What we learned from Tuesday's minicamps, OTAs

Seven NFL teams started mandatory minicamp Tuesday, with five of them officially wrapping up their offseason programs until training camp in late July. That means some of our overwrought summer quarterback storylines can begin to wind down.

In Denver, coach Gary Kubiak unveiled a quarterback rotation notable for how conventional it looked. Mark Sanchez took snaps with the Broncos' starters, Trevor Siemian worked with the backups and rookie Paxton Lynch practiced with the third-team offense. That's a change from how the three players worked during organized team activities, when the three players split with the starters.

This hardly means that Denver's competition is over. But it is a snapshot of where the three quarterbacks stand now, and it is the most probable order of the depth chart in Week 1 barring a big August push from Lynch.

In Philadelphia, the order of quarterbacks has remained consistent. The team insists Sam Bradford is the starter, with Chase Daniel and rookie Carson Wentz next in line. It is interesting to note, however, that the Eagles have split snaps evenly between the three players. Coach Doug Pederson indicated Tuesday that won't change anytime soon.

"We are still kind of discussing how we are going to handle training camp," Peterson said when asked if Wentz's snaps would soon be cut. "I would go out and say that this is not the last time that his reps won't be cut. Right now, it's equal. It's thirds. It's equal, and right now we're leaning toward that heading into training camp."

As the Philly Voice pointed out, this is a sign that the team is prioritizing Wentz's development over strictly getting Bradford ready for Week 1. This makes sense for an organization that could live or die on their draft trade gambit paying off. Every season matters, but Wentz's development matters most for the Eagles.

*We'll recap all the big minicamp and OTA takeaways each day this week. Here's what else we learned Tuesday: *

Michael Silver says what everyone is thinking

Colin Kaepernick's return to the field was the big news in 49ers minicamp Tuesday. But the former Super Bowl starter was only participating in individual drills as he recovers from shoulder surgery. Blaine Gabbert will have taken all the first team reps before training camp for the 49ers, and NFL Media's Michael Silver believes he'll take the first rep of the season, too.

"Blaine Gabbert is the heavy favorite. He's loved in this locker room, did a lot of good things last year, and I would be shocked if he's not the quarterback in the opener," Silver said Tuesday on NFL Network's "Total Access."

Hue Jackson will not say what everyone is thinking

"I think everyone here is waiting for Hue Jackson to say, 'Here is the quarterback of our football team.' That's not going to happen and I've already told you that," the Browns coach said, showing expert use of the third person. "I feel very comfortable where our players are and what they're doing. I'm not in a rush, like everybody else wants me to be in a rush. I think I've been up here the last three or four times and it always leads back to if I am going to make a decision about the quarterback. I just think it is way too soon."

Robert Griffin III has taken first team reps throughout silly season. Jackson smartly wants to see how he looks against a live pass rush before making promises.

Sneaky Apology

The Saints signed Roman Harper, which makes a lot of sense for a secondary that could use competent depth. It also feels like admitting a mistake. The Saints spent huge money on bringing in safety Jairus Byrd two years ago while Harper left for Carolina to play quality snaps en route to consecutive NFC South titles. In Rob Ryan's view, the Byrd signing ruined the Saints' defense. Harper is nearing the end of his career and has a very different skill set than Byrd. The Saints will be better off with Harper in a limited role, helping on run support. Still, it's hard not to notice that Harper is back on the field for New Orleans while Byrd is recovering from injury, again.

Repeatable tweet: Cowboys are not happy with Rolando McClain

Three things you should know about the Eagles

  1. Pederson is a Rueben Randle fan. With Pederson admitting Jordan Matthewsis more effective on the inside, the Eagles could have a lot of snaps open for two outside receivers. Here is how Pederson answered a question about who will get those snaps:

"Yeah, you know, Rueben Randle has really made an impact this spring. Chris Givens is another one. Nelson Agholor, of course, is another one. Josh Huff is another guy that can work both inside and outside -- probably another one that's going to be inside. And these guys have really, especially Rueben, has been a pleasant surprise."

Translation: Matthews might not get as many snaps as fantasy leaguers hope this year. And Randle, who averaged 875 yards the last two years, has the inside track on getting a lot of targets.

  1. Fletcher Cox and Darren Sproles returned to work for mandatory minicamp. Cox wants a new contract and Sproles was officially out because of family reasons. It isn't a "holdout" when players skip voluntary work. Expect most contract disputes to work themselves out by mid-August.
  1. The Eagles' changes in the front office and the coaching staff could inspire a shakeup at cornerback. Last year's starters Nolan Carroll and even Eric Rowecould see fewer snaps while imports Ron Brooks and Leodis McKelvin both start.

Trope alert I'm buying

Julius Thomas is entering the second year of a pricey free-agent contract in Jacksonville. The first year was mostly disappointing, which brings up one of the most popular offseason tropes: Player X will do better in his second season with team.

This is one I'm falling for, in large part because Thomas' season in Jacksonville wasn't that bad. He barely played more than half of the team's snaps last year and still put up 46 catches for 455 yards and five scores. Double those numbers and the Jaguars will be plenty happy. Thomas also blames missing training camp to injury last year and his struggle to get up to speed. Thomas has great hands and should see plenty of single coverage with Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns on the outside drawing attention. He's off the radar and due for a rebound.

"I don't really mind whether I'm remembered or forgotten," Thomas said. "Whether or not I have a lot of buzz going into this year, I know what I've put in and I know what I can bring to the field."

Trope alert I'm not buying

The Redskins are doing everything possible to fix running back Matt Jones' fumbling, including using a special football with sensors that makes sounds when held improperly. Things are going well so far. Then again ...

"If he's putting the ball down now, we have problems," coach Jay Gruden said via Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic.

We'll be back on Wednesday with the latest from all the minicamps. Unless the robot football kills us all.

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