Here’s What’s Happened at NFL Training Camps So Far

Injuries, QB battles and ... an armored car

A.J. Green Training Camp Injury
A.J. Green injures his foot in 2018 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (John Grieshop/Getty)
Getty Images

With a few exceptions, NFL training camps opened up last Thursday with players and coaches hitting the field for the first mandatory workouts of the offseason.

That was four days ago, which means we are now four days closer to NFL football being played for the first time since the Patriots defeated the Rams in Atlanta in Super Bowl LIII.

Though it’s a short amount of time, a lot can happen in four days in the NFL so we’re here to get you all caught up with the latest on all the storylines, injuries and position battle that have emerged in training camp thus far.

Storyline: Mayfield and Beckham Clicking in Cleveland

As reported on by Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer, Baker Mayfield and new target Odell Beckham hooked up on a back-shoulder pass just 20 minutes into camp that showed off the rapport the pair have already developed.

“He can do things I’ve never seen before,” Mayfield said of OBJ. “The pure talent is unreal. As we grow chemistry together, it can be pretty special. He makes my job easy. I’m happy to be able to be at camp with him and get better every day.”

Injury: Bengals Wideout A.J. Green Is Already Hurt

After playing in only nine games last season due to injury, game-breaking wideout A.J. Green is hurt again for the Cincinnati Bengals and is not expected to be ready for Week 1 of the regular season. Green, 30, tore ligaments in his left ankle and is likely to be sidelined for six to eight weeks.

Position Battle: Pats Move QB Danny Etling to WR

A seventh-round pick out of LSU last year, Danny Etling was on New England’s practice squad last year and the team seemed to like what the brought to the table. That didn’t stop them from drafting quarterback Jarrett Stidham out of Auburn in the fourth round this year. With Stidham and longtime backup Brian Hoyer slotted in as Tom Brady’s backups, the Patriots have switched Etling to receiver in the hope he can be the next Julian Edelman.

Injury: Giants Now Without Top 3 Wide Receivers

Now without Beckham following his trade to the Browns, the Giants are clutching at straws at the wide receiver position as it appears Eli Manning may be without his top three targets for Week 1 of the NFL season. Manning will surely be missing Corey Coleman after he suffered a torn ACL last week, but the veteran quarterback will likely also be without of Sterling Shepard who has a broken thumb and free-agent acquisition Golden Tate who is going to be suspended for violating the league’s PED policy. Without Coleman, Shepard and Tate, Manning and the team will turn to a receiving corps made up of Cody Latimer, Bennie Fowler, Russell Shepard and Darius Slayton.

Storyline: Ezekiel Elliott Not at Cowboys Camp

Elsewhere in the NFC East, Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott has yet to report to training camp and is seeking a contract extension before he shows up. Without Elliot, the Cowboy would have to turn to the running backs they currently have on the roster — who have six career carries for 16 yards between ’em. That being the case, expect Elliot to get a big deal in Big D before the season starts. Michael Thomas (New Orleans Saints) and Melvin Gordon (LA Chargers) are also holding out while seeking new deals.

Injury: Tyreek Hill Carted Off Field at Training Camp

With his agent Drew Rosenhaus in attendance, Hill was carted off the field after taking a hard hit from cornerback Bashaud Breeland. According to ESPN’s top NFL insider, Adam Schefter, Hill suffered a bruised quad and is expected to be fine.

Position Battle: Kyler Murray Running Away With QB Job

Though it was thought he might face competition from Brett Hundley, No. 1 overall pick Kyler Murray is running away with the starting job in Arizona. Murray is taking chances at practice, but he’s also put the skills that made him the top pick in the draft on full display. “I think it’s very realistic because he’s done it at every level he’s been at,” Cardinals WR Christian Kirk said when asked if Murray will hit the ground running as an NFL starter. “The kid knows how to play football and he just goes out there and wins. That’s the attitude that he takes and he’s going to do everything in his power to put our team in the best position to win, so I think it’s pretty realistic.”

Storyline: The Jaguars Are Still Doing Jaguar Things

Coming off a season that saw the team’s dreams of making it back to the AFC Championship game and beyond deterred by off-field issue, the Jacksonville Jaguars do not appear to have learned their lesson. Last season, the Jaguar locker room became divided after too many players let the success of the previous year go to their head. Jaguars receiver Dede Westbrook confirmed as much: “We had a bunch of individuals who wanted things for themselves, pay time for certain guys if you know what I mean.” It sounds like Westbrook gets it, but his teammate, Jalen Ramsey, certainly doesn’t as he showed up to camp in an armored car backed by a hype man with a bullhorn demanding more cash for the star cornerback.

Position Battle: Ryan Fitzpatrick, Josh Rosen in QB Fight

Journeyman Ryan Fitzpatrick and second-year player Josh Rose, who was traded away from the Cardinals to make room for Murry, are locked in a battle for Miami’s starting quarterback position. Thus far, Fitzpatrick has the edge and has taken the majority of the snaps with the first team. But, many onlookers noticed Rosen began to make his presence felt over the weekend and outplayed the veteran.

Despite Fitzpatrick’s early edge, Rosen shouldn’t give up hope as assistant quarterback coach Jerry Schuplinski explained that the veteran may be getting first-team reps simply because he’s been with the team longer. “When Josh came in, he came in and whatever it was, four weeks we had already started,” Schuplinski said. “The way it is with the rules, you only get a limited time to work. I think this training camp has been a good opportunity for him to learn and grow in our system from the ground up as opposed to catching everything on the fly. Ryan’s experience and knowledge in that area in terms of an operational standpoint may have been ahead a little bit at this stage when we first started training camp.”

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