The Pro Football Network Training Camp Tour is in full swing, and the northeast leg of the journey has led to some notable observations on a handful of young quarterbacks. Through this writer’s travels, PFN has been able to take stock of the QBs for the Baltimore Ravens, Washington Commanders, Philadelphia Eagles, New York Jets, and New York Giants.
With those five stops in the books, here are some thoughts on each of the five QBs.
Lamar Jackson looks ready to prove doubters wrong
Of the five starting QBs on the tour, Jackson was the most impressive performer. While national pundits and anonymous sources have doubted his passing ability, Jackson’s performance on the first day of training camp (Wednesday, July 27) was a masterclass in deep-ball efficiency. Jackson looked accurate throwing the ball down the field in individual drills, and he made a few stellar throws in team drills as well.
Jackson looks noticeably more muscular and showed off his new physique by rolling up his sleeves during the workout. Despite having open contract negotiations, Jackson looked zoned-in during practice, and his chemistry with Devin Duvernay is worth monitoring from both fantasy and reality purposes.
While the jury is out on potential No. 1 wideout Rashod Bateman, the receiver and Jackson showed off some chemistry on Day 1. Jackson is well-equipped to prove his doubters wrong, especially if his chemistry continues to build with Bateman and Duvernay.
Oh, and the Ravens need to pay Jackson as soon as possible.
Carson Wentz needs to find his footing in Washington
As a former beat writer who covered Wentz for three years in Philadelphia, I wasn’t expecting the QB to light up practice on Day 2 of Commanders camp. Wentz wasn’t a stellar practice player while I covered him — following his knee surgery during the 2017 season — so it was unsurprising to see him struggle mightily in Ashburn, Va. last Thursday (July 28).
While the Commanders’ QBs were relatively efficient during individual work with their receivers and tight ends, they were a collective mess in team drills.
Wentz had a trio of throws to nowhere during 11-on-11 work. He also missed a few receivers high during competitive reps. To be fair to Wentz, the Washington defense was sensational during the day of work, and there were quite a few pass breakups.
It’s important to note that during the first week of camp, the defense will typically outperform the offense. That trope was proven correct for the Commanders, Eagles, and Jets last week, so this wasn’t completely a Wentz issue.
Wentz is learning his third new offense in as many years, and while Terry McLaurin and Jahan Dotson are probably the best wideout duo he’s had during his career, it’ll still take time to find chemistry.
In a positive sign, Wentz battled back from his early blunders and made an epic 30-yard strike down the field to Dotson, which looked absolutely effortless. In Philly, Wentz had a habit of struggling for a chunk of practice before making a throw that maybe eight to 10 QBs can make in the NFL. And that’s the allure of Wentz.
He’s incredibly gifted physically, but the question — at least since 2018 — has been “Can he put it all together mentally?” Head coach Ron Rivera believes Wentz is processing the offense well. The issue for Wentz will be putting his “hero ball” tendencies in check when the game is on the line.
Again, Wentz isn’t a top-tier practice performer, and he has plenty of time to find his groove with his intriguing weapons.
Accuracy still a concern for Jalen Hurts and Zach Wilson
PFN visited the Eagles on Friday (July 29) and the Jets on Saturday (July 30).
While Wilson has a much more talented arm than Hurts, both continued to struggle with accuracy and efficiency during our trips. Both quarterbacks went through stretches of off-the-mark throws on uneven days.
Hurts and the Eagles’ offense felt listless overall on Friday. Hurts got rid of the ball late on a few throws, and his weapons didn’t bail him out. The third-year QB looked accurate, especially down the field, during our visit to Eagles OTAs earlier in the summer, but Friday’s performance left a lot to be desired.
Hurts underthrew a few balls, including one that was matched with a poor decision, which led to a pick by nickel corner Avonte Maddox. Hurts just didn’t seem to find his groove throughout the day. Again, as we mentioned with Wentz, this is a common issue early in camp for offensive players, mainly because they are asked to do several new things, while the defense is simply reacting within their scheme.
Hurts has constantly faced questions about his arm strength and accuracy. Both issues seemingly stem from his throwing motion, which was worked on during the summer. Hurts has always come off as a “gamer,” so it’ll be interesting to see how he performs when the pads come on this week.
Wilson’s accuracy was all over the place during our Saturday visit. Wilson looks bigger and his confidence in the pocket has seemingly improved, as has his vision. He also looked more accurate throwing to the flat than he did last season, but his wide-range accuracy still looked inconsistent.
Wilson is obviously only in his second camp, and he’s playing with A LOT of rookies and second-year players, so everyone is experiencing growing pains on offense. Wilson and his weapons have plenty of time to grow together this summer.
While he did have some poor throws and was picked off while staring down Elijah Moore in the end zone during red-zone drills, Wilson’s body language, improved physique, and more efficient short-yardage output are positive signs, even if in a limited viewing.
While it’s easy to look at the negatives of a young QB in camp, it’s important to note the intangible growth of Wilson and Hurts, respectively.
Wilson seems more comfortable within the Jets offense, while Hurts seems to have improved chemistry with tight end Dallas Goedert and wideouts Quez Watkins and DeVonta Smith. Both Wilson and Hurts are also going to need time to get used to new top weapons, Garrett Wilson and A.J. Brown, respectively. Those field relationships can be developed throughout the summer.
There’s no need to panic on Wilson or Hurts at this point.
Daniel Jones and Kenny Golladay need to find each other
The most glaring takeaway from Monday’s Giants practice was the lack of chemistry between Jones and wideout Kenny Golladay. The pair struggled to create big plays during their first season together, and on Monday, they failed to connect on two would-be big plays as well.
Golladay struggled with drops during the first week of camp, and Jones had issues connecting with his other weapons during the first fully padded practice. This isn’t just a Jones-Golladay problem, but after a year, there clearly isn’t a connection there.
Golladay was paid and billed like a No. 1 wideout last offseason, but he managed just 521 scoreless yards last season in 14 games. Golladay and Jones are both facing a make-or-break year under new management. They need each other to succeed, or they’ll both be elsewhere next season.
There’s plenty of training camp left to find a groove, but Jones and Golladay need to connect soon or risk the consequences of another shared disappointing season.
Another notable takeaway was Jones’ lack of deep-ball attempts. Jones has an impressive arm and hasn’t tested the secondary deep all camp. That could be the result of a directive from head coach Brian Daboll, but even then, the strategy would be confusing.
Jones is still an enigma after three seasons. Here’s hoping that Year 4 provides some definitive answers on his NFL future.