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'ITC Live' whispers: Geno Smith's injury dominates talking points

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NFL Network's "Inside Training Camp Live" show was on the field today at St. Norbert College in De Pere, Wisconsin, with Rhett Lewis and Ahman Green, but our reporters have been focused all day on breaking news out of New York. Here are today's Camp Whispers:

» Today's big story: Jets QB Geno Smith is out six to 10 weeks with a broken jaw after teammate Ikemefuna Enemkpali "sucker punched" him this morning in the locker room, according to coach Todd Bowles: "It was something very childish. He got coldcocked, sucker punched, whatever you want to call it, in the jaw. He has a broken jaw, fractured jaw, it requires some surgery. He won't be at practice today, so you won't see him today. The culprit was IK (Ikemefuna Enemkpali), the outside linebacker, who has been released."

» NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport on how the altercation developed: "Enemkpali had arranged for Geno to show up at his football camp, and it was advertised that way. A week before, Smith said he needed a plane ticket. Enemkpali bought him one for about $600. The day he's supposed to fly in to Texas, Smith never shows. The person picking him up waited two hours before finally getting Smith on the phone to explain why he didn't show up. The reason given by Smith to Enemkpali was that Smith's brother broke his arm and ribs in a bike accident and Smith had gone to the hospital. Enemkpali said it was OK, just pay him back for the ticket and a hotel room. They decided Smith would repay him when camp started, but few weeks in, he hadn't yet. Today, Enemkpali said it was time to pay, Smith resisted, then it got out of hand and Enemkpali struck him after Smith put his hand in Enemkpali's face."

» Rapoport reported that he has been told the jaw is broken in two places, which could complicate recovery. He added that the Jets may be in the market for a free agent quarterback, but the pickings are slim. Ryan Fitzpatrick is now the presumptive Week 1 starter. 


» NFL Media's Rand Getlin reported the team reached out to former Bears QB Rex Grossman. 

» Rapid reaction from our Rhett Lewis: "You're hoping to see him build off of some of that momentum and now a major road block for Geno Smith ... this is a devastating blow here to the progression of the Jets' quarterback." From Brian Billick, who discussed new starter Ryan Fitzpatrick: "I think we know who Ryan Fitzpatrick is: he's a backup in this league ... I don't think anybody has any disillusion that this is your franchise quarterback going forward ... This is (Smith's) the third year, so this was going to be critical particularly early in the season, it was going to be kind of all or nothing."

» NFL Media's Kimberly Jones, who has covered the New York Giants and Jets for years, weighed in from Cincinnati where she is travelling with Big Blue. Per Jones, the injury to Smith elevates rookie Bryce Petty, who was slotted for a de-facto redshirt year as the third QB, into the backup role. The Jets had wanted to bring Petty along slowly, but he will now have to take a more active role in the team, especially if Fitzpatrick is ineffective or goes down with injury.

» NFL Media's Jeff Darlington spoke to a team source about Petty:


» Around The NFL's Marc Sessler is in Berea, Ohio, with the Browns, and he reported that Johnny Manziel has had minor elbow soreness, according to coach Mike Pettine. Still, Manziel will play on Thursday against Washington at 8 ET, and QB Coach Kevin O'Connel said Manziel has "absolutely" grown as a pocket passer and that his footwork and reads have also improved.

» Terrelle Pryor and Duke Johnson did not practice for the Browns, per Sessler, and are not expected to play in the team's preseason opener.

» After losing Shaun Suisham to an anterior cruciate ligament tear, the Steelers signed veteran kicker Garrett Hartley.

» In what may just be a veteran's day off, Tom Brady did not practice today in New England. Rob Gronkowski on Brady's absence: "He's our leader and he competes and brings it every practice but when someone's not here, the other quarterbacks were doing a great job. They were stepping in, they were making completions, they were taking over the huddle making great play calls."

» Our LaDainian Tomlinson is is Pittsford, New York, where the story is the Buffalo Bills quarterback competition. Defined by mediocrity, this race of also-rans seems to be favoring Matt Cassel because of his veteran status and little else. The Bills released a depth chart yesterday with "Matt Cassel/Tyrod Taylor/EJ Manuel" listed as the first QB, but Cassel will start Friday's preseason opener against the Carolina Panthers. The only thing that appears to have been settled in the Buffalo QB room is that Matt Simms, a practice squad player and third quarterback under Ryan while with New York Jets, is not in the running at this point.

» Include NFL Media's Brian Billick among those meekly in Cassel's camp: "You've got to cherry pick some of the productivity of Matt Cassel, but you can't overlook the 11-5 season in 2008, that 2010 season in Kansas City ... Just don't turn the ball over, Matt Cassel can do that." Billick added that starting Cassel in the preseason opener will allow the Bills to see extended snaps from Manuel and Taylor: if either plays well, the competition could remain open.

» Tomlinson noted how Cassel worked to get the ball to star receiver Sammy Watkins: "Cassel seems to be looking for Sammy Watkins, and they seem to be on the same page right now, so I think for the Buffalo Bills that bodes well if you can get Sammy Watkins on the same page with Matt Cassel."

» Tomlinson addressed the Bills' offensive line, another lingering question for a team that is stacked at the skill positions and on defense. "The fortunate thing about a Greg Roman offense is that it's more of a power scheme, at the point of the attack you're getting a lot of double teams, so there's not a lot of single blocking going on." The Bills added Richie Incognito in the offseason, but the team's line graded out near the bottom of the league last year.

» James Palmer reported from Englewood, Colorado, that the Broncos are practicing on their normal fields this morning after serious flooding disrupted yesterday's sessions.

» The offensive line is also a question in Denver. Left tackle Ty Sambrailo and guard Max Garcia are both rookies penciled in as starters on the team's first depth chart, and Palmer reported he expects the young offensive line to see significant time in the team's first preseason game in Seattle on Friday at 10 ET.

» A cautionary word on early depth charts:


» Marshall Faulk visited with the Saints in West Virginia and talked the departure of Jimmy Graham: "Just in talking to Drew (Brees), one thing that he was very sure of was the Jimmy Graham will be missed as far as his presence. But he said that those balls, they're just going to go to the open guys ... before we knew who Jimmy Graham was, before he became a household name, he was just an open guy."

» A shot from Berea this morning:

The latest Around The NFL Podcast discusses Steve Smith's retirement news and predicts the training camp QB battles.

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