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Eleven teams are scheduled to open their mandatory three-day minicamps this week, and 18 more will follow next week. The Miami Dolphins held their camp last week, while the Philadelphia Eagles and Cincinnati Bengals are not holding a minicamp this year.
The teams have already undergone organized team activities, but this is the first time many veterans will take the field since the end of last season – including Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady, who retired and did not retire in 40 days. It also includes some players who joined new teams in a whirlwind of an offseason. Who shows up will also be something to keep an eye on, as a few players can persevere during ongoing contract negotiations.
What do you need to know about this week’s activities? We asked our NFL Nation reporters to preview this week’s minicamps and tell us the biggest they see.
DET | United Kingdom | IND | LAR | MF | MINE
NE | NYG | PIT | BE | TB
It will be interesting to see how quarterback Jared Goff is able to blend in Year 2 with his offensive weapons. Lions added former Jacksonville Jaguars receiver DJ Chark, plus Goff has second-year receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown, tight-end TJ Hockenson and dual-threat running back D’Andre Swift as strong options. Detroit’s front office showed its confidence in Goff by passing a quarterback on the draft despite his 33 overall QBR and going 3-13-1 in 2021. Goff will try to prove himself early. –Eric Woodyard
How will quarterback Aaron Rodgers connect with his new receivers? Assuming Rodgers points to the camp – he said earlier that he planned it – and attends, it will give him the best chance to date to work a lot with Christian Watson in the second round, Romeo Doubs from the fourth round and Samori from seventh round. Toure. Gone are Rodgers’ favorite goal, Davante Adams, and his best deep threat in Marquez Valdes-Scantling. Watson said shortly after the draft that Rodgers called to congratulate him, saying, “He wanted to make sure I knew he was looking out, and that when he stepped into the building, it was time to work.” – Rob Demovsky
Veteran quarterback Matt Ryan is the focal point of the Colts minicamp as he stands in line to become their sixth different Week 1 starter since 2017. He takes over an offensive that lost his starting right guard (Mark Glowinski) and left tackle (Eric Fisher ) and does not currently have a trusted recipient TY Hilton (free agent) to work with. What Ryan has to his advantage is last season’s NFL leader Jonathan Taylor (1,811 yards). The defense underwent something of an overhaul during the season and Gus Bradley is the new coordinator. The Colts also bought cornerback Stephon Gilmore and defensive end Yannick Ngakoue to join teammates Darius Leonard, DeForest Buckner and Kwity Paye on a unit that will face the intimidating AFC West and New England this season. –Mike Wells
Will quarterback Matthew Stafford throw during the minicamp? The Super Bowl-winning quarterback told reporters last month that he did not know if he would throw passes at the minicamp or wait for training camp after receiving an injection in his right elbow out of season. While Stafford has many familiar faces among his pass-catchers – and plenty of chemistry there – Rams wide receiver Allen Robinson II added this offseason. –Sarah Barshop
The Derek Carr-Davante Adams connection is worth seeing. The two lighted Mountain West Conference scoreboards with Fresno State in 2013, and after Adams was acquired this offseason in a huge success from the Packers, the reunion is underway. The installation of coach Josh McDaniels’ attack will be in his infancy, but it will be crucial to see how far the renewed chemistry is between Carr and Adams. – Paul Gutierrez
Everyone wants to see how the Vikings will deploy tight-end Irv Smith Jr., but he is not expected to be approved for full training as he rehabilitates a right knee injury. Another element to see is how the Vikings use their three talented security features: veteran Harrison Smith, sophomore Camryn Bynum and rookie Lewis Cine. Coaches have suggested that all three could be on the field together. Is it possible, and if so, under what circumstances? – Kevin Seifer
Who seems to be leading the offensive coaching team? Joe Judge works with quarterbacks and Matt Patricia is with offensive line, but playcaller is TBD. That could ultimately be a factor in what type of spring quarterback Mac Jones makes in his second season. One defensive story: Who joins the linebacker now that Dont’a Hightower and Jamie Collins are no longer on the team? –Mike Reiss
It will be interesting to see an expanded look at the development of the Giants’ attacks under coach Brian Daboll and offensive coordinator Mike Kafka. The hope is that the pair will help give quarterback Daniel Jones a chance. A bunch of his weapons (wide receivers Sterling Shepard, Kenny Golladay and Kadarius Toney) are not expected to attend due to injuries, but Jones still has running back Saquon Barkley, second round receiver Wan’Dale Robinson and veteran receiver Darius Slayton with that occupation. That should be enough to see if he makes progress with last season’s 31st-ranked attack. –Jordan Raanan
What other than quarterbacks? This fight has just begun. Mitch Trubisky took first-team reps through OTAs, followed by Mason Rudolph with the second unit and this year’s first-round pick Kenny Pickett with the third. However, it’s a marathon, not a sprint, and the Steelers will put all three in game-like simulations during high season to determine their next starting quarterback. –Brooke Pryor
The quarterback competition between Geno Smith and Drew Lock will start to become more real with the offseason program moving past the volunteer phase. But the two quarterbacks struggling to replace Russell Wilson may still not throw to DK Metcalf in the near future. The star receiver is recovering from foot surgery and is awaiting a new contract, so it remains to be seen how much – if anything – he will do during the minicamp. – Brady Henderson
Is quarterback Tom Brady “all in” for 2022? In an interview with TNT during a star-studded golf event called “The Match,” Brady talked about his commitment to football, his family, and outside interests. “You know, at this point, it’s like 55% yes and 45% no. It’s not 100-0. It’s just the reality,” Brady said. “It’s not that I’m not 100% committed, it’s just as soon as I commit to doing it, it’s like ‘Ugh. Okay, here we go’.” Brady added that when he took the election, he was “100% committed.” But what type of Brady will we see in camp?