As is often true early in training camp season, the biggest stories are centered on the players who aren't there. Colleague Chris Wesseling summarized this beautifully during his Friday What We Learned roundup, covering both the Aaron Donald and Donald Penn holdouts.
On Saturday, though, the focus shifted to a player who isn't under contract at all -- Colin Kaepernick.
The former 49ers quarterback was mentioned as a possible backup for the Ravens by coach John Harbaugh on Thursday due to Joe Flacco's back injury. On Friday, the team signed former indoor league quarterback David Olson, hinting that Flacco might just be day to day and not in need of a long-term quality backup. NFL Network's Michael Silver relayed some interesting information from a person with knowledge of Kaepernick's thinking.
In short, it pours some cold water on the theory Kaepernick would not accept a short-term gig with the Ravens. It also shoots down speculation Kaepernick has not joined a team yet because of money. Silver reported that Kaepernick has not discussed money with a single club since he opted out of his deal with the 49ers.
This might help Kaepernick eventually land on a roster. NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport mentioned on Inside Training Camp Live the possibility of Kaepernick serving as competition for Ryan Mallett if Mallett continues to struggle. After two reportedly difficult days of Ravens practice, it might be a situation worth keeping an eye on even though the Ravens do like Mallett as a No. 2.
What else we learned on Saturday...
"I'll never put my hand in another man's pocket," Carr said. "So I'll stay far away from that. Everyone here, top to bottom, loves him. He knows that. But we're focused on who's here and who's getting better. He knows how everybody feels about him. But I'll never step into another man's situation like that."
Via the Las Vegas Review-Journal, coach Jack Del Rio added: "We love Donald. He's a good Raider. A good player."
- Colts quarterback Andrew Luck continues to be a mystery. He cautioned reporters in Indianapolis not to "freak out" about his surgically repaired shoulder though he continued to back away from owner Jim Irsay's estimation that Luck would be ready for Week 1. Obviously, Luck's long-term health is far more important than making it on the field for the season-opener, but it might be time to learn a little more about backup Scott Tolzien.
That's the case being made by The Detroit Free Press following Stafford's camp-opening news conference, where he said he spent the summer working with a quarterbacks coach for the first time in his career. For those who have followed Stafford's offseason habits in the past, he was never a fan of the privatized work sessions which were popular among some of his contemporaries.
As it turns out, the timing for some personal growth couldn't be better. Rapoport mentioned during Inside Training Camp Live that, based on previous trends, Stafford's next mega-deal with the Lions could be on the horizon. Stafford's agent, Tom Condon of Creative Artists Agency, has a tendency to do deals for his quarterbacks right up against the start of the season.
"It has been way harder than we thought," Haslam said. "I don't think we ever would have thought we would be talking about coming off winning four games in our last two years in our third and fourth years. It is tough. It is hard. I think I have said it is embarrassing. At the same time, we have learned a lot. In life, I have learned you learn a heck of a lot more through the hard experiences than you do the easy ones. I now think we are positioned to, like I said, put the organization, the team in a much better place than we have been."
"Last year was harder than we thought," Haslam said. "None of us are exactly sure what will happen this year. I know that we will be a better team. I think 2018 -- I'm not hedging my bets -- 2018-2019 you should see a substantially better football team."
On the injury front...
Billsdefensive tackle Marcell Dareus tweaked his hamstring and missed practice. In Philadelphia, running back Ryan Mathews (neck) continues to rehab away from the club and could be a ways away from finding clarity with the Eagles. The Chargers placed first-pick Mike Williams (back) on the physically unable to perform list.