The 2023 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 moments from "Inside Training Camp Live" and around the NFL.
Taylor Decker: Lions need to back up 2023 hype
The tone has been changing in Detroit and no one knows that better than Taylor Decker, the longest-tenured player on the Lions' budding squad.
In an interview on Inside Training Camp Live, Decker, 30, said the realization of that shift was furthered this summer once veterans Marvin Jones and Graham Glasgow re-joined a Lions team that's now getting noticed.
"It's like the Will Smith scene where he's in the living room, there's just the rug and he's just like looking around, nothing there," Decker told NFL Network Insider Mike Garafolo and NFL Network's Stacey Dales.
Of course, the excitement was prompted by the arrival of Dan Campbell, an unforgettable personality who was featured on HBO's Hard Knocks last year. Decker's appearance on ITC Live offered a chance to hear the latest Campbell story.
Decker says the Lions coach recently told a story about his dog named "Chewie," an English mastiff that Campbell and his wife weren't really sure would do anything to a would-be intruder. That was until a family reunion where a dropped piece of food came between Chewie and a pitbull.
"He was just talking about being a guardian," Decker said. "Like, every now and then, I know it's practice and we all have to be professionals, but we got to see it. We have to see it every now and then, and that's why we're going to be out here in pads, that's why there's going to be days where we're going to redline it, we're gonna go. Let's see it -- we can't wait until Sunday, we can't wait to until the first game of the year to see it -- let's see it now. It's time to perform now."
The Lions finished 9-8 after a 1-6 start in 2022, and while their eye-opening run in the second half of last season didn't equate to a playoff berth, Detroit garnered excitement by spoiling the Packers' hopes at Lambeau Field in Week 18. The league took notice, scheduling Campbell's squad in five prime-time games in 2023, including the season opener against the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs on Sept. 7.
Decker is waiting to see results before leaning into the hype.
"I'm tentative to put expectations or long-term goals out there because, and I've said this a million times, I was here when we were the butt of jokes," Decker said. "And I don't want to look too far ahead, I want to keep the professional mindset of, let me go clean up this tape from this scrimmage today.
"Ultimately, the expectations, while they are fun and a cool thing to get that attention, they mean nothing until we prove it."
Detroit feels the buzz
Signaling the excitement, it was a packed house for Lions training camp as the team gears up for Dan Campbell's highly anticipated third season as head coach. It's a mere preview of what Detroit home games will look like in 2023.
Reporting for Allen Park, Michigan, NFL Network Insider Mike Garafolo reports that for the first time in stadium history, Ford Field is starting a waiting list for season tickets. Garafolo adds that it's believed to also be a franchise first, though there's no hard data to back that up.
"The fans have always been awesome," Lions tackle Taylor Decker said on Inside Training Camp Live. "Always been very supportive and they're just yearning for a winner and it's up to us to give them something to cheer for. This is something that has been building, building and building for years now. Every practice we've had it seems like the stands are packed and filled. You feel the energy of the city -- people are excited. It's fun for me as a player to contribute to that."
More two-tight end sets in Buffalo's future?
The Bills finished the 2022 season with the second-best offense by averaging 397.6 total yards and 28.4 points per game. Buffalo decided to add to its strength in April with the first-round selection of tight end Dalton Kincaid, who makes for an intriguing pairing alongside Dawson Knox.
It begs the question whether the Bills will employ more 12 personnel in 2023, and Josh Allen had the answers on Inside Training Camp Live.
"I think that's the plan when you draft a tight end in the first round -- you want him on the field," Allen told NFL Network's Scott Hanson and Steve Mariucci. "Dalton has been taking everything in stride. He's been very smart, he's a very friendly ball catcher. He comes back to the ball."
The Bills' star quarterback likes what he sees so far from the rookie out of Utah.
"He gives you good body language," he said of Kincaid. "When he's breaking a route, you know which way he's breaking in some of these little option routes. He's very smart, he's instinctive, he can find some windows in zone coverage. At the end of the day, he's still a rookie. There's a going to be some growing pains, but he's kicking butt right now in camp.
"Like you said, that 12 personnel is very tough for defenses to defend because now you have to worry about the run and the pass."
Despite all the offensive production they generated last season, the Bills' Super Bowl aspirations were dashed in the Divisional Round. Allen made it a point this offseason to recognize and correct his faults so that the Buffalo's offense is even more efficient in 2023.
"I think number one is red-zone productivity," he said. "I think last year we got a way from, or at least I did, I got away from making some good decisions down there. I put the ball in harm's way too often. And then in terms of everything, interceptions and fumbles, and I took that upon myself. I think you talk about being No. 1 scoring offense in the league, I couldn't tell you if we were one, two or three, but drives ending in points last year we were one, two or three and that was with all those turnovers. So, now imagine if we can just limit, cut those in half or take away a third of those to see how good we really can be. I know everything that we did last year doesn't carry over into this year, but it is fun to think about it if we can continue to make good decisions at the quarterback position -- and that's me -- how good this team can be and how many more points we can score.
"The name of the game is scoring points in the NFL, you know. If you can score more than they do, you're going to have success."
49ers seek dominance on defense
Defense has reigned supreme in San Francisco for the past few seasons, but that didn't stop the 49ers from adding to their strength in 2023.
Free-agent signing Javon Hargrave joins a unit that ranked first in yards allowed per game (300.6), points allowed per game (16.3) and turnover differential (+13). The former Eagles defensive tackle is coming off a career-high 11.5 sacks in 2022, which was a sizeable chunk of Philadelphia's historic pass-rushing season.
The big signing was an effort to get back to being dominant even though it wasn't in the team's initial plan for 2023, according to 49ers general manager John Lynch.
"We've been putting the pedal to the metal for a while bringing in guys that are the best at what they do, and you can only have so many of those," Lynch said on Inside Training Camp Live. "Last offseason was supposed to be a year in our planning where we kind of sat it out, but you start looking at our corps, our nucleus -- I don't think there's a window, because I think we set it up to be sustainable -- but we felt like maybe we had dropped off a little. We were really good on the D-line, I don't know if we were dominant last year and we want to get back to being dominant. So you start looking, who are the difference-makers? Fortunately, ownership kind of thought like we did. I remember Jed [York], when I went to talk to him and kind of told that story, he stopped me and said just make sure it's a difference-maker. He knew where I was going and I think we got one in Javon Hargrave. He's going to fit great with out group."
Steve Wilks was hired this offseason to direct the 49ers D following the exit of DeMeco Ryans, Reporting from Santa Clara, former Bills DC and new NFL Network analyst Leslie Frazier said Wilks is "elated" to inherit such a talented defense and that he should eventually find ways to make it his own in 2023.
"One of the things that he talked about was not necessarily changing the scheme, but being able to learn the defense and then being able to put his own twist on it with a few wrinkles here and there," Frazier said. "Steve has been an excellent coach in our league and with the talent they have on defense, he's only going to help them be better."
Can Green Bay continue trend of longstanding QBs?
Packers running back Aaron Jones believes that trend can continue beginning in 2023.
"I truly believe Jordan Love can get 15-plus (years) or however long he wants," Jones told NFL Network Insider Tom Pelissero on Thursday at Packers camp.
Love, a first-round pick in 2020, showed tremendous growth last season in the few times he saw action, most notably during a Week 12 game against the Eagles where the 24-year-old went 6-of-9 passing for 113 yards and a touchdown after Rodgers left the game injured. It followed up a promising 2022 preseason for Love, whose play at training camp this summer is indicating to Jones that he will maintain production for the Packers' offense.
"The development to see him grow in the three years that he's had sitting behind A-Rod has been huge," Jones told Pelissero. "I don't see too many differences. He's just happy to be here, same as A-Rod was. I don't see too many differences. Guys wanna be the best. I think it's simple. Two guys that just want to be the best."
NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport sees Love's handling of the entire situation in Green Bay as something the organization took into consideration as it decided to enter a new era in 2023.
"The crazy thing to me about Jordan Love is that he has dealt with, the last two offseasons, all of the drama with Aaron Rodgers. He has watched it, he has lived it," Rapoport said on ITC Live. "He maintained a great relationship with Rodgers, the two are very close and they still are close, and he has been able to kind of withstand this. Had a random start because of COVID, got in last year also kind of randomly, and seems to have held up despite all the stuff. I would imagine just make-up wise -- forget about football -- but make-up wise, this is a guy the Packers believe in."
JSN to bring "added dimension" to Seattle
Geno Smith authored one of the more inspiring stories last season as he led the Seahawks back to the playoffs, which led to the veteran quarterback earning full control of the reins in 2023.
Seattle added to Smith's arsenal by drafting wideout Jaxon Smith-Njigba in the first round this past April, and the 2022 Comeback Player of the Year likes what he sees from the Ohio State product so far.
"Jaxson, from Day 1, he's just been so special," Smith told NFL Network's Bridget Condon on Inside Training Camp Live. "I kind of knew that. I remember I was in L.A. training with one of my boys and was watching his highlights, and I text (head coach) Pete (Carroll) like, we have to draft this guy. We ended up getting him, so I was so happy.
Seattle's offseason also saw the return of linebacker Bobby Wagner, who is back after one season with the rival Rams. According to Smith, the Seahawks' all-time leading tackler is helping a young defense that's bringing a welcomed resistance against his offense during training camp.
"He makes it hard on us," Smith told Condon. "Having a MIKE linebacker who's a Hall of Famer, in my opinion, one of the best to play the game, it's extremely tough in practice to go up against these guys. Quandre Diggs back there, we added Julian Love, can't wait to get Jamal (Adams) back and J-Brooks (Jordyn Brooks) back, can't wait to get Tariq Woolen back. We got young corners with Spoon (Devon Witherspoon, Seattle's other 2023 first-round pick), Tre Brown has been stepping up, Mike Jackson has had a great offseason. The entire defense, including that defensive line, everybody is doing such a great job making it hard on the offense.
"We like to think iron is sharpening iron, so we got to just keep working together and try and get better."