Wednesday’s 2021 NFL training camp practices were highlighted by quarterbacks.
Colts coach Frank Reich had a message for fans calling for Indy to sign Nick Foles from the Bears. Jalen Hurts showed he can learn from mistakes. Aaron Rodgers is truly spoiled for choice at the wide receiver position. And In Minnesota, starter Kirk Cousins (COVID-19 list) is expected back at practice on Thursday.
Here’s what you need to know and see from camps across the league:
Top NFL news of the day
The reigning MVP talked about how important it was to stay in touch with Jordan Love during his offseason absence, said he and coach Matt LaFleur have picked up where they left off last year and revealed that receiver Randall Cobb moved in with him after last week’s trade.
Yet when it came to general manager Brian Gutekunst — a man he’s known longer than any of the aforementioned — he called their relationship a “work in progress, for sure.”
Tampa Bay is giving Bowles a new contract that keeps him as the NFL’s highest-paid defensive coordinator, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Bowles had one year left on his current deal, but this contract replaces that and doesn’t preclude him from taking another head-coaching job.
What our NFL Nation reporters saw today
Colts coach Frank Reich doesn’t mind saying it: He’s a huge a Nick Foles fan. But Reich also has a message for those clamoring for the Colts to acquire Foles from Chicago.
“This is Carson’s team,” Reich said in reference to injured starter Carson Wentz. “He’s our quarterback… When we brought him here, we brought him here for one reason. He’s coming here to lead this football team.”
Wentz is out five to 12 weeks after having foot surgery, and the Colts lack experience behind him at the position on the roster. Second-year player Jacob Eason is currently the starter. Foles replaced Wentz (knee) late in the 2017 season and led Philadelphia to the Super Bowl. The offensive coordinator on the Eagles at the time? Reich. That’s where the connection lies.
“I love Nick Foles,” Reich said. “I think he’s a great player. He’s proven that. He’s certainly a guy who fits our culture. But he plays for the Chicago Bears. We’re glad we have the guys we got.” — Mike Wells
Jalen Hurts had his best and worst moment of camp in back-to-back plays. First came the bad — a throw over the middle right into the hands of linebacker JaCoby Stevens for an interception — followed by a beautiful toss down the left sideline to John Hightower, who made a fingertip grab. Hurts has dazzled at times over the past week, but needs to be more consistent. — Tim McManus
Travis Kelce today on the 17-game schedule and whether he’ll ask Andy Reid to lighten his workload to compensate pic.twitter.com/Fp41hakpIC
— Adam Teicher (@adamteicher) August 4, 2021
Travis Kelce said he’s not a fan of the NFL’s 17-game regular season, but like everyone else will try to make the best of it.
“I wasn’t for it but I can see it’s happening,” said Kelce, who turns 32 in October. “It’s happening so I’m rolling with it. I don’t think it really switches up anybody’s mentality. Coach [Andy] Reid is a great leader so he’ll take care of us and make sure we’re not only ready for the game physically but ready for the game mentally.”
Kelce said he won’t ask Reid to lighten his workload to compensate for the 17th game.
“I actually asked him if I could get more reps,” Kelce said. “I need to get better. I’ve got to get more reps out here.” — Adam Teicher
An All-Pro in Davante Adams. A deep threat in Marquez Valdes-Scantling. A healthy Allen Lazard. The return of Devin Funchess, plus the addition of slot receivers Randall Cobb and Amari Rodgers. What does it all add up to?
“I think we’ve got the best receiver room in the league. Easily,” Lazard said Wednesday following a closed practice.
If the first week or camp has revealed anything about the Packers’ offense, it’s that Aaron Rodgers should have plenty of weapons and those weapons have plenty to play for. — Rob Demovsky
Bill Belichick had two guests for Wednesday’s practice — Vanderbilt baseball coach Tim Corbin and former Patriots vice president of player personnel Scott Pioli (2000-2008).
Belichick spent a lot of time talking on the field with Corbin, a New England native who has built a powerhouse at Vanderbilt. On the field, CB J.C. Jackson, who was second in the NFL in interceptions last season (9), had his first pick of camp. — Mike Reiss
This day had a little bit of everything, from rookie cornerback Jaycee Horn breaking out his college “seatbelt” celebration after breaking up a touchdown pass, to a short scuffle between wide receiver Robby Anderson and corner Troy Pride Jr. But the highlight came when the entire first-team offense jogged at least 100 yards each way to touch the new “DBO” sign that means “Don’t Beat Ourselves.”
It happened after a motion penalty on the first play of red zone drills. Touching the sign is all about accountability. It appears to have replaced running a lap for a mistake. Coach Matt Rhule calls it one of his “first tenets to winning.” — David Newton
First-round draft pick Payton Turner has stood out with a series of impact plays over the past two days in Saints camp. The 6-foot-6 defensive end batted down a pass in full-team drills Tuesday, then he got into the backfield for two or three potential sacks Wednesday (hitting the QBs isn’t allowed). Turner has gotten plenty of work with the starting units while veterans Cameron Jordan and Marcus Davenport took turns getting a day off. — Mike Triplett
Washington has been pleased with running back Antonio Gibson, who is coming off a turf toe injury late last season. He admitted it was still not 100 percent in the spring, but he and the coaches both say it’s no longer a problem.
On Wednesday, Gibson showed burst. He has worked more in the pass game than last year, when the team wanted him to focus on learning to play running back after being mostly a receiver in college. In fact, Gibson said his adjustment is still more to playing running back than catching passes or running routes. Still, coaches have used him in more alignments in the pass game, testing what he can do. — John Keim
This is not something specific to Wednesday. But, every day at Falcons practice cornerback A.J. Terrell does something to stand out in training camp. Whether it’s a lockdown pass breakup or an interception, the second-year cornerback out of Clemson has looked every bit capable of being a No. 1 corner in the league. If Atlanta is going to be successful this season, it’s going to need growth out of Terrell. — Michael Rothstein
Lions wide receiver Tyrell Williams dislocated his left pinky on Tuesday, but was back on the field Wednesday with two of his fingers bandaged. He anticipates being able to take off the hard wrap in a couple of days, saying he’ll “be fine.” Fellow wideout Kalif Raymond was also spotted limping to the locker room following the end of the practice session.
Detroit Tigers outfielder Akil Baddoo and center fielder Derek Hill were also in attendance. — Eric Woodyard
Lots of questions surrounding tackle Bryan Bulaga, who left practice early Tuesday and was having his arm looked at. On Wednesday, coach Brandon Staley said it had been a planned day off for Bulaga, and called the hand/arm injury “just typical O-line stuff.” He will be assigned to protect Justin Herbert‘s blind side this season. — Shelley Smith
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