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13 things you need to know from training camps

The Around The League Podcast nominated the Atlanta Falcons as one of the NFL's most unpredictable teams last week, in no small part because Julio Jones' durability is a question mark coming off the second foot surgery of his young career.

After missing the entirety of offseason workouts, Jones has wasted no time in proving to coaches, teammates and practice observers that he is indeed back to the "old Julio."

Early in training camp, Jones has already shown his trademark explosiveness, stopping and cutting without issue in a Sunday performance that was described as "spectacular."

"He didn't miss a beat," cornerback Desmond Trufant said. "That's exactly what we want to see. And he's going to definitely have a comeback season this year."

Playing with a screw in his foot is nothing new for Jones, who proved to be one of the NFL's most dominant skill-position players after his initial surgery coming out of Alabama in 2011.

As the double-team drawing engine that makes Matt Ryan's offense go, Jones holds the key to a playoff return in Atlanta.

Avoiding a setback while pushing the foot in August practices and preseason games will be a subplot to monitor on Hard Knocks this summer.

Here's what else we learned on Monday:

  1. Ndamukong Suh and the Lions insist they want their relationship to continue beyond this contract year, but team president Tom Lewand revealed Monday that negotiations have been tabled. Unless talks resume during the season, this puts the Lions in a bind. With a franchise tag number that would skyrocket to $25.7 million if the franchise tag is applied, Suh has all of the leverage.
  1. Golden Tate provided the Lions with some good news on Monday, when he was activated from the physically unable to perform list. Tate had been nursing a minor shoulder injury originally sustained in spring practices.
  1. U.S. World Cup coach Jurgen Klinsmann would approve of Kyle Rudolph's lucrative new five-year contract with $19.4 million in guaranteed money. The Vikings are paying for feats they expect Rudolph to accomplish in Norv Turner's tight-end friendly offense rather than rewarding him for past performance.
  1. Emmanuel Sanderswon't be dining out with former quarterback Ben Roethlisberger any time soon.
  1. General manager Steve Keim noted Monday that third-round wide receiver John Brown has been uncoverable so far in training camp. This comes on the heels of an impressiveoffseason in which the Pittsburg State star seemed like a clone of T.Y. Hilton, who flourished under Bruce Arians as a third-round rookie out of Florida International in 2012.
  1. Things are not going as smoothly for Odell Beckham in New York. The first-round wide receiver went for tests Monday on a balky hamstring that already has coach Tom Coughlin frustrated. Declared the draft's lone NFL-ready route runner by Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman, Beckham is now in danger of falling behind Jerrel Jernigan on the depth chart.
  1. Raiders rookie linebacker Khalil Mack is drawing comparisons to four-time Pro Bowl pass rusher Clay Matthews.
  1. A couple of relative unknowns in Cleveland are breaking through the quarterback hype to gain attention early in camp. Wide receiver Charles Johnson, plucked off the Packers practice squad last year, drew raves from coach Mike Pettine for his speed, explosiveness and catch radius. The team reportedly believes they have found another keeper in undrafted Isaiah Crowell, acclaimed in some corners as one of the top running-back talents to enter the league this year.
  1. Fantasy footballers shouldn't expect to see much of Adrian Peterson in August. Coach Mike Zimmer has seen all needs to see from the era's premier running back. If Peterson is especially persistent, Zimmer might allow him a carry or two in preseason action.
  1. It's not a given that Dwight Freeney will return to pre-injury form at age 34, coming off a torn quadriceps muscle. The early signs are promising, though. Chargers tackle King Dunlap believes Freeney has actually gotten a step faster.
  1. In the final installment of what Around The League colleague Marc Sessler has dubbed the Gang Green Braggart Trilogy, linebacker Calvin Pace boasted that the Jets have the best defense in football. This comes on the heels of Geno Smith and Dee Millinerdeclaring themselveselite players at their respective positions. Tom Brady and Darrelle Revis will let their actions do the talking in the AFC East.
  1. From the career resuscitation department: Jason Pierre-Paul reportedly looks "a lot quicker off the edge" this year than last. Steven Jackson also looks rejuvenated after nagging injuries contributed to a paltry 3.45 yards per carry average. Jeremy Maclin has been "fantastic" in his return from ACL surgery, per coach Chip Kelly.

The latest Around The League Podcast visits with former Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum and discusses the best of the early training-camp surprises.

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