Jordan Love has one of his best practices
Certain to fly under the radar for as long as Aaron Rodgers decides to play football, Packers backup quarterback Jordan Love is getting more comfortable as he approaches Year 3. "That might've been one of his best practices we've seen in three years," Packers coach Matt LaFleur told reporters Wednesday. "He made some big-time throws with pressure in his face." Added general manager Brian Gutekunst: "I think you're seeing a more confident guy [who can say], 'OK, I know what's going to happen before it happens.'" Love will be able to prove his growth during the preseason as he's expected to see a majority of playing time. With Green Bay needing to decide its wide receiver depth chart over the course of those three games, Love is seemingly prepared to help facilitate the process among Allen Lazard, Sammy Watkins, Amari Rodgers, Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs. While the team seems to have the human resources for delivering passes, the Packers are in the market for a new JUGS machine. LaFleur said the team's defective JUGS machine has been pumping muffed punts in practice and was desperate enough to ask for donations.
Carson Wentz getting acclimated in Washington
Getting Carson Wentz acclimated to a new system is priority No. 1 for the Commanders as the veteran quarterback enters his third different offense in as many seasons. Washington saw the fruits of that labor during the team's first practice in pads. Reporting from Commanders camp Wednesday, NFL Network Insider Mike Garafolo reports that Wentz and the offense began to "show out a little bit" during Tuesday's padded practice. Coach Ron Rivera told Garafolo that he credits the offensive line finally being able to hit back as a reason for the offensive success during camp. Wentz struggled through OTAs during the early digestion of offensive coordinator Scott Turner's offense, but the seventh-year vet is beginning to show positive signs. As the Commanders offense looks to follow up a good day with another, one player told Garafolo that they expect to face a highly motivated defense on Wednesday because of the showing.
Diontae Johnson extension done by Week 1?
Steelers wide receiver Diontae Johnson is present at training camp, but isn't participating in practice as he seeks a new contract. NFL Network Insider Mike Garafolo believes the situation will be resolved by Week 1. Appearing on Inside Training Camp Live on Wednesday, Garafolo say this is the case even though there is "a lot of work to be done to get this deal done," according to his sources. Garafolo adds that Johnson may get a shorter deal compared to those of his contemporaries because of his current situation in Pittsburgh. Johnson enters Year 4 with a bit of uncertainty considering the Steelers will have a new quarterback undertake the full system of second-year coordinator Matt Canada. With the franchise-tag designation also looming for Johnson after this season, Garafolo believes something will get done, but we just don't know how quickly.
Steelers rotating reps amid QB competition
Who will be throwing to Johnson is the biggest question during Steelers training camp, and the team is determined to get every look imaginable among Mitchell Trubisky, Mason Rudolph and rookie Kenny Pickett. Per ESPN's Brooke Pryor, each Steelers quarterback is getting their turn with the first-team offense, but it was the incumbent Rudolph getting the honors while newcomer Trubisky led the second team during the team's first practice period. The two veterans would soon switch teams, earning four reps apiece, before the rookie Pickett got his turn with the starters. The fluid rotation is notable because it was Trubisky who led the first team through the first six days of practice. With Week 1 more than a month away, the Steelers are sure to maintain a competitive theme throughout camp. Which QB starts the first preseason game may indicate who has the upper hand so far.
Derek Stingley Jr. looking healthy, making plays
The Texans surprised many by selecting Derek Stingley Jr. with the No. 3 overall pick. It's looking like Houston's gamble is paying off based on the early returns from the rookie cornerback. Reporting from Houston in Inside Training Camp Live, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport said Wednesday that Stingley is keeping up with receivers, nabbing interceptions and looking like the lockdown corner Houston had hoped for. Stingley made a name for himself with an outstanding freshman season at LSU, becoming a consensus All-American as a teenager during the Tigers' 2019 CFP National Championship run. But injuries proceeded to hamper Stingley's college career as well as his status as an NFL prospect coming off a Lisfranc injury. The Texans are betting on Stingley returning to his freshman-year form, and Rapoport is now expecting the rookie to make his NFL debut as a starter in 2022.
Justin Fields to start in Bears' preseason opener
Matt Eberflus will trot out his starting squad, including quarterback Justin Fields, for the Bears' preseason opener on Saturday, Aug. 13. "We practice against our defense every day," Eberflus told reporters Wednesday. "Getting to go up against someone else will be good for us." The rookie coach added that he wants the starters to get a "good amount" of playing time but didn't specify how much. Coming off a transformative offseason for the franchise, it's no surprise Eberflus wants to see what he has with a young Bears roster that lost several prominent veterans from seasons past. Chicago is believed to have several key pieces already in place with Fields, wideout Darnell Mooney and running back David Montgomery on offense; finding out who has the potential to grow with their young stars will be the crux of his decision. The Bears host the Kansas City Chiefs to open the preseason and the game will be broadcast live on NFL Network (1 p.m. ET).
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