NFL News & Analysis

July 28 Training Camp Notes: Marcus Mariota to start in Atlanta, Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Ryan Jensen carted off with a knee injury and more

Flowery Branch, GA, USA; Atlanta Falcons quarterback Marcus Mariota (1) passes the football during training camp at IBM Performance Field. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Kansas City Chiefs sign veteran edge rusher Carlos Dunlap

  • It’s a one-year deal worth up to $8 million for Dunlap in Kansas City.
  • The two-time Pro Bowler was efficient in a rotational role for Seattle last season with a 72.1 overall defensive grade and a 15.3% pass-rush win rate. He finished the year with 8.5 sacks and needs just four more to reach 100 in his career.
  • The Chiefs lost Melvin Ingram II in free agency, and so Dunlap figures to take over his role.
  • Kansas City also used a first-round pick on Purdue pass-rusher George Karlaftis in April’s draft.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers center Ryan Jensen carted off with knee injury

  • The severity is unclear at this point, but the tone from the organization is cause for real concern.“Right now, we feel terrible for Jensen,” general manager Jason Licht said after practice. “We won’t know for some time. We have some tests you have to wait a couple of days before you can get them. You have to wait for swelling and things like that to go down.”
  • The 31-year-old is coming off his first Pro Bowl selection and re-signed with Tampa on a three-year, $39 million deal earlier this offseason.
  • Jensen has been with Tampa Bay since 2018 and has not missed a single start during that time. His 4,518 snaps are the most of any center during that span.
  • He earned a 69.9 PFF grade last season and has posted 70.0-plus run-blocking grades in four of the past five seasons.
  • The Bucs already lost guards Alex Cappa (free agency) and Ali Marpet (retirement) this offseason.
  • Robert Hainsey, a third-round pick in 2021, would be the next man up if Jensen misses significant time. Former Browns center J.C. Tretter is currently PFF's highest-rated available center on the open market.

New York Jets sign linebacker Kwon Alexander to one-year deal

  • Alexander took a visit with the Jets back in April and now finally signs, reuniting with Robert Saleh from his San Francisco days.
  • Saleh was the 49ers' defensive coordinator when Alexander was on the team in 2019 and for part of 2020.
  • He spent the past year and a half with the Saints and tallied 50 tackles, 3.5 sacks, an interception, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery in 12 games last year. He earned a 53.9 overall grade and a 67.6 coverage grade.

Atlanta Falcons not planning to have QB competition — Marcus Mariota is the starter

  • “Obviously, we've got a plan for each of them. Marcus is the starter,” quarterbacks coach Charles London said. “That's how we're going into this thing.”
  • Atlanta used a third-round pick on Cincinnati quarterback Desmond Ridder, but he’s exclusively been taking second-team reps.
  • Meanwhile, Mariota has not started a game since 2019. The former No. 2 overall pick spent the past two seasons with the Raiders but saw meaningful action in just one game — Week 15 of 2020 — although the results were quite good (82.1 PFF grade).
  • Mariota’s five-year tenure with the Titans was defined by inconsistent play, including 83 big-time throws to 82 turnover-worthy plays and zero season passing grades above 75.0.

Detroit Lions CB Jeffrey Okudah fully cleared for training camp

  • “He's good to go,” head coach Dan Campbell said. “He's committed. He's in a good place right now. For the most part, we're not putting any restrictions on him.”
  • Okudah, the third overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, tore his Achilles in Week 1 of last season and also missed seven games as a rookie with hamstring, shoulder and core muscle injuries.
  • His time in the NFL has been a struggle so far. His 42.5 PFF overall grade as a rookie ranked 125th of 136 qualifying cornerbacks.
  • But Okudah is “standing out” at camp, according to Nick Baumgardner and Colton Pouncy of The Athletic. “He’s built up top and down low. He was moving with fluidity. His length still looks different up close. All the good stuff that made him a top pick.”

New England Patriots extend DI Davon Godchaux on a 2-year deal

  • It’s a two-year, $20.8 million extension that includes $17.85 million fully guaranteed.
  • Godchaux left Miami after four seasons to sign a two-year deal with the Patriots last offseason. This new extension now puts him under contract through 2024.
  • He appeared in all 17 games last season and had a very strong end to the year, as his 84.7 run-defense grade over the final eight weeks was the best among all interior defensive linemen.
  • Lawrence Guy and former second-rounder Christian Barmore round out a very strong interior for New England.
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