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| Week Four
What a difference a week makes. The Bills headed into their preseason
game against Washington with three healthy running backs. They came
out with one. Fred Jackson is scheduled to miss 4-6 weeks with a
broken and while Marshawn Lynch willl miss 3-4 weeks with a sprained
ankle. C.J. Spiller, come on down! Veteran RB Chad Simpson and undrafted
rookie Joique Bell are now on the radar but don’t be surprised
if Buffalo signs another back this week. QB Trent Edwards was adequate
in a blowout loss to the Skins (42-17) going 5 of 6 for 44 yards
on the first drive, but completed just one of his last six passes.
The Bills were missing three starters off the offensive line.
Concern over a banged up O-line is making headlines in Dolphins
camp. Nate Garner, who started eight games at the guard positions
last year, underwent foot surgery that will keep him on the shelf
for at least eight weeks. John Jerry sustained a knee injury in
practice and may miss some time. Star wideout Brandon Marshall had
butterfingers Saturday night dropping a couple of easy passes from
Chad Henne and followed it up with a poor showing in practice on
Monday. "Encourage him off the field and just let him work
through it," (Chad) Pennington said. "A lot of things
going through his mind, and really probably the biggest thing is
he's trying too hard. He wants to do so well. He's just trying too
hard. Speaking of Pennington, he did not get a snap against Tampa
Bay. Tyler Thigpen is currently running number two behind Henne.
New York Jets
The Jets starters got an extended look in their first preseason
game against the Giants playing the entire first half. An interesting
fact about the Jets’ offense and a clear sign that you can’t
take things at face value in the preseason…. the Jets ran
the ball 28 times and passed 43 times in this contest. There is
no doubt Rex Ryan will choose to grind it out once the games start
counting but the preseason is about fixing weaknesses and evaluating
players you’re unsure about. You’ll see more “odd
behavior” like this from teams as the preseason rolls on.
LaDainian Tomlinson didn’t look over the hill at all. He showed
some nice quickness against the Giants and looked like he has something
to prove. “It was good to just be out there playing,”
he added. “I don’t care if it was in the second half.
I would have had a blast playing. I have fun playing football. I
The WR position in New England lost some depth this week with Torry
Holt being placed on IR because of a bum knee. It would’ve been
hard for Holt to make the roster anyway with Moss, Welker, Edelman,
Tate, and Price ahead of him on the depth chart. Speaking of Welker,
the team sat him during the first preseason game but he’s beginning
to participate in full team practices. “We're going to take it slow
and make sure we stay on track. We've been good up to this point,
and we're just going to keep that going." Sure, he’s sporting a
brace but you have to be encouraged by his progress to date. You
think Welker is pushing his recovery because he knows Edelman can
adequately fill his role?
Josh McDaniels may perpetuate the myth publicaly that there is a
QB competition in camp but the job unquestionably belongs to Kyle
Orton. "I'm pleased with what he (Orton) did. It's kind of the
same as what he's done in training camp. He's really performed well
and he's got really good command of what we're doing." The competition
is between Tim
Tebow and Brady
Quinn for No. 2. "I think Tim and Brady both did some good things
and both made some mistakes we need to fix. It will be interesting
to see how the rest of the preseason goes."
The Broncos continue to be woefully thin at the running back position
with Knowshon Moreno and Correll Buckhalter nursing injuries. Lance
Ball (6 carries, 27 yards) got the start against Cincinnati. Jabar
Gaffney, Brandon Lloyd and Eddie Royal started the game out of the
three-wideout look, with Royal lining up in the slot.. Josh McDaniels
has said they want to make a concerted effort to get Royal more
involved this season. Brandon Stokley was the third receiver when
the Broncos went to the three wide with the second-team offense.
Fun with depth charts. Currently, RB Thomas
Jones is slotted ahead of Jamaal
Charles and TE Leonard
Pope is listed ahead of rookie TE Tony
Moeaki on the Chiefs “official” depth chart that came out this
week. I wouldn’t read too much into the veteran Jones being listed
ahead of Charles - expect a 60-40 split in Charles’ favor this season.
However, it’s my belief that Pope will start the season as the #1
tight end. He’s a favorite of head coach Todd Haley and Moeaki will
need more polish and must demonstrate the ability to stay out of
the training room before he assumes the starting role – a feat he
can accomplish by mid-season.
KC’s first preseason game against the Falcons was a stinker.
“We clearly have a bunch to work on in a lot of different areas,”
Chiefs coach Todd Haley said. Charles and WR Dexter
McCluster were the bright spots, although McCluster looked
like a rookie, dropping an easy pass that cost the Chiefs a first
down. RB Thomas Jones limped to the sideline after two carries
for 2 yards.
It was a mixed bag for the Raiders’ offense in their first preseason
game against Dallas. The starters played the entire first half
but never really got anything going. The Jason
Campbell led offense managed just five first down in the first
half and what a shock… Darrius
Heyward-Bey dropped the first pass of the game. TE Zach
Miller appears to be a favorite of Campbell and could have
a big fantasy season. "We have good trust," Miller said. "On certain
routes he knows I'm going to win. We have a good feel for each
other already on where I'm going to be. I try just to be consistent
for him and make the plays for him so he keeps coming my way."
On the injury front, WR Chaz
Schilens continues to be limited in practice with a bad foot
and RB Darren
McFadden (listed as day-to-day) is out of practice bothered
by a bad hamstring. “He's much, much better,” Cable said. “Much
improvement from the workout this morning and again this afternoon.
We'll just take it day by day. Obviously, we'll push it as much
as we can but we're not going to rush it.” Rock
Cartwright and Michael
Bennett are picking up the slack in McFadden’s absence.
Mathews looks like the real deal. He busted out for 50 yards
on nine carries in the Chargers first preseason game against Chicago.
"He got carries and a couple passes the other night and I'd expect
him to stay in that area this week," coach Norv Turner said Monday.
"In the third game I'd like to see him get 20 carries and in the
last game, as we do with most first teamers, we'll cut that way
back to help him stay fresh for the regular season." With Vincent
Jackson holding out, Malcom Floyd and Legedu
Naanee are your starting wide receivers.
There is speculation that the Ravens are shopping RB Willis McGahee
or WR Mark Clayton for a defensive back. For what it’s worth
both got extensive action early against the Panthers and Clayton
was the beneficiary of QB Joe Flacco’s impressive performance
(8-12, 120 yds, 1 TD). The two connected on a 30-yd TD in the first
quarter. Ray Rice had zero touches. "I don't think our plan
was to give Ray a lot of work going into the game," coach John
The camp battle for kicker rages on. Billy Cundiff and Shayne Graham
are the candidates. Head coach John Harbaugh was non-committal…
"I think it's too early to say," he said. "They've
both done well.
Owens and his popcorn still need time to get on the same page
Palmer. “We accomplished some things. We got in there and
played a little more. It’s going to come,” said Owens. “That’s
why I’ve been try to work hard in practice so that it comes second
nature to me. We still have a long way to go.”
If the Bengals lose Cedric
Benson for any length of time they may not miss a beat with
Scott. “I just try to make big plays when I get my opportunity,”
said Scott, The second-stringer rolled up 65 rushing yards and
48 receiving yards in ten touches against Denver. Scott should
be one of you top backup players to target in the middle to late
rounds of your draft. Rookie tight end Jermaine
Gresham (3 receptions, 37 yards) appears to be the real deal
not only catching the ball, but his blocking ability in the run
game has been impressive so far in camp. If he doesn’t start Week
1 he will do so easily by mid-season.
The bumps and bruises are starting to pile up for the Brownies.
Rookie running back Montario
Hardesty has been sidelined with a twisted knee continues
to miss team practice but head coach Eric Mangini hopes to have
him back next week. Jerome
Harrison (7 carries, 25 yards, 1 TD) and James
Davis (6 carries, 24 yards) received the bulk of the carries
in Hardesty’s absence.
Delhomme is reportedly giddy over the Browns preseason triumph
over Green Bay. "It doesn't matter, preseason or what, you want
to win," said Delhomme. He looked sharp in an 11-play, 810-yd
drive culminating in a TD run by Jerome Harrison. Delhomme has
secure lock on the starting job despite two TD throws from Seneca
Wallace. Receiver Mohamed
Massaquoi appears to have locked up a starting WR job, but
suffered a strained hamstring during the Browns preseason game
against Green Bay. Mangini said he won't practice today but should
be back later in the week. As a result, Josh
Cribbs and Chansi
Stuckey figure to get more first-team reps.
Roethlisberger didn’t get any action (on the field anyway)
in the preseason opener but is expected to play this week against
the Giants. QB Dennis
Dixon’s favorite target against the Lions was WR Antonio
Brown (3 catches, 84 yards, 1 TD). "He's the Rod Tidwell of
our group," veteran wide receiver Hines Ward said Monday. Despite
a decent showing by Dixon, it appears Byron
Leftwich has a lock on the starting job until Roethlisberger
returns. Leftwich has received the majority of the first-team
snaps in practice.
The three-headed RB committee in Houston just got reduced to two.
Rookie Ben Tate broke his ankle in the preseason game against Arizona
and will miss the remainder of the season. Arian Foster appears
to be the clear starter at this point with Steve Slaton with providing
backup services. Foster had 4 carries for 31 yards against the Cardinals.
Tate’s injury could open the door for second-year back Jeremiah
Johnson. "I'm getting an opportunity to carry the ball more,
and I plan to make the best of it." Johnson carried 5 times
for 35 yards against Arizona. " (Chris) Henry and Johnson will
go head-to-head in the second half of these games, and we'll see
what happens," Kubiak said. "Having four guys right now,
our eyes are open. We have to be because we've got a lot of preseason
left.” Who knows, if Steve Slaton continues his fumbling woes
(he lost another one against Arizona) Johnson could find himself
making an impact on the field in 2010.
When the backup QB becomes the focus of attention you know the ship
is sailing in the right direction and with Peyton Manning at the
helm, there really isn’t much cause for concern in Indy. Most
of talk these days is whether or not QB Curtis Painter (a sixth-round
selection in the 2009 NFL Draft from Purdue) is capable of being
an NFL backup QB. He’s drawing attention from fans and the
beat writers after his 3-INT performance against San Francisco.
Head coach Jim Caldwell is sticking up for his guy… “He's
still our second-team quarterback. We believe in him. He's going
to develop. It's going to take time. It's not an easy position to
play.” Don’t look for the Colts to bring in a veteran
QB anytime soon.
There’s some concern over the loss of C Jeff Saturday and
its affect on the Colts offense. Not necessarily for his skill but
for his ability to make line calls and his close connection with
Peyton Manning. Some wonder if the Colts no-huddle offense may miss
a beat or two until Saturday gets back to action.
With Anthony Gonzalez back on the field it’s too early to
tell how the wide receiver rotation will work out between Gonzalez,
Garcon, and Austin Collie but speculation is that Collie may be
the odd-man out in three-wideout sets. Garcon has also missed some
practice recently with an undisclosed injury.
A mild QB controversy is bubbling thanks to Luke McCown’s
three-touchdown performance against the Eagles. When asked how Garrard
looked on tape, head coach Jack Del Rio downplayed the question….
"Trim, pretty good. Good in the teal jersey"… Let’s
not get silly here folks; Garrard will be the starter come opening
day. On the receiving front, WR Mike Sims-Walker dropped a couple
of passes Friday, and injured his shoulder on, but Del Rio is looking
at the glass half-full..."Mike's had a good camp, got strong
hands and I think he's proven a reliable target for us, so we'll
keep working Mike," he said. Sims-Walker has been held back
a bit since the shoulder boo-boo, only participating in one practice
per day. WR Jarett Dilliard is off the PUP list and has been cleared
for practice after suffering a stress fracture on the pinkie toe
of his left foot.
After an ugly injury to RB Stafon
Johnson that was expected to keep him out 8-12 weeks the Titans
Gado and put the rookie from USC on IR. Javon
Ringer showed well in the team’s first preseason game, rushing
for 60 yards on 7 carries. "He's been really good in training
camp,'' offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger said. "I have
a lot of confidence in Javon, with everything he has shown. He
has the ability to make some runs like he did (Saturday), and
he is good in the passing game right now, too. He is definitely
ahead of where he was last year. There's no reason why he can't
be that guy.''
The fantasy prize in the desert, WR Larry Fitzgerald, will likely
be limited over the next few weeks after suffering a sprained MCL
in his right knee Saturday night against Houston. "They say
they want to be careful with it so it doesn't linger and . . . I'm
ready to go for Week 1 at St. Louis," Fitzgerald said. At this
point we have to take Fitzgerald at his word and expect him on the
field Week 1.
Head Coach Ken Whisenhunt characterized his team’s first
preseason game as “too sloppy” – typical sentiments
coming from a coach early in camp - as the team first unit offense
struggled. Derek Anderson’s two INTs and subpar showing
isn’t helping his case to become the starting QB. Matt Leinart
was efficient on short to intermediate passes during his abbreviated
playing time and remains entrenched as the starter.
It was a tough start for rookie QB Sam Bradford in his first NFL
preseason game. Bradford was sacked four times in a loss to the
Vikings and the Rams offense a whole looked Ram-like failing to
score an offensive touchdown and totaling 150 yards. Steven Jackson
(back) suited up but did not play. Chris Ogbonnaya started in his
absence. There’s lots of talk about the lack of a veteran
RB behind Jackson but in the end, it probably doesn’t matter.
This team isn’t contending for the playoffs this season.
RB Ryan Mathews looks like the real deal. He busted out for 50 yards
on nine carries in the Chargers first preseason game against Chicago.
"He got carries and a couple passes the other night and I'd
expect him to stay in that area this week," coach Norv Turner
said Monday. "In the third game I'd like to see him get 20
carries and in the last game, as we do with most first teamers,
we'll cut that way back to help him stay fresh for the regular season."
With Vincent Jackson holding out, Malcom Floyd and Legedu Naanee
are your starting wide receivers.
Big news this week as backup RB Glen
Coffee abruptly retired and head coach Mike Singletary didn’t
do much to change his mind. "I appreciate his honesty and I appreciate
him not coming out here and just going through the motions," the
coach said. The 49ers immediately went out and acquired the services
Westbrook - The timing of the deal is a bit coincidental because
Dixon showed so well in the Niners' first preseason game. Regardless,
it's a good move by the Niners as Gore has missed at least one game
in all but one of his five seasons as a pro. If Gore is forced to
miss time again this season, expect Westbrook to be the pass-catching
complement to Dixon in a committee situation (Doug Orth).
Some think the head coaching change will make Justin Forsett the
RB to have in this committee. “Julius Jones remains a factor,
but Forsett and the newly healthy Leon Washington are commanding
most of the attention at running back.” Backup QB Charlie
Whitehurst had a successful showing (214 yds, 2 TDs) against Tennessee.
Head coach Pete Carroll liked what he say. "We really thought
we saw enough of Charlie to make a really good evaluation. ... Charlie's
going to really help us. Nothing he's done has told us anything
but that." Rookie WR Golden Tate continues to have a good camp
but was a non-factor Saturday night (2 catches, 5 yards).
In case you were wondering, Jerry Jones is recovering fine from
and orthopedic procedure he underwent in July. In matters on the
field, the Cowboys have lost their right tackle Mark Colombo with
a knee injury. He could miss 2-4 weeks, which could put his availability
for the Sept. 12 season opener at Washington in question, and hamper
the passing and running game in the process.
TE Jason Witten had a run-in with a fence after making a catch in
practice. After a brief moment of anxiousness, Witten returned and
showed no signs injury. WR Dez Bryant is hopeful to play the Cowboys
final two preseason games but word has it, the Cowboys will be cautious
and keep him on the shelf until Week 1. No pain at all,'' said Bryant,
who injured his right ankle on July 30. "I'm fine. At the same
time, I still know I can't cut the way I want. "It doesn't
hurt when I cut. It doesn't give out. I feel like I don't get enough
New York Giants
Are we finally seeing the passing of the torch? It appears Ahmad
Bradshaw who has battled foot problems the last year and half, is
making his claim to be the Giants lead RB in 2010. He’s been
getting first crack with the starting unit in camp and showed his
burst taking a shovel pass from Manning and jaunting 51 yards down
the field. It is too early to tell if Bradshaw will unseat Jacobs
as the team's starting running back but perhaps the best way to
keep Jacobs healthy is giving him 40% of the carries to Bradshaw’s
60%. Just a thought if any of the Giants’ coaches are reading
Who in the heck is Victor Cruz? This kid made an outstanding one-handed
grab in the second half of the Giants-Jets tilt on Monday night.
Cruz finished the evening with 6 catches, 145 yards and 3 TDs…
not too shabby. The Giants have a boatload of depth at the receiver
position but need to find a way to keep Cruz on the 53-man roster.
Eli Manning got knocked around like pinball Monday night but he
and his eleven forehead stitches are just fine.
Kevin Kolb looked like a fantasy QB1 in the Eagles first preseason
game against Dallas connecting with DeSean Jackson on Jeremy Maclin
for big plays in the first quarter. There was apparently some ego-driven
bad blood between DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin in camp but that
talk has since faded away.
Starting RB LeSean McCoy seems to be in good graces with the Eagles’
coaching staff regarding his performance in camp thus far. "There
were a couple specific things LeSean wanted to do and (running backs
coach) Ted (Williams) wanted to see from him and he got those accomplished,"
Mornhinweg said. Apparently McCoy has improved his blitz pickup
as it’s “night and day” better from last year.
It was interesting to see Chris
Cooley get a lot of looks underneath during the Redskins’
thrashing of the Bills Friday night. Cooley is back from a broken
ankle suffered last season and should be a favorite target of
McNabb’s in 2010. Speaking of McNabb, he’s been a little shaky
in camp so far, but that’s to be expected given he’s learning
a new language. After being in one system for eleven years, it
will take some time before he’s completely comfortable with new
terminology and everyone on the offense is in love with Kyle Shanahan’s
version of the offense. "There are just a lot more opportunities
for guys to make plays because of what we do now. There are a
lot more opportunities for everyone now," said TE Fred
Davis. Keep in mind, Shanahan directed the Texans offense
last season that led the league in passing yards with 4,654.
The Mike Martz, Jay Cutler era begin without much fanfare as the
first team Bears’ offense was on then quickly off the field
in their first preseason game against San Diego. We definitely have
to play more and get a little deeper into the first half,'' Cutler
said. It’s hard to pinpoint a fantasy star at wide receiver
this early, but Johnny Knox continues to impress and it appears
he will be a nice value pick in drafts this summer. Backup QB Caleb
Hanie injured his shoulder further pointing a light on the fact
that if this team loses Cutler for any length of time they will
be in serious trouble at the quarterback position.
The running game appeared to be stuck in mud just as it was last
season. Neither Matt
Forte (4 carries, 7 yards) nor Chester
Taylor (6 carries, 10 yards) could get anything going - perhaps
because the offensive line failed to get any kind of push against
the Chargers. Kahlil
Bell appears to have the advantage over Garrett
Wolfe in the battle to be the third running back.
Stafford played three series against the Steelers and finished
8-11 for 61 yards and 1 TD before leaving in the second quarter
and looked adequate. Of course when you have a beast like Calvin
Johnson at your disposal, who’s not going to look good? "He's
a mismatch for anybody," Stafford said. "It's tough for guys to
defend him, especially they're not committing anybody over the
top for help. They're blitzing both safeties. If they're going
to do that, we're going to put it up to the big guy."
Morris backed up Jahvid
Best in the Steelers game as Kevin
Smith was held out due to his knee injury. Best is still running
with the first team in practice and makes a solid option as an
RB2 for your fantasy team, especially in PPR leagues. RB DeDe
Dorsey may have cost himself a spot on the final roster with,
a 2.9-yard average against Pittsburgh, and lost a fumble inside
the 10-yard line.
Rodgers did his thing against Cleveland racking up 159 yards
and 1 TD on 12 of 13 passing, showing why he will be one of the
first QBs taken off the board in your fantasy draft. Green Bay
did lose Ryan
Grant after three carries on a hit to the dome in the first
quarter. It’s unclear if he suffered a concussion, but he appeared
woozy and looked wobbly walking to the sideline. The team is waiting
for him to be cleared by a neurologist before he returns to practice.
He’d better get back soon as the team is already down rookie James
Starts who remains on the PUP list.
Favre is back. You knew this would happen so let’s not waste any
more space here discussing it. What is of concern is the absence
of wideouts Percy
Harvin and Sidney
Rice; two players being targeted by many fantasy owners this
summer. Harvin returned to the practice field Monday (8/16) after
a two-week absence due to the death in the family and the passing
of a close friend. The migraine issue is … well, still an issue.
Fellow wideout Sidney Rice has missed all 24 practices because
of nagging hip problem. RB Adrian
Peterson continues to miss time and sat out the preseason
game against the Rams with hamstring injury. This doesn’t sound
good to the fantasy owner. Head coach Brad Childress attempted
to put on a happy face by saying… "People ask me if this is the
most number of players that I can remember sitting out," Childress
said. "No, it's not. I read the [news] clips. Philadelphia, they
had 14 guys sitting out at one point. I guess [the media] is the
one that has to determine whether it's the key guys or not.” Newsflash
Brad, it’s your key guys.
The Falcons first unit broke out the no-huddle offense against KC
on their second drive of the game. A sign of things to come? It
appears offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey will use this scheme
in more than just obvious hurry-up situations in 2010. The running
game was solid as Turner and the offensive line established themselves
early on. “I thought we were running the ball so successfully
on the first drive that we didn’t need to pass it,”
The Falcons have made a decision at kicker. Matt Bryant is apparently
their guy after Steven Hauschka was given his walking papers on
Saturday. Both kickers missed 50+-yard field goals in their first
preseason game against KC.
Stewart finally hit the practice field this week after off-season
surgery on his Achilles. He’s only taking part in individual drills
for the moment. There’s not much concern about him being ready for
Week 1 but he’ll definitely be limited in practice and may not play
much in Carolina’s remaining preseason games.
The starting WR spot opposite Steve
Smith is still up for grabs. Dwayne
Jarrett continues to have a fine camp… “He doesn't have to
be open to be open, if you know what I mean," receivers coach
Tyke Tolbert said. Rookie Brandon LaFell is having a good camp
as well. Both are the front-runners to start Week 1.
The Panthers offense failed to score a TD in 14 possessions in
their first preseason game against the Ravens. Matt
Moore has a lock on the starting QB job with rookie Jimmy
Clausen a distant second. There’s some speculation that they
may keep 4 QBs on the roster (Moore, Clausen, & Hunter Cantwell)
and try and keep Tony
Pike on the practice squad.
The Saints have found a replacement for the injured Lynell
Hamilton and his name is Ladell
Thomas and Reggie
Bush are expected to receive the bulk of the work out of the
backfield this season however.
The team is being cautious with WR Robert
Meachem who hasn’t yet participated in team drills. “I think
he’s very close,’’ coach Sean Payton said after Sunday morning’s
practice. “I’m hoping that it’s sometime in the early part of
this week. I think Robert is progressing pretty well on schedule
and we can have him hopefully here in the next couple of days.”
If Meachem doesn’t get on the field soon his status as the Saints
#2 fantasy wideout could be in jeopardy. Lance
Moore could be a nice sleeper pick should Meachem come limping
out of the gate.
Nobody is getting more hype in Tampa camp than rookie WR Mike
Willaims. To hear the media and pundits talk, this guy is the
second coming of Jerry Rice. We’ve produced numerous fantasy articles
over the years about how the majority of rookie wideouts simply
fail to make an impact but there are always a couple that bust
through door. Is Williams that guy for 2010? Perhaps. "He already
is the best receiver on Tampa Bay's roster," writes (Adam) Schefter,
It appears Michael
Clayton and Reggie
Brown are in competition for a single roster spot, as starter
Stroughter, and Arrelious
Benn, are all safe.
Keep your eye on RB Kareem Huggins looked very good on a sloppy
field in posting 71 total yards from scrimmage last week against
the Dolphins. He’s got a shot to make the roster and could challenge
Ward, who is struggling to make an imipact, for the No. 2
RB behind Cadillac