Volume 2, Issue 3 – 8/16/06
Camps are in full swing and we want you to feel like you have attended every
practice and seen every preseason game.
To keep all our Footballguys subscribers on top of everything, we've created our incredibly detailed
This is the third of five training camp updates from us. We'll break down every team's skill positions and position battles. It's the stuff you'd see if you were there at every camp. This
Happy reading and let's have a great 2006 season,
Joe Bryant and
Special note: A hearty
thanks goes out to Jason Wood, Chase Stuart, Aaron Rudnicki, David Dodds, Bob
Magaw, Cecil Lammey, John Norton and Mike Herman for their assistance with this
week’s Training Camp Updates. My return trip from
QB: The Cardinals opened up the preseason in their new stadium Saturday night as Kurt Warner played most of the first half. Warner completed 9-of-13 for 118 yards with a pair of touchdowns – the first going to Bryant Johnson on the first possession. Warner made some key plays on that drive – converting four third downs, including a 20-yarder to Larry Fitzgerald on 3rd and 13, and another to Johnson. The 35-year-old former NFL and Super Bowl MVP even ran for five yards. On the second drive, Warner led the team to another TD finishing with a short pass to Obafemi Ayanbadejo, who rambled 15 yards for the score. “For the most part I thought it was really good for the first preseason game,” Warner said. “We're so much farther along from where we were last year.”
Rookie Matt Leinart finally ended his contract impasse on Monday,
agreeing in principle to a six-year, $50 million deal that includes $14 million
in guarantees. Leinart’s absence left John Navarre as the primary backup in the
preseason opener. It might as well have been a negotiating ploy on Leinart’s
RB: The Cardinals first exhibition game was uneventful for the team’s running game. Edgerrin James played briefly before turning over the reigns to J.J. Arrington and the team’s other backs. James ran twice for -2 yards, but don’t read anything into the subpar box score. “We got out in one piece,” running back Edgerrin James said, “and that should be the main thing. This wasn’t a debut, this was just an obligation,” James said referring to the preseason action. “Not to worry,” said James, who would rather sit out games like this in the preseason. “I kind of went through the motions. I just wanted to get off the field healthy,” he said. “I did my job.”
Meanwhile, FB Obafei Ayanbadejo scored a 15-yard TD to
put the Cardinals up 14-3 before the half. Diamond Ferri ran five yards for
Cardinals third touchdown in the fourth quarter. Ferri finished with 17 yards
on six carries. Arrington ran six times for 11 yards and Marcel Shipp ran six
times for 13 yards. Several
WR: The Cardinals featured a three WR formation for much of their first preseason game with Larry Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin and Bryant Johnson in the lineup. Boldin had missed some practice time during the week with a sore hamstring, but he played Saturday night and caught two balls for 24 yards. Fitzgerald and Warner appeared in mid-season form connecting on a couple nice plays. Fitzgerald caught two balls for 33 yards before leaving the game. The star was Bryant Johnson, who caught a 5-yard pass for a touchdown and finished with three receptions for 42 yards. “No, I didn't have to pay Kurt anything for the pass,” Johnson said of the first score. “It just so happened that the coverage was that way and he kind of put it on my back shoulder to keep me away from the cornerback.” Johnson also made a nifty one-handed catch for 20 yards in the second quarter. “I tried to get my hand on it and pull it back in,” Johnson said of the grab. “Making a catch like that is kind of like a basketball player. He hits three jump shots in a row, he feels like he can shoot from anywhere.”
Warner said, “I've seen that from him since I've been here. It's such a blessing because we obviously have the two guys everyone knows about (in Boldin and Fitzgerald), but if you want to try taking them away... ”…then Johnson is there to pick up the slack as he did in this game. Don’t sleep on Johnson. He may not be a major factor in fantasy leagues, but with injuries a distinct possibility, he could be a factor given his 6-foot-3 frame, 38-inch vertical jump and 4.38 speed. Of course, Johnson needs to stay healthy as well, something that has sidetracked him many times since entering the league. LeRon McCoy contributed 29 yards on three catches.
TE: The Cardinals tight ends didn’t play a major role in the opening game. Rookie Leonard Pope managed one catch for 4 yards. Otherwise, this position will be a competition throughout camp with Pope looking to start immediately over Adam Bergen and Eric Edwards.
Defense: The linebacking corps is one of the focal points of camp. Standout Karlos Dansby has undergone physical therapy on his sore big toe. He hopes to avoid surgery, as the therapy has helped while Dansby remains out of practice. He left camp early last week and the team was worried that overcompensating for the toe injury has led to a groin injury. Meanwhile, converted DE Calvin Pace is working with the starters on the strongside in Dansby’s absence. The coaches like what they see of Pace and would like to keep him there. That means Dansby might start at weakside linebacker once he’s healthy. Dansby would challenge current starter Orlando Huff for the job with Darryl Blackstock becoming the primary backup at SLB behind Pace. HC Dennis Green was asked about Pace remaining the starter at SLB with Dansby moving to WLB. “That might be the way we are going to go,” Green said. “Right now we don’t have a clue of when Karlos will be back, so there is no sense in speculating.” Pace added, “Karlos is versatile enough to play all three linebacker spots. You have to have the best people out there. If it is Karlos, James (Darling) and Orlando (Huff), I can’t be mad at that. But I want to be in the mix.” Also in the mix is backup MLB Gerald Hayes, who was on IR last year with a knee injury. Hayes could displace Darling at MLB at some point, but right now he’s just glad to be back on the field. “It feels good just to get back out there and more importantly I feel good,” said Hayes. Backup LB Lance Mitchell left the game early on Saturday due to injury.
For the Cardinals defense to reach its potential, they need a big season from last year’s top pick Antrel Rolle. Rolle’s knee is healthy again and he’s having perhaps the best camp of anybody on the team. “Antrel makes a play every day, and he makes a big play,” HC Dennis Green said. According to defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast, Rolle reminds him of Deion Sanders as far as his work ethic goes, only he tackles better. “He’s very instinctive, and he’s a football junkie,” said Pendergast. “Antrel knows the game. He just needs to get out and play. What makes a great corner is great anticipation. He has that. The more he plays, the better he will get.”
Special Teams: Kicker Neil Rackers hit every
50+ and 60-yard field goal attempt in Saturday’s practice. In Sunday’s game against
QB Kurt Warner, Matt Leinart, John Navarre
RB Edgerrin James, J.J. Arrington, Marcel Shipp, Damien Anderson, Diamond Ferry
FB Obafemi Ayanbadejo, James Hodgins, John Bronson
WR Larry Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin, Bryant Johnson, LeRon McCoy, Troy Walters, Todd Watkins, Carlyle Holiday, Michael Spurlock (QB), Greg Lee
TE Leonard Pope, Adam Bergen, Eric Edwards, Alex Shor
K Neil Rackers, Nick Novak
DE Chike Okeafor, Bertrand Berry (inj), Anton Palepoi, Antonio Smith, A.J. Schable, Garrett McIntyre
DT Darnell Dockett, Kendrick Clancy, Tim Bulman, Langston Moore, Gabe Watson, Kenny King (inj), Jon Lewis
MLB Gerald Hayes, James Darling (W), Lance Mitchell
OLB Karlos Dansby (S) (inj), Orlando Huff (W), Calvin Pace (S), Darryl Blackstock (W), Mark Brown, Isaac Keys, Brandon Johnson, Lawrence Pinson
CB David Macklin, Antrel Rolle, Eric Green (inj), Robert Tate, Dyshod Carter, Lamont Reid, Darrell Hunter, Jay McCareins, Damarius Bilbo, Justin Wyatt
S Adrian Wilson (SS), Robert Griffith (FS), Aaron Francisco, Ernest Shazor, Jack Brewer, Chris Harrell
QB: Michael Vick played one series in the Falcons preseason opener completing 3-of-4 passes for 26 yards and running once for 16 yards setting up the first of four Michael Koenen field goals. Backup Matt Schaub followed Vick completing 7-of-13 for 102 yards including a 21-yard TD to Michael Jenkins and one interception. Bryan Randall entered the game next. He threw for 82 yards on 5-of-9 passing with a 34-yard TD pass to Jerious Norwood while also adding a 29-yard run. Rookie D.J. Shockley entered the game last and he was cheered loudly by the fans who remember him as the former Georgia Bulldogs star quarterback. Shockley did a nice job to get the Falcons into position for a game-winning field goal. He completed 4-of-10 passes for 40 yards while rushing for 12 yards. Two of his incompletions were spikes to stop the clock on the team’s final drive. “I wondered if I would be nervous,” Shockley said. “I was pleased.”
Dunn and T.J. Duckett looked great against the Patriots. Dunn played sparingly running
for 20 yards on three carries while catching two passes for 11 yards. Duckett
carried 10 times for 59 yards, breaking one run for 20 yards. One of the game’s
stars was rookie Jerious Norwood, who scored on a 34-yard pass from Bryan
Randall in the 3rd quarter.
WR: The Falcons took a 10-3 lead in the first quarter Saturday night when Matt Schaub found Michael Jenkins in the end zone for a 21-yard score. Jenkins had 36 yards on two catches. Fellow starter Roddy White returned to practice last Wednesday after missing several sessions with a hamstring injury. Rookie Kevin Youngblood made a leaping catch over the middle to keep the team’s final drive alive. Youngblood finished with three receptions for 23 yards.
Crumpler remains out of action and he is expected to sit out all of the team’s preseason
games. The Falcons want Crumpler to be healthy for the regular season opener.
Against the Patriots Saturday night, Daniel Fells caught two balls for 38 yards
while Dwayne Blakley had two catches for 19 yards. Jason Randall, an undrafted
Defense: Rod Coleman returned to the practice field last Wednesday after sitting out several practices with a knee problem. Darrell Shropshire is performing well since being promoted into the starting lineup at nose tackle ahead of Chad Lavalais. The team has recently talked to free agent Brentson Buckner’s agent about joining them, but for now HC Jim Mora wants to see how his current players do in their first couple of preseason games before making such a move. Lawyer Milloy is enjoying a productive camp and Jim Mora couldn’t be happier. “He is a better player, at this point of his career, than I thought he'd be,” Mora said. “I don't mean that to take anything away from what I thought of him. I always thought he was a really good player. He is a really good player.” The biggest acquisition of the offseason was John Abraham. He played well against the Patriots finishing with 4 solo tackles a sack and a forced fumble. LB Keith Brooking left the game in the first quarter with a sprained right ankle and did not return.
Special Teams: Carlos Martinez’s stay with the
Falcons was very brief. He was released after eight days. Kicker Tony Yelk’s
stay atop the depth chart was only slightly longer than eight days.
Punter/kickoff-specialist/placekicker Michael Koenen was named the starter for
Kicker Tony Yelk handled a PAT and three kickoffs. One option the
Falcons are considering is giving Yelk a shot at the punting job, which he has
experience from his days at
QB Michael Vick, Matt Schaub, D.J. Shockley, Bryan Randall
RB Warrick Dunn (3RB), T.J. Duckett (SD), Jerious Norwood, Deandra Cobb (KR), Butchie Wallace (inj)
FB Justin Griffith, John Pannozzo
WR Michael Jenkins, Roddy White, Jerome Pathon, Adam Jennings, Cole Magner, Troy Bergeron, Jamin Elliot, Javarus Dudley, Kevin Youngblood, Brian Finneran (inj)
TE Alge Crumpler, Dwayne Blakely, Eric Beverly, Daniel Fells. Jason Randall, Boone Stutz
K Michael Koenen, Tony Yelk
DE Patrick Kerney, John Abraham, Chauncey Davis, Constantin Ritzmann, Paul Carrington
DT Rod Coleman, Darrell Shropshire (NT), Chad Lavalais (NT), Jonathan Babineaux, Antwan Lake (NT), T.J. Jackson
MLB Edgerton Hartwell, Jordan Beck
OLB Keith Brooking (W), Michael Boley (S), Demorrio Williams (W), Ike Reese (S/W), Artie Ulmer, Travis Williams
CB DeAngelo Hall, Jimmy Williams, Jason Webster, Allen Rossum (KR), Leigh Torrence, Kevin Mathis
S Lawyer Milloy (SS), Chris Crocker (FS), Omare Lowe (FS), Chris Reis, Nick Turnbull
QB: Steve McNair had a rousing debut with the Ravens moving the team 80 yards in 12 plays on the opening drive of their preseason opener against the NY Giants on Friday night. He went 4-for-5 for 45 yards before scampering for the 6-yard touchdown to cap the drive. On his rushing TD, McNair said, “I had an opportunity, I got flushed out of the pocket, I saw the end zone and I just tried to make the best out of something. This is my style of play. I play to win, regardless of it's a preseason or a regular-season game. Once the blood gets flowing, you can't shut it off.” HC Brian Billick chuckled and then added, “I told him he and I are both too old to do a whole lot of that, but it's what he does. He's an incredible competitor.” McNair was asked what he thought of his debut, “It was what we were looking for, offensively, to start us out. That's the kind of drive we want to establish during the course of the season.” Kyle Boller took over for McNair and looked about the same as he has in the past, which certainly isn’t a ringing endorsement. He completed 12-of-18 passes for 100 yards and he was sacked three times. Brian St. Pierre finished off the game throwing six times completing three passes for 33 yards.
RB: Jamal Lewis took the handoff on the Ravens first offensive play for a 5-yard gain up the middle to put to rest concerns about his recovery from a dreadful 2005 season. He finished with 34 yards on six rushing attempts as the Ravens lost 17-16 to the Giants. “We seem more balanced out there,” said Lewis. “We moved the ball well and had a good drive. That was huge for us.” Brian Billick commented, “He obviously was very physical tonight. We just have to continue to progress. The soreness that he has is moving down his leg and eventually out. So he's battling that a little bit, but he ran with some real authority tonight, and that's good to see.”
Musa Smith looked good in his return to action following a broken leg and knee injuries that sidelined him for most of his brief career. Smith combined for 76 yards in the game. He ran four times for 61 yards – including a 37-yard jaunt down the right sideline – while catching four balls for 15 yards. “The line, they had some great blocks,” said Smith. “In camp, we've been stressing the run game, and we wanted to come out here and establish that. Jamal set it off, and I just followed him.” Backup Mike Anderson, fresh off a concussion a week ago, ran five times for 17 yards. Rookie P.J. Daniels gained 14 yards on six carries, but fumbled twice losing the first one. “This is not what I do,” said Daniels, who took responsibility for the miscues. “I don't fumble, but I get out here and fumble two… like the veterans said, it's another day, another opportunity. I'll learn from it and build from that.”
WR: Derrick Mason sustained a mild concussion during Friday evening's preseason opener against the Giants. He caught one pass for 4 yards before leaving the game after the first series. Rookie Demetrius Williams produced 43 yards on three catches in his Ravens debut. Travis LaTendresse caught two balls for 11 yards. Mark Clayton had two receptions for 29 yards. Devard Darling didn’t produce any catches, but he was on the receiving end of a nice play in practice last Thursday. Darling caught a Boller pass for a 35-plus yard play.
TE: Todd Heap caught two balls for 34 yards against the Giants while rookie Quinn Sypniewski produced a 26-yard reception – the biggest of the game for the Ravens. Daniel Wilcox also caught a ball for 8 yards. Sypniewski, the team’s fifth round selection, had a rough week of practice. He was drafted primarily for his blocking prowess, but he surprised the staff by catching the ball well in the opening week. Unfortunately, he began the week with a few drops. “When you have some drops, it's all mental,” said Billick of Sypniewski. “He knows that and he's working through it. I'm impressed with the way he's rebounded from some drops.” On Wednesday, he was awoken from his slumber by a bone-jarring hit from Gerome Sapp. Shortly after the hit, Sypniewski leapt to catch a touchdown from Boller just after making a diving, rolling reception that put the team into the red zone. “Just about the time I'm about to stick my size 12's up his private parts, he goes and makes 3 or 4 phenomenal catches, which is good,” Billick admitted. “He's a sharp kid and he has the maturity to fight through it.”
Defense: Ray Lewis was held out of Friday's game. Billick felt that
Lewis was ready for game action, but Lewis did not dress along with Samari
Rolle, who was held out due to a heel injury. The Ravens had two injuries last
week during practice along the defensive front. NT Haloti Ngata did not play
against the Giants after he sprained his medial collateral ligament in his left
knee during Saturday’s scrimmage against
Special Teams: In the Ravens’ first preseason game, the offense did what they do best…set up kicker Matt Stover. He was good on all three field goal attempts (27, 43, and 43 yards). Although to be fair, the Titans did score a TD with Steve McNair at the helm, before he gave way to Kyle Boller. Stover discussed the evolution of his game over the years, "In technique, I've changed quite a bit because I had to learn no longer do I have to kick the ball 60 yards. I need to kick the ball from where I'm at, which is 48, 50, 51 yards at the longest, and make sure you make everything inside of that." Kicker Aaron Elling handled all the kickoffs, putting three of four into the endzone, with two for touchbacks. He continues to compete in practice with punters Sam Koch and Leo Araguz for the kickoff specialist job. Starting return specialist B.J. Sams returned one kickoff 31 yards and one punt nine yards in the game. His challenger, rookie Cory Ross, averaged 22.0 yards on two kickoff returns and 13.5 yards on two punt returns. It’s still a long uphill battle for him, especially since he’s had occasional ball-handling issues in practice, while Sams has not. WR Mark Clayton and rookie WR Tres Moses have also been practicing on punt returns.
QB Steve McNair, Kyle Boller, Brian St. Pierre, Drew Olson
RB Jamal Lewis, Mike Anderson (FB), Musa Smith, P.J. Daniels, B.J. Sams (KR/PR), Cory Ross
FB Justin Green, Ovie Mughelli
WR Derrick Mason, Mark Clayton, Clarence Moore, Demetrius Williams, Devard Darling, Travis LaTendresse, Brian Bratton, Ronald Bellamy, Romby Bryant, Rufus Skillern, Tre Moses, Matt Cherry
TE Todd Heap, Daniel Wilcox, Quinn Sypniewski
K Matt Stover, Aaron Elling
DE Terrell Suggs, Trevor Pryce, Jarrett Johnson, Roderick Green, Gary Stills
DT Kelly Gregg, Haloti Ngata, Dwan Edwards, Aubrayo Franklin, Justin Bannan, Cedric Hilliard, Remi Ayodele
MLB Ray Lewis, Mike Smith
OLB Adalius Thomas (S), Bart Scott (W), Dan Cody (S/DE) (inj), Dennis Haley, Ryan LaCasse, Tim Johnson
CB Chris McAlister, Samari Rolle, Corey Ivy, David Pittman, Evan Oglesby, Derrick Martin, Ronnie Prude
S Ed Reed (SS), Dawan Landry (FS), Gerome Sapp (FS), B.J. Ward (FS)
QB: The Dick Jauron era officially began for the Bills on Saturday night in their preseason opener against the Carolina Panthers and the QB competition was the main focus for many Bills observers. Kelly Holcomb got the start but struggled badly against the Panthers first team defense. He completed just 2-of-4 passes, was sacked once, and threw an interception to Ken Lucas that was returned 23 yards for a TD. Holcomb has been more accurate than JP Losman in training camp, but his lack of arm strength really hurts him in this offense that wants to attack downfield.
Losman took over to begin the second quarter and finished 15-of-24 for 144 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions. He was inaccurate early and held onto the ball too long at times – he was sacked 5 times - but eventually settled down and led the Bills on three consecutive scoring drives. Losman played almost three full quarters and seemed to take a commanding lead in the Bills QB competition, as even Holcomb conceded, “J.P. did some good things,” said Holcomb. “He came in and managed the game, so yeah I'm behind the eight ball.” Losman still needs to make quicker decisions and improve his overall consistency, but his arm strength and mobility give the Bills offense more options. Craig Nall has fallen behind in the competition after missing two weeks of practice with a hamstring injury, but he’s expected to return this week and could see time in the Bills next game. Kliff Kingsbury came in with just 3 minutes remaining and went 2-for-5 for 15 yards.
RB: Willis McGahee started the game but didn’t get much work as the offense failed to generate a single first down until the second quarter. He had a nice reception for 7 yards on the first drive and finished with 3 carries for 5 yards. There have been reports that the Bills plan to get him more involved in the passing game this year, so that reception was nice to see. Lionel Gates has been having a strong camp for the second year in a row and wound up getting the most work Saturday night with 8 carries for 31 yards. He was mostly kept in check early by the Panthers defense but got some room to run in the 3rd quarter and scored the team’s only TD on a 3-yard run. Anthony Thomas had a 7-yard run to the outside for a first down and looked quick, but he only finished with 3 carries for 8 yards. Shaud Williams finished with 12 yards on 4 carries and added a reception for 4 yards. At this point, Gates appears to be winning the competition for the backup RB job, but Thomas and Williams are still in the mix.
WR: Lee Evans and Josh Reed started the game, but given Holcomb’s struggles they didn’t see much action. Evans finished with no receptions on zero targets and was out of the game by the time the passing game started clicking late in the first half. Roscoe Parrish, Josh Reed, and Andre Davis all made nice receptions on the Bills first scoring drive. Sam Aiken showed impressive speed and stood out with 4 catches for 73 yards. He was also wide open on a fly pattern late in the 4th but the pass from Losman was overthrown. Aiken has been overlooked by most people in the competition for the starting WR spot opposite Evans, but he could surprise with more strong performances like this. Peerless Price was considered the favorite in that competition but finished with no receptions in the game.
TE: Robert Royal started the game but didn’t make much of an impact. He was Holcomb’s intended target on the interception return, but he didn’t get his head turned around. Kevin Everett finished with two catches for 10 yards. He appears to be getting a lot of work as a pass catching TE in camp. He should be more productive than Brad Cieslak, even though Cieslak began camp at #2 on the depth chart.
Defense: The Bills are implementing a new system this year on defense so most of the focus is on getting all the players comfortable with their new roles. SS Donte Whitner was taken with the #8 overall selection and wasn’t expected to play much this week after a contract holdout forced him to miss the early part of training camp. After Matt Bowen left the game with a knee injury, however, Whitner was forced into action and wound up leading the team in tackles with 4 solos and 1 assist. Whitner is a film room junkie with an excellent football IQ so he should be able to get caught up quickly, and could definitely wind up beginning the season as a starter given Bowen’s past injury history. At linebacker, the team released former starting SLB Jeff Posey on Monday since he wasn’t a great fit for the new system and had lost his starting job. Taking his place in the starting lineup is Angelo Crowell, who has been taking snaps at the playmaking WLB spot and could be an excellent value in IDP leagues this year. Takeo Spikes is one of the team’s most vocal leaders but is still recovering from his torn Achilles and may not be ready for the beginning of the season. Up front, the team is hoping that a rebuilt group of defensive tackles can help solidify a run defense that collapsed last season. 1st round pick John McCargo got some penetration on several plays, and 5th round pick Kyle Williams did an excellent job of shutting down DeShaun Foster on short yardage plays.
The Bills have brought in a lot of quality players on defense this offseason, so the key to their success is learning the new system and working together as a group. The defense has been dominant in training camp but had some problems slowing down the Panthers first team offense as Jake Delhomme picked them apart and DeShaun Foster had 25 yards on five carries. After falling behind 14-0, the defense toughened up and did a great job shutting down the Panthers reserves for the rest of the game. There is solid depth at almost every position, and the return of a healthy Spikes would provide a huge boost to this unit’s overall effectiveness.
Special Teams: Kicker Rian
Lindell knows he has to pace himself in camp, “It’d be great to be out there,
kicking field goals all day long and being on the field. But after a little
while my leg would fall off. You’ve got be smart about it.” In the first
preseason game at
QB J.P. Losman, Kelly Holcomb, Craig Nall, Kliff Kingsbury
RB Willis McGahee, Shaud Williams, Anthony Thomas, Lionel Gates, Fred Jackson
FB Damien Shelton, Alan Ricard, Joe Burns
WR Lee Evans, Josh Reed, Peerless Price, Andre Davis, Roscoe Parrish (PR), Sam Aiken, Jonathan Smith, George Wilson, Martin Nance, Chris Denney
TE Robert Royal, Brad Cieslak, Kevin Everett, Ryan Neufeld
K Rian Lindell
DT Larry Tripplett, Tim Anderson (NT), Lauvale Sape (inj), John McCargo, Jason Jefferson, Kyle Williams
DE Aaron Schobel, Chris Kelsay, Ryan Denney, Ryan Neill, Jason Hall, Joshua Cooper
MLB London Fletcher, Liam Ezekiel, Courtney Watson (inj)
OLB Takeo Spikes (S), Angelo Crowell (W), Josh Stamer (S/W), Mario Haggan (W), Keith Ellison, John Digiorgio
CB Nate Clements (PR), Terrence McGee (KR), Eric King, Jabari Greer, Ashton Youboty, Kiwaukee Thomas, Eric Bassey
S Troy Vincent (FS), Donte Whitner (SS), Matt Bowen (SS), Coy Wire (SS), Ko Simpson (FS), Rashad Baker (FS), Jim Leonhard (SS), James Bethea
QB: Jake Delhomme didn’t need long to shake off the rust in the preseason opener. He looked sharp and led the team on a 7 play, 67 yard drive for a touchdown in the first quarter. Delhomme threw a 14-yard TD pass to Drew Carter to open the scoring as he finished 5-of-6 for 64 yards before giving way to Chris Weinke. Delhomme completed passes on the Panthers first four offensive plays. “Overall, it was nice,” Delhomme said. “You love to get the ball, drive down and score and that is what we did. That was encouraging.” The first play of the game was an 18-yard completion to free agent pickup Keyshawn Johnson.
Saturday’s game, DeShaun Foster started and looked good running five times for
25 yards. Rookie first-round pick DeAngelo Williams carried eight times for 21
yards. The team was hoping for a big splash from Williams, but he got off to a
slow start as he was held to 1 yard on
the first seven carries before taking the eighth one for 20 yards. The coaches
keep saying that Eric Shelton is doing better than he did as a rookie, but he
didn’t look great Saturday night. “He's having a better camp,” running backs
coach Jim Skipper said. “How much better? Time will
tell… He was a little lost,” Skipper said referring to
WR: Steve Smith did not play against
As far as Smith’s return? Count Keyshawn among those who can’t wait for him to get back on the practice field. “I'll be glad when he comes back – then they can make even more out of it,” Johnson said when asked of his relationship with Smith. “I think when you look at that situation, you have to report it. It's your job, you have to write newspapers, it's your job, you have to create stories, it's your job. The story that you're creating, it's so fictitious.”
TE: It’s looking more and more like the Panthers will open the season with a new starter at tight end. Even before Kris Mangum got hurt, Michael Gaines was running with the 1s in practice. Mangum has been suffering from plantar fasciitis in his left foot for the past several weeks. Gaines has the better upside of the two players, but he’s been inconsistent in practices. Mike Seidman could also see more playing time, but in a backup role. He caught one pass for 8 yards against the Bills. Seidman needs to stay healthy as Jeff King, a rookie, also has potential.
Defense: Mike Minter did not play in Saturday’s game as
he left the team after his mother died suddenly on Thursday. Colin Branch
started at free safety in Minter’s absence. LB Adam Seward gave the team a
boost as he returned to practice last week. He missed time with a groin strain,
but he made his presence felt in the second quarter against
Special Teams: After missing the first part of camp with a sore leg, kicker John Kasay
finally returned to practice, and also played in the game against
QB Jake Delhomme, Chris Weinke, Stefan Lefors, Brett Basanez
RB DeShaun Foster, DeAngelo Williams, Eric Shelton, Jamal Robertson, Alex Haynes
FB Brad Hoover, Nick Goings, Casey Cramer
WR Steve Smith (PR), Keyshawn Johnson, Keary Colbert, Drew Carter, Karl Hankton, Jovon Bouknight, Taye Biddle, Daniel Smith, Justin McCullum, Lynzell Jackson, D.J. Smith
TE Kris Mangum (inj), Michael Gaines, Mike Seidman, Jeff King
K John Kasay
DE Julius Peppers, Mike Rucker, Al Wallace, Jovan Haye, Stanley McClover, Devan Long
DT Kris Jenkins (inj), Ma'ake Kemoeatu, Damione Lewis, Jordan Carstens, Atiyyah Ellison, Tony Brown
MLB Dan Morgan, Adam Seward, Vinny Ciurciu
OLB Thomas Davis (S), Na'il Diggs (W), Keith Adams (W), James Anderson (W), Chris Draft (S), Sean Tufts
CB Chris Gamble, Ken Lucas, Reggie Howard, Richard Marshall, Jermaine Hardy, Marcus Cassel, Jarrett Bush, DeShane Dennis
S Mike Minter (SS), Shaun Williams (FS), Colin Branch (FS/SS), Kevin McAdam, Nate Salley (FS)
QB: The Bears opened the 2006 preseason with a road game against the 49ers on Friday night. Rex Grossman started the game and played nearly the entire first half, finishing just 3-for-11 for 47 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions. With its top 2 running backs both shelved with injuries, the Bears came out throwing on six of their first seven offensive snaps but Grossman looked jittery and hurried some of his throws. His WR fumbled a completed pass to end the first series, and then on the 2nd series Grossman fumbled after a bobbled snap and the ball was picked up by 49ers LB Jeff Ulbrich and returned 32 yards for a TD. Although Grossman’s hold on the starting job is still reasonably secure, his poor performance in this game may have opened up the door for Griese a little bit.
Brian Griese was signed to a multi-year contract by the Bears this offseason to provide insurance against another Grossman injury, but he has a lot of starting experience and it showed on Friday. Griese came into the game with less than 5 minutes left in the first half and the Bears trailing 17-0. He played two full series and led the Bears to touchdowns on both possessions, finishing 6-for-7 for 134 yards and 2 touchdowns. Griese did an excellent job of spreading the ball around and finding WR Rashied Davies for several big gains, including a 41-yard TD pass early in the second half. Kyle Orton came in to finish the game but wasn’t very effective completing just 4-for-9 for 42 yards. The Bears offensive line did a good job in protection and didn’t allow a sack on the night.
RB: Thomas Jones remains out with a hamstring injury but is expected to return to practice this week. Cedric Benson is still out with a shoulder injury and is probably at least another week or two away from returning. Running backs coach Tim Spencer had the following to say about who will be starting. “There has been a lot said about the starting guy, whether it's Thomas or Cedric. 'It's going to come out. Both guys are hurt now, but eventually the best guy will be clear. It will be out in front of everybody…The places where I played and coached, it's always been the case where the best players play. That policy is no different here. To me, that's the only way you can win.”
Adrian Peterson got the start against the 49ers but wasn’t able to get anything going in limited work as he finished with just 4 carries for 3 yards. Rookie P.J. Pope replaced him and showed good all-around ability, finishing with 8 carries for 18 yards and 2 receptions for 25 yards. Since Jones and Benson were not available, the Bears used this game as a chance to work on their passing game and finished with 27 pass attempts compared to just 16 rushing attempts.
WR: The starting WRs were Muhsin
Muhammad and Mark Bradley, and Bernard Berrian came in as the slot receiver.
Grossman completed a 17-yard pass to Bradley on 3rd down in the
first series, but Bradley fumbled the ball and it was recovered by CB Walt
Harris. On their next series, Grossman hooked up with Muhammad for a 22-yard
gain but that drive quickly stalled out. Rashied Davis has been working as a
slot WR with the first unit during training camp and he had a breakout type of
performance with 4 catches for 91 yards and a TD.
TE: Desmond Clark started the game but wasn’t targeted in the passing game. His backup Gabe Reid, however, was involved in the passing game and looked like he could become an effective weapon. He showed good speed and finished with 2 receptions for 38 yards, including a 12-yard TD pass from Griese just before halftime.
Defense: The Bears return 11 starters from the league’s best defense, but they looked surprisingly soft against the league’s worst offense from 2005. Alex Smith and the 49ers offense quickly racked up 7 first downs and 123 yards on just three possessions against the Bears first string defense. Lovie Smith thought the first unit played okay, but was put in a bad position by the offensive turnovers, and they did only give up 3 points despite all those yards against them. This is a deep veteran unit that returns all of its starters and plays in the same exact system so there isn’t much cause for concern here. In general, the guys up front did a good job pressuring the 49ers QBs but were unable to come up with any sacks. The coverage in the secondary was too soft at times and Charles Tillman was victimized a couple times by Antonio Bryant. Nathan Vasher left the game temporarily after getting hit in the head but returned and should be alright. One of the few players who stood out for the Bears on defense was DT Antonio Garay who finished with a game-high 8 solo tackles and looked very quick while chasing down plays.
Special Teams: Heading into camp the Robbie Gould vs. Josh Huston battle for the
kicker job looked very intriguing. So far it’s been very one-sided. Gould’s two
weaknesses last year were kickoffs and inconsistency on 40+ yard FGs. He has
shown marked improvement on both so far this year. Meanwhile, Huston has been
inconsistent overall. Neither one had any FG attempts in the first preseason
QB Rex Grossman, Brian Griese, Kyle Orton
RB Cedric Benson (inj), Thomas Jones, Adrian Peterson, P.J. Pope, Andre Hall
FB Bryan Johnson (inj), Jason McKie, J.D. Runnels
WR Muhsin Muhammad, Bernard Berrian, Mark Bradley, Justin Gage, Airese Curry (inj), Alex Bannister, Devin Hester (KR/PR/CB), Rashied Davis (PR), Craig Bragg, Bryan McClendon
TE Desmond Clark, Gabe Reid, John Gilmore, Tim Day, Cooper Wallace
K Robbie Gould, Josh Huston
DE Adewale Ogunleye, Alex Brown, Israel Idonije, Michael Haynes (DT), Jamaal Green, Mark Anderson, Khari Long
DT Tommie Harris, Ian Scott (inj), Terry Johnson (inj), Alfonso Boone, Dusty Dvoracek (inj), Delbert Cowsette
MLB Brian Urlacher, Jeremy Cain
OLB Lance Briggs (W), Hunter Hillenmeyer (S/M), Joe Odom (S), Leon Joe (W), Brendon Ayanbadejo (S), Dwayne Slay, Brandon Marshall, Jamar Williams
CB Charles Tillman, Nathan Vasher, Ricky Manning, Dante Wesley, Abraham Elimimian, Carlos Hendricks
S Mike Brown (SS) (inj), Chris Harris (FS), Danieal Manning (FS), Todd Johnson (SS), Cameron Worrell (SS), Brandon McGowan (SS) (inj), Dion Byrum, Donnie McCleskey
QB: The Carson Palmer saga continued this week with
the coaching staff basically doubling his workload to 80% of the practice snaps
at Palmer’s request. He continues to look pretty good overall and seems to be
regaining the timing with his receivers. He’s had no setbacks and continues to
gain confidence in the surgically repaired knee. Palmer even worked on the
slick, wet grass late in the week when showers soaked the practice field.
Physically everything seems good but Palmer has admitted that the mental aspect
of his recovery may be the toughest of all. He is working through drills as if
he had never suffered an injury and recently had this to say about his mental
recovery, “I feel like I made a lot of
progress. I feel like I’m playing football and not thinking of anything other
than what’s going on in the coverage. I’m not worried about what’s going on up
in front of me. I’m not worried about stepping on anybody. I kind of got the
knee thing out of my head. I feel a lot better, a lot more comfortable.” Palmer
did some throwing before the Bengals first preseason game against
After watching the Bengals offense with Anthony Wright at the helm on Sunday night, Lewis may have gone by the nearest church on his way home to throw in an extra prayer for Palmer’s return. Wright showed some mobility but was very indecisive at times and when he did throw he was waiting for the receivers to come open rather than trusting his timing. As a result, defenders were able to recover and break on a lot of throws. Against the Redskins starters in the first quarter Wright threw only two passes that looked good. The first was a flea flicker to T.J. Houshmandzadeh for a big gain and the second a corner fade to Chris Henry for a score. Neither play required Wright to read the defense or throw a timing pass. Wright played through the second quarter and looked much better as the game wore on but it is hard to say if that came as he settled down or as a result of facing the Redskins second team defense. Wright finished the game 9-of-16 for 101 yards and a score. After the game he had this to say, “Overall, it was a good start, considering it was my first time really playing competitively with this offense. Obviously there are always things you can work on and learn from. That’s what I look forward to doing.”
Doug Johnson played the entire second half and actually looked much sharper than Wright. He was hitting receivers on timing routs while looking much more comfortable and in command of the offense. Granted this was against mostly third team defenders but Johnson finished the game 11 of 14 for 128 yards and led the club on two scoring drives including a 34 yard strike to Kelley Washington.
RB: Rudi Johnson has looked great during camp but it didn’t carry over to Sunday night’s game. He had just three carries and lost yards on two of them finishing with (-8) yards on the night. In his defense, Johnson had very little chance as the Redskins defensive line was on fire. On all three of his carries he was met by, or had to avoid, defenders 3 yards deep in the backfield. Johnson played about 10 snaps before taking his pads off and watching comfortably from the bench.
With Chris Perry still on the PUP list due to an ankle injury, Kenny Watson took over after Rudi was finished but he didn’t fare much better. He lost yards on two of his four carries and had negative yards on his only catch, as well. Watson did manage a nice 13-yard gain on one carry but finished the game with a very weak +10 yards on 5 touches. Quincy Wilson opened the second half at tailback but, like those before him, was ineffective. Wilson finished with five carries for 10 yards. Fortunately the Bengals running game got a boost late in the third quarter when rookie DeDe Dorsey broke a 46-yard run and ended up as the game’s leading rusher with 6 carries for 68 yards. Dorsey is competing with Wilson and Terrence Witehead for the final RB roster spot and has done a great deal to promote his cause of late. Not only has he broken some nice runs in practice but he has been working as a return man, too. He had one return for 12 yards against Washington.
WR: Chris Henry returned to action during the week and wasted no time reminding everyone why the Bengals were willing to take a chance on his off the field issues. Henry alternated with Tab Perry as the third receiver with the first team offense and immediately made an impact. After making a nice play on an 8-yard reception, Henry came back on the next possession and scored on an over-the-shoulder catch in the corner of the end zone. Chad Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh played just two series and after that Henry became the Bengals’ go-to guy. He didn’t disappoint, finishing as the game’s leading receiver with 6 catches for 61 yards. If this kid can stay out of trouble he can be a special player.
Defense carried the day for the Bengals against
The star of the game was Keiwan Ratliff who replaced O’Neal as the starting corner and used the opportunity to further advance his bid to break the starting lineup. Ratliff gave up a couple of early receptions but set up the Bengals first offensive points with a big interception return and seemed to be everywhere all night. He continues to officially compete with first round pick Johnathan Joseph for the nickel duties but Ratliff has made it clear since early in the offseason program that his goal is to win a starting job. If he continues to play the way he has throughout camp the coaching staff may have to consider granting his wish. Joseph made a couple of nice plays as well including batting away a pass and putting blitz pressure on Mark Brunell to force the bad throw that Ratliff picked off. The Bengals look both strong and deep at the corner positions. Rookie Domata Peko and veteran Shaun Smith both made a strong showings at DT in place of Sam Adams. The club expects to get some of their injured defenders back over the coming week. Pollack is reportedly very close to making his return from a sore hamstring and Sam Adams could come back at any time now that training camp is over.
Special Teams: Kicker Shayne Graham hit a 37-yard field goal and added two PATs in the
QB Carson Palmer (inj), Anthony Wright, Doug Johnson, Erik Meyer
RB Rudi Johnson, Chris Perry (3RB) (inj), Kenny Watson (3RB), Quincy Wilson, DeDe Dorsey, Terrence Whitehead
FB Jeremi Johnson, Naufahu Tahi, Chris Manderino
WR Chad Johnson, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Chris Henry, Antonio Chatman (KR), Tab Perry (KR), Kelley Washington, Reggie McNeal (QB), Benny Brazell, Ethan Kilmer
TE Reggie Kelly, Tony Stewart, Darnell Sanders, Ronnie Ghent, David Jones
K Shayne Graham
DE Justin Smith, Robert Geathers, Bryan Robinson (inj), Jonathan Fenene, Frostee Rucker, Eric Henderson
DT John Thornton, Sam Adams, Shaun Smith, Domata Peko, Marcus Lewis
MLB Odell Thurman (susp), Brian Simmons (M/W), Ahmad Brooks (S), A.J. Nicholson
OLB David Pollack (S/DE) (inj), Landon Johnson (W/M/S), Caleb Miller (W), Marcus Wilkins, Hannibal Navies, Wyatt Gayer, Kenny Kern
CB Tory James, Deltha O'Neal (WR/PR), Johnathan Joseph, Keiwan Ratliff (SS/PR), Rashad Bauman, Greg Brooks, Patrick Body
S Madieu Williams (FS/CB) (inj), Dexter Jackson (SS/FS), Kevin Kaesviharn (FS/SS), Anthony Mitchell, Ifeanyi Ohalete (SS), John Busing, Jereme Perry, Blake Ferris
QB: Starting quarterback Charlie
Frye played briefly for the Browns in their season opener going 4 of 7 for 23
yards. It was hard to get a good read on his play knowing how badly the Browns
offensive line is unraveling before our eyes. “When you step in that huddle,
you want your guys believing in you,” he said. “You want them to say, ‘Hey, if
Charlie thinks it’s going to be all right, then it’s going to be all right.’”
Frye was on the field for only 13 plays against the Eagles and did not look
over his head despite the play of the offensive line. He has to scramble
frequently and his passes weren’t overly sharp, but he escaped unscathed. Backup
quarterback Ken Dorsey completed 5 of 10 passes for 48 yards after taking over
for Frye. Dorsey has been awful during training camp and it wouldn’t be a
surprise to see the Browns cut him for Derek Anderson. Browns GM Phil Savage
RB: Reuben Droughns ran the ball hard. He carried
the rock four times for 21 yards including an 11-yard run. Lee Suggs also ran
hard. Suggs, Jerome Harrison, William Green and Jerome Harrison all saw action
in Droughns’ stead.
team continues to be intrigued by Joshua Cribbs, who Charlie Frye calls “the
Michael Vick of the MAC.” Cribbs put up 1,000 yards passing and 1,000 yards
rushing in three of his four years playing quarterback for
TE: Kellen Winslow, Jr. made his return to the field and caught two passes and had a third called back on a penalty in his preseason debut. "It was really good to get back out there," said Winslow, whose career was stalled by an in-game leg injury and a motorcycle accident. "I just wanted to get tackled to get some confidence back." HC Romeo Crennel commented after the game, “He made some plays and looked good making them. He looked like a pretty decent guy running around out there and that was encouraging to see." Crennel also added, “He will tell you that he's not 100 percent, and whether he'll ever be 100 percent is doubtful. But I think that he'll be good enough to be a functional player for us.”
Defense: The Browns liked what they saw
of rookie first round pick Kamerion Wimbley, who clearly stood out in his first
preseason game. Wimbley, who played defensive end at
Special Teams: The kickers didn’t get to do very much in the game at
Other: Center Bob Hallen, whom the team was relying heavily upon after LeCharles Bentley’s season ending injury, abruptly retired last week leaving the team’s offensive line in a lurch. The team made a move during the week acquiring Ross Tucker from the Patriots. Further complicating matters, Alonzo Eprhaim, the team’s 3rd projected starting center in as many weeks, was suspended for the first four games of the regular season due to a violation of the substance abuse policy.
QB Charlie Frye, Ken Dorsey, Derek Anderson, Darrell Hackney, Lang Campbell
RB Reuben Droughns, William Green, Jerome Harrison (3RB), Lee Suggs (3RB), Jason Wright, Chris Barclay
FB Terrelle Smith, Corey McIntyre, Lawrence Vickers
WR Braylon Edwards (inj), Joe Jurevicius, Dennis Northcutt (PR), Frisman Jackson, Travis Wilson, Josh Cribbs (WR/RB), Brandon Rideau, Kendrick Mosley, Carlton Brewster, Glenn Holt
TE Kellen Winslow Jr, Steve Heiden, Darnell Dinkins, Paul Irons
K Phil Dawson, Jeff Chandler
DE Orpheus Roye, Alvin McKinley, Nick Eason, Simon Fraser, J'Vonne Parker
NT Ted Washington, Ethan Kelley, Babatunde Oshinowo, Ja'Waren Blair
ILB Andra Davis (L), DQwell Jackson (R), Chaun Thompson (R), Leon Williams (L), Mason Unck
OLB Willie McGinest (S/DE), Kamerion Wimbley (S/DE), Matt Stewart (S), David McMillan (W), Nick Speegle (S), Charlton Keith
CB Daylon McCutcheon (inj), Gary Baxter, Leigh Bodden, Antonio Perkins (inj), Pete Hunter, DeMario Minter (inj), DeMarcus Rideaux, Ralph Brown
S Brian Russell (FS), Brodney Pool (FS), Sean Jones (SS), Antwaan Harris, Justin Hamilton (SS), Jeremy Lasueur (FS)
QB: The Cowboys first preseason game
should’ve been called the “Tony Romo Show” as the 4th-year
quarterback played the entire game against
Parcells caused a fantasy stir when he suggested that Marion Barber III was
“interchangeable” with projected starter Julius Jones. "I have always been
a coach who has a lead back and then a supplemental carrier. Sometimes, I had
the advantage of having a third-down guy, too. There were always three guys in
the mix: lead runner, changeup runner and third-down guy. “With these two guys
I am more inclined to interchange the runners and get Tyson (Thompson) ready to
be part of the mix as well. Where maybe he could be the
change-up runner. But I'm not sure yet if I can do it," said
WR: Terry Glenn caught one pass for
20 yards versus
Witten had two catches for 13 yards versus
Defense: Two converted lineman were the
stars of the defense against
Special Teams: Kickers Mike Vanderjagt, Shaun Suisham, and Tyler Fredrickson have all
continued to struggle in practice…really struggle. HC Bill Parcells understated
the situation, "I'd say we've been a little inconsistent to this
day." Starter Vanderjagt worked on damage control, "We still have a
month to go, so I'm not concerned. I'm not too concerned with makes and misses
now. I haven't pushed the panic button yet. I'm notoriously bad in practice.
I'm notoriously bad in preseason games. I'm notoriously a slow starter."
He also noted, "My groin and quad are a little sore." In the game at
QB Drew Bledsoe, Tony Romo, Drew Henson, Matt Baker
RB Julius Jones, Marion Barber III (3RB), Tyson Thompson (KR), Keylon Kincade, Demetrius Summers
FB Lousaka Polite (HB/TE)
WR Terrell Owens, Terry Glenn (inj), Patrick Crayton (PR) (inj), Terrance Copper, Sam Hurd, Skyler Green, Jamaica Rector, J.R. Tolver, LaShaun Ward
TE Jason Witten, Anthony Fasano, Ryan Hannam, Sean Ryan, Erik Jensen
K Mike Vanderjagt, Tyler Fredrickson
DE Kenyon Coleman, Marcus Spears, Chris Canty, Jay Ratliff, Jason Hatcher, Junior Glymph
NT Jason Ferguson, Montavious Stanley, Samuel Taulealea
ILB Bradie James (M), Akinola Ayodele (S), Scott Shanle (J), Ryan Fowler, John Aldi
OLB Demarcus Ware (W), Al Singleton, Bobby Carpenter, Kevin Burnett (S), Greg Ellis (DE), Rocky Boiman (inj)
CB Terance Newman, Anthony Henry, Aaron Glenn, Jacques Reeves, Quincy Butler
S Roy Williams (SS), Keith Davis (FS), Pat Watkins (FS), Willie Pile (FS), Marcus Coleman (FS/CB)
QB: The Broncos opened up the 2006 preseason
with a game at Ford Field against the Detroit Lions. Jake Plummer had a good showing in limited
action. He went 3-of-4 for 33 yards, and
basically looked like the Plummer we’ve all become used to seeing in
Rookie Jay Cutler has been looking really comfortable in his new #2 role. The depth chart was released on Monday, and some were surprised to see the young draft pick ahead of Bradlee Van Pelt. Jay has been taking everything in stride, “It’s competition out here, and coach is going to play the best guy. I mean, (running back) Mike Bell is a first-team running back now. No matter where you are drafted or how many years you have been in the league, he’s (Shanahan) going to play the best guy and that’s what it’s all about.” In the game on Friday the young phenom from Vanderbilt turned in a solid performance. He was 16/22/192 with 1 TD passing (to David Kircus). This great showing has started a small, mostly media-driven, QB controversy. Some beat writers believe that Cutler has a 60% chance of playing this season. Mike Shanahan provides a word of caution, "He [QB Jay Cutler] played very well; he executed the offense. I think both teams were very vanilla in their approach to it… so you don't get too excited, but a guy's got to go out there and he's got to perform. I thought he showed a lot of poise and did a good job."
Bradlee Van Pelt has not taken his demotion
well. Since being relegated to the #3
Mike Bell was promoted to first string on the depth chart this week. This was a move that shocked many people,
including Tatum Bell and Ron Dayne. Mike
Bell looked good in practice all week against the 1st and 2nd string defense
and was really excited for the game in
Tatum Bell is trying to prove that he’s more than a situational runner. He also hasn’t been taking his demotion very well, "They don't think I can do 25 carries. They don't trust me. I'm going to keep fighting for it, and I've got it in the back of my mind that I'm going to be the man, but in reality, it ain't worked like that in three years." In the game against the Lions Tatum looked determined to win the starting job. He had 5 carries for 26 yards, and added 1 reception for 19 yards. He was very impressive on the field, and he shouldn’t be overlooked in this race for the starting job.
Ron Dayne had a poor showing almost all week in practice after word of his demotion got out. He then followed that up by doing nothing notable in the game against the Lions. 5 carries for 12 yards will not win you a starting job anywhere in the NFL. He also missed practice with a bad toe on Sunday. Cedric Cobbs quietly put together a good week in camp. He looked good in the game against the Lions, with 11 carries for 42 yards, which led the team. He ran with good power, and had good “pop” at the point of attack. If he keeps performing well, he might have a spot on this roster, after all.
Rod Smith and Javon Walker both nursed injuries all week, and did not
play in the game against the Lions. It
seems to be more of a precautionary move, and both should be back in the lineup
soon. In the meantime, many thought that
Brandon Marshall would have a breakout game.
He has been having a great camp, and has wowed coaches with his
consistency, hands, and route running.
But on gameday
That opened the door for the other Broncos WRs to
show what they can do. Darius Watts had
a good game with 4 catches for 35 yards, but he wasn’t the story of the
day. That title belongs to David
Kircus. In his return to the
Rookie Tony Scheffler looked good in what was a homecoming for him in
Defense: DE Courtney Brown had minor knee surgery last Wednesday, but said he expects to be ready for the regular-season opener. DT Gerard Warren dislocated his left big toe on August 5. He’s rehabbing in the swimming pool and is on target for opening day. Patrick Chukwurah missed practice on Sunday with an ankle injury and is expected to be out until midweek. Safety Sam Brandon returned to practice on Sunday after missing Friday’s game with a hamstring injury. Champ Bailey was held out of Friday’s game. Dominique Foxworth intercepted a Dan Orlovsky pass on Friday night and contributed with two tackles. Karl Paymah continues his strong preseason with four solo tackles and a sack.
Special Teams: Kicker Jason Elam discussed his field goal practicing, "Every
couple of weeks, I'll go back and try some long ones. I don't get a lot of
chances [in games]. I make my living between the 30 and 40, and that's where I
need to be. I want that swing to be really good." He also continues to take
off practice two days before a game. On his day off last week, punter Micah
Knorr handled kicking chores, and proceeded to kick a ball through WR Darius
Watts’ windshield. In the game at
QB Jake Plummer, Jay Cutler, Bradlee Van Pelt
RB Mike Bell, Tatum Bell, Ron Dayne (iinj), Cedric Cobbs, Damien Nash
FB Cecil Sapp, Kyle Johnson, Rashon Powers-Neal
WR Rod Smith, Javon Walker (inj), Darius Watts, Brandon Marshall (inj), David Terrell, David Kircus, Charlie Adams, Todd Devoe, Domenik Hixon, Brian Clark, Ashley Lelie
TE Stephen Alexander, Tony Scheffler, Nate Jackson, Chad Mustard, Landon Trusty (IR)
K Jason Elam
DE Courtney Brown (inj), Ebenezer Ekuban, John Engelberger, Kenard Lang, Elvis Dumervil, Randy Garner
DT Gerard Warren, Michael Myers, Demetrin Veal, D.J. Renteria, Amon Gordon, Antwon Burton, Bryan Save
MLB Al Wilson, Nate Webster, Keith Burns
OLB Ian Gold (W), D.J. Williams (S), Raymond Wells, Louis Green (W), Patrick Chukwurah, Cameron Vaughn, Kevin Harrison, T.J. Hollowell (inj)
CB Champ Bailey, Darrent Williams (PR), Dominique Foxworth, Karl Paymah, Roc Alexander (KR), Willie Middlebrooks
S John Lynch (FS), Nick Ferguson (SS), Sam Brandon (FS), Curome Cox, Hamza Abdullah, Tyler Everett
QB: The Lions surprised a few people when Jon Kitna left the team’s preseason opener and Dan Orlovsky took the field, not Josh McCown. “Coach Marinelli said, 'You're in,'" Orlovsky said, "I wasn't really surprised." Nor should he be since he’s seen a fair amount of practice reps with the second team. He performed well in practice throughout the week. The coaches met Thursday night and they decided to give him a chance. "We said we were going to give him that opportunity," HC Rod Marinelli said. "We made the decision to take a look at him early." Orlovsky played reasonably well (6-of-8 for 54 yards and a TD), but he also made some crucial mistakes including a pass that was easily intercepted by the Broncos Dominique Foxworth. McCown took the field later and played well, too. He scrambled for 15 yards on the first play, hit Arlen Harris for 10 yards on the next play, and then found Mike Williams for a 24-yard completion on the fourth play, which setup a touchdown. McCown also led the team to a field goal later while finishing 4-of-7 for 54 yards, adding 30 yards on four runs. Jon Kitna played briefly completing 2-of-5 for 21 yards while adding 10 yards on the ground.
RB: With a new sheriff in town, Kevin Jones truly believes this is going to be his year. Jones carried the ball on the Lions first four offensive plays, perhaps a good sign that the Lions will “pound the rock” under HC Rod Marinelli. The Lions new coach is all about winning, so if running the ball helps the Lions achieve that goal, then that’s what they’ll do. "I love to win," said Marinelli, the long-time defensive line coach for the Buccaneers. "If we're playing marbles, I'm going to get you." Jones ran seven times for 25 yards.
Arlen Harris took over after Jones left the game. He produced 36 yards on the ground with seven carries while catching three passes for 26 yards including a 20-yard TD pass in the second quarter from Dan Orlovsky. Artose Pinner entered the game last and he ran four times for 12 yards including a 2-yard TD to cap a Lions drive in the third quarter that gave them a 17-13 lead. However, Pinner will have a difficult time making the team. He isn’t getting many reps in practice behind Arlen Harris and Brian Calhoun and the team may be trying to showcase him for a potential deal, if another team shows interest.
WR: Corey Bradford, Roy Williams, Shaun Bodiford, Mike Williams, Charles Rogers, Eddie Drummond and Glenn Martinez caught one pass each in the Lions preseason opener. The crystal ball continues to be hazy for the Lions WR corps, but the good news is they are just scraping the surface of their offensive potential with Mike Martz now calling the shots. "I can't wait until we can bring out every page of this offense," said Roy Williams, who only played two series. "There's nothing simple about it with all of the adjustments that you have to make on the fly. You just got a taste of it tonight."
Last year’s surprise player, Scottie Vines, is expected to miss the
first six weeks of the season on the PUP list with a sports hernia. That helped
drive another surprising shuffle of the deck at wide receiver again giving
Shaun Bodiford, an undrafted free agent, reps with the first team last Tuesday.
Rod Marinelli said it was a reward for his strong play through the first week
or two of camp. "I was surprised," Bodiford said. "I was getting
very limited reps. Then, he was like, 'Let's see if
you really are that good.'" Overall, The Lions played surprisingly
disciplined with just one false start, a definite improvement over seasons
past. Unfortunately, the guilty party was Charles Rogers, who Peter King (of
SI.com) asserts, “I think the Lions are going to cut
TE: Marcus Pollard is back with the first team after Casey Fitzsimmons injured his wrist during Friday’s game. He’s expected to miss about two weeks. Pollard caught two balls for a whopping three yards in the game. Dan Campbell remains on the team’s PUP list, so the Lions could be looking for help at this position, as Pollard is currently the only viable option on the roster.
Defense: First round pick LB Ernie Sims
had a strong debut for the Lions. He was all over the field and his name was
called on almost every play. “We will be able to run to the edge," Millen
said. "That, you can see right away. I thought Sims' speed really showed
up. Bullocks' speed showed up.” Safety Daniel Bullocks, another rookie, saw his
first extensive action as well. Bullocks was credited
with seven solo tackles while Sims chalked up only a
Teams: Kicker Jason Hanson got a
light workout in the game against
Lions Depth Chart
QB Jon Kitna, Dan Orlovsky, Josh McCown, Joel Klatt
RB Kevin Jones, Arlen Harris, Brian Calhoun (3RB/KR), Artose Pinner
FB Shawn Bryson (3RB), Cory Schlesinger, Will Matthews
WR Roy Williams, Corey Bradford, Glenn Martinez, Mike Furrey, Mike Williams, Shaun Bodiford, Charles Rogers (inj), Eddie Drummond (KR/PR), Scottie Vines (PUP), DeVale Ellis, Brett Fischer
TE Casey Fitzsimmons (inj), Marcus Pollard, Dan Campbell, Sean McHugh, Cole Downer
K Jason Hanson, Matt Prater
DE James Hall, Kalimba Edwards, Cory Redding, Jared DeVries, Bill Swancutt, Claude Harriott, Val Barnaby
DT Shaun Rogers, Shaun Cody, Marcus Bell, Tyoka Jackson, Damian Gregory, Cleveland Pinckney, Lynn McGruder, Marcus Parker
MLB Boss Bailey, Levar Woods, Matt Grootegoed
OLB Ernie Sims (W), Ted Lehman (S) (inj), Alex Lewis (S/W), James Davis (W), Paris Lenon (S), Donte' Curry (S), Anthony Cannon (S), James Hargrave
CB Dre' Bly, Fernando Bryant, Keith Smith, Stanley Wilson, Jamar Fletcher, Alton McCann, LaMarcus Hicks
S Kenoy Kennedy (SS), Terrence Holt (FS), Daniel Bullocks (FS), Jon McGraw (FS), Idrees Bashir (FS), Vernon Fox, Harrison Smith, Marcus Demps
QB: Brett Favre survived Saturday’s
RB: Ahman Green did not play Saturday night while Najeh Davenport got the start and carried the ball six times for 12 yards while adding one catch for 9 yards. Samkon Gado carried three times for six yards and caught one ball for no gain before leaving the game with a groin injury. Noah Herron saw some action as well running three times for 4 yards and catching one pass. All three are competing for the primary backup spot behind Green, who will be rested regularly this season under HC Mike McCarthy.
The Packers new coach said he’s aiming for a 53-47 pass-run ratio this season and he says they’ll stick with the run even when it’s not producing (like Saturday’s game). "You can not be a successful run team and blow out of it all the time, it just doesn't happen," McCarthy said. "It's going to be ugly sometimes. Running the football is commitment. Passes are a lot more fun to call; I'll be the first to admit that. But running the football is essential to your football team, and stopping the run, I surely believe in it. You get in with the big boys, look at the playoff games. You've got to run that ball.”
As for trying to keep the pass-run ratio even?
“Everybody says they want to be 50-50 (pass-run), but I think if you want to
score points in this league, you have to be around 53-47," McCarthy said.
"That's ideal. You get about 56 (percent) throwing the ball, 58 (percent),
you're kind of getting away, you're putting the stress on the quarterback too
WR: Donald Driver continues to have
a great camp. He’s once again in superb condition. Greg Jennings returned to
practice on Thursday after missing a few days with a hip flexor.
TE: The Packers tight ends were quiet in Saturday’s game, but David Martin managed to catch one ball for 14 yards. Starter Bubba Franks returned to practice last Monday after missing time with various injuries. Zack Alcorn also managed one catch for 18 yards.
Defense: The Packers could move Nick Barnett from MLB to SLB to help make way for rookie Abdul Hodge, who is having a strong camp. Such a move certainly won’t make Barnett a happy camper, as he doesn’t want to play anywhere but MLB. Barnett implied that a contract extension is in order if the team expects him to move knowing that he won’t have as many tackles. Hodge remains his backup at the “Mike” position for now, but the coaches have stressed that the linebackers are interchangeable and they’ll do their best to get their three best players on the field. Those three will likely be Barnett, Hodge and first round pick A.J. Hawk (at the Will).
Rookie safety Tyrone Culver led all defenders with 8 tackles and an assist. Culver is taking advantage of Marquand Manuel’s extended absence due to a calf injury. On Wednesday morning last week, Culver made a nice interception showing that he has a nose for the football. Safety Marviel Underwood went out in the first quarter with a serious knee injury that will sideline him for the entire season. Tests on Sunday confirmed a torn ACL/MCL. He will be placed on injured reserve. The team also lost defensive tackle Kenderick Allen to a side muscle injury in the first quarter. DT Ryan Pickett (finger) sustained a minor injury. While not injured, corner Ahmad Carroll may wish he were after being scorched a few times in the game, most notably by the Chargers Vincent Jackson for a touchdown. Carroll is competing for a backup spot, if he’s not cut first.
The kickers were not very busy for the Packers in the game at
Packers Depth Chart
QB Brett Favre, Aaron Rodgers, Ingle Martin
RB Ahman Green (inj), Najeh Davenport, Samkon Gado (inj), Noah Herron (FB), Arliss Beach, Shermar Bracey
FB William Henderson, Vonta Leach, A.J. Cooper (TE), Ben Brown
WR Donald Driver, Robert Ferguson, Greg Jennings, Rod Gardner, Marc Boerigter, Cory Rogers, Will Blackmon (KR/PR) (inj), Chad Lucas, Ruvell Martin, Vince Butler, Calvin Russell, Chris Francies
TE Bubba Franks, David Martin, Donald Lee, Zac Alcorn, Tory Humphrey
K Billy Cundiff, Dave Rayner
DE Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila, Aaron Kampman, Mike Montgomery, Kenny Peterson, Corey Williams, Dave Tollefson, Jason Hunter, Montez Murphy
DT Ryan Pickett (NT), Cullen Jenkins, Kenderick Allen, Colin Cole (NT), Johnny Jolly, Jerome Nichols
MLB Nick Barnett, Abdul Hodge
OLB A.J. Hawk (W), Ben Taylor (S/W), Roy Manning (S/M), Brady Poppinga (S), Tracy White (S), Kurt Campbell, Tim Goodwell, Kevin Schimmelmann
CB Charles Woodson, Al Harris, Ahmad Carroll, Michael Hawkins, Jason Horton, Patrick Dendy, Jerron Wishom, Antonio Malone
S Nick Collins (FS), Marquand Manuel (SS), Tyrone Culver (FS), Jeremy Thornburg, Tra Boger, Atari Bigby, Jeremy Modkins, Marviel Underwood (SS) (IR)
QB: It was the Texans first preseason game, but the early indications are positive as they moved the ball well and didn’t yield a sack in head coach Gary Kubiak’s first game. David Carr finished 3-of-5 for 23 yards while adding 20 yards rushing in the first quarter. On Carr's first two plays, he found Eric Moulds for an 11-yard gain on the right side of the field and then hit him for an 8-yard gain on the next play. "We didn't have a sack in the game and it's been a while since we've done that here," Carr said. "Keeping the quarterback clean, we're going to be able to score points." While the game resulted in a win, Carr continues to struggle on a multitude of levels in practices often drawing the ire of Kubiak. Most of the time, it is Carr making mental mistakes. "It's just some things that we've covered a few times that we have to get fixed," Kubiak said. "We can't make those mistakes again, and he knows that. That's the way I coach him all the time, and I'll keep coaching him like that. We have to settle down, and we have to be consistent in what we're doing."
Backup quarterback Sage Rosenfels had a 5-yard touchdown run in the second quarter while completing 10-of-18 for 78 yards passing. Undrafted rookie Quinton Porter, competing with Cody Pickett for the third string job, played late in the game finishing 4-for-4 with 51 yards.
Saturday’s game against
Starter Antowain Smith finished with only 10
yards on five carries. Chris Taylor carried 14 times for 55 yards and Damien
Rhodes ran four times for 14 yards extending the Texans lead with a 4-yard TD
run in the fourth quarter. Domanick Davis continues to be sidelined with fluid
in his knee. Kubiak wouldn’t commit to a timetable regarding his return either.
WR: The Texans receivers didn’t make much of a splash in the team’s preseason opener. Andre Johnson was targeted twice in the early going, but both passes were incomplete. Eric Moulds started quickly and finished with 3 catches for 23 yards – all coming in the first quarter. Derrick Armstrong had two receptions for 28 yards. Jake Schifino chipped in with 3 for 26 yards.
TE: Jeb Putzier was only joking, but he told his family members not to draft him in fantasy football this year. What, you say? "I keep telling my family to stop picking me in fantasy football. I'll have a game where I score a touchdown and every friend and family member is rushing to the waiver wire, and then they get mad when I don't do it again. It can't be good for your fantasy team if I'm in the starting lineup!" Bennie Joppru, who had season-ending injuries the past three seasons, appeared in his first NFL game on Saturday. He had a 9-yard reception in the fourth quarter. Rookie Owen Daniels caught four passes for 29 yards.
Defense: Mario Williams’ debut was uneventful. He played one quarter (11 plays) registering an assisted tackle while being shuffled along the defensive line. "I kind of got too excited and that made me get a little tired," Williams said. "But I was not nervous at all. I have a lot to learn. I was moving up and down the ball. I'm used to just coming off the edge and it's a lot different here." Meanwhile, fellow rookie DeMeco Ryans made the game’s first tackle and finished with a team high 6 tackles, including four solos. Ryans started at MLB and was flanked by Shante Orr and Barrett Green.
Safety Kevin Curtis intercepted Chiefs quarterback Casey Printers in the
fourth quarter. "Defensively, we didn't show a lot, but neither did
Special Teams: Kicker Kris Brown made a 22-yard field goal in the game against
QB David Carr, Sage Rosenfels, Cody Pickett, Quinton Porter
RB Domanick Davis (inj), Antowain Smith, Vernand Morency, Wali Lundy, Chris Taylor, Damien Rhodes
FB Jameel Cook, Quadtrine Hill, Nick Luchey
WR Andre Johnson, Eric Moulds, Kevin Walter, Derick Armstrong, Jerome Mathis (PR/KR) (inj), David Anderson, Nick Narcisse, Jake Schifino, Richie Ross, Derrick Lewis
TE Mark Bruener, Jeb Putzier, Benny Joppru, Owen Daniels, Patrick Hape, Scott Weaver, Ben Steele (IR)
K Kris Brown
DT Anthony Weaver, Robaire Smith, Seth Payne, Travis Johnson (inj), Alfred Malone
DE Mario Williams, Jason Babin, Antwan Peek, Jeff Charleston, Darrell Wright
MLB DeMeco Ryans, Sam Cowart, DaShon Polk, Dave Moretti
OLB Kailee Wong (inj), Morlon Greenwood, Shantee Orr, Barrett Green, Charlie Anderson (inj), Kenneth Petway, Saleem Rasheed, Trent Bay, Wali Rainer (IR)
CB Dunta Robinson, Phillip Buchanon, DeMarcus Faggins (inj), Lewis Sanders, Dexter McCleon, Kevin Garrett, Tramon Williams, John Walker, Earthwind Moreland, Chris McKenzie (IR)
S Glenn Earl (SS), C.C. Brown (SS/FS), Jason Simmons (FS) (inj), Ramon Walker (SS), Michael Stone
QB: Peyton Manning’s first work of the preseason was about what you would expect. He completed 3-of-5 passes for 50 yards including 11- and 31-yard completions to Reggie Wayne. "I think when you recover (the onside kick), it really gets the whole team fired up and it's nice to take that good field position and turn it into points," Manning said referring to the team’s opening drive that he capped with an 8-yard TD pass to tight end Ben Utecht. That drive was all she wrote for Manning, who left along with Marvin Harrison and Wayne. Backup Jim Sorgi was 7-of-17 for 64 yards as he played up through halftime. Shaun King, trying to win the No. 3 job, was 6-of-10 for 122 yards with a 40-yard TD pass to Levon Thomas in the fourth quarter. He was intercepted once.
RB: Neither of the Colts top two backs was impressive in the preseason opener against the Rams. Dominic Rhodes, currently the starter on the team’s depth chart, carried four times for 10 yards while 1st-round pick Joseph Addai ran for 3 yards on three attempts. Kory Chapman carried four times for 13 yards and James Mungro added six yards on four carries. Tony Dungy didn’t seem too concerned about the team’s lack of a running game this early in the preseason. "The thing people say (is), 'Well, they didn't get the chance to run,' “ Dungy said Saturday. "We know these guys can run and they're going to make yards running the ball… (But) it was really a good game for us to see Dominic and Joseph running pass routes, picking up (blitzes). They did a lot of blitz protection, pick-ups that they had to do. We got to see a lot of things we needed to see. All of the guys did well.”
WR: Reggie Wayne led all receivers with 42 yards on two catches; all coming on the team’s opening drive. Brandon Stokley landed awkwardly in the back of the end zone on Sunday colliding with a defensive player. Stokley was taken off the field in a cart and has since been diagnosed with a severely sprained left ankle. Coach Dungy left the door open for Stokley to miss the regular season opener, “There is a chance. (With) ankle sprains, you never know. We’ll take it day-to-day and see what happens.’’ Backups Levon Thomas and John Standeford each made a big play. Thomas caught a 40-yard TD while Standeford produced a 34-yard catch. Aaron Moorehead had a catch for 14 yards. Terrence Wilkins and Ed Hinkel had one catch each.
TE: Dallas Clark caught two balls for 22 yards while Ben Utecht caught a 8-yard TD for the Colts on Friday night against the Rams.
The Colts starting safety tandem may finally be back on the field together as Mike Doss also returned on a limited basis Saturday morning. “We’ll see how they do. We’ve got a long week and we’ll have a chance to get some work. We’re obviously not going to rush them back. We’ll see. We’ll probably have a better idea about Friday,” said Tony Dungy.
Backup linebacker Kyle Killion suffered a hamstring injury that is not believed to be serious. Kelvin Hayden intercepted a David Ragone pass. Safety Dexter Reid suffered a shoulder injury against the Rams, but should be ready for the start of the season. Gary Brackett also left the game after hurting his knee, but managed to practice on Saturday. “I just banged it,” Brackett said. “There's a nerve that goes through the knee and I hit that, so the knee was a little numb. I'm a little sore, but it feels like a deep bruise now.”
Special Teams: Kicker Adam Vinatieri opened the game at
QB QB Peyton Manning, Jim Sorgi, Shaun King, Josh Betts, David Koral
RB Dominic Rhodes, Joseph Addai, Kory Chapman, Tony Hollings
FB James Mungro
WR Marvin Harrison, Reggie Wayne, Brandon Stokley (inj), Aaron Moorehead, Terrence Wilkins (KR), Levon Thomas, Ed Hinkel, John Standeford
TE Dallas Clark, Bryan Fletcher, Ben Utecht, Ben Hartsock, Joey Hawkins, Corey Roberts (res)
K Adam Vinatieri
DT Corey Simon, Montae Reagor, Vincent Burns, Darrell Reid, Tom Johnson, Kader Drame
DE Dwight Freeney, Raheem Brock (DT), Robert Mathis, Josh Thomas, Jonathan Welsh, Javor Mills, Marcus West, George Gause, Gabe Nyenhuis (IR)
MLB Gary Brackett (W/M), Rob Morris
OLB Cato June (W), Gilbert Gardner (S/W), Freddie Keiaho, Keith O'Neil, Deryck Toles (W), Tyjuan Hagler (W), Brandon Hoyte, Kyle Killion (IR), Dale Robinson, Kendyll Pope (susp)
CB Nick Harper, Jason David, Marlin Jackson (CB/FS), Kelvin Hayden, Tim Jennings, Von Hutchins, T.J. Rushing, Shannon Fitzhugh
S Bob Sanders (FS), Mike Doss (SS), Matt Giordano (FS), Dexter Reid, Antoine Bethea (FS), Daryl Dixon (FS), Tanard Davis, Jammal Lord (FS), Jahmile Addae (FS), Waine Bacon
QB: David Garrard provided two of
the highlights from Saturday’s game against the
Dolphins connecting for 55- and 62-yard touchdowns while throwing for 172 yards
going 6-of-11. The Jaguars threw for 321 (net) yards combined, but they didn’t
start the game quickly. Byron Leftwich, playing for the first time since he was
sidelined last season with a broken ankle, threw a 50-yard TD to Matt Jones,
but it came after the Dolphins began substituting on defense. “We didn't start
very well," Jaguars coach Jack
Leftwich was under pressure and he was knocked down several times by the Dolphins starting defense. He was also intercepted on the Jags second series. "We have a lot of work to do on offense, but it was great to get that much work," Leftwich said, who played most of the first half, finishing 6-of-12 for 100 yards. Quinn Gray finished out the game with 60 yards going 2-of-4 but connecting with TE George Wrighster for what proved to be the winning TD. The Jags released undrafted rookie Paul Pinegar.
Jaguars have no shortage of depth behind Fred Taylor. In Saturday’s game,
second round pick Maurice Drew exploded on a spectacular catch-and-run where he
weaved then accelerated through the Dolphins defense for a 55-yard TD. Drew
also ran four times for 16 yards. "You
just have to go out there, have fun and try to make plays to make guys go 'ooh'
and 'ahh,' " said Drew, who also returned a kickoff 20 yards. “I don't
have to worry about the coach [standing] behind me telling me to move right or
move left," he said. "I'm just out there doing what I want to do.”
Greg Jones produced 15 yards on five carries.
LaBrandon Toefield only carried two times for 2 yards and Rich Alexis got four
attempts for 12 yards. Toefield had a good offseason, but he could be squeezed
for a roster spot making him a trade possibility. "Everybody knows that
they can't keep all of us," said Toefield. "Somebody is going to have
to go. Whether it's me or someone else, I'm prepared." Toefield didn’t
help his cause when he dropped a pass right in his hands in Saturday’s game,
drawing the ire of
Alvin Pearman could also be in the one
squeezed along with Alexis. Drew is a player to watch. He’s thickly built;
super-fast and he catches the ball very well. He could play a pivotal role in
the Jags offense as a potential third down back and change-of-pace behind
Taylor, who also had a strong offseason.
WR: Matt Jones had a wild game against the Dolphins Friday night. The first ball thrown his way was picked off by Eddie Jackson. The second ball was knocked away as he was blasted by Zach Thomas. On the third pass, Jones beat Will Allen on a deep post and hauled in a 50-yard TD from Byron Leftwich. “It was good to get the ball down field to Matt [Jones]. He's our 'X' factor," Leftwich said. "He's the guy that is going to make big plays for us this year.” HC Jack Del Rio added, “We feel like we're going to be able to have some big-play opportunities with Matt. Certainly, Byron can get it there."
If Leftwich can’t, then David Garrard can. Garrard hit Chad Owens deep for a 62-yard TD. Owens finished with 86 yards on two catches. Chad Owens is like Tim Dwight’s younger brother. Cortez Hankton caught a couple balls for 20 yards, Ernest Wilford has one catch for 10 yards, and Randy Hymes had one for 11 yards. Jones and Wilford are currently starting. Reggie Williams is competing with Wilford for a starting job, but he will probably end up as the team’s no. 3. Also, last week the team waived WR Felton Huggins.
TE: In the
first half of Saturday’s game, rookie Marcedes Lewis suffered a high ankle
sprain. He’ll miss several weeks at least, but typically a high ankle sprain
takes up to six weeks to properly heal. His right leg is in a boot and he’s on
crutches. While Lewis is sidelined, veteran George Wrighster could take
advantage. Wrighster scored the Jaguars final touchdown on Saturday when and
Quinn Gray connected for a 51-yard TD pass.
Brian Jones didn’t dress against
Defense: DT John Henderson injured his
ankle in practice late last week and didn’t play against the Dolphins. Rookie
3rd string DB Jamaal Fudge had a big game with a 11
combined tackles and a sack. LB Pat Thomas had seven combined tackles. He’s
competing for the starting WLB job. Safety Gerald Sensabaugh (ankle) didn’t
play. LB Clint Ingram suffered a calf contusion and will be out “a while”
Special Teams: The Jaguars signed kicker Seth Marler after Josh Scobee strained his
leg last Thursday. HC Jack Del Rio gave a rundown on the situation, "Josh
has a minor strain and if he tried to kick through it then he could have a
problem. We'll keep him out of the game and bring Seth back and give him a
chance to kick some balls for us. If this was a regular season game, he'd be
kicking.” In the game at
QB Byron Leftwich, David Garrard, Quinn Gray
RB Fred Taylor (inj), Maurice Drew (KR/3RB), Alvin Pearman (3RB/PR), LaBrandon Toefield, Rich Alexis, Montell Owens
FB Greg Jones (SD), Derrick Wimbush (KR)
WR Matt Jones, Ernest Wilford, Reggie Williams, Cortez Hankton, Randy Hymes, Troy Edwards, Kyle Brown
TE Kyle Brady, Marcedes Lewis (inj), George Wrighster, Brian Jones, Todd Yoder
K Josh Scobee, Seth Marler
DE Reggie Hayward, Paul Spicer, Bobby McCray, Marcellus Wiley, Brent Hawkins, James Wyche
DT Marcus Stroud, John Henderson, Anthony Maddox, Martin Chase
MLB Mike Peterson, Tony Gilbert
OLB Daryl Smith (S/W), Nick Greisen (W), Pat Thomas (W), Jorge Cordova (W/S), Clint Engram (W), Brian Iwuh
CB Rashean Mathis, Brian Williams, Terry Cousin, David Richardson, Scott Starks, Demetrice Webb, Trestin George
S Donovan Darius (SS) (inj), Deon Grant (FS), Gerald Sensabaugh (SS), Jamaal Fudge, Chris Roberson (FS/CB), Nick Sorenson (FS) (inj)
QB: Trent Green was 5-of-6 for 34 yards before leaving after the first quarter in the Chiefs preseason opener Saturday. Casey Printers took over and played the rest of the game completing 6-of-12 for 71 yards and no touchdowns. He was intercepted once and had a rough night overall. HC Herm Edwards commented on Printers in the post-game interview, “It was the first time he had played that many snaps (in the NFL.) To his credit he kept battling and hit a long pass there at the end (of the game.) It’s kind of a shame when we got the ball back on the onsides kick but didn’t establish possession. Those are things that we have to work on.”
Edwards was asked if he thought about pulling Printers
from the game. “Nah, he’s got to go through that. I know that first-hand, believe me, after last year (in
Backup Michael Bennett, who was recently acquired from the Saints, did not play as he struggles with a sore hamstring. Dee Brown got the snaps running five times for 23 yards including a 12-yard TD run in the second quarter. McKenzie Smith ran for 21 yards on seven attempts and Quentin Griffin scored on a 1-yard TD in the 4th quarter and also caught a pair of balls for 7 yards. Ronnie Cruz appears to be the frontrunner to start at fullback, but he’s being pushed by J.R. Niklos.
WR: Eddie Kennison started and
caught two balls for 19 yards. Nate Curry had a 10-yard catch and rookie Chris
Hannon, out of
Tony Gonzalez be getting a contract extension? His agent, Tom Condon, was in
town to this week and Gonzalez was hoping he’d be able to sit down with GM Carl
Peterson to talk about an extension. Gonzalez said, “Oh, I don’t know. He’s my
agent. He’s a good agent. He’s come to say hello. Obviously he’s not working
with Matt Leinart, so he’s down here hanging out with us and Kyle Turley. So
we’re all going to go to dinner, and if he and Carl have a chance to sit down,
I’m sure they will. But if they don’t, they’ll do it back in
Defense: The defensive tackle rotation is
shaping up. Ron Edwards and James Reed are starting with Ryan Sims and Lional
Dalton providing the second wave. Edwards can clog the middle at 315 pounds (at
least) and he’s also showing some quickness. “He’s a powerful man and he’s just
getting his strength back,” said Herm Edwards. “We are looking forward to
seeing him on the field more for us.” Reed played for Edwards back in
Rookie safety Jarrad Page continues to excel in training camp. Defensive
coordinator Gunther Cunningham said, “I’ve never seen a safety have seven
interceptions (in training camp) like Jarrad Page has had. The things he has
are range and instinct. I think it’s probably his
baseball background. He plays it like a center fielder. He really breaks on
deep balls.” The Chiefs released defensive back Julian Battle on Friday. Herm
Edwards was asked why
Special Teams: After some off-field troubles last year, kicker Lawrence Tynes is
playing it safe this year. A typical training camp evening included a little
television and then to bed at .
He noted, “I didn’t want to put myself in any kind of position. Not that I have
a problem with it, it’s just better safe than sorry. There’s nothing out
there.” In the game at
Other: Kyle Turley is playing well in his comeback with the Chiefs. “I think the more he practices, the more he plays, the closer he gets to where he was two years ago before the injury,” said Edwards. “That’s a long layoff for any player, but especially that one. He plays left tackle and that spot doesn’t always get a lot of help.” With Willie Roaf’s sudden retirement, the Chiefs hope Turley holds up for the entire season. So far, Roaf hasn’t been coaxed to “unretire” but the Chiefs players continue to hold out hope they can persuade him back for another season. For his part, Roaf ‘finalized’ his decision this week saying, “If I felt I could play like I used to play, I'd play again. I started running around and my legs were bothering me. I kind of knew right then that I would need to do this. I'm 36. I have to face that fact.”
QB Trent Green, Damon Huard, Brodie Croyle, Casey Printers, Jeff Smoker
RB Larry Johnson, Michael Bennett, Dee Brown, McKenzi Smith, Quentin Griffin, De'Arrius Howard, Derrick Ross, Priest Holmes (inj)
FB Ronnie Cruz, J.R. Niklos, Travis Wilson
WR Eddie Kennison, Samie Parker, Dante Hall (KR/PR), Craphonso Thorpe, Jeris McIntyre, Jeff Webb, Nate Curry, Chris Hannon, Terrance Metcalf, Scott McCready, Darrell Hill
TE Tony Gonzalez, Kris Wilson (HB), Jason Dunn, Aaron Golliday, Bob Docherty
K Lawrence Tynes
DE Jared Allen, Eric Hicks (inj), Tamba Hali, Carlos Hall, Jimmy Wilkerson (DT)
DT Ryan Sims (NT), Lional Dalton, Ron Edwards, Junior Siavii, John Browning (inj), James Reed, Alex Guerrero, Shane Burton, Steve Williams
MLB Kawika Mitchell, Rich Scanlon, Boomer Grigsby
OLB Derrick Johnson (R), Kendrell Bell (L), Keyaron Fox (S/W), Kris Griffin, Nick Reid, William Kershaw, Brandon Guillory
CB Patrick Surtain, Ty Law, Lenny Walls, Benny Sapp, Chris Johnson, Alphonso Hodge, Marcus Maxey, Justin Perkins, Jerald Brown
S Sammy Knight (SS), Greg Wesley (FS), Bernard Pollard (SS), Jarrad Page (FS), Gabriel Helms
QB: The Dolphins season opener was all about Daunte Culpepper, who tested his surgically repaired knee by playing the opening series. He threw two passes, directing the Dolphins to a field goal. "It felt great," said Culpepper. "You get those first little jitters out after the first play, and you're back into the game situation and game mold. It felt good to get my feet wet a little bit." Still in the first quarter, Joey Harrington completed his first pass to Randy McMichael for an 18-yard touchdown, but he later fumbled twice and bobbled a snap. “We did some good things, and we did some first-game things," Harrington said. He finished 10-of-19 for 99 yards.
Cleo Lemon, the team’s third stringer, led the team on a 15-play drive
on his first series that led to a FG. He later threw a 21-yard touchdown to
Jason Willis. Lemon completed 11-of-15 passes for 104 yards. "I want to
prove to the fans that I do belong," Lemon said. "I don't want them
to look at me as a clipboard-holding quarterback. I can get the job done."
RB: Ronnie Brown carried the ball eight times for 29 yards before leaving the game. Kay Jay Harris carried seven times for 29 yards and Travis Minor scampered for 20 yards on two runs. Rookie free agent Gerald Riggs, Jr. ran three times for 9 yards. Sammy Morris carried four times for just six yards.
WR: Rookie Derek Hagan ran with the first team during practice before the Dolphins played Saturday. He replaced Marty Booker, who was sidelined with a left calf injury suffered last Tuesday in practice. Undrafted rookie Marcus Vick has impressed his teammates and coaches so far in training camp, declining reporter’s interviews and opting to focus solely on football. Vick caught two passes for 12 yards in his first preseason game, both from Cleo Lemon.
"He has done extremely well," HC Nick Saban said. “We're pleased with the progress that he's making, but I can't tell you we're surprised by it. We thought he was a good athlete." Tight end Randy McMichael was glowing with praise. “This guy is unbelievable. To say this guy is a quarterback who never got a chance to play receiver is mind-boggling to me, because the guy does all the things that a receiver does. He knows how to get open, he knows how to run routes and he's very patient, which is rare for a young receiver. I'm excited to see him in a game situation.”
Fred Gibson cleaned up at the end of Saturday’s game catching three balls for 84 yards including a 5-yard TD. Cliff Russell caught three balls for 47 yards and Jason Willis had three catches for 45 yards including a 21-yard TD from Lemon. Kelly Campbell, on the other hand, might not make the team’s roster if he doesn’t get healthy soon. "Kelly's problem has never been talent," Dolphins head coach Nick Saban said. "He needs to stay healthy and prove he's durable enough to play in this league."
TE: Randy McMichael set some clear goals for himself this season. He wants to have the best season a tight end has ever had for the Miami Dolphins. "If you want to compare last year's camp to this year's camp, I think he's light years [ahead] in terms of his consistency and performance as a receiver as well as a blocker," said Nick Saban. McMichael caught three balls for 33 yards on Saturday, including an 18-yard TD in the first quarter from Joey Harrington. Justin Peelle caught two balls for 21 yards.
Defense: Veteran free agent DT Dan Wilkinson signed a 3-year contract with the team on Monday. He’ll work his way slowly into the team’s practices, but initially he was working on the side of the field Monday. “We're going to give him a little time to evaluate his conditioning and not just throw him to the wolves," Saban said. DE Jason Taylor, limited in practice this week because of a sore back, was among those who did not dress on Saturday. Seventh-round pick Fred Evans continues to bolster his stock with a strong performance against the Jags. He dropped Greg Jones in the backfield on one play and sacked David Garrard later on another play. Cornerback Eddie Jackson intercepted a Byron Leftwich pass in the first half.
Special Teams: Kicker Olindo Mare has been looking good in practice. In the game
Other: Starting right guard Seth McKinney could be out for as long as three
QB Daunte Culpepper (inj), Joey Harrington, Cleo Lemon, Brock Berlin
RB Ronnie Brown, Sammy Morris, Travis Minor, Kay Jay Harris, Gerald Riggs Jr., Ricky Williams (susp)
FB Fred Beasley, Darian Barnes
WR Chris Chambers, Marty Booker, Wesley Welker (KR/PR), Derek Hagan, Devin Aromashodu, Kelly Campbell, Marcus Vick (QB), Kendall Newson, Fred Gibson, Jamal Broussard (KR), Eric Kimble, Frank Murphy (KR)
TE Randy McMichael, Justin Peelle, Keith Heinrich, Jason Rader
K Olindo Mare
DE Jason Taylor (OLB) (inj), Kevin Carter (DT), Matt Roth, David Bowens, Ben Ishola
DT Keith Traylor (NT), Dan Wilkinson, Vonnie Holiday, Jeff Zgonina, Fred Evans, Manuel Wright (NT), Josh Shaw, Kevin Vickerson, Steve Fifita, Rodrique Wright (inj)
MLB Zack Thomas, Lester Towns
OLB Channing Crowder (W/M), Donnie Spragan (S), Sedrick Hodge (S), Derrick Pope (W), Keith Newman, Sam McGrew, Travis Harris
CB Travis Daniels (inj), Will Allen, Renaldo Hill, Andre Goodman, Eddie Jackson, Shirdonya Mitchell, Chris Thompson
S Travares Tillman (SS), Yeremiah Bell (SS), Jason Allen (FS), Deke Cooper, Michael Lehan, Norman LeJeune
QB: Head coach Brad Childress
announced before the Vikings MNF appearance that the quarterback rotation would
look like this: Brad Johnson would get the start and play the first quarter,
Mike McMahon a portion of the 2nd quarter, Tarvaris Jackson would finish the
2nd and play the 3rd, and J.T. O’Sullivan would mop up in the fourth. McMahon
and Jackson are locked into a somewhat unexpected competition for the No. 2
job. Childress wouldn’t dismiss
Veteran fullback Tony Richardson talked about
In Monday night’s game, Brad Johnson went 5-of-6 for 32 yards leading
the team on a TD drive capped by Tony Richardson’s 3-yard run. Tavaris Jackson
took over in the second quarter.
WR: The Vikings were dealt a major blow early this week when Koren Robinson was arrested on multiple counts including DUI and fleeing an officer. While the details are pending, this could well lead to a full-season suspension for Robinson given his history of substance abuse. The Vikings will rely on 2nd year Troy Williamson in Robinson’s absence; and were already hoping for a breakout from the former Gamecock. On Friday, he was on the receiving end of the “hit of the day” in practice. Safety Dwight Smith drilled Williamson near the sideline, and impressively, Williamson held on to the ball. Marcus Robinson sat out of practice last week with a minor neck injury. In game action, Ryan Hoag caught one ball for 11 yards, Chris Jones had one for 9 yards and Troy Williamson had one for 8 yards, but also lost a fumble.
TE: Neither Jermaine Wiggins nor Jim Kleinsasser caught a ball in Monday’s game, but backup Richard Angulo snared two balls for 12 yards.
Defense: The biggest loser in Monday’s game was clearly rookie OLB Chad Greenway, who was lost for the season with a knee injury. Greenway broke through the wedge while covering a kickoff, but grabbed his knee and eventually walked off the field on his own power. His loss is a big blow to the Vikings LB corps as he was expected to contribute immediately and start eventually. The Vikings defense played well in the game registering five sacks and forcing three turnovers. LB Heath Farwell led the team with nine solo tackles and safety Greg Blue pitched in with six tackles and a sack.
Two defensive players enjoying strong training camps are fourth-year LB
E.J. Henderson and third-year DE Kenechi Udeze. "I've been with the ones every day,'' said Henderson,
who teammates expect to fill the playmaking role in the Vikings new Tampa
The Vikings have also toyed around with a
CB Fred Smoot returned to practice on Saturday after claiming a neck stinger he received in Friday’s practice was “no big deal”. CB Charles Gordon underwent surgery last Monday to repair a cartilage problem in his left knee. He may only miss three weeks after the team originally thought he would miss more than a month.
Special Teams: Punter/holder Chris Kluwe and kicker Ryan Longwell have been working on
holding in practice. Longwell noted, “We really spent the first week just getting
it on the spot. There’s been a lot of progress there, and we’re starting to see
the ball fly the way we want to.” Kluwe noted, “An inch either
way, and he might hook it. I’m just trying to learn the minute, little
things that spell the difference between making a 50-yard field goal and
missing it two feet to the right.” In
the game against
Although this may be a moot point now that he’s been arrested for DUI and resisting arrest, Koren Robinson was a topic of conversation this past week. HC Brad Childress discussed using Robinson on kickoff returns during the preseason, "Are we going to rep him a lot in the preseason? Probably not. He's kind of a known entity, and with his added responsibilities this year, we just want to see if there is anybody else that will step to the surface and have that ability. But you know that Koren can do it at a Pro Bowl-type level." WR Troy Williamson returned the first kickoff for 17 yards, but fumbled it away. WR Kevin Kasper showed the ability against the Raiders and improved his chances of making the final roster, averaging 35.5 yards on four returns with a long of 64 yards. Starting punt returner RB Mewelde Moore had an 11-yard punt return. Most of the punts were handled by rookie WR Jason Carter, who averaged 9.7 yards on three returns, although he probably won’t make the final roster.
QB Brad Johnson, Tarvaris Jackson, Mike McMahon, J.T. O'Sullivan
RB Chester Taylor, Mewelde Moore (PR/KR), Ciatrick Fason, Joe Echemandu, Wendell Mathis
FB Tony Richardson, Richard Owens, Steven Jackson, Brandon Jones, Joey Goodspeed (inj)
WR Koren Robinson, Troy Williamson, Travis Taylor, Marcus Robinson, Billy McMullen, Aaron Hosack, Ryan Hoag, Kevin Kasper, Josh Davis, Jason Carter
TE Jermaine Wiggins, Jim Kleinsasser (FB), Richard Angulo, Jeff Dugan
K Ryan Longwell
DE Erasmus James, Kenechi Udeze, Darrion Scott, DeQuincy Scott, Ray Edwards, Jayme Mitchell, Khreem Smith
DT Pat Williams (NT), Kevin Williams (DE), Spencer Johnson (DT), C.J. Mosley, Eric Taylor, Manase Hopoi, Ross Kolodziej
MLB Napoleon Harris (M/S), Dontarrious Thomas (W/M), Rod Davis, Kyle McKenzie
OLB Ben Leber (S), E.J. Henderson (M/W), Heath Farwell (S), Marcus Lawrence, Chad Greenway (W) (inj)
CB Antoine Winfield, Fred Smoot, Devonte Edwards (KR), Cedric Griffin, Dustin Fox (FS), Will Hunter, Ronyell Whittaker, Tony Beckham, Ahmad Treaudo, Charles Gordon (inj)
S Darren Sharper (FS), Dwight Smith (SS/FS), Willie Offord (SS), Greg Blue (FS/SS), Tank Williams (IR)
QB: Tom Brady played just one series
in the team’s preseason opener against
RB: The Patriots running game looked good against the Falcons. Corey Dillon looked strong carrying the ball five times for 27 yards. He had one long run called back due to a clip by right guard Stephen Neal, otherwise, his numbers would’ve looked even better. “Hey, I mean, we’ve been working very hard as an offense getting things straightened out and it’s showing up,” Dillon said. “Last year wasn’t that productive and everyone took it on themselves to get better and try to make this thing work.”
Despite Dillon’s performance, rookie Laurence Maroney’s play was the main story. He finished with 66 yards on only nine carries. Maroney showcased his explosiveness nearly every time he touched the football. He broke off the right side of the line on his first carry for 12 yards, but slipped on FB Heath Evans or he may have gone the distance. The next carry was probably his best as he went 27 yards on a draw play on third and 18; catching the defense on its heels. He showed balance, power and speed breaking tackles and rarely went down on the first contact. “He’s pretty fast,” said Belichick about Maroney. “I don’t think you’re going to be writing that this guy is slow.”
Patrick Cobbs and Heath Evans also carried the
rock – Cobbs finished with 25 yards on five carries while Evans gained 12 yards
on six carries. Cobbs scored on a 57-yard pass play from
WR: The Deion Branch watch continues. According to sources close to Branch, his holdout could extend into the regular season. "People don't understand how committed he is to this," the source said. "He's not going to come in until he gets something he feels that is fair.” Branch already has accumulated more than $250,000 in fines, but he may be looking to report to the team and play only the minimum number of games necessary to be eligible for free agency following the season. In Friday’s game, Reche Caldwell dropped a well-thrown slant pass from Tom Brady in the end zone during the first quarter. The receivers had a light game catching only three passes for 28 yards before the Falcons defense took out all of their regulars. Earlier last week, the Patriots signed free agent WR Eddie Berlin.
TE: Ben Watson didn’t take long to put his unique physical skills on display hauling in a 44-yard catch from backup QB Matt Cassel on Friday night. Daniel Graham did not play as he continues to recover from a shoulder injury. Rookie Garrett Mills made a big splash catching five balls for 75 yards. Fellow rookie David Thomas caught two balls for 9 yards.
Defense: Minus Tedy Bruschi in the middle and DE Richard Seymour, the Patriots defense looked porous against the Falcons. “To be a good defense in this league, you’ve got to play more consistent,” said linebacker Rosevelt Colvin. “We weren’t getting that done. There were breakdowns either at the point of attack, downfield, inside, outside.” Safety Rodney Harrison is close to returning from his broken leg, but he didn’t dress against the Falcons. He says that he’ll only play with a brace this year. He and the team are unsure just how much the brace will affect his speed.
Undrafted rookie LB Pierre Woods had four tackles and a sack in Friday’s game, while Mike Vrabel and Tully Banta-Cain also registered sacks for the Patriots. Asante Samuel had an interception and rookie LB Jeremy Mincey led the team with five solo tackles. The Patriots re-signed CB Gemara Williams, who had previously been cut by the team on July 25. Over the weekend, the Patriots brought in free agent veteran linebackers Chris Claiborne and Orlando Ruff for workouts with Bruschi sidelined for the rest of the preseason.
Special Teams: The kicking competition between Martin Gramatica and rookie Stephen Gostkowski looks like it
will go right down to the wire. They’ve both shown some strengths and
weaknesses in practice, but overall are pretty even right now. In the game at
The Patriots signed free agent WR Eddie Berlin, who could join the already crowded field of returner candidates. Rookie CB Willie Andrews leads the pack, and fared well against the Falcons, averaging 21.0 yards on three kickoff returns and 16.0 yards on two punt returns. HC Bill Belichick provided a dissertation on practice, "You try to make special teams’ practice plays as close to game situations to evaluate, but there’s clearly a difference. We don’t tackle the returner and a big part of the returner’s skill is being able to break tackles or get away from guys in an open field. The ball-handling is certainly different in a game when somebody is going to come down and blow you up, whereas in practice, you’re pretty confident that’s not going to happen. It’s different. Having been a special teams’ coach, you do everything to simulate it, but it’s a different speed in the game. That’s one of the things we tell our rookies. I tell them every year that there’s certainly a difference in speed between practice and games, but there’s a greater differential in the kicking game than there is on offense and defense. It’s like going from 30 miles per hour to 95. It’s a totally different speed."
QB Tom Brady, Matt Cassel, Corey Bramlet
RB Corey Dillon, Laurence Maroney, Kevin Faulk (3RB), Patrick Cobbs
FB Patrick Pass (3RB), Heath Evans
WR Deion Branch, Reche Caldwell, Chad Jackson, Troy Brown, Bam Childress, Erik Davis, Michael McGrew, Zuriel Smith, John Stone, Rich Musinski, Keron Henry, Eddie Berlin, Matt Shelton (IR)
TE Daniel Graham, Ben Watson, David Thomas, Garrett Mills (HB/FB), Matt Brandt, Walter Rasby
K Martin Gramatica, Stephen Gostkowski
DE Richard Seymour (DT), Ty Warren (DT), Jarvis Green, Marquise Hill, Ifo Pili
NT Vince Wilfork, Mario Monds, Dan Klecko, Johnathan Sullivan, Le Kevin Smith
MLB Tedy Bruschi (inj), Monty Beisel, Chad Brown, Larry Izzo, Don Davis, Barry Gardner, Fred Roach
OLB Rosevelt Colvin (W/DE), Mike Vrabel (S/I), Tully Banta-Cain (S), Pierre Woods, Jeremy Mincey
CB Asante Samuel, Ellis Hobbs (KR), Randall Gay, Chad Scott, Eric Warfield, Hank Poteat, Willie Andrews, Antwain Spann, Vernell Brown, Gemara Williams
S Eugene Wilson (FS/CB), Rodney Harrison (SS), Tebucky Jones (SS/FS), James Sanders (SS), Artrell Hawkins (SS), Guss Scott, Mel Mitchell (IR)
QB: The Saints got their first look at Drew Brees on Saturday night against the Titans. He looked a little rusty early, but then he settled down nicely completing 5-of-9 for 60 yards. "I like what I saw, and it was important for Drew to get back on the field," Head coach Sean Payton said. Brees tossed a 9-yard pass to Reggie Bush on one play that got an assist from Titans cornerback Adam "Pacman" Jones, who drew a 15-yard flag for jawing at Bush on the sidelines.
In a bizarre twist, the athletic and elusive Adrian McPherson couldn’t evade a golf cart driven by Titans mascot T-Rac as he was exiting the locker room at half time. McPherson was clipped in the leg as the mascot was driving the cart and throwing items into the crowd. McPherson was checked out by a trainer before he left the field. "He got run over by the mascot," coach Sean Payton said. "I don't know what to do. We've got to play the Titans. The mascots and all the other stuff going on, it's crazy."
McPherson’s injury and Reggie Bush’s dramatic plays overshadowed Todd
Bouman's 22-yard touchdown pass to WR Lance Moore with left as the team secured a victory in Payton's coaching debut. Jamie
Martin got the bulk of the playing time against
RB: Any questions regarding the impact that Reggie Bush might have in the NFL were sufficiently answered on Saturday. Bush took his second handoff to his left, stopped as the field became congested with nowhere to run, then he reversed field and outran the entire defense to the corner while making some adjustments on his way to a 44-yard run. He finished with 59 yards on six carries and two catches for another 10 yards. Not one for hyperbole, HC Sean Payton commented, "He can bring big plays, and he had a couple of nice runs.” Indeed, he did.
Deuce McAllister was given the game off to rest as he continues his comeback from offseason knee surgery, but count him among those impressed by Bush. “The kid has been doing that all his college career. He came out tonight and showed the ability that he has…He can be going full speed and just stop because of that change of direction…Those first three or four steps, he’s at full acceleration. I think he’s going to make a few more of those type plays,” said McAllister.
Aaron Stecker carried the ball six times for 20 yards before he suffered a high ankle sprain during the third quarter. X-rays came back negative, but Stecker will probably be out for a several weeks. Jamal Branch, a 5-11, 230-pound rookie out of Colgate, turned in a solid performance carrying the ball 11 times for 47 yards, also producing a 24-yard catch.
WR: Joe Horn played briefly with the first team as he caught two balls for 40 yards. He looked good as both of his catches were exactly 20 yards. Lance Moore led all receivers with 4 receptions for 57 yards and the 22-yard TD pass from Todd Bouman in fourth quarter to seal the victory. The competition for the last few roster spots is heating up. Moore, Devery Henderson, Bethel Johnson, Mike Hass, Michael Lewis, Marcus Colston, Chris Horn, Jamal Jones and Chase Lyman are all in the mix. Chances are only four will make the roster. Colston is getting some looks at tight end as well as receiver. He caught two balls for 25 yards, while Jamal Jones finished with three catches for 37 yards. The sure-handed Hass caught three balls for 28 yards and Lyman had two for 25 yards. Jones, Hass and Colston all played with the second team offense. Lyman worked with the third team. The starters were Joe Horn and Devery Henderson with Chris Horn working in on three-WR sets. Donte Stallworth (groin) and Michael Lewis (knee) did not play.
Saints have a number of players competing for roster spots at tight end. They
certainly didn’t sit idle with Zach Hilton and Ernie Conwell on the roster.
Mark Campbell, Tim Euhus, Nate Lawrie and Billy Miller were all added to the
roster and are in the mix. Lawrie had a 13-yard catch on Saturday night and
Billy Miller had a 7-yard catch in an otherwise quiet game for the Saints TEs.
Ernie Conwell didn’t dress as he continues his comeback from offseason surgery.
Conwell is running with the first team in practice with Mark Campbell No. 2 and
Hilton running third.
Defense: The Saints defense was paced by sacks from DE Will Smith and backup SLB Terrence Melton while LB Colby Bockwoldt led the team with 5 combined tackles and veteran safety Jay Bellamy finished with three tackles. The Saints were without DTs Willie Whitehead (knee) and Rodney Leisle (knee), LB Tommy Polley (shoulder) and CB Mike McKenzie. Bockwoldt started the last 23 regular season games for the Saints at the “Will” linebacker, but during the offseason the team moved him to the middle, or “Mike”. Now, Bockwoldt is back in the starting lineup having been moved to WLB again. Alfred Fincher got the start at MLB with Scott Fujita opposite Bockwoldt. The Saints placed DE Tommy Davis on injured reserve once he cleared waivers last week. They also waived LB Cie Grant and signed DE Javon Nanton and DT Josh Williams.
Special Teams: The Saints’ kickers continue to be on target. John Carney made field
goals of 26 and 40 yards in the game at
QB Drew Brees, Jamie Martin, Todd Bouman, Adrian McPherson (inj), Jason Fife
RB Deuce McAllister (inj), Reggie Bush (KR/PR), Aaron Stecker (3RB/KR) (inj), Jamal Branch, Ray Hudson
FB Mike Karney, Fred McAfee
WR Joe Horn, Donte Stallworth, Devery Henderson, Bethel Johnson, Chris Horn, Mike Hass, Michael Lewis (KR/PR), Chase Lyman, Lance Moore, Jamal Jones
TE Ernie Conwell, Mark Campbell, Zach Hilton, Tim Euhus, Nate Lawrie, Marcus Colston, Billy Miller, Wesley Dukes
K John Carney, Connor Hughes
DE Charles Grant, Will Smith, Tony Bryant, Rob Ninkovich, Javon Nanton, Tommy Davis (IR)
DT Brian Young, Willie Whitehead, Hollis Thomas, Rodney Leisle, Brandon Villareal, Joe Minucci
MLB Alfred Fincher, Tommy Polley (W) (inj)
OLB Scott Fujita (S), Colby Bockwoldt (W), Jay Foreman, Terrence Melton (W), Nate Wayne, E.J. Kuale, James Allen (S) (inj)
CB Mike McKenzie, Jason Craft, Fred Thomas, Joey Thomas, Josh Lay, Grant Mason, Anwar Phillips, Ray Williams
S Josh Bullocks (FS), Bryan Scott (SS/FS), Jay Bellamy (SS), Roman Harper (FS), Steve Gleason (FS)
Eli Manning was without his star RB and his star TE against the Ravens,
but went 4-of-7 for 74 yards on three drives. The highlight was a 43-yard pass
to Plaxico Burress, which set up the only score of the half for
RB: Tiki Barber doesn’t need much game action to get ready for an NFL season, so he sat out the Giants preseason opener and shouldn’t be taxed much next week either. Barber’s trying to stay healthy and has spent the past few years bulking up to handle heavier workloads. “I knew I needed to reinvent myself some way," Barber said. "Even though I'm small in stature (5-10, 205 lbs.), I've become a powerful back. It's revolutionized my body and my strength.” Brandon Jacobs got the start against the Ravens, and opened the game with a 14-yard run. Jacobs also scored from the one yard line, which is where Jacobs earns his salary. Rookie James Sims had a 25-yard reception and an 8-yard run, but rushed for (-11) yards on his other six carries.
WR: Amani Toomer’s been one of the most consistent performers so far in camp. After playing the flanker position for the first time in 2005 (Toomer was a split end for the first nine seasons of his career), Toomer looks much more comfortable this time around. QB Eli Manning said that Toomer’s "got to be a big part of the offense for us to do well. We put him in different spots, move him around a lot, and you trust he'll get open. You can really read his body well." The Giants also might send Toomer deep a bit more this year, which would only increase his fantasy value. In the game, Plaxico Burress had two receptions for 48 yards, including a 43-yard reception. He also was targeted twice in the red zone, and drew a pass interference call on one throw, setting up Brandon Jacobs’ TD.
Michael Jennings had an excellent punt return for a TD, and made some
nice moves to break several tackles for the score. Rookie Sinorice Moss (quad)
and David Tyree (sprained ankle) should both return soon. Tim Carter’s had a
great camp so far, and his stellar play continued as his three receptions for
36 yards led all Giants receivers against
TE: Jeremy Shockey (concussion) was held out of
the game against
Defense: The Giants first round pick, DE Mathias
Kiwanuka, looked sharp recording 1.5 sacks for 17 yards lost in one series
against the Ravens. Tom Coughlin said that Kiwanuka’s “game was very typical of
the way he practices …he’s resilient as can be. He keeps on coming.” With DE
Michael Strahan out, that was one of the few bright spots for the team. The
Ravens marched down the field on their opening possession, and the Giants rush
defense looked bad as Jamal Lewis had 34 yards on six carries.
LBs LaVar Arrington (knee) and Carlos Emmons (neck burner) are also set to return. Arrington vociferously claims he’s fine, and that the team is just being cautious. "I know I'm not in any danger zones health-wise," Arrington said. "This is the course the training staff, the coaching staff has chosen. They saw how hard I was working, how much I was doing and they're forcing me to pace myself. If it was a real trouble spot right now, I'd maybe be looking at it in a different way. I'm not injured. I'm telling you guys the 100-percent truth. We're just making sure that I'm healthy by the time we touch down with Indy."
Special Teams: Kicker Jay Feely has learned to adapt his training routine, “What I’ve
learned to do is come in with my body in shape, and then ramp up my leg
strength. For instance, Sunday night was the first time I felt that I was
really popping the ball.” In the game at
QB Eli Manning, Tim Hasselbeck, Rob Johnson, Jared Lorenzen
RB Tiki Barber, Brandon Jacobs (SD), Derrick Ward (inj), Chad Morton (PR), Little John Flowers, James Sims, Mike Jemison
FB Jim Finn
WR Plaxico Burress, Amani Toomer, Tim Carter, Sinorice Moss (inj), David Tyree, Willie Ponder (KR), Anthony Mix, Harry Williams
TE Jeremy Shockey, Vishante Shiancoe, Tony Jackson, Boo Williams, Darcy Johnson
K Jay Feely
DE Michael Strahan, Osi Umenyiora, Justin Tuck, Mathias Kiwanuka, Eric Moore, Willie Evans, Thomas Carroll
DT William Joseph, Fred Robbins, Damane Duckett, Barry Cofield, Jonas Seawright, Ahmad Childress, Junior Ioane, Marcus Green
MLB Antonio Pierce (W/M), Gerris Wilkerson, Kevin Lewis, Chase Blackburn
OLB Lavar Arrington (S) (inj), Carlos Emmons (W), Reggie Torbor (S), Brandon Short (S), Nick McNeil
CB Sam Madison, Corey Webster, R.W. McQuarters (FS/PR), Frank Walker, Curtis Deloatch, Jason Bell, Brandon Williams, Gerrick McPhearson, E.J. Underwood, Kevin Dockery
S Gibril Wilson (SS), Will Demps (FS), Quentin Harris, Charlie Peprah (SS), James Butler (inj)
In his first NFL game in over 10 months, Chad Pennington had an even
performance against one of the best pass defenses in the NFL. Pennington was
9-for-14 for 54 yards, but didn’t make any difficult throws. He was able to run
the offense well and remains accurate, but his passes lacked zip. The balls
would float high on some passes, which made it difficult for the receivers to
gain yards after the catch. He also fumbled twice, although neither were the
type that plagued him in 2005. On one play, Dewayne White made a great play and
hit the ball as Pennington was preparing to throw. On the other,
Rookie Kellen Clemens showed off his arm by delivering a 19-yard strike
to WR Jerricho Cotchery late in the second quarter against the Bucs. Clemens
was 10/14 for 94 yards, including one official spike to stop the clock, and one
unofficial one. That “unofficial” spike occurred when the Jets called for a
roll-out on third down from the
RB: Curtis Martin didn’t play against the Bucs, of course, and he still hasn’t taken a handoff in 2006. But Eric Mangini wasn’t describing a player getting ready to retire when asked about Martin on Wednesday. “Curtis is such a unique and special guy. I can tell you each morning, Curtis comes in and he does his rehab at the mandatory rehab time like everybody else. Then he goes to my meeting. After my meeting, he heads to [offensive coordinator] Brian’s [Schottenheimer] meeting. After Brian’s meeting, he heads into [running backs coach] Jimmy Raye’s meeting. He’s been to every weigh-in, every mandatory dinner, and every curfew. He’s doing everything we ask him to do. In terms of not seeing him on the field – each program is designed for that athlete, to give him the best chance to get healthy as quickly as possible. The exercises that he does aren’t really exercises that he can do on the field. That’s really where he is.”
Derrick Blaylock was given the first shot to
replace Martin, starting the game and playing the first two series with the
first team offense. Blaylock didn’t break any tackles or make any defenders
miss, while amassing 12 yards on six carries. Blaylock also had three
receptions, and he’s got the best hands of all the running backs on the team.
Cedric Houston showed more burst than he did as a rookie last year, and in
limited carries looked more effective than Blaylock.
Fullback B.J. Askew had a four yard run
WR: While the Jets have question marks at every other position, Laveranues Coles remains the team’s most reliable player. Coles caught five of Pennington’s passes on six targets (the one incompletion was a poor pass), including two third down targets. Coles has the best hands on the team and showed the ability to catch the ball in traffic, along with being the go-to receiver on third down.
The big surprise has been Tim Dwight, who caught all three passes
Pennington threw his way, and also ran an end around. Dwight showed his
signature speed and not surprisingly, demonstrated a good understanding of the
offense. Head coach Eric Mangini talked about him glowingly before the
preseason game, saying “Tim has been really good for us. He has played in this system before in
Justin McCareins started the game, but he did not catch a pass. The new
coaching staff appears very down on McCareins, and he seems likely to lose a
significant amount of playing time to both Dwight and Jericho Cotchery.
Cotchery showed a strong rapport with Clemens, and almost made a spectacular
grab for a TD. Clemens’ lob pass was overthrown, but Cotchery showed great body
control and hands while holding on to the fade pass out of the side of the end
zone. Cotchery had three catches for 36 yards and looked good in camp this past
week. Rookie Brad Smith had 3 catches for 13 yards against
TE: Chris Baker seems entrenched as the starter,
although he only had one reception in the preseason opener. Second-year TE Joel
Dreesen has been impressive in camp, and may even push Doug Jolley for a roster
spot. Neither TE had a catch against
Defense: The Jets defense looked sharp
Special Teams: Kicker Mike Nugent is focused on improving his kickoffs this year,
"Definitely, I'm getting a little more pop on it [his kickoffs], just
hitting it harder but with the accuracy as well. This season, I'm just really
getting after it more, not holding anything back, and being under control so
the ball goes where I want it to go. If you can average on the goal line,
that's a great goal to get after. You have to kind of push yourself to see how
far you can get. That's one thing I want to do more, get more touchbacks. I
want to help my team out with that and make [opposing] teams get the ball on
the 20-yard line." He only had one kickoff opportunity at
QB Chad Pennington, Patrick Ramsey, Kellen Clemens, Brooks Bollinger
RB Cedric Houston, Derrick Blaylock, Leon Washington, Stacy Tutt (QB/WR), Curtis Martin (inj)
FB B.J. Askew, Jamar Martin
WR Laveranues Coles, Justin McCareins, Jerricho Cotchery, Tim Dwight (PR), Brad Smith, Reggie Newhouse, Dante Ridgeway, Maurice Avery, Phil Silva, Chris Baker, Mario Hill, Curtis Williams
TE Chris Baker, Doug Jolley, Joel Dreessen, Jason Pociask (IR)
K Mike Nugent
DE Shaun Ellis, Kimo Van Oelhoffen, Trevor Johnson, Dave Ball, Darrell Adams
NT Dewayne Robertson, Monsanto Pope, Matt McChesney, Titus Adams, Brennan Schmidt, Sione Pouha (IR)
ILB Jonathan Vilma, Brad Kassell, Anthony Schlegel
OLB Eric Barton (W) (inj), Victor Hobson (S), Bryan Thomas (DE), Matt Chatham (S), Darrell McClover, Craig Bailey, Blake Costanzo, Alonzo Jackson
CB David Barrett, Andre Dyson, Justin Miller (KR), Ray Mickens, Derrick Straight (FS), Andrew Davison, Roosevelt Williams, Lamont Reid, D.J. Johnson, Drew Coleman (inj), Rayshun Reed
S Erik Coleman (SS) (inj), Kerry Rhodes (FS), Rashad Washington, Eric Smith (SS), James Taylor, Andre Maddox, Jamie Thompson, Jovon Johnson
QB: Aaron Brooks didn’t give the
boost that the team had envisioned when acquiring him this offseason. He
completed just one pass in six attempts for 16 yards and was sacked twice. Brooks
is just 2-for-9 for 28 yards, one TD and one interception in
WR: Randy Moss had a frustrating night in his return to the Metrodome as he caught just one pass for 16 yards. "I just wanted to come in and see the fans and give them something really to scream about because I've had my fun here in this Metrodome and they've had theirs, too," Moss said. "That's one thing I really just wanted to come back and just give back to the fans. The organization? To hell with them." Instead of Moss making big plays, it was Johnnie Morant providing a spark. Morant caught the 67-yard TD from Walter and produced five catches for 108 yards. Rookie receiver Will Buchanon caught four balls for 30 yards. Fellow rookies Rick Gatewood and Burl Toler also caught one pass apiece. The Raiders are unlikely to deal Jerry Porter, who didn’t play Monday night due to a calf injury, despite all of the rhetoric coming from Porter and his agent.
Anderson hopes this is the year where his numbers finally match his potential. “We want to throw the ball to our tight ends," Raiders HC Art Shell
said. ”If you're throwing the ball to the tight end, that opens up the outside
for the other receivers. You won't be able to cover them all.”
Marcellus Rivers might have a slight edge to be
Defense: The Raiders are hoping their
defense finally takes shape after two failed years under DC Rob Ryan. In 2004,
the team tried a 3-4 alignment and last year they used more of a 4-3 hybrid. Ryan thinks he's finally got it right this
year, and so does veteran DT Warren Sapp.
"This is the year to show up. We're not going to talk about it,
we're just going to play great ball.” “We've got great personnel,'' Ryan said,
``and we can play pretty much anything we want.” Sapp is also more confident,
especially since he’s seeing more similarities between Ryan’s defense this year
and the defense he played in
First round pick Michael Huff, projected as the Raiders' starting strong safety, was also working at left cornerback on Saturday with the second-team defense. "I'm trying to learn it all," Huff said. "You never know what will happen as far as injuries and stuff like that. Hopefully I can stay flexible where I can play both during the season."
Special Teams: Kickers Tim Duncan and David
Kimball were both active for the game at
QB Aaron Brooks, Andrew Walter, Marques Tuiasosopo, Kent Smith
RB LaMont Jordan, Justin Fargas, Rod Smart (KR), ReShard Lee, DeJuan Green
FB Zack Crockett (SD/3RB), Joe Hall
WR Randy Moss, Jerry Porter (inj), Doug Gabriel, Ron Curry (PR) (inj), Alvis Whitted, Johnnie Morant, Carlos Francis (KR), Kevin McMahan, Rick Gatewood
TE Courtney Anderson, John Paul Foschi (FB), Randal Williams, Marcellus Rivers, O.J. Santiago, James Adkisson, John Madsen, Derek Miller
K Sebastian Janikowski
DE Derrick Burgess, Tyler Brayton, Bobby Hamilton, Grant Irons, Lance Johnstone, Bryant McNeal, Ryan Riddle
DT Warren Sapp (inj), Tommy Kelly, Ed Jasper, Terdell Sands (NT), Anttaj Hawthorne, Kenny Smith, Donnell Washington
MLB Kirk Morrison (I/W), Danny Clark (I)
OLB Sam Williams (S) (inj), Thomas Howard (S), Robert Thomas (S/W), Darnell Bing (S/W), Isaiah Ekejiuba, Henri Crockett
CB Nnamdi Asomugha, Fabian Washington, Stanford Routt, Tyrone Poole, Duane Starks
S Stuart Schweigert (FS), Derrick Gibson (SS), Michael Huff (S/CB), Chris Carr (PR), Calvin Branch, Keyon Nash
QB: Much like the first preseason
game, Donovan McNabb’s stay on the field but short but efficient. He played two
series and completed 7-of-9 passes for 78 yards; leading the team to a field
goal. Clearly McNabb is healthy and feels confident in the state of things. "We
were able to execute when we needed to," McNabb said. "We've still
got some work to do, but it's a great beginning." Jeff Garcia took over
and played quite well, albeit against the Browns 2nd team primarily.
He completed 8-of-11 passes for 125 yards including a 32-yard TD strike to
Darnerien McCants. Timmy Chang, the NCAA record holder from the
Eagles running back situation is uncertain. Offensive MVP Brian Westbrook
continues to miss time with a sprained foot. The Eagles have set no formal
timetable for his return but he will certainly not play against
WR: The Eagles only have one lock at wide receiver, and that’s 2nd-year Reggie Brown. Brown didn’t have a catch against the Browns, but has returned to practice following his calf strain and has shown enough in camp thus far to engender the confidence of his QB. “It is not unrealistic,” McNabb said, “for Reggie Brown to have 70 catches this season…” Perhaps more surprising is McNabb’s contention that Hank Baskett could have “50 catches.” Baskett, an undrafted rookie acquired from the Vikings in a trade, has played himself into not only a roster spot, but a potential starting job to open the season. Whether that becomes a reality is partly determined by when Todd Pinkston gets back on the field. Pinkston continues a slow recovery from knee surgery and could be in danger of being waived. Andy Reid was asked if WR Todd Pinkston (Achilles') would play Thursday, Aug. 17. Reid said, “I've just got to see how Todd does here over the week, see how he feels tomorrow. We pushed him pretty good today. So, we'll see how he does tomorrow.”
TE: L.J. Smith caught 2 passes for 20 yards against the Browns and Matt Schobel added a nice 34-yard grab. The Eagles haven’t had a TE duo like this since Chad Lewis was on the team alongside Smith. Backups Andy Thorn and Stephen Spach each had one reception in the game; the team probably will keep only one of them on the active roster.
Defense: The Eagles defense is a work in progress, but the first team held the Browns scoreless in the first half of their preseason game. Charlie Frye was ineffective completing only four passes for 23 yards. The pass rush, missing last year, reared its head as Darren Howard, Jerome McDougle and LaJuan Ramsey all had sacks. Jevon Kearse and Brodrick Bunkley nearly recorded sacks of their own, but were effective putting pressure on the Browns QBs. The run defense was less impressive, as Reuben Droughns pounded out 21 yards in his four carries. The battle at strongside linebacker has been decided; unfortunately it was a victory by attrition. Greg Richmond will require back surgery leaving Dhani Jones to retain his job; despite the team’s very clear desire to see him relegated to backup duties. McDougle, besieged with injuries throughout his career, broke some ribs and is sidelined again.
Special Teams: David Akers kicked a 22-yard field goal in
the game against
QB Donovan McNabb, Jeff Garcia, Koy Detmer, Timmy Chang
RB Brian Westbrook (inj), Ryan Moats (inj), Bruce Perry (KR) (inj), Reno Mahe (PR), Correll Buckhalter (inj), Marty Johnson
FB Josh Parry, Thomas Tapeh, Jason Davis
WR Reggie Brown, Hank Baskett, Todd Pinkston (inj), Jabar Gaffney, Greg Lewis, Jason Avant, Darnerien McCants, Jeremy Bloom (KR/PR), Carl Ford, Justin Jenkins, Bill Sampy, J.J. Outlaw, Jermaine Jamison
TE L.J. Smith, Matt Schobel, Steven Spach, Andy Thorn, Jonas Crafts
K David Akers
DE Jevon Kearse, Darren Howard, Trent Cole, Jerome McDougle (inj), Juqua Thomas
DT Mike Patterson, Darwin Walker, Sam Rayburn, Brodrick Bunkley, Ed Jasper, Keyonta Marshall, LaJuan Ramsey
MLB Jeremiah Trotter, Mark Simoneau (W/M), Omar Gaither (W/M)
OLB Dhani Jones (S), Shawn Barber (W), Matt McCoy (W), Chris Gocong (S), Jason Short (S), Dedrick Roper (S), Greg Richmond (inj), Torrence Daniels
CB Sheldon Brown, Lito Sheppard (inj), Roderick Hood (KR), Donald Strickland, Matt Ware, Dexter Wynn, Joselio Hanson, Mark Clark
S Brian Dawkins (FS), Michael Lewis (SS), Quintin Mikell (FS), Sean Considine (SS), J.R. Reed (FS/KR) (inj), Scott Ware (SS)
QB: Ben Roethlisberger made his return to the field on Friday night as the Steelers helped the Arizona Cardinals open their new stadium. He played just one series that resulted in a missed field goal, but he didn’t seem to mind. “It kind of hit me right before the kickoff,” Roethlisberger said, “to sit here and say thank you that I'm able to be out here, to put on the jersey, to be in front of people and playing again two months to the day after a pretty bad accident.” Big Ben finished 3-of-4 for 29 yards with his longest reception being an 11-yard screen pass to RB Verron Haynes. On the drive, Roethlisberger took the Steelers to the Cardinals 26-yard line before he escaped a near-sack by safety Adrian Wilson, scrambled and then threw the ball away. “I just told him in the future that considering where we are right now, I would rather have him go down rather than trying to fight to get free,” Head coach Bill Cowher said. The drive ended when Bertrand Berry sacked Roethlisberger on third down and Jeff Reed’s 54-yard FG was wide left. “We came away with nothing on that first drive, but I'm glad from Ben's perspective,” Cowher said. “He was able to get out there and I thought he made some plays.”
The Steelers got a look at Shane Boyd and rookie fourth-round pick Omar Jacobs along with veteran backup Charlie Batch, who completed 3-of-4 for 27 yards. Jacobs was 5-of-7 for 61 yards with a 1-yard TD to Isaac Smolko in the fourth quarter. Shane Boyd threw 16 passes completing 8 of them for 67 yards, but he was intercepted once and ran for 16 yards.
RB: The Steelers didn’t establish much of a ground game as Duce Staley managed only 14 yards on seven carries looking rather lethargic and slow on his feet. Willie Parker gained 12 yards on three carries; rookie Cedric Humes had four yards on three attempts while Verron Haynes ran three times for just one yard. Humes did have a nice 33-yard catch and Willie Parker caught a 7-yard pass. Haynes and Staley are competing for the backup job, but perhaps more importantly for the goal-line and short-yardage role vacated by Jerome Bettis. Haynes seems to be the leader so far. The winner has obvious fantasy potential, but Willie Parker could also win the goal-line job. In that event, Parker could become a top-10 fantasy back providing he stays healthy with the extra beatings that come with short-yardage duty.
WR: Rookie first round pick Santonio Holmes made his debut catching four balls for 32 yards. Willie Reid, another rookie, also had 4 catches for 30 yards. Veteran special teamer Sean Morey caught three balls for 27 yards. Hines Ward remains limited with a slight hamstring injury, but he’s not expected to miss any serious time. The team is playing it safe so he doesn’t have a lingering, more serious injury during the regular season. Nate Washington looked good starting for Hines Ward in Saturday’s game. He had 10-yard gain on a reverse on the team’s first drive, and then made a nice adjustment on a deep ball as he accelerated to catch up to it, almost bringing it in for a score. He has turned in a decent training camp so far. Cedrick Wilson and Quincy Morgan also caught one ball each – Wilson’s for 18 yards and Morgan’s for 13 yards.
Miller is progressing nicely in his second season. “The biggest issue you had
with TE Heath [Miller] last year was his ability to block an NFL player,” OC
Ken Whisenhunt said. “We always knew he could be a good receiver. Now we have a
better idea of how we can use him…He's a good receiver. He's a good blocker. I
don't know if there is a perfect tight end, but he is a good fit in both areas
of our game.” Miller made a brief appearance with the team’s starting unit
catching one ball for 11 yards against
Defense: The team likes what they’re seeing from LB Richard Seiglar in camp. The linebacker had four tackles and a sack against the Cardinals. Rian Wallace also had four tackles as did fellow linebacker Clint Kriewaldt. New addition FS Ryan Clark, signed to replace Chris Hope, led the team with five combined tackles. Rookie safety Anthony Smith, who the team hopes to eventually start at free safety, picked off two passes in the game. Veteran LB Joey Porter did not play against the Cardinals on Saturday, but he was activated off the team’s PUP list on August 8th.
Special Teams: Kicker Jeff Reed has been practicing with free agent punter Mike Barr
as his holder. Barr is competing for a job with the incumbent punter/holder,
Chris Gardocki. In the game at
QB Ben Roethlisberger, Charlie Batch, Omar Jacobs, Shane Boyd
RB Willie Parker, Verron Haynes (FB), Duce Staley, Cedric Humes
FB Dan Kreider, John Kuhn, Doug Easlick
WR Hines Ward, Cedrick Wilson, Santonio Holmes, Quincy Morgan, Nate Washington, Willie Reid (KR/PR), Sean Morey, Lee Mays, Walter Young, Marvin Allen
TE Heath Miller, Jerame Tuman, Charles Davis, Jonathan Dekker, Isaac Smolko
K Jeff Reed, Mark Brubaker
DE Aaron Smith, Brett Keisel, Travis Kirschke, Rodney Bailey, Shaun Nua, Orien Harris
NT Casey Hampton, Chris Hoke, Scott Paxson
ILB James Farrior, Larry Foote, Rian Wallace, Richard Seigler, Clint Kriewaldt
OLB Joey Porter, Clark Haggans, James Harrison, Andre Frazier, Arnold Harrison, Lee Vickers
CB Deshea Townsend, Ike Taylor, Bryant McFadden, Ricardo Colclough (PR/KR), Chidi Iwuoma, Anthony Madison
S Troy Polamalu (SS), Ryan Clark (FS), Tyrone Carter (FS), Mike Logan (SS), Anthony Smith (FS), Zack Baker, Mike Lorello
QB: Mark Bulger didn't appear to suffer any lingering effects from the shoulder injury that caused him to miss the second half of last season Thursday night against the Colts. He did throw a few uncharacteristically errant passes and is still shaking off the rust, but his quick release remains intact. New head coach Scott Linehan's playbook is more simplified than Mike Martz’s, which helped as the team played the game free of any false start penalties.
While there has been no official word from the coaching staff, Ryan Fitzpatrick looked better than Dave Ragone and may have taken the early lead in the battle for QB3. Gus Frerotte is firmly entrenched as Bulger's backup in his third stint with Linehan from when he was the OC of the Vikings and Dolphins. Gus Frerotte went 2-of-3 for 32 yards and led a first-quarter scoring drive capped by Tony Fisher's 7-yard run. In the battle for the No. 3 quarterback job, Ryan Fitzpatrick was 8-for-11 for 51 yards, and Dave Ragone was 7-for-11 for 80 yards and an interception.
RB: For a change,
the Rams ran more than they passed against the Colts. HC Scott Linehan didn't
question a call and his game plan was balanced with 40 running plays and 31 passing
plays. Steven Jackson played the first two series, carried five times for 41
yards, with two nice runs of 16 and 23 yards. “Coach wants us to be a team that
protects the ball, takes the ball away and plays smarter,”
WR: Torry Holt is the only WR in league history to have 1,300+ receiving yards in six consecutive seasons... something Moss, Owens, Harrison and even Jerry Rice never accomplished. No WR in the NFL has more catches in the last three years. Why doesn't he get more recognition as a top three WR? “He's not a self-promoter,” Linehan said. “He's very secure. He doesn’t need the spotlight. He doesn't need all the attention. But there is little doubt that he plays at the highest level in this league.” Holt played briefly against Indy, catching one ball for 15 yards, while the ageless Isaac Bruce looked sharp catching 2 balls for 36 yards. Brad Pyatt made a nice 40-yard catch. Dominique Thompson caught three balls for 31 yards and Dane Looker had 29 yards on four catches.
TE: Neither second rounder Joel Klopfenstein nor third rounder Dominique Byrd saw the ball much against the Colts, but all the latest news seems to point to Klopfenstein maintaining and even extending his lead for the starting TE position that was vacated by the trade of the incumbent, Brandon Manumaleuna to the Chargers during the draft. The rookies are going in opposite directions as Byrd has slipped to third team behind Aaron Walker. Linehan likes to integrate the TE into the offense much more so than ex-HC Mike Martz (see Jermaine Wiggins in MIN and Randy McMichael in MIA), and was looking for a more athletic TE capable of stretching the defense and getting open on the seam route. So far, Klopfenstein has also helped his cause by developing as a blocker. This is of pivotal importance in the new scheme with a greater emphasis placed on both running more often and protecting Bulger.
Defense: The Rams could have as many as six new starters on defense this season, and the new coaching staff seems to have a need for speed. “Man I'm tellin' you this is the fastest defense I've ever been on in my life,” said Pro Bowl DE Leonard Little. “I'm tellin' you, man, it's different around here. Real different.” The Rams only allowed 38 yards on the ground to the Colts on Thursday night. Free agent Fakhir Brown has been the Rams best CB in camp. Fluid in coverage and aggressive in run support, he sacked the Colts Jim Sorgi on a corner blitz. Former starter Jerametrius Butler reaggravated a hamstring injury after missing all of the 2005 season with an ACL injury. At this point the spot opposite Brown is Travis Fisher's if he can stay healthy (he has been unable to the past two seasons). He has lost weight, reportedly is playing faster and is throwing his body around in run support again in a contract year.
Physically gifted first rounder Tye Hill is raw but he isn't acting like the game is too big for him as a rookie. He looks like he will be able to help in the dime and possibly the nickel D right away. Hill just missed on two interceptions and made a special teams tackle in Thursday’s game. He should eventually start over Fisher, though it may not be until late in the season. Ron Bartell was shifted from CB to FS. Oshiomogho Atogwe is running with the first team at FS alongside SS Corey Chavous. DE Anthony Hargrove suffered a knee injury in Thursday’s game, but it isn't thought to be serious. It did allow fourth rounder Victor Adeyanju a chance to shine. He has outstanding size and strength along with deceptive speed and athleticism and flashed the ability to be disruptive. He could be the successor to Leonard Little or possibly talented enough to supplant Hargrove. Controversial third round DT Claude Wroten got a tremendous push up the middle and is already in the base nickle defense in place of run stuffer Jimmy Kennedy.
Special Teams: Camp leg Remy Hamilton handled
all the kicking in the game against
QB Marc Bulger, Gus Frerotte, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Dave Ragone
RB Steven Jackson, Tony Fisher, Moe Williams, John David Washington, Fred Russell, Antoine Bagwell, Marshall Faulk (IR)
FB Madison Hedgecock, Paul Smith
WR Torry Holt, Isaac Bruce, Kevin Curtis, Shaun McDonald (PR), Dane Looker, Brad Pyatt, Marques Hagans, Taylor Stubblefield, Dominique Thompson, Clinton Solomon
TE Joel Klopfenstein, Aaron Walker, Dominique Byrd, Jerome Collins, Alex Holmes, Landon Trusty (IR)
K Jeff Wilkins, Remy Hamilton
DE Leonard Little, Tony Hargrove, Brandon Green, Clifford Dukes, Victor Adeyanju, Matthew Rice
DT Jimmy Kennedy (NT), La'Roi Glover, Claude Wroten, Brian Howard, Jason Fisk, Jeremy Calahan, Tim Sandidge
MLB Will Witherspoon (W/M), Tim McGarigle
OLB Pisa Tinoisamoa (W), Brandon Chillar (S), Dexter Coakley (S) (inj), Raonall Smith, Jon Alston, Drew Wahlroos (S) (inj)
CB Tye Hill, Jerametrius Butler, Travis Fisher, Fakhir Brown, DeJuan Groce, Kevin Timothee
S Corey Chavous (SS), Oshiomogho Atogwe (FS), Ronald Bartell (FS), Jerome Carter (SS), Dwaine Carpenter (FS)
QB: All the reports have been positive regarding the ascendance of Philip
Rivers as the Chargers starting quarterback going into the 2006 season. On
Saturday night, Rivers didn’t disappoint as he threw for 169 first-half yards
leading the team to two early scoring drives in a 17-3 win against the Green
Bay Packers. “I thought he played excellent,” Schottenheimer said. “He played
pretty much like I expect him to.” Rivers was poised and accurate with his
passes completing 15-of-21 passes while playing almost the entire first half
(save for one play). He threw a 17-yard TD pass to Vincent Jackson on a fade
route to the corner of the end zone, but it was ruled out of bounds. After a
5-yard penalty was assessed, the Chargers went right back to the exact same
play. Once again, Rivers put the ball right on the money, and this time,
“Nobody in the huddle had any doubt. He gave you all what you wanted to see,” said veteran WR Keenan McCardell. “We threw a lot of completions, threw a touchdown pass,” Rivers said. “It was a good start. We had some things we didn't do well, but it's early. It's just what you want to do in the first preseason game.” In the second half, the Chargers gave the ball to backup A.J. Feeley and rookie Charlie Whitehurst. Feeley went 5-of-10 for 49 yards while Whitehurst finished 6-of-12 for 50 yards.
RB: Michael Turner handled the bulk of the Chargers rushing duties, as LaDainian Tomlinson did not play in Saturday’s game. He rarely plays during the preseason, so that’s par for the course. Turner ran nine times for 43 yards including a nice 13-yard TD run where he got to the corner on the right side of the field avoiding defenders for the score. Ray Perkins saw some action, too. He rushed eight times for 28 yards. Darren Sproles ran once for 4 yards before he sprained his left ankle during the first quarter. It was later determined that Sproles broke his leg and is now lost for the season.
WR: Vincent Jackson looked great. He
caught “touchdown passes” on two straight plays only to have the first one
taken away as he stepped out of bounds. The super-sized 2nd year receiver
continues to look good during training camp and it’s evident that he and Rivers
have spent a lot of time playing together over the last year.
TE: Philip Rivers made great use of his tight ends in Saturday’s game as Antonio Gates, Brandon Manumaleuna and Ryan Krause combined for nine catches. Stating the obvious, HC Marty Schottenheimer weighed in, “We got good production out of the tight end position.” Krause led all receivers with six catches for 64 yards, while Gates caught one pass for 17 yards putting a nice move on rookie LB A.J. Hawk. Manumaleuna caught four balls for 45 yards.
Defense: The Chargers defense was firing on all cylinders against the Packers. They sacked Favre on back-to-back plays while finishing with 5 sacks and stuffing the Packers attempts to run the ball consistently all night. Tim Dobbins, Stephen Cooper, Shaun Phillips, Matt Wilhelm and Marques Harris all had sacks from the LB position. Rookie corner Antonio Cromartie had an interception on Aaron Rodgers while Shaun Phillips forced a fumble after sacking Rodgers on another play. Cromartie’s play was nice, especially coming after Marlon McCree had a 78-yard fumble return for a TD reversed by replay. “When I looked up the ball was there, and I came up with the interception,” Cromartie said. “I just try to make plays.” Defensive back Markus Curry led the team with five combined tackles. Overall, the Packers went three-and-out on their first three possessions, totaling 6 yards. “That's our No. 1 goal as a defense – to stop the run,” LB Stephen Cooper said. Veteran LB Donnie Edwards remains out of action with a bad back.
Special Teams: Kicker Nate Kaeding spent the
offseason studying and tweaking his leg swing with the help of a PGA
instructor, just as a golfer would study their club swing. He also added 15
pounds and worked on improving his kickoffs. He’s ready for 2006, “I think the
biggest thing that builds your confidence is your comfort level. I feel a lot
more comfortable here going into my third year than I did, say, going into my
first year when everything was so new and then even going into the second year
and coming off that playoff game. That shook me a little bit like I think it
would anybody. They gave me the leeway to work through it, and it's definitely
paid off.” In the game against
QB Philip Rivers, A.J. Feeley, Charlie Whitehurst, Brett Elliott
RB LaDainian Tomlinson, Michael Turner, Larry Croom, Ray Perkins, Tyrone Gross, Bryson Sumlin, Darren Sproles (IR)
FB Lorenzo Neal, Andrew Pinnock, Jonathan Evans, Shawn Willis
WR Keenan McCardell, Eric Parker (inj), Vincent Jackson, Kassim Osgood, Malcolm Floyd, Mark Simmons, Sean Coffey (inj), Gerran Walker, Robert Ortiz
TE Antonio Gates, Brandon Manumaleuna, Aaron Shea, Ryan Krause
K Nate Kaeding, Kurt Smith
DE Igor Olshansky, Luis Castillo (NT), Jacques Cesaire, Derrick Robinson, Chase Page (inj), Patrick Massey
NT Jamal Williams, Ryon Bingham, Brandon McKinney, Alvin Smith
ILB Donnie Edwards (inj), Randall Godfrey, Matt Wilhelm, Stephen Cooper, Tim Dobbins, Carlos Polk
OLB Steve Foley (W), Shawne Merriman (S), Shaun Phillips (S), Marques Harris (W), Jonathan Pollard
CB Quentin Jammer, Drayton Florence, Antonio Cromartie, Markus Curry, Cletis Gordon, Steve Gregory, Anthony Mims
S Marlon McCree (FS), Terrence Kiel (SS), Bhawoh Jue (SS/FS), Clinton Hart (FS/SS), Hanik Milligan (FS), Andre Lott (FS), Richard Yancy
QB: Did Alex Smith turn the corner? It’s only one preseason game, but he looks good so far. We’ve all been tricked by the Joey Harrington’s of the world, but Smith threw for 137 yards on 16-of-21 passing with no interceptions. Smith led the 49ers to a 17-0 lead before leaving the game. “He's a grown man now," said Frank Gore, who rushed for 49 yards and a score. "I looked in his eyes last year, and his eyes were like this." Gore widened his eyes until his lids disappeared, suggesting fear and uncertainty. "Now, he's a grown man," Gore concluded. "Alex wants it. That's what I respect about him. He wants to be great."
The 49ers moved Smith around in the pocket with play action and rollouts as he led the 49ers offense down the field consistently against the Bears defense. "It was a ton of fun," said Smith. "I had so much anxious energy to go out and get something done. We worked really hard during this offseason and camp, and it's starting to show up." HC Mike Nolan liked Smith’s performance, too. “He was very efficient, the tempo and pace of his play were very good, and he looked very sure of himself,” Nolan said. Jesse Palmer and Shaun Hill took over after Smith departed. Hill scrambled for a 3-yard TD run in the fourth quarter while completing all four of his passes for 46 yards. Palmer went 5-of-7 for 64 yards. Trent Dilfer didn’t play as he’s still not 100% after arthroscopic knee surgery in February.
RB: The 49ers game was the latest indication that Frank Gore is taking over as the team’s starting running back. Kevan Barlow had just one carry before leaving the game with a bruised thigh. Barlow also missed practice on Sunday. Gore took over and ran 10 times, mostly with the first-team, for 49 yards including a 1-yard TD run. He also caught five passes for 32 yards. Rookie Michael Robinson showed his athleticism and versatility rushing 11 times for 31 yards and catching 2 balls for 26 yards. Maurice Hicks got eight carries, ran for 27 yards, and caught a 24-yard pass. On Sunday, Hicks was held out of afternoon practice after straining his abs in the morning session.
WR: Free agent pickup Antonio Bryant was in sync with Alex Smith as he
caught five balls for 54 yards against
Defense: Jeff Ulbrich and Walt Harris both recovered fumbles in Friday’s game;
Ulbrich returned his 32 yards for a TD in the first quarter. CB Mike Rumph
spent extra time working on his tackling of all things at Sunday's practice. He
missed four tackles in the game, including one that allowed a receiver to score
a touchdown. "I went out today to get better and I did get better,"
Rumph said. "I was the first one to go in tackling drills and I did a
little extra in practice. I've just got to get back into it." Apparently
his attempts fell on deaf ears as the 49ers traded Rumph to
Rookie first-round pick OLB Manny Lawson is going
against fellow first-round pick TE Vernon Davis daily in practice. The two
players have a friendly rivalry going already. "He's just making me
better," said Lawson, who thinks he probably won't face another tight end
Special Teams: In the game against
Other: Center Jeremy Newberry will miss the season because he needs
microfracture surgery in his knee. HC Mike Nolan said he would be placed on the
Injured Reserve list. C David Baas will take over as the starting center. With
Newberry’s injury aside, the 49ers are quite happy with the progress they’ve
made during the offseason regarding the line’s play. “We have good personnel up
front,'' LT Jonas Jennings said. Having newcomer LG Larry Allen next to
QB Alex Smith, Trent Dilfer, Jesse Palmer, Shaun Hill
RB Frank Gore, Kevan Barlow (inj), Maurice Hicks, Michael Robinson (QB/WR), Zak Keasey
FB Chris Hetherington, Moran Norris
WR Antonio Bryant, Arnaz Battle (inj), Bryan Gilmore, Brandon Williams, Delanie Walker, Taylor Jacobs, Rasheed Marshall, Jason McAddley, Otis Amey (PR), Marcus Maxwell, C.J. Brewer
TE Vernon Davis, Eric Johnson, Billy Bajema, Terry Jones, Onye Ibekwe
K Joe Nedney, Andrew Jacas, Luis Berlanga
DE Bryant Young, Marques Douglas, Jerry DeLoach, Melvin Oliver, Lance Legree
NT Anthony Adams, Isaac Sapoaga, Ronald Fields, Bobby Payne
ILB Derek Smith, Jeff Ulbrich, Brandon Moore, Renauld Williams, Zak Keasey
OLB Manny Lawson, Corey Smith (S), Parys Haralson (DE), T.J. Slaughter, James Maxwell, Bobby Iwuchukwu, Andre Torrey (IR)
CB Shawntae Spencer (inj), Walt Harris, Derrick Johnson, Sammy Davis, B.J. Tucker
S Tony Parrish (SS) (inj), Mike Adams (FS), Mark Roman (FS), Keith Lewis (FS), Chad Williams (FS), Marcus Hudson (FS), Vickiel Vaughn (FS)
QB: Seneca Wallace played the bulk
of the game on Saturday night against
RB: Shaun Alexander got a little work Saturday running six times for 13 yards before leaving early in the second quarter. Maurice Morris ran 10 times for 25 yards while fellow backups Leonard Weaver and Marquis Weeks each had one carry for three yards. Rookie fullback David Kirtman caught three balls for 21 yards while running once for 3 yards. Weaver is a dynamic player that the team really likes. He can play fullback, a little tailback and catch the ball well earning him an opportunity to vie for a possible third down role to supplant Alexander at times. However, if he’s to earn any significant role he’ll need to continue working on his blocking to eventually replace All-Pro FB Mack Strong. That part of his game remains a work in progress. “Any time you're a fullback, the first thing you always want to improve on is blocking -- making sure the guys behind you can run the ball and making sure the quarterback is protected,” he said. “I could have done a better job tonight.”
Maurice Mann led the receivers with four receptions for 49 yards as he worked with the 1st and 2nd team on offense as the No. 3 receiver. His four catches produced three first downs, helping his chances of making the final roster. Peter Warrick produced 41yards on three catches. C.J. Jones, trying to earn a roster spot, caught 3 balls for 21 yards. Bobby Engram caught one ball for 9 yards. Receivers Darrell Jackson (knee), D.J. Hackett (hamstring), Skyler Fulton (shoulder) and Keenan Howry (hamstring) did not play Saturday.
Saturday’s game, Itula Mili hauled in one pass for 21 yards while Matt Murphy
caught 2 balls for 23 yards. Will Heller had one catch
for 9 yards. Starter Jerramy Stevens practiced for the first time since April
on Wednesday, roughly four months following surgery on his left knee. The
Seahawks waived TE Mike Gomez on Thursday after acquiring guard Jason Murphy
off waivers from
Defense: Saturday’s game against
DE Chris Cooper led all tacklers with six while safety Mike Green and rookie corner Kelly Jennings chipped in with five solo tackles apiece. Green has been playing with the starters as Michael Boulware continues his comeback from offseason knee surgery. New addition Oliver Celestin had four tackles and forced a fumble. Several players did not play Saturday including SS Michael Boulware (knee), CB Jimmy Williams (ankle), LB Isaiah Kacyvenski (quad), DE Joe Tafoya (shoulder), DT Marcus Tubbs (Achilles), DE Grant Wistrom (shoulder) and DT Rocky Bernard (knee).
Special Teams: In the game against
QB Matt Hasselbeck, Seneca Wallace, David Greene, Gibran Hamdan, Travis Lulay
RB Shaun Alexander, Maurice Morris, Marquis Weeks, Josh Scobey
FB Mack Strong, Leonard Weaver, David Kirtman
WR Darrell Jackson (inj), Nate Burleson, Bobby Engram, Peter Warrick, D.J. Hackett (inj), Ben Obomanu, Keenan Howry, Tony Brown, Maurice Mann, C.J. Jones
TE Jerramy Stevens (inj), Itula Mili, Will Heller, Caleen Powell, Matt Murphy
K Josh Brown
DE Grant Wistrom, Bryce Fisher, Darryl Tapp, Joe Tafoya, Ronald Flemons, Kemp Rasmussen, Chris Cooper, John Syptak
DT Marcus Tubbs, Chartric Darby, Rocky Bernard, Craig Terrill, Russell Davis, Ron Smith
MLB Lofa Tatupu, Niko Koutouvides
OLB Leroy Hill (W), Julian Peterson (S), Kevin Bentley (W), D.D. Lewis (S/W), Isaiah Kacyvenski (S), Cornelius Wortham, Lance Laury, Evan Benjamin
CB Marcus Trufant, Kelly Herndon, Kelly Jennings, Jordan Babineaux, Jimmy Williams, Kevin Hobbs, Gerard Ross
S Michael Boulware (SS), Ken Hamlin (FS), Oliver Celestin, Mike Green (FS)
QB: Chris Simms started for the Bucs on Friday night against the NY Jets. He played just one series completing 2-of-3 passes for 8 yards before giving way to Tim Rattay, who directed a field goal drive. “Of course we had some mistakes, but you expect that in the first preseason game,” said Simms. “We did some things well, too. It is a good building block.” Nearly all of the Bucs starters were out of the game by the second series.
Rookie Bruce Gradkowski, a sixth-round pick, played most of the second half and threw touchdown passes of 11 yards to Paris Warren and 2 yards to third-round draft pick Maurice Stovall. The rookie QB threw up before he threw his first pass, but he went on to complete 11-of-13 passes for 104 yards against the Jet's reserves. “The nerves were running a little bit, but I was mostly excited, anxious,” Gradkowski said. “I hate sitting around waiting. Simms was giving me a hard time, but I used to do it in college. Every time I did it, I knew it was going to be good.” If Gradkowski continues to shine as he has throughout training camp, Tim Rattay could be squeezed from the roster. The Bucs would potentially keep Simms, Gradkowski and either Rattay or Jay Fiedler.
RB: Cadillac Williams did not play in Friday’s game, but the Bucs running game looked good overall. They rushed for 167 yards, with Earnest Graham gaining 69 yards on 17 carries and Carey Davis gaining 67 yards on 14 attempts – along with 2 catches for 12 yards. Graham also produced 37 yards on two catches including one that went for 26 yards. Michael Pittman lost a fumble on the Bucs 42-yard line on one drive. The play was first ruled down by contact, but was later over-ruled by replay. Fortunately, the Bucs retained possession because the refs couldn’t determine who recovered the football. Pittman ended up with 14 yards on six carries, and two catches for 8 yards. Mike Alstott ran once for 8 yards. FB Jerald Sowell caught a pass for 17 yards.
In addition to being a red zone threat, Stovall is proving to be a tenacious blocker using his 6-foot-5, 220-pound frame to his advantage. “I just think it's something that you have to want to do,” said Stovall. “You can be coached to do it, but if you don't really want to go out and block somebody and bump heads with the safety or corner, it won't happen.” Gruden also loves Stovall's size, saying, “He's 6-5. I stand on the sideline next to him I feel like I'm standing next to (defensive end) Simeon Rice.” With Stovall, Galloway, Michael Clayton and TE Alex Smith, the Bucs suddenly have a wealth of red zone weapons for Chris Simms. Veteran Edell Shepherd, trying to make the roster, caught one pass for 15 yards.
tight ends were quiet in the first preseason game, but Tim Massaqoui, a rookie
Defense: The Bucs pulled their first-team defense after Chad Pennington kept them on the field for a few more plays than the coaches would have liked in the first quarter. “We didn't give up any points,” Derrick Brooks said. “But obviously we would like to get off the field a little sooner.” Juran Bolden led the team with 6 combined tackles while Torrie Cox and Jamie Winborn each had four solos. Safeties Steve Cargile and Kalvin Pearson each had a sack. Pearson’s sack was a key play that came as the Jets were third-and-goal from the Bucs 5. He also forced a fumble on the play. Cornerback Brian Kelly was missing on defense after being excused to attend to a personal matter.
Special Teams: Kicker Matt Bryant was successful from 25 yards on his only field goal attempt in the game against the NY Jets. Kicker Xavier Beitia continues to have an excellent camp, although he committed the ultimate kicker no-no towards the end of the Jets game. His PAT attempt failed after hitting the upright. Neither starting kickoff returner RB Michael Pittman, nor anyone, had a kickoff return in the game, as the Jets only kickoff went for a touchback. Starting punt returner WR Mark Jones return work in the game was limited to a fair catch. Rookie CB Justin Phinisee had a nine yard punt return. A potential backup kickoff returner, CB Torrie Cox left the game with an ankle injury and did not return.
QB Chris Simms, Jay Fiedler (inj), Bruce Gradkowski, Tim Rattay, Luke McCown (inj), Jared Allen
RB Cadillac Williams, Michael Pittman (3RB), Earnest Graham, Derek Watson
FB Mike Alstott, Jerald Sowell, Rick Razzano, Robert Douglas
WR Joey Galloway, Michael Clayton, Ike Hilliard, David Boston, Maurice Stovall, Mark Jones (KR), Edell Shepherd, J.R. Russell, Paris Warren, Chas Gessner, Ben Nelson
TE Anthony Becht, Alex Smith, Dave Moore, Tim Massaqoui, T.J. Williams (IR)
K Matt Bryant
DE Simeon Rice, Greg Spires, Dewayne White (DT), Julian Jenkins
DT Anthony McFarland, Chris Hovan (NT), Ellis Wyms, Jon Bradley, Anthony Bryant, Kevin Lewis
MLB Shelton Quarles, Barrett Ruud
OLB Derrick Brooks (W), Ryan Nece (S), Jamie Winborn (S), Marquis Cooper (S), Wesly Mallard (W), Jermaine Taylor (W), Charles Bennett, Anthony Trucks
CB Ronde Barber, Brian Kelly, Juran Bolden, Torrie Cox, Alan Zemaitas, Justin Phinisee, Dwight Ellick
S Jermaine Phillips (SS), Will Allen (FS) (inj), Donte Nicholson (SS), Kalvin Pearson (SS), Steve Cargile (SS), Eli Ward (FS), Blue Adams
QB: Billy Volek made his first start as the Titans quarterback since the departure of Steve McNair. He played into the second quarter before leaving the game with a 10-6 lead. He finished 4-of-7 for 55 yards. Of course, the team’s future is Vincent Young. Young showed flashes of his strong arm on Saturday when he threw a 50-yard pass to Roydell Williams, who could not hold on to the ball. Young finished 4-of-11 for 56 yards, adding 28 yards on the ground on four carries. On two occasions, Young didn’t get rid of the football as he took a pair of sacks. On the second sack, Young was yanked from behind by Saints DL Javon Norton and he stayed on the ground before walking gingerly to the bench. He did not return to the game, but the injury is not serious. Young says he is fine. Third-stringer Matt Mauck played briefly completing his only thrown pass for three yards.
RB: Despite the rumors emanating from Chris Brown’s agent, who has threatened a walkout without a trade or extension, Brown carried nine times for 47 yards. He looked in mid-season form as he rambled up the middle of the field for 21 yards on one nice run. Travis Henry got plenty of action as he gained 23 yards on 10 carries. He scored on a 1-yard run, but it wasn’t enough since the Titans defense couldn’t stop the Saints in the second half. Jarrett Payton carried the ball six times for 20 yards and rookie Quinton Gaither chipped in 6 yards on three carries.
LenDale White didn't dress after being suspended for the game following a practice brawl on Thursday, but HC Jeff Fisher indicated that White will return to work Monday. “I respect coach Fisher's decision for not playing me tonight. I don't like it just because I like competing... I understand what's going on,” White said after the game. He was involved in a fight with safety Donnie Nickey, when he reportedly spit in Nickey’s face after some bumping between the two. “Donnie understands, and LenDale understands he crossed the line. You just don't do that. It will not happen again. I assure you it will not happen again,” HC Fisher told the media.
WR: Bobby Wade led the Titans receivers with two receptions for 20 yards. Courtney Roby, Roydell Williams, Drew Bennett and O.J. Small each had one catch. Tyrone Calico didn’t play as he remains sidelined with a hamstring problem. David Givens was slowed throughout last week with a tight groin.
TE: Ben Troupe worked briefly in Saturday’s game catching a 26-yard pass while backup Jamie Petrowski also caught one pass for 14 yards. Erron Kinney (knee), Bo Scaife (quad) and Greg Guenther (hip flexor) remain sidelined with injuries. Kinney says he’s improving, but it’s a slow process. “I’m not sure if I will play any preseason games,” Kinney said. “I would probably guess no. It probably won’t take me long to knock the dust off.”
Defense: The Titans defense got two interceptions in Saturday’s game off Saints backup QB Jamie Martin – one by Andre Woolfolk and the other by Vincent Fuller. Travis LaBoy beat Jammal Brown to the edge to record a sack, as well. Reynaldo Hill, Woolfolk and free agent pickup Chris Hope paced the Titans with four solo tackles apiece. Rookie DT Jesse Mahelona, who the team is counting on more heavily with Rien Long out for the season, contributed three tackles and an assist. Pacman Jones had three tackles, but was flagged for a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty after getting into Reggie Bush’s grill following a short pass play along the sideline. LB Rob Reynolds sat out of the game with a chest contusion. DT Randy Starks missed the game after he turned himself in 90 minutes before the game following a charge that he assaulted his fiancée.
Special Teams: Rob Bironas is still the only
kicker on the Titans roster, despite the coaches’ threat of bringing in
competition. Bironas noted, "I'm kicking the ball well right now. I've got
good leg strength going this year and I had a little rest in the offseason, so
things are going well. It would be nice to have someone in here to take some
reps. If they're going to bring somebody in, then
that's the decision they'll make." In the game against
QB Billy Volek, Vince Young, Matt Mauck, Cody Hodges
RB Chris Brown, LenDale White (inj), Travis Henry, Jarrett Payton
FB Troy Fleming (inj), Ahmard Hall, Quinton Ganther
WR Drew Bennett, David Givens, Bobby Wade, Tyrone Calico (inj), Courtney Roby, Brandon Jones, Roydell Williams, Jonathan Orr (inj), Sloan Thomas, Jason Anderson, O.J. Small, Tramain Hall
TE Ben Troupe, Erron Kinney (inj), Bo Scaife (inj), Greg Guenther (inj), Jamie Petrowski, Ben Hall
K Rob Bironas
DE Kyle Vanden Bosch, Travis LaBoy, Antwan Odom, Bo Schobel, Copeland Bryan, Sean Conover, Tim Thompson
DT Albert Haynesworth, Randy Starks, Jesse Mahelona, Jared Clauss, Daleroy Stewart, Marcus White, Wayne Dickens, Jeff Littlejohn, Chris Herring, Rien Long (inj)
MLB Peter Sirmon (M/S), Stephen Tulloch
OLB Keith Bulluck (W), David Thornton (S), Cody Spencer (W), Robert Reynolds (S/M), Jared Newberry (S), Marcus Randall, Terna Nande, Spencer Toone
CB Pacman Jones, Reynaldo Hill, Andre Woolfolk, Rich Gardner, Michael Waddell (inj), Cedric Holt
S Chris Hope (SS), Lamont Thompson (FS), Vincent Fuller (FS), Donnie Nickey (SS), Calvin Lowry (SS), Cortland Finnegan (FS)
QB: Al Saunders’ vaunted passing offense stumbled out of the gate against the Bengals, as all three quarterbacks played poorly. Mark Brunell started the game and went 4-for-9 for 66 yards with no TDs but one INT. Both backups, Todd Collins and Jason Campbell, also threw interceptions but failed to find the end zone. Todd Collins is a journeyman, but he could play an important role this year if Mark Brunell gets hurt. Collins apprenticed behind Trent Green in KC and was hand-picked by OC Al Saunders to come to D.C. with him; as Collins knows the ins and outs of Saunders system.
WR: Something had to give as the Redskins were too deep at the position to reasonably keep all the able-bodied receivers past final cut downs. This week the Redskins helped alleviate the bottleneck by trading former 2nd rounder Taylor Jacobs to the 49ers in exchange for defensive back Mike Rumph. The team’s top three receivers are set with Santana Moss, Brandon Lloyd and Antwaan Randle El. Two veterans, James Thrash and David Patten are the likely 4th and 5th receivers, but youngster Mike Espy is making the coaches think twice. For the second consecutive preseason game, Espy led the way with 4 catches and 56 yards.
TE: Chris Cooley
played sparingly against
Defense: The Bengals first team offense couldn’t muster anything against the Redskins 1st team defense. In 10 plays where the 1s faced the 1s, the Bengals has negative 19 yards. Unfortunately the 1st team defense suffered a major blow, as CB Shawn Springs had surgery on an abdominal tear and is now questionable for the start of the season. Veteran Kenny Wright will get first crack at replacing him. To add depth, the Redskins acquired CB/S Mike Rumph from the 49ers in exchange for WR Taylor Jacobs. The Redskins may not be done adding bodies to the secondary; according to several reports. At linebacker, Chris Clemons hurt his knee against the Bengals and was given an injury settlement and his release. The team added Jeff Posey as a replacement.
Special Teams: Kicker John Hall was on the
field only once during the game at
QB Mark Brunell, Jason Campbell, Todd Collins
RB Clinton Portis (inj), Ladell Betts (3RB), Rock Cartwright, Nehemiah Broughton (FB), Jesse Lumsden, Joe Rubin, A.J. Harris
FB Mike Sellers, Manuel White
WR Santana Moss (PR), Brandon Lloyd, Antwaan Randle El (KR/PR), David Patten, Jimmy Farris, Andrae Thurman, Mike Espy, Richard Smith
TE Chris Cooley, Christian Fauria, Robert Johnson, Jared Hicks, Buck Ortega, Dustin Denning, Brandon Sebald
K John Hall, Tyler Jones
DE Philip Daniels (inj), Andre Carter, Renaldo Wynn, Demetric Evans, Manaia Brown
DT Cornelius Griffin, Joe Salave'a, Cedric Killings, Ryan Boschetti, Anthony Montgomery, Kedric Golston, Chris Mineo
MLB Lemar Marshall (S/W), Robert McCune (S/M)
OLB Marcus Washington (S), Warrick Holdman (W), Rocky McIntosh (W) (inj), Jeff Posey (S), Khary Campbell (S/M), Kevin Simon, Spencer Havner (S)
CB Shawn Springs (inj), Carlos Rogers, Kenny Wright, Mike Rumph (inj), Ade Jimoh, Dmitri Patterson, Christian Morton, Julian Battle
S Sean Taylor (FS), Adam Archuleta (SS), Pierson Prioleau (SS), Antuan Edwards (SS), Curry Burns (FS), Reed Doughty (SS), Bobby Godinez