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

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

Here's the hype for Week 3...

Arizona Cardinals

The Cardinals did some shuffling this week at the quarterback position. Out is Max Hall (shoulder), in steps Brodie Croyle. Kevin Kolb got off to a sluggish start against the Chargers but rallied with an 80-yd touchdown pass to Larry Fitzgerald… a play improvised at the line of scrimmage. "That was the first of many, hopefully," Kolb said of the touchdown. "It was a no-huddle, a call on the line. We have been working on it, and that is the kind of stuff we want to get to, where we can communicate things once we get up there."

Beanie Wells is taking a liking to his new workhorse role, rushing for 63 yards on 10 carries. He still represents good value (ADP 6.03) and can likely be had as your RB3.

The starting wide receiver spot opposite Fitzgerald may be a fantasy wasteland this season. Andre Roberts will sit atop the depth chart, but expect Early Doucet and Stephen Williams to get their fair share of opportunities as well. The addition of pass-catching Todd Heap also weakens the fantasy value of the Cardinals wideouts not name Fitzgerald.

Atlanta Falcons

The Falcons continued to show their pass-happy ways with 42 attempts by Matt Ryan in the first half of Saturday’s preseason game against the Steelers. The Falcons could be using the preseason to work on their spread offense but it appears Matt Ryan is headed for a big fantasy season provided he can stay healthy. “We still have work to do,” Ryan said. “We still have some improving to do. We still have time to do it. We have these two weeks. We need to take full advantage of these two weeks so that when the regular season does roll around, when we go to Chicago, we are at our very best.”.

Baltimore Ravens

Rookie wide receiver Torrey Smith is pressing and dropping too many passes this preseason. "Torrey just has to go out there and play, use his abilities," Flacco said. "Got to make a move, run by guys, use his hands, go out there and play confidently and use his ability and make moves. I think he has a tendency to overthink things. He always wants to do the right thing. He always comes up to me and tells me he wants to do the right thing.”

Wide Receiver Lee Evans missed practice Saturday and was wearing a boot on his left foot. He’s expected to return to practice this week but don’t expect to see him on the field during the Raven’s final preseason game on Thursday against Atlanta.

Buffalo Bills

Wide Receiver Donald Jones is out for the remainder of the preseason with a head injury. Jones is expected to replace Lee Evans in the starting lineup opposite Steve Johnson and there’s no indication he won’t be ready for the assignment Week 1. Marcus Easley started at wide receiver in place of Jones on Saturday and totaled 5 catches, 51 yards, and 1 TD.

Despite the rumors of C.J. Spiller potentially landing the starting running back job he continues to run behind Fred Jackson in practice and in the preseason games and hasn’t done enough to convince coaches he should be anything more than a backup. Spiller has 12 carries for 34 yards thus far in the preseason.

Carolina Panthers

While the Panthers have yet to officially name a starting QB, it appears rookie Cam Newton will be under center Week 1. He turned in another underwhelming performance on Saturday going 6 of 19 for 75 yards but with Jimmy Clausen looking mediocre at best, the Panther’s don’t’ have much of a choice. "The big thing is to continue to see how he handles everything. We have to really study him and watch him. We have to make sure he's progressing in the right direction," Rivera said Saturday."This is a very sincere thing for us. We don't want to just say, 'Hey, you're the guy,' and walk away from it. At the same time, we want him to understand that he is working towards being our guy." Newton’s struggles will weigh heavily on Steve Smith’s fantasy value forcing him into WR4 or WR5 territory.

Chicago Bears

The Roy Williams, Johnny Knox watch continues. Williams made his first two catches of the preseason Saturday night but has a ways to go in building chemistry with QB Jay Cutler. ‘We’re still working on it, so we’ll see how it goes,’’ Cutler said. Dan Pompei of the Chicago Tribune suggests the coaches had unrealistic expectations for Williams… “I think a good chance exists that Knox will end up starting again unless Williams suddenly turns it on. I'm not writing off Williams yet. But if he keeps playing like he's played, he is not one of the Bears' top three receivers. I maintain that the Bears coaches should have kept Knox the starter at the beginning of camp and allowed the receivers to separate themselves. They probably had unrealistic expectations for Williams and it looks like he has been miscast as starter/savior.”

Running Back Chester Taylor’s time in Chicago appears to be coming to an end. He did not play in the Bears preseason game. No doubt Chicago would like to work a trade but a release is the more likely scenario for Taylor.

Cincinnati Bengals

Running back Cedric Benson is on an “excused absence” as he stands trial on an assault charge in Austin Texas. Benson is accused of punching a bar employee. He was also arrested in July for an incident with an ex-roommate. If the non-action taken against Tennessee wideout Kenny Britt is any indication, it’s unlikely any discipline will be handed down by Roger Goodell against Benson for this incident.

Tight End Bo Scaife who was acquired this offseason, injured his shoulder against Carolina and is hoping around the country to see specialist. Don’t expect him back anytime soon or to impact Jermaine Gresham’s fantasy value. Scaife is a candidate for IR.

Cleveland Browns

In wide receiver injury news, Jordan Norwood had been running as the first string slot receiver but is missing practice after suffering a knee injury in Thursday’s preseason game. Mohamed Massaquoi (foot) revealed that he broke his foot during an informal offseason workout organized by QB Colt McCoy. Massaquoi returned to practice on Sunday. It’s unknown if he will play in the final regular season game but he expects to regain his starting role once healthy.

With Brandon Jackson (turf toe) likely out for a month+ and Montario Hardesty (knee) just returning from knee surgery, don’t be surprised if the Browns sign a veteran RB after final roster cuts are made. Hardesty participated in the Brown’s preseason game against the Eagles (5 carries, 15 yards) but still has a ways to go before he challenges Peyton Hillis for significant playing time. “I don’t know what to think in terms of the durability there right now,” Browns coach Pat Shurmur said Sunday. “We’ve got a couple guys, a guy that’s coming back from injury and one that’s banged up right now. We’re keeping our eyes open at a lot of positions to possibly help bolster the roster, but we’ll see how that goes as we finish our fourth preseason game.”

Dallas Cowboys

Running backs DeMarco Murray (hamstring) and Tashard Choice (calf) made there preseason debut this week rushing 7 times for 32 yards. Murray played with the Cowboys second team and against the Vikings backups. Both are expected to backup Felix Jones once the season begins. "I don’t want to dismiss [some other running backs, though]. We’ve got a couple of young ones back there. But I’m certainly comfortable with those guys. I think we’re fortunate to have them."

WR Miles Austin sat out the contest as he nurses a hamstring injury. He also missed practice time this week but the Cowboys insist his time on the sidelines is precautionary.

Tight End Martellus Bennett left the game with a high-ankle sprain. “I don’t know the length of time [he’ll be out],” Jones said. “It would be a big setback for us.”

Denver Broncos

Eric Decker and Eddie Royal appear to be 2a and 2b in the pecking order for Kyle Orton. Both are getting their share of targets which means fantasy owners will pull there hair out trying to determine which is a good start in any given week.

Tight End Julius Thomas continues to impress and should have no problems making the team as the pass-catching tight end. He will continue to be listed #2 on the depth chart behind Daniel Fells who is a better blocker. Richard Quinn (knee) was released.

Detroit Lions

The hype around the Lions’ offense is second only to the Cowboys among fantasy owners this preseason… and probably justified. Matthew Stafford turned in an all-pro performance (12-14, 200yds, 2TDs) with a perfect QB rating Saturday night against the Patriots. "You judge quarterbacks by their ability to get you in a good play, to make good decisions, throw accurate passes and lead teams to scores. He's done that."

Running backs Aaron Brown and Jerome Harrison saw the bulk of the carries against the Patriots while Jahvid Best (concussion) and Maurice Morris (broken hand) sat out the contest. WR Titus Young saw his first preseason game action catching one pass for 19 yards. He’s still the front-runner for the teams #3 receiver but won’t have much of fantasy impact, as he’s fifth in line for targets behind Johnson, Burleson, Pettigrew, and Sheffler.

Green Bay Packers

Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel stirred the fantasy pot this week by suggesting Ryan Grant may not make the team. With James Starks, Alex Green and John Kuhn locked in, the final halfback spot may come down to Grant or Dimitri Nance. Grant “hasn’t looked like his old self” but it’s hard to imagine the Packers keeping Nance over Grant after reworking Grants contract this off-season.

A couple dinged up receiving threats for the Packers missed practice time this week. WR Greg Jennings missed Friday’s preseason game with a bruised knee and TE Jermichael Finley sat out practice Sunday after spraining his ankle Friday. Neither injury is considered to be serious.

Houston Texans

A week after torching the New Orleans Saints and squashing all concerns about his health, running back Arian Foster is once again giving fantasy owners concerns. Foster aggravated the hamstring injury that sidelined him two weeks earlier in camp. Head coach Gary Kubiak put on his happy face… "Everything's positive today," Kubiak said. "It's the same thing we dealt with at the start of camp. Until he's there, though, there's going to be a concern. All indications are positive." Kubiak went on to say the running back Derrick Ward is #2 on the depth chart but we’ll how the depth chart changes after the final preseason game this week. Ben Tate and Ward are both draft-worthy in 12-team leagues.

Indianapolis Colts

Another week with no Peyton Manning on the field for the Colts and while the team is being quiet about the timetable for his return (probably because they don’t really know), Manning spoke a bit on the subject during halftime of Friday’s preseason game… "I’ve never missed a game in my entire career because of injury," he said. "I sure don’t want to start in Week 1 of this season. "I still have some time," he added. "I’m going to use that time. At the appropriate time, I think I’ll know what the right decision is." In the meantime Kerry Collins signed a two-year contract and will start Week 1 if Manning can’t go.

Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jaguars first team offense sputtered against Buffalo Saturday night gaining a total of 12 yards on their first three possessions. Quarterback David Garrard did lead two scoring drives, both against the Bills’ backups. Blaine Gabbert didn’t fare much better and will head into the season as Garrard’s backup. Running back Rashad Jennings left the game with a sprained knee and isn’t likely to play next week against St. Louis. We’ll see how much this injury affects his workload as the coaching staff has been insinuating a bigger role for Jennings this season.

Kansas City Chiefs

To say the Chiefs have looked mediocre on offense this preseason would be an insult to “mediocre”. Terrible would be a better word. The passing game has looked out of sync and Jamaal Charles (6 carries, 16 yards) has been kept under wraps. The only thing we do know is that Dexter McCluster will be primarily used as a running back this season and is expected to see work on third-downs provided he’s not a complete liability in the pass protection.

Head coach Todd Haley confessed that TE Tony Moeaki isn’t fully recovered from off-season knee surgery. “I don’t think he’s where he was when the year ended last year,” coach Todd Haley said. “He’s essentially a week behind. But I think he’s coming on here now. He’s catching up physically to a lot of the guys because he was on the side working but not in the same manner that everybody else was. That will slow you down a little bit.”

Miami Dolphins

Reggie Bush has secured the starting running back position with the Dolphins, but the situation with the backups is suddenly in flux. Rookie second-round pick Daniel Thomas was expected to challenge Bush for a starting spot, and it was assumed that the signing of Larry Johnson was merely to provide additional insurance. However, reports out of Miami indicate that Johnson has been taking first-team reps behind Bush, with Thomas relegated to practicing with the second unit. When asked about the situation, Dolphins head coach Tony Sparano stated that Johnson was in the mix and that the team needed to evaluate him. While that is a far cry from stating that Johnson is ahead of Thomas on the depth chart, the Dolphins are clearly letting Thomas know that he needs to perform in order to open the season as Bush’s top backup.

After a season in which Brandon Marshall found the end zone just three times, the Dolphins’ offensive coaches vowed to come up with ways to get more big plays out of their No. 1 receiver. Marshall looked impressive this week against the Buccaneers, catching a long touchdown pass and making another big play that unfortunately ended when a defender punched the ball out of Marshall’s hands from behind. With opposing defenses having to game plan for Reggie Bush as a receiver out of the backfield, Marshall figures to face more single coverage in 2011. That should bode well for his touchdown count, as should another season with quarterback Chad Henne.

Minnesota Vikings

While most observers around the league view Minnesota’s wide receivers as one of the lower-tier units in the league, Vikings management has a number of tough roster decisions to make at the position. Percy Harvin and Bernard Berrian are expected to open the season as the starters, but besides those two, no one is a lock to make the roster. Former Falcon Michael Jenkins is the team’s most experienced backup capable of playing outside, but he could lose his spot to some of the team’s younger players. Former Bears Devin Aromashodu and Juaquin Iglesias have performed well, with Arosmashodu in particular making a strong push for a roster spot. Other roster candidates include speedster Jaymar Johnson, former CFL star Emmanual Arceneaux, and Greg Camarillo, who is likely the team’s best slot receiver outside of Harvin.

New England Patriots

Rookie running back Steven Ridley has had an impressive preseason, and with injuries limiting Danny Woodhead and fellow rookie Shane Vereen, he had a solid grasp on the top backup role to starter BenJarvus Green-Ellis. However, Ridley didn’t play in the team’s third preseason game, and in true Patriot fashion, no information was forthcoming as to why he didn’t take to the field. Reports out of New England have speculated that Ridley suffered a hamstring injury during the second preseason game, but how serious the injury was remains in question. With a surplus of capable running backs on the roster, any time that Ridley misses decreases his chance of earning substantial playing time during the regular season.

Third year wide receiver Brandon Tate appears in jeopardy of losing his roster spot. The Patriots generally keep six wide receivers, and with Taylor Price looking like the team’s top backup and Julian Edelman as the best slot receiver behind Wes Welker, Tate is battling with special teams standout Matt Slater for the sixth spot on the depth chart. Working in Tate’s favor is his ability as a returner.

New Orleans Saints

With a lucrative, long-term contract extension and Reggie Bush in Miami, Lance Moore is expected to take on a larger role in New Orleans’ high-powered offense, but a groin injury is causing him to miss some time. He isn’t expected to play again in the preseason, and that may hinder his performance for the first few games of the regular season. While the Saints expect him to be in the lineup on opening day, they will likely not want to risk his having a setback, so it’s a situation that should be monitored.

Rookie running back Mark Ingram missed a pair of practices with swelling in his knee, forcing him to wear a brace when he did return. Ingram had knee problems in college, and while this current issue won’t cause him to miss significant time, it does reinforce the notion that he will share the team’s running back duties with Pierre Thomas and Darren Sproles. Ingram is expected to get the goal-line work (as he did Sunday night), making him the most valuable Saints running back to own, but a timeshare is all but certain for him in his rookie season.

New York Giants

Ahmad Bradshaw, who is expected to open the season as the Giants’ starting running back, is out with a back injury that is causing worry for head coach Tom Coughlin. Bradshaw’s injury has been described as lingering, which raises additional concerns about his ability to remain healthy for an entire season. Whether Coughlin’s concerns are genuine or merely a ploy to get Bradshaw back on the practice field remains to be seen. However, the situation should be monitored given Bradshaw’s injury history and the presence of former starter Brandon Jacobs.

Look for second-year receiver Victor Cruz to win the battle to replace departed Steve Smith as the Giants’ top slot receiver. Although Cruz may not be the team’s top backup on the outside should starters Hakeem Nicks or Mario Manningham get injured, he has had a solid training camp and is the team’s best receiver out of the slot. Look for Domenik Hixon to be the top option outside, with Ramses Barden potentially taking over that role by midseason, once he gets back up to speed after his recovery from a broken ankle.

New York Jets

With a veteran squad, there is little news coming out of Jets camp. Quarterback Mark Brunell hasn’t played in the last two preseason games, courtesy of a calf injury. He is also returning from a broken hand. Despite his absence, Brunell’s roster spot as the top backup to starter Mark Sanchez is secure.

Running back Shonn Greene has recovered from a skin infection and will be ready to start the season. Greene is in line for an increased workload—provided he can stay healthy—with LaDainian Tomlinson expected to spell Green and take on more of a pass-receiving role.

With the Giants–Jets preseason tilt moved to Monday night, wide receiver Plaxico Burress gets another couple of days to recover from soreness in his back. He is expected to play, and that additional playing time will allow him to expand his rapport with Sanchez. Burress has had a solid preseason, but the back injury comes as no surprise given his age and his lengthy absence from the league. It simply reinforces the notion that he may be in and out of the lineup throughout the 2011 season.

Oakland Raiders

The Raiders wasted little time in signing Terrelle Pryor to a contract. Taken in the third round of the supplemental draft, Pryor will serve a five-game suspension to start his career but shapes up as an intriguing prospect for a Raiders team that has had numerous problems at quarterback over the last decade. Coming off an up-and-down 2010 campaign, incumbent starter Jason Campbell needs to have a strong season to secure his position as the starter. If Pryor can improve in the passing game, he has a chance to start in 2012 if Campbell doesn’t have the Raiders contending for a playoff spot this season.

Philadelphia Eagles

Wide receiver Jason Avant remains one of the more intriguing Eagles; he could wind up starting on opening day, or he could be reduced to a marginal role by midseason. With Jeremy Maclin still not at full health, Avant may end up opposite DeSean Jackson in Week 1. However, he would be relegated to the third receiver role when Maclin is ready, and he could drop down to fourth on the depth chart when former Giant Steve Smith returns to the lineup.

Keeping with Smith, he made an unexpected return to the practice field this week with the team removing him from the physically unable to perform list. That means he will open the season on the roster and not miss the first six games, as was expected. However, he remains highly unlikely to be ready open for opening day.

As for Maclin, the Eagles remain confident that he will be a go for Week 1, but it might not be a great idea to rely on him in your fantasy lineup that week. His conditioning probably won’t be at 100 percent, and with a solid veteran like Avant behind him, there is a reasonable chance that Maclin will see the field less than he normally would have in that first game.

Of all the Eagles’ offseason moves, the first one to blow up on them appears to be the free agent signing of former Bronco right tackle Ryan Harris. Harris will undergo surgery on his back and will be out indefinitely. With former starter Winston Justice coming back from injury, the Eagles have three options at the position: They can move veteran backup guard Reggie Wells to right tackle, go with the unproven King Dunlap, or move starting guard Todd Herremans outside. With rookie first-round pick Todd Watkins in line to start at right guard, quarterback Michael Vick’s blind side protection might be a weakness early in 2011.

Pittsburgh Steelers

The Steelers have a hole at left tackle with the departure of Max Starks, and the competition to replace him has been somewhat underwhelming so far this preseason. Veteran journeyman Jonathan Scott is holding down the starting spot but will miss time with a knee injury. The team had hoped that rookie second-round pick Marcus Gilbert would challenge Scott, but he showed up at camp out of shape and promptly suffered a hamstring injury. He is ready to return, but likely doesn’t have enough time to win a starting spot on opening day.

Quarterback Byron Leftwich was expected to open the season as Ben Roethlisberger’s backup, but those plans were scuttled when he broke his left arm during this week’s preseason game against the Falcons. He will likely be placed on injured reserve, and Charlie Batch or Dennis Dixon will now backup Roethlisberger. The Steelers had the possibility of moving one of their backups in a trade, but that appears unlikely now.

St. Louis Rams

While the Rams may not possess a true No. 1 receiver, they do have a logjam at the position with eight or nine players that are worthy of being on NFL rosters. The team’s backups will likely need to contribute on special teams, which doesn’t bode well for second-year receiver Danario Alexander. While Alexander displayed intriguing potential as a rookie, he didn’t contribute on special teams and may need to beat out Mike Sims-Walker, Brandon Gibson, or Donnie Avery to make the squad. Since durability is a major factor into roster decision-making, Alexander also has his lengthy history of knee injuries working against him.

Tight end Michael Hoomanawanui rated as an interesting fantasy prospect when training camp opened. He had played reasonably well when healthy as a rookie, and new offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels likes to involve the tight end in his game plan. However, Hoomanawanui suffered a calf injury and will be out a couple of weeks, likely ruining his chances of holding off impressive rookie Lance Kendricks, a second-round pick, for the starting spot at tight end. Kendricks has scored in two of three preseason games.

Running back Steven Jackson hasn’t seen much action in the preseason, so it was nice to see him run over the Chiefs’ defense in this week’s preseason action, as he gained 72 yards on 15 carries and caught one ball for five yards. With the Rams’ having invested heavily in the offensive line, Jackson looks ready to bounce back from what was a subpar year for him in 2010.

San Diego Chargers

Even though the Chargers have a hole at the No. 3 wide receiver position, with Patrick Crayton recovering from arthroscopic surgery on his ankle to remove bone spurs, don’t look for third-round pick Vincent Brown to make much of a push to earn the job. The rookie has missed significant time with a hamstring injury, and head coach Norv Turner stated that he is way behind in learning the team’s playbook. Rookies were in a tough position to earn playing time this season due to the lockout, and Brown’s injury will likely make him a non-factor for most, if not all, of 2011.

Reports out of San Diego indicate that tight end Antonio Gates’ foot injury isn’t causing him any concern and that he will be a go on opening day. The only thing that was holding Gates back from being the top-ranked fantasy tight end were injury issues, and with that out of the way, you can safely make him the top tight end off the board in your fantasy league.

San Francisco 49ers

The stalemate between 49ers starting running back Frank Gore and the team’s management over his current contract has been a key topic in San Francisco over the past couple of weeks. Although Gore is their key offensive player—a workhorse back who rarely comes off the field—the 49ers may not be willing to meet his request for a renegotiated, long-term extension. They have used draft picks in each of the last two years to replenish the depth chart behind Gore, acquiring Anthony Dixon in 2010 and Kendall Hunter in this year’s draft. Although neither player has Gore’s skill set, Dixon provides potential as a between-the-tackles runner and Hunter is more of a big-play, pass-receiving back. Their presence decreases the need for San Francisco to re-up with Gore, who is an old 28 given his workload and an injury history that includes a fractured hip that prematurely ended his 2010 season.

Quarterback Alex Smith appears to be doing everything possible to squander his last chance with the 49ers. Smith continued his unimpressive play this preseason with another poor outing this week against the Texans. Smith completed just two of six passes for 17 yards and threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown. Although Smith is known for his mobility, he hasn’t shown it as much as rookie second-round Colin Kaepernick has. And that could be a key consideration in determining the team’s starting quarterback, given the offensive line’s poor pass protection. Look for Smith to be relegated to a backup role at some point during the season, due to either injury or poor performance.

Seattle Seahawks

Seahawks starting running back Marshawn Lynch missed time with a sore ankle this week, but head coach Pete Carroll has stated that he will be ready to start the season. Seattle is hoping that Lynch’s strong play in the 2010 postseason will continue into the 2011 campaign and take some pressure off new starting quarterback Tarvaris Jackson. Given that, and the fact that this is his first training camp in Seattle, any time off for Lynch, who has been an inconsistent performer for much of his career, is worrisome.

Despite the fact that it took until the fourth quarter of the third preseason game for Seattle’s starting offense to score their first touchdown of the year, there are no reports that Carroll is questioning his decision to instill Jackson as his starting quarterback. The decision was a curious one given Jackson’s lack of a track record, and his lack of success in the preseason makes it even more so. Although Carroll remains steadfast in his belief in his quarterback, there can be little doubt that Jackson will be on a short leash if the Seahawks struggle out of the gate.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Buccaneers avoided taking a hit with reports that cornerback Aqib Talib will not be suspended for the first four games of the season due to his latest off-the-field incident, which resulted in felony weapons charges. Talib has run afoul of commissioner Roger Goodell in the past, and this would have been his second suspension as he enters his fourth year in the league. Don’t expect Goodell to be quite so forgiving if Talib has further off-the-field issues.

Arrelious Benn made his preseason debut this week, catching one pass for 12 yards. Benn will battle Dezmon Briscoe for the team’s starting wide receiver spot opposite Mike Williams, with Briscoe currently the front-runner because of his solid performance in the preseason. However, it may have been telling that the coaches chose to start Benn in his first game back from the torn ACL injury that ended his 2010 season. Although Briscoe has solid size and good hands, Benn offers more potential due to his superior speed and playmaking ability. Even if Briscoe holds off Benn to start on opening day, look for Benn to reclaim his starting spot at some point this season.

Tampa Bay’s coaches had stated that they wanted to get starting running back LeGarrette Blount more involved in the passing game, and if this week’s preseason game is any indication, they plan to follow through with that. Blount, who caught just five passes in his rookie season, was targeted five times this week, catching three passes for 62 yards, including an impressive 52-yard scamper.

Tennessee Titans

There is nothing new to report on the Chris Johnson holdout situation. Johnson and his representatives have made it known that the team did little more than state their position with respect to his holdout. With just one preseason game remaining, this situation may not be resolved by opening day, and even if Johnson is signed by them, he is a heightened injury risk for 2011.

With Kenny Britt out nursing hamstring and quad injuries, Damian Williams has seen a significant number of first-team reps. The 2010 third-round pick contributed little as a rookie but entered training camp with an outside chance to earn a starting position, with only the disappointing Nate Washington and an injury-prone Justin Gage behind Britt on the depth chart. In addition, Britt recently met with league commissioner Roger Goodell, but reports indicate that he will not face a league suspension due to his numerous off-the-field incidents.

In other news relating to the Titans’ wide receivers, the team signed veteran Kevin Curtis, who played in two games with the Chiefs last season. At 31 years old, Curtis isn’t expected to have a big role with the Titans, but if the team makes the decision to go with their younger receivers, Curtis’s presence could conceivably push the more expensive Nate Washington off the roster. Curtis still has the speed to get deep and could fulfill that role if Washington doesn’t earn a starting spot and if the Titans are not willing to pay his salary.

Washington Redskins

The Redskins’ quarterback situation remains a mystery with head coach Mike Shanahan having rotated Rex Grossman and John Beck two series at a time in this week’s preseason game against the Ravens. Grossman has played well but may not have done enough to unseat Beck, who was atop the depth chart at the beginning of training camp. While Beck is rumored still to be Shanahan’s choice to start on opening day, it wouldn’t be a surprise if Grossman wins the job.

While the quarterback situation remains unresolved, there doesn’t appear to be any such dilemma at running back. Against the Ravens, Tim Hightower continued his strong preseason, and it would be a shock if he doesn’t open the season as the starter. Rookie Roy Helu has looked solid and has the highest upside of any back on the roster, and injury-prone Ryan Torain looks like he will be out of a job. Hightower makes for an RB3 if he wins the job, but one of the riskier ones given Shanahan’s well-known propensity for swapping out backs midseason.

Tight end Chris Cooley is having some swelling in his surgically repaired knee and may end up losing time to backup Fred Davis in 2011. While Cooley is a warrior, he isn’t getting any younger, and the rebuilding Redskins may want to get a better look at Davis in the coming season.