AC In The AM: One Week In, What Do We Know?

The first full week of training is complete. There is a scrimmage Saturday at Hard Rock Stadium and the preseason games begin the following Thursday against Atlanta also at Hard Rock Stadium. What do we know now that we didn’t a week ago? Plenty.

Let’s take a closer look:

  • That Ryan Fitzpatrick has forged ahead of Josh Rosen in their competition for the starting quarterback job. The situation remains fluid. Having an edge in the first couple of weeks of training camp guarantees very little. But it has been evident so far that Fitzpatrick has shown more of an upside. Stay tuned.
  • That Sam Eguavoen is clearly in the mix for significant playing time at linebacker. One of the summer’s pleasant surprises, Equavoen is a former standout in Canada who played at Texas Tech before that. His size has always been an issue – 6-0, 236 – but his productivity this summer has been undeniable.
  • That Bobby McCain sure looks good as the deep centerfielder. One of the big changes this offseason has been the switch of McCain from cornerback to safety. He stands back there play after play, the last line of defense, looking so comfortable. Again, things could change as the preseason continues, but right now the job appears to be his to lose.
Ryan Fitzpatrick has the early edge on Josh Rosen in the QB competition.
Ryan Fitzpatrick has the early edge on Josh Rosen in the QB competition.
  • That Brian Flores means what he says when it comes to timeliness and discipline. Everything has literally run like clockwork over the first week. Example: Flores has never been on time for one of his press conferences. He’s always been early. You see that same emphasis on punctuality in each practice, the horn blowing and the players racing to their next assignment.
  • That Flores already has a good feel for the abilities of each of his players. Now he’s waiting to see what happens in preseason games. “When the lights go on and we start to play games, some guys are just gamers,” he said. “The evaluation up to this point, I know what I see.”
  • That running back Kalen Ballage has emerged as one of the promising stories of training camp, the hesitation as a rookie replaced by a full throttle approach. Ballage may not beat out Kenyan Drake for the starting job, but he’s going to have an important role in this offense.
  • That Albert Wilson is getting closer and closer to full return, now alternating days of practice. He looks good. Says he feels good. All very promising. But until he takes the next step, absorbing hits in full team drills, we won’t know for sure where he is in his rehabilitation.
  • That you don’t want to overlook Nick O’Leary at tight end. He has been perhaps the most consistent of the tight ends both from a catching and blocking standpoint. O’Leary was a favorite of the last coaching staff and appears to have a similar standing with the new one. We may also see him lined up some at H-back.
Tight end Nick O'Leary has been the most consistent option at the position so far.
Tight end Nick O'Leary has been the most consistent option at the position so far.
  • That the tight end position in general just got a whole lot deeper with the return of Dwayne Allen off the physically unable to perform list.
  • That free agent defensive end Tank Carradine has been perhaps the most impressive of the defensive ends through the first week.
  • That 315-pound defensive lineman Christian Wilkins is going to be in the offensive backfield in some goal line situations. And pity the poor defender that has to get in his way. Wilkins is so quick, strong and smart he could wear many hats on this team.
  • That DeVante Parker is having another one of those strong training camps, the kind we have seen before when he has managed to stay healthy. There should be cautious optimism with Parker until he can show an ability to stay on the field for long stretches. Right now, though, the arrow is once again pointing up.
  • That the offensive line in general is still a work in progress after the dismissal of offensive line coach Pat Flaherty and the promotion of analyst Dave DeGuglielmo. I would expect to see a likely starting five working together within the next week or so in order to build some stability heading into the regular season. For now, though, there is still a wide-open feel to this line.
Tank Carradine has been the most impressive defensive end in the early going of Training Camp.
Tank Carradine has been the most impressive defensive end in the early going of Training Camp.
  • That rookie fullback Chandler Cox is one tough hombre to bring down.
  • That Jakeem Grant is just about 100 percent. If the heal injury from a season ago has caused him to lose a step, it’s a very small step indeed. He can still flat out fly.
  • That second-year linebacker Jerome Baker has a real chance to be a three down player on this defense.
  • That T.J. McDonald is going to try and cause major disruption close to the line of scrimmage, a byproduct of having McCain in the deepest part of the field.
  • That Xavien Howard continues to be Xavien Howard, which means awfully good.
  • And finally, that if we’ve learned this much in just one week, think of what we might learn in Week 2.

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