By Nick Shook and Rachel Wenzlaff
Read full post on NFL.com
Training camp is here in full force. We’ve got you covered today with live coverage on NFL Network all day. On NFL.com, we’ll be featuring highlights from the television coverage and notes from our reporters in the field. Here are today’s whispers.
» Well, we know one person who won’t make the 53-man roster post-preseason: NFL Media’s Jeff Darlington. At Eagles camp in Philadelphia, Darlington took on a blocking sled and lost. See for yourself above…
» Wednesday begins with respect for Mother Nature, who apparently doesn’t want Redskins camp to begin without a hitch.
Backing up point-after attempts to increase difficulty is fine, but this is a bit extreme. Fortunately for kicker Dustin Hopkins, the organization is in the process of repairing the goalpost before practice begins.
» The Jets open training camp today with one grand reporting day for all, but one player — quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick — is notably absent. But there is good news!
Brandon Marshall enters camp at his lightest weight since his days at Central Florida, and he might have a future in selling the Todd Bowles Diet after his playing days are over. It’s been a good week for Marshall; first, he met up with his “boy” Fitzpatrick, and has since made good on his promise to his coach by dropping close to 20 pounds before camp. Now, to catch passes from Geno Smith as the Fitzpatrick stalemate drags on.
With Marshall in top form, recent signee, running back Matt Forte is confident for the season ahead.
» In Foxborough, Patriots veterans are spending the day reporting for camp. The most important veteran — quarterback Tom Brady — is already in the building, but will he get first-team reps despite facing a four-game suspension to open the season? NFL Media’s Judy Battista believes, despite limited information from the staff so far, Brady will begin camp as the starter. Battista said, “My guess is we’re not going to see much of a change to what they would usually do, and that is heavy with Tom Brady on the starting unit, because let’s face it, they’ve got to get Tom Brady ready too. You can’t have him being rusty going into the one-month hiatus, so he needs plenty of work early, and then I would suspect later in training camp as they get further into preseason games, they’ll shift the reps more toJimmy Garoppolo.”
But Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels says the teams’ philosophy is unchanged. “They’re both [Brady and Garoppolo] going to get plenty of reps. We’re going to do what we’ve normally done in the past and all those guys have things we can get better at. We’re excited to coach them all and work with every one of them.”
The always talkative coach Bill Belichick said, “Our priority now is to get Jimmy ready for the start of the season, for the Arizona game … This will be a day by day, step by step process.” When asked follow-up questions by media, he essentially reworded his initial statements.
» In Spartanburg, South Carolina, the pressure is on for the Panthers, reporting to camp on Wednesday, to repeat the success that led them to Super Bowl 50. Also turned up is the temperature, as it is supposed to reach 97 degrees. But not as hot are the contract talks for Kawann Short, who reported for camp despite not having a long-term deal in place. Short addressed the media and said he never considered holding out, and that he’s in the right place right now, which is in Spartanburg for camp, per NFL Media’s Tiffany Blackmon. Blackmon also addressed the Panthers expectations for the season. She says Greg Olsen said its naturally human instant to think, hey we have the same players back, what’s going to be different? But we can’t think we’re going to come out week 1 and rattle off 14 wins. Carolina knows it has a target on its back this season.
» Veterans reported to Buccaneers camp today in Tampa, where the guys were also feeling the summer heat.
103 degrees in Tampa = training camp.
» Some take longer than others to get into the training camp groove. That group does not include NFL Media’s Andrew Siciliano and NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport, who are clearly ready to go.
» T.J. Ward says the Broncos‘ defense will be one of the greatest of all time — but it’s all about health. How is DeMarcus Ware‘s back? Aqib Talib‘s leg? Now in the post Peyton Manning era, the offense will go through a restructuring. But with the return of Von Miller, Ward is confident the already dominant defense can carry the team.
» At camp in Philly, the accident-prone Sam Bradford is feeling better than ever! But hmm, that sounds familiar. Yesterday coach Doug Pederson made it clear that Bradford was the go to guy for QB1. If he can stay healthy, it takes a lot of pressure off of the second overall pick of the 2015 draft, Carson Wentz.
In the off-season, questions abounded about Wentz’s ability to make the transition from college to NFL quickly enough to start Week 1. We caught a glimpse of Wentz at practice today. NFL Media’s Jeff Darlington reported that Wentz is incredible at stretching and great at drinking water. He didn’t see much from him, but did point out that he was one of the first guys on the field.
» NFL Media’s James Palmer reports that for the first time since 2008, Broncos veterans players are allowed to stay in their homes during training camp. This year, only the rookies will be required to stay in dorms.
» They might be riding bikes and wearing Spiderman helmets and backpacks, but make no mistake, the Carolina Panthers are headed back to camp and they are all business. NFL Media’s Tiffany Blackmon reports that Cam Newton still feels like he has room for improvement. He doesn’t think he’s peaked yet, and today is only the beginning.
» NFL Media’s Steve Wyche spoke with Rams general manager Les Snead at the site of the Rams‘ camp at UC Irvine. Earlier this year you heard from the Rams front office that Jared Goff was the guy, he was QB1. But today, Snead backed away from that statement slightly, saying they would start Goff only when they think he is ready. Goff is still the teams’ inevitable starter, but Monday night versus the49ers might not be his debut.
» Von Miller made headlines this off-season for his contract stand-off with the Broncos. Just this month he agreed to a six-year, $114.5 million contract with the team. Tensions were high throughout the deal but now that Miller is back at camp, he says its no different than any other year. “It was back to normal, I’m ready to go, I’m ready to go play football … I’m aware of the expectations but we have high expectations on all of us … I always expected to be a Bronco and I’m happy I’m here.”
» Yesterday it was Bashaud Breeland bringing puppies to camp, today its Arthur Moats bringing kids. Only one of Moats three children seems to be tagging along to Latrobe, PA for Steelers camp. Hopefully he isn’t playing favorites…