Training Camp Notes 7-28: Lamar Miller and More
Fantasy football alert: Coach Jay Gruden said of WR Josh Doctson it'll be hard for him to put up eye-popping stats b/c they spread the ball around. But "in the red zone is where he'll be most dangerous." Says in the past, didn't get as many chances there for a variety of reasons.
Video: #Texans training camp Day 2 recap from West Virginia chron.com/news/media/Tex…
Cowboys – Blogging the Boys - @OCC44
Tavon Austin was billed to be a running back and receiver when the Cowboys signed him. But he has played mainly receiver the first few days of camp and taken a lot of reps with the first team offense alongside Cole Beasley and Allen Hurns with Terrance Williams being brought along slowly due to his off-season foot surgery. It speaks to the team having big plans on using Austin. The lineup of diminutive Beasley and Austin on the outside with the taller Hurns in the slot is certainly interesting. Hurns said he played primarily slot in Jacksonville. But it allows the Cowboys to be more unpredictable and potentially more explosive.
It’s unclear who will be the starting tight end. The Cowboys have used Dalton Schultzwith the first team and rotated everybody else with the exception of Rico Gathers. The problem at times with Gathers, a former Baylor basketball power forward trying to play football, is that he doesn’t run smoothly. It appears as if he’s fighting himself to relax and run routes.
Lamar Miller – Houston Chronicle – Aaron Wilson
Texans RB Lamar Miller looking leaner, quicker. Miller adopted a stricter diet, embraced a new exercise routine from new Texans strength and conditioning coach Luke Richesson and was more disciplined to shed some unwanted bulk.
The result is Miller is down to 217 pounds, the lightest weight of his NFL career since his days with the Miami Dolphins when he was one of the most explosive breakaway threats in the game.
The results are obvious. Miller is noticeably leaner, and his trademark acceleration is back as he’s been scooting around the practice field during the Texans’ first two days of training camp.
“Really impressed with how Lamar’s come back, he’s really come back in good shape,” Texans coach Bill O’Brien said. “He’s really improved in the passing game. These two practices are mostly about the passing game because we’re not wearing pads.
"He’s really improved in that area. He’s a good runner. He’s got good vision, good speed, but the big thing that I’ve seen is he’s just come back with a real determination and a focus that’s good to see.”
A little scare at Lions camp: Marvin Jones went down with what appears to be a left leg injury. He’s up and walking slowly on his own now, staying on sidelines, after getting some attention from trainers and a brief word from Matt Patricia.
Tom Brady getting some extra work in with Jordan Matthews after practice. The pair had a couple of nice connections today. The out-route diving completion felt like progress as they missed on a similar play yesterday.
Nathan Peterman – ESPN – Mike Rodak
Through three days of practice, the performance of Nathan Peterman seems to have slid from his strong spring. Peterman, leading the first-team offense for a period of 11-on-11 on Saturday, overthrew an open Kelvin Benjamin on a slant pattern. He also threw behind WR Kaelin Clay in Friday's practice and overthrow TE Logan Thomas on a rollout Friday. The sharpness generally has not been there for Peterman in 11-on-11 work, although it is still early in training camp.
New England Patriots – Pats Pulpit – Bernd Buchmasser
Tom Brady spread the football around well during goal-line work: Julian Edelman, Chris Hogan, Jordan Matthews, Jacob Hollister, Cordarrelle Patterson, and James White all caught passes. (source)
Patterson in general continued to stand out today: He made multiple impressive catches, with the best one being him beating Jason McCourty for a touchdown. (source)
Sony Michel again saw work with the Patriots’ starting offense, but had to take a penalty lap for fumbling at one point. (source)
The WR shuffle is real. First-team offense just jogged through 4-5 pass plays to start practice. Beasley, Austin, Thompson, Hurns & Lenoir all got in. Terrance, Gallup & Lenoir all working with the two’s #cowboyswire
SF 49ers – Mercury News – Cam Inman
Until Jimmy Garoppolo consistently completes deep passes – one would be nice, actually – then it remains one of the few concerns about him. He attempted two shots down field to Marquise Goodwin, and neither was caught, though the first was more on target.
Garoppolo completed 11-of-16 in full-team drills Saturday, and he’s 21-of-33 through three practices. His backup, C.J. Beathard, also missed on two deep passes as they were defended by Chanceller James and D.J. Reed.
Watching RB Joe Williams zoom past his second-string blockers and into the open field was a welcome sight. That’s why the 49ers drafted him in the fourth round last year. But it’s a matter of consistently showing that urgency and passion, and so far this camp, he’s off to a positive start.
“Joe’s got a lot of ability and it’s been very apparent he has a different mindset this year than he had last year,” Shanahan said. “Sometimes that just takes time. It took Joe a little bit mentality wise. The run today … he didn’t flinch and hit it.”
Can George Kittle have an even bigger year than his 49ers-record output for a rookie tight end (515 yards)? Can he become a Rob Gronkowski-like threat that Garoppolo saw in New England? Shanahan said of Kittle: “He’s got his explosiveness back. He’s a physical guy who can block well and he’s got a year in the system where he’s got a lot more confidence. So, he’s not thinking as much out there. He’s definitely moving in the right direction.”
NE Patriots – Patriots.com – Andy Hart
Cordarrelle Patterson continues to impress catching the ball. Early in group work he beat Duke Dawson with a strong catch from Brady as he fell to the ground in the left side of the end zone.
Jordan Matthews has also caught the ball pretty well the last couple days. He had a nice grab from Brady early in practice, but later added a bad drop in the two-minute drill.
Sony Michel actually had one of the real highlights of the day for the offense when he scored via a second-effort run over right tackle in the live goal line segment. His score came just after Hill followed an impressive push by the interior offensive line for an easy touchdown of his own.
Damarius Travis punched the ball out from Michel at the end of one run in team action. The first-round running back had some ball security issues at times in his college career and that has been a problem over the first few days of training camp. Definitely something to keep an eye on as the youngster works to carve out a role for himself on the offense this fall. Michel immediately had to run a penalty lap for today’s fumble.
Jordan Matthews drop in the two-minute drill late in practice came against a defense that was seemingly going at less than full speed. Chris Hogan had a couple catches from Brady in the drill, including a touchdown to close it out.
Denver Broncos – 9news.com – Isaiah J Downing
In one 11 on 11 scrimmage, Case Keenum lofted a deep right flag pattern to Emmanuel Sanders for a probable touchdown. A couple plays later, Keenum and Sanders connected on another deep ball, this time down the left sideline before the receiver fell out of bounds inside the 5.
For a first day, the timing between the Broncos’ new quarterback and his receivers, tight ends, running backs was well ahead of the curve.
“Yeah, we had some good ones today,’’ Keenum said. “Some ones I want back, but I feel good. I think the thing is you want to pick up where you left off in the spring. And so that's kind of the summer, everybody working on their own stuff. But you want to make sure that you show you’re ready to go and you're picking up where you left off from that minicamp.”
Courtland Sutton was truly dominant today. He performed that way in minicamp/OTAs and has carried that over to training camp. Sutton can 'Moss' defenders downfield and his strength showed in a big way when he tossed Langley out of his way (at LOS) with 1 arm. #Broncos
It's no mystery that I love what Royce Freeman can do on the football field. He looked swift and moved well today, great acceleration. HOWEVER, we won't truly know about this RBs until pads come on...both as runners and in pass protection. #Broncos
Let me say this....it's evident the #Broncos are going to be creative in the way they use those top 4 WRs. Sanders won't get overtaken, but this team WILL find ways to get Courtland Sutton/ DaeSean Hamilton involved in 2018.
SURPRISE OF THE DAY? has to be the usage/play of TE Austin Traylor. Listen, we all love Jake Butt and Troy Fumagalli is quite interesting....but Traylor made big plays today as a receiver. interesting name to monitor at #BroncosCamp @1043TheFan
Play of the Day from Jaguars practice No. 3: WR DeAndre Smelter had a nice catch over CB Sammy Seamster during 11-on-11 drills. It was a back-shoulder throw that was a little high and Smelter reached behind and around Seamster's helmet to make the catch.
New York Giants – NJ.com – Andrew Mills
The Giants drafted Saquon Barkley No. 2 overall, primarily because of his highlight-reel runs and the ability to be a multi-dimensional workhorse running back, and on Saturday the rookie flashed the receiving skills that made him an elite running back prospect coming out of Penn State.
Barkley scooped a poorly thrown screen pass from Eli Manning inches off the ground, and slashed his way between defenders to quickly get upfield for a big gain.
It's no secret that Barkley will anchor the Giants' backfield, but plays like Saturday's reception are what differentiated him as a receiver from the other running back prospects in this and recent NFL Draft classes.
In the opening moments of Saturday's practice, Odell Beckham made a vintage one-handed catch in individual drills in the corner of the end zone where he leapt into the air and made an outrageous one-handed catch before tapping both feet in bounds.
Later, Beckham caught a pass from Manning in the flat, and accelerated his way through the defense for a big gain.
We are now three days into Beckham's return to full-team drills during this camp, and he has shown no ill-effects of the fractured right ankle that ended his season in Week of of 2017.
WR Cody Latimer and CB Eli Apple frequently sparred during one-on-one drills on Saturday, with Latimer getting the upper hand for the most part because of his ability to simply get behind Apple with his explosiveness off the snap.
During the full-team periods, Eli Manning found Latimer on consecutive shallow slant patterns, which could be a nice addition to the Giants' playbook that gives Latimer a chance to use his breakaway speed to win a footrace against an opposing linebacker or cornerback and turn upfield for a big play after the catch.
It's still early in training camp, but the Giants' No. 3 wide receiver job behind Beckham and Sterling Shepard appears to be Latimer's to lose.
Carson Wentz – PhillyVoice.com – Jimmy Kempski
Barring some kind of setback, Carson Wentz is going to start Week 1 of the regular season.
That's not a report. I don't have some kind of source inside the Philadelphia Eagles' organization telling me that. I'm merely a reporter, with eyes, who is watching Wentz in practice every day. In my view, it's not even a debate.
Throughout OTAs and minicamp, we saw Wentz participating in individual drills, as well as some non-contact drills, like 7-on-7's, and he very clearly looked like he was ahead of schedule.
Then on the first day of "real practice" on Friday, Wentz got some work in 11-on-11's. That was new, but the team was still in shells (helmets) and shorts, as opposed to a fully padded practice.
On Saturday, however, the pads went on, and Wentz still participated in a contact practice, in 11-on-11's, for the entirety of the day. Not only that, there were about a half dozen moments that were eye-opening, in terms of his recovery and progression from the ACL he tore last December in Los Angeles.
Kyle Shanahan’s Comments on Several Players – PressDemocrat – Grant Cohn
You talked about RB Matt Breida the other day. Is there anything noticeable with him in terms of confidence from where he was a year ago, just feeling more comfortable or anything like that?
“Yeah. It’s very noticeable. You could see it on tape. When we got to February, we were watching the cut-ups in the offseason. You can see those last four games kind of start to click for him, really get the feel. He’s got a lot of ability. He’s tough. He runs hard. I think we could see it on tape. He’s a smart guy who can feel it himself, too. You could tell when he came back here in the offseason and he came back with a different confidence. He took care of himself, worked hard in the offseason, was great in OTAs and the 40 days we were away he even worked harder and was even more ready to go when we got back. He’s been pretty impressive these three days.”
What have you seen from TE George Kittle so far?
“We were very impressed with Kittle last year. I think I talked some about it yesterday, all of my days are running together. He was banged up a lot last year and he came in very healthy. He’s also worked. He’s got his explosiveness back. He’s a physical guy who can block well and he’s got a year in the system where he’s got a lot more confidence. So, he’s not thinking as much out there. He’s definitely moving in the right direction.”
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