NFL Training Camps 2014: Updates, Rumors & Analysis for July 22
The floodgates are just about ready to open.
The New York Giants and Buffalo Bills have already reported for training camp, and, while no teams are scheduled to report on Tuesday, things will get really interesting on July 23.
On Wednesday, 11 more teams will get down to the business of getting ready for the 2014 campaign.
However, just because it's the calm before the proverbial storm doesn't mean that the NFL is quiet.
From injury updates to the latest on Josh Gordon, here's a look at what's happening.
Browns Won't Cut WR Josh Gordon
It's been an eventful offseason for the Cleveland Browns and for all the wrong reasons.
It didn't take long for things to come off the rails. The cheers had barely died down from the selection of Johnny "Vegas" Manziel in the first round of May's draft when it was announced that Josh Gordon, who led the NFL in receiving yards in 2013, would likely be suspended for at least the entire 2014 season after failing yet another drug test.
Any hope of a reduced suspension then was seemingly dashed when marijuana was found in a car in which Gordon was riding. If that wasn't enough, the 23-year-old was then arrested for DUI in North Carolina.
Now, with Gordon's appeal hearing approaching, the Browns have made one thing clear:
Gordon may be going "away," but he won't be leaving Cleveland.
That's the latest from Mary Kay Cabot of The Plain Dealer, who passed along head coach Mike Pettine's assertion that the Browns have no plans to release Gordon, regardless of the length of his suspension:
We're expecting him to report on Friday and be on the field. We have no plans to cut him I know there's been a lot of debate over that, but I don't see us having that debate. I think we need to find the middle ground of what's best for Josh and what's best for the organization.
Pettine also told Cabot he expects Gordon's suspension to be handed down within "the next 10 days to two weeks.''
What's Wrong with Bills OT Cordy Glenn?
It's been quite some time since the Buffalo Bills were players in the AFC East. The team hasn't made the playoffs in 14 years and has finished in the AFC East basement a startling six years running.
Another new season has brought renewed hope in western New York, but already dark clouds are gathering.
Starting left tackle Cordy Glenn opened camp on the non-football injury list, and head coach Doug Marrone was unable to shed much light on the subject, according to Joe Buscaglia of WGR Radio:
I don't know that. It's a medical condition. I'm preparing to go on as if he's not playing, which he's not. I'm just waiting for the doctors, and I can't speak about the condition because it's something that happened outside of football. I'm not allowed to speak about it guys. I'm sorry about that.
Marrone's cryptic comments made many fans uneasy, but teammate Eric Wood sounded confident that Glenn would be back on the practice field soon.
"And then with Cordy, that was kind of bad luck," Wood said. "As far as I know, he had an illness and he’ll be back."
Glenn, who was the Bills second round pick in the 2012 draft, ranked 11th at his position in 2013 according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required).
If quarterback EJ Manuel is going to avail himself of the new options the Bills added in the passing game in 2014, he's going to need Glenn watching his blind side.
Chiefs OT Eric Fisher Cleared for Camp
Eric Fisher's rookie season didn't go according to plan.
Playing mostly right tackle, the first overall pick in the 2013 NFL draft struggled mightily in his first pro season, grading out as the seventh-worst tackle in the NFL per Pro Football Focus.
The former Central Michigan standout will flip to the left side in 2014 thanks to the departure of Branden Albert, and after undergoing offseason surgery to repair a sports hernia and bum shoulder, Fisher has been cleared to participate in training camp.
In fact, as Adam Teicher of ESPN reports, Fisher has gotten a head start, working out with some other players at Missouri Western State University:
“I had the surgeries, so I needed to get out here, get situated before the vets get here,’’ Fisher told Teicher. “I’m glad to be here early so I can get a jump on things.”
It's very good news for a Chiefs team that will need Fisher to step up his game if Kansas City is going to make a second straight playoff appearance in 2014.
Jamaal Charles a Potential Training Camp No-Show?
There's other news from Kansas City.
As ESPN's Adam Teicher reports, sources indicate that, in advance of the opening of training camp, the team has entered into negotiations on a contract extension with star running back Jamaal Charles:
Charles has the option of holding out from training camp if a new deal is not reached before then but the Chiefs believe he will report to camp on time. Chiefs' veterans were to report to training camp at Missouri Western State University on Wednesday. The first training camp practice is Thursday.
Charles, 27, has been the engine behind the Kansas City offense for the last several seasons but he had what may have been his best season in 2013. Charles led the Chiefs in rushing (1,287 yards), receiving (70 catches) and touchdowns (19), setting career highs in the last two categories.
With quarterback Alex Smith and outside linebacker Justin Houston both entering the last year of their contracts, the Chiefs would have to get financially creative to get all three deals done.
Still, Teicher points out a statistic that relays just how important keeping Charles in the fold is for the Chiefs:
Charles accounted for 35.3 percent of the Chiefs' yards from scrimmage last season, highest in the NFL followed by Chicago's Matt Forte and Philadelphia's LeSean McCoy at 30.8 percent.
The seventh-year veteran is set to make $3.9 million this season per Spotrac.com, and is under contract through 2015.
Falcons Sign ILB Pat Angerer
With the Atlanta Falcons making the switch to a 3-4 defense as they try to recover from last year's four-win fiasco, the last thing the team needed was to lose arguably their best defensive player.
So of course that's what happened.
Now, with linebacker Sean Weatherspoon out for the season with a torn Achilles, and the Falcons in scramble mode to fill the void, the team is hopeful that a once-promising linebacker can recapture past form.
As Aaron Wilson of The Baltimore Sun tweeted, the Falcons agreed to terms on Tuesday with former Indianapolis Colts linebacker Pat Angerer:
falcons signing linebacker pat angerer today according to a source
— Aaron Wilson (@RavensInsider) July 22, 2014
Angerer, 27, had 146 tackles for the Colts back in 2011, but since then a littany of injuries have cost Angerer 10 games and eventually led to his departure from Indy.
A healthy Angerer could provide a huge boost to an Atlanta linebacker corps that's woefully short on both depth and experience.
Andre Johnson Expected to Show for Training Camp
Ever since the curtain fell on the Houston Texans' 2-14 catastrophe of a season, wide receiver Andre Johnson has made it clear he isn't pleased with the current state of affairs with the team.
The 33-year-old publicly questioned his future with the Texans and skipped both OTAs and mandatory minicamps. Trade rumors have swirled around the seven-time Pro Bowler.
However, it appears all the ruminating about a new home for Johnson may have been much ado about nothing.
— Jerome Solomon (@JeromeSolomon) July 22, 2014
ESPN's Tania Ganguli had more:
The seven-time Pro Bowl receiver arrived at the Texans' facility to learn the team's new offense on Monday, sources told ESPN.com. It's unclear whether Johnson will report to training camp with the other veterans on Friday, but his appearance at the facility was a positive development.
That whooshing sound you just heard is every Texans fan collectively exhaling.
Big Blue Beset by Bumps and Bruises
The New York Giants slogged their way through a disappointing season in 2013, due in no small part to injuries that hit both sides of the ball hard.
In that regard, 2014 is most certainly not off to the best of starts.
With middle linebacker Jon Beason already highly questionable for the beginning of the 2014 season due to a broken foot, the last thing the G-Men needed was another injury at the position.
Well, they got one. Another foot injury, no less.
As Conor Orr of NJ.com reports, linebacker Jameel McClain, who had been filling in for Beason in the middle, was carted off the field during Tuesday's practice.
However, Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News passed along an update that should leave fans breathing a little easier:
Confirmed. Team hopeful it's just a "sore foot" ... RT @josinaanderson Source: X-rays on Giants LB Jameel McClain's foot were negative.
— Ralph Vacchiano (@RVacchianoNYDN) July 22, 2014
That wasn't the only injury news for the Giants on Tuesday. Brandon Mosley, who will be given the first crack at replacing the retired Chris Snee at right guard, was also sidelined, although, according to Vacchiano, the injury isn't thought serious (or even really an injury):
LB Spencer Adkins and OT Charles Brown also left practice today for "heat-related reasons." G Brandon Mosley's issue was "an upset stomach."
— Ralph Vacchiano (@RVacchianoNYDN) July 22, 2014
The Giants are no doubt relieved that none of the injuries were serious, but a handful of out-of-shape beef-eaters will probably be getting an earful from head coach Tom Coughlin.