One of the best and most comprehensive features we do every year is our Footballguys Training Camp Updates. Every week in August, our Bob Henry and his team of Footballguys Staffers cover every player that matters from every NFL team. It's incredible and frankly, probably worth the price of the Footballguys Insider PRO subscription just by itself. Each edition is almost 40 pages long.
While I encourage you to read every word of every week, I also understand Life Happens. And one of the more valuable services Footballguys can add is saving you time. For this article, I had the idea of taking the comprehensive Training Camp Update and distilling it down into 80 proof shots of the "Need To Know" material. Some teams will have more news than others. Because that's how it works in real life. Much of it will be from the Camp Updates, some of it will be my takes but all of it will hopefully be useful to you. And make sure to jump on our Insider PRO subscription to continue seeing this type of stuff all year long. And if this feature is helpful to you, shoot me an email at email@example.com and let me know.
Let's get to it.
QB Carson Palmer played meaningful snaps against the Falcons, completing 8-of-13 passes for 86 yards and a touchdown pass to John Brown. Drew Stanton won the team’s backup quarterback position
RB David Johnson saw minimal work against Atlanta and is ready for the season.
WR John Brown’s return from a quadriceps injury was the big news of the week. Brown made it back on the field and contributed in a big way with a pair of touchdown catches and 49 yards in the team’s dress rehearsal game against Atlanta.
TEs Jermaine Gresham, Troy Niklas, and Ifeanyi Momah are likely to make the 53-man roster. Gresham has secured the top spot, Niklas looks locked into the number two role as a blocker, and Momah has been trending in the right direction all preseason.
For QB Matt Ryan and the offense, the change to offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian has merited few changes to the scheme. That's good news as the team hopes to keep the momentum going from 2016's offensive performance.
RB Devonta Freeman did not play in the Saturday dress rehearsal after suffering a concussion the week prior, but he was cleared and returned to practice on Tuesday.
WRs Julio Jones, Mohamed Sanu, Taylor Gabriel, and Justin Hardy are atop the depth chart, as expected. Jones made his preseason debut against the Cardinals.
TEs Austin Hooper and Levine Toilolo will helm the Falcons’ starting tight end rotation, which will often feature two tight ends and send both options on routes during play-action, misdirection calls.
The team won’t say when QB Joe Flacco will return, but John Harbaugh said, “"He will be back for the Bengals (Week 1) game. I promise you that."
RB Javorius Allen was called the most effective back by a Baltimore Sun beat writer, but the job is Terrance West’s to lose. In fact, Allen’s performance could help West by dissuading the front office from bringing in a more accomplished free agent (like Ryan Mathews) to compete with West. Danny Woodhead has a hamstring injury. His Week 1 status is unknown, but the team needs to be careful with him considering its lack of passing game weapons.
With Breshad Perriman’s hamstring injury, Baltimore has two healthy NFL-caliber wide receivers and a plethora of mediocre tight ends. Expect Mike Wallace and Jeremy Maclin to see plenty of targets early in the year.
Maxx Williams looked like the best pass-catching option at tight end, but he was held out of the Week 3 preseason game for unknown reasons.
QB Tyrod Taylor suffered a concussion after just 8 plays of the Week 3 game, which leaves this offense in crisis mode with the season fast approaching.
RB LeSean McCoy played most of the first half against the Ravens but found no room to run against a tough defense and managed just 5 total yards on 8 touches.
WR Jordan Matthews is close to returning, but rookie Zay Jones figures to see a lot of targets right away.
TE Charles Clay was the lone bright spot on offense in the game and could be in for a big year if he's healthy.
For the first time since early in training camp, QB Cam Newton participated in every drill during practice this week. Newton made his preseason debut against Jacksonville but stayed in for only one possession.
RB Christian McCaffrey continues to awe viewers and players alike each time he takes the field. On one run, he changed direction so abruptly that he left Jacksonville safety Barry Church standing still in surprise.
Cam Newton had high praise for WR Kelvin Benjamin after the win over the Jaguars, saying Benjamin has shown growth and leadership. Benjamin caught a touchdown pass from Newton and ended the night with 36 yards on four receptions.
TE Greg Olsen saw limited action in the contest against Jacksonville before retiring to the sideline late in the second quarter. He caught only two passes for 14 yards. Olsen remains a favorite target in practice and will continue to be one of the go-to-guys in the regular season.
Mike Glennon quieted the quarterback controversy for now with a solid showing against the Titans that included a long touchdown drive to open the game.
RB Jordan Howard saw extensive playing time for the first time this preseason and looks ready to carry a heavy workload in the regular season.
WR Cameron Meredith suffered a torn ACL in the game and will be lost for the season, which should create more opportunities for players like WR Kendall Wright and TE Zach Miller.
QB Andy Dalton, WR A.J. Green and the first team offense were sharp in Week 3 and look primed for a solid season.
RBs Joe Mixon, Jeremy Hill, and Giovani Bernard each received snaps with the first-team offense. It looks likely to be a committee early, but Mixon continues to flash the talent that could allow him to take on a prominent role in the offense.
Andy Dalton has peppered WR A.J. Green with 12 targets in three-quarters of work over the past two weeks. All signs point toward a tremendous season for Green. John Ross was held without a catch in his professional debut. When used as a decoy, his speed drew extra attention from the defense and opened up extra space for the rest of the offense to operate.
TE Tyler Eifert was held out of the third preseason game as a precaution. He has been dealing with a “little tendonitis in his knee.” He dressed for the game and went through warmups without any noticeable limitations.
The quarterback controversy is settled after DeShone Kizer’s performance in the preseason dress-rehearsal, subsequently followed by the team naming him the regular season starter.
RB Isaiah Crowell returned to practice after being held out as a precaution with a groin strain. He was given the nod to start in the preseason contest and took his 11 carries for 40 yards.
WR Corey Coleman seems to be the receiver of choice for his young quarterback. Their evident rapport built in practice sessions carried over to the field. Coleman had four receptions for 66 yards. Don't underestimate this connection.
TE Seth DeValve appears to be the starter-in-name headed into the season, but if action versus the Buccaneers is any indication, David Njoku will also be worked in extensively.
QB Dak Prescott remained sharp in the regular season dress rehearsal.
RB Ezekiel Elliott's appeal hearing is underway. There has been speculation we might see a ruling by Monday. Elliott is expected to challenge the punishment in Federal Court if his league appeal is unsuccessful.
WR Dez Bryant has been besieged with injuries in recent seasons but he's enjoyed a dominant summer of 2017 and should be set in the WR1 tier.
TE Jason Witten made his preseason game debut and dominated. Rico Gathers continues to miss time taking away from the impressive work he put in earlier this summer.
QB Trevor Siemian is locked in as the starter. While he’s a game-manager type, he has plenty of weapons at his disposal to make some noise from time-to-time. Paxton Lynch suffered a shoulder injury during the third preseason game, but it’s unclear if he’ll miss any time.
RB C.J. Anderson remains the lead guy in the Broncos backfield, and he’s in line for a healthy workload. Jamaal Charles will make the roster and serve in a change of pace role, but he can still do some damage with limited touches. It looks like Devontae Booker will avoid the PUP list, but it looks like he’ll be out for the first few games.
WR Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders sit firmly atop the depth chart, and they will see the majority of volume. Bennie Fowler remains in the lead for the WR3 job, but there’s still not a ton of clarity on the depth chart behind the big two.
TE Virgil Green remains the primary pass catching target among the tight end group, but A.J. Derby and Jeff Heuerman are primed to step in if he falters.
Quarterback Matthew Stafford started slowly in this week's preseason game, but he was able to get the Lions into the end zone late in the second quarter and early in the third quarter. He signed a huge contract extension this week.
RB Ameer Abdullah is showing what his floor could be if he stays healthy, and while he may not win a league for you, he could be a bigger factor than some think due to the yardage he could total. Theo Riddick played his first snaps of the season, and he looks good to go for the season opener.
Wide receiver Marvin Jones again showed that he has a featured role as a vertical threat for the Lions, and he and Stafford are continuing to flash nice chemistry in the preseason.
Finally, starting tight end Eric Ebron returned to practice Monday. He can be valuable but this August didn't make anyone forget about his injury risk.
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers is still really good.
RB Ty Montgomery returned to action Saturday and took a big step toward tamping down the chatter of a running back committee with rookie Jamaal Williams.
The trio of Jordy Nelson, Davante Adams, and Randall Cobb hardly played Saturday night and drew all five of Aaron Rodgers targets. Jeff Janis and Trevor Davis, both of whom have shown well on special teams, look like roster locks – though the bottom of the wide receiver depth chart is up in the air.
Tight ends Martellus Bennett and Lance Kendricks have been on the field together plenty and displayed strong versatility.
QB Deshaun Watson appears to have taken a step backward over the past two weeks and looks unlikely to challenge Tom Savage for the starting job early in the season.
RB D’Onta Foreman was one of the early stars of camp and made some eye-opening plays with the backups in the first two preseason games. But he has been slowed by a groin injury the past week, and coach Bill O’Brien has thrown some cold water on his hype by suggesting that Foreman is still “a long way off.”
Coach O’Brien has been vague about why WR DeAndre Hopkins has been held out of practice and preseason games for the past few weeks. However, beat writer John McClain has reported that Hopkins has been dealing with a hand injury. While details are scarce, indications are that Hopkins should be available for the regular season opener.
TE C.J. Fiedorowicz has been sidelined with an injured quad and sat out against New Orleans. He is expected to return to practice soon.
While QB Andrew Luck is reportedly throwing the football, he remains without a timetable for return, making it unlikely he’s back in time for the Colts regular season opener. Scott Tolzien was probably good enough to lock up starting duties in Luck’s absence, but the continued strong play of second-year backup Stephen Morris could put Tolzien on a short leash.
RB Frank Gore looked healthy on Saturday and remains atop the depth chart. Gore looked spry and effective. Robert Turbin got the night off, presumably so the Colts could get a look at rookie Marlon Mack with the first-team offense. Mack came down to Earth a bit after last week’s impressive preseason debut, rushing for 18 yards on seven carries and adding one reception for 17 yards.
WR Donte Moncrief appears to be over his sprained AC joint. He took a slant 55 yards on the Colts first play from scrimmage during Saturday’s preseason game. Phillip Dorsett was the Colts best receiver on Saturday, catching three passes for 60 yards. With Chester Rogers still battling a hamstring injury, the performance may have been enough for Dorsett to regain his starting role in three-wide receiver sets.
TE Jack Doyle continued his quiet preseason, catching 1-of-3 targets for nine yards. But it’s not as though Doyle has anything to prove, with very little behind him on the depth chart. There were no updates this week on backup Erik Swoope’s recovery from the knee surgery he underwent about two weeks ago.
Coach Doug Marrone ended the ten-day quarterback competition between Chad Henne and Blake Bortles and announced that it will be Bortles under center Week 1.
RB Leonard Fournette is back practicing and has already stated that he expects to be ready for Week 1 against the Texans.
Wide receiver Marqise Lee avoided a serious injury and is now back practicing and looks to be in good shape for the start of the regular season.
TE Mychal Rivera was supposed to be the team’s number two tight end, but he has been dealing with an injury and hasn’t been on the field at all. His roster spot could be in jeopardy.
There’s no quarterback controversy in Kansas City, as Andy Reid has made it crystal clear that Alex Smith remains the starter. Rookie Patrick Mahomes appears to have done enough to secure the backup gig, and he’s clearly the future for the Chiefs.
RB Kareem Hunt leapt to the top of the depth chart in the wake of Spencer Ware’s apparent season-ending injury. The rookie has impressed throughout the summer. Charcandrick West and C.J. Spiller will serve in complementary roles.
WRs Tyreek Hill and Chris Conley are locked in at the top of the chart. Hill is a clear breakout candidate in 2017. Final cuts will give us clarity on the remainder of the depth chart, but Albert Wilson is currently penciled in as WR3.
TE Travis Kelce is ready to resume his role as one of Smith’s top options, as well as one of the top tight ends in the league. Demetrius Harris will serve as his primary backup.
QB Philip Rivers was completely dialed in against the Rams, and he led two impressive scoring drives. He has a bevy of weapons at his disposal, and he’s in line to deliver top flight production in 2017. Kellen Clemens currently has a hold on the backup gig, but that’s still sorting itself out as the preseason winds down.
RB Melvin Gordon is the clear workhorse back, and he could take another leap forward this season. Branden Oliver will serve as the primary backup, but the pickings are slim further down the depth chart.
WR Keenan Allen hauled in all five of his targets against the Rams, and he looks ready to roll as the top target for Rivers. Tyrell Williams and Travis Benjamin are both intriguing home run threats, while Dontrelle Inman remains in the mix as well.
TE Hunter Henry has been one of the stars of camp, and he’s a breakout candidate this season. The ageless Antonio Gates is still in the fold, and his legendary chemistry with Rivers ensures he’ll be fed as well.
Quarterback Jared Goff was 5 for 8 for 56 yards and an interception against the Raiders. Sean Mannion doesn't seem to be going away.
RB Todd Gurley rested for the Week 3 game. Malcolm Brown solidified himself as Los Angeles' backup running back with a nine-carry, 44-yard game.
Starting receiver Tavon Austin and preseason standout Cooper Kupp didn't play this week, leaving Robert Woods, Sammy Watkins and Josh Reynolds as the significant names in Los Angeles. Reynolds stood out for a second straight game with a three-reception, 71-yard, and one touchdown performance.
TE Gerald Everett continued to build his lead over Tyler Higbee with two receptions for six yards.
QB Jay Cutler has quickly learned the offense and earned the trust of his teammates. He looked ready for the regular season in leading three touchdown drives against the Ravens.
RB Jay Ajayi was a standout against the Ravens. It was exactly the type of outing you want to see to justify his early second-round fantasy price tag.
WR DeVante Parker and Kenny Stills are excited about Jay Cutler’s aggressive approach and willingness to throw it deep. Parker and Stills have been quicker to develop a rapport with Cutler than Jarvis Landry has. Landry's potential troubles with a domestic abuse incident continue to be talked about and are a concern.
TE Julius Thomas caught a short touchdown from Cutler against the Eagles. While Thomas might not see a lot of targets this season, there is potential for him to play a significant role in the red zone.
QB Sam Bradford is locked in as the team’s starting quarterback and is still completing passes at a high rate but the big plays continue to be missing.
RB Dalvin Cook has the confidence of coaching staff and teammates, and even with Latavius Murray back healthy, Cook has the starting running back job locked up.
WR Adam Thielen caught all five of his targets for 50 yards on Sunday night. He looks to be a big part of this offense once again this year. “This year he’s playing a little bit more in the slot,” Sam Bradford said. “So we’re trying to develop that chemistry with some of those routes on the inside, spending a little bit of extra time in OTAs just getting the feel for how he sees things from the slot.”
TE Kyle Rudolph sat out versus the 49ers and is nursing a leg injury. He’s expected to be ready for the season opener.
QB Tom Brady and TE Rob Gronkowski, both uncharacteristically active this preseason, look healthy and locked-in.
RB Mike Gillislee flashed in his return but appears to have lost significant ground over the past two weeks in this ultra-crowded backfield.
WR Julian Edelman’s injury opens big doors for Chris Hogan and Malcolm Mitchell, but Danny Amendola – who compares closely to Edelman – may be the top beneficiary.
QB Drew Brees played his first pre-season game snaps and was efficient, but most of the throws were on short patterns, possibly as they want to keep the offensive game plan vanilla in the pre-season.
RB Adrian Peterson seemed to share the early downs role equally with Mark Ingram but was replaced often by Ingram on obvious passing downs. Alvin Kamara, who had a starring role in last week’s game, did not play at all.
WR Michael Thomas continued his dominant play. He's able to get open at will it seems. Ted Ginn, Jr. showed versatility and speed taking a handoff in the Week 3 game for 24 yards. Brees seems comfortable throwing deep passes to Ginn in practice.
The tight ends have seen a reduced role in the preseason, thus far. Coby Fleener was only targeted late in the first half after Chase Daniel replaced Brees.
QB Eli Manning delivered an uninspired preseason. Although he doesn't seem overly concerned, it looks remarkably similar to the situation last year that led to his finishing outside the Top 15 at the position.
RB Paul Perkins ran well against the Jets, which was a welcome and necessary improvement following a rough few weeks.
WR Brandon Marshall returned to practice this week, and Odell Beckham remains optimistic for a Week One return.
TE Evan Engram has dominated this summer and is calling into question the conventional logic that rookie tight ends have little fantasy relevance.
The kicker battle between Aldrick Rosas and Mike Nugent is too close to call, and both have played so well it seems likely the 'loser' ends up starting for another team.
Coach Bowles named QB Josh McCown the regular season starter on Monday. The team isn’t concerned about McCown’s lack of playing time in recent weeks. “I’m not concerned at all,” Bowles said in relation to McCown’s limited preseason workload. “I wanted to get them [Hackenberg and Petty] some reps. Josh is 37, he’s played in a lot of preseason games. I wanted to see Hack and Petty play against a good defense.”
RBs Matt Forte and Bilal Powel are capable, but there's worry what they'll be able to do behind this offensive line with this passing game.
WR Robby Anderson seems like the hopeful choice to deliver but a ball bouncing off his hands this week returned for a pick six doesn't inspire much confidence. Don't buy into the line of "somebody has to catch the passes".
TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins was unproductive in the Week 3 game.
Quarterback Derek Carr seems ready for the season.
We saw another short glimpse (9 snaps) of RB Marshawn Lynch in the Raider offense and he looked quick and powerful. DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richards have been explosive and are versatile weapons out of the backfield. They are too good not to have significant roles behind Lynch.
WR Amari Cooper continues to impress and caught a 48-yard touchdown against the Cowboys. Cooper looks poised for a breakout season.
TE Jared Cook caught two passes from Carr and is the clear top receiving tight end in Oakland. Lee Smith is a factor on the depth chart, but that’s purely in recognition of his vital role as a sixth offensive lineman.
QB Carson Wentz was laser-sharp in the dress rehearsal completing touchdowns to his two veteran starting receivers before taking a seat midway through the second quarter.
RB LeGarrette Blount started against the Dolphins and was okay, but Wendell Smallwood shared first-team reps and looked much better.
WRs Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith both caught touchdowns from Carson Wentz and appear locked in as starters.
TE Zach Ertz has been, by far, the best offensive player on the Eagles roster this summer.
QB Ben Roethlisberger saw limited action in preseason games but is sharp and seems ready; he’s challenging his pass-catchers in practice with “bad ball” catches as a way to determine who is the most trustworthy in game time.
RB LeVeon Bell hasn’t reported yet but said he would September 1. Roethlisberger raised a few eyebrows questioning if Bell will be in good enough “football shape” to handle his usual extensive workload. Bell also didn’t return text messages from Roethlisberger, leaving the quarterback concerned that Bell will be able to pick up new offensive wrinkles in a short time before Week 1.
WR Antonio Brown returned to game action and looked every bit like himself in limited action. Eli Rogers is clearly ahead of second-round rookie JuJu Smith-Schuster in the battle to be the team’s slot receiver. Smith-Schuster has dealt with multiple injuries already, which has hindered his ability to overtake Rogers, who was effective in the role last season.
TE Vance McDonald was acquired from the 49ers this week. Coach Mike Tomlin did not mince words: "The guys hadn't been consistently varsity enough for our comfort," Tomlin said of his TE rotation through the first three weeks of preseason games. "It's as black and white as that. They've had some moments positively and had some moments negatively. We were in the market for a guy who was NFL capable. McDonald is that."
"We're not going to anoint him in any way. We're going to put him in uniform like the rest of them and continue to allow them to sort themselves out. It's reasonable to expect the guys that are here to respond positively in the right way to his presence and elevate their play."
QB Brian Hoyer and the first-team offense looked crisp and efficient during the dress rehearsal game, and there have been encouraging signs for the offense as a whole throughout camp. C.J. Beathard received the majority of reps behind Hoyer in the game, and he remains locked in battle with Matt Barkley for the backup gig.
RB Carlos Hyde has been impressive throughout camp, and he showed off his pass-catching chops against the Vikings. Rookie Matt Breida has been one of the camp darlings, and there are whispers that he may have vaulted himself into the primary backup conversation.
WR Pierre Garcon looked every bit the part of a WR1 against the Vikings. Marquise Goodwin has been turning heads all preseason, and his burgeoning chemistry with Hoyer resulted in an impressive long strike touchdown in the game. The remainder of the depth chart is still sorting itself out, but Trent Taylor and Aldrick Robinson have been among the stars at camp.
Finally some clarity on the starting tight end gig. Vance McDonald was traded to Pittsburgh which thrusts rookie George Kittle to the top of the depth chart.
Quarterback Russell Wilson looks exceptional right now. His decision-making is excellent, his mobility is as good as ever and he continues to save the bacon of the offensive line on many occasions during a game.
The offensive line lost George Fant last week, but Rees Odhiambo and Matt Tobin both had moments where they looked solid. That said, it’s going to be inconsistent along the line—not that this is anything new. What has been interesting is watching running backs not named Marshawn Lynch create their own success despite the line.
The RB corps appears jumbled. Thomas Rawls and C.J. Prosise missed the Chiefs game with minor injuries, so Eddie Lacy and Chris Carson saw the bulk of the early work again. Lacy’s first carry was an encouraging 11-yard run, but he and Carson were clearly in a time share. Carson has eight carries to Lacy’s four. Lacy still doesn’t look as powerful and aggressive as he was in Green Bay. Thomas Rawls, listed atop the depth chart, returned to practice on Tuesday, and Coach Carroll didn’t rule out his playing a few snaps in the fourth preseason game; usually, something starters don’t do. Prosise also returned to practice this week, but his role remains nebulous.
WR Tyler Lockette did not play in Week 3. He went through pregame warmups but either his leg bothered him or the team just decided to play it safe. We expect him to be ready by Week 1, though as usual, once you go beyond Doug Baldwin and Jimmy Graham the target dispersal is cloudy and hard to rely on.
TE Jimmy Graham didn’t just look good—he looked like a potentially dominant player again.
Buccaneers.com’s Joe Kania says QB Jameis Winston had his best training camp as a Buccaneer.
If you listen to the players, RB Doug Martin has wrapped up the starting job and Jacquizz Rodgers will fill-in until Martin returns from the final three games of his suspension. Charles Sims’ versatility could keep him on the field if the Buccaneers suffer injuries on the depth chart.
WR Mike Evans missed a few practices last week, but it was precautionary. DeSean Jackson has been quiet in recent weeks, but his integration into the offense has been characterized as “seamless.” Chris Godwin could be a surprisingly productive red zone target as a contributor, especially if Adam Humphries recent hip injury proves serious enough to miss time.
Adam Humphries' hip injury may also mean more two-tight end sets and targets to Cameron Brate.
QB Marcus Mariota struggled to stay on target, missing high on quite a few of his passes. He finished 12 of 21 for 193 yards and a touchdown through the air and he rushed twice for 12 yards. Nobody seems worried.
RB DeMarco Murray returned to game action, but the team remained cautious with him. He was pulled in favor of Derrick Henry after six carries for sixteen yards.
WR Corey Davis and Eric Decker returned to practice this week and coach Mike Mularkey is hopeful both will be ready for the Week 1 opener.
TE Delanie Walker showed his ability to move the chains, netting 27 yards on his lone target. Rookie Jonnu Smith did not record a catch against the Bears but remains heavily involved in practice.
QB Kirk Cousins had another disappointing performance in the team's third preseason game, opening questions about whether the team's offseason changes are having an insurmountable impact.
RB Rob Kelley ran well against the Bengals starting defense and has solidified his starting role in spite of early preseason hype surrounding rookie Samaje Perine.
WR Terrelle Pryor has flashed in practices over the summer but looked lost in some preseason game situations.
TE Jordan Reed started against the Bengals and suffered no setbacks. We're not forgetting though - Reed's admission a few weeks ago that he's been dealing with a broken foot still has our Dr. Jene Bramel’s “spidey-sense” going off.
And that's that for this week. Let me know if you found this type of thing useful by shooting an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. And keep up with me on Twitter by clicking the follow button below.