Training Camp

Training Camp Buzz: Devonta Freeman gives Saints 'good versatility' out of the backfield

The 2021 regular season is just around the corner, and NFL Network has you covered with wall-to-wall training camp coverage each day starting at 10 a.m. ET. Follow along here for some of the best sights, sounds and moments from "Inside Training Camp Live" and around the NFL.

  • Five years ago, Devonta Freeman compiled a career-high 207 yards from scrimmage against the Saints. It's games like those from the two-time Pro Bowler that Sean Payton hasn't forgotten. He's hoping to tap into that multi-purpose mojo himself. The New Orleans coach said he signed Freeman because the team was a running back short with Ty Montgomery working more as a wide receiver in training camp. The 29-year-old Freeman has mostly been ineffective and/or injured the past three years with the Falcons and then the Giants. His role, of course, doesn't figure to be as prominent behind Alvin Kamara, and Payton has proved he can make the most of fading talent. "He gives you good versatility both in the run and the pass," Payton said of Freeman. "Look, I've been a big fan. We've seen him. I think it's a good addition for us in the room. I really think there's some versatility that he brings and I'm excited about that."
  • On the field, Patriots quarterbacks Cam Newton and Mac Jones are gunning for the same job. Off of it, they're "as cool as the other side of the pillow." The rookie is so comfortable alongside the former MVP, in fact, that he impersonated the elder statesman during a recent skit performed by New England's first-year players. Jones is reported to have dressed like Newton with a signature suitcase prop in tow, drawing huge laughs from the team in the process. "This is my fifth year in the league," linebacker Raekwon McMillan said. "That's probably the best rookie impersonation I've ever seen."
  • For years, 6-foot-6, 330-pound offensive tackle Morgan Moses was the biggest player on his Washington teams. That changed last year when David Sharpe, listed at the same measurements, arrived. Moses is now with the Jets, of course, and he's now a distant second in size to 6-foot-7, 363-pound Mekhi Becton. "I thought I was a big dude," Moses quipped to reporters. "But I was like, 'Dang, he's blocking the sun from me.'"
  • Jaycee Horn was the first cornerback to come off the board in the 2021 NFL Draft. Playing at a high level is expected of him and by him. Those demands were on display Monday when the rookie intercepted two passes and shrugged it off afterward. "It felt good, but 'what's next?' is kind of the mentality we try to bring. I was just ready for the next play," Horn said, per The Charlotte Observer's Jonathan M. Alexander. Horn's coach sees good reason for him to focus on the next play as well. "Jaycee is grabbing and holding too much," Matt Rhule said. "A lot of those calls are going to get called back. I love Jaycee's tenacity, but he's got to master his craft along the way and he knows that."
  • Emerging from offseason back surgery and off the non-football injury list, Tennessee Titans first-round pick Caleb Farley made his debut at training camp on Monday. The early reviews were good for the No. 22 overall pick. "He's a great kid, he likes to work, and you can tell he likes to take coaching," cornerback Andy Janovich said of Farley, via the team website. "I like everything about him – he is young, he is fast, he is strong. He likes to take coaching. And when you get signs like that from a young guy, he's going to be a great player." Nonetheless, the Titans are still going to be cautious with their rookie, according to the head coach. "It is just going to be working him back in and trying to make sure that he feels good," Titans head coach Mike Vrabel said. "And (making sure) that the conditioning level is where it needs to be, to be able to compete and get him through practice."
  • It's about one week into Broncos training camp, where all eyes have been on the quarterbacks. Coach Vic Fangio reiterated he hasn't seen much of a difference thus far between Drew Lock and Teddy Bridgewater. "Still no separation," Fangio said. NFL Network's James Palmer reported over the weekend that Denver might use the entire preseason to make a decision. If neither QB differentiates himself by then, the Broncos' regular season might play out very similar to how it has in recent years.
  • Judging from local beat writers, Trey Lance has outplayed Jimmy Garoppolo through the first five days of 49ers camp. That continued Monday, with Jimmy G throwing another interception and the No. 3 overall pick tallying touchdowns. Coach Kyle Shanahan has acknowledged that his rookie quarterback has impressed. But he hasn't earned any of the incumbent starter's first-team snaps. "No, we're not splitting reps up," Shanahan told reporters. "I thought Trey had one of his better days Saturday, but that's nothing to move him up there with Jimmy or anything like that."
  • On Monday morning, Ross Cockrell was surrounded by his Buccaneers teammates as his sister Anna advanced to the finals of the 400-meter hurdles at the Tokyo Olympics. He clearly was inspired. The veteran cornerback took the practice field shortly after and proceeded to intercept three passes, prompting coach Bruce Arians to present the Cockrell family with a game ball. "It was amazing," Cockrell said. "It's the biggest race of her life and to see her go out there and perform as well as she did, in adverse weather and adverse situations, and then go out to practice and do my thing, I was just feeling the magic she had. I think she passed it along to me."

Training camp is finally here! Be sure to check outNFL Network's extensive live coverage, including Inside Training Camp every day.

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