Best of Wednesday at NFL training camps: Latest buzz on Teven Jenkins, Antonio Gibson, Lamar Jackson, Tua Tagovailoa

While there has been no shortage of talk during 2021 NFL training camp season about whether veteran Andy Dalton or rookie Justin Fields should start for the Chicago Bears in Week 1 (click “More” below to see what Dalton had to say about that today), both quarterbacks felt a big loss Wednesday, as it was announced that offensive tackle Teven Jenkins, the No. 39 overall pick in this year’s draft, underwent back surgery, which could cost him the entire season.

Meanwhile, NFL Nation reporters have plenty of buzz on players such as potential breakout fantasy star Antonio Gibson, 2018 NFL draft mates Lamar Jackson and Sam Darnold who practiced jointly, and the Miami Dolphins tight ends making plays for Tua Tagovailoa.

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

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Top NFL news of the day

Chicago Bears OT Teven Jenkins to have back surgery; team hopes he can return this season
Chicago Bears rookie offensive tackle Teven Jenkins will undergo back surgery on Wednesday, coach Matt Nagy announced. Nagy said he hopes Jenkins, whom the Bears traded up to draft 39th overall in the second round of the draft, will be able to return this season.

Dallas Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy says ‘good chance’ Dak Prescott won’t play in preseason
The likelihood of Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott seeing any live action in the preseason before the Sept. 9 opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is becoming lower and lower. “There’s a good chance he probably won’t play. Yes, that’s fair,” coach Mike McCarthy said.

FBI investigating allegations against Houston Texans QB Deshaun Watson, possible extortion
The allegations of sexual assault and inappropriate behavior against Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson are being investigated by the FBI, Watson’s lawyer, Rusty Hardin, said Wednesday. Hardin also said that Watson spoke to the FBI about allegations of extortion regarding one of the 23 lawsuits filed against the quarterback. Twenty-two of the 23 are still active.

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What our NFL Nation reporters saw today

Washington wants to increase the role of running back Antonio Gibson, but both Gibson and his coaches say he’s still adjusting to being a full-time back. After practice today — which was mostly scout-team work — Gibson said he is still learning when to slam through the hole and when to cut back. On a second-and-4 run against New England, for example, he should have plowed forward and picked up at least four yards, but he instead tried to spin out and create a bigger play. He ended up gaining just two yards. It served as a reminder to him to sometimes just hit the hole and create the yards. He still should see an enhanced role in the pass game, but the coaches want more consistency from him in the run game. That comes from continuing to learn. — John Keim

Joint practices with the Buccaneers gave the Titans defense a chance to go against Tom Brady’s intense, up-tempo offense. Kevin Byard said it tested their communication because the offense lined up and snapped the ball quickly. After a slow start the defense got interceptions from Amani Hooker and Jackrabbit Jenkins coming against Brady. Overall, the defense seemed to get the best of Brady and the Bucs offense but they were helped by a series of drops by the receivers. — Turron Davenport

Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold and Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson entered the NFL as first-round picks in 2018, Darnold the No. 3 overall pick by the Jets and Jackson No. 32 by Baltimore. But in Wednesday’s joint practice between the teams, Jackson looked sharper. Perhaps it was because Darnold’s receivers had trouble getting open and making catches, as coach Matt Rhule said. Perhaps it was because Jackson completed his first four passes in team drills and was steady all day. Regardless, for Panthers’ first-round pick Jaycee Horn, being on the same field with Jackson was big. “He’s like a human highlight drill, so seeing him in person, it was pretty cool,” the cornerback said. But did he see any highlights today? “Nah, I didn’t even see none,” Horn said. — David Newton

The Falcons’ offensive line has been a question mark through most of training camp — but work against the Miami Dolphins on Wednesday in the first of two joint practices gave a better look at what Atlanta might have. While left guard might still be a issue — potential starter Josh Andrews left with a cramp and was replaced by two rookies at different points, Jalen Mayfield and Drew Dalman — the rest looked better than expected. That’s progress in the first real look at the team’s offensive line all preseason, considering only Andrews played in the preseason opener. — Michael Rothstein

Miami’s tight ends had a bit of a day against Atlanta’s defense — no matter if it was the first, second or third team on the field. In particular, tight end Adam Shaheen had a strong day, including one play in 7-on-7 work where he basically ran through the entire Atlanta defense to get open for a touchdown from Tua Tagovailoa. Shaheen had multiple catches Wednesday. — Michael Rothstein

Veteran Mike Remmers, who opened training camp as the starting right tackle, returned to practice this week after missing time because of back spasms, but he played as the backup left tackle instead. That doesn’t mean the Chiefs have yet given the starting right tackle job to rookie Lucas Niang, but it’s a sign the Chiefs are happy with Niang’s play and that it may be difficult for Remmers to get the job back. If Niang winds up starting when the regular season begins, the Chiefs would have three rookies on their offensive line, also including center Creed Humphrey and right guard Trey Smith. — Adam Teicher

Duane Brown’s contract dispute is still an ominous cloud hanging over Seahawks camp. The veteran left tackle has sat out of the first three weeks of practice as he seek an extension. All indications have been that the Seahawks don’t want to give him a new deal this year, and no one knows if Brown is willing to miss games without one. To make matters worse, his top two backups have been hurt, which has pressed rookie sixth-round pick Stone Forsythe into action. Russell Wilson’s concern was again evident Wednesday even within his diplomatic response to a question about Brown’s absence: “You always want your star left tackle out there. So just trusting the process, hoping that it works out because we definitely need him …” — Brady Henderson


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