Fri Aug 5 7:45pm ET
By JOE REEDY
AP Sports Writer
Los Angeles Chargers cornerback J.C. Jackson (27) walks off the field after a practice at the NFL football team's training camp Wednesday, July 27, 2022, in Costa Mesa, Calif. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)
COSTA MESA, Calif. (AP) Less than two weeks into training camp, J.C. Jackson is proving to be a quick study of the Los Angeles Chargers defense.
The 26-year-old cornerback, one of the top defensive signings in the league during the offseason, has been making life difficult for wide receivers during practices. He came up with a big interception Friday during a two-minute drill near the end of practice.
Backup quarterback Easton Stick threw a pass over the middle intended for Trevon Bradford before Jackson tipped it and then came up with the ball before it hit the ground.
It's the kind of play that has made Jackson one of the top defensive backs in the league and it was deserving of the nickname of Mr. INT that he gave himself during his four years with New England.
''I'm getting the hang of it. Switching to a new team, you always have to adjust,'' Jackson said. ''I'm coming out here each and every day, getting to know my teammates and coaches and having fun competing.''
Jackson's 25 interceptions over the past four seasons are the most in the league. He led the league with 23 passes defensed and was second with eight picks as he made his first Pro Bowl last season.
The Patriots, however, did not place the franchise tag on Jackson, who came into the league as an undrafted free agent in 2018. He wasn't without a team for long as the Chargers signed him to a five-year, $82.5 million contract. The $16.5 million average per year is tied for ninth-highest in the league among cornerbacks.
Los Angeles was 9-8 last season but missed the playoffs for the third straight year. One reason was the defense, which was ranked 23rd.
The Chargers were aggressive during the offseason in addressing the defense, signing Jackson and acquiring linebacker Khalil Mack from Chicago.
According to Pro Football Focus, Jackson had the top grade in man coverage among cornerbacks who played half the snaps in their team's games last season.
''He's been like we anticipated from his playing days in New England. He's come out here and just been a lock-down performer,'' defensive coordinator Renaldo Hill said. ''Every time he steps on the grass, he's either close to making a play or he's making a play.''
Even though Jackson has excelled in picking off passes, he thinks his totals can increase this season now that he is on a team with an effective pass rush duo in Joey Bosa and Mack.
The only thing that hasn't happened during the first eight practices of training camp is Jackson being tested by quarterback Justin Herbert. Jackson laughed when he said Herbert hasn't thrown much to his side.
''I don't know if he's afraid or what, but Herb hasn't been throwing to my side yet,'' Jackson said. ''But no, Herbert is a great guy. I love practicing against him. I can't wait to see what he does this year.''
Jackson also hasn't practiced yet with safety Derwin James, who isn't participating in practices while the Chargers and his agent negotiate a contract extension. Jackson, who has known James since high school, said James' recruiting during the Pro Bowl was one of the reasons he ended up in Los Angeles.
''We're still building, it's still early in training camp. I love coming out here and competing with my teammates,'' he said.
Jackson will be matched up against the opponent's best receiver. The Sept. 11 matchup against Las Vegas and new Raiders receiver Davante Adams will be a strong opening test.
''I don't feel any pressure. I just feel more excited. I'm excited to be here, excited to be a part of this team,'' Jackson said. ''You'll see this year, when the season starts, what I'm going to bring to the table and to this team.''
Chicago Bears linebacker Roquan Smith has been an integral part of the team's defense since he was drafted eighth overall in 2018. The Bears have traded away some big names from their once fierce defense, including Khalil Mack, and it appears Smith could be next. Smith released a statement officially requesting a trade, reporting the new management regime "won't negotiate in good faith" and "doesn't value me here." Smith is one of the few remaining superstars on this team, so losing him would big a big blow.
Dynasty | The Ravens activated running back J.K. Dobbins from the PUP list Dynasty Analysis: Dobbins was pushing to return and was granted the green light on Monday and it's said he's on track to be ready for week one. It's been a year since Dobbins tore his ACL and his timeline for return was expected to allow for full-health by week one. It's great news for Dobbins, the Ravens and his dynasty coaches who badly missed his presence in 2021. The bruising runner rushed for 805 yards and nine touchdowns in his rookie year on only 134 carries, good for an amazing 6.0 ypc. average. The question for Dobbins will surround his role within the teams committee rotation, including the impact of Lamar Jackson's rushing prowess. But as seen with his rookie year production, a healthy allotment of touches should provide for an even greater runway for increased 2022 production. Touchdown totals will be a concern inside the five yard line as fantasy coaches wait to see how the team will utilize Jackson's capable legs, perhaps at the expense of Dobbins. He's listed as DLF's RB14, showing that there's more than a little concern about Dobbins' injury when paired with Jackson under-center.
Dynasty | Titans rookie receiver Treylon Burks has been running with the second and third teams at camp Dynasty Analysis: Burks got off to a poor start in OTAs and was diagnosed with asthma earlier this off-season. As such, the rookie is still getting his legs under him and will have to work his way back with the starters. Rookies tend to hit the "rookie wall" near week 10 of the regular season and this could be an issue to watch with Burks here in his first season. The full expectation is that he'll eventually take the spot vacated by the traded A.J. Brown, but it won't be handed to him. Burks is listed as DLF's WR21 and possesses a fair amount of premium as a rookie.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said on Tuesday that the league is seeking a tougher penalty for Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson because his actions were "egregious" and "predatory behavior." The league formally appealed Watson's six-game suspension last week, which was given by disciplinary officer Sue L. Robinson earlier this month. The NFL is seeking a suspension of at least a year for Watson. It's unknown when former New Jersey attorney general Peter C. Harvey will make a ruling on the appeal. Watson was accused of sexual assault and other inappropriate conduct during massage sessions in civil lawsuits filed by 25 women. There's a chance this ends up playing out in federal court, but Watson will miss at least the first six games of the 2022 season, making him an extremely risky fantasy QB this year.
Miami Dolphins TE Adam Shaheen was traded to the Houston Texans Tuesday, Aug. 9, in exchange for a 2023 sixth-round draft choice. The Texans will also receive a 2023 seventh-round draft choice in the trade.
Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford (elbow) resumed throwing in individual drills at training camp practice on Tuesday. The Rams are managing Stafford's elbow pain this offseason in order to attempt to keep him healthy all years as the Rams try to defend their Super Bowl championship. The 34-year-old will likely continue to take it easy on his right arm throughout the rest of camp, and it's definitely something to watch as we get into the regular season. For now, fantasy managers should expect Stafford to be fine for Week 1. He has an amazing connection with All-Pro wideout Cooper Kupp and also has Allen Robinson II at his disposal, but Stafford should be targeted as a low-end QB1 in fantasy.
The Houston Texans acquired tight end Adam Shaheen and a seventh-round pick in 2023 from the Miami Dolphins on Tuesday in exchange for a sixth-round pick in next year's draft. The Dolphins already have Mike Gesicki locked in as their starting tight end, with Durham Smythe, Hunter Long and Cethan Carter providing depth behind him, so Shaheen was expendable after catching 12 of 16 targets for only 110 scoreless yards in 12 games (seven starts) in 2021. Shaheen will now join a tight end group in Houston that already has Pharaoh Brown and Brevin Jordan. Jordan is expected to be the primary pass-catching option at the position, so Shaheen should remain well off the fantasy radar entering the 2022 campaign.
Los Angeles Rams CB Jalen Ramsey (shoulder) participated in team drills during practice Tuesday, Aug. 9.
Houston Texans running backs Marlon Mack and Rex Burkhead are listed as co-starters at running back on the team's first unofficial depth chart of training camp. They are followed by rookie Dameon Pierce, Royce Freeman, Dare Ogunbowale and Darius Anderson. Coming off a serious Achilles injury that limited him to seven games the last two seasons with the Indianapolis Colts, the 26-year-old Mack figures to lead Houston's backfield to begin the 2022 season. However, this could be a frustrating backfield to predict early on, and Pierce has the goods to become the starter by season's end in an offense run by quarterback Davis Mills. If you're betting on anyone as a last-round RB for depth, Pierce is probably the best low-cost investment with the most upside.
The Kansas City Chiefs agreed to an undisclosed one-year deal with veteran free-agent defensive tackle Danny Shelton on Tuesday, according to his agents, Drew Rosenhaus and Ryan Matha. Shelton played in 13 games (zero starts) for the New York Giants last year, recording 31 tackles (12 solo) and half a sack. He was originally a first-round pick of the Cleveland Browns in 2015 out of the University of Washington, and he spent his first three seasons in the NFL in Cleveland. The 28-year-old pass-rusher has also spent time with the New England Patriots and Detroit Lions. Shelton will be looking to compete for a starting spot on the interior of KC's defensive line. He has 278 tackles (138 solo), 17 tackles for loss, 19 QB hits, six sacks and a forced fumble in seven NFL seasons.
Los Angeles Rams QB Matthew Stafford (elbow) participated in team drills during practice Tuesday, Aug. 9.
Fantasy Spin: Stafford has been dealing with the elbow injury for a while and will continue to be a story moving forward. Fantasy players can monitor the situation because Stafford can be a low-end No. 1 fantasy quarterback if he is healthy.
New Orleans Saints DE Marcus Davenport (finger) passed his physical Tuesday, Aug. 9, and has been activated from the Active/Physically Unable to Perform list.
Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Jalen Reagor continues to stack good days at training camp in what has definitely been his most consistent camp as a professional. At the moment, he looks too good to consider releasing, in the opinion of The Athletic's Bo Wulf, although a trade remains on the table. The former first-round pick has been a disappointment through his two NFL seasons, compiling 64 catches (111 targets) for 695 yards and three touchdowns in 28 games (24 starts). The 23-year-old will probably only be fantasy relevant if he's traded to a team that gives him a realistic chance to start. As things stand now in Philly, he's behind the likes of A.J. Brown, DeVonta Smith, Quez Watkins and Zach Pascal.
Cleveland Browns All-Pro returner and wide receiver Jakeem Grant Sr. (Achilles) is feared to have torn his Achilles in training camp practice on Tuesday. He will undergo tests to confirm after he was carted off the field on Tuesday. This will be a big blow to Cleveland's special teams unit this year as well as their receiver depth. The 29-year-old speedy wideout was looking for a role on both special teams and as a pass-catcher in his first year with the Browns after catching 11 of his 17 targets for 132 yards and two touchdowns in 2021 with the Miami Dolphins and Chicago Bears. He was a Pro Bowler last year for his work as a returner, handling 23 kickoff returns for 539 yards and 26 punt returns for 309 yards and one touchdown.
Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Zach Pascal missed the first week-plus of training camp with food poisoning and has been slowly acclimating since, but Monday was his best day by a wide margin. He showcased nice route-running and dominated a portion of seven-on-seven drills with a one-handed catch. Pascal has yet to make much of an impact in team drills, though, and he's still trying to get on the same page as quarterback Jalen Hurts. Unfortunately for Pascal, he's currently fourth on the Eagles depth chart behind A.J. Brown, DeVonta Smith and Quez Watkins, who had a productive day in team drills on Monday with a couple of nice catches. Pascal can be passed over on draft day in most leagues to begin the 2022 season.
Free-agent RB Kalen Ballage (Steelers), RB Jaylen Samuels (Cardinals) and Stevie Scott (Broncos) recently worked out for the Green Bay Packers. The team also worked out undrafted free-agent RB Calvin Turner (Hawaii).
Dallas Cowboys TE Jeremy Sprinkle (Achilles) participated in practice Tuesday, Aug. 9.
Dynasty | Browns wide receiver and special teams ace Jakeem Grant was carted off with an apparent leg injury at practice. Dynasty Analysis: This has the looks of a potentially serious injury. Grant was making some headway on the depth chart and figured to be the Browns primary return man as well. If he's indeed lost for the season, it would open up more snaps and targets for the likes of Donovan Peoples-Jones and David Bell. As for Grant, he's already a fringe dynasty player and there would be little reason to keep him should this be a serious injury. Stay tuned.
Free-agent DL Danny Shelton (Giants) signed an undisclosed contract with the Kansas City Chiefs on Tuesday, Aug. 9.
Updating a previous report, Cleveland Browns WR Jakeem Grant (Achilles) is believed to have suffered a torn Achilles tendon during practice Tuesday, Aug. 9, but is scheduled to undergo more test to confirm the diagnosis, according to sources.