NFL Training Camps 2014: Updates, Rumors and Analysis for August 12
If there's one thing every coach across the NFL hopes for every year, it's to get through training camp and preseason without suffering any major injuries.
NFL teams made it through the first full weekend of preseason games relatively unscathed, only to see the injury bug come back with a vengeance in recent days.
On Monday, it was a broken foot that will sideline Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Marvin Jones for at least a month.
On Tuesday, it was a potentially crippling injury to one of last year's Super Bowl teams, and that's where we begin Tuesday's look at news from training camps around the NFL.
Broncos OLB Danny Trevathan Fractures Knee
That Super Bowl team was the Denver Broncos, and that potentially crippling blow was the loss of leading tackler Danny Trevathan.
As Jeff Legwold of ESPN.com reports, the 24-year-old linebacker, who paced the team with 129 tackles last year, was carted from the practice field on Tuesday. Tests revealed a fractured kneecap that will reportedly sideline Trevathan six to eight weeks.
Trevathan tried to put a positive spin on the injury:
"They told me that my ACL and MCL are fine, but that I have a fracture in my knee," Trevathan told ESPN's Josina Anderson. "The doctor told me I was going to be out four to eight weeks, but I told him four to six. I'm not tripping. I will bounce back. I'm a soldier."
Head coach John Fox, perhaps realizing the impact that losing Trevathan will have on a Denver defense that isn't especially deep at the position, was significantly more somber.
"We'll wait and see what Danny's situation is and we'll go from there," Fox said. "You hope for the best."
Lions Activate DE Ezekiel Ansah from PUP List
As the Denver Broncos are losing a cornerstone of their defense, the Detroit Lions are getting back a player they hope is ready to become a cornerstone of theirs.
As Kyle Meinke of MLive.com reports, the Lions have activated defensive end Ezekiel Ansah off the physically unable to perform list. Ansah, who led all rookies with eight sacks last year, had missed all of the Lions' offseason program after undergoing shoulder surgery.
A week ago, head coach Jim Caldwell told Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com that he was pleased with Ansah's health improvements this summer. “He’s making good progress,” Caldwell said. “They are ramping up his activities in terms of his rehab. As you watch him out here, he’s doing more and more and more each day. He’s getting close, so we’ll see what happens.”
Now, it appears Ansah will soon return to practice, which will give the second-year pro a few weeks to get ready before he has to start chasing quarterbacks for real.
Panthers WR Kelvin Benjamin 'Star' of Camp
After the Carolina Panthers wide receiver corps was eviscerated by free agency, a great deal of pressure fell on the shoulders of rookie first-round pick Kelvin Benjamin to produce right away.
So far, so good, at least according to David Newton of ESPN.com, who recently labeled the former Florida State standout the "star" of Panthers' training camp:
Benjamin opened camp with a spectacular leaping catch, stole the show in the preseason opener against Buffalo with an awkward-but-acrobatic diving 29-yard touchdown catch and ended camp with a leaping touchdown catch over the middle with two defenders draped on him.
Outside of who would start at left tackle, which appears settled with Byron Bell, who would replace the franchise's all-time leading receiver, Steve Smith, was the biggest question entering camp.
It's not a question leaving camp.
As the Panthers pack up and prepare to defend their NFC South title, a quick assimilation to the pro game by Benjamin is the best news the team has received in quite some time.
Cardinals DB Tyrann Mathieu Nearing Return?
Defensive back Tyrann Mathieu was something of a revelation for the Arizona Cardinals until his promising first NFL year was cut short by a torn ACL.
There's some good news in that regard, however, as The Honey Badger may be closer to a return to action than we originally thought.
According to Darren Urban of the Cardinals website, head coach Bruce Arians said that Mathieu is "pretty close" to being activated from the PUP list, indicating that it may happen as soon as next week.
For Mathieu, who has steadfastly maintained he wants to play Week 1, next week can't come soon enough:
(Arians) tells me to wait. I’ve been waiting for eight months, though. I am already in shape. I don’t ever get out of shape. I’m not worried about that part of it. I am more worried about my confidence going against Larry (Fitzgerald), going against elite receivers. I’m itching to hit somebody. I’m itching to get my hands on the ball. I’m tired of playing catch with the trainers.
Granted, Mathieu's return to the practice field doesn't guarantee he'll be on the field in Week 1 against the Chargers. However, once he is taken off the PUP list, he can't be placed back on it, which would seem to indicate Mathieu has a good chance of playing football in September.
Allegations Against Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch 'Bogus'
It's been a bumpy ride for Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch since hoisting the Lombardi Trophy after Super Bowl XLVIII.
First came the holdout that didn't go as planned. This week started with accusations that Lynch assaulted a woman in a Seattle suburb.
In the opinion of the team at least, the latter is much ado about nothing.
As Terry Blount of ESPN.com reports, the Seahawks released a one-sentence statement regarding the allegations. "While we maintain the utmost respect for the investigative process, after speaking with Marshawn, we are comfortable these accusations are bogus," the statement read.
Not "lack merit," mind you. Or "are baseless."
Blount reports the Bellevue police are playing things close to the vest:
The Bellevue PD on Tuesday afternoon told ESPN's Ed Werder that the investigation is not complete, but ongoing, and that it is a high priority for the department. The police declined to comment on whether they have interviewed Lynch, or plan to do so, saying they are protecting the integrity of their investigation.
The investigation will reportedly conclude within 72 hours.
Jaguars RB Toby Gerhart Back at Practice
After jettisoning Maurice Jones-Drew in the offseason, the Jacksonville Jaguars turned the keys of the ground game over to Toby Gerhart. They were hopeful that Adrian Peterson's understudy in Minnesota would thrive once he was given his time to shine.
Gerhart has missed the past 10 days or so (including the preseason opener) with soreness in his hip, but it looks like fans may soon get a glimpse of their new featured back in game action.
That's the latest from Michael DiRocco of ESPN.com, who reports that Gerhart returned to practice Tuesday and hopes to play against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on Thursday night.
Looking forward to it. A fun field to play at. But I'm more excited about taking the field with the Jaguars for the first time. I've been running four or five days straight now, and each day coming in and taking stock of how it's feeling. It's been feeling good, so I don't expect it to feel any worse tomorrow.
Offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch cautioned that fans who want to see Gerhart better get the snack run out of the way early.
"I'd like to see Toby run the ball a little bit," said Fisch, who added that five or six carries is a good range.
JohnnyWatch 2014: The Latest from Cleveland
Like we were getting through a day without one of these.
Since both Johnny Manziel and Brian Hoyer played relatively well in the Cleveland Browns' preseason opener, there's been no shortage of speculation regarding the narrowing gap between the two quarterbacks.
Well, with the Browns set to play in a second straight game on national TV, both Hoyer and Manziel will work with the starters in this week's game against Washington.
As Scott Petrak of The Chronicle-Telegram reports, head coach Mike Pettine has yet to name a starter for Monday night, but both quarterbacks will work with the first team:
Johnny’s going to get reps with the ones. Just to me, the factor of starting the game I think is a little bit overblown in this situation because we’re going to try to balance the reps with the ones in the game. It’s a little overrated who trots out there for the first time.
Pettine has stated previously that he'd like to name a starter for Week 1 by the third preseason game, so as exhibition contests go, this game will carry more than a little importance.
In related news, the Browns signed veteran quarterback Rex Grossman, but Pettine was clear when asked if Hoyer might potentially become trade bait.
“No. Absolutely not,” he said.
Suspended Cowboys CB Orlando Scandrick Tested Positive for Party Drug
It's been nothing but bad news for the NFL's worst defense in 2013 this offseason, and the news for the Cowboys got that much worse when it was announced Monday that cornerback Orlando Scandrick faces a four-game suspension for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy.
ESPN.com's Tim MacMahon has the bizarre details that led to Scandrick's month-long vacation:
Scandrick tested positive for MDMA, which is also known as Ecstasy or Molly, league sources told ESPN's Ed Werder.
While MDMA alone would be considered a drug of abuse and would not subject Scandrick to suspension for a first-time positive test, the drug sometimes contains an amphetamine component, which does fall under the league's PED policy and led to Scandrick's punishment.
Sources told Werder that the violation occurred while Scandrick was vacationing in Mexico with an ex-girlfriend, whom he has claimed persuaded him to add a substance he didn't realize was on the banned list into a cocktail they were drinking.
Scandrick released a statement through his agent:
I would like to apologize to my children, my family, the Jones family, my coaches, my teammates and my fans. Failing a drug test is far out of my character, and although I never knowingly took a performance-enhancing drug/banned stimulant while on vacation in Mexico, I take full responsibility for what goes in my body and more importantly for the embarrassment of a failed drug test. It's my goal by issuing this statement to clear my name and more importantly to be judged by what happens to me in the future.
Only a Cowboys defender could unknowingly violate both drug policies at the same time.
What's next? Barry Church getting hit by a meteorite?