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NFL training camp 2020: Teams take the field in pads; Cowboys rookie makes play of the day

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Belichick says Cam is a hardworking player (1:04)

Bill Belichick gives his first impressions of Cam Newton and the hard work he has put in to get ready for the season. (1:04)

A few teams took part in padded practices at 2020 NFL training camps on Friday, including the Dallas Cowboys, New York Jets, Denver Broncos and Jacksonville Jaguars. In some cases, it was the first chance for our NFL Nation reporters to get a look at the rookie draft picks in their uniforms. The day also produced a few highlights from drills, as well as news on the Minnesota Vikings and Cleveland Browns.

Here's what you need to know from camps across the league for Aug. 14:

Jump to the best of the day:
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Patriots' Cam Newton makes good first impression on Bill Belichick "Cam's a hardworking kid. He really is," Belichick said Friday morning. Newton's introduction to the Patriots' system since officially signing July 8 is one of the most compelling storylines of training camp. Several teammates have noted the energy that Newton, 31, has brought to the team.

Dalvin Cook says he's 'full go' with Vikings despite no new deal
Three days ahead of the Vikings' first padded practice of training camp, Cook vowed to participate in Monday's session with or without a contract extension. "I'll for sure be out there coaching, cheering, running the ball," Cook said. "I'm locked up full go, a thousand percent. I'm trying to get better. I'm trying to lead this young group that we've got."

Baker Mayfield says 'I lost myself' in Browns' chaos last season
The Browns quarterback said he's now in a better state both physically and mentally and admitted to losing his way and doubting himself last year amid the chaos in Cleveland. "Having success all through high school and college, and having that standard so high, and then [last year] not nearly as much success as I'm used to -- so I would say I lost myself," said Mayfield.

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What our NFL Nation reporters saw and heard today

CeeDee Lamb had the play of the day at Dallas Cowboys camp with a one-handed catch over his head on a high pass near the sideline. The rookie also had a fumble later on as he turned upfield, but the first -rounder was noticeable even in an OTA-type practice. He even served as one of the punt returners, which is a sign the Cowboys want to get the ball in his hands as often as possible.

"He's the same guy I've been watching on TV the past two, three years," Ha Ha Clinton-Dix said. "I mean, he's very focused, very fast, man, and he's just getting comfortable. I can't wait to see what he has in store being around so many veteran wide receivers." -- Todd Archer

The Kansas City Chiefs held their their first practice in pads and wasted no getting to the run game. The first practice period in full team drills was centered on the run, with rookie Clyde Edwards-Helaire first in line as the featured back. Here's what coach Andy Reid said about Edwards-Helaire:

"He's been doing a lot of work with the first group. That's valuable work for him. Is everything perfect? No, not right now. But he's working like crazy to get there." -- Adam Teicher

For the first time in the three days since the media was allowed to observe camp, the Las Vegas Raiders' offense went against the defense in non-padded drills. Rookie Damon Arnette was a starting cornerback in both nickel and the 4-3 base defense. On offense, the Raiders opened in 11 personnel, and rookie Bryan Edwards, rather than first-round pick Henry Ruggs III, was a starting wideout, along with Zay Jones and Nelson Agholor. Not much should be made of this ... yet.

And while the Raiders did see the return of defensive end Maxx Crosby on Friday from the COVID-19 reserve list, neither running back Josh Jacobs nor right tackle Trent Brown practiced for the third straight day, though coach Jon Gruden insisted neither of them was "out," per se. "The head coach gets to make a decision or two and you'll see those guys soon enough," Gruden said. "They're not out; they're working. You just don't see them." The Raiders are off on Saturday but return Sunday. -- Paul Gutierrez

Baltimore Ravens nose tackle Brandon Williams believes the two additions to the defensive line -- Calais Campbell and Derek Wolfe -- will help a run defense that allowed 217 yards in the playoff loss to the Titans. "I've got the twin towers right next to me --those two giants," Williams said. "I don't see how offenses can come at us, man. Those two dudes are good." -- Jamison Hensley

When the Green Bay Packers step on the field, most probably consider Kevin King to be the No. 2 cornerback behind rising star Jaire Alexander. But it was actually King who led the team in interceptions last season (five to Alexander's two, although King dropped two others). And it doesn't bother King if he's labeled as CB2.

"No, look, I ain't got no problem with that," King said Friday. "People are going to think what they're going to think, but when you're out there on that field, it's two No. 1s. It's going to be hard to go to the left side. It's going to be hard to go to the right side. The film is going to speak for itself for sure. Ja has established himself as one of the elite corners in this league, and I'm right there too. A few more healthy seasons, one more healthy season, and I'm going to establish myself as well." -- Rob Demovsky

With no preseason games or joint practices, one of things Detroit Lions coach Matt Patricia has been considering is how to handle hitting when it comes to training camp practices. He doesn't want the first time his players face real contact to be in the season opener against the Bears next month, so he has been trying to figure out ways to work it into practices over the next few weeks.

"You need to feel it; you need to see it; you need the see the speed of it. The question is: How do we do that in a safe environment?" Patricia said. "Certainly from the preseason games, that's where you get your live-action in there with the tackling part of it. But we're going to have to do that, and I think for us, it's putting them in, we call it in-line situations, where maybe the collision and the contact isn't as great and it's a little bit of a safer play and try to eliminate some of the more space and speed type of plays. But they still need to feel that -- they need to be able to drive through and just get that out of the way." -- Michael Rothstein

Jacksonville Jaguars defensive coordinator Todd Wash, who has had the job since 2016, says he is going to be more hands-on with the defensive line this season because of the glut of new guys and the loss of Calais Campbell (who was traded to Baltimore). He also said he's going to lean on defensive tackle Abry Jones, the longest-tenured player on the roster, to replace the vocal leadership the defense lost when Campbell was traded.

"The first day that we had the vets in the building, Abes and I sat down -- eight years ago I was coaching Abes, so we have a very good relationship -- and I said, 'It's time. It's time for you to really take control. I know before you were a vocal guy in that room, but I think Calais was really the leader in that group and now we're putting that on [pass-rusher] Josh [Allen] even though he's a young player.' But him and Abes really need to step up and lead that group." -- Michael DiRocco

There were two things that Carolina Panthers coach Matt Rhule was proud of on Friday after his team completed its first "competitive'' practice of camp. First, Carolina is one of a handful of NFL teams that hasn't had a player test positive for COVID-19. Rhule is realistic enough to know that will happen at some point, but for the timing being he's comfortable with the protocol and doesn't see the need for a bubble system even though there is a hotel available for players who want to use it. Second, the energy in practice has been good across the board, and the top players have stepped up so far in leadership roles. Rhule's also realistic to know the key is what happens on Monday when the pads go on. "What you do with helmets and shells is one thing. Once you put the pads on it's a different thing," Rhule said. -- David Newton

The Tennessee Titans took the field for the first time as a group on Friday. Despite the muggy, humid weather, practice was up-tempo and productive. Coach Mike Vrabel made his rounds, working with almost every position group during the individual period. Safety Kenny Vaccaro left midway through practice and didn't return. Vaccaro walked into the building without a limp. The Titans safeties are an area of depth with Vaccaro, Kevin Byard, Amani Hooker and Dane Cruikshank. Safeties coach Scott Booker said he could see the Titans using big nickel (three-safety looks) in the sub packages. -- Turron Davenport


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