ITC Live Whispers: Henry impressing at Titans camp

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  • By Edward Lewis and Rachel Wenzlaff NFL.com
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Training camp is here in full force. We're keeping you up to date today with live coverage on NFL Network all day. On NFL.com, we'll be featuring highlights from the television coverage and notes from our reporters in the field. Here are today's whispers.

» Tennessee Titans second-round pick Derrick Henry caught some heat from Mike Mularkey earlier in training camp for not being a fast starter.

But apparently he's fixed that issue.

Speaking with NFL Media's Tiffany Blackmon, running backs coach Sylvester Croom raved about the former Heisman Trophy winner, saying he's impressed the Titans' staff, even if Mularkey wanted him to hit holes a little harder earlier in practices.

"(Croom) told me one of the things that surprised him the most and really impressed him about Derrick Henry was the few amount of mistakes that he has made," Blackmon said. "And when he does a make a mistake, he's very unlikely to repeat it. But (Croom) told me he's a quick learner and he's very impressed by how fast he's picked things up during training camp."

It's not just the mental side of things that stands out about Henry. On Inside Training Camp Live on Wednesday morning, the camera panned to Henry standing behind 6-foot-1, 220-pound DeMarco Murray, and Henry towered over him.

That made NFL Media's Jamie Dukes chuckle.

"That is insane," Dukes said. "Just think about that. DeMarco Murray is 6-foot and some change, 225ish, and you've got a defensive end playing tailback. It's hilarious."

» Playing against Ben Roethlisberger every day in practice, the Steelers' secondary knows what a great quarterback looks like.

And in their opinion, Matthew Stafford is one of the few elite in the NFL.

After a joint practice with the Lions this week, the Steelers told NFL Media's Aditi Kinkhabwala that Stafford was very impressive.

"Steelers safety Mike Mitchell said, 'That is an elite quarterback,'" Kinkhabawala said.

Per Kinkhabawala, Stafford's relationship with offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter has been a big reason for the quarterback's maturation.

"That Lions offense looked incredibly sharp," Kinkhabawala said. "We know Matthew Stafford had a very productive second half of the season when Jim Bob Cooter took over as offensive coordinator. But now he's had an entire offseason and training camp with Cooter and he told me yesterday he just feels so much more comfortable. He said he and Cooter are philosophically aligned in the way that they look at the game of football and how an offense should attack."

» Who will replace suspended wide receiver Martavis Bryant's production for the Steelers this year?

Kinkhabawla said watch out for second-year wideout Sammie Coates.

"He's looking very, very sharp," Kinkhabawla said on ITC Live. "He said to me sitting on the sidelines a year ago, being a part of the scout team, has only motivated him more. He said, 'This is my opportunity, and I'm not going to let it go.'"

It seems like suspensions are just raining down across the league this preseason. The Steelers are expecting some sort of decision on Le'Veon Bell's four game suspension soon, but Kinkhabwala says there is a good bet he won't be playing early. Bell missed ten games in 2015 due to a suspension and a knee injury.

» Rookie Lions linebacker Reggie Ragland will have surgery on his left knee this week and is expected to miss the entire 2016 season. NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport says the 2016 second-round pick out of Alabama partially tore is ACL but the injury will be treated as a completely torn ACL requiring reconstruction surgery. Rapoport says there's so much swelling that the doctors haven't been able to get a good look at the knee. Ragland suffered the injury last Friday at practice when his knee buckled under his body weight in pursuit of a ball carrier.

» Good news for the Patriots, though. Julian Edelman's injury scare at practice yesterday was just that, a scare. Today he's back on the field practicing through the rain in full force. NFL Media's Courtney Fallon says he took some time to test his footing and seemed to be doing okay. He is considered day-to-day, but we're guessing he won't be in tomorrow night's preseason opener. "You love to have a guy like that who's a competitor. You know he cares about the game," quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo said ahead of their game against the Saints tomorrow. 

Fallon says the Saints, Pats joint practice felt more like a walk through, with very little contact. Eric LeGrand, a former Rutgers player who was paralyzed during a game, visited camp and gave a speech at the end of practice, leaving both teams inspired.

» Odell Beckham Jr. has had more than 1,000 receiving yards in each of his two seasons with the Giants for a total of 2,755. Can he become a 2,000 yard receiver in 2016? We're not sure, but this is a good start...

OBJ spoke with reporters after practice and discussed his teammate, Victor Cruz's, return to the field.

"I don't think he needs to be pumped up. At the end of the day, when you love football like that, nothing is ever going to distract you from that love. I know he wants to be out there. I honestly don't know, I didn't think anything was bad after we talked so I'm just excited for him to be able to get out there and play. I keep reminding him that his first game is September 11, even though you have to get your feet wet in the preseason. Again, I hate saying that, but it's irrelevant. You could go for 200 yards and none of it is going to matter. You could go for zero yards and none of it is going to matter. All that matters is that you're prepared for Week 1."

» Seahawks tight end Jimmy Graham returned to practice today. He began training camp on the PUP list after suffering a season-ending patellar tendon injury in Week 12 of the 2015 season. Graham comes off the physically unable to perform list just a few days after the Seahawks activated running back Thomas Rawls.

» Marcus Mariota says he needs to step it up ahead of the Titans preseason opener against the Chargers on Saturday. Mariota was highly critical of himself after Monday's scrimmage.

"I think for me to be here, I have to be hard on myself," Mariota said. "I hold myself to a really high standard and I don’t think these guys should expect anything less. I'd like to build a rhythm and be able to sustain drives and score points. Continue to build upon what we’ve built through training camp and be able to build a foundation for the season."

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