|Week 4 9/9/09
Part One | Part
Two | Part Three | Part
Before sitting down to write this series in 2009, I thought it would
be prudent to re-visit 2008, and determine
if there was any value in re-generating this series. What I found
most intriguing was its precautionary advice, namely not to rely
on it as gospel, but as a source of useful information to weed through
in the hopes of unearthing a single nugget that would elevate a
team’s chances come draft day. Accordingly, as you go through
the next four weeks of training camp hype, you have to remember
that it is called “hype”, because that is all that it
is. It is propaganda wrapped up inside a riddle, wrapped again in
a puzzle, entrenched in an enigma, surrounded by conundrum.
This shall be the last installment of Training Camp Hype for 2009.
First off, I would like to thank the reader for taking the time
to read this series. Obviously I do not expect that every reader
found the information helpful, but judging from the positive feedback
I received over the summer, at least many of you may have.
Unfortunately, installment IV will not be posted until most leagues
have already drafted. Accordingly, I shall focus on limited issues
which can help you look at free agents and waiver wire possibilities.
Buffalo Bills –
The Bills signing Terrell Owens looks like a genius move to keep
attention off the fact they got rid of any talent they had on the
offensive line when they traded away Jason Peters. They’ve
also dumped Langston Walker and their offensive coordinator. The
starting squad scored nary a touchdown in the preseason and now,
the Bills start two rookie guards and second year tackle Demetrius
Bell. Hey, at least Owens is back from his injury. The cutting of
Dominic Rhodes paves means more carries for Fred Jackson.
Miami Dolphins –
The Dolphins have settled on a multi-package wide receiver scenario
with Ted Ginn, Jr. on one side and a split of action between Davone
Bess, Greg Camarillo and Brian Hartline on the other. One of those
three could emerge as a solid contributor, but expect a lot of the
same from last year, with no one receiver having consistency from
New England Patriots
– Wes Welker’s injury has yet to be disclosed.
New York Jets –
Mark Sanchez is starting opening day and his wide receivers will
be Jerricho Cotchery and Chansi Stuckey. However, much like Miami,
the number two will be a committee position and expect to hear David
Clowney’s number called quite a bit. Shonne Green is still
a work in progress and has much to learn.
Denver Broncos –
Brandon Marshall returned from suspension and Jabar Gaffney’s
finger injury may get Marshall back into the fold quicker than most
anticipated. In fact, McDaniels indicated that Marshall will be
ready to play week one and has been a good citizen since his return.
Knowshon Moreno has returned to practice.
Kansas City Chiefs
– Dwayne Bowe and Mark Bradley sit atop the wide receiver
depth chart finally. Jamaal Charles has turned some heads in camp
and will have plays designed to utilize him come Sunday.
– Chaz Schilens is making a strong recovery and may
be back in time for Week 2. Prior to his injury, Schilens was having
a strong preseason and looked to be on his way to a solid season.
Jeff Garcia was released. The Raiders gave up a 2011 first round
draft pick for Richard Seymour, which could be beneficial to the
San Diego Chargers
– Apparently Shawne Merriman doesn’t know the
detriments of a little Tequila and has now brought the Chargers
into the woes of the AFC West. Otherwise, there are no offensive
surprises coming out of the preseason.
Baltimore Ravens –
The Ravens cut nearly their entire receiving corps, leaving only
Derrick Mason, Mark Clayton, Demetrius Williams and Kelley Washington.
With their propensity to get nicked up, it sounds like a running
team to me. Look for Ray Rice and Willis McGahee to be the two main
ball-carriers out of the backfield.
– A name not discussed this season is WR Andre Caldwell,
who may fill the void of T.J. Houshmandzadeh on third downs. Where
does this leave Laveranues Coles and Chris Henry in the offense?
Cleveland Browns –
Eric Mangini finally decided on his starting quarterback and it
is Brady Quinn, although Mangini won’t confirm. With all of
the talk about releasing Jamal Lewis, he is still atop the depth
chart and James Davis is still in third behind Jerome Harrison.
Joshua Cribbs appears to be the number two with Mohamed Massaquoi
– Mike Tomlin stated the starting running back role
belonged to Willie Parker and that Rashard Mendenhall would not
be sharing carries. One line of thinking refutes the logic, based
on Parker’s hamstring, last season, and the Steelers refusal
to extend his contract, etc…. However, if Parker is actually
on his way out of Pittsburgh at the end of the year, the Steelers
could try to make the most of what he has left and Parker could
be displaying his wares for his future suitors.
Houston Texans –
Matt Schaub is back at practice and looks ready to roll. Kevin Walter,
however, may not be.
– No significant news.
– No need to keep a watch on Chauncey Washington to
spell Maurice Jones-Drew, as he was cut. Greg Jones is still listed
as number two, but the road was cleared for Rashad Jennings after
Washington’s and Alvin Peerman’s release. Only Torry
Holt and Troy Williamson have excelled in the passing game this
summer – both have earned the starting spots. Jones-Drew owners
were given a scare after a meaningless role in the last preseason
game almost sidelined him.
– Nate Washington played sparingly in the season opener
giving more opportunities to Justin Gage and rookie Kenny Britt.
Otherwise, no significant news.
Arizona Cardinals –
Anquan Boldin is still dealing with hamstring issues. Nevertheless,
expect Boldin to be ready to produce Boldin-like numbers immediately.
Stephen Spach is the starting tight end with Leonard Pope released
and Ben Patrick on suspension.
St. Louis Rams –
Marc Bulger should be ready for game one but has been held out of
practice with his injured finger. Fullback Mike Karney has been
in and out of practice with an ankle injury and while questionable
for game one, will likely play given all of the cuts at running
San Francisco 49ers
– Labor Day came and passed and Michael Crabtree is
nowhere to be found despite the 49ers upping their offer. This leaves
the Niners offense relatively familiar with Frank Gore, Shaun Hill,
Josh Morgan and Isaac Bruce as its starters.
Seattle Seahawks – No significant news.
Dallas Cowboys –
Roy Williams is back at practice and says he’s good to go.
Sam Hurd is back, but lost out to Miles Austin for the third receiver
spot after all his time off - Patrick Crayton is number two. Be
cautiously aware that Martellus Bennett had a stand out camp and
will be used in two tight end sets, which could cut into Jason Witten’s
New York Giants
– The Giants did not part with most of the receivers
(except David Tyree). Domenik Hixon and Steve Smith are the starters,
but this looks to have the earmarks of a committee.
– Brian Westbrook is probable to start the season.
Otherwise, all they hype remains around Michael Vick. Will the Vick
media machine end once the season starts? One can only hope.
– Malcolm Kelly is officially the starter opposite
of Santana Moss. Clinton Portis is back at practice and ready to
Chicago Bears –
No significant news.
Detroit Lions –
The Lions announced that Daunte Culpepper should be ready to play,
but will not start as that role has gone to Matthew Stafford.
Green Bay Packers
– No surprises. Greg Jennings will be available opening
day with Donald Driver opposite him. Ryan Grant should get the bulk
of the carries and Aaron Rodgers no longer has to worry about Brian
Brohm behind him as Brohm has been released.
– No significant news except that with all the preseason
speculation on the signing of Brett Favre, John David Booty seemed
safe as a backup with the Vikings unlikely to keep both Sage Rosenfels
and Tarvaris Jackson. Letting Booty go causes me to wonder if the
Vikings are unconvinced that Favre has much staying power left.
Bernard Berrian should be ready for week one.
Atlanta Falcons –
No significant news.
– Jonathan Stewart has not run most of the summer,
but is allegedly ready to start week one after returning to practice
Wednesday. In most leagues, the price tag of picking up Stewart
as a handcuff is too steep. Keep your eye on Mike Goodson.
New Orleans Saints
– Both Reggie Bush and Pierre Thomas are questionable
for game one with Thomas likely to sit - Bush should be ready. The
Saints have plenty of receivers with Marques Colston, Lance Moore,
Devery Henderson, Robert Meachem and Jeremy Shockey. Meachem may
be the sleeper to keep your eye on as Drew Brees favored him this
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
– Yet another offensive coordinator released. Cadillac
Wiliams is anointed the starting running back but expect all backs
to see action as new coordinator Greg Olson intends to focus on
the running game. Luke McCown (traded to JAX) no longer poses a
threat to Byron Leftwich, but instead his former teammate David