Training camp has officially set in, with all 32 teams having multiple days of practice under their belts and the hustle-and-bustle of the league finally back. With all the excitement of professional football's nearing return, of course, also comes the dreaded return of NFL-related injuries. Take heart, though, that at least with preseason injuries also come unforeseen opportunity – just look at Kareem Hunt, last season's rushing leader whose opportunity came after an injury to Spencer Ware. Additionally, we key in on two of the rookie quarterbacks making a push to start Week 1.
Without further ado, let's get down to business!
The Injury Front
Jets: The biggest piece of injury news today is on the Jets' front, as Elijah McGuire sustained a fracture in his foot. The second -year running back will undergo surgery, but could be a candidate for IR/Return depending on his recovery. Word in camp had McGuire posed to earn a larger role in the backfield passing game this year, despite hauling in only 17 of 26 targets in 2017. Isaiah Crowell and Bilal Powell could see their stocks rise with a less crowded backfield before them, with Crowell having rushed for 4.1 yards per carry over his career and Powell having accumulated 942 total yards last year with the Jets. It's too early to see the full picture yet, however, given that the Jets have reportedly shown interested in free agents Orleans Darkwa and Alfred Morris. Darkwa had a small breakout season last year with the Giants, managing 4.4 yards per carry behind a struggling O-line, while Morris performed admirably with the Cowboys filling in during Ezekiel Elliott's suspension. On a brighter note for the team, Quincy Enunwa was able to practice without limitations on Saturday. The 26-year-old receiver missed the entire 2017 season due to a bulging disk in his neck, but impressed in 2016 with a line of 58/857/4. Enunwa could be a sleeper candidate worth watching if he returns to form, and should slot in as a starter alongside Robby Anderson and Terrelle Pryor. Pryor is looking to get healthy and turn his career around after a dismal 240-yard stint with Washington in 2017, and Anderson's breakout season last year has been marred by an offseason defined by unsolved legal situations.
Packers: Running back Aaron Jones did not practice at all on Saturday due to a hamstring injury, allowing Ty Montgomery and Jamaal Williams to split first-team backfield reps. As long as the injury isn't more severe than is being let on, a tight hamstring is the least of Jones' barriers to carries – though given the tendency of hamstring injuries to recur, Jones' progression will be something to keep an eye on. More importantly, second year player has been assigned a two-game suspension due to a violation of the NFL's substance abuse policy, and will not be eligible to return until Week 3 against Washington. Jones looked explosive in limited snaps last season, but will need time in camp to improve his pass-protection abilities, where fellow second-year back Jamaal Williams has heavily outclassed him. Ty Montgomery should be expected to have a significant pass catching role out of the backfield, and could impress enough in camp to warrant a running back by committee approach in Green Bay.
Chiefs: With yet another injury at the running back position, Kareem Hunt was limited to individual drills for a third consecutive day of training camp. The second-year running back suffered a hamstring injury in OTAS on May 31, and has been being slowly eased back into practices since. It goes without saying that Hunt, who led the league in rushing last season, is an integral part of the Kansas City offense and an early-round fantasy prospect. The Chiefs seem only to be exercising caution with the Hunt (who sidestepped the PUP list) but his recovery should be tracked closely, and any work in team drills would be a sign of positive health. With fellow running back Charcandrick West having suffered a head injury on Saturday and Spencer Ware not yet at full health, the majority of first team RB reps will be left to Damien Williams and Kerwynn Williams for the time being.
Falcons: Touted first-round rookie wideout Calvin Ridley was sidelined Saturday, having suffered an apparent hamstring injury. The reason for Ridley's departure from the field was initially reported to be heat exhaustion, and the actual injury appears minor. Given the nature of hamstring injuries, however, Ridley's recovery warrants monitoring throughout camp. Coach Dan Quinn was largely positive, saying he expects the rookie to return relatively soon, so Ridely's recovery shouldn't threaten a large setback. Set to line up opposite star receiver Julio Jones, Ridley will enter his 2018 rookie season with high expectations. Second-year DE Takk McKinley also suffered a hamstring injury Saturday, which is not expected to be serious.
Jaguars: 2014 second-round pick Marqis Lee was forced out of Saturday's practice with an undisclosed injury, following a pass breakup by cornerback Tyler Patmon. Lee was expected to serve as the Jaguars' No. 1 wideout this season following the departures of Allen Robinson to Chicago and Allen Hurns to Dallas. With Donte Moncrief also sidelined with an ankle injury sustained earlier in training camp, first-team wide receiver reps are largely up for grabs. This could mean opportunity for second-year receivers Dede Westbrook and Keelan Cole, both of whom shone in flashes last season, and 2018 second-round pick D. J. Chark. Cole averaged an outstanding 17.8 yards per catch in 2018, recording 748 yards on only 42 targets, and Westbrook looked impressive at times after spending the first 10 weeks of the season on IR after undergoing core muscle surgery. Add in Chark, who ran the fastest 40-yard dash among all wide receivers at the NFL Scouting Combine this year, and it becomes easy to imagine any member of this Jaguars' young receiving core making noise due to this opportunity.
And some notes on a pair of promising rookie quarterbacks, who could make a push to start Week 1 –
Rookie QB Report
Cardinals: Bradford has been a full participant in training camp and taken all first-team reps for himself thus far. The ninth-year quarterback does not appear to be feeling pressure from 2018's No.10 overall draft pick Josh Rosen, or free-agent pickup Mike Glennon. Rosen, touted as the most NFL-ready quarterback in the 2018 draft class, worked with the second-team offense Saturday and shared snaps with Glennon – the veteran who will serve as the rookie's main competition for at least the beginning of training camp. Though Bradford seems clearly ahead in the quarterback competition, the possibility of Rosen earning the Week 1 role is there if the hyped rookie out of UCLA can impress.
Bills: Quarterback Josh Allen, the 7th overall pick of the 2018 NFL Draft, got his most reps yet with the first team on Saturday. Having practiced largely with the third-teamers until now, Allen reportedly had his best outing of camp in spite of an interception juggled by Kelvin Benjamin. Fellow quarterbacks AJ McCarron and Nathan Peterman have yet to show much in camp, despite having largely been talked of as being ahead of Allen in the QB competition to this point. At 6-5, 237 and touting one of the league's strongest arms, Allen could push for the Week 1 starting job if he continues to impress. However, there remain numerous factors suggesting it could be beneficial for Allen to sit behind the team's two veterans for some time: not only did Allen struggle mightily with accuracy and decision-making in college at Wyoming, but the Bills' offensive line lost three starters this offseason and is in a clear state of transition, not to mention that Buffalo's wide receiver position has very little to offer behind Kelvin Benjamin. With even LeSean McCoy's situation currently ambiguous, the safest move seems to be for Allen to develop as a backup for the foreseeable future.