All eyes are on rookie QBs and Aaron Rodgers as NFL teams kick off practices
Rookie quarterbacks will get a lot of the attention this week when most NFL teams take to the field for non-contact workouts.
Twenty teams kicked off their organized volunteer team activities on Monday and another 10 will do so on Tuesday. Only the defending NFC champions Philadelphia Eagles and AFC runners-up Cincinnati Bengals are not holding practices this week.
The teams are authorized, in accordance with the collective agreement, to hold 10 days of training without pads and without direct contact over a period of four weeks. They can perform 7v7, 9v7 and 11v11 drills.
Aaron Rodgers, who hasn’t participated in some of those offseason practices in recent seasons with the Green Bay Packers, was on the field with his new team. Wearing a green New York Jets helmet, black shorts and a red No. 8 practice jersey, Rodgers rigged a play and rushed for a TD, holding both hands up. the air to report a score.
Lamar Jackson, who signed a five-year, $260 million contract extension earlier this month, was absent from Baltimore’s session on Monday.
No. 1 overall pick Bryce Young impressed coach Frank Reich in Carolina’s first practice.
“Just command, control, balance,” Reich said after Monday’s Panthers practice. “You could tell the way he saw it, the way he worked through the progressions, the accuracy of the pitch, the ball placement of the pitch, everything was very good.”
Although it’s early and there’s a long way to go before training camp, all eyes will be on Young, Houston’s CJ Stroud and Indianapolis’ Anthony Richardson this week.
Here are some of the main storylines to follow:
ROOKIE QBS: Young, Stroud and Richardson, who were among the top picks in the draft, are acclimating to life in the NFL while learning new offenses and shouldering the burden of high expectations.
AARON RODGERS: Rodgers flashed a big smile as he ran into the end zone during his TD scramble in a video that had Jets fans buzzing on Monday. His presence is a big deal for a franchise desperate for a turnaround. Rodgers already knows offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett’s system from their time in Green Bay. But the four-time NFL MVP has been spending time at the Jets facility since his arrival and that should help him build chemistry with his new teammates.
LAMAR JACKSON: Todd Monken is Baltimore’s new offensive coordinator, so the Ravens would prefer the highest-paid quarterback in the NFL to show up to learn the nuances and work with his teammates. However, new Ravens wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., fellow wide receiver Rashod Bateman, tight end Mark Andrews and running backs JK Dobbins and Gus Edwards were also not present on day one. Many rookie players across the league prefer to practice on their own instead of attending voluntary practices and many often skip a few days until the mandatory minicamp.
SEAN PAYTON: The former Super Bowl-winning head coach with New Orleans has returned to the NFL after a year-long absence and is trying to make the Denver Broncos a winner again. It starts with getting Russell Wilson to play more like the potential Hall of Famer he was in his first 10 seasons in Seattle.
NEW ERA OF THE PACKERS: The Green Bay Packers will start a season without Rodgers or Brett Favre for the first time since 1991. Jordan Love will be under scrutiny as the team moves to fourth-year QB. He has the youngest group of wide receivers and tight ends in the NFL.
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