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5 things we’ve learned from the first week of NFL training camps

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Wednesday’s Rise ‘n Grind explores the Bills’ quarterback competition, the Jets’ struggle to sign Sam Darnold to his rookie deal, and more from the first days of NFL training camps.

NFL: Buffalo Bills-OTA Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Most NFL teams are one week into training camp with others hitting the day five mark. At this point, we’ve seen (or heard or read) enough to start gathering some takeaways from all the action. And we’re actually just ONE DAY AWAY FROM FOOTBALL.

OK, maybe I need to not get that excited about the Hall of Fame game.

Nah, I’ll stay excited.

Here are five things I’m thinking one week into training camp.

1. The Seahawks probably won’t be good this year, but Shaquem Griffin remains one of the best stories of the year.

Griffin has already been impressing in training camp. He forced a fumble when going up against tight end Nick Vannett and made a nice interception on Russell Wilson. You can watch the video of the interception here, which was a really nice play from the rookie. If you don’t know about Griffin (were you living under a rock all offseason?) he is the one-handed linebacker out of UCF who broke the 40-yard dash record for linebackers at the combine and isn’t letting anything slow him down. You can learn more about him and his incredible story here.

2. The Chargers might be the least lucky team in the NFL.

Every year, it seems like the Chargers suffer the most unlucky breaks. Already this year, tight end Hunter Henry tore his ACL during the spring. Safety Jason Verrett tore his Achilles during the team’s conditioning tests. Rookie tight end Austin Roberts suffered an ACL knee injury on Saturday and is done for the year. And now cornerback Trevor Williams has suffered a leg injury and had to be helped off the field on Tuesday. Will the Chargers ever make it through training camp (relatively) healthy?

3. The Bills’ quarterback competition is a mess.

Things aren’t looking great in Buffalo when it comes to the Bills’ quarterback competition. Josh Allen is the long-term answer in Buffalo (so the Bills hope) but will he be starting in Week 1? Probably not. Then it falls to AJ McCarron and Nathan Peterman, neither of whom have had great NFL success. Peterman threw five interceptions in his NFL debut. And while McCarron hasn’t done anything that catastrophic, he also hasn’t offered any reason to believe he’s an NFL starter. After four practices, McCarron looks to be leading the way in Buffalo. A former NFL scout provided these numbers for completions at Bills camp through four practices:

AJ McCarron 27 for 36, 75 percent

Nathan Peterman 19 for 33, 57.5 percent

Josh Allen 18 for 35, 51.4 percent

That’s not bad for McCarron, but we’ll have to see how he does in real NFL action and not just practicing against his teammates. Not to mention, at least two of those four practices were without pads.

4. The Steelers are having a ton of fun without Le’Veon Bell.

From Antonio Brown’s helicopter arrival to future generations of Steelers playing together to Ben Roethlisberger riding around on whatever this is to JuJu Smith-Schuster doing Fortnite dances it looks like the Steelers are having more fun than can be expected at training camp. Should we start a countdown to see how long it’ll take for people to say having fun at camp is a bad thing?

5. The Jets wasted way too much time getting Sam Darnold to sign his rookie deal.

Hey, Jets. Do you realize you have a quarterback competition going on and need the No. 3 overall pick on the field for it?! It took the Jets way too long to figure that out as they battled with their rookie quarterback over his first NFL contract. I’m sure NFL contracts are difficult and they often take time. But the Jets had months to work this out and the first day of training camp should have been the deadline. Instead, Darnold missed five practices while falling behind in the quarterback battle. CBS Sports detailed why the Jets were in the wrong in this situation and it sounds like the team should have come around way sooner. We’re talking about the (hopeful) future face of their franchise. Alas, Darnold is now in the fold and fighting for the right to start at quarterback for the Jets.


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