Best of Wednesday at NFL training camps: Helmets come out

Helmets came out at 2020 NFL training camps on Wednesday. It was the first day on which players were allowed to don headgear, part of a gradual ramp-up process the NFL has put in place. Some rookies showed off their skills in practice, Buffalo’s coach put ink to paper on a new contract extension, the Titans fine-tuned things on offense and the Cowboys’ quarterback spoke on his future in Dallas.

Here’s what you need to know from camps across the league:

Jump to the best of the day:
Photos | Videos | Quotes

Top news of the day

NFL’s positive test rate across all personnel stands at 0.46%

The overall positivity rate for the NFL’s coronavirus testing program has been 0.46%, well below the threshold set this summer for avoiding outbreaks at team facilities. Dr. Allen Sills, the NFL’s chief medical officer, also said Wednesday during a conference call with reporters that the league had conducted 109,075 COVID-19 tests and that the 0.46% positivity rate includes all players, coaches and staffers.

Bills sign coach Sean McDermott to multiyear extension

The Buffalo Bills have signed coach Sean McDermott to a six-year contract extension.

NFL to test players daily until Sept. 5, source says

The NFL and the NFL Players Association have agreed to test players for COVID-19 daily until Sept. 5, a source told ESPN. Both sides are finalizing the details Wednesday. The original agreement from July 20 called for daily testing through a minimum of two weeks from the start of training camp. At that point, testing would be reassessed based on the number of positive cases leaguewide.

Report seeks closer look at conduct of Jets owner Woody Johnson

New York Jets owner Woody Johnson, in his current post as U.S. ambassador to the United Kingdom, “sometimes made inappropriate or insensitive comments on topics generally considered Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO)-sensitive, such as religion, sex, or color,” according to a U.S. State Department report obtained by ESPN. The report, released Wednesday morning by the Office of the Inspector General, recommended a more thorough review of the matter and that “appropriate action” should be taken, if necessary.


What our NFL Nation reporters saw Wednesday

Colts coach Frank Reich made it official that Marlon Mack is the starting running back, with second-round draft pick Jonathan Taylor, who had back-to-back 2,000-yard seasons at Wisconsin, competing with Jordan Wilkins and Nyheim Hines to be Mack’s main backup. Mack, who did not get a contract extension during the offseason, is coming off a career-high 1,091 yards rushing in 2019. “Marlon has earned it,” Reich said. “He’s had a couple of really good years for us, but we’re going to continue to take the same approach that we have — where it’s week in and week out, hot hand and all those things. We’re expecting a big year from all of our backs but in particular, Marlon. He looks good. I feel good about how the backs complement each other.” — Mike Wells

The sight of Bruce Irvin back in a Seahawks uniform gave the first practice of training camp something of a 2013-15 feel. Those were the years in which Irvin started at linebacker for the Seahawks alongside Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright. That trio was back together Wednesday, somewhat surprisingly. The team thought Wright might have to go on PUP after offseason shoulder surgery, but he made a strong enough recovery to pass his physical and practice right away. That means the Seahawks still have a logjam at linebacker, where they also have first-round pick Jordyn Brooks competing for a role. — Brady Henderson

Yes, Raiders wide receiver Henry Ruggs III is fast. Really fast. And quarterback Derek Carr hit him perfectly in stride on a go route to the right pylon in drills on Wednesday. But Ruggs did have a couple of gnarly looking drops, one on an intermediate crossing pattern, going right to left, and another when he muffed a punt. Chalk it up to nerves, right? Beyond Ruggs, the interior of the Raiders’ new indoor facility is a thing to behold for a franchise that has long had second-class status in terms of home digs. It has all the bells and whistles players could imagine. — Paul Gutierrez

Washington quarterback Dwayne Haskins Jr. was far from a leader as a rookie, failing to impress veteran players with his approach or his results until much later in the season. New coach Ron Rivera made it clear his leadership needed to improve. Haskins improved his approach in the offseason, losing nearly 20 pounds and working on all facets of his game. His goal is to become a captain. “If you don’t have respect, no one’s going to listen to you or really follow you, so that’s all I’ve been trying to do is earn that,” Haskins said. — John Keim

The Titans took the field for their first full-squad practice. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill said there was a sense of urgency because of the limited time they have to get ready for the season opener. The focus was on fine-tuning things for Tannehill on the offense. The Titans have 10 out of 11 starters returning so they are able to focus on smaller details instead of being forced to spend time on installing a new scheme. — Turron Davenport

Ravens offensive coordinator Greg Roman said he feels reigning NFL MVP Lamar Jackson can still improve in accuracy, consistency and decision-making: “If we can get 2-5% percent in those areas, it’d be pretty impressive.” — Jamison Hensley

Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott said he is not frustrated his future is not yet set with the Cowboys on a long-term deal. “Business is business and once I’m in the locker room and part of what’s going on now, I don’t worry too much about the future. I just worry about the day,” he said. “I’m excited as hell to be a Dallas Cowboy. … No frustration as far as that. Once again, I believe something will get done and it’s my hope and belief I’ll be a Dallas Cowboy for the rest of my career.” — Todd Archer

Jaguars defensive end Josh Allen set a franchise rookie record with 10.5 sacks last season and, with Yannick Ngakoue still not in camp, is the team’s top pass-rusher. However, he got frustrated with himself for jumping offside three times during drills in the first full-team workouts that were open to the media. Allen rebounded — and did some pushups — to finish the rest of the workout strong. The Jaguars are expecting big things this season from Allen, who is trying to become just the second player in franchise history to record double-digit sacks in consecutive seasons (Calais Campbell in 2017-18). — Mike DiRocco

Best photos

Best videos

Quotes of the day

“Creative and smart. It’s going to put everybody in their best element. Everybody is going to get a chance to do what they can do on a consistent basis.” Robby Anderson, Panthers WR, on OC Joe Brady’s offense

“This has been the best I’ve felt and I’m ready to show it. I’m ready to show this is the best Le’Veon Bell that has ever played in the NFL.” Le’Veon Bell, Jets RB, on his 2020 season outlook

“Generally with mustard, I’d use water — warm water. I don’t want to wipe it, I want to blot it. I want to treat it twice. You can’t put it in the dryer, because if it gets hot it’s gonna be stained. And if none of those things are working, seek outside help.” Sean Payton, Saints coach, offering advice to an unmuted reporter asking someone about a mustard stain during his conference call

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