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2021 Training Camp and Pre-season News and Chatter


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For any out-of-market fans on the board who also do not live in DC/Balt area - NFL Network is picking up the Bengals/WFT pre-season game live. Pre-season Game 3 v Miami was already grabbed by CBS. That will leave just pre-season game 1 for out-of-market folks to find some way to watch (at Tampa). 

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9 hours ago, membengal said:

For any out-of-market fans on the board who also do not live in DC/Balt area - NFL Network is picking up the Bengals/WFT pre-season game live. Pre-season Game 3 v Miami was already grabbed by CBS. That will leave just pre-season game 1 for out-of-market folks to find some way to watch (at Tampa). 

I am a out-of-market fan and my cable provider doesnt include Nfl Network in extended package, to have it I have to pay more for it. but I have NFL Game Pass, so no worries for me I will be able to watch all 3 no matter what.

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SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO, Calif. — Tucked inside the Saddleback Mountains on the first Wednesday morning in July, the Junipero Serra Catholic High football squad is busy getting ready for the fall, practicing inside its stadium across the street from campus. The school’s track team has just wrapped up its workout nearby. Meanwhile, on the other half of the field, just a few yards from all the 14-, 15-, and 16-year olds, is the operation that could help determine who wins the next Super Bowl and may transform another perennial NFL doormat into a playoff team.

Josh Allen is firing one perfect pass after another to a trio of receivers some 25 yards downfield. As the Bills star hones his mechanics, a few feet away private QB coach Jordan Palmer observes every little maneuver while two other young NFL quarterbacks loosen up. On the sideline there is almost a quarter-million dollars’ worth of high-tech equipment that is another part of Palmer’s unique quarterback ecosystem.

Allen’s metamorphosis from being a strong-armed guy with accuracy issues at the University of Wyoming into a top-10 NFL draft pick and the second-place finisher in last season’s NFL MVP voting is a jolt to those in the football establishment who have long believed that quarterbacks can’t become much more accurate passers.

“I can totally see why they think that,” Palmer said. “I believe them that they can’t. Practicing the same movement over and over again is not the solution. Getting a really talented person to just do whatever they do over and over again consistently is not necessarily the correct plan. I don’t see somebody improving accuracy on that, either.

“Somebody who is really athletic and can learn the correct movement patterns and develop them really quick and turn them into muscle memory, I totally think you can get way more accurate.”

Allen, who connected on 56 percent of his passes in college, completed less than 53 percent as an NFL rookie in 2018. But a year later he improved to 59 percent and jumped to better than 69 percent in 2020. Palmer, who has overseen Allen’s evolution, predicts his protégé will complete in the low- to mid-70s percentage-wise this season.

For Allen, that next step is possible because of the work he’s put in with Palmer and Palmer’s colleagues to become more consistent on a few specific throws. In the past Allen’s weight distribution when passing became a little off-kilter, causing him to over-stride. That gave the ball the tendency to sail high and to the right. Solving that seemingly very small detail could win a franchise its first Super Bowl.

“That one third down in that game, that’s the whole deal,” Palmer says. “When it comes down to winning the Super Bowl, it’s always gonna come down to that one throw.”

In the case of Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow, who has worked with Palmer for three years, the advancement from No. 1 draft pick to premier player could come down to one tweak in his technique.

“Joe Burrow is gonna go off this year,” Palmer says. “He is going to be a major story and here’s why: He found a way to create more energy on the ball.”

The 37-year-old younger brother of former NFL star Carson Palmer, Jordan Palmer has emerged as a go-to guy for quarterbacks all over the country, from MVP candidates to 10-year-olds.

After a seven-year NFL career in which he threw a total of 18 passes, Palmer took what he’d learned from his time alongside some of the brightest minds in the game to help train former UCF standout Blake Bortles in his draft prep in 2014. Bortles went third overall in that year and led to Allen and Sam Darnold and then Joe Burrow, last year’s No. 1 pick, who then led to this year’s top pick Trevor Lawrence.

But Palmer’s work with these players doesn’t end with the draft, and his fascination with the way quarterbacks throw and with technology has led him down some fascinating paths. Palmer’s QB Summit, an online program that has high school and college quarterbacks from 30 states and five countries signed up, includes Zoom sessions every weekend that expand on everything from the mechanics of the position to mental health.

Palmer’s enthusiasm for his craft is like a scientist who has just made a big breakthrough. As one of his quarterbacks, Kyle Allen of the Washington Football Team, throws passes while surrounded by the cameras feeding the motion capture software that is set up on the JSerra sideline, Palmer’s face lights up detailing a proud development he and Burrow had this offseason.

“He came out here once he was cleared to throw,” Palmer says. “I said, come with the clips where it didn’t feel right or it felt like shit. He’s like, Tennessee game. Third-and-6. We end up pulling all these clips. Right when he got ready to throw and really tried to rip it — watch my right foot,” Palmer steps back to mimic the movement and then lifts his heel off the ground.

“When our heel comes off the ground, now it’s our quad that gets engaged. For us to get hip extension, which we want, it has to be started with the glute. With human body movement — forget quarterbacks for a moment, as soon as our quad is engaged — all it’s gonna do is straighten our leg. It’s not gonna push my hip forward. What it’s really doing is putting you on your front toe. So he’s just lost all of that energy.”

Palmer wouldn’t have detected the issue through basic film review of Burrow from last season. “I would never have noticed it,” he said. “It was very subtle. It only happened before when he really tried to rip it.

“His hips would shift forward and his heel came off the ground. These,” Palmer says, as he points to his quads and starts bouncing, “are not movers.  These are shock absorbers.

“These,” pointing to his hips, “are your movers. When I do this (bouncing), I dampen energy. I don’t want to absorb shock here. I want to create energy.”

Palmer’s cue to his quarterbacks — “Hey, all 16 go into the ground,” is a reference to most football shoes having eight cleats on each side.

“The more cleats we have in the ground and the way that our weight distribution is, whether we’re stationary when we’re throwing, that has an effect on the amount of energy we pull from the ground,” he said. “And I want to pull as much as I can as often as I can. It’s hard for me to look at tape and go, Oh, see that one right there, you want to do this. I don’t do that.

“I hear a lot about arm fatigue during the season, and that usually comes from a quarterback using his arm too much and not throwing with his core enough.”

Chris Hess, a Kansas State offensive lineman in the 1990s who has become Palmer’s high-tech guru, has never asked any quarterback to get set up and throw as hard as they can. But without doing so, he has registered Josh Allen with an exit velocity of 53 miles per hour. By his estimation, most NFL quarterbacks throw in the range of 47-52 mph. College QBs typically are between 45-50 mph.

From the data Palmer’s group collected in working with Burrow during draft prep, his exit velocity never registered above 48.5 miles per hour. However, after Palmer showed Burrow his kinematic sequence of him throwing the football and then gave him a leverage point to remind him to push off akin to being on a pitching mound, Burrow re-trained his body.

A key part of Palmer’s approach to the quarterbacks comes in the messaging. “I don’t want to tell him anything,” he said. “I want him to feel things.”

To get his point across, Palmer had Burrow throw while standing on force plates to measure the amount of energy that goes into the ground. The platforms, 40 inches by 30 inches and six inches deep, measure that force.

“Even though it feels more athletic to be on that toe,” Hess said, “we show them that when they get that heel down, they just produce more force with the drive leg. So it starts with a horizontal force driving forward. Then there’s a rotational force, as that front foot starts to come down as they start to turn, that’s the next part of the sequence. The final sequence is that left leg, that left foot planted fully into the ground, heel to toe. That’s when the vertical force — the Z force — kicks in, when they’re really going to drive up through their leg and into their hip. That Z force that starts to create the rotation is really the important key.”

Hess connected with Palmer after cold calling him three years ago to see if the quarterback coach had any interest in using 3D motion capture to try and objectively measure what his quarterbacks were doing. Palmer was open to the idea and was impressed with what they discovered while trying it out in one of his QB Summit sessions with high school quarterbacks. Then they expanded it to his college and NFL QB clients.

“He was interested in getting more objective data to assess the quarterbacks,” said Hess, who owns Biometrek, a movement analysis company. “Part of what I love about working with Jordan is that he’s not a ‘guru’ that teaches a method. It resonated with Jordan because of Carson and how the compensations early affected him later.”

Hollywood productions have been using real-time motion capture for some two decades. The technology has also become a game changer in the sports performance world. The human eye can only see about 30-40 frames per second, whereas motion capture technology can see 240 frames, providing data and intel on what’s happening to the athletes kinematically in much finer detail.

In addition to the motion capture software, Palmer also does R&D with Wilson, utilizing special chip-equipped footballs that can measure velocity, spiral efficiency (from a “100” for a perfect spiral to a “1”, which is a helicopter), spin rate and spiral decay, or how many RPMs the ball loses through the throw. To avoid having the quarterbacks trying to go overboard amping up their deliveries, Palmer will work in the special Wilson ball not only when he’s having his QBs throw drives (where they’re trying to fire the ball) but also on layers and touch balls, which are more finesse throws. “That way they don’t know which ball has the chip in it,” he said. As an example of what they can glean, Palmer said former SMU quarterback Shane Buechele increased his spiral efficiency almost 20 percent through 12 weeks of draft prep.

Near the JSerra track, Hess operates a workstation with two large flat screen TVs wired to Dari-Motion software. Eight security-style cameras are positioned at various points, forming a 25-foot by 25-foot square. Before the quarterbacks step into the middle to begin throwing, he has them stand like a scarecrow so the software will create an avatar that pops onto their skeleton. Then he has them wave their arms and move their legs as if doing jumping jacks. That enables the avatar, after about 15 seconds, to lock onto their frame, tracking all of the bone segments and the joints throughout the body.

“There is a little bit of artificial intelligence built into it so that it knows the shape of a human body to start with,” Hess said.

The technology in the past few years has come a long way from when it required reflective markers (the dots positioned all over a person’s body) to enable the avatar. Before, it required taking video from all the angles and doing a lot of post-processing to create the avatar after the fact. “Now it happens real-time, so you can immediately review and make the adjustments,” Hess said. Plus, without the markers or a special suit, the athlete is more comfortable because they’re performing in their natural environment.

The first year Hess and Palmer worked together they just did the motion capture, but they soon realized that they had to have a way to measure what is happening with their quarterbacks’ feet.

“You gotta understand how and when they’re applying force into the ground to be able to help them understand how they need to create rotation because it’s different for every quarterback with the feel they’ll get,” Hess said. “The force plates tell us when the weight shift is happening, what direction they’re pushing with the feet, the specific directions to create rotational force.”

Much of the research about kinematic sequencing for rotational athletes like quarterbacks as well as baseball players has proven counter to what has been taught for generations. Palmer can rattle off some old QB axioms that are counterproductive, he says, like pulling through with your front arm by cranking your elbow down. “The muscles that you engage for you to do that actually rob you of your energy from your throwing motion,” he said.

Stepping at the target and having the front foot point directly at the target is another one. “We all grew up doing it, but I think the only reason we did it is because someone started saying that made the most sense,” Palmer said. “It doesn’t actually make sense; getting your lead leg in that position, the muscles it takes to do that, actually robs you of energy to do with your left hip what you need to do. Those are very common things that everyone told us to do that, after further investigation, are just not truth.”

After a few days back in California following Burrow’s rehab for a torn ACL and MCL, Palmer noticed a dramatic improvement in the velocity Burrow was getting on the ball. The force plates under Burrow’s feet showed that his output was twice as powerful.

Palmer didn’t say anything to Burrow about what kind of velocity was registering until the fifth ball the Bengals QB threw. Palmer wanted to be sure it wasn’t some kind of tech error.

“You know you’re at 54, right?”

Burrow: “54 what?”

“Rip another one,” Palmer said as he handed the former LSU star another football.


“Gimme a ball.”


“Holy shit. Give me a ball.”


“The reasoning,” Palmer said, “is that his hips, his glutes and his core have never been stronger. When you rehab your knee, that’s all you’re doing, so he has more stability than he’s ever had before. Let’s replicate those things now that we’ve created a new movement pattern.”

Burrow’s own hard-wiring helped him get that new pattern down.

“Joe is a machine,” Palmer said. “You gotta give Joe a thing to chase, whether it’s a team or a record, it’s just a challenge. That’s all he needs. He’s so cerebral, and his ability to focus and be present is so incredible. He’s not a guy you throw a ton of things at and try ’em out and we’ll see. You don’t do gimmicky stuff with him. You give him a thing that is challenging that he believes is gonna make him better and then once he learns that pattern, then you put him in a position to get out of that pattern and let him self-correct. He’s like a computer.”

Burrow’s Bengals teammates and coaches noticed the difference in Burrow during their June minicamp. Receiver Tyler Boyd and tight end C.J Uzomah spoke of Burrow’s increased velocity, with Uzomah donning gloves to handle it. And second-year receiver Tee Higgins said, “When we first got back, he threw me a slant and I was like, ‘oh, shit!’ He came back way stronger. The ball’s got a little bit more zip, and they’re good.”

The best way to identify an issue with a high-level quarterback is to start with the clips of the throws that didn’t feel great. “With pretty good players, there’s a long list,” Palmer said. “With arguably the best player in the world, it’s a super short list, but there is something on the list. I started the conversation there.”

Palmer doesn’t really talk about making changes or fixes. Instead, he addresses what he calls areas of attention — “AOAs.”

For years in the quarterback space, a marketplace now teeming with private QB coaches, the tact has been to address something in the throwing mechanics to make the next throw better. “So a guy over-strides — ‘OK, don’t over-stride when you throw,’” Palmer says. “But there’s not enough understanding of what caused them to do that, so you’re kinda just fixing the result, as opposed to the root cause of the problem.

“I want to know what’s leading to that, and then we go through a process. It’s really four steps: 1. We try and get them to learn the new pattern that we’ve created and execute it correctly. 2. We train it for strength/resistance. 3. We train it for speed. 4. You get ready for competition — whether that’s a drill, practice or a game.”

At Wyoming, Josh Allen bounced and over-strided. So part of Palmer’s solution related to the hardwood floors in the house he rented for Allen and the other quarterbacks he was training in draft prep that year. In 2018 Allen was playing “Fortnight” every evening. Palmer wanted Allen in his socks on those hardwood floors so when the quarterback was bouncing on his toes, up on the balls of his feet, and his feet were very close together, it would start to feel terrible. Avoiding what caused that feeling would force him to play with the appropriate base and ultimately feel more comfortable.

“Our bodies are gonna go to the path of least resistance by nature,” Palmer says. “Most comfortable isn’t the answer. That’s like saying, ‘How’d you build your diet?’ ‘Well, I just went off how good things tasted.’ But that may not be helpful for you.”

Palmer has surrounded himself with other folks who he — and his quarterbacks — have to come to lean on for their specific expertise. Hess and Biometrek play a vital role, as does Mike White, a former Missouri State quarterback who studied in biomechanics and gained additional insight from examining Palmer’s work with the QBs in the outdoor lab at JSerra. Years earlier, White was training a friend’s son to play quarterback when he realized the kid couldn’t physically do what White was asking him to do because of his posture and the way his body was aligned with his hips. That prompted White to look into biomechanics, which led to more study after he immersed himself in an intensive program in the Bay Area.

“I set out to try and surround myself with people who understood elements of what I do better than I do,” Palmer said of White. “I didn’t want an assistant QB coach or an intern. I wanted someone who could come in and help me better understand it and be able to help more players.

“What Mike’s helped me do is connect the dots and better understand the human body and how it’s supposed to move and how the core does affect everything. A better understanding of that has been really helpful for me, and it’s helped me understand why I believe certain things. I’ve always said you need to keep all your cleats in the ground and have even weight distribution, but this has helped me understand why that’s valuable.”

An hour after the NFL quarterbacks and the JSerra high schoolers are gone, Palmer and White are training three college quarterbacks: Cincinnati’s Desmond Ridder, Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud and Washington State’s Jarrett Guarantano, all of whom came here for the week to sharpen their skills.

While Josh Allen was finishing up his workouts, the college QBs were each doing their throwing assessments with Hess on the sideline.

Ridder first came out in early March to train with Palmer. Ridder, who says he never had any private QB coaching before, went home with a few drills he does daily to make sure his whole body works as one and stays balanced, and he avoids getting himself too far on his back leg or dropping his elbow.

“When I came out here the first time, he made a great analogy of being water in a pool,” Ridder said. “You don’t want to sway the pool, make big waves and get the water outside the pool.”

Palmer’s reminders to the young quarterbacks circle back to this point: Less often is more. He implores them to trust their arms and not overstrain.

Later, when Palmer has the college quarterbacks work on off-platform throws, he widens his base and twists his body to make another point that seems to fly in the face of what has been a widely held perception. For as much talk there is in football circles about Patrick Mahomes’ freakish arm strength, both Palmer and White say the most underrated aspect of the Chiefs superstar is his remarkably strong core. White rolls his eyes when he hears people, including some other young QBs, knock Mahomes’ mechanics.

“You guys are looking at this all wrong,” he said. “With Mahomes, it doesn’t matter how he moves, he can literally get himself to a stable position and get his hips and core accessed and stabilized to throw the football. It’s because of his core and also his development.

“When Patrick Mahomes is out here, it’s not some trick shot like a lot of people think it is,” Palmer continued. “It is because of his core and how strong he is.”

Faulty mechanics and a lack of core strength doesn’t just lead to incompletions or interceptions, White said, it also can lead to all sorts of injuries. “That’s why all these non-contact ACLs are happening because too many guys want to go use their quad to stop themselves and make themselves go again,” he said.

A favorite quote Palmer has picked up from Hess — “The better the athlete, the better the compensator” — echoes that point.

“QBs throw with one of two things — we throw with connection, where we are connected to the ground and energy is transferred through our body and out our fingertip when we throw efficiently,” Palmer said, “or we lose that and we throw with momentum.”

Before Palmer walks off the field at JSerra, he mentions something one of the college quarterbacks has told him that has him convinced the kid is primed for a breakout season. “He said, ‘my obliques are changing the way that I throw.’ He didn’t know what they were before that.”

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