Fantasy Football Today - fantasy football rankings, cheatsheets, and information
A Fantasy Football Community!

Create An Account  |  Advertise  |  Contact      

Staff Writer
Email Dave
Email Mike

Mike's Articles

Training Camp Hype ("TCH")
Week 3

Week One | Week Two | Week Three | Week Four

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


One preseason, two running backs down for the Bills. Buffalo lost both Fred Jackson and Marshawn Lynch to injury, opening the door for rookie hotshot C.J. Spiller to open the season as the team’s starter at the position. Opportunity is a key factor in success and Spiller has that now. Whether he can take advantage of it despite the Bills anaemic passing attack and porous offensive line remains to be seen.

Yes, that was an actual highlight of quarterback Trent Edwards throwing a deep pass. Yes, that was an actual highlight of wide receiver Lee Evans catching the pass and taking it for a 70-yard touchdown. Unfortunately for Bills fans, it was the preseason. Surely, Edwards will revert to Captain Checkdown once the real lights come on. Without joking, Edwards looked good against the Colts but the pass to Evans needs an asterisk beside it. Colts safety Antoine Bethea bit hard on either play action or a short out route, leaving Evans wide open on the play.

What had to be exciting for Bills fans was the play of Spiller. While the Colts aren’t exactly masters of defending the run, Spiller looked dynamic on several plays and is clearly ready to gain yards on the ground in 2010. The only issue preventing him from claiming the starting job is pass protection. The only issue preventing him from gaining fantasy points is the offensive line.

Roster Notes: TE Shawn Nelson has been suspended four games from violating the league’s substance abuse policy. Jonathan Stupar has been elevated to TE1 and WR Marcus Easley has been placed on IR with a knee injury.

On the QB front, Chad Henne bumped up his game this week with going for 151 yards and two touchdowns against Jacksonville. Henne led the team to 17 points on three consecutive drives. Chad Pennington (coming off shoulder surgery) got his feet weet, playing one series completing three of four passess for 54 yards. Pat White, who is in danger of not making the team, did not see a snap. Hmmmm...

New York Jets
The Jets had a day to forget on offense against Carolina this weekend. "This is one of those games where offensively you just want to take the ball and bury it, bury the game tape with it and move on to the next one," Woody said. "Fortunately this one doesn't count." New York amassed seven first downs and 112 yards in offense. Yuck.

RB LaDainian Tomlinson continued to shine busting for 20 yards on his first carry against the Panthers. Tomlinson seems invigorated and looking to improve on his career low 3.3 yards per carry from last season. “I feel good,” Tomlinson said. “I’m telling you guys all along, when I’m healthy, I can perform at a high level. You guys are seeing when I’m healthy.”

New England
Torry Holt, we hardly knew ya. With Holt struggling and suffering a knee injury, the Patriots saw an opportunity to avoid embarrassing Holt since he had virtually no chance of making the team’s final roster. The knee injury provided the cover the Pats needed so he was placed on injured reserve, almost certainly ending his short-lived time in New England and most likely his NFL career. Next stop for Holt – Canton, hopefully alongside fellow “Greatest Show on Turf” members Marshall Faulk, Isaac Bruce and Kurt Warner.

Reports of Wes Welker’s demise were apparently greatly exaggerated. While it would be impossible to know what Welker’s status really was given the Patriots secretive nature, it was a surprise to see him catch two balls in just six plays in his first game back from injury.


The questions about the running game continue. Tackle Ryan Clady has missed all of training camp and the top three running backs on the depth chart are hurt Knowshon Moreno (hamstring), Correll Buckhalter (back), and LenDale White (ankle). Denver is averaging 3.2 yards per carry in two preseason games and got little going against the front four of the Lions Saturday night. "It takes time to click, and we've got young guys in here and we've got guys injured," Hochstein, an offensive lineman, said Saturday night.

WR Jabar Gaffney looks like the favorite target of Kyle Orton. Gaffney hauled in six passes for 98 yards against the Lions and could make a nice sleeper pick as your fantasy WR3.

Kansas City
The Chiefs emphasized the pass this week against the Bucs as Matt Cassel went 14-19 for 125 yards, 1TD. Dwayne Bowe hung onto 3 passes and rookie WR Jeremy Horne caught a short TD pass from Cassel. “We got in a rhythm and capitalized,” Cassel said.

Thomas Jones remains number one on the teams’ depth chart but it continues to be Jamaal Charles producing on the field. Charles has 92 yards on 14 touches this preseason and looks incredibly quick compared to Jones, who fumbled on the Chiefs opening drive against Tampa Bay. This is no doubt going to be a committee situation when the regular season begins as head coach Todd Haley loves the leadership and toughness Jones provides but the talent of Charles will ultimate keep him on the field for more snaps this season in what should turn out to be a 60-40 split of touches.

Jason Campbell and the Raiders offense had a better showing in Week 2 against the Bears than they did Week 1 against the Cowboys. Don’t get me wrong, its still the Raiders so a botched center-quarterback exchange and interception thrown by Campbell were included in the performance but overall, Campbell 10-20 170-yd performance gave the Raider’s faithful some optimism … for a week anyway.

Late word out of Raiders camp is WR Chaz Schilens may need an arthroscopic procedure on his knee. Schilens has missed practice lately with a foot injury and it appears his knee problem is related. “I’m very concerned. It’s been a tough road for him,” Cable said. “We get through the foot thing now and something else has kind of reared up on us. We’ll take care of it and get him back as soon as we can.”

San Diego
Quietly the San Diego Chargers believe they’ll be just fine if Vincent Jackson never plays another down for them. Would they be a better team with Jackson on the field? Sure, but the play of Malcom Floyd, Legedu Naanee, and Craig Davis this preseason has the front office firmly planted in their negotiating stance. The Chargers granted permission to the Seattle Seahwaks this week to discuss a possible trade and contract with Jackson but apparently the asking price is too steep. He wants $30 million guaranteed on a five-year, $50 million contract. Based on the average per year, that would rank Jackson among the four highest-paid receivers in the league.

On the field, San Diego’s running game continues to shine with rookie RB Ryan Mathews leading the way. Behind Mathews it appears Darren Sproles, FB Jacob Hester and Mike Tolbert are in the lead to make the final roster with Marcus Mason and Curtis Brinkley on the outside looking in.


Marc Bulger has nailed down the QB2 position behind Joe Flacco with a solid performance against the Redskins (13-16, 130 yds). He not only has the experience factor over Troy Smith but also has out-performed Smith in camp thus far. The Ravens have hinted at using more downfield passes in 2010 and that would make sense with the additions of Anquan Boldin and Donte Stalloworth but over the first two games the starting offense has resembled the 2009 gameplan… a lot of running and short-to- medium passes. We’ll see if the offense opens up a bit in their third preseason game against the Giants.

Momentum is building in fantasy circles for Carson Palmer to be a legitmate QB1 this season and with good reason. For now, T.O. seems to be fitting in with the team nicely. He leads the team this preseason with nine catches for 108 yards and rookie Jermaine Gresham will give Palmer the legitimate threat over the middle he’s been lacking the past few years.

Brian Leonard continues to rehab his foot injury, which has given Cedric Peerman an opportunity to claim a roster spot. Peerman rushed for 47 yards on 12 carries and two TDs against the Eagles. Jerome Simpson and Quan Cosby seem to have the lead on the last two receiving spots behind Ochocinco, Owens, and Jordan Shipley.

Jake Delhomme continues to impress in the preseason after his second-consecutive solid game (12-16, 127 yds 1 TD). He’s still no better than a QB2 until this offense proves their worth when the games count for real. QB Colt McCoy currently has a passer rating of 9.7

Running back Montario Hardesty has missed all of training camp with a sprained right knee but there’s optimism he will be ready by Week 1. "Yes, I would him expect him to [be ready for the season]," said coach Eric Mangini. "There's been no setback. Based on the plan that we had and the progress that he has made, my anticipation is that he'll be practicing again in the near future and ideally playing in the opener." Hardesty is expected to miss this weekend’s game against the Bears.

Ben Roethlisberger made his debut against the Giants Saturday night going 6-8 for 76 yards and one INT. Dennis Dixon is make a case for the starting spot Week 1 as he had his second solid preseason outing going 7-8 for 82 yards and 27 yards rushing. Dixon is 13 of 15 for 200 yards and one touchdown pass in two games.

The Steelers used a lot of two-back formations against the Giants with Rashard Mendenhall and Isaac Redman on the field at the same time. Keep your eye on Redman who’s gained 91 yards and scored 2 touchdowns on 21 carries this preseason. With Jonathan Dwyer (shoulder) on the shelf, Redman might have a chance to stick but keep in mind he led the team in rushing last preseason but found himself on and off the Steelers practice squad for much of 2009.


The kicking job will be coveted by fantasy owners due to Houston’s high-powered offense but the camp battle remains undecided. Neil Rackers knocked through a 52-yarder this weekend and Kris Brown drilled his 43-yd attempt. All things being equal Brown may have the inside track given his kickoffs travel a greater distance.

Tight end Owen Daniels is unlikely to play this preseason although he hopes to be cleared to practice sometime this week. "I'm starting to feel like I'm back to normal again," said Daniels, who will undergo an MRI on Tuesday and meet with Dr. James Andrews on Wednesday.

Playing without the services of center Jeff Saturday (knee), left tackle Charlie Johnson (foot) and left guard Kyle DeVan (hamstring) the Colts running game came alive last Thursday against Buffalo - 24 carries for 112 yards, a 4.7-yard average. "We had a number of guys who punched it up there pretty good," coach Jim Caldwell said Friday.

WR Pierre Garcon has been out with an undisclosed injury but was back at practice yesterday and may see action this week against Green Bay.

Mike Sims-Walker is recovering from a shoulder injury suffered in Week one of the preseason against the Eagles and appears to feeling fine. He sat out a few practices and wore a red non-contact jersey during Thursday's practice. "I think it was a mind thing for me, to tell you the truth," Sims-Walker said. "It wasn't really [sore], little certain movements would be a little sore, I don't think it was nothing serious, I think it was just in my head. I didn't want to turn something minor into something big. I think it was a little nervous, little scare factor." Sims-Walker had three catches for 64 yards against the Dolphins

Running back Maurice Jones-Drew has six carries for –2 yards this preseason.

With Vince Young and Kerry Collins assured of making the team, the final QB roster spot comes down to veteran Chris Simms and rookie Rusty Smith. "We haven't decided yet whether we'll keep two, three or four (quarterbacks), so there's competition between all those guys,'' offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger said. "But if there was to be a third spot, then (Simms and Smith) are fighting for it."

WR Lavelle Hawkins has received a lot of praise this preseason but appears to be stuck on the depth chart as the fourth option behind Justin Gage. On the bright side for Hawkins is Gage’s thumb injury, which has sidelined him in recent practices. Gage is wearing a protective wrap on his right hand and is Questionable to play tonight against the Cardinals.


The prognosis for the Cardinals offense in 2010 was a bit shaky and head coach Ken Whisenhunt stoked those fires with his comments that he was not pleased with the unit’s performance in week one of the preseason. "Wasn't good enough, wasn't good enough," Whisenhunt remarked when commenting on the play of quarterbacks Matt Leinart and Derek Anderson. Whisenhunt scolded the offensive line for its run and pass blocking, the receivers for running the wrong routes and the running backs for failing to hit the proper holes.

Worse yet, the Cardinals confirmed that Larry Fitzgerald (MCL sprain) is likely done for the preseason. Fitzgerald suffered the injury during the team’s opening preseason game against Houston. While Fitzgerald, perhaps the league’s top receiver, hardly needs the practice reps, Leinart and Anderson could have used the extra time to build a rapport with Fitzgerald.

St. Louis
The Rams entered training camp knowing the team needed to solidify the offensive line in order to improve the team’s performance on offense but the situation has not developed according to plan. Second-year player Jason Smith, the second player taken in the 2009 draft, hasn’t practiced much since suffering a fractured to in early June and it showed during the team’s first preseason game against the Vikings. Rookie left tackle Rodger Saffold didn’t fair much better and suffered a back injury, which doesn’t appear to be serious. However, continuity is key along the offensive line while they fared a little better Saturday night against Cleveland, the Rams need to get their starters set and practicing together as soon as possible.

The backup running backs continue to struggle. In the two preseason games, Chris Ogbonnaya, Kenneth Darby and Keith Toston have gained 78 yards on 37 carries, which is goof for a 2.1-yard average.

San Francisco
With top backup Glen Coffee unexpectedly retiring, rookie sixth- round pick Anthony Dixon looking overwhelmed and the team not sold on former quarterback Michael Robinson at the position, the 49ers signed veteran fee agent Brian Westbrook. While Westbrook is no threat to unseat Frank Gore, he provides the 49ers with solid veteran insurance in the event Gore is injured. With Gore having played 16 games only once during his five seasons in the league, there is a good chance Westbrook will be in the starting line-up at some point in 2010. Although not the player he once was, Westbrook can still be a dynamic player in the passing game and is certainly an upgrade over Coffee and Dixon.

The 49ers quickly determined that Brandon Jones wasn’t in their plans for 2010, releasing the disappointing wide receiver in midweek, well before the first roster cutdown was due. Jones was buried on the depth chart behind Michael Crabtree, Josh Morgan, Ted Ginn Jr., Jason Hill and rookie sixth- round pick Kyle Williams. Signed by former general manager Scott McCloughan to a five-year, $16.5-million contract prior to the 2009 season with $5.4-million in guarantees. Jones had just one reception for 18 yards in his only season in San Francisco.

The Seahawks offensive line is a concern and reports indicate that Ray Willis, expected to challenge Sean Locklear at right tackle or be the team’s swing tackle, was likely to miss the beginning of the season with a knee injury. And the hits keep on coming as first-round pick Russell Okung suffered a mid-ankle sprain Saturday. The hope is he will be ready for Week 1 but don’t count on him playing in the remaining two preseason games.

Running back Leon Washington had a solid debut against the Packers. The sooner Washington returns to form, the less likely Julius Jones is to be on the team’s opening day roster. If Washington continues to look good, Jones will almost certainly be looking for a new team in 2010.

Reports out of Seattle indicate that Golden Tate is struggling to grasp the team’s playbook. They also note that his route running has been poor. While expectations were running high for Tate following the rookie draft, it’s time to drop him on draft boards. Retread Mike Williams had a long touchdown score in week one of the preseason and he as well as second-year player Deon Butler might relegate Tate to the bench in 2010.


The Cowboys offensive success in recent years has been helped by continuity along the offensive line but it appears that may be a concern in 2010. Starting guard Kyle Kosier, starting right tackle Marc Colombo and swing tackle Alex Barron are all out with injuries. Kosier will likely miss at least two games of the regular season with a sprained MCL. That would mean at least two new opening day starters since Doug Free has also replaced Flozell Adams at left tackle.

Dez Bryant keeps saying he wants to be ready week one but the Cowboys remain non-committal. It looks like the team wants to be conservative and not rush the star rookie back too early. Will Bryant be able to practice this week? Head coach Wade Phillips said: "I wouldn't think so. They (training staff) told me the first game.'' That’s good news for Roy Williams and Patrick Crayton who may get a chance for added playing time early in the season. If that happens and they play well, Bryant may be added to the mix slower than expected.

New York Giants
It’s more or less a foregone conclusion the Giants are going to use a committee approach at running back in 2010. It’s worth noting that Ahmad Bradshaw got the start in their initial preseason game although Brandon Jacobs was inserted to handle the goal line work. Jacobs was also responsible for the botched play that led to Eli Manning suffering a nasty gash to the head. You don’t earn yourself any favours by blowing a play that could have led to a serious injury to your team’s franchise player.

Ramses Barden was earning plenty of solid publicity in training camp but suffered a bad drop against the Jets. Rookie free agent Victor Cruz earned a spot on some team’s opening day roster courtesy of six receptions for 145 yards and three touchdowns, including a highlight reel, one-handed 64-yard touchdown. With the big three of Steve Smith, Hakeem Nicks and Mario Manningham guaranteed of roster spots, Barden unlikely to be cut, Cruz is likely battling versatile veteran Derek Hagan and Sinorice Moss for one or two roster spots. Perhaps this is the year the Giants finally cut ties with the disappointing Moss, a former second-round pick who has been a bust in New York.

WR Jeremy Maclin has been banged around this preseason but appears to be fine. X-rays on his injured shoulder came back negative and he was back at practice yesterday. "I'll be all right," said the starting wideout. The starting offense has been adequate connecting on big plays but has struggled at times to run the ball and has stalled in the redzone on occasion. LeSean McCoy gained 20 yards on 6 carries, with a long of 17 yards against the Bengals Friday night.

When the Redskins posted their initial depth chart, former Steeler Willie Parker was surprisingly listed as the 4th-string running back behind Clinton Portis, Larry Johnson and Ryan Torain. However, Parker moved back ahead of Torain and it appears that head coach Mike Shanahan is basing the depth chart on how he plans to play players in the preseason as opposed to how the actual final roster will shape up. Larry Johnson didn’t do anything to help his cause in becoming the starting running back this week. He rushed for four yards on eight carries against the Ravens. "I feel personally it set me back a lot," Johnson said. "I did go out there and practice hard every day and try to see if it could translate over to today. Obviously it didn't do that."

On the wide receiver front, former Titan Roydell Williams was listed as a co-starter before being dropped to 4th string. Other than Santana Moss, none of the Redskins wide receivers are a lock to make the team. Devin Thomas and Williams had drops in the team’s first preseason game. Malcolm Kelly has barely practised and veterans Joey Galloway, Bobby Wade and Mike Furrey are all considered stopgap options at the position. Unheralded players such as Terrence Austin and Anthony Armstrong are having strong camps and appear poised to bump more high profile players off the roster.


The Bears offense is one of the more interesting fantasy storylines of the preseason as the team’s offensive players attempt to absorb the voluminous playbook of new offensive coordinator Mike Martz. With Caleb Hanie suffering a sprained AC joint in his throwing shoulder and rookie 6th round pick Dan LeFevour struggling, the team is on the lookout for a veteran quarterback. Former Redskin and Chief Todd Collins fit the bill given his knowledge of the Martz offense from his time in Kansas City where Al Saunders used a similar playbook. However, having spent wildly this offseason, the Bears apparently refused to offer Collins a signing bonus and Collins remains a free agent. They then turned to Matt Gutierrez, who represents a major downgrade from what Collins had to offer. If Hanie is fully recovered by opening day, look for the Bears to only carry two quarterbacks on the 53-man roster.

The offensive line is going to play a big part in the Bears offensive performance in 2010 given the nature of the team’s offense. While most offenses allow the quarterback to audible out of a call at the line of scrimmage, Martz’s offense requires the offensive line to change their protections and for the quarterbacks and wide receivers to analyze the defensive formation and change to hot reads if required. If the games against the Chargers and Raiders are any indication, there is much work to be done along the offensive line. The unit struggled in both pass and run blocking and remains a work in progress. QB Jay Cutler was sacked five times against the Raiders Saturday night.

With Matt Forte and Chester Taylor firmly entrenched atop the depth chart at running back, Garrett Wolfe and Kahlil Bell are likely in a battle for one roster spot. Wolfe has been a disappointment in Chicago, failing to deliver many big plays and often struggling in pass protection. Bell showed some promise last year and he has a chance to push Wolfe off the roster.

Although Devin Aromashodu is listed as a backup behind current starters Devin Hester and Johnny Knox, wide receivers coach Darryl Drake has a different opinion. Drake’s view is that all three players are starters and that Aromashodu is going to have a “huge” season. Week one will tells us whether Drake’s words were for motivational purposes or the Bears were keeping him under the radar during the preseason.

The Lions experimented with the wildcat offense in practice this week and rookie first-round pick Jahvid Best was under center for most of the snaps. Backup Kevin Smith also took some snaps but the shifty Best is clearly better suited for the role, having run it in college.

The Lions were hoping 2008 1st round pick Gosder Cherilus would lock down the starting right tackle position but that hasn’t transpired thus far in the preseason. Cherilus remains a work in progress. Jon Jansen is competing with Cherilus and, if that happens, this could be Cherilus’ last year in Detroit. The light needs to come on soon.

The first team offense again looked good in action scoring on all four possessions against Denver. Admittedly, three of those scores were field goals but it was nice to see Matthew Stafford manage the team successfully and Best turned in a nice performance with 49 yards on eight carries.

Green Bay
Ryan Grant suffered a concussion in the Packers first preseason game and that should be worrisome for Packers fans. Other than quarterback Aaron Rodgers, Grant may be the team’s most indispensable player on offense. Notwithstanding his 11-carry, 80-yd performance on Saturday, Brandon Jackson has been a complete bust in Green Bay with his touches declining every year he has been in the league (91, 75, 58). The Packers clearly aren't sold on him and you shouldn’t be either. The signing of Ahman Green last year was an indictment of Jackson’s abilities. Coaches give talented players opportunities and Jackson hasn't warranted touches. While they game plan to get their wide receivers, Jermichael Finley and Grant involved, Jackson is nothing more than an afterthought. He comes in the game to give Grant a breather and handle the 3rd down work. If Grant is out for an extended time, Green Bay will add to the position because Jackson is not capable of handling every down duties. However it may not matter if the Packers continue to throw the ball at will. Aaron Rodgers and the passing continue to click on all cylinders. Rodgers has gone 20-24 for 275 yards and 3 TDs in two preseason games.

The Vikings are certainly the Super Bowl Champions of preseason news in 2010. The big news in Minnesota was clearly the return of Brett Favre but we all knew that he would join the team once a portion of training camp was over. We did know that, right? Frankly, the whole situation, the reporting of it and constant analysis of what is essentially not even news was a bit overwhelming. Here’s what you need to know – he’s back and it’s doubtful he will be as good as he was last year but he will still likely be good enough to lead the Vikings to the playoffs, although perhaps not a division title given their difficult early season schedule. Fantasy wise, Favre is definitely worth owning as a mid-tier to lower-tier starter.

More of the same from Sidney Rice. Rice remains out with an apparent hip injury but the whispers are getting louder that he is exaggerating the injury in an attempt to wiggle a long-term contract extension out of the Vikings. Apparently one good year out of three entitles you to that. Helping Rice’s situation is the status of fellow wide receiver Percy Harvin. Harvin hit the deck with a migraine but returned to practice the following day. Scary moments for Harvin and Vikings.

From the “You know you’re desperate when” department … with the wide receiver depth chart looking iffy, the Vikings brought in former 49er Brandon Jones and washout Javon Walker for visits.


With Michael Jenkins out four to six weeks with a shoulder injury, the Falcons will turn to Brian Finneran to replace him in the team’s starting line-up. While there was scuttlebutt that Harry Douglas would take over for Jenkins, that move would not have been a logical one for the Falcons. The diminutive Douglas is best suited to the slot and is recovering from an ACL injury suffered last year. The Falcons apparently didn’t want to overwhelm him and with the big three of Michael Turner, Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez earning the majority of touches in the team’s offense, having Finneran start does not hinder the offense as much as moving Douglas around. Dynasty league owners should take note however that Douglas is not likely a candidate to ever have a breakout season unless he can line up outside.

The Falcons said they were going to utilize Michael Turner more as a receiver in 2010 and that may actually be the case. Turner has been MIA in the passing game for his entire career but actually caught two passes in this week’s preseason game against the Patriots. Maybe we shouldn’t be dropping him down so much in the PPR rankings after all. Nah, scratch that.

Granted the first team offense is without Smith and running back Jonathan Stewart but they looked horrid in their 9-3 loss to the Jets this weekend. WR Bandon LeFell who is battling for a starting spot with Dwayne Jarrett, was targeted four times and came up with zero catches which prompted a tweet from rookie - "Gotta get better startin 2day..."

Steve Smith came off the PUP list and reported to practice this week. It is unclear if Smith will play in the preseason, but he has a chance to be ready for the team's season opener on September 12 against the Giants.

New Orleans
With Lynell Hamilton out for the year with a torn ACL, the Saints signed former Redskin Ladell Betts. The team hoped Hamilton would provide the physical presence that Mike Bell did last year and he had a chance to win the short yardage work, where starter Pierre Thomas has often struggled. Betts figures to get the same opportunity but he had a mediocre season in Washington in 2009 and has just 13 career touchdowns in nine seasons. The Saints like to rotate their running backs but that plan has a greater likelihood of being abandoned with Hamilton out of the mix and Betts likely to take his roster spot although that shouldn’t be considered a lock.

Wide receiver Robert Meachem was taken off the PUP list and is apparently recovered from the toe injury he suffered. He figures to get plenty of looks in the red zone and is a candidate to bust out at wide receiver in 2010.

Third-string QB Chase Daniel made his case to become Drew Brees’ backup with a big game against the Texans this week. Daniel finished 15-21, 182 yards, 3 TDs and a 117.5 QB rating. “What I wanted to do was give him a lot of reps and I’ll try to do the same with Patrick next week when Drew (Brees) comes out,” Head Coach Sean Payton said. “At some point I wanted to just see how he would do No. 1 with the first offense and then how he would handle it with the second offense.”

Tampa Bay
It appears that running back Derrick Ward is on a short lease in Tampa Bay. Signed by the team prior to the 2009 season, Ward was expected to challenge Cadillac Williams for the starting position at running back. He lost that battle and was largely ineffective as a backup. He played poorly during the team’s initial preseason game, struggling to run the ball effectively and fumbling twice. Throw in a possible concussion Saturday night against KC, Ward needs need to turn his preseason around, quickly. With Earnest Graham a capable backup, Clifton Smith expected to make the roster as a return and and Kareen Huggins, playing well, he is in danger of being released before opening day. His 2010 salary of $3.25-million further complicates matters and likely necessitates him being Williams’ top backup if he is to make the final roster.

Wide receiver Michael Clayton is another player in jeopardy of not making the final roster. Inexplicably signed to a massive contract prior to last season, Clayton once again struggled in 2009. He is listed on the depth chart alongside rookie free agents and roster longshots. Although his 2010 salary is guaranteed, his salaries in later years continue to grow so the Bucs may decide to cut their ties sooner rather than later. With Sammie Stroughter and rookies Arrelious Benn and Mike Williams guaranteed roster spots and Reggie Brown a solid candidate given the team’s willingness to give up a draft pick to acquire him, Clayton is in a battle with Maurice Stovall for the 5th wide receiver position.

The Bucs were impressed with the play of Josh Freeman in their opening preseason game. Freeman led the team on a touchdown drive, despite rainy weather, completing all four of his passes, one for a touchdown, with a couple of runs mixed in. Unfortunately Freeman suffered a fractured thumb Saturday night and his Week 1 status is up in the air. It’s unlikely he will play in either of the teams final two preseason games.