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'Inside Training Camp Live' Buzz: Chiefs TE Travis Kelce's mustache returns; Patriots QB Mac Jones yearning to lead in Year 3

The 2023 regular season is just around the corner, and NFL Network has you covered with wall-to-wall training camp coverage each day starting at 10 a.m. ET. Follow along here for some of the best sights, sounds and moments from "Inside Training Camp Live" and around the NFL.

Travis Kelce's mustache returns; young Chiefs WRs showing out

Leave it to Travis Kelce to bring the energy to Chiefs camp by virtue of what's becoming a yearly tradition.

The eight-time Pro Bowl tight end appeared on Inside Training Camp Live with that spirit Wednesday by sporting a fresh mustache that exhibited his lively on-air vibe.

"It's all having fun at camp, man," Kelce told NFL Network's Andrew Siciliano and Michael Robinson. "You get sick of looking at yourself in the mirror with all this fur on your face.

"Shout out to Andy Reid, baby: It's 'stache time, baby. The power of the 'stache."

Keeping it loose is how Kelce rolls, but it will be business as usual the Chiefs as they aim to become the first back-to-back Super Bowl champions since the New England Patriots (XXXVIII, XXXIX) did it nearly two decades ago.

Kelce says Kansas City is able to maintain that success through the team's passion for the game.

"I mean, this thing just keeps growing," Kelce said. "That's why you love playing with coach Reid, that's why you love playing with this offensive staff. Patrick Mahomes, obviously, is at the helm of it all, just making it all work. He's such a brainiac about the game. He can absorb so much and got out there and be able to perform so much that the game just keeps evolving. And guys keep getting opportunities. We got a lot of young guys, a lot of guys that are moving up the totem pole in terms of getting opportunities in the pass game."

Adversity has already hit Chiefs camp with a knee injury sidelining Kadarius Toney, an absence that could bleed into the regular season. Second-year wideouts Skyy Moore and Justyn Ross are among those taking advantage of the opportunity, according to Kelce.

"He's kind of stood out in terms of the accountability with 19 kind of going down early," he said of Moore. "He's getting a lot more reps in practice."

Kelce added: "You saw J-Ross out there making some plays deep today. So, we're excited about some of the emerging talent that we got on the offensive side."

Mac Jones yearning to lead Patriots

Mac Jones enters a crucial third season in 2023 following an up-and-down campaign last year. In an interview on Inside Training Camp Live on Wednesday, the New England Patriots quarterback says he focused on improving the mental aspect of his game over the offseason.

"Just making sure you're honing in on everything you can do to be a great teammate, be a great leader, learn from people, right?," Jones told NFL Network Insider Tom Pelissero and NFL Network's Scott Pioli. "You can learn from whoever it is, Navy Seals, whatever. People who do the toughest things all the time. I just want to learn, and I feel like I've done that this offseason, but I want to apply it every day to the field and just continue to be a leader. Because, at the end of the day, it's our 11 guys versus their 11 guys and that's all it is. So, we got to make sure we feel confident and I definitely feel that but just have to keep going."

The Patriots' offensive struggles last season brought forth change in 2023 with the hiring of Bill O'Brien as offensive coordinator. He's a familiar face who has seen great success time on Bill Belichick's staff from 2007-2011, when the Patriots dominated the AFC as an offensive juggernaut.

Jones said it's been "awesome" working with O'Brien every day and he appreciates the OC's competitive nature.

"I feel like he's done a great job communicating," Jones said of O'Brien. "That's been the number one thing for us -- open, honest communication. From there you just correct the things you need to get better at."

The Patriots also added veterans tight end Mike Gesicki and wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster this offseason to help Jones' cause, but a particular sixth-round rookie wideout has stood out in camp.

"He's doing a great job," Jones said of Demario Douglas, "and I think a lot of the rookie receivers are. Really, because the veterans are showing them how to do it."

Pelissero pointed out on ITC Live that Jones was the first one to arrive and the last one to leave practice on Wednesday morning, indicating the 24-year-old is putting his best foot forward after a down season.

"I felt like we brought a lot of energy today," Jones said. "At the end of the day, the speed of the pack is the speed of the leader. So, got to come out here early, be on time, stay late, work with the receivers and running backs and the offensive line snapping balls to us. It's a just full operation, and for us we just got to be consistent and do it every day."

Smith-Schuster is feeling the positive vibes so far.

"We could be really good," he said on ITC Live. "The sky is the limit for us. If anything, we're beating ourselves when it comes down the line. I don't really know too much about what happened last year, but I know that this year, sky's the limit for us. The guys that we have in the room right now, we're playing good ball, we're making good plays, we're building that chemistry and that connection, and every single day, we're getting better day by day."

Summer movie watch with Bill Belichick

Entering his 24th season in New England and his 49th in the NFL, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick is always looking for ways to keep things fresh.

While Belichick's message has largely remained the same throughout the years, it's been delivered in different ways through his direct teachings, guest speakers or feature film screenings during camp.

NFL Network's Scott Pioli remembers watching movies like The Fighter being a vehicle for those messages during his tenure with New England, which begs the question with two blockbuster movies on the silver screen this summer:

Is Barbie a potential camp watch?

"That wouldn't be one of them," Belichick told Pioli on Inside Training Camp Live.


"I haven't seen that," he said. "That'd be interesting."

There are more pressing matters in New England, anyway. The Patriots haven't seen a playoff win in four seasons, marking the longest stretch in Belichick's glorious reign, and 2023 portends to be a crucial season for Jones at QB.

"I think you always see big strides from players going from Year 1 to Year 2 and Year 2 to Year 3, just a year in professional football and knowing how to train, knowing what their schedule's going to be, having an idea of what you're playing across from on the other side of the ball," Belichick said. "That's pretty obvious. I would say the guys in that fourth, fifth, sixth year that really also start to make gains, we have a lot of guys like that -- (Jabrill) Peppers, (Ja'Whaun) Bentley's a guy who's really done that for us, players like that that have really taken those steps, (Kendrick) Bourne, Hunter Henry, that you've really seen grow and develop in the program. It doesn't just stop at those first- and second-year guys. It can continue all the way through."

Gesicki is among those who have grasped the message so far during his first camp in Foxborough, according to Belichick.

"Gesicki would be a good example of that," Belichick said. "Chris Board, guys that have come in and really, as new players, have embraced what we're trying to do and have really made great strides in it."

New Ravens offense gaining steam

Todd Monken is apparently cooking up something exciting for Lamar Jackson and Co.

What the new Ravens offensive coordinator brings to the table is the main storyline ahead of the 2023 season in Baltimore, and tight end Mark Andrews likes what he has seen so far.

"I think it's going to be an exciting, fun, fast, explosive offense," Andrews told NFL Network's Rhett Lewis and Brian Baldinger on Inside Training Camp Live. "I think it's going to look a little bit different."

Monken spent the last three seasons as OC/QBs coach for a Georgia Bulldogs program that won back-to-back national championships. The 57-year-old coach's NFL experience includes a three-year run in Tampa Bay where he twice directed top-five passing offenses. Monken's resume emerged from a large pool of OC candidates wanting the keys to a Jackson-led offense.

Prior to training camp, Monken said he believes Jackson is "underrated" as a passer and that the Ravens' star quarterback will have less of a "burden" in his offensive system. That should do wonders for Jackson, who enters his sixth season fully healthy and well-compensated.

Andrews, a three-time Pro Bowler, has been Jackson's favorite target since taking the helm. But Andrews says the running attack will remain a crucial facet of the Ravens offense.

"We're the Baltimore Ravens. We've got to be able to run the ball," he said. "We have amazing backs, an amazing line and obviously we've got Lamar. Being versatile, being able to run the ball, being able to throw the ball, being versatile in that way, it's going to be hard to stop us."

Practicing that dynamic offense is invigorating the team, too.

"This is the most locked in I've ever seen this team be," Andrews said.

Bears D making strides; possible Yannick Ngakoue destination?

Chicago's ongoing rebuild saw major defensive upgrades this offseason, and the Bears are starting to see the early returns on their investment.

Reporting from Lake Forest, Illinois, on Inside Training Camp Live, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport said new Bears middle linebacker Tremaine Edmunds is becoming a great presence at training camp.

"(Edmunds) really stands out there just cause of how big and athletic and physical he is," Rapoport said. "It's not just him -- it's T.J. Edwards, as well. A really impressive haul of free agents."

Edmunds was a choice of Bears defensive coordinator Alan Williams, according to Rapoport. The 25-year-old led the Bills in tackles in four of his fives seasons in Buffalo and his instinctive play earned him the green dot on his helmet early on in his career. It's exactly the kind of leader the Bears were looking for, prying Edmunds out of the free-agent pool with a four-year $72 million deal.

The Bears also signed pass rushers DeMarcus Walker and Rasheem Green to bolster a unit that finished last in the NFL in sacks (20). Along with the free-agent addition of defensive tackle Andrew Billings, the Bears bolstered the defensive line with the selections of DTs Gervon Dexter Sr. (second round) and Zacch Pickens (third round).

Chicago might not be done, either. Rapoport reported Yannick Ngakoue, one of the top free-agent pass rushers still available, is gaining interest among teams and that the Bears might be a sensible landing spot.

"What the Bears really did was took last year's foundation, drafted well -- and it does seem like this draft class is off a really good start, just like last year's draft class was -- but to kind of get their footing and help everyone ascend as they hoped," Rapoport said. "They added some really big pieces."

Derek Carr 'exactly what' Saints needed

The arrival of Derek Carr in New Orleans is just what the doctor ordered for Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas.

"(Carr) looked tremendous," Thomas told NFL Network's Jane Slater on Inside Training Camp Live. "He's exactly what we needed as a leader, as a quarterback, as a signal-caller. He's dialed in every day. He comes out here, he competes, he wants to get better, he puts the onus on himself, and we all lean on him and we all look for his advice."

Thomas is amid another comeback attempt after multiple injuries limited him to just 10 games the past three seasons. The two-time All-Pro said this week he's "fine-tuning everything" as he gets closer to 100%, which he told Slater on Wednesday was the product of a long offseason of rehab and training.

The Saints wideout also spent time helping recruit Carr to NOLA this offseason.

"We just had real honest conversations, just letting him know that if he came to play, we will put the onus on us as an offense to get him to where he wants to go and allow him to chase his dream," Thomas told Slater. "Ultimately, he wants to win a Super Bowl and wants to be a Hall of Famer and be that top quarterback in this league. So, he has to have the right supporting cast to be able to do that. I just told him how close our group was as a receiver group, how much talent we have and how, if we plug him in, how much success we can create.

"I know he was kind of talking to other teams. I probably said some other stuff to him, but it worked."

George Pickens does it again

Steelers wideout George Pickens went viral on Tuesday after making a remarkable one-handed grab in traffic.

With rookie cornerback Joey Porter Jr. on coverage, Pickens adjusted to the Kenny Pickett-thrown pass only to twist his body the other direction and snag the ball with his right hand before bringing it in.

Porter could only shrug in amazement after seeing Pickens come down with the ball. The second-year wideout playfully handed the rookie the ball back before a celebration with teammates ensued.

It was reminiscent of the improbable catch Pickens made against the Cleveland Browns in Week 3 last season. Pickens expects more downfield shots in Pittsburgh's offense this upcoming season, and who's to say the receiver won't be wowing us again in the near future?

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