Thu Jun 17 4:18pm ET
By TERESA M. WALKER
AP Pro Football Writer
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) No bowling. No golfing. No skeet shooting.
The Tennessee Titans wrapped up their three-day minicamp Thursday by running, meeting and running some more. No practice - but the kind of in-person experience everyone in the NFL missed in the offseason a year ago.
Coach Mike Vrabel said they ran to make sure everyone knows where they are with conditioning and where the Titans want them for the start of training camp in late July. There's also no comparison possible to 2020, when the offseason program was conducted virtually.
''We have to be well ahead of where we were last year with some of the younger players that are coming into our program for the first time,'' Vrabel said.
The Titans didn't get much from their rookie class in 2020, with their top draft pick no longer in the NFL after Isaiah Wilson was traded to Miami in March. Cornerback Kristian Fulton started two games but played only six, while running back Darrynton Evans played five. Both were limited by injuries.
This year, top draft pick Caleb Farley is recovering from back surgery in March but has been busy learning the defense. Farley and the rest of the rookies are sticking around to finish the team's program designed to help them transition from college to the NFL. They'll also continue working out.
Questions still to be answered include who replaces Jonnu Smith, now with the Patriots, at tight end. Training camp is when the Titans will learn more about the tight ends vying to take Smith's starting spot, a group led by Anthony Firkser.
Left tackle Taylor Lewan, who tore his right ACL last October, has no timetable for his return but said Wednesday he is at the conditioning point of his recovery instead of rehab.
Outside linebacker Bud Dupree says he's recovering well after tearing his right ACL last December, but the timetable for his debut on the Titans' practice field hasn't been shared with reporters. Farley told reporters during the rookie minicamp in May he hopes to be ready for training camp.
And for a second straight training camp, the Titans have a competition at kicker, with Tucker McCann and undrafted rookie Blake Haubell of Ohio State, who was not seen at minicamp, vying for the job. McCann spent last season on the practice squad after four-time Pro Bowler Stephen Gostkowski was signed Sept. 3.
Vrabel said there's no rush to put both kickers into situations to better evaluate them, which will come in training camp and preseason.
''We have to make a decision at that point in time, if that's what's best for the team and one of those guys moving forward,'' Vrabel said. ''But everything that we've seen thus far, you know, those guys are continuing to prove and work with the timing and the operation.''
The Titans worked this offseason in coaches' offices and meeting rooms relocated to the indoor field due to the team's headquarters being renovated since last season ended. It's part of a construction project that started in December 2019 to more than double the size of the facility.
Vrabel compared the progress of the construction to players returning from injuries with the team not sharing timelines.
''We're excited to get back in there whenever it happens,'' Vrabel said. ''The computers work out here, we'll be just fine wherever we have to be.''
Philadelphia Eagles rookie wide receiver DeVonta Smith is currently "week to week" with a knee sprain. It doesn't sound like it's something that's worrying the team at this point and a sprain is probably the best-case scenario when it comes to a knee injury, but it's worth noting that Smith will miss some valuable practice time until he returns. He could also miss the preseason, putting him further behind. With second-year receiver Jalen Reagor on the team and quarterback Jalen Hurts showing last season that he isn't great at supporting fantasy receivers, this setback could slow down Smith's development and makes him a riskier fantasy pick in redraft than he already was.
New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley (knee) is "making a lot of strides," per head coach Joe Judge. "Very pleased with where Barkley's at," Judge said. "He's mirroring our practices to build up confidence for when he returns." Barkley has shown "tangible progress" while doing rehab work. He is running routes, cutting hard, and sprinting full speed. The 24-year-old began training camp on the Physically Unable to Perform List. New York plans to take a "long term" approach with the star running back as he continues to work his back from knee surgery. Judge reportedly wouldn't say how close Barkley is returning to practice or give a potential return date. It's unclear if the No. 2 pick of the 2018 NFL Draft will be ready by Week 1, but Barkley is expected to have a reduced workload to begin the year. Barkley has the talent to be a high-end RB1 and currently has an ADP of 6.3.
Free-agent running back Alfred Morris re-signed with the New York Giants on Monday. The 32-year-old had modest success last season and had averaged 4.2 yards per carry. He logged 55 carries for 238 rushing yards and one touchdown over nine games for the Giants in 2020. Morris will compete for a spot on the Giants running back depth chart behind Saquon Barkley and Devontae Booker. The veteran RB is a depth signing and won't have much fantasy value unless Barkley and Booker miss time. Fantasy managers can avoid Morris in upcoming drafts.
Las Vegas Raiders RB Jalen Richard (illness) is expected to come off the COVID-19 list and return to practice Monday, Aug. 2.
Minnesota Vikings QBs Kirk Cousins, Nate Stanley and Kellen Mond were placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list Sunday, Aug. 1.
Dallas Cowboys WR Amari Cooper (ankle) came into training camp in great shape, according to head coach Mike McCarthy. 'Everything's been extremely positive from the strength staff,' McCarthy said. 'His weight is as low as it's been since I've worked with him, so he looks great.'
Fantasy Spin: Cooper is expected to be recovered from an ankle injury in time for the start of the season, and with Dak Prescott back under center, he should be in line for another steady campaign as a main target in a potent pass attack. Consider Cooper a WR2.
Las Vegas Raiders tight end Foster Moreau had an impressive rookie campaign, finishing his inaugural season with five touchdowns. However, injuries plagued the 24-year-old in 2020, and he ended with just seven catches for 140 yards and two touchdowns. Nonetheless, head coach John Gruden remains excited about the duo of Moreau and Darren Waller in two tight end formations, so it appears as if he will get some attention from signal-caller Derek Carr. Although Waller is still listed above Moreau on the depth chart, it seems as if there could be plenty of room for him to flourish as well heading toward the new year. As a result, managers looking to fill the void at the position in the later rounds of fantasy drafts should keep him in mind.
Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Amari Cooper (ankle) is still working his way back from ankle surgery in January. Although Cooper currently sits on the physically unable to perform list, head coach Mike McCarthy recently touted the veteran's weight loss during the offseason. While his fantasy outlook is rocky based on his health ailments and competition with Michael Gallup and CeeDee Lamb for looks from Dak Prescott, the upside is certainly there, so he is worth the risk for those looking for a practical option at the position.
Cincinnati Bengals left tackle Jonah Williams reportedly bulked up during the offseason. Currently weighing in at around 315 pounds, a 10-pound increase from last season, the 23-year-old hopes the added bulk will make him better equipped to handle opposing defenders. With Joe Burrow and Joe Mixon both suffering season-ending injuries during the 2020-21 campaign, Cincy's offensive unit will undoubtedly benefit from Williams' increase in strength and size.
Cincinnati Bengals running back Joe Mixon has been impressive during training camp. After a foot injury limited him to just six games during the 2020-21 campaign, the former Sooner is getting plenty of attention based on his physical appearance. With an improved offensive line, the return of Frank Pollack, and the departure of Giovani Bernard, Mixon has first-round upside, so fantasy managers should be prepared to jump on him early in upcoming fantasy drafts. Nonetheless, as long as the 24-year-old remains healthy, the potential is there for him to finish as a top-10 back this season, possibly higher.
Miami Dolphins tight end Mike Gesicki (illness) was placed on the COVID-19 injured list on Sunday. Gesicki, along with co-offensive coordinator George Godsey, tested positive for the Coronavirus. Although they will likely be ready to go when the season begins in September, it's still unsettling for fantasy managers, primarily if the 25-year-old suffers any long-term effects of the virus. Gesicki has been one of the top producers at the position by compiling at least five touchdowns in each of his last two seasons.
Free-agent TE Tommy Stevens (Panthers) and WR Andy Jones (49ers) are scheduled to work out for the New York Giants.
Miami Dolphins TE Mike Gesicki was placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list Sunday, Aug. 1.
Fantasy Spin: Gesicki likely will miss a few practices but will be fine for the regular season. He is coming off a productive 2020 season and should be a No. 1 tight end in most fantasy leagues.
Miami Dolphins TE Cethan Carter and TE Adam Shaheen were placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list Sunday, Aug. 1.
Free-agent QB Jake Rudock (Dolphins) has decided to retire from professional football, according to sources.
Free-agent CB Prince Amukamara (Cardinals) and CB KeiVarae Russell (Packers) are expected to sign with the New Orleans Saints in the near future. Both players worked out for the team Sunday, Aug. 1.
Seattle Seahawks QB Danny Etling was waived Sunday, Aug. 1.
Atlanta Falcons running back Qadree Ollison took first-team reps on Sunday, and he appears to be the leader in the race to back up Mike Davis. Ollison is competing with Javian Hawkins and Cordarrelle Patterson for the RB2 role in Atlanta, and right now he "seems like the early favorite for RB2." Ollison had a productive career at Pittsburgh and he was selected in the fifth round of the 2019 NFL draft. In limited NFL action, Ollison has only averaged 2.3 yards per carry, but he did score four touchdowns on just 23 touches in 2019, so he could be involved near the goal-line in 2021. Ollison is a fringe late-round handcuff in fantasy leagues this season.
Arizona Cardinals veteran free agent wide receiver addition A.J. Green is reportedly enjoying a resurgence early in training camp. Per Peter Schrager of NFL Network and Fox Sports, Green "looks incredible out there at Cardinals practice." This news is especially surprising considering that Green looked completely washed up with the Bengals in 2020. Green's pathetic 5.0 yards per target mark ranked 107th among all wideouts last season. It's possible that Green was mailing it in last season, however, as he made it known that he wanted out of Cincinnati. Green figures to be competing with Rondale Moore and Christian Kirk for secondary targets in the offense, so building early chemistry with Kyler Murray is key. If Green continues generating positive buzz later into camp he could make for an intriguing late-round dart throw, but there are higher upside options worth drafting over him right now.
Arizona Cardinals rookie wide receiver Rondale Moore is making an excellent impression in his first training camp. Darren Urban had this to say about Moore's performance "It sure looks like Rondale Moore is going to be a player. He hasn't been perfect but he shows up again and again." Urban's take here meshes with what others around the team have been saying as well. Moore, who ran a 4.37-second 40-yard-dash, has elite speed and quickness to go along with major opportunity in the Arizona offense. Like Moore, the other secondary wideouts on the team are yet to prove that they deserve to be the second option behind superstar WR DeAndre Hopkins. Moore's elite athleticism could translate to plenty of production out of the slot in year one if he can mesh with Kyler Murray. Moore's upside makes him one of the best late-round selections and his ADP should continue to rise as camp progresses.