One name worth keeping an eye on this summer for the Browns, according to WRs coach Al Saunders, is WR Ricardo Louis.
“It was funny because I went back and looked at our last year’s rookie minicamp, the OTAs and the veteran camp, and [he’s] a different guy,” Saunders said.
“Now he lines up at the line of scrimmage and hears the play and sees the defense and recognizes the coverage, he goes 100 miles per hour,” Saunders said, via Pat McManamon of ESPN. “He’s a talented young man. I’m thrilled he feels really comfortable in what he’s doing and am really excited when we get him to the preseason and take that transition and get into real physical football and play the game when things aren’t what you expect it to be.”
Texans DL coach Anthony Weaver is excited to have J.J. Watt back playing along side of Jadeveon Clowney and Whitney Mercilus this year and the issues it will create for opposing offenses to deal with.
“Every time both guys are on the field together, we all become better as a unit,” Weaver said, via Sarah Barshop. “There’s no addition by subtraction because of J.J. Watt. Absolutely not.
“We’re very fortunate that we have a bunch of dynamic players, but up front, we have those three [Watt, Clowney and Mercilus] in particular. And it’s up to us coaching-wise to make sure we put them in the best position to be successful. Sometimes that’s not an easy task as it seems to be. But the expectations haven’t changed. We know where we finished a year ago. We know what we expect out of our unit this season and obviously having J.J. back is going to do nothing but help us achieve those goals.”
Texans assistant HC Romeo Crennel is also looking forward to the issues this trio will cause for teams.
“I think we all know what J.J. brings to the table,” Crennel said. “For opponents to try to figure out where they’re going to send their protection — do they send it to J.J.? Do they send it to Clowney? Exactly how they’re going to do all that as far as from a protection standpoint, I think that’s going to make it extremely difficult on the offense. So, if we can keep both of those guys healthy, and Whitney as well, I think it will be difficult for them.“
- Mike Garafolo gives Roberto Aguayo the edge over Nick Folk in the Buccaneers’ kicking competition, considering that Aguayo is a former second-round pick.
- Tampa Bay did guarantee a portion of Folk’s contract, but Garafolo seems to think he’ll likely have to be the clear winner in order to get the job and convince the Buccaneers to admit they made a mistake by trading up to draft Aguayo last year.
Panthers DT Kawann Short said he is still focused despite receiving a lucrative five-year, $80 million contract extension this offseason.
“I’ve still got to work like I’m still trying to earn one,” Short said, via Bob Pockrass of ESPN. “I come out here every day. That’s in the past now. I’m working like it’s another rookie year for me.”
“It’s the same mentality [in camp] — to do what I’ve been doing and go at the offensive line and make each other get better.”
Short added that it should be easier on him this season, considering that all he has to worry about is playing football.
“I don’t have to worry about what’s next or what’s that,” Short said. “I’ve just got to worry about coming out here and doing what I’ve been doing.”
Panthers CBs James Bradberry and Daryl Worley said they feel more comfortable with their starting roles after a year of experience.
“We’ve been to hell and back at this point,” Worley said, via Jourdan Rodriguez of the Charlotte Observer. “I feel like there’s nothing we haven’t faced. So we should be able to prepare and shake off anything that may happen, and get ready for the next play.”
Bradberry adds that he was confused at times as a rookie but is more familiar with the defense and is able to get a better read on offenses.
“Last year, I was a little confused (during minicamp),” Bradberry said. “Things were happening so fast. Now I’m able to read the offense a little bit more. I’m familiar with the defense and I’m able to play a lot faster.”
Jason Wolf of the Tennessean writes that second-year WR Tajae Sharpe could enter training camp with a “tenuous grasp on a roster spot.”
Wolf points out that the Titans have brought in veteran WR Eric Decker in recent days and used their first-round pick on Corey Davis, so there’s not a good amount of depth at the position. Beyond that, Sharpe is being investigated for an alleged assault and is coming off of surgery for a stress fracture in his right foot.
Titans HC Mike Mularkey said last week that Sharpe is among the players who will have to find a way to stay in shape in the coming weeks.
“Some of them like Tajae [are] going to have a hard time,” said Mularkey. “Obviously he’s not going to run right now, but he’s got to do something to stay in shape. You can’t come back and expect to get in shape in training camp. It’s not like the old days. Training camp is short. You used to be able to build into it in the training camps. You can’t do that anymore. You’ve got to be ready to go. No matter what your injury is, there’s something you can do, cardio-wise, to train.”
- Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune does not think Bears HC John Fox would consider sitting first-round QB Mitch Trubisky just buy himself another year. In fact, Biggs says that Fox and his stay likely would survive another 3-13 season and will be doing whatever it takes to win as many games as possible.
- Biggs thinks WR Markus Wheaton has a better chance to start over Victor Cruz and Kendall Wright since he is better as an outside receiver.
- Biggs mentions that RB Ka’Deem Carey is in the final year of his contract and could face a battle to make the active roster. However, Biggs also says Carey could “potentially” backup Jordan Howard.
- As for the job security of Fox and GM Ryan Pace, Biggs does not think the two will be evaluated as a pair. Biggs mentions that Pace’s five-year contract and Fox’s four-year deal are not on the same timeline.