Best of Sunday at NFL training camps: Giants’ Saquon Barkley turning heads, Titans’ Derrick Henry breaking helmets

NFL

Many NFL training camps resumed Sunday following Hall of Fame ceremonies in Canton, Ohio, though some took it easy while others took the day off.

Running backs took center stage with the New York Giants and Tennessee Titans, as Saquon Barkley continues to impress while video showed Derrick Henry breaking a helmet with a stiff arm.

The Jacksonville Jaguars and Las Vegas Raiders already have one preseason game under their belts, and the rest of the league will join them this week. Thursday kicks off the action with two games — the Giants at New England Patriots and Titans at Baltimore Ravens — followed by five games Friday, eight games Saturday and one game next Sunday.

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

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What our reporters saw

What our NFL Nation reporters saw Sunday

Seattle Seahawks: If Drew Lock has gained ground on Geno Smith in the eyes of the Seahawks’ decision makers, it wasn’t evident during Sunday’s walk-through. Smith took all of the first-team reps while Lock worked exclusively with the No. 2 offense as Seattle’s quarterback competition appeared to remain status quo.

Smith has gotten virtually all of the first-team reps through the first week and a half of training camp, but it seemed as though that could — and should — start to change based on Lock’s strong showing in Saturday’s mock game. He was clearly the better quarterback despite four of his five series coming with the No. 2 offense and against the No. 1 defense. Smith underwhelmed while mostly leading the first-team offense against backup defenders. Yet, it was still all Smith with the ones Sunday.

Coach Pete Carroll didn’t have much in the way of assessments on how anyone performed in his news conference after the mock game, saying he needed to see the film first. He wasn’t available after the walk-through. The Seahawks have an off day Monday, so there may not be anymore clarity on where their quarterback battle stands until Tuesday. — Brady Henderson

Green Bay Packers: Keisean Nixon was perhaps the most under-publicized move the Packers made this offseason. But considering his history on special teams and his connection to new special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia, he could be a significant addition. Nixon played nearly 700 special teams plays over the past three seasons for Bisaccia, who held the same position with the Raiders (until he was promoted to interim head coach during the season last year). What’s more, Nixon might be the Packers’ top-backup cornerback behind the starting trio of Jaire Alexander, Rasul Douglas and Eric Stokes.

That’s what made his return to practice Sunday important. He missed the first nine practices with a groin injury but was activated Sunday off the non-football injury list. “He’s a guy that we’re excited to get back and hopefully he can pick up where he left off,” coach Matt LaFleur said Sunday. He also could be a bargain; Nixon signed a one-year, $965,000 contract with no guaranteed money. — Rob Demovsky

Minnesota Vikings: Two of the Vikings’ top three draft picks got first-team reps Sunday, a combination of their progress and the team’s attempt to limit the work of some established veterans. Safety Lewis Cine, the No. 32 overall pick of the draft, got his reps while veteran Harrison Smith rotated in and out of the lineup. Right guard Ed Ingram, selected No. 59 overall, worked the entire practice at right guard while veteran Jesse Davis was given the day off. Ingram has been part of a competition at right guard that includes Davis and fellow veteran Chris Reed, and based on his draft position, it’s probably just a matter of time before he pushes into the starting lineup permanently. The same goes for Cine, even though Smith and second-year player Camryn Bynum have been the first-team safeties for most of camp. — Kevin Seifert

San Francisco 49ers: Niners quarterback Trey Lance finished with a flourish in Saturday’s practice but that did not carry over Sunday. In fact, Lance had one of his roughest outings of this camp, completing just 4 of 12 passes, which included a bad interception forced into linebacker Fred Warner during the final period of the day. Lance had two passes dropped and was without starting tackle Trent Williams and Mike McGlinchey (both of whom got rest days). According to receiver Brandon Aiyuk, Lance was not fazed by the performance and immediately talked to teammates about the plays he’d like to have back and how he (and they) can do better in the next session. “The best thing about Trey is he walked off the practice field and he was still the exact same way,” Aiyuk said. “We don’t worry about him at all. We’ll take a look at it later today and then we’ll move on.” — Nick Wagoner

New York Giants: The summer is going well for Barkley, and Sunday was no different. Barkley looked decisive and quick as the Giants primarily practiced red zone runs. Coach Brian Daboll has already called Barkley “explosive” this summer. That was evident when he cut on one run in the middle of the field and beat everyone to the left pilon. Center Jon Feliciano said afterward this version of Barkley is the best he has seen from a running back on any of his teams. Just one year ago Barkley was rehabbing a torn ACL in his right knee and was not cleared for contact. This year looks much different, and just in time as he enters the final year of his rookie contract. — Jordan Raanan

Carolina Panthers: The Panthers had the day off, but got good news when an MRI showed no major damage to the left knee that defensive end Marquis Haynes injured during Saturday’s scrimmage. The staff expects Haynes to be day-to-day when the team resumes practice Monday. That doesn’t mean general manager Scott Fitterer won’t continue looking for depth at end. Veteran Carlos Dunlap was under consideration until he signed with the Chiefs. Jason Pierre-Paul, 33, remains a free agent and could be an option. The Panthers may wait until teams start making cuts to add depth. That Haynes’ injury wasn’t severe, however, lessens the sense of urgency. — David Newton

Kansas City Chiefs: The offense was sloppy at times, particularly during one team period in which it committed three straight false start penalties. Coach Andy Reid took the unusual step of throwing Patrick Mahomes and the other starters off the field before allowing them to return later. Offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy said later the Chiefs need to do a better job of not allowing one bad play to affect the next. — Adam Teicher

Indianapolis Colts: Veteran cornerback Stephon Gilmore continued a stretch of strong practices with another impressive day. Among Gilmore’s highlights was a play on which he jumped a sideline route in front of receiver Parris Campbell, making an interception for a would-be pick-six against quarterback Matt Ryan. “I can just tell you from a quarterback’s perspective, he’s the kind of cornerback that you fear,” coach Frank Reich said. “The way he sees the game, he knows what’s coming before it’s coming.” The ongoing chess match between Gilmore and Ryan has been an intriguing subplot in this camp. “Unfortunately,” Ryan said, “that’s not the first time he’s picked me off.” — Stephen Holder


Top NFL news of the day

RB Kareem Hunt requests trade, but Browns decline: Running back Kareem Hunt, who is seeking a contract extension, has requested a trade from the Cleveland Browns, but the team has privately declined that request, a source confirmed to ESPN. Hunt, who is in the final year of a two-year, $12 million deal, had missed team drills the past two practices but returned to them on Sunday.

Rodger Saffold joins Bills training camp after recovering from car accident: After a slew of injuries to start training camp, the Buffalo Bills‘ offensive line is getting healthier. Guard Rodger Saffold was activated off the non-football injury list and was in uniform for the team’s training camp practice. Saffold started training camp on the NFI list after he injured his ribs in a car accident. He signed with the Bills as a free agent this offseason and is expected to be their starting left guard. Saffold appeared to be limited in his first practice back.

Bears wide receiver N’Keal Harry’s ankle injury believed to be severe: Chicago Bears wide receiver N’Keal Harry suffered what appeared to be a severe ankle injury during practice, a source told ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler. Harry went down on the first play of team drills when a screen pass was thrown in his direction. The wide receiver appeared to have his left ankle rolled up when linebacker Nicholas Morrow tackled him. The 24-year-old receiver could not bear any weight on the ankle and had to be helped off the field by a trainer and teammate. The team is still awaiting further evaluation on the severity of Harry’s injury, and no determination has been made about how long he will be sidelined.


Best NFL photos, videos from camp

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