There are so many NFL nuggets coming out of training camp daily that it's hard to keep track of them all. That's where The Debrief comes in, with a modest 68 items to know from the first two weeks of training camp:
1) I did not expect Brock Purdy to be ready for the start of training camp after his elbow surgery -- and I definitely didn't expect him to take all the San Francisco 49ers' first-team reps on days he's practiced. Kyle Shanahan made it clear that Purdy is The Guy. After some early rust, Purdy has taken to the role.
2) So how have the other 49ers quarterbacks looked? The team has such a deep and talented beat-writer contingent that I trust them completely when they are all saying the same things: Trey Lance has proven more accurate and comfortable this season; Sam Darnold has mostly played well, avoiding interceptions; even Brandon Allen, the team's No. 4, is better than some teams' backup quarterback.
Will Lance even be on this roster in Week 1? The former No. 3 overall pick is splitting backup reps with Darnold, which says a lot about how San Francisco sees Lance's future. Then again, the 49ers might want to keep as much quarterback depth as they possibly can, given what's happened to them in the Shanahan era. If Lance plays well in the preseason, would they get rid of him for a mid-round draft pick? It's hard to imagine them getting a better offer than that.
3) The San Francisco defense's increasing blitz rate has been the "most evident change" in training camp under new defensive coordinator Steve Wilks, according to David Lombardi of The Athletic.
4) Who are the Niners' edge starters with Nick Bosa holding out? Clelin Ferrell and second-year pro Drake Jackson. If the 49ers salvage Ferrell's career, they should give vaunted defensive line coach Kris Kocurek another raise.
5) According to multiple reporters, Minnesota Vikings tight end T.J. Hockenson has sat out team drills in recent days despite being suited up. I was listening to the Purple Daily Podcast, where reporter Judd Zulgad mentioned Hockenson having a genial conversation with ownership on the sideline while watching the team's night practices. The podcast threw the observation into a segment called "Reckless Speculation," but the following is not that reckless: This is the behavior of a player about to sign a long-term contract. Hockenson will be my top free-agent tight end for 2024 if he doesn't sign a deal by the time I release my first list.
6) Undrafted free agent linebacker Ivan Pace Jr. has taken some first-team reps in Minnesota and garnered notice. The Cincinnati product is competing with second-year pro Brian Asamoah II for a starting job next to veteran Jordan Hicks. New defensive coordinator Brian Flores is looking for competition and "his guys."
7) I like a lot of what Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah has done since taking over, including how he handled Za'Darius Smith and Danielle Hunter's respective contract displeasure. (Smith was traded to Cleveland, while Hunter got a raise.) Still, it's hard to ignore that the first two draft picks of this regime, safety Lewis Cine and cornerback Andrew Booth, aren't even competing to start in their second training camp. Cine is no better than fourth on the safety depth chart, while Booth wasn't making up ground in a CB battle before suffering an injury. Then again, the players ahead of Booth (second-year pro Akayleb Evans and rookie Mekhi Blackmon) are also Adofo-Mensah draft picks.
The 41-year-old GM also took Ed Ingram in the second round last year, and the guard struggled mightily as a rookie. The team hosted free-agent guard Dalton Risner for a visit last week, so a shakeup could be coming.
8) Los Angeles Chargers cornerback J.C. Jackson, who's working his way back slowly from a ruptured patellar tendon last October, had a setback late last week in practice. It's a reminder that avoiding the PUP list to start camp doesn't guarantee Jackson will be ready for Week 1 or look like himself on the field if he can suit up.
9) If Jackson is healthy, it's uncertain where 2021 second-rounder Asante Samuel Jr. will line up. He's been competing in camp with Ja'Sir Taylor for the team's "Star" position, which Jalen Ramsey helped make famous under Brandon Staley during their time together on the Rams. Samuel's issues stopping the run make him an awkward fit for playing inside on a defense that struggles to tackle at the second level. If Jackson is out to start the season, Samuel will man that spot.
10) I'm intrigued by this Chargers defense. It's past time for Staley to produce better returns on that side of the ball. Joey Bosa added weight to be a better run stopper. Boom-or-bust safety J.T. Woods is set for a much bigger role after what was essentially a redshirt rookie season.
11) This offseason, the Chargers moved 2022 first-round pick Zion Johnson from right guard to left guard, where he feels more comfortable. Combine that with Rashawn Slater's return from injury and 2022 revelation Jamaree Salyer's move to right guard, and the Bolts' offensive line has a chance to be great. When was the last time that was said?
"It is going to be paramount on [Watson] to be patient," Collinsworth said during last Thursday's broadcast. "I'm not sure the Cleveland Browns can make as bold a jump as what he probably would like to see ... Spread offenses. Let me take advantage of my ability to run and make plays all over the field. Do I see Cleveland doing that? Maybe, but that's a pretty big leap for them."
These comments are not made in a vacuum. They come after Collinsworth and the NBC crew got quality time with the Browns staff and players, possibly including Watson. The comments point to the crux of this season in Cleveland: Are Watson and Kevin Stefanski a good match?
"If it does work, the Browns could be a factor," Collinsworth said. "If they get out there and there is a decision whether to run it or throw it -- 'Yeah, we want to do this and we paid Deshaun all this money and paid these receivers this money, but what we do best is run the football' -- that's when it starts to get uncomfortable."
Oof. There is no question that Jacoby Brissett ran Stefanski's offense better than Watson in 2022. Stefanski has time in camp to tailor his attack to some of Watson's strengths, and there have been reports out of Browns camp that this is indeed happening. But leaning on shotgun spread formations and letting Watson freelance more is far from the type of approach that helped Stefanski get the Browns job or reach the Divisional Round in 2020.
It would be concerning if Watson were already voicing some impatience about how he fits in with a run-heavy offense, but that hasn't been the case thus far. If a schism develops, Watson is the one with three more years left on a contract that fully guarantees him far more money than any other football player in human history. He's not going anywhere. If Stefanski is eventually made the scapegoat, I'll remember these comments as the Collinsworth canary in the coal mine.
13) During a draft where teams took surprisingly early swings on potential future backups (Sean Clifford?), it was surprising to see UCLA product Dorian Thompson-Robinson fall to the fifth round. His boffo Hall of Fame Game performance was a great start to earning a roster spot in Cleveland -- and it wouldn't be surprising to see him eventually pass Joshua Dobbs on the depth chart as Watson's backup.
14) Jimmy Garoppolo had seven interceptions in two Las Vegas Raiders practices over the weekend. It was reminiscent of Jimmy G's infamous 2019 practice with five straight picks, which freaked out Niners fans six months before the team had a fourth-quarter lead in the Super Bowl. It's too early to worry about a veteran taking his first practice reps with a new team, but this Raiders squad has questions throughout the roster.
15) No. 7 overall pick Tyree Wilson remains on Las Vegas' non-football injury list. It's worth wondering if the defensive end will be ready for the start of the season.
18) The Kansas City Chiefs have an incredible combination of success, continuity and competition. Their excellent linebacker crew has Willie Gay Jr. and Drue Tranquill vying for snaps. Their cornerback position has snaps available despite L'Jarius Sneed and Trent McDuffie emerging as core pieces. (Undrafted rookie Ekow Boye-Doe is a name to watch.) Running back and wide receiver are also wide open. While the rest of the league carefully manages snaps in training camp, building up slowly, Andy Reid uses every hour allotted with marathon practices in the heat. No one complains because he's Andy Reid and the results speak for themselves.
19) Arrowhead Pride editor Pete Sweeney appeared on the Around The NFL Podcast last week. I asked him who is most likely to lead the wideouts in receptions. His response: Skyy Moore. The 2022 second-round pick could wind up taking JuJu Smith-Schuster's old role. Even with camp darling Justyn Ross and rookie second-rounder Rashee Rice making an impact, Moore is a nice post-hype candidate to have a big season.
20) Chiefs undrafted rookie running back Deneric Prince appears to be a safe bet to make the team, possibly cutting into Clyde Edwards-Helaire or Jerick McKinnon's workload. One year after Isiah Pacheco was a camp sensation, the Chiefs might've uncovered another gem.
21) Pete Carroll named second-year edge rusher Boye Mafe as the Seattle Seahawks' most improved player in camp. While I'm still not sure if the 'Hawks have fixed their run defense, the pass rush could be spicy this year with Mafe, Uchenna Nwosu, Darrell Taylor and blockbuster free-agent pickup Dre'Mont Jones.
22) It's worth noting that No. 5 overall pick Devon Witherspoon has been playing as the team's nickel corner thus far, behind Mike Jackson and Tre Brown on the outside. I doubt this lasts, but Jackson quietly had a good season in 2022. The Seahawks are deep at safety, too.
23) Seattle has as many big-name injury questions as any team in football. S Jamal Adams and LB Jordyn Brooks remain on the PUP list, while Tariq Woolen came off it on Sunday. Running back Kenneth Walker III didn't last long in camp before hurting his groin and hasn't been seen since.
24) The Denver Broncos have suffered more injury losses during camp than any other team. Tim Patrick's Achilles tear and KJ Hamler's heart issue diminish the team's previously impressive wideout depth. Linebacker Jonas Griffith was set to be a key rotation piece before tearing his ACL. Rookie cornerback Riley Moss, out a month following a procedure to repair a core muscle, initially had a chance to start.
Patrick's injury is devastating, seeing how the wideout missed the entire 2022 campaign with a torn ACL, but the Broncos' WR crew is still in good shape. Sean Payton says he's seen signs of 2019 Courtland Sutton at practice. Second-round rookie Marvin Mims, Kendall Hinton and former Saint Marquez Callaway are solid options for the No. 3 receiver role behind Sutton and Jerry Jeudy. Consider Denver lucky that no other team was willing to give up a decent draft pick for Sutton near the draft because he certainly sounded available.
26) The Atlanta Falcons lost cornerback Jeff Okudah to an ankle injury late last week. He has a chance to play Week 1, according to coach Arthur Smith, but I'm not positive Okudah was a lock to start anyway. Veterans Tre Flowers and Mike Hughes are also options opposite CB1 A.J. Terrell, along with rookie Clark Phillips III. The Falcons' defense isn't exactly loaded, but it is much deeper than it's been in recent seasons.
27) Smith said he's having more fun than he ever has as a coach. I found the following quote telling: "It feels like -- going into Year 3 -- it feels like a real team up here in Flowery Branch."
28) New Arizona Cardinals coach Jonathan Gannon has his work cut out for him when it comes to stopping the pass. The team has the least experienced pass rushers and cornerbacks in football. At CB, it appears to be Marco Wilson on one side, with a pair of late-round picks from the past two drafts (Christian Matthew and Kei'Trel Clark) the top candidates for more snaps, according to the team's website. It hasn't helped the edge-rushing competition that second-round pick BJ Ojulari has been hurt all offseason.
After bouncing all over the field during his first three years in Arizona, former top-10 pick Isaiah Simmons is playing deep safety and staying there.
29) With Kyler Murray rehabbing his torn ACL, the Cardinals' quarterback situation is exceedingly weird. Four of them -- Colt McCoy, Clayton Tune, Jeff Driskel and David Blough -- have received first-team reps. There's a chance that Tune, a fifth-round rookie, could start games with a strong month.
30) Lamar Jackson has shown signs of frustration during a slow start to training camp, with the Baltimore Ravens' defense mostly dominating, according to Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic. It hasn't helped that running back J.K. Dobbins and wideout Rashod Bateman haven't practiced, while fullback Patrick Ricard just came off of PUP on Monday.
Dobbins appears to be staging a "hold-in" in hopes for a new contract that doesn't appear likely to come. At this stage, I'd be surprised if Bateman plays more snaps this season than first-round pick Zay Flowers, who has reportedly been a consistent bright spot in camp.
31) The flip side of the Ravens' struggling offense is a defensive line that's winning in drills every day. Michael Pierce and Justin Madubuike are both in a contract year, and Pierce's every-other-year production sounds poised to peak again.
32) I loved the Cincinnati Bengals' four-year contract extension for linebacker Logan Wilson. He was my top off-ball linebacker set to hit free agency in 2024, an ascendent player who can excel on every down.
33) Top Bengals cornerback Chidobe Awuzie has been practicing as he recovers from a torn ACL, but not in full team drills yet. His health is one to watch closely. He and second-year pro Cam Taylor-Britt make an intriguing cornerback duo.
34) It looks like second-year pro Calvin Austin III will have a role in the Pittsburgh Steelers' offense. If trade acquisition Allen Robinson doesn't work out, Austin could claim substantial snaps in the slot.
35) It was interesting to hear Chicago Bears coach Matt Eberflus call fresh signee Yannick Ngakoue an "every-down end" before he ever put on a Bears uniform. Then again, Ngakoue getting more than $10 million last week on a one-year deal said it for Eberflus. With the additional pickup of blocking tight end Marcedes Lewis, the Bears are using their excessive cap space.
36) The Bears are young at a lot of positions, but their tight end room of Lewis, Cole Kmet and Robert Tonyan is fully grown. They figure to be a big part of the offense. Kmet, incidentally, was the first Bears draft pick since Tarik Cohen to earn a contract extension from the team.
37) Chicago plans to use 2022 second-rounder Kyler Gordon as a slot-only cover man this season. Gordon has expressed mixed feelings about it because every cornerback likes playing outside, but he could be one of the best in football at nickelback.
38) Green Bay Packers left tackle David Bakhtiari and left guard Elgton Jenkins are healthy at the same time for the first time in a long while. If they stay healthy, the Pack could boast the best left side of any offensive line in football. Josh Myers is battling with Zach Tom for the center job.
39) The Detroit Lions have lined up first-round pick Jack Campbell and veteran Alex Anzalone as the starting linebackers in recent practices. Tight end Sam LaPorta might be leading the league in rookie camp hype and has all but won the starting job.
40) Lions free-agent signee Emmanuel Moseley got a second surgery on his knee this offseason after tearing his ACL last year. It's fair to wonder if he'll be ready for the start of the season.
41) While Teddy Bridgewater and Carson Wentz wait for jobs, Jake Browning is taking starter snaps in Cincinnati with Joe Burrow recovering from a calf strain. Rookie Stetson Bennett and Brett Rypien are battling for the Rams' backup job. Brian Hoyer, who turns 38 in October, is the backup in Las Vegas. Rookie Sean Clifford is the favorite to be a backup in Green Bay. Kyle Allen has reportedly "struggled mightily" as the Bills' No. 2. Bridgewater (and Wentz) would be an upgrade for all these teams.
(EDITOR'S UPDATE: Teddy Bridgewater is signing with the Detroit Lions, NFL Network Insiders Ian Rapoport and Mike Garafolo report.)
42) Lost in all the Jonathan Taylor trade-request drama last week was a report from my former employer, Pro Football Talk, that the Indianapolis Colts want to keep Taylor for the long term. If nothing else, that's a sign the Colts are hoping the situation calms down because they know they need Taylor this year. I can't imagine any team handing over a valuable draft pick (and lucrative new contract) for the running back at this juncture. To unlock rookie QB Anthony Richardson's full potential, Indy needs Taylor on this roster.
43) Gardner Minshew is still splitting first-team reps with Richardson at Colts camp, in case you were curious.
45) 2022 first-round cornerback Kaiir Elam isn't locked into a starting job for the Buffalo Bills despite showing improvement late last season. Veteran Dane Jackson and even second-year pro Christian Benford have also seen time with the starters over Elam.
47) This probably goes without saying, but the Los Angeles Rams' wideout group without Cooper Kupp would be the worst in football. Kupp's hamstring injury doesn't sound major, however, with coach Sean McVay calling it day to day.
48) Jalen Ramsey's injury curbs the upside of the Miami Dolphins' defense until he returns late in the season, but they are still fairly deep in the secondary. Don't be shocked, however, if Eli Apple winds up starting over rookie Cam Smith and former first-round pick Noah Igbinoghene.
49) Sixth-round rookie receiver Demario Douglas has backed up a strong offseason program with starter snaps at New England Patriots training camp. He could be ahead of 2022 second-round pick Tyquan Thornton in a wide receiver group that former NFL Network legend Mike Giardi described early in camp as "stink, stunk and stank." The Patriots' offense picked up their play by the end of the week, with Kendrick Bourne hilariously ending his Sunday press conference by referencing Giardi's words. Giardi and Greg Bedard have great Patriots coverage at BostonSportsJournal.com.
50) The New York Jets' tackle situation is an early camp concern. Mekhi Becton is slowly working his way back into shape and might not start. He may not even be a lock to make the team. Veteran Duane Brown is a few weeks away from returning to the field, according to coach Robert Saleh, putting his Week 1 status in doubt. Current starters Max Mitchell and Billy Turner have struggled in camp, according to The Athletic.
51) Jets first-round pick Will McDonald IV backed up a camp's worth of hype about his spin move with a nice first preseason performance. I love New York's edge depth with second-year pro Jermaine Johnson II also reportedly having a nice camp behind veterans Carl Lawson and John Franklin-Myers.
53) When the Dallas Cowboys drafted tight end Luke Schoonmaker in the second round, the assumption was that he would replace free-agent departure Dalton Schultz. But Schoonmaker still hasn't practiced at Cowboys camp and may have too much ground to make up behind current starter Jake Ferguson.
54) The Cowboys have moved Tyron Smith back to left tackle. That bumps 2022 first-round pick Tyler Smith -- who played very well at LT last season -- inside to left guard. Terence Steele, coming off an injury, is at right tackle. I understand trying to get your "best five" on the field, but this feels like a strange, progress-stopping way to handle Tyler Smith.
55) Jason Pinnock has locked up a starting safety job across from Xavier McKinney for the New York Giants, according to Dan Duggan of The Athletic. That's in stark contrast to the team's cornerback position, where two of three starting jobs appear up for grabs. Rookie sixth-round pick Tre Hawkins III has received more consistent positive buzz than first-round pick Deonte Banks, with Hawkins earning plenty of first-team reps.
56) New York trade acquisition Darren Waller has been healthy and dominant in Giants practices. It's been a while since Waller had a stretch of good health heading into a season.
57) The Philadelphia Eagles signed veteran linebackers Zach Cunningham and Myles Jack on Sunday, a sign they are concerned with their off-ball linebackers. Nakobe Dean, Nicholas Morrow and Christian Elliss are atop the depth chart there. Rookie edge rusher Nolan Smith interestingly took some off-ball linebacker reps when Dean got dinged up last week.
58) The dream team of Zach Berman and Bo Wulf at The Athletic have noted that Eagles safety Reed Blankenship has been a consistent starter in practice. The other starting spot has seen auditions from Terrell Edmunds, K'Von Wallace and rookie Sydney Brown.
59) By most accounts, the Washington Commanders' offense has struggled throughout camp. That's not a huge surprise with a new offense being installed under Eric Bieniemy facing a veteran defense in its fourth season under Ron Rivera. Sam Howell is still expected to be the Week 1 starter at quarterback and will probably get more preseason snaps than most starters.
60) It's hard to believe after how well Alontae Taylor played as a rookie for the New Orleans Saints, but he's been splitting first-team reps with Paulson Adebo. That's a reminder that the secondary should remain a strength in Dennis Allen's defense.
61) I'm wary of most camp hype, but the Alvin Kamara chatter is paired with some sweet Twitter clips and actual data. Suspended for the first three games of the season for violating the league's personal conduct policy, Kamara appears primed for a bounce-back season. His burst is back.
63) Cam Jordan's extension with New Orleans got lost in the shuffle last week, but it's Jordan's fourth contract with the team. That's as remarkable as Jordan's ability to play at such a high level at age 34.
64) The Jacksonville Jaguars are grooming third-round pick Tank Bigsby to be the red-zone-hammer complement to starter Travis Etienne at running back. Jaguar Report's John Shipley writes that Bigsby has earned a role.
65) It's notable that new Houston Texans coach DeMeco Ryans says he's "loved" the way cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. has attacked training camp practices. Ryans doesn't seem one to puff players up for nothing. Stingley, taken one pick ahead of reigning Defensive Rookie of the Year Sauce Gardner in the 2022 NFL Draft, is a big part of Houston's high-ceiling secondary.
66) Texans offensive coordinator Bobby Slowik called rookie receiver Tank Dell an "elite separator." He's shown up daily in positive practice reports and has a legitimate chance to lead Houston in receptions in a wide-open position group.
67) Baker Mayfield's penchant for practice interceptions has helped Kyle Trask tighten the Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback competition. This is more of a battle than expected and figures to continue into the preseason games.
68) The Carolina Panthers badly needed an edge rusher and found a good innings-eater in veteran Justin Houston. Brian Burns is coming off ankle surgery and the team is thin otherwise at the position. It's remarkable how many decent edge players are still available, even after the signings of Houston and Yannick Ngakoue. Jadeveon Clowney, Melvin Ingram, Carlos Dunlap, Trey Flowers and Kyle Van Noy are all still looking for jobs.
(EDITOR'S UPDATE: Flowers is signing with the Patriots, per Rapoport.)