It’s hard to believe, but the NFL season is set to begin next Thursday. The uncertainty surrounding the season due to Covid-19 along with no preseason games has really lessened the hype for the 2020 campaign. Nevertheless, pro football is back next week and with 53-man rosters set to be finalized on Saturday, lets take a look at some news coming out of training camps around the league.
- James White, RB (Patriots): White was named a team captain for the Patriots on Thursday. Entering his seventh season with New England, White will once again be the Pats’ best pass catching back and a key weapon for new quarterback Cam Newton.
- Dare Ogunbowale, RB (Buccaneers): Ogunbowale is a name to keep an eye on as roster cut day approaches. The Bucs’ signing of Leonard Fournette has made the running back room very crowded in Tampa Bay. Ogunbowale is a great special teams player, so Fournette’s signing may amount to nothing, but it’s going to be close.
The Bucs don't necessarily have to cut a back with Fournette on board. They could carry five, knowing Dare Ogunbowale's best value is on special teams. Seventh-rounder Ray Calais was already facing tough odds, but they could just carry Jones-Fournette-McCoy-Vaughn-Dare on the 53.— Greg Auman (@gregauman) September 3, 2020
Editor’s note: after Kevin submitted this, Ogunbowale was indeed cut by the Bucs. We’ll keep you posted on who picks him up. Tampa also cut D’Cota Dixon BECAUSE APPARENTLY THEY HATE US!
The #Bucs are cutting RB Dare Ogunbowale, source said, a special teams captain and core contributor who has been with the team since 2018. The RB room was crowded thanks to the addition of Leonard Fournette.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 4, 2020
- Corey Clement, RB (Eagles): After playing only four games last season due to a shoulder injury, it looks like the former Super Bowl hero is going to make the Eagles’ 53-man roster. Clement will likely see most of his playing time on special teams this season.
The Eagles waived Elijah Holyfield, Adrian Killins and Michael Warren.— Dave Zangaro (@DZangaroNBCS) September 3, 2020
It looks like they're keeping three running backs.
- Alec Ingold, FB (Raiders): The second year fullback was mic’d up during camp:
- Rob Havenstein, OT (Rams): After an injury plagued 2019 season, Havenstein returns as the Rams’ starting right tackle and reports out of camp are optimistic about a bounce back year.
As well as the #Rams' current injuries, we heard Monday about Rob Havenstein's return from 2019 knee problems and clean-up surgery. Havenstein sounded upbeat and set for a good year. Sean McVay said he "looks like the guy that has been a top-tier starting tackle in this league."— Kevin Modesti (@KevinModesti) September 1, 2020
- Olive Sagapolu, DT (Lions): Just three days after releasing him, the Lions resigned Sagapolu on Monday. The second year defensive tackle spent last season in the XFL and on Detroit’s practice squad and is right on the cut line for the 53-man roster.
- Ryan Connelly, LB (Giants): Connelly had an unlucky rookie season in 2019, tearing his ACL right as he was earning more playing time and making plays for the Giants at inside linebacker. The former walk-on is expected to be one of two starters at inside linebacker for the G-Men this season.
Meant to mention this yesterday:— Art Stapleton (@art_stapleton) September 3, 2020
Even though things were controlled at half-speed for the most part, I've been encouraged by Ryan Connelly and the way he has been moving after his early camp absence set off alarms about his ACL recovery.
Feel good right now about his role. #NYG
- Jack Cichy, LB (Buccaneers): After missing almost all of 2019 due to a elbow injury and two years removed from an ACL tear, Cichy is finally healthy and pushing to make Tampa Bay’s 53-man roster.
The last inside linebacker spot or spots is a close call — rookie Chapelle Russell has drawn a lot of praise. If they carry a fifth, it’s likely Dawkins vs. Jack Cichy, and it’ll come down to special teams value. https://t.co/0tmt2yubWA— Greg Auman (@gregauman) August 27, 2020
- Jonathan Taylor, RB (Colts): Running behind one of the league’s best offensive lines, Taylor is poised for a huge rookie season for the Colts. The second round pick has earned high praise from veteran quarterback Philip Rivers, who compared Taylor to his former teammate Michael Turner, a two-time Pro Bowler.
Colts QB Philip Rivers said rookie RB Jonathan Taylor reminds him of former Chargers RB Michael Turner. “Michael could really run, too."— Mike Wells (@MikeWellsNFL) September 2, 2020
- Zack Baun, LB (Saints): Baun was seen at practice on Thursday, after missing multiple practices due to an unspecified injury. This is obviously good news for the Saints’ third round draft pick, who figures to be a difference maker as a pass rusher in 2020.
Zack Baun was at practice today working off to the side. First time we've spotted him in quite some time.— Katherine Terrell (@Kat_Terrell) September 3, 2020
- Chris Orr, LB (Panthers): Orr is another name to watch out for as 53-man rosters are finalized this weekend. The undrafted rookie is really pushing to make the cut, despite having no preseason games to showcase his skills.