NFL 2022: The training camp thread

Isn't Watson scheduled to play on Friday? Is the judge ready to go by tomorrow or Friday am?

That chorizo that got posted the other day has a better chance of being mistaken for an alien planet than Tua's sausage arm has for being a gun.

Watched episode 1 of Hard Knocks. Thoughts:

* You could probably field a playable team made up of the Lions coaching staff by breaking out the old Dreamcast and a copy of NFL2K1.

* I've seen football teams with a lot of yelling and intensity, but I don't think I've ever seen Borderline Personality Disorder personified as a football team until now. The emotional state of this team feels like it's one weak guardrail away from careening off the cliff. It was especially odd after having watched the new 49ers Brick by Brick right before it, where Shanahan and the team have this loose but calm, professional demeanor. Campbell's training camp feels like sleepaway Jesus camp for troubled youth.

* At least in this first episode, the show really didn't want to draw any attention to the fact that the team's QB is Jared Goff, no doubt so the viewers don't think "this f**kin guy again?", with this being his 3rd year on the show. I'm pretty sure the QB coach, Jaguars and Santa Maria legend Mark Brunell, had more screen time than Goff. Hey, last year was 10 years since Brunell's 2011 Chapter 11 bankruptcy. It's finally off of his credit report. They should cover that on Hard Knocks. Everything's coming up Milhouse Mark!

* Stranger Things gave us Master of Puppets, and crazy intense Dan Campbell offers us... No Leaf Clover?!? I'm not sure it was even the heaviest song of the episode, and the only other songs were Safety Dance and Bumblebee Salsa.

* I would be fine if most of the show was just Penei Sewell vs. Aidan Hutchinson reps. They're like the one oasis of talent on a roster that went 3-13-1 last year and didn't add any talent of note besides their draft class and DJ Chark on a 1 year get-healthy-and-get-the-f**k-outta-here contract.

Long-suffering (wrapping up decade 4) Lions fan makes me prone to drinking the Kool-Aid, but I thought that was amazing, and I love this team. I don't think its ceiling is any higher than 9 wins (6-8 feels right to me), but if the wheels come off, I'll always have Aiden and the team going all Pitch Perfect on Billie Jean.

Uuuuhhh the Browns just signed Kaep.

Edit: or it’s a lie.

Vector wrote:

Uuuuhhh the Browns just signed Kaep.

Edit: or it’s a lie.

This would break me

*Legion* wrote:

Watched episode 1 of Hard Knocks. Thoughts: ...

Pretty much spot on.

I think focusing on the coaches in Ep 1 was a know-your-audience play. Folks watching Hard Knocks are old jerks like me who remember all of those dudes. Outside of Goff, I couldn't have named a single Lions player before I watched the show last night.

And, yeah, Hutchinson did a nice job with Billie Jean.

Brady is taking some "personal time" away from the team, and will be gone until at least the second preseason game, and Bowles says his confidence is "pretty high" Brady will be back by the start of the regular season.

Personal? Giselle finally tire of the football life and dumping him? Plastic surgery? Curled up in a ball crying at what the crypto crash has done to his portfolio?

Vector wrote:

Uuuuhhh the Browns just signed Kaep.

Edit: or it’s a lie.

Yeah the image going around Twitter says reporter by Schefter. But his Twitter has nothing. Sus

MilkmanDanimal wrote:

Brady is taking some "personal time" away from the team, and will be gone until at least the second preseason game, and Bowles says his confidence is "pretty high" Brady will be back by the start of the regular season.

Personal? Giselle finally tire of the football life and dumping him? Plastic surgery? Curled up in a ball crying at what the crypto crash has done to his portfolio?

Based on how other Bucs are talking, it sounds like a family health thing, which makes it much less fun to speculate about.

Because otherwise, Brady stepping out immediately after Bucs/Dolphins combined practices would have opened the door to plenty of fun ideas.

ubrakto wrote:

Long-suffering (wrapping up decade 4) Lions fan makes me prone to drinking the Kool-Aid, but I thought that was amazing, and I love this team. I don't think its ceiling is any higher than 9 wins (6-8 feels right to me)

Well, if it makes you feel better, 538 did an analysis of what every team's record would have looked like last year if their winnable or losable "coin flip" games had gone the other way, ie. which teams benefited from good 50/50 game outcome luck vs. which teams were hurt by it.

Detroit was one of the teams that could have picked up a bunch of winnable games, jumping from 3-13-1 to 7-10 with those winnable games flipped.

San Francisco's deep playoff run as a 10-7 wildcard makes more sense with their winnable games flipped, as they jump up to a 13-4 record. Vegas, meanwhile, rode high on winning the losable games, and drop to 5-12 with worse luck.

Baltimore is interesting in that they make a big jump or a big dive if you flip one side or the other. Basically they had a super lucky 1st half of the season, and an unlucky 2nd half, and that averaged out to basically .500 (I hate odd-numbered game seasons!).

So, chin up Detroit fans, your team might be a little better than that 3-13-1 record. Though I'm not sure where the next step upward is going to come from for them.

Browns reportedly considering trading for the NFL's sexiest QB if the Watson suspension gets increased.

They could have skipped the entire Watson thing, dumped Baker since they wanted an "adult", traded for Jimmy and his unimpeachable professionalism, and re-assessed the QB position next offseason (extend Jimmy and/or go hunting for a guy in the draft).

Basically exactly what I said they should do earlier this offseason.

Yes, well, "maybe don't pursue a serial sexual predator as your QB" is a bit of low-hanging fruit here, and Jimmy G is I guess the best of what's left, even though he's what, $25 million of probably slightly better than Baker?

I guess even if Jimmy isn't that much better than Baker, he doesn't have the reputation of being an apparently heavily disliked asshat in the locker room. Even better, the Browns play the Jets in week 2, and we can see whether Jimmy can bang Zach Wilson's mom's best friend the night before the game as a psychological ploy.

What exactly do the Browns have to give up? Would you like a fifth and cap relief? A massage?

MilkmanDanimal wrote:

even though he's what, $25 million of probably slightly better than Baker?

People keep getting hung up on Jimmy's salary.

The 49ers will absolutely restructure the deal and keep part of that salary if they're getting a draft pick back. They want to clear money by moving Jimmy, but it doesn't have to be $25m or nothing. Offer a decent trade and the Niners will bring down that Jimmy salary to a more palatable figure.

What happened to Tua? I remember from his college highlights his arm seemed okay. I guess a hip problem can really throttle and disrupt your base and mechanics but it still seems a little wild that McCorkle has a bigger hose than Tua

The throwing power issues were there on Tua's scouting reports, at least the ones willing to be critical.

Bleacher Report: "Arm strength is average and not naturally strong; is a violent thrower who uses entire body to add torque."

PFF (paywall): "Arm strength is on low-end of NFL starters. Noticeable arc on any downfield throw"

The Athletic 2020 Draft Guide (paywall): "Doesn’t have a power arm and his ball gets heavy when attempting to throw off-balance"

TD Scouting: "Doesn't have special deep ball arm strength and does not successfully attack over the top at the rate of a truly top notch QB prospect."

USA Today: "Lacks the arm strength to consistently make throws downfield"

Granted, there were plenty of other writeups who gave the usual "good enough" label to his arm power to downplay those concerns. And yeah, that's the same sort of mitigation that appeared on Mac's scouting reports.

I think the difference between the two is Mac does a better job at playing within the limits of his athleticism. There's a lot of high level throw types that simply do not appear on his tape, but you also don't have him on tape trying to make those throws and floundering at it. He's also much more consistent at delivering the throws that are within the bounds of his athletic profile.

Also, Mac is 6'3" and has 70th percentile arm length (per MockDraftable's database). Tua is 6'1" and has 9th percentile arm length. Tua has to generate his power more with his core, kinda like that Bleacher Report bit references. And, as you pointed out, Tua had that hip injury, which back in 2020 had him questioning whether he would ever be back to his "old self" again.

Tua seems to struggle not only with the throws that test his arm's boundaries, but also to consistently deliver the throws that are within his arm's range. He should be able to deliver all the throws Jimmy Garoppolo does, but Jimmy delivers them at a rate Tua doesn't match. Tua's completion rate was good last year, but the only QBs in the league whose pass attempts traveled fewer yards in the air were Goff and the Weekend at Bernie's version of Roethlisberger.

*Legion* wrote:

Well, if it makes you feel better...

As Lions fans, nothing makes us feel better.

But I do feel optimistic unusually optimistic about the team's direction. Campbell gets a lot of attention because he's hilarious and never tries to be anything but Dan Campbell. It's fun watching Staley and Glenn go at it, and they do seem well-regarded around the league. But beyond that, I legit think GM Brad Holmes is the real thing. He's done a lot in less than two years. OL is a genuine strength this year (barring injury), the WR room is completely overhauled from almost literally nothing (esp. once they get Jameson Williams on the field), the RB group has promise with Swift and Williams, and there is growing depth along the DL. Linebacking and secondary thin (though 3rd overall Okudah could still pan out). And then there is Goff, who looked broken most of last year but seemed to find himself when he came back from injury (credit new OC Ben Johnson?), and he's supposedly looked really good in camp. A big if there, but I'll take this group over the joyless and unwatchable Quinn and Patricia regime any day.

O-line is definitely strong. Spending 1st round picks on Decker, Ragnow, and Sewell isn't the sexiest thing, but all three have developed into plus players, and the first two are locked up on their second contracts with the team now. Jonah Jackson took a big step up last season in year 2, and Vaitai is... much better now as a full time right guard rather than a swing tackle.

I do like the WR trio of The Good St. Brown Brother, Baby Chark, and Shot of Jameson. Although I think Chark is going to end up a short-term option, and with Williams returning from injury and eventually having to step in without training camp, I'm not sure we'll see all 3 firing on all cylinders at the same time. But them and Hockenson are more than enough targets for a decent passing offense.

I have no faith in Goff though. I think his improvement is largely from playing behind an offensive line that's now a top 5 group - he was 24th in pressure rate last year. When he was pressured, he was hot garbage according to PFF. Given that offensive line, you'd think he would have had time to throw the ball downfield a little, but he was dead last in attempted air yards (at 6.6 yards, he was almost half a yard shorter than 3rd-to-last, Tua). Having a great O-line and still only attempting the absolute dinkiest of dink-and-dunk is not a great look. There needs to be a lot of improvement there just to get close to mediocre. I'm pretty sure Brunell himself could step behind that line and rip it further downfield at 51 years old.

I see there's an article today in the Detroit Free-Press that's behind a paywall, but Google says the headline is, "Lions QB Jared Goff embracing deep passing game". We'll see. The ball needs to start going a lot further downfield. Given the line and the pass catchers, there's no excuse for it not to.

Slightly off topic, but today's cool sports news is that the NBA is retiring No 6 league-wide to honor Bill Russell (RIP, big guy).

Is there an NFL number that's equally as iconic?

It might be 12 (Brady, Rodgers, Bradshaw, Staubach, Namath, Stabler) or maybe 32 (Jim Brown, Franco Harris).

Pro Football Reference has a handy All Players to Wear Number X tool if you need a work distraction. (Pro tip: Click on the AV column to sort.)

80 is Jerry Rice and a bunch of guys.

88 with a lot of WRs and a pretty good TE

Yeah I was gonna say, if there's any number to retire league wide, it's 80.

That said, the NFL absolutely should not retire numbers. Basketball teams don't have 69 players, or position number rules on top of that. NFL teams already have to do some number juggling. Teams that have retired a bunch of numbers have realized they have to stop, and are starting to put some back in rotation.

The practice just doesn't make sense for a sport with so many players.

Stele wrote:

80 is Jerry Rice and a bunch of guys.

88 with a lot of WRs and a pretty good TE

Gee, I would have said 34 as an iconic number.

I don't think I'd be retiring Jim Brown's number but that's just me.

Watson has thrown out there that he would "accept" an 8 game suspension with a $5 mil fine.

Dude knows the hammer is about to drop. Should have taken the league's offer of 12 games and a $10m fine. Chose to do things the hard way.

Oh, and the player's union has supposedly backed off the idea of an injunction.

Antonio Brown says his biggest regret is... well... you need to read it by yourselves.

Pink Stripes wrote:

Antonio Brown says his biggest regret is... well... you need to read it by yourselves.

Somehow that statement manages to get crazier by the word.

*Legion* wrote:

Yeah I was gonna say, if there's any number to retire league wide, it's 80.

You know who wore No 80? Cris Collinsworth!

Speaking of, here are your broadcast teams for the 2022 season (and there have been a ton of changes, most of which I've forgotten about):

TNF: Al Michaels and Kirk Herbstreit?!? (Amazon Prime except for Weeks 1 and 12, which are NBC for some reason)

CBS Sunday: Jim Nantz and Tony Romo are still No 1; I can't find the rest of their pairings.

Fox Sunday: Kevin Burkhardt and Greg Olsen (!!!) are the top team; then it's Joe Davis-Moose Johnston, Adam Amin-Mark Schlereth, Kenny Albert-Jonathan Vilma, Kevin Kugler-Mark Sanchez and Chris Myers (the worst)-Robert Smith.

SNF: Mike Tirico and The Aforementioned Collinsworth (NBC)

MNF: Joe Buck and Troy Aikman (ESPN); Manningcast will be back, but I can't find a schedule.

Looks like NFL Network will get just a handful of games -- international and late-season stuff.

Manningcast will be back, but I can't find a schedule.

The only thing I care about and you're useless.

A friend of mine noted that this is the first time the ravens had all four of the QBs on the 90 man roster be black. I was embarrassed it’s even a thing. Should be so commonplace that it’s unnotable