Around The NFL Writer
Joint practices between the Panthers and Patriots have not gone smoothly this week.
Fights have peppered both sessions, with multiple players being ejected the past two days. On Wednesday, the conflict sprang up once more when Panthers safety Kenny Robinson flattened Patriots returner Kristian Wilkerson in what was supposed to be a “thud” (not full contact) drill. Robinson stood over Wilkerson, who was in visible distress, NFL Network’s Mike Giardi reported, sparking a fracas.
That wasn’t the last of it. Another scuffle broke out when Christian McCaffrey — the Panthers’ star running back who has missed most of the last two seasons due to injury — was knocked down and visibly angered, enough to engage what was essentially the entire Patriots defense. During that fracas, a fan was clipped by a helmet. She was later deemed to be OK and received free tickets to an upcoming game, per Giardi.
Each time a scuffle breaks out, practice is interrupted, robbing the teams of valuable time to improve through competition.
Robinson was kicked out of Wednesday’s practice, his second straight ejection in as many days, and running back Chuba Hubbard was also tossed.
Panthers coach Matt Rhule is entering a pivotal third season and knows his team can’t afford to waste time, so he was understandably upset about the nearly half-dozen nonsensical fights that have broken out over the last two days.
“It’s just unfortunate that a day of so much good football — and I know a lot of it will be about what happened — the decision of one or two guys impacts a lot of different people,” Rhule said. “No. 1: My thoughts are with the woman that was hurt over there, hoping that she’s OK. … And obviously we sent Kenny [Robinson] off the field.
“I didn’t really see the hit, but I did see him standing over the player. That’s not how we want to practice. Things happen in football, there were some good, clean hits. But we don’t stand over somebody and taunt them. It can affect their livelihood, so we sent him off. The officials sent Chuba off, I don’t know what Chuba did, but the officials sent Chuba off, said he threw a punch.”
News of Tuesday’s collection of fights seemed to indicate there was more fighting than practicing. When Wednesday’s practice began and more fights followed, it started to feel as if the entire exercise was a lost cause.
Rhule’s comments appear to reject that belief. Still, ask anyone on either side and they’ll respond with two facts: scuffles are part of camp and they don’t help anyone.
“It’s definitely something we don’t want,” Patriots corner Jalen Mills said, via the Boston Herald’s Andrew Callahan. “It’s not competitive football.”
They might also cost Robinson his job. Rhule didn’t rule out cutting the safety after the two fights.
“Two days now that practice was affected by a guy,” Rhule said. “We’ll have to talk about it.”
The two sides face off this Friday in preseason action. We’ll see if they’ve worked out their differences by then.
New York’s signing of free agent Duane Brown means George Fant will be kicked back to his former right tackle spot. If Fant is concerned with the potential financial ramifications of the move, he’s not saying.
Rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett will be QB2 in Saturday’s preseason game versus the Jaguars, a small promotion for the No. 20 overall pick as the team continues to evaluate all three of its quarterback options.
Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson on Thursday maintained his innocence and said that he “never assaulted anyone” during a news conference on Thursday following the announcement that he would be suspended the first 11 games of the 2022 NFL season and fined $5 million for violating the league’s personal-conduct policy.
When Tom Brady took leave a week ago, the Bucs said the QB planned to return following the team’s preseason game against the Titans. With that tilt slated for Saturday, coach Todd Bowles didn’t provide a firm timeline on when TB12 would indeed report back for action.
Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson has been suspended for 11 games during the 2022 NFL season and fined $5 million for violating the NFL’s personal-conduct policy per the terms of a settlement reached between the league and the NFL Players Association, the league announced on Thursday.
Even after franchise quarterbacks Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck have walked out the Colts’ door, team owner Jim Irsay’s optimism for building another Super Bowl-winning roster hasn’t waned.
James Robinson took part in team sessions during Jaguars practice this week, keeping him on target to return in Week 1 against Washington after suffering an Achilles injury in December.
Now with the Cardinals, Marquise Brown said Wednesday that he didn’t have a personal issue with anyone in Baltimore but just wanted to play in a different offense.
The hype surrounding Chiefs seventh-round running back Isiah Pacheco continues to build as we get closer to the regular season. On Wednesday, offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy continued to coo about the young runner’s ability.
D’Andre Swift knows only three men before him have generated 1,000 yards rushing and 1,000 yards receiving in a single season. Despite the rarity of the feat, the Lions RB believes he can hit those marks in 2022.
Broncos running backs Melvin Gordon and Javonte Williams split carries evenly last season, but Gordon admitted on Wednesday that Denver might want Williams to be “the guy” in 2022.
A day after getting plenty of air time on “Hard Knocks,” rookie LB Malcolm Rodriguez got starting reps at Lions practice on Wednesday.
You won’t want to miss a moment of the 2022 season!
NFL+ gives you the freedom to watch LIVE out-of-market preseason games, LIVE local and primetime regular season and postseason games on your phone or tablet, the best NFL programming on-demand, and MORE!
© 2022 NFL Enterprises LLC. NFL and the NFL shield design are registered trademarks of the National Football League.The team names, logos and uniform designs are registered trademarks of the teams indicated. All other NFL-related trademarks are trademarks of the National Football League. NFL footage © NFL Productions LLC.
Panthers, Patriots frustrated by fights derailing joint practices for second straight day – NFL.com
Around The NFL Writer