Football is back! We've got you covered from July 24 through August 5 with NFL Network's "Inside Training Camp Live" providing 12 hours of live coverage each day beginning at 10 a.m. ET. Every day we'll feature highlights from the show and our reporters in the field. Here's today's batch:
» NFL Media's LaDainian Tomlinson returned to his old stomping grounds on Monday, attending San Diego Chargers training camp. He spoke with running back Ryan Mathews on ITC Live, who replaced L.T. as San Diego's feature back. Awkward much? No, it was all good. When asked if he could call his own play, Mathews didn't hesitate to note his favorite.
"I'm going power," he asserted. "I'm going power." He elaborated:
"It's a downhill play, it's a physical play and it's really the heart of our running game. And at first I want to be patient, just to let my guard get around. But, you know, you want to hit as fast as you can, and really the power can hit anywhere."
Be on the lookout for a plethora of power plays this fall. If there are, we can draw one conclusion: Mathews has stolen offensive coordinator Frank Reich's headset.
» Tomlinson also caught up with his old quarterback Philip Rivers. With a new offensive coordinator -- the aforementioned Reich -- Rivers thinks he'll have some input in the play-calling.
"Yeah, I think so," he told his former tailback. "But I like how we do it, it's a collected effort. It's not Frank's play or Nick (Sirianni)'s play or my play, it's our plays. So when we come up with ideas and things we make them work and see if they fit our personnel."
Meanwhile, Mathews is (probably) cutting deals behind the scenes so they all "choose" to dial up power as much as possible.
» Will Bridgewater be a rookie starting under center in Week 1? The battle between Bridgewater, Matt Cassel and Christian Ponder is one of the most legitimate in the league, and with good reason -- NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport talked with offensive coordinator Norv Turner, who said that all three have split reps evenly thus far. A winnowing is imminent, though: the group will be narrowed down to two after the team's off day.
» Bridgewater is off to a good start. The rookie out of Louisville accounted for two touchdowns during a team scrimmage.
» NFL Media's Brian Baldinger believes that nobody utilizes the running back position better than Vikings offensive coordinator Norv Turner. If he's right, expect Adrian Peterson to have a big year in Minnesota. Yes, even for A.P.'s standards.
» As pads collided out in East Rutherford, New Jersey, one helmet flew in New York Giants camp. After a play, fullback Henry Hynoski had his helmet ripped off by linebacker Jacquian Williams. A cause for concern for head coach Tom Coughlin? Not according to NFL Media's Bob Papa, who, on ITC Live, detailed Hynoski's competitive nature as he fights for a roster spot against fellow fullback, "The Terminator" John Conner.
Side note: John Connor wasn't even the Terminator in "The Terminator." He was its target. Glad that's cleared up.
» A few teams put the pads on today -- most notably, the Browns. But the two players everyone has an eye on -- veteran quarterback Brian Hoyer and rookie Johnny Manziel -- literally cannot be touched. However, full pads mean one thing for Manziel: the question of his height is really put to the test. NFL Media's Mike Tannenbaum offered this analysis: "Now there's gonna be that muschk in front of him as he takes his drop-backs. ... So the game becomes more realistic when everyone puts on the pads." Jury's currently out on if Tannenbaum invented the onamonapiatic muschk.
» In a one-on-one with NFL Media's Brian Baldinger, Browns coach Mike Pettine said that while Manziel shows moments of promise, he's still a rookie trying to figure things out. "He's flashed that escapability that he's shown before," Pettine said. But a touchdown pass was tempered by the fact that Johnny Football "turned a bad play into a worse one," Pettine said, "that's something that he's got to learn to avoid."
» Pettine has said that Manziel's biggest opponent isn't Hoyer but rather the playbook. Wide receiver Andrew Hawkins echoed the idea that Manziel's biggest obstacle is his rookie status, telling NFL Media's Aditi Kinkhabwala, "I don't care what the job is, you can tell the difference between a 28-year old and a 21-year old."
» The Browns have a giant question mark surrounding their receiving corps as Josh Gordon awaits his appeals hearing, which is scheduled to take place Friday. But with Joe Haden around, wideouts looking to step up might not get too many opportunities to shine:
» Per Kinkhabwala, it looks like Pettine has a busy night ahead of him:
Mike Pettine's dad was here at practice. The Browns' HC said he's sure his dad will leave at least a page of notes on his desk tonightâ Aditi Kinkhabwala (@AKinkhabwala) July 28, 2014
» In "Is this really an injury?" news, Panthers rookie wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin did not practice Monday on account of undergoing a "precautionary MRI" after banging knees with another player the day previous. Later in the day, head coach Ron Rivera announced that Benjamin bruised his bone and that "there is nothing structurally wrong." Rivera expects Benjamin back in the lineup as soon as the swelling goes down.
» The Buffalo Bills obviously expect No. 4 overall draft pick Sammy Watkins to make an immediate impact at wide receiver. Quarterback EJ Manuel has been heaping praise upon the rookie, and he's not the only one. NFL Media's own Jeff Darlington is simply the latest to fall under Watkins' spell. With tidings such as these, Week 1 can't come soon enough.
» Later, Gruden addressed his penchant for physical practices: "We might see them in full pads again, but I doubt we'll do any live drills. I don't mind going full pads, getting used to the full pads, but as far as going live and bringing people to the ground with the physical mentality, we probably won't do that very often." The statement harkens Barry Cofield's belief that, at the end of the day, "Coach takes care of us."
» More from the Redskins: Brian Orakpo brought down Robert Griffin III in this morning's session. But RGIII recovered pretty quickly, hitting DeSean Jackson for 30 yards on the very next play. Looks like the signal-caller has definitely been working on adjusting to DJax's speed.
» It's only a few days in, but the Giants have officially won training camp if we're judging by celebrity guest appearances:
» And now, for some lighter fare: Today Albert Breer is reporting out of Philadelphia, which looks postcard-perfect:
» Denver Broncos wideout Emmanuel Sanders made some waves with his comments on Monday, as he said Peyton Manning was a better leader than Ben Roethlisberger, his previous signal-caller. On ITC Live, NFL Media's Warren Sapp and Judy Battista weighed in.
Sapp: "These new school kids want their 15 minutes, and they want the world to look at him and their new quarterback, and thatâs just what it is now. Itâs an instinct, me-now situation."
Battista, with a much simpler explanation: "He wants to be (Manning's) primary target -- good for Emmanuel Sanders."
» But don't expect Big Ben to be troubled too much -- Sapp said on Training Camp Primetime that Roethlisberger is feeling great, even turning to a nutritionist to be "in the best shape of his life." Work it, Ben.
» On his annual cross-country tour, Rapoport visited four different training camps in four days -- and it looks like he took copious notes. Check out Rapoport's insights throughout his trip.
» Need a refresher on where each team is reporting for camp? Look no further.