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Training Camp Hype ("TCH")
News, Notes & Quotes from Week 4

Week One | Week Two | Week Three | Week Four

MIA | MIN | NE | NO | NYG | NYJ | OAK | PHI | PIT | STL | SD | SF | SEA | TB | TEN | WAS

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 4...

Arizona Cardinals

As expected the Cardinals waited until after cutdown day to pickup a running back; a position of need after rookie Ryan Williams suffered a torn patellar tendon in the second preseason game. Chester Taylor agreed to a one-year deal Sunday and will give Arizona depth behind Beanie Wells and LaRod Stephens-Howling. Five tight ends were kept on the roster but Jim Dray is recovering from a pectoral strain. Once he recovers its speculated that Stephen Spach will be released.

Key Cuts: QB Brodie Croyle

Atlanta Falcons

No surprise with the final roster cuts in Atlanta. The team will head into Week 1 with Michael Turner, Michael Turner, Jacquizz Rodgers, Jason Snelling and Antone Smith at running back and five wideouts - Roddy White, Julio Jones, Harry Douglas, Eric Weems and Kerry Meier. The Falcons went 0-4 in the preseason but more importantly managed to stay healthy. Head coach Mike Smith isn’t concerned … “To say am I disappointed, yeah I’m disappointed. To say that I’m concerned. No, I’m not concerned. This football team is a very mature football team. We had a plan in place in terms of things that we had to get accomplished and I think we’ve been able to do that through the preseason.”

Key Cuts: RB Gartrell Johnson

Baltimore Ravens

With the release of RB Jalen Parmale, seventh-round pick Anthony Allen earns a roster spot backing up Ray Rice and Ricky Williams. Parmale was taken by surprise … "We were shocked," he said shortly after announcing his release via Twitter. "I wasn't expecting it, but at the same time, you understand. Having been around long enough to know what goes on and the kind of business decisions are made, you can't take anything personally. You learn from it and realize that there's nothing you can do to change it. They're continually taking steps to try to make the team better. So it's just something that you understand, and you understand that it's a business decision."

Tyrod Taylor is the only backup QB on the roster right now. It remains to be seen whether the Ravens will pickup a recently released veteran (Trent Edwards, Dan Orlovsky) or head into the season with two QBs and Marc Bulger on speed dial in case Flacco goes down.

Five wide receivers made the team: Anquan Boldin and Lee Evans, David Reed, Torrey Smith, Tandon Doss and LaQuan Williams.

Key Cuts: QB Hunter Cantwell, TE Davon Drew, WR James Hardy, RB Jalen Parmele, WR Marcus Smith

Buffalo Bills

Head coach Chan Gailey wasn't all too happy about the performance of his offense during the 16-6 loss to Detroit. “It was a mess, to be honest with you,” Gailey said of the offense overall. “I thought Fitz made good decisions. C.J. ran the ball good the time he got a crease in there. Stevie dropped a pass. That’s not gonna happen a ton. I think we had a chance to take that one in and score if we catch the pass. We need for Tyler to play better. We do. We gotta keep working on those things.”

With no viable receiving threats at the tight end position (Scott Chandler, David Martin) keep your eye on starting wideout Donald Jones - he could be a sneaky bye week fill-in for you this season.

Key Cuts: QB Levi Brown, WR Craig Davis, TE Shawn Nelson

Carolina Panthers

Coming off a two-win season it’s hard for Panther fans to hear but this may be another dismal season on the scoreboard. The offense will be reduced in scope for rookie QB Cam Newton and the lack of talent at wide receiver is alarming. Columnist Tom Sorensen of the Charlotte Observer sees the writing on the wall … “The Panthers will be better than they were in 2010, but the record won't reflect it. By the end of the season, they'll be interesting, and perhaps pretty good. But the early games count, too. The Panthers finish 3-13.”

WR Seyi Ajirotutu was claimed off waivers from the Chargers.

Key Cuts: FB Tony Fiammetta, RB Tyrell Sutton, WR Wallace Wright

Chicago Bears

The biggest names amongst the Bears cuts on Sunday were RB Chester Taylor and veteran TE Desmond Clark. Taylor signed a four-year, $12.5 million contract and was set to make $1.25 million this year. After rushing for 2.4 yards per carry last year the Bears brought in Marion Barber from Dallas and Taylor’s fate was sealed.

Clark is second among Bears tight ends all-time with 242 receptions and 18 touchdowns but played in five games in 2011.

Key Cuts: TE Desmond Clark, RB Chester Taylor

Cincinnati Bengals

Running back Cedric Benson had an interesting week completing a short stay in Travis County Jail. Benson was sentenced to 20 days for misdemeanor assault related to a 2010 bar incident in Austin, Texas but was released early on good behavior and credit for work while in the slammer. Benson originally was going to serve his sentence during the Cincinnati’s bye week decided to pay his debt to society before the season began.

According to sources, Bengals’ management reached out to Carson Palmer last week. Owner Paul Brown had harsh comments for Palmer earlier this summer, saying: “Carson signed a contract, he made a commitment. He gave us his word. We relied on his word and his commitment. We expected him to perform here. If he is going to walk away from his commitment we aren’t going to reward him for doing it.” Nothing came of the supposed contact and a return to the Bengals seems unlikely for Palmer.

The Bengals picked up ex-Patriots receiver Brandon Tate who has a chance to be the team’s starting punt returner. “I’m ready to move on and get to work with the Bengals,” Tate said.

Key Cuts: QB Dan LeFevour (practice squad), WR/PR Quan Cosby, TE Chase Coffman

Cleveland Browns

The Browns were hoping to sure up their running back depth this offseason with the signing of Brandon Jackson but unfortunately a turf toe injury will cost Jackson his season. Jackson was placed in IR this week after signing a two-year deal worth $4.5 this offseason. His injury allowed undrafted rookie running back Armond Smith to make the team. "I'm feeling like the coaches, they believe in me," said Smith after practice before the final 10 cuts were made. "They've been giving me a lot of great opportunities and I'm proud of it." The Browns (and Tom Tom Heckert) are now hoping that Montario Hardesty can be a key part of their offense … “isn’t that much of a leap of faith … We like him. He turned a corner coming off the injury. We fully expect him to be what we thought he was when we drafted him.”

Key Cuts: WR Demetrius Williams

Dallas Cowboys

It appears the Cowboys are going with undrafted rookie Dan Bailey as their field goal and extra point kicker. David Buehler will remain with the team but handle kickoffs only. The Cowboys shuffled through five kickers in camp. “I want that ball to go into the end zone,” Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said about kickoffs after the preseason loss Thursday at Miami. “Seriously, I want it to go there every time on kickoffs.”

Key Cuts: QB Tom Brandstater, FB Shaun Chapas, K Shayne Graham, RB Lonyae Miller, K Dave Rayner

Denver Broncos

Amidst the fury of cutdown day, the Broncos revealed some encouraging news on WR Demaryius Thomas (Achilles). He was not placed on the PUP list; instead he’s made the roster. "He's been cleared to practice. He's ready to go," Xanders said. After tearing his Achilles in February it was expected that Thomas would miss half the season. Eric Decker has landed the slot receiver position with Eddie Royal and Brandon Lloyd lining up on the outside.

The Broncos have elected to go with Matt Prater as their kicker. Steven Hauschka was released and later claimed by the Seahawks.

Key Cuts: WR David Anderson, TE Dan Gronkowski, K Steven Hauschka, RB Jeremiah Johnson, TE Dante Rosario

Detroit Lions

The Lions were busy in the running back market over the weekend releasing Aaron Brown and picking up Keiland Williams off waivers from Washington. Williams is a bigger back compliment to Best and Maurice Morris but will only have fantasy relevance if injuries occur to Best and Jerome Harrison. Brown didn’t see much action during his two years in Detroit totaling 44 carries, 189 yards and 1 TD.

Key Cuts: WR Nate Hughes, TE Gijon Robinson, QB Zac Robinson, WR Derrick Williams, RB Aaron Brown

Green Bay Packers

The Packers for the time being are heavy at the tight end position (5) and light at running back (4). The Packers' decision to keep five tight ends was "amazing," a scout said. "Four would be the most a team has carried," he said. "Very interesting. That's heavy." Rookie D.J. Williams is expected to be inactive on gamedays. FB Quinn Johnson to Tennessee who need a replacement for the suspend Ahmard Hall. There was no surprise cut of Ryan Grant as was suggested last week in the hype; Dimitri Nance was sent packing.

Key Cuts: QB Graham Harrell, RB Dimitri Nance

Houston Texans

Maybe more surprising than who the Texans cut was who they did not cut. Running back Steve Slaton remains on the roster (for now) possibly an insurance policy against the gimpy hamstring of Arian Foster? Speaking of Foster, his status remains in doubt after tweaking his hamstring in the third preseason game. Here’s some interesting analysis from Stephanie Stradley on … “if Foster can’t go, at least short term I could see Derrick Ward getting more touches than Ben Tate because Kubiak knows what he can do in regular game action. That’s not to say that Tate doesn’t know his assignments or can’t pass protect, but he hasn’t done it in regular season action. As he proves himself more in game situations, the more opportunities he could get.”

Wide Receiver Bryant Johnson (Detroit) was signed this week. Apparently the coaches are unhappy that nobody in their current crop of wideouts has stepped up to claim the fourth and fifth spots at the position.

Key Cuts: WR Trindon Holliday (practice squad), RB Chris Ogbonnaya (practice squad), RB Javarris Williams

Indianapolis Colts

Will he or wont he? We’ll find out for sure on Sunday but the hype was in full throat this week surrounding Peyton Manning and his bum neck. On Monday, Manning was activated from the PUP list and started practicing on a limited basis doing light throwing and individual work. On Sunday, numerous reports surfaced that Kerry Collins would be getting the start Week 1 and that Manning would be out indefinitely and another surgery on his neck was in the works. "I don't know anything about that," said Polian. "I honestly don't." ESPN later reported that Manning is being re-evaluated by several doctors because of the slow progress in his rehab, but no procedure has been scheduled. Even later CBS reported, “the team is hoping for the best but preparing for the worst”. Polian did confirm this week that Kerry Collins would start (not Curtis Painter) if Manning is unable to go Week 1.

Former running back Dominic Rhodes has been suspended by the league for one year, presumably for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy for a third time.

Key Cuts: RB Javarris James, QB Dan Orlovsky

Jacksonville Jaguars

Bad news for fantasy owners who targeted Rashad Jennings in their drafts- he was put on IR Saturday and will miss the entire season. Deji Karim vaults to number two on the depth chart. There has been no word as to what injury Jennings actually suffered but he was seen a crutches the majority of last week. Head coach Jack Del Rio feels terrific about the situation. "I feel great about our backfield. I think we have depth. I think we have productive guys that will step up and play big for us. Deji is one of them. I think you’ll see an increased role with Montell (Owens), an increased role with Brock (Bolen). But Deji in particular has been very explosive this preseason. He’s got some real quicks, he’s got great vision and he’s been improved in all facets of his game. And the thing that stands out is the explosive element that he brings."

Key Cuts: TE Joey Haynos, RB Albert Young

Kansas City Chiefs

The way Todd Haley has gone about this preseason doesn't gives us much clarity about the Chiefs. Frankly they've looked bad in the games but it's basically been by design. Haley's treated this shortened off-season different than most teams choosing to focus on conditioning - something he believes helped the Chiefs win games late in the 2010 season. They did very little hitting in "camp" and treated their time in St. Joseph almost like a minicamp. Their first preseason game was a glorified walkthrough and it showed, getting shutout by Tampa Bay. In their final preseason game Haley played the majority of their starters well into the 4th quarter, something that's very rarely done in the league today… and it cost them. TE Tony Moeaki was put on IR after tearing his ACL in the game and rumors are swirling that QB Matt Cassel suffered a cracked rib after getting flattened by a 340-pound Packers defensive linemen. A source close to the situation said Chiefs coach Todd Haley told Palko after the game, “You’d better be ready to play Sunday.’’ “I just got the wind knocked out of me,’’ Casell said. “We were just being cautious.’’

Key Cuts: FB Shane Bannon, FB Mike Cox, WR Jeremy Horne, WR Verran Tucker

Miami Dolphins

We speculated last week about the Dolphins motives for signing veteran running back Larry Johnson part of the way through the preseason and it appears the move was done to light a fire under disappointing rookie running back Daniel Thomas. Johnson was released by the Dolphins in their final cutdown, ensuring that Thomas will open the season as Reggie Bush’s backup in Miami. There remains a possibility that Johnson will be signed after the opening week of the season but it appears that will not be the case.

With head coach Tony Sparano in need of the Dolphins having a solid season in order to secure his position beyond the 2011 season, it was no surprise that the team decided to go with veteran talent on the team’s final roster. Their final cuts included few surprises other than the decision to release veteran cornerback Will Allen, who was battling for a backup position behind starters Vontae Davis and Sean Smith.

Key Cuts: RB Larry Johnson, FB Lousaka Polite

Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings final cuts indicated the team is clearly undergoing a youth movement with several veterans released in favor of younger players. Minnesota will enter the season with unproven talent in key backup roles along the team’s offensive line and at linebacker. However, the team’s youth movement didn’t appear to extend to the wide receiver position where five veterans were kept and a number of promising young players were released. Percy Harvin, Bernard Berrian, Michael Jenkins, Greg Camarillo and Devin Aromashodu were kept on the active roster while youngsters Jaymar Johnson, Emmanuel Arceneaux, Stephon Burton and Juaquin Iglesias were released.

Key Cuts: WR Jaymar Johnson

New England Patriots

As we noted here last week, third year wide receiver Brandon Tate was in jeopardy of not making the Patriots roster and he was released by the team in their final cuts. The 2009 3rd round pick figures to get a chance with another team at least partly due to his ability as a returner.

While Tate’s release was mildly surprising, the biggest surprise amongst the Patriots final cuts was the release of former starting safety Brandon Merriweather. A former Pro Bowl performer, Merriweather’s reputation always exceeded his actual performance on the field and there were reports early in training camp that he was in competition to retain his starting position. However, he failed to make the squad and was released after the Patriots tried and failed to trade their former 1st round pick.

Key Cuts: RB Sammy Morris, WR Brandon Tate, WR Tiquan Underwood

New Orleans Saints

The Saints crowded backfield was thinned out slightly this week with news that Chris Ivory was being placed on the physically unable to perform list. Coming off an unexpectedly productive rookie season, Ivory was recovering from lisfranc surgery and a sports hernia but was expected to be ready for mid-season.

New Orleans will be without defensive end Will Smith will be suspended for the first two games of the season. The suspension comes as a result of the StarCaps dispute that involves several players and began during the 2008 season. Smith’s presence would have been helpful in the team’s opening week game against a Green Bay squad that will likely rely heavily on the pass in that game.

Key Cuts: N/A

New York Giants

Although Eli Manning is one of the more durable starters in the league, the battle for the team’s backup quarterback position remained an intriguing one given the state of the team’s rebuilt offensive line with Sage Rosenfels battling David Carr for the position. The battle ended with the Giants placing Rosenfels on injured reserve with a back injury leaving Carr to serve as the team’s backup.

Key Cuts: RB Andre Brown, RB Charles Scott

New York Jets

With a surplus of defensive backs and little quality depth along the offensive line, the Jets traded veteran cornerback Dwight Lowery to the Packers for interior lineman Caleb Schlauderaff. Schladeraff’s acquisition helps solidify an offensive line that featured the unproven Vladimir Ducasse and Robert Turner, who is nursing an ankle injury.

After their final cuts, the Jets had just healthy wide receivers on the roster, a situation that could be remedied with the addition of another team’s cast off. Veteran Logan Payne survived the final cuts but is out with a wrist injury. That leaves the Jets with only three proven receivers on the roster in Santonio Holmes, Plaxico Burress and Derrick Mason.

At running back, the Jets chose to keep second year player Joe McKnight and rookie 4th round pick Bilal Powell. McKnight showed up at training camp severely out of shape as a rookie, barely registered a blip on the field in 2010 and needed a strong training camp to hold off Powell. In retrospect, the Jets made a disastrous move at the end of the 2010 preseason when they chose to keep the underperforming McKnight over Danny Woodhead, who was picked up by division rival New England and had an outstanding season as a reserve with the Patriots.

Key Cuts: WR Patrick Turner

Oakland Raiders

When the Raiders used a 3rd round pick in the supplemental draft to acquire Terrelle Pryor, the writing was clearly on the wall for one of the team’s veteran quarterbacks. It turns out Pryor’s acquisition spelled the end for veteran Trent Edwards, who lost the battle to be the team’s backup quarterback to Kyle Boller.

Wide receiver Chaz Schilens unexpectedly made the team’s final roster. Schilens has done little when given an opportunity and has not been able to stay healthy during his time in the league. He likely benefited from being part of a Raiders depth chart that features no proven performers so his status as a veteran with the team likely secured his place on the team’s final roster.

Key Cuts: QB Trent Edwards, WR Chad Jackson

Philadelphia Eagles

Rookie running back Deon Lewis has spent the preseason doing everything possible to carve out a role on the Eagles opening day roster and he may have done just that. The diminutive Lewis has played well in the team’s base offense and as a returner, earning him a spot on the depth chart behind LeSean McCoy and Ronnie Brown. However, while the team’s 6th round pick has looked good, his chances of earning significant playing time appear remote given head coach Andy Reid’s preference for relying on one player at the position. More likely, Lewis will be used in a small number of specialty packages in the hopes of making a big play in key moments. His preseason showing makes him an intriguing prospect in dynasty fantasy leagues.

Key Cuts: WR Johnnie Lee Higgins, TE Cornelius Ingram, TE Donald Lee, WR Sinorice Moss

Pittsburgh Steelers

Second year running back Jonathan Dwyer suffered through a disappointing season and was thought to be in danger of being released after the team brought back Mewelde Moore to help out as a pass receiving threat out of the backfield. Dwyer didn’t help his case by showing up for training camp out of shape but appears safe as the team’s fourth running back behind Rashard Mendenhall, Isaac Redman and Moore.

With Mike Wallace already having established himself as one of the league’s top big play threats and the emergence of second-year player Antonio Brown as well as the solid future of fellow second-year player Emmanuel Sanders, the Steelers may have the best group of young wide receivers in the league. Sanders’ production was similar to that of Hines Ward over the second half of last season and Brown has had the best preseason of any of the Steelers wide receivers. The team’s collection of young, emerging wide receiver talent and current depth make quarterback Ben Roethlisberger a valuable commodity in dynasty leagues.

Key Cuts: TE John Gilmore

St. Louis Rams

With a glut of wide receivers on the roster and not enough roster spaces to accommodate all of them, it was a surprise when the Rams re-signed veteran wideout Mark Clayton. Clayton was quarterback Sam Bradford’s top target over the early part of the 2010 season before suffering a season-ending knee injury. However, having used two mid-round draft picks on the position and signing former Jaguar Mike Sims-Walker, Clayton wasn’t expected to be back with the team in 2011. After signing, he was immediately placed on the physically unable to perform list. Look for Clayton to return around mid-season but be relegated to a secondary role unless no other receiver steps up for St. Louis over the first part of the season.

With three touchdowns in the preseason, rookie 2nd round pick Lance Kendricks has all but wrapped up the starting tight end position. Second year player Michael Hoomanawanui was expected to open the season as the team’s starter but a calf injury has sidelined him and Kendricks’ strong preseason play will relegate him to a backup role. Look for the Rams to use Billy Bajema heavily on run downs with Kendricks playing more on obvious passing downs.

Key Cuts: WR Donnie Avery, WR Mardy Gilyard, RB Keith Toston

San Diego Chargers

Despite Patrick Crayton recently undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his ankle and rookie 3rd round pick Vincent Brown having missed much of the preseason with a hamstring injury, the Chargers chose to release three veteran receivers in Kelley Washington, Seyi Ajirotutu and Laurent Robinson. The moves leave the team’s third receiver position to Crayton and Brown with Crayton the clear choice to assume a larger role if starting wide receivers Vincent Jackson and Malcom Floyd were to be out with an injury.

Key Cuts: WR Seyi Ajirotutu, WR Laurent Robinson, WR Kelley Washington

San Francisco 49ers

Kendall Hunter has led the NFL in rushing yardage during the preseason and it looks like the 49ers rookie 4th round pick has won the job as Frank Gore’s backup entering the season. In a battle with second year player Anthony Dixon, Hunter needed to improve on his pass blocking to win the role and it appears he has done just that with head coach Jim Harbaugh stating that Hunter had played well enough to be the team’s number two running back. However, if Gore were to get injured, Harbaugh would likely go with a committee approach at the position with Dixon getting a healthy dose of carries spelling Hunter as well as in short yardage.

Gore finally secured a long term extension with the team, agreeing to a three year, $21-million contract. Although the contract appears on the surface to be a solid deal for the 49ers, it was clearly reflective of Gore’s lengthy injury history. The deal likely means he will remain with the 49ers for the length of his career as a starting running back.

Key Cuts: QB Josh McCown, RB Xavier Omon, WR Dominique Zeigler

Seattle Seahawks

Try as they might, the Seahawks seem cursed in their attempts to improve the play along the team’s offensive line. After using the 4th pick in the draft last season on left tackle Russell Okung, the team signed veteran left guard Robert Gallery in free agency and used their 1st round pick this season on right tackle James Carpenter as well as a 3rd round pick on right guard John Moffitt. Unfortunately, Okung was injured early in training camp and Gallery suffered a knee injury that puts his availability for Week 1 in doubt. It’s shaping up as another year of shuffling the deck along the team’s offensive line and that doesn’t bode well for the team’s rushing and passing attacks. A kicker swap was performed Sunday as Jeff Reed was sent packing and Steven Hauschka was claimed off waivers from Denver.

Key Cuts: N/A

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Given starting running back LeGarrette’s Blount’s checkered past, it was somewhat surprising that the team appears content to enter the season with veteran journeyman Earnest Graham as the team’s top backup at the position. Graham also contributes at fullback so an injury to Blount would cause changes at two positions and Graham has done little to warrant many touches in the team’s offense in recent seasons. It won’t be a surprise if Tampa Bay eventually replenishes their running back depth chart with another team’s castoff.

Key Cuts: N/A

Tennessee Titans

The Titans rushing attack was likely going to suffer with the lengthy holdout by star running back Chris Johnson and the situation worsened with news that starting fullback Ahmard Hall will be suspended for the first four games of the season. The team traded for former Packer Quinn Johnson but he isn’t in the same class as Hall and will need to quickly pick up the team’s playbook.

As for Johnson, look for the team to be cautious in his usage for the early part of the season. Although he is clearly the key part of their offense, the Titans can hardly afford to lose him to an early season injury which would decimate the team’s offense. Expect a reduced workload for Johnson for at least the first couple of weeks of the season.

The Titans had high hopes for Jason Jones this season with plans to move the talented defensive lineman around to create mismatches and take advantage of his pass rushing ability. However, those plans have taken a back seat with Jones out for the past two weeks with a knee injury, hindering his learning curve on the outside.

Key Cuts: WR Yamon Figurs, WR Justin Gage, RB Stafon Johnson

Washington Redskins

Despite the strong preseason play of newly acquired running back Tim Hightower, head coach Mike Shanahan has refused to name him as the team’s opening day starter. Shanahan has only said that Hightower is the front runner for the position, placing more meaning on the strong play of incumbent starter Ryan Torain in his first preseason game. Torain ran for 73 yards on just 17 carries. Look for this situation to remain fluid for much of the 2010 season, with Hightower, Torain and rookie Roy Helu sharing the role.

In a pair of somewhat surprising moves, the Redskins cut running backs Keiland Williams as well as rookie 6th round pick Evan Royster, leaving just Hightower, Torain and Helu at the position. Williams became expendable when the team acquired Hightower to handle the pass receiving role out of the backfield and Royster never really got a chance to showcase his potential. Both players were also affected by the team’s peculiar decision to keep eight wide receivers, a rare occurrence.

Word is leaking that Rex Grossman will be the starting quarterback Week 1.

Key Cuts: QB Kellen Clemens, TE Tony Curtis, WR Aldrick Robinson, RB Evan Royster, TE Derek Schouman, RB Keiland Williams,