AFC Training Camp Notes 8-13: Deshaun Watson and More

Here are the AFC Training Camp Notes from Monday 8-13. Enjoy!! 


First-round pick Hayden Hurst has been a major piece of the offense throughout training camp. The tight end looks like he’s going to make a significant impact on Baltimore’s passing game and has clearly developed a rhythm with starting quarterback Joe Flacco. Hurst again caught several passes during Sunday’s practice, pulling down balls over the middle between defenders to move the chains.

In what has become the signature play of this year’s Baltimore Ravens training camp, quarterback Joe Flacco flung a tight spiral 30 yards downfield and wide receiver John Brown made a diving catch.

The deep pass -- which has been rare in Baltimore’s offense in recent years -- suddenly has become routine. Flacco is enjoying perhaps the best training camp of his 11-year career, and Brown is producing what might be the best summer any Ravens wide receiver has ever had.


Receiver Zay Jones was in a blue full-contact jersey for the first time this season following knee surgery. 

Zay Jones was working exclusively with the first-team today.

AJ McCarron and Nathan Peterman were both full participants after suffering minor injuries in Sunday’s practice.

On the flip side, McCarron came up limping following a scramble but refused help from trainers, instead choosing to walk it off.

McCarron was back with the first-team after Peterman was the starter on Sunday. For the first time, though, Josh Allen took second-team reps today. Allen had been working with the third-team and first-team exclusively this training camp.

Zay Jones and Corey Coleman were both singled out for great catches on Monday. Tight end Jason Croom even got in on the action, digging out a low throwCroom, the former receiver, has been split out wide and has been taking first-team reps. – Nick Wojton

Zay Jones is, in fact, going up, but at a much quicker rate than many expected. Since returning to the practice field on Aug. 5, Jones has made plays at camp and despite Buffalo head coach Sean McDermott previously saying that Jones is “behind” due to time missed, Jones was tossed right into the fire. He immediately played with the starting offense while impressing. – Joe Buscaglia

It's no surprise that Marcus Murphy has been bumped up to be the number-three running back after his standout training camp and the first preseason game, and that continued again into Monday's practice. However, Travaris Cadet -- who had been the number-three runner for the majority of camp, found himself demoted once again in the opening reps of the practice.

Taiwan Jones, the player that Murphy passed early into camp, took second-team reps early on during team drills which are the best indications of their current standing for that individual day.

If this holds, that places Cadet firmly on the roster bubble, and perhaps even on the outside looking in. Jones offers more value as a special teams contributor on both returns and coverage units.

After a rough camp, WR Robert Foster had to feel great about all the plays he made on Monday. He looked like the same player we saw in the spring practices.

CLEVELAND BROWNS – Mary Kay Cabot with Josh Gunter and John Kuntz

The  Browns' two-minute drills in practice didn't go well for Tyrod Taylor, Baker Mayfield or Drew Stanton. Trailing 13-10 just before the half,  none of them could tie the game take a lead into the break.

Taylor's  ended with two overthrows and then a missed 41-yard field goal by Zane Gonzalez. Mayfield's ended on a false-start at the opponent's 27 and a 10-second runoff. And Stanton's ended with rookie Denzel Rice picking off a pass deflected by rookie tight end Orson Charles.

A highlight of practice was David Njoku's one-handed 20-yard catch from Taylor over safety Jabrill Peppers. Njoku, who plucked the ball off his back  hip, has been catching everything since his four-drop day early in camp,  including two TDs vs. the Giants.


patrick @PatDStat 

Brandon Weeden just threw a dime to WR MyCole Pruitt in the back of the endzone. Weeden is lining up to be the backup to Watson for the season.

Sammie Coates having a strong day. Past two practices putting together good film for the coaches.

Brandon Weeden carving up the second defense. Hits Jester Weah for the touchdown.

#Texans defense giving Deshaun Watson and the offense fits. Cunningham and Jackson both had near INTs.

#Texans waive WR DeAndrew White to make room for WR Quan Bray. – Patrick D Starr

The Texans offense looked sluggish with Deshaun Watson running the show. Tipped passes and dropped ones stalled out the offense in a hurry in their 2-minute drill. Ryan Griffin dropped a well-placed ball from Watson across the middle. It was one of the worst days for the offense in a while. 

Sammie Coates continues to impress and he linked up early with Deshaun Watson during team drills early in practice. Coates is a big target and clearly bigger than any cornerback on the field which gives him a clear advantage on the field. Coates is getting an extended look in the offense and everything is in Coates’ hands to make the team. 

RB Troymaine Pope is looking better and better each practice with the Texans offense. The Texans have to see what they have in Pope especially with no real timetable for D’Onta Foreman’s return. Pope showed he can catch the ball but getting him going in running game is what the coaching staff wants to see. Pope broke a long run today untouched for what would have been a 40+ yard touchdown run. 

It was an up and down day for rookie wide receiver Jester Weah and that comes with the territory of being a rookie. In a stretch of five plays, Weah dropped two passes, one near the sideline and the other on a quick slant, then came back to catch a touchdown pass from Brandon Weeden. Weah is going to have to cut out the drops in order to last in the NFL. 

Braxton Miller continues to work from the slot position and was able to link up on some nice connections with Brandon Weeden. Miller missed Saturday’s practice due to battling flu like symptoms.

Brandon Weeden was the clear stand out from today’s practice running the second team offense and working the defense in 2-minute drill. Weeden was able to march the ball downfield and hit a receiver in stride over coverage for a touchdown. Weeden has a strong understanding of the offense and his quick decision-making has stood out the most when he is running the offense.


Gregg Doyel @GreggDoyelStar

Colts camp is raving about QB Jacoby Brissett's improved accuracy. Know who did that? Their assistant QB coach, former CFL veteran Marcus Brady. After watching tape of Brissett and spotting a flaw in his drop-back. Colts have themselves a QB whisperer. – Kevin Bowen

Andrew Luck did throw two interceptions during Monday’s full-padded practice. Head here for an update on how Luck looked on Monday.

In general, it seemed like a sloppier day for the passing offense. The Colts were without Eric Ebron and T.Y. Hilton in team drills. Andrew Luck was picked off twice by Quincy Wilson and D.J. White. One interception came off an overthrow, the other was from miscommunication.

The Colts had a heavy run emphasis to Monday’s practice, with Jordan Wilkins earning the starting job in live 3rd-and-1 periods. It was a nice performance from the starting offensive line to move the chains.

On the first play of Monday’s practice, TE-Eric Ebron got his left ankle rolled up on. Ebron practiced a few more plays before leaving practice. New running back Branden Oliver left practice early on and had his right hamstring area wrapped. WR-T.Y. Hilton also sat out team drills.

Obviously, with the injury situation coming out of Thursday’s preseason opener, the Colts were going to add a receiver and running back. The wideout is Matt Hazel, who played in 4 games for the Colts last season. At running back, the team signed Branden Oliver. The speedy Oliver has played in 30 career games for the Chargers, showing some nice moments with 226 carries for 773 yards and 55 grabs for 409 yards. Oliver, who stands 5-8 and 208 pounds, has battled injuries in his 4 NFL seasons. – Kevin Hickey

The rookie running back Jordan Wilkins looks to make some more noise in the absence of Marlon Mack, who is currently week-to-week dealing with a hamstring injury.

The best way to make an impression? Take a carry for 20 yards into the end zone. Wilkins had a nice run on Monday through the left side in which left guard Quenton Nelson likely had a hand in creating. It will be interesting to see how the Colts divide the carries with Mack and Robert Turbin currently nursing injuries, but this is a good way to earn more snaps in the preseason games.

While Andrew Luck has looked pretty good when it comes to his progress and getting back used to game speed, he didn’t have his best day Monday morning.

Luck completed 13-of-18 pass attempts, which is nothing to frown at, but he did throw two interceptions. One of them was an overthrow to Ryan Grant where Quincy Wilson made the interception while the other fell into the hands of cornerback D.J. White.


Spencer Ware, who has been getting eased back into action throughout camp after sitting out the 2017 regular season and 2018 offseason due to knee surgery, seems to be getting worked into the picture more at running back. "Ware, who has faced limited to no contact most of camp, carried again during inside run period," tweeted Lynn Worthy of the Kansas City Star.

Matt Derrick @mattderrick

WR Marcus Kemp making bid for play of the day again. Patrick Mahomes scrambles right, fires high for Kemp in traffic. Kemp high points the ball for a fantastic catch.

Patrick Mahomes out there doing his thing. Now it’s an on the run to the right, across the body throw over the middle to Tyreek Hill. That and the throw to Kemp are throws most quarterbacks can’t make.

Justin McLuckie @m_c_luckie

Demarcus Robinson with a deep TD grab in 7 on 7. Chad Henne on the throw. Robinson has really been good this camp. – Matt Derrick

Mahomes started the day well, dealing 4-of-5 passing on his first rotation. Chad Henne took the field with Demarcus Robinson, Marcus Kemp and De'Anthony Thomas at receiver, Tim Wright at tight end and rookie Darrel Williams in the backfield. Robinson is all but etched in ink as the No. 4 receiver. Kemp increasingly looks like the No. 5 receiver by virtue of his camp improvement at receiver and his special teams value.


Absent: RB Sony Michel (seventh straight missed practice), OT Marcus Cannon (seventh straight missed practice), LB Harvey Langi (fourth straight missed practice), RB Rex Burkhead (second straight missed practice), WR Matthew Slater (first missed practice)

Limited (lower field): DE Trey Flowers, CB Ryan Lewis, WR Cordarrelle Patterson, WR Kenny Britt, CB Duke Dawson

Britt participated in positional drills before leaving for the lower field. He did not take part in 1-on-1s or team drills.

Patterson didn't participate in positional drills. This was his first day on the lower field.

Busy day for WR Julian Edelman. He was a popular target for Brady in 11-on-11s, and he looked sharp. Edelman beat CB Stephon Gilmore for a reception in 11s. He also got the best of CB Eric Rowe on a deep route (Rowe appeared to slow down as the ball arrived). Edelman ripped a ball away from CB Keion Crossen in 1-on-1s.

RB Mike Gillislee received a high number or reps. It was a light day for RB Jeremy Hill.

WR Eric Decker committed a pair of egregious drops early in practice — the first during a 1-on-1 rep versus CB Jomal Wiltz, and the second on air. Decker was visibly frustrated afterward, tossing the ball into the ground.

Decker rebounded late in the practice. He beat CB Jonathan Jones on a deep route toward the right sideline and hauled in a well-placed ball from Brady.

Others who committed drops: RB James White, TE Will Tye, WR Chris Hogan, WR Devin Lucien, and WR Paul Turner.

Not the finest day for WR Phillip Dorsett. He allowed CB Jason McCourty to beat him to the ball on a deep pass in 1-on-1s. McCourty came down with the interception as Dorsett failed to make a play on the ball. During 11-on-11s, QB Brian Hoyer heaved a deep pass for Dorsett into triple coverage. Rookie CB J.C. Jackson made the easy interception. Again, Dorsett didn't compete for it.

Doug Kyed @DougKyed

Brady went 15-of-28 with an INT in 11-on-11s. Hoyer was 11-of-18 with an interception. Etling went 4-of-4. I counted six drops in 11-on-11s, 10 overall. – Henry McKenna

WR Braxton Berrios had yet another diving reception in practice. Perhaps it’s because he’s on the smaller side and thus must compensate for a small frame, but he has an impressive catch radius.

Riley McCarron has been lining up all over the formation and has caught passes from every quarterback throughout training camp. He also got the most snaps from receivers in preseason’s Week 1. It’s a big opportunity, though it’s not necessarily a good thing. The Patriots are apparently intent on evaluating him. McCarron played 42 snaps (58 percent) during the first preseason game – the most among wide receivers.

NEW YORK JETS – Darryl Slater

The perpetually injured second-year tight end Jordan Leggett finally didn't look injured Monday. He made a nice, diving catch on a pass from Teddy Bridgewater ... and got covered in mud along the sloppy sideline. But Leggett didn't mind, since he was back out there and battling for the starting tight end, after missing most of camp so far. 

Terrelle Pryor revealed Monday that he fractured his ankle during spring workouts, and that's why he couldn't practice in the spring. Though he looks (and feels) fairly healthy — he had a diving catch during a one-on-one period Monday — he won't play Thursday in Washington, for the second straight preseason game. Expect the Jets to try to play him in preseason game No. 3, against the Giants. - Matt Stypulkoski

Sam Darnold made arguably the best throw of the day during his first series. Darnold went play action, the rolled to his left and found Andre Roberts darting toward the left sideline. He threw on the run and threaded the needle just outside the reach of a Redskins' defensive back, allowing Roberts to make the grab and tap both feet before going out of bounds. It was a perfect play from start to finish by Darnold that showed off his mobility, arm strength and accuracy all at once.

Darnold looked pretty good during 7-on-7s, finding several receivers who were well covered by delivering the ball in the perfect spot. Darnold hit tight end Eric Tomlinson on an out route to his right side with a linebacker draped on his hip, then found Robby Anderson deep down the middle of the field through triple coverage. That ball was slightly underthrown and made Anderson slow down, but it was still good enough to beat some solid defense. He hit Tomlinson again on a corner route in double coverage during a later 7-on-7 period. There were a few loose throws mixed in there, but he was generally strong during those drills.

Darnold's final series came entirely with the starters and didn't go all that great. He went 1-for-3 during eight plays, which also came against the Redskins' starters. His first pass was a dump-off to Tomlinson that was tipped, then dropped. He completed a short pass to Tre McBride, but his third pass – and final play – flew high and wide of Jermaine Kearse. Kearse cut back near the numbers, but Darnold's ball sailed to the right sideline.


Connor Cook’s performance in Friday’s game against the Lions had a lot of people wondering if that was his moment. The moment when he would finally prove himself worthy of moving up from third stringer, inactive on gameday, to primary backup to Derek Carr. Cook did receiver second team reps in practice, but we might want to back up the primary backup talk for now.

Friday’s 11 for 19, 141-yard, one touchdown, no interception performance gave way to a practice that was a lot more like we have grown accustomed to seeing from Cook. He was erratic to say the least. Deep balls were too long for his receivers to catch up to, his sideline throws were too high or too far out of bounds, and even some short easy passes sailed on him.

We’ll see if Cook continues to see second team reps ahead of EJ Manuel the final three days of camp and in the team’s second preseason game in LA against the Rams.

At one point, Derek Carr got Karl Joseph to jump offsides on a hard count, then he threw to the area Joseph wasn’t for a completion to Amari Cooper he caught and took up the right sideline for at least a 20-yard gain. He also threw a perfect pass to Marcell Ateman along the right sideline, up high where Ateman likes it and above a turned around Dexter McDonald.

Catch of the day: Jordy Nelson got behind Rashaan Melvin deep up the right seam and Derek Carr hit him perfectly for a 70-yard touchdown. – Jerry McDonald

As the Raiders were making their way from the field house to the practice field, Martavis Bryant, wearing sunglasses despite overcast skies, was headed back to the hotel. Bryant missed practice last week due to “illness,” and this time Gruden was more specific.

“He’s in his room, he’s got a headache and hopefully he gets well soon,” Gruden said.

Acquired for a third-round draft pick, Bryant had one catch for 18 yards in four targets. Among wideouts, only Marcell Ateman (five) had more passes thrown in his direction.


Those out in full today: Vance McDonald (foot), Xavier Grimble (thumb), Marcus Allen (unknown),James Conner (unknown, possible groin), Sean Davis (groin), Ben Roethlisberger (rest), Anthony Chickillo (unknown), Ramon Foster (right knee), Bud Dupree (concussion/personal), JuJu Smith-Schuster (unknown), Stephon Tuitt (sick), and T.J. Watt (left hamstring).

Antonio Brown only went through individuals. He’s fine by the way, as Dave Bryan wrote earlier this afternoon.

All James Washington does is make tough, contested catches.


Jim Wyatt  @jwyattsports

WR Tajae Sharpe with another solid practice for @Titans. Just caught TD pass from Mariota in 2-minute drill

Corey Davis having a big day today for @Titans. Just got open on deep ball from Mariota. – Jim Wyatt

In 7-on-7 drills, tight end Anthony Firkser caught a bullet across the middle from quarterback Marcus Mariota right out of the gate. Receiver Cameron Batson caught a deep ball from quarterback Luke Falk later in the period when personnel changed.

Running back Dion Lewis is going to be quite a weapon this fall. He catches the ball well, and he’s shown the ability to bounce in and out of space and get into the open field in a hurry, something he did again on Monday.

It was a really good day for receiver Corey Davis, who caught a deep ball thrown by Mariota, and was targeted throughout the practice. Davis has had solid practices in back-to-back days.

Receiver Darius Jennings ended practice with probably the catch of the day, going up high to catch a ball over defending cornerback LeShaun Sims. Earlier in practice, Jennings scored a touchdown in a red zone period.

Receiver Tajae Sharpe appears to be getting more and more work with the first team, and he had another good day on Monday. He caught a touchdown to close out a two-minute drive.

Receiver Deontay Burnett caught a touchdown in a red zone period.


If you have any comments or questions feel free to reach out to me on Twitter @Fantasytaz

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