Depth chart movement at wideout
1. It didn’t take long for Kelvin Benjamin to regain Cam Newton’s trust. Ditching his knee brace after missing last season due to ACL surgery, the monstrous wide receiver has “already reclaimed” the No. 1 receiver role, per the Charlotte Observer.
2. So far, so good for Victor Cruz. The veteran slot receiver was a full participant in Friday’s practice. It’s worth noting, however, that hotshot rookie Sterling Shepard is already running as the starter opposite Odell Beckham in two-wide receiver sets.
3. Anquan Boldin is staking his claim to a major role in the Lions’ aerial attack. Signed earlier this week, Boldin has already displaced T.J. Jones as the primary slot receiver alongside Golden Tate and Marvin Jones.
Who caught it better?
Broncos receiver Jordan “Sunshine” Taylor channeled his inner Odell Beckham with a spectacular one-handed catch down the sideline.
It didn’t take long for Beckham to respond with a brilliant off-balance, one-handed catch of his own. The incredible is now routine for the game’s most athletically gifted player.
Stars or subs?
1. Future Hall of Famer or not, Julius Peppers is ceding his starting job to former first-round pick Nick Perry this season.
“First of all, I wasn’t surprised,” Peppers said, via the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. “We’ve been doing that since the spring. But there comes a time when you can’t play as much, you can’t play as many plays, you can’t exert yourself as much, particularly at this time of the year.
“I’m perfectly fine with that.”
2. Arian Foster’s bid for the Dolphins’ featured back job has been delayed. Although the 30-year-old tailback recently insisted that he’s fully recovered from Achilles surgery, he opened camp on the PUP list. The Dolphins can activate Foster at any time.
News of the weird
1. Take note, overzealous football reporters: If you dream up a preposterous scenario and follow through with an equally absurd question, prepare to be mocked by Bill Belichick.
2. The Cowboys are an aspiring playoff contender with an overmatched Kellen Moore as the top backup to quarterback Tony Romo. It’s telling that they have no interest in former Pro Bowl MVP Nick Foles, released by the Rams on Thursday.
3. Conveniently forgetting that Pittsburgh dominated its playoff matchup for three quarters, Adam Jones now claims that the Bengals kicked the Steelers’ ass for the entire game. It’s good to see that Pacman maintains a touch of delusion after all of these years.
4. Bruce Arians has famously stated that he would “never” use a fullback in his offense. Might he be willing to soften that stance by using behemoth rookie defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche at the goal line? “He’s done it before and he’s been damn good at it,” Arians pointed out on Friday.
5. The weirdest injury story of training camp? Redskins general manager Scot McCloughan busted his hand punching a wall upon hearing of rookie wideout Josh Doctson’s Achilles injury in May.
Seattle Seahawks defensive end Chris Clemons is hanging up his cleats after 13 seasons with five different NFL organizations.
Clemons has informed the Seahawks that he intends to retire, NFL Media’s Mike Garafolo reported, via a source informed of the retirement conversations.
The 34-year-old signed a one-year contract in April to rejoin Seattle, where he starred as the team’s sack leader from 2010 through 2013.
Players fail conditioning tests for a plethora of reasons, most of which aren’t known to the public. Those of us doing our job sitting in chairs, bathing in air-conditioned glory have little room to spew bloated, hallow outrage about a player failing one conditioning test.
John Harbaugh didn’t sound worried about Wallace being in shape. Neither should we.
Now that he’s on the field, the real test for Wallace begins. Finally back with a quarterback who excels throwing the deep ball, can he morph back into a productive receiver and banish the years of mediocrity? Or will this stop in Baltimore be a short end for a once explosive deep threat?
Bill Belichick said as much on Wednesday. That didn’t stop one reporter from insisting on asking Friday whether Garoppolo could remain the starter when Brady returns from suspension.
Belichick provided plenty of disdain for the question in his reply: “I told you what’s going to happen.”
The reporter then mumbled a follow-up, to which Belichick shook his head scornfully and muttered, “Jesus Christ,” adding an eye roll for good measure.
It’s vintage Belichick.