NFL training camp updates 2022: Matthew Stafford builds chemistry with new receiver, DK Metcalf r...

ByESPN staff ESPN logo
Sunday, July 31, 2022

It was the Tyreek Hill Show in Miami on Saturday.

The Miami Dolphins receiver opened practice by addressing fans, welcoming them to 2022 NFL training camp before landing a flip on the field to get them hyped.

Later in practice, he connected with quarterback Tua Tagovailoa on a 65-yard strike for a touchdown that once again energized the crowd. Hill followed that up by likening the Dolphins receivers to Waffle House in an interview with ESPN's Jeff Darlington, because "everyone's open 24 hours."

Elsewhere in Florida, Tampa Bay Buccaneers reporter Jenna Laine took note of Tom Brady's demands of his centers and things got a little testy Jacksonville for the team's first practive with shoulder pads, according to Jaguars reporter Michael DiRocco.

A couple of rookie wideouts managed to make their mark at camp Saturday. In New Orleans, Saints reporter Katherine Terrell said Chris Olave had the play of the day, connecting with quarterback Jameis Winston on a 60-yard TD in 11-on-11 work with the first unit. In Jets camp, No. 10 overall pick Garrett Wilson made two standout catches during practice in a strong day for New York's heralded rookie class, according to Jets reporter Rich Cimini.

Here's what else you need to know from camps across the league:

What our NFL Nation reporters saw today

Los Angeles Rams: Quarterback Matthew Stafford didn't throw during spring workouts while recovering from a right elbow injury, so training camp is his first time throwing to new wide receiver Allen Robinson. As camp has progressed, it's clear the chemistry between the pair is developing, and it was on full display Saturday. One of the standout plays during team drills was Stafford finding Robinson between two defenders in the back of the end zone.

"I tried to put it in a nice high spot," Stafford said. "Nothing bad would happen up there. And he went up and got it. Great diving catch. Strong hands. That's what he's about." -- Sarah Barshop

Seattle Seahawks: With his three-year, $72 million extension signed and his brief "hold-in" over, DK Metcalf returned to Seahawks practice Saturday. He made a nice contested catch over Artie Burns in a red-zone period but otherwise had a quiet day. It appeared Metcalf was on a snap count. He hardly practiced all offseason as he recovered from foot surgery, skipped mandatory minicamp and watched the first two practices of training camp amid contract negotiations. -- Brady Henderson

Arizona Cardinals: DeAndre Hopkins looked like he was in mid-season form on Saturday, making a diving catch in 11-on-11 work. The Cardinals' star receiver is on a pitch count this camp because he's not eligible to play a game until Week 7 as he serves a six-game suspension due to violating the NFL's performance-enhancing drug policy. He lined up in the slot throughout 1-on-1s and caught nearly all the passes his way. -- Josh Weinfuss

Baltimore Ravens: Rashod Bateman is looking like the new No. 1 wide receiver for the Ravens. He made the catch of the night at Saturday's practice at M&T Bank Stadium, pulling in a contested 55-yard pass from Lamar Jackson. Bateman then caught a couple of red zone passes from Jackson for touchdowns. The Ravens are looking for Bateman to step up after trading Marquise Brown to the Arizona Cardinals this offseason. -- Jamison Hensley

Dallas Cowboys: CeeDee Lamb is just 23 years old, so he doesn't have a lot of wear and tear on his body yet. But, given how important he is to the offense, it shouldn't be a surprise he was given a day off. He did not take any team snaps during Saturday's practice, which was termed as a "workload focus," a likely sign he was coming off a day in which his GPS numbers were high. Mike McCarthy is weary of soft-tissue injuries, especially in the third and fourth days of camp, so the Cowboys took a cautious route with their wide receiver. The players are off Sunday and return to practice in full pads for the first time Monday. -- Todd Archer

Tampa Bay Buccaneers:Tom Brady's demands of his centers are no joke. One of the equipment wagons at the back of the end zones houses many things for many players. Among them: fresh towels and baby powder for center Robert Hainsey, who will compete for the starting job with Nick Leverett. -- Jenna Laine

Las Vegas Raiders:High-profile free-agent pickup Chandler Jones missed his second consecutive practice on Saturday -- after a day off on Friday -- and at this early stage of camp, it may mean nothing. Still, with Jones and his 107.5 career sacks sidelined for now, and Kyler Fackrell placed on IR a day earlier, Gerri Green and Malcolm Koonce got the bulk of Jones' reps at right defensive end/outside linebacker. Keep in mind that, after three straight nights of monsoon rains, the Raiders practiced indoors Saturday, and the team was not in pads. -- Paul Gutierrez

Pittsburgh Steelers:Through the ramp-up non-padded period of training camp, the Steelers defense has looked significantly sharper than its offensive counterpart. During the final 11-on-11 period Saturday, T.J. Watt intercepted a quick slant from Mitch Trubisky intended for George Pickens. He ran it back 20 yards for a pick-6 and hurled the ball in the air. The defense did its training camp celebration for interceptions and pretended to skeet shoot the ball as it spiraled high above them. Watt, in particular, has had a monster week of camp. He also batted down another Trubisky pass in an earlier period Saturday and punted the ball into the crowd in celebration. "T.J.'s being T.J. man, we appreciate that," coach Mike Tomlin said. He loves football. He loves to work. He loves to compete. It's guys like that, that you really want the young guys to pay close attention to." -- Brooke Pryor

San Francisco 49ers:Four practices into training camp, the one constant that can be seen on the field and heard off of it is the impact the Niners' improved secondary could have on the defense as a whole. That group has 10 interceptions in team drills already in this camp after posting just 13 in camp all of last year. That's against all three quarterbacks and not just starters but it speaks to the improved depth of the group as well as the trickle-down effect of adding a top cornerback like Charvarius Ward in free agency. Linebacker Fred Warner intercepted Trey Lance on a throw over the middle Saturday and then spoke about how the revamped defensive backfield could be just the ticket to push the defense to another level.

"The way that they are competing on the back end allows the whole defense to work together in unison," Warner said. "So, if we're all clicking like that, it's gonna get scary." -- Nick Wagoner

Jacksonville Jaguars: Saturday was the first day the players wore shoulder pads and things got a little testy at times as the physicality ramped up. Receiver Laviska Shenault wasn't happy with linebacker De'Shaan Dixon trying to slap the ball out of his hands from behind long after Shenault ran into the end zone and yelled at the undrafted rookie. Rookie receiver Lujuan Winningham shouted at the defensive backs after one running play about blocking. Safety Rayshawn Jenkins made the final statement, however, by popping running back Mekhi Sargent off his feet at the end of a carry. That turned out to be the final play of practice because head coach Doug Pederson called it a few minutes early. The Jaguars will be in full pads for the first time on Sunday. -- Michael DiRocco

Kansas City Chiefs: Even on a team with three established veterans at his position, rookie running back Isiah Pacheco is getting good looks in training camp. Pacheco, a seventh-round draft pick, was the second back into the lineup in many drills behind Clyde Edwards-Helaire but ahead of Jerick McKinnon and Ronald Jones. The Chiefs also have Derrick Gore, who played well for them at times last season. A bigger test for Pacheco will come starting on Monday when the Chiefs practice in pads for the first time. -- Adam Teicher

Carolina Panthers: Coach Matt Rhule is trying to get his team to cut down on mistakes, so it was no surprise he called the team together and "lost it'' after a penalty was called following safety Jeremy Chinn's interception of a Sam Darnold pass. Turns out that wasn't the only mistake in front of fans at Wofford's Gibbs Stadium. "Here's what happened,'' Rhule said with a laugh. "So Chinn picked the ball off and the official said offsides on the defense. I brought everybody in and lost it about, 'Hey, you lined up offsides!' Then after I was finished giving my Knute Rockney speech, he came over and said, 'I meant to say the offense false started.' So I retracted my statement. I'd like to say it's not my fault, but when you're the head coach, everything is on you.'' -- David Newton

Buffalo Bills: The Bills put on pads for the first time Saturday and the last play of the day featured a skirmish. After quarterback Josh Allen threw a touchdown pass to wide receiver Isaiah McKenzie, he attempted to run in a two-point conversion. Allen was stopped, but as the play was ending, defensive tackle Jordan Phillips briefly made contact with the quarterback. Allen quickly reacted by putting his hands on Phillips' facemask/helmet. Both the offense and defense on the field got involved and had to be pulled apart, but it was quickly resolved. Center Mitch Morse was among those quick to defend Allen, and said afterward that "stuff like that ... is going to happen" on the first day with pads. Safety Micah Hyde was also in attendance at practice after leaving Friday's session with hip/glute injury. He's considered "day-to-day," per coach Sean McDermott.-- Alaina Getzenberg

Philadelphia Eagles: Cornerback James Bradberry is making a strong first impression with his new team. Saturday was probably his best training camp practice to date, as he used his size and physicality to largely lock up receiver A.J. Brown, including on a pass deep down the left sideline that Bradberry broke up.

The cornerback trio of Bradberry, Darius Slay and Avonte Maddox has looked formidable early on.-- Tim McManus

New England Patriots: Quarterback Mac Jones didn't seem too happy after practice, and instead of mingling on the field with teammates and their families as he had in recent days, he retreated quickly to the locker room. One reason for his possible ire: A pick-six on one of his final pass attempts when the initial read wasn't open, he pumped and pulled the ball down, then tried to laser a pass in to receiver DeVante Parker that safety Kyle Dugger took the other way.-- Mike Reiss

New York Giants: Third-year cornerback Darnay Holmes continues to have a strong start to training camp. Every day he's forced a turnover. Saturday it was by punching the ball out of running back Saquon Barkley's hands. Safety Julian Love scooped it and almost returned it for a score. Holmes now has three interceptions and a forced fumble in four days. Seeing him be a force early in camp is a welcome sign for the Giants. Holmes is the favorite to start at slot cornerback.-- Jordan Raanan

Atlanta Falcons: In what Falcons head coach Arthur Smith dubbed "probably the most competitive practice we've had since I've been the coach here," Atlanta had two fights at the end of practice and overall aggressive play on both offense and defense. Smith himself got in the middle of the first scuffle to break it up.

It's cliche, but one of the biggest things for Smith has been to change the approach and culture of the Falcons, and Saturday's practice was the epitome of that.

"You don't want guys sitting back and being passive. It's football," defensive coordinator Dean Pees said. "It's a tough-ass sport, so you want guys that are going to compete. What you want is guys who kind of get their burr up a little bit when you get beat."-- Michael Rothstein

New Orleans Saints: Wide receiver Chris Olave had the play of the day for the Saints on Saturday. The Saints first-rounder got wide open deep down the field on a busted coverage, and quarterback Jameis Winston hit him in stride for what looked to be about a 60-yard touchdown with the first-team unit in 11-on-11 work. It wasn't the only nice catch Olave had, as he quickly followed it up with a 15-yard grab from quarterback Andy Dalton a few plays later.-- Katherine Terrell

Green Bay Packers: The Packers must find some depth at outside linebacker but if Rashan Gary and Preston Smith play like they have during the first week of training camp, then defensive coordinator Joe Barry isn't going to want to take them off the field. Gary has been a fixture in the backfield, flushing Aaron Rodgers out of the pocket on numerous occasions. Of course, there's no sacking the quarterback in practice but when asked how many sacks he thinks he'd have, Gary said, "I don't know, y'all tell me." When told we lost count, Gary said, "That's a good number then." Smith wrecked a potential big play on Saturday with a pressure of Rodgers. It's all been without pads so far, but the duo combined for 18.5 sacks last season. "Right now it's pretty clear cut who our one and two are but as far as three through five, I think it's anybody's guess," coach Matt LaFleur said of the outside linebackers.-- Rob Demovsky

Los Angeles Chargers: Chargers receiver Mike Williams kept it simple when describing quarterback Justin Herbert. "He's pretty good," Williams said, smiling, after Saturday's practice. Herbert's connection with Williams and veteran Keenan Allen has appeared effortless through four days of camp, so during Saturday's workout, Herbert upped the level of difficulty in front of a capacity crowd. Herbert found Allen deep down the sideline off a double flea-flicker. Fans erupted. According to Williams there's noticeable growth in Herbert's comfortability in the offense and with himself, now as a third-year pro. "He's just a lot looser," Williams said.-- Lindsey Thiry

New York Jets:The Jets held their first public practice, giving fans their first up-close glimpse of their highly-touted draft class. The rookies didn't disappoint. WR Garrett Wilson (first round) made two nice catches and CB Ahmad "Sauce" Gardner (first) held up well in coverage with the starting defense. The crowd favorite was RB Breece Hall (second). Every time he touched the ball, the crowd screamed, "Breeeeece!" The Jets expect big things out of their rookie class. Said DE Jermaine Johnson II (first): "None of us have an issue with those expectations."-- Rich Cimini

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Shanahan said Hurst will "most likely" miss the entire 2022 season.

"We'll see after surgery," Shanahan said. "Usually that's how biceps work out, but don't know for sure."

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Ryan Kerrigan prided himself on taking a consistent approach that yielded equally consistent results. But when his left knee prevented him from doing so, he decided the best result was retirement.

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