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Training Camp Buzz: Belichick 'more involved' with D

*The 2019 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 buzzy moments from "Inside Training Camp Live". *

»New England has experienced a mass exodus of coaching talent over the last two offseasons; Matt Patricia is coaching the Lions, Brian Flores is coaching the Dolphins and Chad O'Shea is alongside Flores coordinating Miami's offense.

Those departures left the Patriots' coaching ranks pretty barren, especially on the defensive side of the ball. At one point this offseason, the only coach listed on New England's website was Belichick's son, Steve, who is in charge of the secondary. Now there are five, including defensive line coach Bret Bielema and inside linebackers coach Jerod Mayo, but there remains no defensive coordinator.

That post is expected to be held in some capacity by Belichick, who confirmed on Saturday that he will have an expanded role this season in regards to coaching New England's defense.

"I think I'll be more involved this year defensively than I was in recent years," Belichick told NFL Network's Willie McGinest on Inside Training Camp Live. "This year will a little bit more, but I'm enjoying it. Eventually, I'll have less of a role. But for right now, jusy to try to get things underway this year, I'll try to be as much involved as I can."

Belichick added that his defensive system has been more or less the same in his 20 years in New England and he's always been involved in some capacity on that side of the ball.

Under Belichick, New England has operated without a listed defensive coordinator before -- in 2000, 2010-11 and 2018 (though Flores called plays last year).

»Cam Newton, whose mere involvement much less performance in the early part of training camp has been one of the Panthers' bright spots, did not practice Saturday. No reason to fret, Ron Rivera said. Newton's day off was planned and the Carolina coach attested his quarterback has "no issues." (Worth noting: Tight end Greg Olsen also got a planned day off.)

While Newton has been ahead of schedule in his recovery from offseason shoulder surgery, the organization has made it clear this summer that its franchise quarterback would be on a pitch count as the season nears.

Saturday happened to be the Panthers' first in pads, providing an invaluable opportunity for rookie quarterback Will Grier to receive first-team reps. The 2019 third-round pick, believed to be in the driver's seat to win the backup job, responded by throwing a pair of touchdowns to Curtis Samuel.

»Zeke Watch continues. The All-Pro running back still has not reported to Cowboys camp and his holdout might not be nearing a conclusion. NFL Network's Jane Slater reported via sources informed of the situation that despite Dallas extending an offer, Elliott's representatives have yet to submit a counter offer.

Rookie Tony Pollard is in line to take the first-team reps at running back in Elliott's absence.

Editor's note: Following an appearance on Inside Training Camp Live with A.J. Green, the Bengals wide receiver suffered an apparent ankle sprain in practice.

»Cincinnati enters training camp with a healthy offensive nucleus and a new offensive-minded head coach to boot. It's a far cry from last fall when neither Andy Dalton nor A.J. Green were able to finish the season because of injuries in Marvin Lewis' swan song.

Green, though, isn't discarding all of last year. In a Saturday interview with NFL Network's James Palmer and Maurice Jones-Drew, Green pointed to the early part of the 2018 season when Cincy boasted one of the league's best scoring offenses. In some respects, he expects the Bengals' passing attack to be able to pick up where it left off.

"There's really no limit for us," he said. "For us it's just everybody staying healthy."

A day ago, budding star Tyler Boyd said he and Green are the best WR duo in the NFL. Green didn't flinch when asked if he agreed.

"Oh yeah, of course," Green said. "You saw our numbers when we were both healthy. You can't just focus on one guy anymore."

The football field isn't the only place Green is garnering less attention. He wasn't selected for the Pro Bowl for the first time in his eight-year career last season. He also fell to No. 58 overall (and the No. 12 wide receiver) in the NFL Network's "Top 100 Players of 2019."

"I only played nine games so I'll let them slide for that one," Green said. "But I'll be back in the top 20. ... Definitely not happy with it, but understandable. I didn't play a whole season. Once I play the 16 games, I'll get back to where I need to be."

»Most recently the interim coach for the Green Bay Packers to end the 2018 season, Joe Philbin was at Vikings practice on Saturday, NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported. Philbin wasn't there in a coaching capacity, however, as Pelissero reported Philbin will be working with NFL officials this season and is taking trips to NFL and college camps. The former Dolphins head coach is doing work similar to what Chuck Pagano did before returning to the sidelines as the Bears defensive coordinator.

»Todd Gurley, who arrived at training camp in a Rolls Royce, was on hand for the Rams' first practice of training camp and taking reps. NFL Network's Omar Ruiz reported that Gurley would indeed be a "full-go" as coach Sean McVay had said on Friday, however, Ruiz added that the team would still monitor Gurley's knee throughout the summer in the Rams' efforts for him to be at his best in December. During OTAs and minicamp, Gurley was never on the field, so he was excited for training camp, he told Ruiz.

Also on hand for Rams practice was all-everything defensive tackle Aaron Donald. There was really no reason to think Donald wouldn't be in attendance, though it was still noteworthy as it was his first training camp since 2017 due to previous holdouts regarding his contract. As's Logan Reardon pointed out, the reigning AP NFL Defensive Player of the Year and his family seemed to be enjoying the experience.

»If you're a chiropractor, it might be good to stay away from Broncos first-year coach Vic Fangio. Running back Phillip Lindsay was held out of practice on Saturday and should be fine, but Fangio had some critiques for the chiropractor that was "helping" the talented young back. "Phillip was getting a chiropractic treatment and the guy overdid it. So to hell with chiropractors, let's just play football." The team transcripts added Fangio was laughing, but chiropractors might still want to beware.

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