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2022 NFL Training Camp News, Notes and Live Updates

Jessie Bates

Sam Howell Taking Reps Against the First-Team Defense

After practice on Thursday, Head Coach Ron Rivera spoke to the media and talked about fifth-round pick Sam Howell getting reps against the first-team defense. Rivera said he’s “looking for how he handles it. Does he step up to the plate?”

Right Tackle Battle in Denver

The Denver Broncos have been trying to find an answer at their right tackle spot for what feels like the last several years. So far, it doesn’t appear like they are any closer to an answer than they were last year. Billy Turner, who many thought would slide right in at right tackle, has missed all of camp while recovering from injury. Tom Compton has also missed a significant amount of time with injury, so the team is rotating in Calvin Anderson and Cam Fleming at right tackle. Anderson has played one game at right tackle in the NFL and Fleming has struggled mightily at the spot as well.

Irv Smith Jr. On Track to Play Week One

Before joint practices began against the San Francisco 49ers on Thursday morning, the Minnesota Vikings head coach spoke to the media and said that fourth-year tight end Irv Smith Jr. is likely to play in week one after having thumb surgery at the beginning of August. This is great news for the Vikings, as Smith Jr. missed last season with a torn meniscus.

James Robinson Likely to Play Week One

The Jacksonville Jaguars new head coach Doug Pederson announced today that star running back James Robinson will likely be available for the team’s week one matchup with the Washington Commanders. Despite going undrafted in 2020, Robinson has been a reliable producer for the Jaguars, recording 1837 yards rushing and 18 total touchdowns in just two seasons.

WEDNESDAY, AUG. 17

Zach Wilson Could Return in 4-6 Weeks

New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson, who underwent knee surgery Tuesday, is in jeopardy of missing the team’s Sept. 11 regular-season opener against the Baltimore Ravens, The Athletic reported. The Jets are anticipating their quarterback to return in 4-6 weeks, a timeframe that would put a Week 1 start in doubt. If Wilson can’t go, veteran Joe Flacco will take his place.

Dr. Jess Flynn of The 33rd Team says only time will tell if this is going to be a longterm issue for Wilson, whose meniscus repair on Tuesday went according to plan. Flynn said she will be keeping an eye on two things once Wilson returns to game action: 1) Whether or not he plays with a brace, and 2) how comfortable he looks running around in the pocket.

Matthew Stafford Says He’s on Track for the Season

A day after going through a full workload in the Rams’ intrasquad scrimmage, quarterback Matthew Stafford said his right elbow feels “good” and he feels “right on track to be doing what I want to be doing.” Stafford has been dealing with some elbow soreness during training camp and the team has been trying to manage his pain since last season.

Justin Jefferson Shines During Joint Practice

The Vikings hosted the 49ers on Wednesday afternoon and there were plenty of standouts, the biggest of which was wide receiver Justin Jefferson. Going into his third season, Jefferson has set numerous records and blossomed into one of the top wide receivers in the game. Against the 49ers, he made numerous plays, none more impressive than having 49ers cornerback Deommondore Lenoir fall to the ground.

Mecole Hardman Carted off at Chiefs Practice

Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Mecole Hardman left practice after suffering an apparent groin injury. According to The Athletic, he was evaluated in the team’s medical tent after falling awkwardly during a red zone drill, then transported to the locker room on a cart.

A second-round pick out of Georgia in 2019, Hardman is projected to be a starting wide receiver for the Chiefs this upcoming season.

UPDATE: The groin injury Hardman suffered is not considered serious.

 

Another Fight at Patriots/Panthers Joint Practices

After a massive fight broke out Tuesday in Charlotte, it happened again and it didn’t take long for it to happen. On the first play of 11-on-11 drills, Christian McCaffrey took exception to a hit, threw the ball at a Patriots defender and a massive fight ensued. During Tuesday’s practice, five players were ejected for fighting, including Patriots WR Kendrick Bourne. The one constant across both days? Panthers defensive back Kenny Robinson was ejected.

TUESDAY, AUG. 16

Drew Lock Tests Positive for COVID-19

Seattle Seahawks QB Drew Lock has tested positive for COVID-19, according to a report from ESPN. He will miss this week’s preseason game against the Chicago Bears on Thursday. Lock is currently engaged in a QB battle with Geno Smith for the starting position in Seattle.

Raiders Trade Safety to Tennessee

The Las Vegas Raiders have traded second-year safety Tyree Gillespie to the Tennessee Titans for a conditional late-round pick.  Gillespie appeared in 12 games for the Raiders, primarily as a special teamer and recorded three tackles.

Patriots’ Secondary Takes Another Hit With Loss of CB Butler

On the same day the New England Patriots lost Joejuan Williams for the season with a shoulder injury, New England added another cornerback to Injured Reserve in Malcolm Butler. Butler came out of a one-season retirement to return to New England this year, the franchise for which he is best remembered playing for over his seven-year career. Butler was a one-time Pro Bowler and All-Pro in New England, where he played from 2014-2017, and made a goal-line interception against Russell Wilson and the Seahawks to help New England win Super Bowl XLIX.

Zach Wilson’s Surgery a Success

New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson’s arthroscopic knee surgery was deemed a success, according to Rich Cimini of ESPN. There were no complications and he’ll be on the road to recovery soon. The team feels comfortable with Joe Flacco at quarterback, so they won’t rush his recovery until he is fully ready to see the field.

Ikem Ekwonu a Full-Fledged Starter

The Carolina Panthers and head coach Matt Rhule were taking the development of sixth overall pick Ikem Ekwonu a bit slower, making him earn the starting left tackle job outright instead of slotting him in there based on draft status. Now, after the first preseason game and a few weeks in training camp, Ekwonu is the outright starter at left tackle, per Rhule.

Teven Jenkins Starting Inside

The Chicago Bears have been bouncing 2021 second-round Teven Jenkins around since he arrived in Chicago. He’s started at left tackle, moved to right tackle, and has been working with the second-team offensive line. After his Week 1 preseason game, it looks like Teven Jenkins is now moving inside to right guard with the starting group.

Fighting in Foxborough

With the Patriots and Panthers squaring off in a joint practice today in Foxboro, it didn’t take long for tempers to flare. Reports indicate that a fight began near the Carolina sideline when New England receiver Kristian Wilkinson began jawing with Carolina players. Wilkinson and fellow receiver Kendrick Bourne were eventually sent off. The 33rd Team’s Bill Polian addressed the issue of fighting in joint practices in an article published earlier this week.

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