Deadspin carefully considers the complete overreactions coming from NFL training camps

Deadspin carefully considers the complete overreactions coming from NFL training camps

Join us as we tease out the best and worst of the hot takes

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Joe Burrow is either in big trouble or doing just fine, depending on who ya ask.
Joe Burrow is either in big trouble or doing just fine, depending on who ya ask.
Image: Getty Images

NFL training camps have been underway for a few days now. But in just that small amount of time, numerous stories revolving around potential breakout players, big team brawls, and plexiglass, have emerged. While these stories may hold some merit down the line, it’s important to remember that we’re less than a month in. That being said, it can still be fun to make wild assumptions based on just a few training camp clips and quotes from local beat reporters.

So, here are some wild overreactions I’ve been seeing from around the league.

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‘Trey Lance is an unstoppable mix of Aaron Rodgers and Michael Vick’

‘Trey Lance is an unstoppable mix of Aaron Rodgers and Michael Vick’

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The 49ers made a bold statement trading away three first-round picks to move up to the No. 3 spot in order to draft Trey Lance. Lance was the most unproven quarterback prospect in a class full of great quarterback prospects. However, through his first few weeks wearing the red and gold, Lance has shined. He’s been absolutely remarkable, I mean… just, wow:

I am ecstatic to see this young man in action. He looks *kisses fingers* magnifique! He’s absolutely dominating Jimmy Garoppolo when given first-team reps, and has been extremely effective through the air as well as on the ground. I’m sold. He’s ready to take over the 49ers offense Week 1 and he’s going to put up prime Cam Newton numbers right away.

OK, now let’s bring that down a level. Lance is still very green when it comes to high-level football. Does he have the tools to be a phenomenal player? Oh yeah. He was well-regarded as one of the smartest quarterbacks of the 2021 class and is most likely the fastest too. That’s a really good combo, but building so much hype around a player this early can only lead to disappointment.

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‘Bryan Edwards is turning into Terrell Owens/Randy Moss’

‘Bryan Edwards is turning into Terrell Owens/Randy Moss’

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The Las Vegas Raiders lost their second-biggest receiving threat from the 2020 season when Nelson Agholor decided to sign with the New England Patriots. With his departure, there are 82 targets and eight touchdowns up for grabs in the Raiders receiver corps. Many people suspected newly-signed John Brown would take on most of that target share. However, it hasn’t been Brown turning heads in training camp, it’s been sophomore Bryan Edwards. Even Raiders’ head coach Jon Gruden said Edwards is reminding him of Hall of Fame receiver Terrell Owens.

Come on! There are very few receivers in the league today I’d compare to Terrell Owens, but hey, I’m not a coach, what do I know? Edwards has blown spectators away at Vegas practices and with Gruden’s comparison to TO, the expectations are going through the roof. Raiders’ fans have managed to temper those expectations though (which is good), and don’t seem to be putting too much hope into the Edwards basket.

Could Edwards be great? Maybe. I’m skeptical of him making that kind of leap in one season, but nothing is impossible. Is he the second coming of TO… probably not. I love the hype. I love looking at potential breakout candidates, but Terrell Owens? That’s too much for anyone to live up to.

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‘Joe Burrow is doomed to spend his entire career on the IL’

‘Joe Burrow is doomed to spend his entire career on the IL’

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Don’t get me wrong. I whole-heartedly believe the Bengals should’ve selected Penei Sewell. I’ve always been a fan of great offensive lines, and I believe the Bengals’ receiving corps was already strong enough without Chase. Fast-forward to Bengals training camp, and what’s the first story I see:

Much of the blame for these offensive struggles is being pinned on the offensive line. Burrow is constantly getting pressured and that’s leading to forced throws and poor timing. However, it’s very normal for offensive lines to be a step behind the D-line at the start of training camp.

Not to mention, the Bengals hired their old offensive line coach, Frank Pollack, and it may take some time for the team to adjust to his system. Burrow returns to the team alongside left tackle Jonah Williams, who also missed several games during the 2020 season, and newly-acquired Riley Reiff. Throw in the facts that Quinton Spain is expected to improve and second-round selection Jackson Carman seems ready to replace Michael Jordan at the left guard position, and you’ve got yourself a much-improved O-line from what Burrow had last season. Is it as good as it can be? No. Should the Bengals still look to improve at those positions? Absolutely, but it’s by no means an awful offensive line. The team’s current starting five up front seem more than capable of keeping Burrow off the IR this season.

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‘The fightin’ Giants are bound to implode’

‘The fightin’ Giants are bound to implode’

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Yeah, the fight doesn’t look very good. But there have been several instances of teams having huge brawls in training camp only to succeed in the regular season. The 2019 Green Bay Packers had a fight break out prior the season. They went 13-3 and reached the NFC Championship Game. The 2018 Dallas Cowboys watched La’el Collins and Taco Charlton get into a major fight during training camp, and then went on to go 10-6 and win their division.

Not everybody on every team is going to like each other. Obviously, the fight isn’t a good thing, but it doesn’t mean this season is a wash for Giants fans. The NFC East is still widely considered the weakest division in football. While the Cowboys and Football Team definitely improved during the offseason, don’t think for a second the Giants are out of the running. Head coach Joe Judge has even stated that there is no bad blood left over from Tuesday’s brawl.

There has been tons of good news coming from Giants’ training camp too: first-round selection Kadarius Toney has shown a remarkable willingness to learn, Sterling Shepard has impressed, and the relationship between Daniel Jones and Jason Garrett seems great. Fights in practice happen. As long as what Judge said about the team afterwards is true, the Giants should have no trouble getting back on track.

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‘Terrace Marshall Jr. gives the Panthers the best WR trio in the NFL’

‘Terrace Marshall Jr. gives the Panthers the best WR trio in the NFL’

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Until I see otherwise, Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and Antonio Brown are the best WR trio in the NFL. Cooper, Lamb, and Gallup are close behind. Chase, Higgins, and Boyd have a chance to take that top spot by the end of the season. There are three wide receiver corps I have ahead of the Panthers currently. No disrespect to Moore, Anderson, and Marshall, I think they’re all great, but putting them at the top of the league seems a bit rushed. Terrace Marshall Jr. has incredible ball skills and can highpoint 50-50 throws extremely well from the footage I’ve seen. That being said, he’s still unproven and there’s a reason nine receivers were selected before him.

Like I said, I’m not saying Marshall is bad. I’m only saying that hyping him up to the point of claiming the Panthers have the best trio in the NFL is not warranted yet. The Panthers offense is sure to be terrifying this season, and I unironically have the Panthers as a fringe playoff team in 2021. But they don’t even have the best trio in their division, let alone the NFL.

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