Breaking Down the Latest News and Notes from Minicamps Around the NFL
It's that time of year again in the National Football League.
Across the NFL, from Buffalo to San Diego, first year players have gathered for rookie minicamps, their first taste of the next step of their athletic careers.
Of course, not all the news around the NFL has to do with rookies. For instance, one of the day's biggest stories came courtesy, of all places, the talk show "The View."
So, out with Barbara Walters, in with Brandon Marshall. OK then.
Here's a look at what else is going on around the league.
The Latest on Johnny Football
Like there was a snowball's chance in Phoenix we'd get through a news update without something about Johnny Manziel.
Since the moment Manziel was drafted there's been more than a little speculation that his coronation as the Week 1 starter in Cleveland was a foregone conclusion, that any "competition" between Manziel and Brian Hoyer was more show than substance.
The Browns, of course, continue to insist that isn't the case, and head coach Mike Pettine was still singing that tune while speaking at the Positive Coaching Alliance breakfast in Cleveland, according to Mary Kay Cabot of The Northeast Ohio Media Group:
I don't know if they're going to be sending each other Christmas cards anytime soon. But they know they're both in it together and they're going to compete and I think they both feel comfortable that as a staff we're going to put the best quarterback (out there) that puts us in position to win games.
Cabot didn't indicate if Pettine's fingers were crossed while he said this.
Zach Mettenberger "Not Close to 100%"
The Cleveland Browns weren't the only team that needed (or drafted) a quarterback in 2014, but it doesn't appear the Tennessee Titans will be facing the same potentially messy quarterback controversy this summer.
LSU's Zach Mettenberger, who the Titans drafted in the sixth round, took the field over the weekend for the first time since tearing his ACL last November. Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean reports that Mettenberger looked good throwing the ball despite windy conditions, but Mettenberger concedes his rehab still has a ways to go:
I am not moving as fluidly as I have in the past but I am working hard to get back there. Being in the brace for two months, trying to learn how to walk, you lose a lot of muscle. … I just have to keep working.
Teammate (and fellow rookie) Taylor Lewan seems to think Mettenberger will be just fine. "He is a stud. He is an absolute stud," Lewan said, "and he has the confidence, he has the arm and he has the attitude to play the game."
"One Chance" for Seantrel Henderson
Mettenberger wasn't the only player drafted late this year who was once a highly-touted prospect.
Of course, it was longer ago that pundits talked of offensive tackle Seantrel Henderson as a potential first-round draft pick, before a star-crossed career at the University of Miami filled with suspensions and inconsistent play and a terrible draft season that included a failed drug test at the combine.
The Buffalo Bills selected the 6'7", 331-pounder in the final round of the 2014 draft, and as the team gathered for rookie minicamp head coach Doug Marrone didn't mince words when speaking with Mike Rodak of ESPN:
It was something that we did a lot of research on. We want to make sure that we know exactly what the situation is, exactly what we’re dealing with and seeing if we’re able to be the proper influence to make that change. And does the player want to make that change? I think all those things come in to play and if that happens we’re going to get ourselves one heck of a football player.
Marrone then finished, ""If it doesn’t, he’ll go find another line of work."
Packers Sign Colt Lyerla
Injuries caused Mettenberger to fall to the sixth. Iffy play and suspensions slid Henderson all the way to the seventh.
Quitting the Oregon Ducks and getting busted for cocaine possession dropped tight end Colt Lyerla out of the draft altogether.
In fact, Lyerla didn't get a sniff from NFL teams even after the draft, despite his impressive athleticism and solid showing in workouts at February's combine.
However, one team has finally rolled the dice. As Josh Katzowitz of CBS Sports reports, after having Lyerla in for rookie minicamp on a tryout basis, the Green Bay Packers have signed the 6'4", 242-pounder.
Tidbits from Tampa
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers held their rookie minicamp over the weekend, and a couple of youngsters that took the field could be counted on to play a significant role on offense as rookies.
The first, second-round pick Austin Seferian-Jenkins, didn't do much according to Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times:
#Bucs TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins was limited in minicamp as he recovers from left foot surgery
— Rick Stroud (@NFLSTROUD) May 16, 2014
The Buccaneers turned some heads when they drafted West Virginia tailback Charles Sims in the third round, and head coach Lovie Smith continued to talk up the youngster at camp according to The Times' Gary Shelton.
We felt like we had a good running back group. We just felt like Charles would bring something else. I'm talking about as a pass catcher out of the backfield. He has excellent hands, great quickness. He gives us a little more in the passing game than what we've had.
Smith, did, however, go on to say that Doug Martin's job as starter was not in question. "He's our starting tailback," the coach said. "He's on most of the billboards around here. He's an All-Pro running back."
Chiefs Sign OT J"Marcus Webb
We kicked this look at the latest news from rookie camps off with a veteran (because we can, that's why), and we'll close with one as well.
After visiting with the Minnesota Vikings and Carolina Panthers, offensive tackle J'Marcus Webb returned to where his tour of free agency began, signing with a Kansas City team he visited back in March according to SiriusXM Radio.
The 25-year-old Webb, who spent 2013 with the Minnesota Vikings, was a three-year starter for the Chicago Bears from 2010-2012. And while Webb struggled mightily as a starter in Chicago he should still provide depth for a Chiefs team that was hit hard by free agency up front.