The NFL is wrapping up its second stint of mandatory minicamp practices this week. Twenty-three teams are in action, taking advantage of another opportunity to evaluate players before training camps open next month.
Here are highlights from Thursday:
The Buffalo Bills, Arizona Cardinals and Oakland Raiders gave their players a head start on their summer vacations, canceling the final minicamp practices. The Kansas City Chiefs had only a short special-teams session. And the Tennessee Titans were among the teams that incorporated a field trip into minicamp.
The Packers kept the competition going as well -- playing paintball.
Others pressed on, with one more day of work before the break.
Cam Newton.threw deeper downfield to moving targets Thursday on the last day of the Panthers' mandatory three-day minicamp. He never participated in team drills and coach Ron Rivera still hasn't revealed the next step in the quarterback's rehab from shoulder surgery when the team reports to training camp on July 24, but all signs have been positive thus far.
The Saints' final minicamp practice had a bit of a "school's out for summer" feel to it. It started with Teddy Bridgewater and Alvin Kamara switching jerseys for a while and ended about an hour earlier than scheduled. Among the few highlights was Patrick Robinson's second interception in two days against QB Teddy Bridgewater.
Shaquem Griffin said it was twin brother Shaquill's idea to hire a personal chef for the two of them. Shaquem said he's moving better after cutting out pork, fried foods and fast food. And he likes how much cheaper it is compared to taking his family out to eat.
Jaguars RB Leonard Fournette is going to be a big part of the pass game in 2019. QB Nick Foles says he likes throwing to the backs.
Falcons rookie OL Kaleb McGary on minicamp: ``It went well. I went from feeling and looking like I sucked to feeling and looking like I sucked less. So, that's positive.''— vaughn mcclure (@vxmcclure23) June 13, 2019
Lamar Jackson felt he was "outstanding" in the final day of minicamp. "Right now, it's pretty calm to me." Jackson was 5-of-7 in the red zone before throwing an interception toward the end of practice.
Dak Prescott will get together with a number of receivers at some time in July before the Cowboys fly to Oxnard, California, for the start of training camp. He plans to take a break but not much. “I am not worried about losing the edge,” Prescott said. “I will take a little time off. During that time I will still be taking care of my body, doing the things I need to do. When you feel as I do physically and mentally, you are hungry to keep that going. And you are hungry to get better. The time off will be taken but trust me I will stay with it.”
Jerry Jones was a spectator at Thursday's final minicamp practice, spending time watching his former position, the offensive line, but the owner and general manager left before the media could ask him questions.
8️⃣ ➡️ 1️⃣4️⃣— Minnesota Vikings (@Vikings) June 13, 2019
🎯 🎯 🎯 pic.twitter.com/mJ5yJcJ5uP
Wednesday, June 12
At the end of the Texans' spring workouts, Bill O'Brien said he felt quarterback Deshaun Watson did "an excellent job of improving the things that we've asked him to improve" during the offseason. "His grasp of our offense is light years ahead of where it was, obviously, when he first got here, but I would say even last year," O'Brien said. "I think we've really gotten better there and I'm excited about where he's at right now."
Russell Wilson is entering his second season under offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, who is also his de facto position coach. "We already have the same ideas as we're coming into the office," he said of their familiarity now compared to last year.
Hunter Henry was impressive today, making a handful of catches during team drills. "Hunter is just doing what Hunter Henry does," Anthony Lynn said. "He makes plays. He had a good day today"
Chiefs receivers found Patrick Mahomes’ deep throws to be tough to keep up with during mini-camp practice on Wednesday, when the offense frequently worked with a strong breeze at its back. Demarcus Robinson and Sammy Watkins were unable to catch up to deep passes that were carried by the wind. “We need days like that, even rainy days,’’ Robinson said. “You’ve just got to go with the circumstances and what’s going on with the weather . . . Any day is tough to keep up with him. He challenges us with all the throws he has.’’
Kyler Murray just unleashed a side-arm bullet during a scramble drill. His repertoire is starting to become impressive. pic.twitter.com/AEJgtVT03K— Josh Weinfuss (@joshweinfuss) June 12, 2019
Quarterback Dak Prescott and safety Jeff Heath had a minor disagreement during Wednesday’s minicamp practice that had them face to face for a few seconds after Heath came up to stop Prescott on a zone read near the line of scrimmage. Before long it broke up and players went back to work. It was no big deal after practice. “When things get competitive like that it brings out the competitive juices in everybody and that makes practice really fun,” receiver Amari Cooper said.
Takeaways from Day 2 of the Cowboys’ minicamp: On the first play of red-zone drills, Dak Prescott floated a perfect crossing route into the arms of Randall Cobb for a touchdown. There was a defensive breakdown what appeared to be the linebackers on the play-action fake by Prescott that allowed Cobb to run free … Second-year defensive end Dorance Armstrong had a particular strong day. Armstrong likely would have had a sack of Prescott after beating Cam Fleming inside at the snap of the ball. He had a few more pressures throughout the practice … Cooper Rush struggled Tuesday but he closed the second-team two-minute work with a soft throw over cornerback Mike Jackson to Lance Lenoir for a touchdown on what was the final play … Mike White answered with the third team with a deep throw for a touchdown to Devin Smith, who got behind safety George Iloka while managing to keep his feet inbounds … Cornerback Donovan Olumba intercepted his second pass in as many days, stepping in front of a Rush throw.
Josh Jacobs said he has been welcomed by the Raiders returning RBs with open arms...even as a first-round draft pick. "I didn't come in thinking it would be like that," Jacobs said. "But they're all loving and we all have the same common goals. Regardless of who it is, we all just want what's best for the team."
49ers rookie DE Nick Bosa said Wednesday that his plan over the next month and a half is to go to Fort Lauderdale to work with his brother Joey. Bosa missed most of OTAs and the mandatory minicamp with a hamstring injury. He said his aim in Florida will be to get the hamstring "completely right." Bosa said he's almost back to full strength now.
49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo made it through the offseason program still on track to be ready for training camp. Coach Kyle Shanahan is hopeful that Garoppolo will be cleared fully to practice when camp starts in late July. Garoppolo even took a rep in team drills today, though defensive line was instructed not to rush the quarterback and simply put its hands in the air. After that, team went back to 11 on 7 look with no defensive line.
Like Tuesday's minicamp practice, Bills QB Josh Allen ended Wednesday's session better than he began it. Allen threw an interception early in 11-on-11 work to safety Jordan Poyer and was sacked twice, leading to him trying to fire up the offense. He struggled in a third-down drill backed up against his own end zone, but rebounded in a red zone drill in which he completed four consecutive passes and later scrambled for a 5-yard touchdown.
Eagles rookie RB Miles Sanders continues to be held out of spring practice with a hamstring injury. He'll be sidelined for the entire three-day minicamp. "Obviously, it hurts a little bit that he's not getting the physical reps, but I don't want to risk him any further," Doug Pederson said. "We'll wait until camp and get him out there."
Ravens Defensive coordinator Wink Martindale on the defense losing Terrell Suggs, Eric Weddle and C.J. Mosley this offseason: "Transition could be substituted for mourning. It's like that Avengers movie, that Thanos guy snapped his finger and you're like, Where did everybody go?"
Ravens first-round pick Marquise Brown won't fully participate until training camp because he's recovering from foot surgery. But he did jump into his first drill Wednesday.
Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky is entering an important third NFL season, but Trubisky says he feels better prepared after another full offseason in Matt Nagy's offense. "The fact coach Nagy has so much faith in me is huge," Trubisky said on Wednesday.
Matt LaFleur on where his first Packers team is at the end of the offseason: "I love the character of this team but there's a ways to go. Looking forward to getting them back for (training) camp."
Drew Brees started a bit slow but finished strong in his first minicamp practice Wednesday. His final throw was a perfect deep ball to Ted Ginn Jr. down the right sideline for a touchdown with four seconds remaining in a simulated hurry-up drill. Earlier in practice, Brees got picked off by cornerback Marshon Lattimore — who jumped in front of TE Jared Cook on a downfield sideline route.
Drew Brees is back on the Saints' practice field after wrapping up his testimony in San Diego on Tuesday. Brees, who is suing a jeweler that he claims defrauded him out of millions of dollars, missed one day of minicamp this week and one OTA practice last week. The trial is ongoing.
Maintaining strength and flexibility key factors for 34-year-old Matt Ryan going into his 12th season. pic.twitter.com/UoUAFsQdg8— vaughn mcclure (@vxmcclure23) June 12, 2019
Jaguars OC John DeFilippo said he has a much better opinion of the team's receivers than he did when he first was hired in January. He especially likes the fact that there are different types of receivers. Plus, Marqise Lee hasn't practiced yet as he returns from a knee injury so Lee's return will only make the group better in the fall. "I’m going to be flat out honest with you: It [his opinion] has [changed]," DeFilippo said. "We have a lot more speed there than I thought. We have some guys in that room that can fly, some big guys that can fly. I’m a big believer in the receiver room and diversity. When I say diversity, it doesn’t have anything to do with where you’re from or your race or whatever. Different body types, different skill levels, in terms of [us having] a bigger guy that can body someone up and maybe a guy like Dede Westbrook that is a little bit of a smaller guy, but can wiggle and get himself open in different ways. You don’t want all big guys. You don’t want all small guys. You want a good, diverse group in that room that brings different skill sets to the table.”
Switzer treated players and employees to Bruster's Ice Cream after Wednesday's practice. The Bruster's truck pulled up shortly after practice and quickly drew a crowd. Story »
JuJu Smith-Schuster was disappointed with how things ended with him and Antonio Brown in Pittsburgh: "If we're ever in the same room, I'm going to say what's up to him."
Cam Newton did a little more on the second day of the Panthers' mandatory three-day minicamp. He expanded his range from 15 to about 20 yards and threw a handful of passes to moving targets as opposed to stationary. He still did not participate in team drills.
Panthers quarterbacks coach Scott Turner has put a lot of effort into improving Cam Newton's footwork and upper body mechanics when throwing to take stress off the quarterback's right shoulder and improve his accuracy. It was working until Newton's shoulder became an issue after a 6-2 start last season and the 2015 NFL MVP went back to old habits. Much of the focus during this offseason and Newton's rehab is to make the throw more "compact and closed off,'' to get Newton from throwing off his back foot as much. Turner likes what he's seen during minicamp camp as far as muscle memory Newton has retained.
Pretty decent form and the spike was epic. https://t.co/k4KGzmE7o3— TURRON DAVENPORT (@TDavenport_NFL) June 12, 2019
Tuesday, June 11
Panthers coach Ron Rivera said he was ‘'very pleased'' with what he saw out of Cam Newton throwing today and how the 2015 NFL MVP responds after practice will determine how much he throws on Wednesday.
Watch Cam Newton throw at minicamp https://t.co/6MvNIEwRsV— Carolina Panthers (@Panthers) June 11, 2019
Raiders coach Jon Gruden confirmed that he has been in talks with Rams coach Sean McVay about holding joint practices in Napa. “We are considering working against the Rams prior to the first preseason game," Gruden said. "Nothing is 100 percent finalized yet but if possible, that certainly might benefit both of us. But we’re in the final stages of trying to work something out.” The Raiders play host to the Rams in Oakland in the exhibition opener on Aug. 10.
DT Michael Pierce's first appearance of spring ended abruptly. The restricted free agent, who looked heavier than last season, stretched at mandatory minicamp, spoke to John Harbaugh and then left the field.— Jamison Hensley (@jamisonhensley) June 11, 2019
Josh Jones is here for the mandatory minicamp after skipping out on OTAs as a way to try to force his release or a trade. Doesn't appear the former second-round pick is planning to practice, though. The Packers have told him they don't plan to move him at this point.
Here's how Matt LaFleur is staying involved in practice: watches the QB-RB drill and then wheels over to talk to Aaron Rodgers between throws.
Ben Roethlisberger on the Steelers perceived as underdogs: ‘We're still the Pittsburgh Steelers.'
Colts coach Frank Reich said Tuesday that QB Andrew Luck will not take part in the team's mandatory minicamp this week due to his calf injury. Reich said last week that there was a chance Luck wouldn't participate this week. The Colts coach called it a "no brainer" that Luck will be ready for the start of training camp at the end of July barring any kind of setback with the calf.
Clocking in. 💼 pic.twitter.com/Hegvx2GQXp— Indianapolis Colts (@Colts) June 11, 2019
Rookie offensive lineman Connor McGovern will not take part in the minicamp because of a pectoral strain. Coach Jason Garrett said it does not require surgery but rest and rehab. Receiver Allen Hurns (ankle) will take part in individual drills this week for the first time in the offseason program.
New Orleans’ four-time Pro Bowl defensive end Cameron Jordan and the Saints reached agreement on a big three-year contract extension that will contractually tie the two sides together for the next five seasons, through the 2023 season, sources tell ESPN.
Drew Brees is absent from the Saints' first mandatory minicamp practice Tuesday as he continues his testimony in a San Diego courtroom. Brees and his wife are suing a jeweler that they claim defrauded them out of millions of dollars in diamond and jewelry purchases. Brees has been on the stand since late last week. Meanwhile, Teddy Bridgewater is getting the opportunity to take snaps with New Orleans' first-string offense, as he did last week when Brees missed an OTA practice.
The Bills continue to distribute first-team snaps at running back between LeSean McCoy, Frank Gore and rookie third-round pick Devin Singletary. Each received time behind Josh Allen in 11-on-11 action during Tuesday's minicamp practice. At one point, McCoy received early-down reps before Gore entered on short yardage for third- and fourth-downs. However, Gore also received snaps out of the shotgun for pass protection.
Bears All-Pro Khalil Mack kicks off Chicago's three-day mandatory minicamp. Mack spent the weekend getting pointers from Bears Hall of Fame pass-rusher Richard Dent, an experience Mack said resonated with him.
Wide receiver Sammy Watkins had a busy day as the Chiefs began a three-day mini-camp. With the Chiefs practicing without the suspended Tyreek Hill, Watkins was the only wide receiver to catch a pass from Patrick Mahomes in 11-on-11 work except for Demarcus Robinson, who had one reception. Watkins in full team drills had five catches, including the play of the day when he got open deep down the middle to catch a long pass from Mahomes. Watkins also caught two passes from Mahomes in 7-on-7 work and ran a couple of end-arounds that might have gone to Hill had he been participating.
Hasselbeck concerned about Gurley's health
Tim Hasselbeck says the Rams should have "legitimate concern" for Todd Gurley's health, particularly his knee heading into this season.
Cardinals rookie Kyler Murray is spending some quality time with rookie receivers KeeSean Johnson (19), Hakeem Butler (17) and Andy Isabella (89).
The Bengals are going to have some lineup shuffling today with first-round pick Jonah Williams "dinged up," according to Zac Taylor. Williams must have gotten injured during the closed portion of OTAs last week, although Taylor wouldn't speculate on the severity, saying only that Williams was going to see doctors. Williams is in attendance at minicamp, standing on the sideline and watching. It's possible they'll try to work in new guard John Jerry a bit after he signed yesterday. Clint Boling is still working out on the sideline, so it looks like he won't be participating again.
Titans WR AJ Brown working with coach Rob Moore during individual period.
Eagles receivers Alshon Jeffery and DeSean Jackson sharing the field for the first time in public view. Carson Wentz's 2019 weapons coming into focus, and they're impressive.
Melvin Gordon is back, reporting to mandatory minicamp on Tuesday. Gordon looks healthy and is moving well.
King Mel is DIFFERENT pic.twitter.com/I10ykdsgsc— Los Angeles Chargers (@Chargers) June 11, 2019
Kyle Shanahan is LIVE from minicamp. https://t.co/4Fo6cQHQPg— San Francisco 49ers (@49ers) June 11, 2019
Jarran Reed took part in position drills during Day 1 of Seahawks minicamp today. He had been sidelined following sports-hernia surgery. He's first up in the video followed by Poona Ford, Quinton Jefferson, Branden Jackson, Rasheem Green and L.J. Collier. pic.twitter.com/95htEr9Qav— Brady Henderson (@BradyHenderson) June 11, 2019