The first week and a half of training camp is over, the preseason casts its shadow – time for an intermediate conclusion! Who has so far been able to convince, who could surprise – and who should you know? SPOX brings you up to date.
Training camp: The first takeaways of the preparation
All of Green Bay celebrates Romeo Doubs
Looking at the Packers’ receiver depth chart still leaves more questions than answers.
After years of calls from outsiders to finally give Davante Adams a strong No. 2, Adams had to be let go this offseason instead — and No. 2 receiver and Deep Threat Marquez Valdes flavor also left the Packers via free agency.
One looks in vain for a well-known replacement; at least until the start of training camp. Because over the past ten days, it’s been hard to escape the Romeo Doubs hype surrounding the Packers: The fourth-round rookie is the most eye-catching receiver of the preseason in Green Bay so far, and by far.
So much so that quarterback Aaron Rodgers said a few days ago, “Every single day he’s had at least one ‘wow’ game, and that’s pretty rare for a young player. We’ve had a couple of guys over the the last few years that do it. it has too — but I think they’re all in the top 10 in terms of Packers receiving history.”
Rodgers isn’t known for dishing out such praise on a regular basis. And he’s a quarterback who’s especially prone to consistently hooking receivers only once they’ve earned his trust. Something that Adams also had to fight for several years. If the initial hype is to be believed, Doubs seems well on its way to earning that trust in record time.
Fellow rookie receiver Christian Watson, who was drafted significantly higher than Doubs and even invested in Green Bay via the Uptrade, has failed to impress thus far. Watson is on the PUP list with a knee injury, and the longer he’s out, the harder it will be to make an impact early in the season.
Sudden receiver problems in Dallas
There is no doubt that the Dallas Cowboys misjudged the market in their approach to the Amari Cooper situation, resulting in Dallas Cooper being traded very cheaply to Cleveland. Otherwise, dismissal would probably have been the alternative. Slot receiver Cedrick Wilson also left the team.
And what was an excellent receiving group last year now comes with serious question marks: Michael Gallup is still recovering from his cruciate ligament tear and recently stated there was “no real possibility” he would play in Week 1 , while new signing James Washington hurt his foot in practice a few days ago and will miss six to 10 weeks.
CeeDee Lamb is seeded as number 1, but behind it suddenly becomes very shaky. Third-round rookie Jalen Tolbert will have to play an early role now, with the likes of Noah Brown and TJ Vasher behind him.
It can’t be ruled out that running back Tony Pollard will get a lot of work on the field, especially in the first few weeks of the season. It would be a good opportunity for Pollard to showcase himself after team owner Jerry Jones recently clarified, “Zeke has to be the center. We can use him in different ways. We all know what he can do in the passing game because of of his protective qualities You can never underestimate that with him, so it’s important that we put Zeke at the center of our plans.”
Travis Etienne rushes to the rescue
2021 The Jaguars had many problems. The lack of serious playmakers certainly wasn’t the biggest issue, but looking back at this past season, it’s still striking: Laquon Treadwell and Tavon Austin had the third and fifth most targets for the Jaguars last year. Marvin Jones was the only player to record more than two touchdown catches.
The first week and a half of camp suggests that will change. Not only because of the new offense brought in by head coach Doug Pederson, but also because of the individual quality: newcomer Christian Kirk looks like the No. 1 target in the offense and seems to be developing good chemistry with quarterback Trevor Lawrence — but he’s playing there is permanent. highlighted is another.
Travis Etienne was Jacksonville’s second first-round pick last year, notable for Urban Meyer, who wanted to draft Kadarius Toney and then quickly needed an alternative when the Giants snagged Toney from under his nose. Etienne then missed his rookie season entirely due to injury, but he’s back to 100 percent now and, by all accounts from Jacksonville, he’s the standout player in camp.
Its explosiveness especially stands out, especially in the running game. What’s also striking is that the coaches are obviously very willing to push him around and use him as a matchup weapon. It could also see him take a few snaps with James Robinson once Jacksonville’s nominal starter is fully fit again.
The Jaguars need players who can threaten offense and take pressure off Trevor Lawrence. If you take the camp so far as a basis, it is obvious that Etienne is a player for just that task.
Robinson and Co.: Key points from the notebook
- Allen Robinson is back: No name is mentioned more often around the Rams these days. The wide receiver, who came to Los Angeles as a free agent after a poor season with the Chicago Bears, was the leading scorer in several practice sessions. Visually in the form of highlight catches and his dominance at the point of catch, but also in the statements of those responsible. In Los Angeles, it is believed that Robinson will put the past season behind him and that in the best days in the “Odell-Beckham role” will triumph.
- Brandon Aiyuk ahead of Monster Season? What Robinson is to the Rams these days, Brandon Aiyuk is to San Francisco. The player everyone is talking about. The player who impresses pretty much every day at camp. Who provides the highlights that then go viral. The player about whom Niners safety Jimmie Ward openly admitted Wednesday, “I haven’t won a one-on-one against him yet.” Aiyuk’s body control and athleticism have been admired on several occasions, and after a rocky start to last season, he now looks set to burst off the block at full speed.
- Is Isaiah Simmons the matchup weapon after all? Isaiah Simmons entered the NFL with a lot of advance praise—but also with one question hanging over it all: What exactly would his role be at the next level? The Cardinals initially let him play primarily linebackers, with Simmons clearly having trouble adjusting to the speed and complexity so close to the line of scrimmage in his first year. He’s already made a splash in Year 2, and apparently Arizona is ready to make him a bigger defensive focal point in Year 3. The Cardinals have had him work out regularly at safety during offseason workouts in what looks like to be a hybrid safety/linebacker/slot role. Defensive coordinator Vance Joseph talked about Simmons as the “star position.” Exactly how Joseph and Simmons interpret this remains to be seen. Parts of Jalen Ramsey’s job description in the Rams Defense have the same title, in simple terms a slot wheel with more physicality and more freedom on the field.
- Is Isiah Pacheco confusing the Chiefs backfield? Receiver Skyy Moore is the rookie who has received the most hype from Chiefs camp — but another rookie at the skill position is also carving out a permanent role. Running back Isiah Pacheco is set to start the preseason as the primary kickoff returner, the Chiefs have already announced — and there are reports that Pacheco’s speed could also find a place in the offense. The seventh-round pick appears to have real chances for at least a complementary role — and the pecking order in the backfield surrounding Edwards-Helaire, McKinnon and Ronald Jones isn’t completely set in stone.
- Ashton Dulin, remember the name: Ashton Dulin has had a few whiffs over the past season, most notably his 62-yard touchdown against the Buccaneers in Week 12. As an undrafted free agent in 2019, it’s already an accomplishment for him to still be on the team — however, Dulin can even have a real shot at a bigger role next season. From the Colts camp, it’s clear that he’s fourth in the inside receiver pecking order, he’s now more than a speedster. “I can’t stress enough how positive we see him. He wants a role in this offense. He deserves it,” Frank Reich said recently. The Colts have invested in their weapons, but bringing more players onto the field with explosiveness and big play potential would still benefit this offense. By the way, Dulin also has a real chance to become my biggest draft sleeper hit so far.