First looks at Julio Jones in Tennessee, Cleveland’s revamped D: Things to watch at NFL minicamps


Eighteen NFL groups open their necessary three-day minicamps this week. Ten held theirs final week, with 4 groups electing to cancel. Groups that opted out of necessary minicamps this week are the Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts and San Francisco 49ers. The Philadelphia Eagles had been the primary staff to skip theirs after they did so per week in the past.

Groups have already got been going by means of organized staff actions, however this marks the primary time that many veterans will take the sphere for the reason that finish of the 2020 season. That features some gamers who joined new groups this offseason, together with Julio Jones. Who reveals up can even be one thing to regulate, as many gamers may maintain out amid ongoing contract negotiations. And, as at all times, offenses and defenses will proceed putting in new schemes throughout this time.

So what do it’s essential to find out about this week’s actions? We requested our NFL Nation reporters to preview this week’s minicamps and inform us the most important factor they’re watching from all 18 camps. Let’s begin with the Ravens, who’re attempting to get their new large receivers in sync with their offense.

Bounce to a staff:


I am watching Lamar Jackson and the new-look large receiver group. The Ravens drafted Rashod Bateman within the first spherical and signed Sammy Watkins in free company to assist increase the NFL’s Thirty second-ranked passing assault. Bateman has missed apply time as a consequence of some muscle tightness, and Watkins skipped the primary week of voluntary offseason exercises. So minicamp ought to enable Jackson to familiarize himself with Baltimore’s greatest additions to the passing recreation. Final season, the Ravens accomplished 137 passes to large receivers — 18 fewer than another staff within the league. — Jamison Hensley

How improved is Buffalo’s line of defense? It was clearly a degree of emphasis for the Payments after drafting defensive ends with their first two picks on this 12 months’s draft. Toss within the return of 1-technique defensive deal with Star Lotulelei, a full offseason for 2020 second-round choose AJ Epenesa and a second 12 months beneath line of defense coach Eric Washington, Buffalo figures it did sufficient this offseason to use the stress on the AFC’s premier offenses that it lacked final season. — Marcel Louis-Jacques

How will QB Sam Darnold carry out after a month of training Joe Brady’s system? Participation-wise, Carolina has had near 100% all through OTAs, so what occurs in necessary minicamp will not be that a lot totally different from what we have seen. However how a lot of the system Darnold has grasped and the way nicely he manages the offense will likely be necessary. — David Newton

Justin Fields’ development inside the offense would be the focus. Bears coach Matt Nagy already introduced that veteran Andy Dalton will take the first-team reps till additional discover, however Fields is penciled in because the No. 2 quarterback, forward of Nick Foles. All eyes proceed to be on the first-round choose as he learns Nagy’s offense and works to enhance his command of the huddle. Fields already suffered by means of minor rising pains in OTAs — taking snaps beneath middle, for instance — however his expertise is simple. Fields would be the focus at minicamp and past. — Jeff Dickerson



Domonique Foxworth shares his ideas on which rookie NFL quarterback will take probably the most snaps this season.

What sort of progress will Joe Burrow proceed to make? In the course of the three OTAs obtainable to the media, Burrow took small strides as he seems to get better from a devastating knee harm. Burrow’s on-field consolation will likely be one thing to look at. One other factor to regulate: Burrow’s elevated velocity on intermediate passes and the way that interprets to his deep ball. — Ben Child

Control Cleveland’s new-look protection. The Browns added as many as eight new defensive starters within the offseason by means of free company and the draft, bolstering the expertise round star pass-rusher Myles Garrett and Professional Bowl cornerback Denzel Ward. Minicamp will present the primary glimpse into the potential of this revamped unit. — Jake Trotter

Put it on repeat: Control the quarterbacks. The Broncos have a full-fledged, equal-snaps quarterback competitors occurring between Teddy Bridgewater and Drew Lock. And coach Vic Fangio has mentioned what occurs in coaching camp and preseason video games later this summer time would be the bulk of the analysis when the staff makes the choice, however he additionally has mentioned that 11-on-11 work in apply issues lots. And the Broncos will do probably the most 11-on-11 work of the offseason program on this necessary minicamp. — Jeff Legwold

How a lot is Trevor Lawrence progressing? He is not going through limitations as he recovers from left shoulder surgical procedure, however he’s having the conventional ups and downs all rookie QBs have. The Jaguars need to see him constantly stacking good practices. Coach City Meyer mentioned Lawrence’s retention has been nice and his execution has improved. Regular progress must proceed. — Michael DiRocco

Patrick Mahomes appears nicely forward of schedule in rehabbing from February toe surgical procedure, so the larger rapid concern is who’s taking part in the place on the offensive line. The Chiefs have eight robust roster candidates on the road who weren’t with the staff final 12 months. The Chiefs want to start out the method of determining a beginning 5. Orlando Brown Jr. at left deal with and Joe Thuney at left guard are set. In any other case, spots are up for grabs. — Adam Teicher

Protection, protection, protection. Not a lot might be instructed when the blokes are in shorts and helmets, proper? However Gus Bradley was introduced in to repair a protection that value Las Vegas dearly in late losses to the Chiefs, Chargers and Dolphins final 12 months, costing the Raiders a shot on the playoffs. Bradley was the architect of the Legion of Growth in Seattle. Will he make Las Vegas’ secondary go growth or bust within the desert? Minicamp ought to give a preview. — Paul Gutierrez

Is Justin Herbert rusty or prepared? Will he have the second-year blues, or does he look robust and ready? Primarily based on his historical past, we’re guessing prepared, robust and ready. He has spent his faculty and now his skilled profession adjusting to new schemes and new coaches. It needs to be fascinating to look at him with the latest guys. — Shelley Smith

How does Tua Tagovailoa look along with his new offensive weapons? The thrill across the Dolphins’ headquarters all offseason has been about constructing round a extra snug, assured Tagovailoa headed into Yr 2. It is true that Tagovailoa is stronger and greater after a grueling offseason exercise plan. New beginning receivers William Fuller V and Jaylen Waddle add electrifying pace that ought to open up the offense and assist Tagovailoa launch the deep ball. Every thing appears to be trending the fitting means, however we lastly get to see an actual glimpse of the way it’ll look in true soccer motion throughout minicamp. — Cameron Wolfe



Chris Canty explains how Tua Tagovailoa can enhance in his second 12 months because the Dolphins’ QB.

Will Danielle Hunter present up? The Professional Bowl defensive finish is the one Vikings veteran who skipped out on everything of OTAs whereas hypothesis over attainable dissatisfaction along with his contract continues to swirl. Hunter by no means noticed the sphere in 2020 as a consequence of a neck harm and underwent season-ending surgical procedure final October. All indications, from Mike Zimmer to Rick Spielman, are that Hunter is wholesome and recovered. Whereas his absence has been notable and anticipated for the voluntary portion of the offseason, come Tuesday, it turns into a full-on holdout if he isn’t at minicamp. — Courtney Cronin

Dont’a Hightower and his plans for 2021 will likely be key. The veteran linebacker and longtime captain has not been attending voluntary organized staff actions after opting out of the 2020 season, however gamers and coaches have mentioned they stay up for his return. The query, as famous by linebackers coach Jerod Mayo, is how his physique responds to a 12 months away. For some gamers, together with Rob Gronkowski, time away generally is a increase. For others, equivalent to Patrick Chung, it might create a further impediment that makes it more durable to return to motion. — Mike Reiss

Minicamp will likely be one other necessary marker for rookie QB Zach Wilson, who has ranged from honest to superb throughout scripted practices open to the media. However the teaching workers is keen to see how he performs in unscripted durations, which is able to take a look at his grasp of the offense. The presumptive starter, Wilson has been getting each first-team rep, however he nonetheless hasn’t had an opportunity to work with WR Jamison Crowder, who’s staying away due to a contract squabble. Crowder will seemingly attend as a result of it is necessary, assuming he is nonetheless on the roster. — Wealthy Cimini

How is Ben Roethlisberger adapting to Matt Canada’s offense? The Steelers have been slowly putting in Canada’s scheme throughout OTAs, and minicamp with the complete Steelers offense will likely be one other measuring stick for the quarterback and his consolation within the new ideas. He admitted to the problem of studying a brand new offense after 17 seasons in the same system, and JuJu Smith-Schuster mentioned he has observed the quarterback’s buy-in by means of the quantity of questions he is asking. — Brooke Pryor

What ought to we count on relating to Jamal Adams’ participation? The Professional Bowl robust security was among the many Seahawks’ veterans who stayed away for the beginning of the voluntary offseason program, however he did not report at first of the ultimate week of OTAs like many others did. The Seahawks and Adams’ agent have began discussions a few new contract, a supply has instructed ESPN, however they look like a protracted methods away from getting one thing accomplished. Adams can be topic to fines for skipping necessary minicamp, although he may at all times present up and never apply as Bobby Wagner did early in coaching camp two years in the past whereas his contract was being finalized. These three days could possibly be a sign of what Adams plans to do if his deal is not accomplished by late July. — Brady Henderson

How a lot will Ryan Tannehill and Julio Jones work on chemistry? The newly acquired Jones will play a key function within the Titans’ passing recreation however is taking part in with a brand new quarterback for the primary time in his 10-year profession. Tannehill was capable of shortly develop chemistry with A.J. Brown and among the different receivers in 2019. If he and Jones can shortly get on the identical web page, it is going to be great for the Titans’ offense. — Turron Davenport


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