NFL

Training camp watch: Thursday's latest from around the NFL

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TSN.ca Staff
7/24/2014 2:23:13 PM
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With many NFL training camps underway, the league is abuzz with position battles, injury news and rookies making an immediate impact.

Each day, TSN.ca provides the latest rumours, reports and speculation from around the NFL beat.

Johnny Be Focused?

Cleveland Browns head coach Mike Pettine declared on Wednesday that Johnny Manziel needs to focus on football in order to have a chance to win the starting quarterback job.

"I think he knows that in order for him to compete well, he's going to have to probably be more dedicated than ever," Pettine said via Tom Withers of the associated press.

After a well-documented offseason, Manziel enters training camp behind incumbent Brian Hoyer at the quarterback position. The Browns report for training camp on Friday. 

Showing Up Injured

Carolina Panthers running back Jonathan Stewart reported to training camp with a pulled hamstring and will miss the first one-to-two weeks of camp.

Due to injury, Stewart appeared in only six games for the Panthers last season, rushing for 180 yards on 48 carries.

Geno's Job

According to Brian Costello of the New York Post, New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith took 13 first-team reps on Thursday compared to Michael Vick's four.

Throughout the offseason, the starting quarterback position has been reported to be Geno's to lose. Entering his sophomore season, Smith threw 12 touchdowns and 21 interceptions in 16 games in 2013.

Instant Starter?

Eric Williams of ESPN reports that San Diego Chargers first-round pick Jason Verrett practiced at starting right cornerback on Thursday, while Richard Marshall lined up across from him.

Free agent acquisition Brandon Flowers worked at left cornerback with the second team.

The Chargers ranked fourth-worst in the NFL last season against the pass, averaging 258.7 yards allowed per game via the air.

Riddick in the Rotation?

Kyle Meinke of MLive.com believes 2013 sixth-round draft pick Theo Riddick is a lock to make the Detroit Lions 53-man roster, while 2011 second-round pick Mikel Leshoure is on the roster bubble.

Despite receiving only 13 offensive touches in his first year, Meinke notes that Riddick has drawn praise from both coaches and teammates this offseason.

Meinke envisions Riddick filling a Darren Sproles-like type of role in the Lions offense and earning regular touches in the running back rotation.

Leshoure faces an uphill battle to earn touches in the Lions offense. The 24-year-old played in just three games last season, receiving two carries for nine yards. He rushed for 798 yards on 215 carries with nine touchdowns in 2012.

New Lead?

Vic Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle would be "surprised" if Maurice Jones-Drew was not the starting running back for the Oakland Raiders this season.

Signed this offseason after spending eight seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars, Jones-Drew joins a backfield in Oakland that features former fourth-overall pick Darren McFadden, as well as Latavius Murray, Jeremy Stewart, rookie George Atkinson and former CFL standout Kory Sheets.

Jones-Drew rushed for 803 yards on 234 carries in 15 games with the Jaguars in 2013.

Exiting for Personal Reasons

Denver Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas is expected to miss the first four days of training camp for personal reasons.

Mike Klis of the Denver Post reports that Thomas attended the team's camp-opening meeting but was then excused by coach John Fox to attend the funeral services of the grandmother who helped raise him in Georgia.

Thomas led the Broncos with 92 catches for 1430 yards and 14 touchdowns in 2013. He also set a Super Bowl record with 13 catches in the Broncos' loss to the Seattle Seahawks.



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