NFL Training Camp Latest Buzz: Washington's Chase Young Not Ready for Regular Season

Brent SobleskiJuly 29, 2022

NFL Training Camp Latest Buzz: Washington's Chase Young Not Ready for Regular Season

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    A couple days of practice have been enough to reshape some teams and possibly how the regular season will proceed.

    While the early portions of NFL training camps are meant for installation and evaluation, injuries remains at the forefront of conversations.

    In the case of the Washington Commanders, one of their top young stars won't be ready to go at the start of the 2022 campaign. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers already lost one of their best players at the onset of training camp, though the team might hold its water a bit before signing someone else.

    The Baltimore Ravens' Lamar Jackson certainly isn't afraid of getting injured while he negotiates a potential contract extension. He just wants to be on the field.

    The Cleveland Browns still have no clue how long they'll have their franchise quarterback this season. But their previous starter, Baker Mayfield, is making waves at Carolina Panthers camp. The same can be said for multiple young targets around the league and running back Kenneth Gainwell in Philadelphia.

    Bleacher Report provides the latest buzz and rumblings from Friday's training camps.

Washington Commanders' Chase Young to Miss at Least Season Opener

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    Washington Commanders defensive end Chase Young won't be ready for Week 1 after suffering a torn ACL in Week 10 of the previous season, according to ESPN's John Keim.

    The second overall pick from the 2020 draft could even miss more than just one game.

    "It just depends on where he is. I can't tell you," head coach Ron Rivera told reporters. "The doctor is the only one that can tell you. You guys want me to give you a number. I can't give you a number. I don't want to put pressure on the young man to try to hit a number that I can't give you."

    The schedule gives Washington a slight reprieve, with the Jacksonville Jaguars and Detroit Lions as the team's Weeks 1 and 2 opponents. Then the Commanders begin their divisional schedule with back-to-back games against the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys.

    Washington will make sure Young won't play until he's 100 percent healthy.

    "It was a serious injury," Rivera added. "He's doing everything he's supposed to. He's on time as far as where the doctors think he should be, and as he gets better and better, we can update you. But right now, he's right where he needs to be."

    The Commanders may search for help in the short term, though it won't come from Ryan Kerrigan. The 11-year veteran, who spent 10 years with Washington, signed a contract Friday to retire as part of the franchise.

    If Washington considers external options to provide a boost to its pass rush, veterans such as Jason Pierre-Paul, Dee Ford, Carl Nassib and Anthony Barr remain available.

Wait Continues for Deshaun Watson, Cleveland Browns

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    The Cleveland Browns will wait a little longer to find out when Deshaun Watson will officially become their starting quarterback.

    "Two people with knowledge of the situation told the Associated Press that retired judge Sue L. Robinson is not issuing a ruling Friday on Watson's disciplinary hearing that concluded a month ago," Rob Maaddi reported.

    Eventually, Judge Robinson will reveal her ruling, with the NFL pushing for an indefinite suspension of at least a year after 24 women filed civil lawsuits accusing Watson of sexual assault or misconduct during massage sessions. Watson has denied the allegations and settled with 20 of the 24 plaintiffs last month.

    Meanwhile, Watson has continued to practice. While the uncertainty means the coaching staff can't build its offense based on quarterback availability, Watson has gained value reps with his new team.

    “We have a plan, and as information becomes available, we can adjust that plan," head coach Kevin Stefanski told reporters Thursday.

    Safety John Johnson III told 92.3 The Fan that Stefanski has helped bring some consistency, however.

    "It's a lot different; like, the vibe is way better,” Johnson said. “I don't know if it’s just me, but everyone feels that same vibe–like we got a lot of guys back, that continuity is huge, especially on defense, so it's fun, and we're enjoying it."

    Offensively, a transition is happening. Beyond Watson and his undetermined availability, Amari Cooper is now the team's WR1. Nick Harris is taking over for JC Tretter at center, and David Njoku will serve as the top tight end. Getting reps in with the entire offense intact will help down the road, even if Watson ultimately misses significant time.

Buccaneers May Not Sign Veteran Center to Replace Injured Ryan Jensen

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    JC Tretter Nic Antaya/Getty Images

    Seconds after Ryan Jensen went down with a knee injury Thursday, speculation began about the Tampa Bay Buccaneers possibly signing veteran JC Tretter as a replacement.

    Unfortunately, the Buccaneers believe the game's best center suffered a season-ending injury, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.

    The Bucs' interior is in serious doubt after the team lost its offensive tone-setter. With Jensen out, Tampa Bay will feature an entirely new offensive interior this season.

    Shaq Mason is replacing Alex Cappa at right guard after the latter signed with the Cincinnati Bengals in free agency. There's a competition at left guard. While a potential Tretter signing makes plenty of sense since he's been one of the game's top pivots for the last few seasons, general manager Jason Licht may not be quick to the pull the trigger on another veteran acquisition.

    Rapoport reported that Robert Hainsey, whom the team drafted in last year's third round, is the leading in-house candidate. The Tampa Bay Times' Rick Stroud added, "Don’t underestimate how much they like Robert Hainsey (and as a backup to a lesser degree, Nick Leverett). Hainsey has really improved."

    Pull Up Pod's Jordan Schultz also noted that Hainsey has impressed Buccaneers offensive line coach Joe Gilbert.

    Bringing in Tretter on a team-friendly deal might be too hard to pass up after he graded as a top-three pass-blocking center in each of the last four seasons, per Pro Football Focus. But Hainsey apparently has support within the organization to take over in his second season.

Multiple Young Targets Impress During 1st Professional Practices

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    Young wide receivers and tight ends typically impress during training camp, particularly during the early portions before full pads are strapped on. But the first few practice sessions shouldn't be overlooked simply because it's July.

    The Pittsburgh Steelers' George Pickens, Green Bay Packers' Romeo Doubs and Indianapolis Colts' Jelani Woods have onlookers buzzing.

    Pittsburgh is known for nailing its wide receiver draft picks. Pickens has first-round physical tools, but he fell into the second because he missed almost all of last season at Georgia with an ACL tear he suffered during the previous spring. This year's 52nd overall pick is once again looking like a top talent.

    Teammate Chase Claypool, who has plenty to prove in his own right, showered his new running mate with praise.

    "I think he's gonna be the best rookie receiver in the NFL," Claypool told reporters.

    Pickens should be effective working outside of the numbers opposite the third-year veteran, with Diontae Johnson dominating the slot.

    The Packers need all the help they can get after trading the game's best wide receiver, Davante Adams, to the Las Vegas Raiders. However, second-round rookie Christian Watson hasn't practiced as he recovers from a knee injury. Meanwhile, Watson's classmate, Romeo Doubs, has been the talk of camp.

    "Romeo is the first one in the building," head coach Matt LaFleur said Friday of the fourth-round rookie. "He is in his locker getting primed. I see him in the weight room getting his body and mind ready. He's already kind of established a routine for himself, and I think that's one of the things that rookies have a hard time finding, and once they do, they can take off."

    ESPN's Rob Demovsky described Doubs as "NFL-ready."

    The Indianapolis Colts might have found a new weapon at tight end. From the onset of training camp, Jelani Woods, whom the team selected with the 73rd overall pick, has worked with the first-team offense.

    According to FanNation's Andrew Moore, the 6'7", 253-pound rookie "looks so smooth over the middle of the field." Woods should look good after testing as the most athletic tight end prospect over the last 35 years, according to Pro Football Network's Kent Lee Platte.

    Jack Doyle's retirement placed Mo Alie-Cox into the spotlight as the Colts' No. 1 tight end. Plenty of offensive reps remain available for Woods to create a significant impact during his first season.

Lamar Jackson Looks Different, Sets Deadline for Contract Extension

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    AP Photo/Julio Cortez

    Quarterback Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens have yet to reach an agreement on a long-term contract extension.

    If the two sides don't come to terms in the near future, Jackson will shut down those conversations. The start of the regular season in September seems like that point.

    "I said there is going to be a cutoff [in talks]," Jackson told reporters Thursday. "So, hopefully."

    The Ravens certainly want to reach some type of deal.

    "Both sides are very motivated to get the job done," head coach John Harbaugh said. "I feel that's where it's at."

    Unlike the Kyler Murray negotiation, Jackson's status hasn't played out in public. The approach is intentional.

    "Like I told you, we have a mutual conversation," Jackson said. "I'm going to keep that in-house, for sure."

    Surprisingly, Jackson has continued to practice while he negotiates what should turn out to be a life-changing financial boon. Why?

    "I want to win at the end of the day. I just want to be great," Jackson said. "I just want to work with my brothers. I don't want to leave them out there hanging. That's not me. That's never been me."

    According to ESPN's Jamison Hensley, the 2019 league MVP has been putting in the work. Jackson is "visibly bulked up" and throwing with "more velocity and tighter spirals."

    Harbaugh added, "He's strong, and he looks great."

    Really, the discussion comes down to how much guaranteed money Jackson believes he deserves based on what Deshaun Watson and Murray received. The former signed the largest guaranteed contract ever at $230 million, while the latter signed for slightly more overall money ($230.5 million) but $70 million fewer in practical guarantees.

    Jackson will probably land a deal that exceeds Murray's in total value, with a guaranteed number somewhere between those two points.

Philadelphia Eagles RB Miles Sanders Loses Grip on Starting Spot

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    Kenneth Gainwell could be...*ahem*...gaining an edge over Miles Sanders to become the Philadelphia Eagles' starting running back.

    "Gainwell was the first-team running back," Bleeding Green Nation's Brandon Lee Gowton reported Friday. "In addition to using him as a runner, the Eagles had Gainwell split out wide at times. Miles Sanders was taking carries with the second team."

    Sanders led the Eagles in rushing yards during his first two seasons and ranked second only behind quarterback Jalen Hurts last year.

    The 2019 second-round pick excels as a runner. He ranks second with 5.4 yards per carry since the start of the 2020 campaign, per NFL on CBS. His 5.66 yards per touch since the beginning of the '19 season ranks fourth among backs with 300 or more touches, according to CBS Sports' Jeff Kerr.

    But injuries and inconsistency, particularly as a pass-catcher, have hindered the Eagles' lead back over the last two seasons.

    Philadelphia features the game's best offensive front. A talented runner should post good numbers if he has vision to find the holes. But head coach/offensive play-caller Nick Sirianni didn't trust Sanders in the passing game during their first year together in 2021.

    Gainwell is a natural receiver with the ability to line up wide or stay in the backfield to block. Sanders may be the more talented option, but coaches tend to go with those they can trust in certain situations.

Carolina Panthers Change Up QB Competition

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    AP Photo/Nell Redmond

    After a day each of Sam Darnold and Baker Mayfield leading the first-team offense, Carolina Panthers head coach Matt Rhule had the two alternate reps Friday, according to Augusta Stone of the team's official site.

    The idea of tracking how many completions and mistakes a quarterback makes during training camp is silly. Each day the team and the individual are working on specific goals, and the triggermen are testing what they can and cannot do.

    The integration of their usage to ramp up the competition is interesting, though. More excitement seems to surround Mayfield already.

    Rhule told reporters that the 2018 first overall draft pick has "a lot of juice and energy." Linebacker Shaq Thompson agreed: "I love a QB who talks trash. That’s how Cam [Newton] was in 2015 going at [Thomas Davis]."

    ESPN's David Newton noted that Mayfield pushes the ball downfield more than Darnold does.

    While Mayfield may draw more interest and he's the latest addition to the room, this competition is far from over. Darnold may have been a disappointment last season, but the organization has more invested in him from a financial perspective.

    Whoever starts to stack good days on top of one another while consistently alternating reps will ultimately land the starting job.


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