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Mike Krueger | Archive | Email  
Staff Writer

Training Camp Hype ("TCH")
News, Notes & Quotes from Week 2

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Heed these following words of caution. Training Camp Hype (“TCH”) is not the bible of fantasy football insight. When you view the information contained in this article, remember that every NFL team is fraught with the delivery of misinformation, sometimes to psyche out an opponent, other times to motivate players within its own camp and other times simply because the teams have no concept of reality (i.e. the Oakland Raiders).

Here's the Hype for Week 2...

Arizona Cardinals

We get a few out-for-the-season injuries in camp every year, and unfortunately the Cardinals experienced one this week. Rookie running back Ryan Williams will miss the season with a ruptured a patella tendon. He is expected to have season-ending surgery this coming week. LaRod Stephens-Howling is now the backup to Beanie Wells, with Alfonso Smith (second-year out of Kentucky) at No. 3 on the depth chart. Expect a free agent running back signing in the near future, but Beanie Wells should see more carries than coach Ken Whisenhunt likely envisioned just a few days ago. “I think there are a couple of guys out there but you have to do some research,” Whisenhunt said. “There may be opportunities a week or two from now that aren’t here now, and we’ll see.”

Tight end Todd Heap sprained his thumb and although he practiced all week, Heap was held out the Cardinals second preseason game against Green Bay.

Atlanta Falcons

Quarterback Matt Ryan thinks the Falcons are on the right track. “I think we are ahead of where we were last year,” Ryan said. Word is, the Falcons will open up the offense with more passing and three–wide receiver sets, which is certainly music to Ryan’s ears.

Wide receiver Harry Douglas has nailed down the No. 3 spot. “I’m here to do whatever they ask me to do—inside, outside, slot—whatever,” Douglas said. “I love the offense.” Douglas was the lone bright spot in an otherwise dismal performance against the Jaguars Friday night. “It just seemed like we were out of sync offensively,” Falcons coach Mike Smith said. ”We have some things that we definitely have to correct and that’s what the preseason is for.”

Tight end Justin Peelle suffered a severe injury that will cause him to miss “major time.” As a result, the Falcons signed veteran Reggie Kelly.

Baltimore Ravens

Wide receiver Lee Evans made his debut Friday night against the Chiefs and didn’t disappoint, hauling in three catches for 68 yards. "Lee Evans has been a great addition to our offense since the day he got here," offensive coordinator Cam Cameron said. "For the most part, I felt I played effectively," Evans said. "I think the communication was good, our assignments were good and it was a decent start. I look forward to building off of it."

According to the Baltimore Sun, running back Jalen Parmele’s roster spot may in jeopardy with the signing of Ricky Williams.

Rookie wideout Torrey Smith has a grip on the team’s No. 3 receiver spot. When he enters the game, Anquan Boldin will slide into the slot.

Buffalo Bills

The Bills slot receiver, Roscoe Parrish, is being babied in camp with a hamstring injury. He returned to practice on Wednesday but missed Saturday night’s game against Denver. This injury has hampered him for the better part of two weeks.

Donald Jones is expected to fill the void left by Lee Evans, and a number of pundits are high on Jones, including SI’s Peter King… "The Bills are going to throw it a lot. Jones could be the second-most productive receiver to Steve Johnson. Don't worry if you haven't heard of him. No one in your league has, either.” Before we all suck down the hype with one big gulp, understand that Jones is a starter almost by default, as David Nelson and Roscoe Parrish are ideally slot receivers. "I hope they dare us to beat 'em deep," said Fitzpatrick. "Stevie and Donald, they probably don't have the speed that Lee has, but they've got the ability to go up and get the ball. They're both big guys, and they can catch those contested balls. If they want to dare us to throw deep, that's what we're going to do and I think we're going to be successful with both the guys we have out there."

Carolina Panthers

Rookie quarterback Cam Newton was unimpressive in his starting role Friday night against Miami. As is the case with many young quarterback, Newton was inaccurate and appeared to be unsure of himself. Overall, he was 7-14 for 66 yards. "I'm not going to worry about who's the starting quarterback and who's not," Newton said. "I'm just going to worry about myself and getting better. With this performance tonight, I'm not pleased with it at all." Head coach Ron Rivera would like to name a starting quarterback before the Panthers head into the third preseason game. Neither Newton nor Jimmy Clausen has done much to earn the job on the field. Unless Clausen makes a significant move in camp this week, you have to think Rivera will lean toward the rookie. Stay tuned…

On the medical front, keep your eyes and ears on Jonathan Stewart. He missed some practice time this week after aggravating his Achilles and missed the game Friday night. This injury plagued Stewart last year so it’s worth monitoring.

How about some fourth-string tight end news? In case he was on your fantasy radar, Gary Barnidge broke his ankle in Friday night’s preseason game. Greg Olsen, Jeremy Shockey, and Ben Hartsock will pick up the slack.

Chicago Bears

Perhaps the biggest story in Bears camp has been the demotion of wide receiver Johnny Knox. “I’ve been in this situation before,” Knox told the Sun-Times last week. “But I’ve been turning doubters into believers my whole life. So it’s just time to make people believe. In this offense, it doesn’t matter about being No. 1, No. 2 or No. 3. If you come out and perform, you will be a big part of this offense, and that’s all I’m trying to be.” Roy Williams and Devin Hester are still running with the starters while Knox is playing behind Williams. This camp battle may have some fight in it yet.

Chemistry between Williams and quarterback Jay Cutler has been a hot topic this week. Williams indicated they are 60 percent of the way there. "It varies," Williams said. "Hopefully, it will be there by Week 1." Cutler was equally underwhelmed saying about Williams, "He's coming along, he's getting back into shape, taking more and more plays every day." Not exactly the sparks you’re looking for from your quarterback and No. 1 wide receiver.

Running back Chester Taylor may be on the market soon, but he’s putting on a good face. "Everybody's going to talk,'' he said. "(But) it's all about your play on the field.'' And his offensive coordinator is giving him a vote of confidence… "Chester is having a heck of a camp,'' Martz said. "He has lost some weight. He's in great shape.'' However, Marion Barber was brought in for a reason, and Taylor isn’t suited for special teams like running back Kahlil Bell. Add it all up and Taylor is in danger of being on the chopping block. "The coaches are going to make their decisions and the evaluations,'' Taylor said, "so I'm just going to come out here and keep playing.''

Cincinnati Bengals

Rookie receiver A.J. Green briefly left practice on Wednesday after injuring his right leg. “I’m fine. I was just sore yesterday and took precautions,” said Green. He returned to practice Thursday and participated in all team drills without issue.

Cleveland Browns

Montario Hardesty is ready to take the field again after tearing his ACL in the final preseason game last year. "It's been a long time,'' said Hardesty. "I can't wait. I'm ready to go.'' Hardesty will see action this Thursday against the Eagles. "Each day he looks better and better,'' said head coach Pat Shurmur. "He's anxious to get back. We're looking for him to compete. He got a lot of reps today. He's looking more and more comfortable with the knee.'' Hardesty’s return comes at just the right time, as Brandon Jackson pulled up lame with turf toe in Cleveland’s preseason game against the Lions.

Hamstrings are the injury of choice for a couple of key offensive producers. Running back Peyton Hillis and tight end Ben Watson are suffering, but both were on the practice field Sunday after sitting out Friday’s game against Detroit.

Mohamed Massaquoi (foot) continues to miss valuable practice time. He is expected to do some running this week, but is not expected to play Thursday against the Eagles. His fantasy value continues to take a nosedive.

Tight end Evan Moore is a promising player but it appears he may have suffered a concussion in Friday night’s game. Moore will be monitored closely because he’s had concussion issues in the past.

Dallas Cowboys

The only real offensive camp battle is for the No. 3 wide receiver position. Kevin Ogletree is the front-runner, but Dwayne Harris is making a name for himself thanks to five catches, 127 yards and a couple of TDs in the Cowboys’ first preseason game. His play in practice, however, has been less than stellar. This is Ogletree’s job to lose according to head coach Jason Garrett. “Kevin, like a lot of our younger players, shows you some flashes. They need to do it consistently. He's done that more and more over the last three years. He just needs to keep doing it. He needs to come to work every day, break the huddle on every play ready to be his best, and eliminate some of those negative plays. He's doing better at that.”

At running back, Tashard Choice (calf) and rookie DeMarco Murray (hamstring) missed their second straight preseason game due to injury. Lonyae Miller is running with the second team behind Felix Jones while Choice and Murray are on the mend.

Denver Broncos

The growing wisdom is that Brady Quinn will open the season as the No. 2 quarterback behind Kyle Orton. Quinn and Tim Tebow shared second-string reps in practice this week, and Quinn (10-16,130 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT) served as the No. 2 quarterback in Denver’s preseason game against the Bills. Head coach John Fox said that it was “fitting” for Quinn to be the second quarterback in that game because Tebow was second last week. Is it still an open competition? “That’s how I’m going to approach it,” Tebow said. The pecking order for Denver’s third preseason game against Seattle will gives us a good indication of who John Fox prefers to start this season with as Orton’s backup.

Detroit Lions

Lions fans have had enough of the injury bug. Whether it’s the fear of Matthew Stafford’s shoulder in a sling by Week 2 or losing their rookie running back before the season even begins, you can’t blame fans of the silver and blue if they fear the worst every time a player needs medical attention. Here we go again? Running back Jahvid Best suffered a concussion on the first offensive play for the Lions Friday night and while he stayed in a couple more plays after being knocked “woozy” he missed practice Sunday as the Lions will “take it slow” with their starting running back.

On the positive side, numerous players returned to the practice field Sunday after missing Friday’s preseason win over Cleveland (30-28), including RB Maurice Morris (hand), WR Calvin Johnson (shoulder), TE Tony Scheffler (hand), and WR Titus Young who practiced on a limited basis due to a hamstring injury. "Hopefully this puts it in his rear-view mirror and we’ll get him out in full practice tomorrow and still play it by ear," Lions coach Jim Schwartz said. "But this was a big step, full speed, even though it was just 7-on-7 it was full-speed and it was guys jamming him and guys pressing on him and all those kind of things that go on in a practice."

Green Bay Packers

Head coach Mike McCarthy talked about a number of his offensive players after Friday night’s game against Arizona….
Rookie RB Alex Green: “It's great to have him back. It looks like he is moving very well from his quad strain. I thought he made a good first impression."

RB Ryan Grant: "I was trying to get him a little more work this week than last week. I'd like to see the one draw play because it looked like it had a chance to come out. But he needs reps. They all do. Running backs are just like quarterbacks. The quarterbacks and your running backs and your centers, they have the largest responsibility for decision-making in your offnese. And so they need looks."

Then QB Aaron Rodgers took to the microphone. "It was good to have him (Jermichael Finley) back. He is a difference-maker for us. He is a tough match-up problem. I wish I would have thrown a better one to him on the corner route that got knocked away by Porter. But it was nice to have him back out there. He's going to have a big role for us this season."

Houston Texans

Foster answered any questions about his hamstring injury with a 5-carry 47-yd, 2 TD performance Saturday night against New Orleans. "I feel like I got better," Foster said. "That's your goal as an athlete - to get better every time you touch the field. I feel like I got a little better." Foster can’t get much better on your cheatsheet. He’ll be one of the first running backs off the board in your draft.

The backup spot behind Foster and potential handcuff is a little fuzzy thanks to Ben Tate’s (9 carries, 95 yds, 1 TD) return to the spotlight. It's been over a year since I've been out there on the field. I wasn't thinking about anything... I didn't want to come out of the game for nothing." Head coach Gary Kubiak was also impressed. "That's a big step forward in his career because let's remember - he hasn't played a lot of football so if we get that out of him behind Arian, that's going to be a nice thing to have," Kubiak said. Derrick Ward is also having a good camp but sat out preseason game #2 after suffering a concussion last week. The team is also being cautious with Steve Slaton (hamstring). All are in the mix to become Foster’s handcuff… this one could go down to the wire.

Indianapolis Colts

All eyes are on Peyton Manning’s neck and Jim Irsay’s Twitter account. The Colts owner fueled the fire that Manning may not be ready for Week 1… "It's always been something where we hope he can be ready, and we still hope,'' Irsay said. "But it's possible he won't. "It's been a fluid situation from the beginning. Bill and Chris have kept a running list of who's out there. We'll see what happens.'' The only thing we know for sure is that Manning will not play in the final two preseason games. "I certainly want to be out there, and it's hard to keep track of the hours I've spent in rehab," Manning said. "I was short-changed a little bit by the lockout and I'm going to need every bit of the next two weeks, and then I can give you more of an update with where I am. "I have made progress, but I still have some work to do. When I'm healthy enough, I'll be able to play.'' At this point you have to be concerned as a fantasy owner but it would be hard to bet against Manning being on the field come Week 1. Stay tuned…

Jacksonville Jaguars

Perhaps the only real quarterback camp battle is happening in Jacksonville where rookie Blaine Gabbert and David Garrard are competing for the starting spot. Garrard remains the favorite after Gabbert turned in a so-so performance (11-23, 96 yards) Friday night. What may allow Gabbert to see the field this season is Garrard’s back. "I didn't feel anything during the offseason," said Garrard, who spent most of it in Jacksonville. "But once we started back it just all of a sudden started to creep up on me, building up so much that it eventually locked up. I've never had it where I couldn't walk or if I did have to sit out a little bit of that practice where I couldn't come back the next practice." Garrard has missed some practice this season but took the majority of snaps this week. Expect Garrard and Gabbert to once again share time in the Jacksonville’s third preseason game.

Too hot for Hill? Starting receiver Jason Hill apparently isn’t used to the heat in the south. "Coming from the West Coast, never being out here before, it was a little tough to adjust to," Hill said. "But I think now I'm starting to get my legs. We've got a little less than a month to go with this camp stuff, so I think by the time regular-season comes, I'll be rolling."

Kansas City Chiefs

Fight! Todd Haley and the Chiefs won’t reveal the details but apparently rookie wide receiver Jonathan Baldwin fractured his thumb after getting into a scuffle with RB Thomas Jones. Apparently some of the veterans on the team had enough of Baldwin’s attitude. Baldwin missed Friday night’s preseason game and is now back at practice, riding a bike with his injured thumb wrapped heavily.

Dexter McCluster will be used at the running back position this season. There are frankly better options at the receiver position with Jerheme Urban and Steve Breaston on the roster. “There is a clear-cut vision for him right now,” Chiefs Head Coach Todd Haley said. “But I think being that slot receiver, from a learning-standpoint, takes some time when you haven’t lined up and done it for four years in college. Knowing we were going to miss an off-season, I thought that would be a potential setback for him.” McCluster will get some looks in the third down role, on gadget plays and in the return game but he’s not worth owning in redraft leagues.

Miami Dolphins

Reggie Bush is bringing flash back to the Miami offense. Bush sat out that first preseason game, but had 53 yards rushing and 33 yards receiving in the first half of Miami’s win over Carolina. With Daniel Thomas off to a slow start there are rumblings that the two RBs may split carries in a 50-50 fashion this year. Bush is listed as the teams’ starting running back but even if starts the season in that capacity you have to wonder how long he will last in that role given his injury history. "I pride myself on being one of the hardest workers," Bush said, "and vow to be one of the hardest workers - if not the hardest worker - on the team."

Minnesota Vikings

Some of the Vikings skill position players have been dealing with nagging injuries during the first two weeks of camp. WR Percy Harvin (ribs) and TE Visanthe Shiancoe (hamstring) have returned to practice since leaving August 8th with injuries. "They all was (worried)," Harvin said, smiling. "They actually told me not to dive, not to block, but I'm going to play football and make football plays." Adrian Peterson handcuff, Toby Gerhart was held out Monday thanks to a sore Achilles.

The Vikings are thin at receiver so it’s no surprise that rookie TE Kyle Rudolph is being used in the slot in certain personnel groups. It’s hard to imagine the rookie making a significant impact with Visanthe Shiancoe in the mix but it’s a good indication of what the Vikings coaches think of Rudolph’s receiving abilities.

New England Patriots

What to do with Patriots two-headed monster at tight end? During the first half o the team’s second preseason game Rob Gronkowski was on the field for 39 of the 41 snaps while Aaron Hernandez was on the field for 21 of the 41 snaps. Hernandez finished with 3 catches, 42 yards and 1 TD on 3 targets. Gronkowski hauled in 0 catches, 0 yards on 1 target. There’s no need to damper your enthusiasm over Gronkowski, if you are high on his prospects, but this is just another example of how both will eat into each other’s fantasy value in 2011.

New Orleans Saints

We’re watching the wide receiver group closely this preseason. Marques Colston missed about a week after experiencing swelling in his surgically repaired right knee. He participated in Saturday night’s game catching one pass for three yards on limited snaps. Lance Moore and Devery Henderson were the starting wideouts.

In running back news, Pierre Thomas (remember him?) started the game and looked good rushing 6 times for 33 yards along with rookie Mark Ingram (7 carries, 25 yards, 1 TD). Both are alternating reps with the first team in practice. Ingram appears to be getting the majority of goaline work, which gives him the leg up in fantasy value.

New York Giants

With Hakeem Nicks and Mario Manningham locked in as starters; the Giants are searching for someone to take control of the number 3 wideout position. Victor Cruz was the man in preseason game number two catching 3 passes for 40 yards. Domenik Hixon (2 catches 13 yards, 1 TD) is also in mix. Ramses Barden is still wasting away on the PUP list although he hopes to be back to practice “soon.” This battle won’t be decided until final cuts are made.

The Giants got their ground game going against Chicago, specifically Brandon Jacobs (6 carries, 48 yards, 1 TD). This guy is a beast and if he stays healthy, you can expect a near 50-50 split in carries, with Bradshaw seeing more catches out of the backfield but Jacobs receiving more work around the goaline.

New York Jets

40-year-old backup QB Mark Brunell is slow to recover from a calf strain and remains out giving valuable reps to Greg McElroy.

Shonn Greene is missing action due to a low-grade skin infection. "We think he'll be fine next week," the coach said. The starting running missed Sunday's preseason game against the Bengals after missing practice Thursday afternoon. Greene is taking antibiotics to treat the infection.

Oakland Raiders

The Raiders are getting some pieces back on the practice field. RB Darren McFadden (broken face) returned Monday as did WR Jacoby Ford (fractured hand). McFadden suffered a broken orbital bone in his left eye on Aug. 3, “looked as if he had never been away”. "It wasn't like it was holding me back as far as my legs or anything," McFadden said of his injury. "It wasn't like I was going to miss a step." Ford practiced sparingly in the team session but “had little trouble catching the ball.” Said Raiders coach Hue Jackson: "They were fast. One could run real good, the other one catches real well. It makes you smile, because those are two guys we depend on. They will be ready when the time comes."

QB Jason Campbell was supposed to practice Monday after sustaining a blow to the head during the Raiders preseason game against the 49ers but he was a no-show. This was a “precautionary” measure.

TE Kevin Boss is “week to week” after suffering a sprained knee against San Francisco. Don’t expect to see him anymore this preseason and don’t draft him as your #1 fantasy tight end. You can do better.

Philadelphia Eagles

The big story still remains the health of Jeremy Maclin. Head coach Andy Reid admitted that Maclin’s conditioning is still an obstacle. He is still about "a week or so" away. He did conditioning drills Saturday and is reportedly close to his playing weight of 198 pounds. For what it’s worth, Maclin is confidant saying there is “no doubt” that he will be ready for Week 1. Andy Reid stopped short of confirming Maclin’s availability for the opener.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Backup QB battle: Byron Leftwich is number two while Dennis Dixon and Charlie Batch are fighting for the leftovers. Roethlisberger is excited about the depth Pittsburgh has at QB. "[With] a lot of teams you hear people say, 'Oh, my God, we would never survive if Peyton Manning went down' or Tom Brady or something like that," Roethlisberger said. "We can not only survive, we can thrive and win."

RB Isaac Redman continues to impress this preseason. ESPN blogger James Walker called Redman “one of the best players I saw in camp.” Redman is quickly rising up draft boards and a must handcuff for Mendenhall owners.

Kicker Shaun Suisham is out after having an appendectomy but he is expected back in time for the regular season.

St. Louis Rams

Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels is having WR Mike Sims-Walker work at all three wide receiver positions. "Our philosophy is, we want to do what we should do each week based on the opponent, and that may change," McDaniels said. "We may end up having more guys in the slot from one week and then the next week we don't line up in slot formation at all because that is not really how to beat that team. We have to be flexible so we can attack and put stress on the defense as best we can."

The Rams opened in a funky formation, three tight ends and one receiver, in Saturday’s preseason game. The lone receiver was Brandon Gibson and he scored on an 83-yard TD pass from Sam Bradford. Gibson appears to have a hold on one starting spot but the position is still a crowded mess. I thought we got some production out of the receiving corps, and the competition continues," said coach Steve Spagnuolo. It will be interesting to see if the Rams keep 6 receivers once the rosters are trimmed in a couple weeks.

WR Danario Alexander missed practice Monday. He had an MRI on his knee, which came back negative. "It's not that anything happened," coach Steve Spagnuolo said. "It's just that it feels funny on him. We just want to make sure we're not dealing with anything serious, and put his mind at ease."
San Diego Chargers

The Chargers are dinged up at the receiver position. Malcom Floyd suffered a concussion in Sunday’s preseason game against the Cowboys and Patrick Crayton is expected to miss 10-14 days due to arthroscopic surgery on his ankle to remove bone spurs.

After two preseason games it appears Ryan Mathews and Mike Tolbert are still locked in a RBBC situation. “This game has become so physical,” (Norv) Turner said in the final week of 2010. “That position is too hammered for one guy,” running backs coach Ollie Wilson said. “LT going 400 snaps or whatever it is thing of the past, so we prepare both guys in that situation. People get caught up with who’s the first guy out on the field. We don’t have starters. We got guys that come in and play.”

San Francisco 49ers

Matt Barrows of the Scaramento Bee had some interesting thoughts on the 49ers backup running backs: “Anthony Dixon is No. 2 on the depth chart but is still vexing coaches by not running like a 245-pound back. Kendall Hunter is excellent at hitting the hole and getting through tight spaces. He's also serving as the team's preseason kick returner. All in all, a promising training camp for the rookie runner.

There’s been hype about a possible QB competition between Alex Smith and rookie Colin Kaepernick but Smith is the clear starter for now.

Seattle Seahawks

Tight end John Carlson has “a little labrum issue” according to head coach Pete Carroll. Carlson hasn’t seen the practice field in a week so this is starting to be a concern.

What’s even more concerning is the fact that head coach Pete Carroll isn’t ready to open up the starting QB job for competition. "I'm not in that mindset at all," Carroll said. "I love that Charlie played well, and I think we need to give Tarvaris a chance to play well, too, with the guys around him. I felt like he was out there fighting for it, and he did a good job of competing."

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

It’s looking more and more like Dezmon Briscoe will be the opening day starter opposite Mike Williams. "I had to wait until my opportunity came and make sure I seize it," Briscoe said. The opportunity is there because Arrelious Benn is still recovering from his ACL injury. "He and Mike (Williams) are similar in that respect, going up, shielding the defender," receivers coach Eric Yarber said. "He has good enough speed, but he's a precision route runner. He has no technical flaws in his routes. Quickness is a necessity, speed is a luxury. If you've got great speed without quickness, you'll never be able to use it."

Earnest Graham is the front-runner to backup Blount. He is spelling Blount on third downs.

Rookie TE Luke Stocker (hip) returned to practice Sunday.

Tennessee Titans

The holdout continues. RB Chris Johnson is not in camp and it doesn’t appear he will be anytime soon. “It’s too early to panic,” Coach Mike Munchak said Sunday. Johnson has missed three weeks and two preseason games and we’re three weeks away from the start of the regular season. In the meantime rookie Jamie Harper is getting valuable reps and Javon Ringer is expected to return to practice this week after missing preaseaon game #2 with a hip injury. “If C.J. doesn’t show up, we have to go with what we have,’’ fullback Ahmard Hall said. “It is exciting to see we have some guys that can break some long ones and get it done in the running game. But we all want C.J. here, of course.”

Sticking with the off-field news, Kenny Britt is scheduled to meet with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in New York on Tuesday. “We'll have a sit-down, talk over what happened, see where our minds are at, see where I am at and see what happens from there,” Britt said on Monday. “I'm being hopeful that nothing happens to me. I plan on being real. I was brought up to be a man of his word, a man who takes up for his actions and things like that. That's how my father raised me up and that's how I will go in there tomorrow. We’ll see what happens. It is all in God’s hands.”

Washington Redskins

Mike Shanahan is being his usual self and isn’t planning on naming a starting QB until right before their Week 1 game against the Giants. Rex Grossman started the first preseason game, John Beck started the second. The smart money is on Beck to open the season as the starter.

TE Chris Cooley had arthroscopic knee surgery Jan. 3 but after attempting to practice the knee swelled. “I have enough cartilage in my knee,” he said. “The problem was over a long period of time I was starting to bruise around it, and the joint around it was becoming so irritated.” Cooley hopes to practice next week and “can’t imagine not playing against the Giants” Week 1.