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QBs Sam Darnold, Josh Allen learn from greatest at US Open

Sat Jun 16 6:05pm ET
By TERRIN WAACK
AP Sports Writer

SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. (AP) Sam Darnold and Josh Allen are spending their weekend watching greatness, and for once it's not other football players.

They're at Shinnecock Hills for the U.S. Open.

Selected in the first round of the 2018 NFL draft - Darnold to the New York Jets, Allen to the Buffalo Bills - the two quarterbacks are headed to the pros, but are far from done learning.

''We talk about it all the time in the quarterback room: Whenever we get a chance to watch greatness, whatever it is, we want to do it and learn from it,'' Darnold said. ''Even last weekend with Justify winning the Triple Crown, you appreciate that as a quarterback and someone who's striving to be great. .

''Then to see what guys like Dustin Johnson are able to do, it's just so cool to watch.''

That's who Darnold and Allen are rooting for, too. Johnson entered Saturday on top of the leaderboard, 4 over par, but was struggling in the third round.

Darnold and Allen checked out all 18 holes, spending a long chuck of time by the green of No. 8, just watching everyone putt. Each golfer's ability to pinpoint a shot never ceased to amaze them. But it's what comes before the swing that they really admire and respect.

The preparation before the action.

''It's like what me and Sam would do as quarterbacks, evaluating the defense before we snap the ball and trying to get understanding of what they're doing,'' Allen said. ''And that's what they're doing on the course. Before every shot, they're trying to gauge the wind, trying to gauge the distance, and ultimately trying to have the right swing to put the ball where they want.''

That also includes zoning in on the task and blocking out distractions.

Darnold, who has played maybe a half-dozen times, actually ended up being the cause of such a distraction.

A fan recognized Darnold in the crowd and shouted, `J-E-T-S, Jets, Jets, Jets!' The outburst came in the middle of a player's backswing. Darnold couldn't recall whose swing, but it was his second shot on a par 3.

''He was just laser focused,'' Darnold said. ''Still hit a really good shot, and it's just really cool to watch these guys do what they do. Even with all the hecklers, everything that's going on, they're still able to just focus.''

That's a standard Darnold and Allen can take back to the football field.

Darnold completed 63.1 percent of his passes and averaged 295.9 yards per game in his last season at Southern California. He was picked third overall.

Allen, who brought his dad - his frequent golfing partner - to Shinnecock Hills, hit 56.3 percent of his passes for 1,812 yards and averaged 164.7 yards per game at Wyoming last year. He went seventh overall.

"I love football, so there's nothing that's going to replace that,'' Allen said. ''But golf, it's a second.''

Player Notes
Sam Bradford Jun 17 9:33pm ET

Arizona Cardinals QB Sam Bradford (knee) saw more reps during team drills as minicamp progressed, and he said limiting his reps has helped him prepare physically and mentally. 'I can really build on what we had done here and coming to training camp ready to go,' Bradford said. 'I feel like we've done a great job of sticking to the plan,' Bradford said. 'I think the plan has worked and my body feels really good right now.'

Brandon Marshall Jun 17 8:33pm ET

Seattle Seahawks WR Brandon Marshall (hamstring) skipped organized team activities and the minicamp, but coach Pete Carroll indicates the team is fine with this as long as Marshall keeps recovering.

Ben Roethlisberger Jun 17 8:13pm ET

Pittsburgh Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger won't pursue an extension on his contract, which expires in two years, over the summer months. Roethlisberger said he prefers to just play football and let his representation worry about the money.

Keke Coutee Jun 17 6:13pm ET

Houston Texans WR Keke Coutee might be the team's answer in the slot, according to ESPN's Sarah Barshop, who notes the rookie has 'stood out among the young receiving corps.'

Chad Hansen Jun 17 6:03pm ET

New York Jets WR Chad Hansen is one of the most improved players on the team - looking stronger and faster than last year - and could play his way into a prominent role with a good preseason, according to ESPN's Rich Cimini.

Tom Brady Jun 17 5:33pm ET

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady acknowledged in an interview with Oprah Winfrey that aired on her network Sunday, June 17, he knows he is getting closer to retirement as he nears his 41st birthday in August, telling Winfrey he is 'seeing that there's definitely an end coming, sooner rather than later.' However, Brady also added he wants to play 'as long as I'm loving the training and preparation and willing to make the commitment.'

O.J. Howard Jun 17 4:33pm ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers TE O.J. Howard 'showed how versatile and explosive he can be during minicamp,' according to Rick Stroud of The Tampa Bay Times.

Zay Jones Jun 17 4:23pm ET

Buffalo Bills WR Zay Jones will have to 'earn his way' and 'not necessarily go right to the top of the line' after a mostly disappointing rookie season, according to general manager Brandon Beane.

Ronald Jones II Jun 17 2:23pm ET

Tampa bay Buccaneers RB Ronald Jones could post the biggest numbers of the team's defense-heavy draft class since he should get 15 to 20 touches per game, according to Rick Stroud of The Tampa Bay Times.

Sam Darnold Jun 17 2:03pm ET

New York Jets QB Sam Darnold 'hasn't flinched' and has 'handled everything (the team) has thrown at him' since rookie minicamp, according to offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates.

Josh Allen Jun 17 2:03pm ET

Buffalo Bills QB Josh Allen has 'mesmerized fans with his big arm in practice' and, although he'll start the preseason third on the depth chart behind AJ McCarron and Nathan Peterman, he also 'has a real chance to be the Week 1 starter,' according to Ben Volin of The Boston Globe.

Michael Gallup Jun 17 1:53pm ET

Dallas Cowboys WRs Michael Gallup and Lance Lenoir as well as TE Blake Jarwin seem to be the three players who have shown the most chemistry with Dak Prescott through the end of the team's offseason workouts, according to Bryan Broaddus and David Helman of DallasCowboys.com.

Baker Mayfield Jun 17 1:53pm ET

Cleveland Browns QB Baker Mayfield 'still has a long way to go' to unseat Tyrod Taylor as the starter, according to Ben Volin of The Boston Globe.

Mike Gesicki Jun 17 1:43pm ET

Miami Dolphins TE Mike Gesicki is a 'big man that can run and has really good hands' and had some 'really good days' toward the end of the team's offseason practices, according to head coach Adam Gase.

Jason Verrett Jun 17 12:03pm ET

Los Angeles Chargers CB Jason Verrett (knee) was a full participant in practice Wednesday, June 13.

Jun 17 9:33am ET

Updating a previous report, San Francisco 49ers LB Dekoda Watson (calf) sustained a strained calf muscle during practice last week but should be ready for the start of training camp.

Richard Sherman Jun 17 9:33am ET

San Francisco 49ers CB Richard Sherman (Achilles') is expected to resume taking part in 11-on-11 drills at the start of training camp.

DaeSean Hamilton Jun 16 11:53pm ET

Denver Broncos WR DaeSean Hamilton should 'play plenty' this season, according to Jeff Legwold of ESPN.com.

Corey Coleman Jun 16 11:23pm ET

Cleveland Browns WR Corey Coleman 'work ethic and football intelligence' continue to be questioned by the coaching staff, according to Scott Petrak of the Chronicle-Telegram.

D'Onta Foreman Jun 16 11:03pm ET

Houston Texans RB D'Onta Foreman (Achilles') is unlikely to be 100 percent by the start of training camp.