  • Bill O’Brien on Kahale Warring: “Talented, dealt with some injuries early in his career. I see a good future for him. He works hard, really good guy to deal with”

AFC West

  • An under the radar name to watch at Chiefs camp – Jody Fortson – the WR has had some strong practices.
  • Lynn Bowden has been strictly working with the RBs at Raiders camp.
  • Phillip Lindsay has been putting on a pass catching clinic. He’s looking very good as a receiver out of the backfield
  • Jake Butt is moving well, but has a long way to go to make the roster.
  • Sammy Watkins has a strained groin
  • Derek Carr continues to look really good in Raiders camp. The ball is coming out decisively, he’s throwing to all levels of the field. There is a spirit and energy to his play
  • Patrick Mahomes is most impressed with Clyde Edwards-Helaire’s vision. Mahomes said CEH sees holes so well and in the passing game he finds the ball and spots easily.
  • Josh Jacobs is looking explosive/healthy
  • Tim Patrick is getting the bulk of the WR2 reps opposite Courtland Sutton for the Broncos
  • This KJ Hamler route –
  • Jerry Jeudy has gotten plenty of run with the ones. He continues to get open and make catches.
  • Bryan Edwards has also gotten plenty of first team reps for the Raiders.
  • Phillip Lindsay and Melvin Gordon have been targeted out of the backfield often
  • Drew Lock’s footwork looks improved, even under pressure.
  • Justin Herbert got his snaps with the third-team offense, while Tyrod Taylor and Easton Stick rotated with the first and second teams. The field was split into two halves. This doesn’t mean Stick is the backup. It was most likely a way to get Herbert as many snaps as possible, as he was the only quarterback on that half of the field. 
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