Training Camp News 7-30: Derrick Henry & More

Here are some Fantasy Training Camp Notes from Monday 7-30.

Alistair Corp @alistaircorp

Schottenheimer on Rashaad Penny's progress as a blocker: "I’ve been blown away by his ability to diagnose the blitz, see where the blitz is coming from and track his guy. It’s been outstanding for a young back, one of the best, if not the best I’ve ever been around."

Adam Schefter  @AdamSchefter

Broncos’ starting LT Garett Bolles just carted off the field at training camp.

Ian Rapoport  @RapSheet

And now, done: The #Jets and No. 3 overall pick QB Sam Darnold have agreed to terms on his 4-year, $30.25M fully guaranteed contract, source said. It’s finally over.

Rich Cimini‏  @RichCimini

On his first pass in team drills, Sam Darnold throws a pick. Tipped by CB Derrick Jones and intercepted by S Doug Middleton. One player yells out, “Welcome back.” #Jets

Tim Twentyman  @ttwentyman

LeGarrette Blount is padded up and participating in the early portion of #Lions practice today. – Eric Bacharach

Corey Davis is fine.

Davis, the No. 5 overall pick in the 2017 NFL draft, was back out at practice Monday, a day after Titans coach Mike Vrabel gave him a scheduled day off. The wide receiver had looked sharp during the first three practices of training camp.

Tight end Jonnu Smith did not practice Monday, a day after leaving practice early Sunday. Tight end Anthony Firkser, who Titans coach Mike Vrabel gave an unsolicited shoutout to at Sunday's press conference, took advantage. Working with the first team, he made a pair of nice plays while on the receiving end of play-action rollouts by Mariota. – Jim Wyatt

Running back Derrick Henry busted up the middle with a nice run into the secondary early, and he had some nice runs on the day. But a lot of the running plays were blown up by the defense. Linebacker Will Compton knocked Henry down with a big lick after a short grab, and left tackle Taylor Lewan got in Compton’s ear.

Receiver Taywan Taylor had the catch of the day on a two-minute drill, hauling in a pass from Mariota on the sideline downfield. It would’ve been a gain of at least 30 yards. Taylor lost the handle on the football after making a catch in the middle of the field, however.

With three tight ends out, Anthony Firkser from Harvard got reps with the first team on Monday and made some nice catches.
– Adam H Beasley

DeVante Parker
has been largely ineffective through five training camp practices, particularly in team drills. While Danny Amendola, Albert Wilson, Jakeem Grant and Isaiah Ford have all flashed, Parker is still waiting for that signature play.

But Parker is under pressure like never before in Year 4. While the Dolphins picked up his fifth-year option, they are under no obligation (short of major injury) to honor it if he does not perform.

And for the first time in his career, Parker has competition behind him that could keep him off the field. Gase plans to play Wilson on the outside and not the slot, and it’s hard to see Stills coming off the field.

The meaning: If Wilson plays better than Parker in practice and preseason games, it’s reasonable to think the former will play more than the latter in games. Yes, Parker is a first-round pick, but Wilson is earning $8 million annually from the Dolphins, so they have incentive to play both. – Nick Manchester

One of the most intriguing battles will still be to determine the second wideout across from Green. Obviously, Green’s spot is safe and the future hall-of-famer has dazzled coaches and defenses every day this week. But who will be across from him?

For the last two seasons, it has been Brandon LaFell, so he has the benefit of being the incumbent. But his camp performance has been nothing to write home about. In fact, the only times we have heard about him is when the defenders block or intercept balls thrown to him. While John Ross and Josh Malone are making headlines at camp, LaFell is giving us nothing.

In the past couple of training camps, LaFell has been lining up across from Green in the wide receiver position drills. This year, Tyler Boyd has been lining up in that spot. Does this mean that LaFell is slipping down the depth chart?

Boyd might make a good enough No. 2 for Green, but he seems to be settling into the slot nicely. As I said, last season for Boyd was tumultuous, but he ended it in a high note. His last game of the season was statistically the best of his career, which ended in that last-minute touchdown to knock the Ravens out of the playoffs. He seems to be carrying the momentum from that game into camp, because he has been on fire. He was the leading receiver on Day 1, so he seems to be locking the slot down.

John Ross has also been having a great camp. This is really the first time he has showcased his skills for the Bengals coaching staff and fans, since he was held back last year. This year, he seems to be in full health and he is making the most of this opportunity. – Alex Abernathy & Eli Hiskey 

For the final portion of practice, the team went into two minute drill scenarios where the offense needed a field goal. The first and second team offenses were both successful in their drives down into field goal range. The first team did rely on a little Marcus Mariota Magic though. On a fourth and 2 play play, Mariota sailed a ball deep down the field to Taywan Taylor. The receiver came down with the catch inside of field goal range for Ryan Succop to drive home the field goal near the end of practice.

There were a few bright spots for the offense today, primarily coming by way of screen plays. On a few occasions we saw Dion Lewis and Anthony Firkser both catch the ball with a lot of room to run ahead of them. Screen plays are a staple of Matt LeFleur’s offense so early training camp success is a strong sign for the coming season. – Patrick Maks

When the Browns drafted Nick Chubb this past spring, they sang the rookie’s praises as an old-school, no frills running back who will thrive in Cleveland.

So far, Chubb continues to prove them right. The second-round pick from Georgia put together another impressive practice as he competes for carries with vets Duke Johnson and Carlos Hyde, another bruiser whom the Browns signed in free agency.

Challenged by Jackson and new offensive coordinator Todd Haley, WR Corey Coleman put together another solid showing, making multiple contested catches during team drills. It was an encouraging sight as the Browns hope the third-year receiver and former first-round pick makes a splash in 2018.

Ed Thompson @EdwardKThompson

@steelers QB @_BigBen7 looks several pounds lighter and in mid season form throwing all kinds of different ways in training camp at St. Vincent’s/Latrobe PA. On each occasion, Ben seemed to thread his pass into the hands of multiple different WR’s. #NFL #TrainingCamp2018

Mary Kay Cabot‏  @MaryKayCabot

#Browns TE Seth DeValve sitting out this team period with upper right leg wrapped with ice. TE David Njoku dropped another pass in 7 on 7s for a total of 4 today – Nick Eatman

A lot of good choices here on this first day but I really liked what I saw from Michael Gallup. He made some better headlines on the first day of practice than last year’s No. 13, who wasn’t as “lucky.” Gallup was so smooth with his routes and literally plucks the ball out of the air. – Tom Ryle

We’ve mentioned Gallup and Hurns, both off to good starts, but the real standout among the receiving corps so far has been Dak Prescott’s old favorite, Cole Beasley. He is once again getting open all over the field and catching everything that comes his way.

Things are also looking like they might work out with the tight ends, as Geoff Swaim and Blake Jarwin are having a competitive camp, while rookie Dalton Schultz has been getting some nice reviews. – Joe Fann

Marquise Goodwin
has been a consistent playmaker through the first four practices. Goodwin had a collection of short-to-intermediate receptions before catching a 45-yard bomb from Jimmy Garoppolo on Sunday. Their rapport seems to have picked up right where it left off last season.

I’ll also add that WR Max McCaffrey has been impressive. McCaffrey missed most of the offseason program due to an injury, but he’s had more of his fair share of big plays in camp.

I’ll go with WR Dante Pettis, LB Fred Warner and FS D.J. Reed. Pettis showed well in both padded practices. Garoppolo has been impressed by the receiver’s “wiggle” while running routes. Pettis runs fluid routes and has done well to create separation. Establishing a toughness over the middle of the field in traffic will be Pettis’ next stepping stone.

Garoppolo found Pierre Garçon on a deep ball during 1-on-1s on Sunday. They later connected over the middle of the field in full-team work. Garçon hasn’t had the volume of receptions that Goodwin or Pettis have, but he also hasn’t taken as many reps either. He’s already been given a veteran’s day off, and the coaching staff has made it a priority to give more reps to the younger wideouts. I expect Garçon to be a reliable target for Garoppolo in 2018. Garçon should be the last player you’re concerned about during the first week of training camp.

Put simply, RB Joe Williams will need more than a few strong practices early in camp in order to supplant Matt Breida on the depth chart. Breida had a standout rookie season with 645 total yards and three touchdowns while Williams spent last year on Injured Reserve. In addition, Breida has been just as impressive as Williams in camp. – Ron Lippock

Mike Tomlin
 called the injuries to T.J. Watt (hamstring), Vance McDonald (foot), Sean Davis (groin), JuJu Smith-Schuster (knee) and Adeniyi (undisclosed) "short term." Morgan Burnett (hamstring) returned to practice Monday but was limited in his participation. – Ryan Talbot

You could argue that no wide receiver has been mentioned more in training camp than undrafted free agent Robert Foster. The former Alabama wide receiver may have a leg up on his competition due to knowing Brian Daboll's playbook inside and out, but he's making the most of his opportunities on the field. Buffalo's wide receiver competition is wide open so Foster could play his way onto the roster and into a decent role as a rookie if he continues to make plays for the Bills.

Josh Allen has handled himself well through four training camp practices and it's fair to say that he's been the most impressive quarterback of the trio competing for the starting job. There are a few passes he'd like to have back, but you can say the same for AJ McCarron and Nathan Peterman.

Allen has seen the majority of his time with the third team offense early in camp, but has a chance to work his way up the depth chart. If he hopes to be the Week 1 starter over McCarron and Peterman, he'll have to continue to string together strong practices and perform well in the preseason.

It has been business as usual for LeSean McCoy since camp opened on Thursday, and he looks to be the same guy who's helped lead the Bills' rushing attack the last three seasons.

If McCoy is able to play in every game this season, it doesn't appear early on like he's lost a step. His ability to impact the passing game out of the backfield, especially with three young quarterbacks battling for the job, could be a key for the offense, as usual.

New offensive coordinator Brian Daboll has been the talk of the sidelines with his new scheme and the moving parts of his offense. He's had wide receivers moving all over the place, most notably working star Kelvin Benjamin quite a bit out of the slot.

In most of the drills, Benjamin was joined by Malachi Dupre, Andre Holmes and Jeremy Kerley on the first-team offense. 

One notable play from the second team with quarterback Nathan Peterman was when receiver Rod Streater caught a pass on a comeback route and fumbled when the defender made contact. Not overly newsworthy, but in a battle like the Bills have at wide receiver, these plays tend to find themselves under the microscope. – Myles Simmons

Wide receiver Mike Thomas made an outstanding catch on the offense’s left. Jared Goff delivered a back-shoulder throw, Thomas went up, secured the ball, and maintained possession and he hit the ground.

In a later 11-on-11 period, Goff and WR Robert Woods connected for what would’ve been a touchdown pass down the seam on the left. Woods was wide open on the play, as there may have been a miscommunication from the scout-team defense.

In a red-zone 11-on-11 period, Goff hit running back Todd Gurley over the middle for a touchdown pass. Not that there was any reason to expect something different, but it’s clear that Gurley will once again be a significant part of Los Angeles’ passing game in 2018. – Geoff Hobson

After an offseason of getting hammered by the critics, the Bengals’ new-look offensive line took it out on the defense Monday in live drills on the goal-line and short-yardage. With RB Joe Mixon getting loose untouched on a carry in each drill, the offense did what it didn’t do last year and shoved back by converting all six short-yardage situations and all but two on the goal line.

On the first short yardage run with the No. 1s working against the No. 1s, Mixon followed right guard Christian Westerman and right tackle Bobby Hart, didn’t get touched, then cut left and still didn’t get touched. On the first goal-line snap Mixon followed pulling left guard Clint Boling and walked in without a finger nail on him. You can safely say those two holes weren’t there very often last season and Mixon saluted new offensive line coach Frank Pollack.

QB Andy Dalton had another solid day. Just take a look at three straight passes to wide receivers in the team period right after goal line. He hit A.J. Green over the middle, led Tyler Boyd on a drag route to the sideline and threaded a ball between safety Dre Kirkpatrick and rookie safety Jessie Bates for Brandon LaFell.

Just ask first-year quarterbacks coach Alex Van Pelt about what’s impressed him with Dalton in Week One.

“Just the consistency with his reads,” Van Pelt said. “The biggest thing is just the accuracy on his throws. I love his accuracy. Very rarely does he miss a guy. He puts the ball right where he wants it.”

Allen Strk‏  @Allen_Strk

WR Mohamed Sanu knows how to win at LOS. Look at how hard he plants that right foot to accelerate outside. Not many receivers can claim to be an excellent route runner and a handful to bring down in the open field. That's one of the biggest reasons why Sanu is such an unique talent. – Tim Twentyman & Mike Ohara

Play of the day
: Belongs to rookie running back Kerryon Johnson, who during a goal line team period, saw that a play designed to run left was bottled up by the defense, so he stopped on a dime and reversed direction all the way across the field to the right for a touchdown. Even veteran guard T.J. Lang was impressed by the play after practice.

Matthew Stafford had the second most completions of 40-plus yards last season (14) and Monday he showed why. Stafford throws a beautiful deep ball and had a passer rating of 111.6 on throws of more than 20-plus yards last year. In practice Monday he connected on deep touchdowns with Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones Jr. on perfectly placed passes. – Alain Poupart

Head Coach Adam Gase has been impressed with what he’s seen so far from new wide receiver Albert Wilson, who he said can play a lot of different spots on offense.

Wide receiver Albert Wilson said he wasn’t concerned about whether he ended up starting for the Dolphins because he’s confident that Adam Gase will find a way to get everybody involved regardless of who opens the game.

Wide receiver Isaiah Ford has been making plays on a consistent basis early in training camp as he tries to come back from the knee injury that cost him his 2017 season.

The Giant Insider  @GiantInsider

Few observations from Monday, July 30: - One interesting play from Shurmur was RB Saquon Barkley lined-up in backfield, going in motion to to the left sideline. Eli receives snap, pump fakes to Barkley and throws a screen right. Nice imagination on Shurmur's part.

247Sportscom – Bill Huber

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers threw three interceptions. He threw three on Friday, too, though one of those might have been the receiver running the wrong route and another came on a dropped pass. All three on Monday – two by safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and one by cornerback Jaire Alexander -- were excellent plays by the defense.

Zach Kruse  @zachkruse2

#Packers RB Aaron Jones today: "Checkdowns (to the running backs) are going to be a big thing. We're excited to get the ball in our hands." That's interesting. Think Aaron Rodgers has always been a little hesitant to check it down. Point of emphasis this year? Help protect 12?

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

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