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Broncos kick off NFL training camps with Sanders on board

Wed Jul 17 5:11pm ET
By ARNIE STAPLETON
AP Pro Football Writer

Players: Joe Flacco, Emmanuel Sanders, Paxton Lynch, Phillip Lindsay, Patrick Mahomes, Drew Lock

Denver Broncos wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders takes part in drills at the team's NFL football training facility Tuesday, June 4, 2019, in Englewood, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)


ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) The Denver Broncos are the first team in the NFL to kick off training camp Thursday, and they'll do it with Emmanuel Sanders on hand but maybe not Drew Lock.

Sanders won't be full-go as he continues his comeback from a torn Achilles tendon last December, but ''Emmanuel looks good. He's not going to go on PUP. He'll start practicing from Day 1,'' general manager John Elway said Wednesday. ''Obviously we're going to work him in slowly.''

Pro Bowl running back Phillip Lindsay, who hasn't taken a snap since suffering a wrist injury at Oakland on Christmas Eve, also will be eased into action.

''Lindsay's ready to go,'' new head coach Vic Fangio said. ''Lindsay, Emmanuel, we'll ease them in, but we'll get them in quickly.''

Rookies and veterans reported to UC Health Training Center on Wednesday, a week earlier than usual because of the Broncos' upcoming Hall of Fame game against Washington on Aug. 1.

Three other teams - the Cardinals, Seahawks and Ravens - also had rookies report Wednesday but their veterans get several more days of summer vacation, unlike the Broncos.

Lock, however, was missing.

He's the last Broncos rookie without a contract, leaving him a finite amount in Denver's rookie salary pool and his representatives hammering out details such as performance bonuses.

''We'll see,'' Elway said when asked if he felt Lock would be in camp for the first workout Thursday morning. ''I'm not going to make a prediction one way or the other but we're hoping that he's going to be here.''

Lock is vying for the backup job behind newcomer Joe Flacco, whom Elway acquired from Baltimore in yet another offseason makeover.

Widely viewed as a first-round prospect, Lock slipped to the second round, where the Broncos selected him with the 42nd overall pick, one spot behind their new left guard Dalton Risner. Lock has to get used to playing under center after hardly doing so at Missouri.

After the Paxton Lynch fiasco, Elway views his QB situation now like the Chiefs did with Alex Smith and Patrick Mahomes two years ago, with the apprentice getting to take his time learning and the veteran preparing to be the starter.

''We feel like he's in his prime,'' Elway said of Flacco, 34. ''At least we hope he is.''

Elway said he's optimistic because new offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello brings to Denver the roots of the Baltimore system in which Flacco excelled early in his career.

Also, ''anytime you get traded midway in your career, two-thirds of the way through your career, you've got something to prove,'' Elway said.

Adding Flacco in a trade and Lock in the draft allows the Broncos ''to solidify that position for a while,'' Elway said. ''Obviously, we've been looking for one since Peyton (Manning) retired. That's always a difficult position to feel. But I finally feel good about that position and where we are.''

The Broncos are coming off back-to-back losing seasons for the first time since 1971-72 and while they have another rookie head coach, Fangio is 61 and has decades of experience coaching in the pros.

''We've got a lot of work ahead of us,'' Elway said. ''We always have high expectations of ourselves but we just know that the position that we're in and the last two seasons that we've had we've got to take it one day at a time and that's what we're going to do.

''And we're in good shape, too. I think being in early, having the extra week, playing in the Hall of Fame game is going to help us with the new staff. I think that's a positive for us being in early.''

Fangio's first camp as a head coach includes an NFL-most 19 open practices.

''I think it's good to have the fans out here,'' Fangio said. ''You know, the history of the NFL, you had to go to college campuses back in the day because the facilities didn't look like this. When I first went to the Saints in the mid-80s, we had an 80-yard grass field, OK? We had no cafeteria.

''Guys who go to a greasy deli for lunch right across the street. So, you were forced to go to small college campuses to have your two-a-days because they had cafeterias, because they had classrooms and because they had dorms to sleep in. A byproduct of that was fans could come and watch.

''I think one of the things, small things, that has driven the NFL to being the most popular sport in the country is that you let people come and watch practice, people that maybe cannot afford to go to the game and maybe get an autograph from a player. Maybe a player shakes their hand and throws them a sweatband or a glove,'' Fangio added.

''You know, you do that with a young person, you've got a fan for life. And football has a fan for life. There's more to be gained out of that than any advertising slogan or any commercial that you put on TV.''

Player Notes
Derrius Guice Aug 7 11:30pm ET

The Washington Football Team has released running back Derrius Guice following a domestic abuse arrest. The oft-injured Guice was expected to be the lead back for Washington's running back committee this year, but the release obviously changes everything in Washington. Veteran running back Adrian Peterson should now see the bulk of the carries, while rookie Antonio Gibson gets chances on passing downs. Gibson gets a boost in dynasty leagues after Guice's release, while Peterson is now a viable top-100 pick in virtually all re-draft leagues. As for Guice, his arrest could be the end of his disappointing NFL career. He's off the radar in redraft and becomes borderline rosterable in dynasty.

From RotoBaller

Jerick McKinnon Aug 7 10:30pm ET

San Francisco 49ers running back Jerick McKinnon has been one of the more impressive players at training camp, according to Cam Inman of The Mercury News. In particular, McKinnon's route running out of the backfield has looked crisp. It is welcomed news for the 28-year-old, as he has missed the entirety of the past two seasons with injuries. McKinnon may be able to carve out a role for himself as a pass-catching, third-down back, but he has to battle Raheem Mostert and Tevin Coleman for touches. If McKinnon continues his strong play, the 49ers backfield may become even more of a headache for fantasy owners.

From RotoBaller

Derrius Guice Aug 7 7:23pm ET

Washington Football Team RB Derrius Guice was released Friday, Aug. 7.

Fantasy Spin: Guice likely will not receive much interest from other teams because of the arrest, but fantasy players can keep an eye on the situation. Adrian Peterson likely will handle most of the carries for Washington this season and can be at least a No. 3 running back in standard fantasy leagues.

From TheHuddle

Calvin Ridley Aug 7 7:00pm ET

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley is looking "bigger and stronger" according to head coach Dan Quinn. Quinn said that Ridley had a good offseason and is coming into training camp hungry. The Alabama product is a popular pick for a third-year breakout after he was well on his way towards his first 1000-yard season before getting hurt. The 25-year-old has had no trouble finding the end zone in his first two years, compiling 17 touchdowns, though he'll need to slightly raise his yards per game and catch percentage numbers to reach his goal. Playing in an offense that has ranked in the top-five in pass attempts in each of the last two years should give Ridley a great chance at becoming elite in 2020.

From RotoBaller

Dont'a Hightower Aug 7 3:06pm ET

Nearly 70 players have opted out of the coming NFL season because of coronavirus concerns. Highlighting the list is LB Dont'a Hightower, LB C.J. Mosley, and RB Damien Williams. The good news is the deadline to opt out has passed and the list of big-name players is minimal, so fantasy owners can plan accordingly for the coming season and start drafting with more confidence.

Calvin Ridley Aug 7 3:03pm ET

Atlanta Falcons WR Calvin Ridley has 'really put in a good offseason ... he's bigger, stronger,' Falcons head coach Dan Quinn said Friday, Aug. 7, in a media conference call.

Fantasy Spin: Ridley has caught 127 passes over his first two seasons, including 17 TDs -- three more than teammate Julio Jones over the same span -- and is a legit WR2 in all formats.

From TheHuddle

James Washington Aug 7 2:20pm ET

The Pittsburgh Steelers activated wide receiver James Washington from the COVID-19 reserve list on Friday. Washington was placed on the list on August 2. The third-year wide receiver has 60 receptions for 952 yards and four touchdowns across his two NFL seasons. The team released linebacker John Houston, an undrafted rookie free-agent, in a corresponding move to create room on the roster for Washington. Washington will compete to be the No. 3 receiver in Pittsburgh behind JuJu Smith-Schuster and Diontae Johnson this season.

From RotoBaller

Vinny Curry Aug 7 2:10pm ET

The Philadelphia Eagles agreed to re-sign defensive end Vinny Curry to a one-year deal worth up to $2 million. $1.3 million is guaranteed, making Curry basically a lock for the final roster. Curry spent the first six years of his NFL career in Philly, and returned last season, recording five sacks while playing 415 snaps. He's a rotational edge rusher and should return to a similar role.

From RotoBaller

Sterling Shepard Aug 7 1:23pm ET

New York Giants WR Sterling Shepard is entering the 2020 season as the longest-tenured Giant, and said Friday, Aug. 7, in a Zoom media conference call that 'I might have to shake the 'young' Shep.' He added that he plans to set a 'good example' for his younger teammates.

Fantasy Spin: Shephard, still only 27, has caught at least 57 passes in all four seasons in N.Y., including 57 in 10 games last season. He's a WR4 with upside, particularly in PPR leagues.

From TheHuddle

Vinny Curry Aug 7 1:23pm ET

Free agent DE Vinny Curry is re-signing with the Philadelphia Eagles on Friday, Aug. 7, according to sources.

From TheHuddle

Cam Newton Aug 7 12:53pm ET

New England Patriots QB Cam Newton on Friday, Aug. 7, declared himself fully ready for training camp. 'At this particular time, I'm full go,' Newton said in a video conference call.

Fantasy Spin: Newton first will have to stay healthy and then also beat out Jarrett Stidham and Brian Hoyer for the starting gig. If A and B are accomplished, Newton will enter the season as a QB2 but one with considerable upside.

From TheHuddle

Dion Jordan Aug 7 12:53pm ET

Free agent DL Dion Jordan (Raiders) on Friday, Aug, 7, signed a one-year contract with the San Francisco 49ers, the team announced. Terms of the deal were not available.

From TheHuddle

Aug 7 12:53pm ET

New York Giants LS Zak DeOssie on Friday, Aug. 7, announced his retirement.

From TheHuddle

Vic Beasley Aug 7 11:53am ET

Tennessee Titans LB Vic Beasley reported for COVID-19 testing Friday, Aug. 7.

From TheHuddle

James Washington Aug 7 11:13am ET

Pittsburgh Steelers WR James Washington was activated from the Reserve/COVID-19 list Friday, Aug. 7.

Fantasy Spin: Washington could start opposite of Juju Smith-Schuster, but he'll need to step it up to stave off Chase Claypool. Washington figures to be a WR4 or WR5 in fantasy.

From TheHuddle

Corey Davis Aug 6 7:03pm ET

Updating a previous story, Tennessee Titans WR Corey Davis (toe) is on the Physically Unable to Perform list as a result of offseason toe surgery. He's not expected to miss any games.

Fantasy Spin: This would be a greater concern if Davis was actually missing meaningful practices while on the PUP list. There shouldn't be any major concern, and he'll still enter the season as the No. 2 option behind A.J. Brown.

From TheHuddle

M.J. Stewart Aug 6 5:43pm ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers CB M.J. Stewart was released Thursday, Aug. 6.

From TheHuddle

Rod Smith Aug 6 5:33pm ET

Las Vegas Raiders RB Rod Smith was placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list Thursday, Aug. 6.

From TheHuddle

Josh Doctson Aug 6 5:33pm ET

Updating a previous story, New York Jets WR Josh Doctson was placed on the Reserve/Opt-Out list Thursday, Aug. 6.

From TheHuddle

Rashaan Melvin Aug 6 5:23pm ET

Updating a previous story, Jacksonville Jaguars DB Rashaan Melvin was placed on the Reserve/Opt-Out list Thursday, Aug. 6.

From TheHuddle