A few teams took part in padded practices at 2020 NFL training camps on Friday, including the Dallas Cowboys, New York Jets, Denver Broncos and Jacksonville Jaguars. In some cases, it was the first chance for our NFL Nation reporters to get a look at the rookie draft picks in their uniforms. The day also produced a few highlights from drills, as well as news on the Minnesota Vikings and Cleveland Browns.
Here’s what you need to know from camps across the league for Aug. 14:
Top news of the day
Patriots’ Cam Newton makes good first impression on Bill Belichick “Cam’s a hardworking kid. He really is,” Belichick said Friday morning. Newton’s introduction to the Patriots’ system since officially signing July 8 is one of the most compelling storylines of training camp. Several teammates have noted the energy that Newton, 31, has brought to the team.
Dalvin Cook says he’s ‘full go’ with Vikings despite no new deal
Three days ahead of the Vikings’ first padded practice of training camp, Cook vowed to participate in Monday’s session with or without a contract extension. “I’ll for sure be out there coaching, cheering, running the ball,” Cook said. “I’m locked up full go, a thousand percent. I’m trying to get better. I’m trying to lead this young group that we’ve got.”
Baker Mayfield says ‘I lost myself’ in Browns’ chaos last season
The Browns quarterback said he’s now in a better state both physically and mentally and admitted to losing his way and doubting himself last year amid the chaos in Cleveland. “Having success all through high school and college, and having that standard so high, and then [last year] not nearly as much success as I’m used to — so I would say I lost myself,” said Mayfield.
— Arizona Cardinals (@AZCardinals) August 14, 2020
— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) August 14, 2020
Just two guys out here having fun. 🤗 pic.twitter.com/PT2J12J4t6
— Atlanta Falcons (@AtlantaFalcons) August 14, 2020
— Dallas Cowboys (@dallascowboys) August 14, 2020
Here are the QBs in the red jerseys pic.twitter.com/XigTyXUmat
— Todd Archer (@toddarcher) August 14, 2020
FOOTBALL IS BACK ‼️ pic.twitter.com/Q4DMIdEqxl
— New York Jets (@nyjets) August 14, 2020
— Rich Cimini (@RichCimini) August 14, 2020
— Cincinnati Bengals (@Bengals) August 14, 2020
— New England Patriots (@Patriots) August 14, 2020
— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@Buccaneers) August 14, 2020
What our NFL Nation reporters saw and heard today
CeeDee Lamb had the play of the day at Dallas Cowboys camp with a one-handed catch over his head on a high pass near the sideline. The rookie also had a fumble later on as he turned upfield, but the first -rounder was noticeable even in an OTA-type practice. He even served as one of the punt returners, which is a sign the Cowboys want to get the ball in his hands as often as possible.
“He’s the same guy I’ve been watching on TV the past two, three years,” Ha Ha Clinton-Dix said. “I mean, he’s very focused, very fast, man, and he’s just getting comfortable. I can’t wait to see what he has in store being around so many veteran wide receivers.” — Todd Archer
The Kansas City Chiefs held their their first practice in pads and wasted no getting to the run game. The first practice period in full team drills was centered on the run, with rookie Clyde Edwards-Helaire first in line as the featured back. Here’s what coach Andy Reid said about Edwards-Helaire:
“He’s been doing a lot of work with the first group. That’s valuable work for him. Is everything perfect? No, not right now. But he’s working like crazy to get there.” — Adam Teicher
For the first time in the three days since the media was allowed to observe camp, the Las Vegas Raiders‘ offense went against the defense in non-padded drills. Rookie Damon Arnette was a starting cornerback in both nickel and the 4-3 base defense. On offense, the Raiders opened in 11 personnel, and rookie Bryan Edwards, rather than first-round pick Henry Ruggs III, was a starting wideout, along with Zay Jones and Nelson Agholor. Not much should be made of this … yet.
And while the Raiders did see the return of defensive end Maxx Crosby on Friday from the COVID-19 reserve list, neither running back Josh Jacobs nor right tackle Trent Brown practiced for the third straight day, though coach Jon Gruden insisted neither of them was “out,” per se. “The head coach gets to make a decision or two and you’ll see those guys soon enough,” Gruden said. “They’re not out; they’re working. You just don’t see them.” The Raiders are off on Saturday but return Sunday. — Paul Gutierrez
Baltimore Ravens nose tackle Brandon Williams believes the two additions to the defensive line — Calais Campbell and Derek Wolfe — will help a run defense that allowed 217 yards in the playoff loss to the Titans. “I’ve got the twin towers right next to me –those two giants,” Williams said. “I don’t see how offenses can come at us, man. Those two dudes are good.” — Jamison Hensley
When the Green Bay Packers step on the field, most probably consider Kevin King to be the No. 2 cornerback behind rising star Jaire Alexander. But it was actually King who led the team in interceptions last season (five to Alexander’s two, although King dropped two others). And it doesn’t bother King if he’s labeled as CB2.
“No, look, I ain’t got no problem with that,” King said Friday. “People are going to think what they’re going to think, but when you’re out there on that field, it’s two No. 1s. It’s going to be hard to go to the left side. It’s going to be hard to go to the right side. The film is going to speak for itself for sure. Ja has established himself as one of the elite corners in this league, and I’m right there too. A few more healthy seasons, one more healthy season, and I’m going to establish myself as well.” — Rob Demovsky
With no preseason games or joint practices, one of things Detroit Lions coach Matt Patricia has been considering is how to handle hitting when it comes to training camp practices. He doesn’t want the first time his players face real contact to be in the season opener against the Bears next month, so he has been trying to figure out ways to work it into practices over the next few weeks.
“You need to feel it; you need to see it; you need the see the speed of it. The question is: How do we do that in a safe environment?” Patricia said. “Certainly from the preseason games, that’s where you get your live-action in there with the tackling part of it. But we’re going to have to do that, and I think for us, it’s putting them in, we call it in-line situations, where maybe the collision and the contact isn’t as great and it’s a little bit of a safer play and try to eliminate some of the more space and speed type of plays. But they still need to feel that — they need to be able to drive through and just get that out of the way.” — Michael Rothstein
Jacksonville Jaguars defensive coordinator Todd Wash, who has had the job since 2016, says he is going to be more hands-on with the defensive line this season because of the glut of new guys and the loss of Calais Campbell (who was traded to Baltimore). He also said he’s going to lean on defensive tackle Abry Jones, the longest-tenured player on the roster, to replace the vocal leadership the defense lost when Campbell was traded.
“The first day that we had the vets in the building, Abes and I sat down — eight years ago I was coaching Abes, so we have a very good relationship — and I said, ‘It’s time. It’s time for you to really take control. I know before you were a vocal guy in that room, but I think Calais was really the leader in that group and now we’re putting that on [pass-rusher] Josh [Allen] even though he’s a young player.’ But him and Abes really need to step up and lead that group.” — Michael DiRocco
There were two things that Carolina Panthers coach Matt Rhule was proud of on Friday after his team completed its first “competitive” practice of camp. First, Carolina is one of a handful of NFL teams that hasn’t had a player test positive for COVID-19. Rhule is realistic enough to know that will happen at some point, but for the timing being he’s comfortable with the protocol and doesn’t see the need for a bubble system even though there is a hotel available for players who want to use it. Second, the energy in practice has been good across the board, and the top players have stepped up so far in leadership roles. Rhule’s also realistic to know the key is what happens on Monday when the pads go on. “What you do with helmets and shells is one thing. Once you put the pads on it’s a different thing,” Rhule said. — David Newton
The Tennessee Titans took the field for the first time as a group on Friday. Despite the muggy, humid weather, practice was up-tempo and productive. Coach Mike Vrabel made his rounds, working with almost every position group during the individual period. Safety Kenny Vaccaro left midway through practice and didn’t return. Vaccaro walked into the building without a limp. The Titans safeties are an area of depth with Vaccaro, Kevin Byard, Amani Hooker and Dane Cruikshank. Safeties coach Scott Booker said he could see the Titans using big nickel (three-safety looks) in the sub packages. — Turron Davenport
The 49ers were off on Friday but they took care of a little roster business in the meantime as they held a workout for wide receivers Tavon Austin and J.J. Nelson. With Deebo Samuel recovering from a foot injury, Richie James dealing with a wrist injury and Travis Benjamin opting out, the 49ers are short on depth at wideout, so the team is expected to sign both Austin and Nelson to provide some depth. Austin and Nelson are smaller, speedier wideouts who can fill the void left by Benjamin and James, though neither is a lock to make the roster. Austin would seem better positioned of the two because of his return ability. Assuming both can pass physicals and the necessary COVID-19 protocols to finalize deals, they will be facing an uphill climb to stick on San Francisco’s 53-man roster. — Nick Wagoner
Chad Johnson got a hold of some Eagles practice tape that shows DeSean Jackson getting the better of new cornerback Darius Slay in one-on-ones, with Jackson using a hesitation move to spring free down the sidelines before catching a Carson Wentz offering in stride. The buzz has been that Jackson is as fast as ever following core muscle surgery last season, and he sure looked like himself here, even at 33 years old. — Tim McManus
The Patriots held what Bill Belichick referred to as their first “team” practice, with full-speed and high-tempo work. “We’ve had endless Zoom meetings. Then in-person meetings, walk-throughs since training camp started. Some individual drills the last couple days. Then today will be the first opportunity we get to really have any full-speed or high-tempo team drills. So that’s good; I think we’re all looking forward to that.” The first full pads practice in Monday. — Mike Reiss
All-Pro Saints kick returner/wide receiver Deonte Harris was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list Friday. No reason was specified. He can return to the roster and return to practice once he is medically cleared. — Mike Triplett
The Bucs’ young DBs have all been vying to be the first one to intercept Tom Brady when the offense got to square off against the defense. Well those two units finally got to face each other today, and it was second-year safety Mike Edwards who nabbed the first practice pick off of TB12. The secondary has also vowed to turn more pass breakups into INTs. Sean Murphy-Bunting said, “What we need to make our secondary known for is creating turnovers and getting interceptions.” — Jenna Laine
The Texans had their first day of practice in pads on Friday, but wide receiver Kenny Stills was not out there. Stills is still on the NFI list, but head coach Bill O’Brien said, “I don’t think it’ll be too much longer before he will be out there practicing.”
O’Brien also said his “conversations with Kenny [Stills] never involved opting out.
“Kenny wants to play football this year,” O’Brien said. “Like a lot of young guys, especially a lot of young African American men in this country right now, they’re passionate about what’s going on. Kenny is definitely in that category. He’s very passionate. He’s very smart. He believes in the fight for racial justice and he just needed some time.” — Sarah Barshop
— Denver Broncos (@Broncos) August 14, 2020
— Seattle Seahawks (@Seahawks) August 14, 2020
You love to see it 👏 pic.twitter.com/PV2crNj8Oj
— Washington Football Team (@WashingtonNFL) August 14, 2020
— #DUUUVAL (@Jaguars) August 14, 2020
We love this energy from Sammy & Le’Veon 👀 pic.twitter.com/RA7dpxoZnU
— New York Jets (@nyjets) August 14, 2020
— Indianapolis Colts (@Colts) August 14, 2020
Who’s the fastest on the team? 🤔 pic.twitter.com/fCFErCcmXM
— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@Buccaneers) August 14, 2020