|News, Notes & Quotes from
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Heed these following words of caution. Training Camp Hype (“TCH”)
is not the bible of fantasy football insight. When you view the
information contained in this article, remember that every NFL team
is fraught with the delivery of misinformation, sometimes to psyche
out an opponent, other times to motivate players within its own
camp and other times simply because the teams have no concept of
reality (i.e. the Oakland Raiders).
Here's the hype for Week 4...
expected the Cardinals waited until after cutdown day to pickup
a running back; a position of need after rookie Ryan Williams suffered
a torn patellar tendon in the second preseason game. Chester Taylor
agreed to a one-year deal Sunday and will give Arizona depth behind
Beanie Wells and LaRod Stephens-Howling. Five tight ends were kept
on the roster but Jim Dray is recovering from a pectoral strain.
Once he recovers its speculated that Stephen Spach will be released.
Key Cuts: QB Brodie Croyle
surprise with the final roster cuts in Atlanta. The team will head
into Week 1 with Michael Turner, Michael Turner, Jacquizz Rodgers,
Jason Snelling and Antone Smith at running back and five wideouts
- Roddy White, Julio Jones, Harry Douglas, Eric Weems and Kerry
Meier. The Falcons went 0-4 in the preseason but more importantly
managed to stay healthy. Head coach Mike Smith isn’t concerned
… “To say am I disappointed, yeah I’m disappointed.
To say that I’m concerned. No, I’m not concerned. This
football team is a very mature football team. We had a plan in place
in terms of things that we had to get accomplished and I think we’ve
been able to do that through the preseason.”
Key Cuts: RB Gartrell Johnson
the release of RB Jalen Parmale, seventh-round pick Anthony Allen
earns a roster spot backing up Ray Rice and Ricky Williams. Parmale
was taken by surprise … "We were shocked," he said
shortly after announcing his release via Twitter. "I wasn't
expecting it, but at the same time, you understand. Having been
around long enough to know what goes on and the kind of business
decisions are made, you can't take anything personally. You learn
from it and realize that there's nothing you can do to change it.
They're continually taking steps to try to make the team better.
So it's just something that you understand, and you understand that
it's a business decision."
Tyrod Taylor is the only backup QB on the roster right now. It
remains to be seen whether the Ravens will pickup a recently released
veteran (Trent Edwards, Dan Orlovsky) or head into the season
with two QBs and Marc Bulger on speed dial in case Flacco goes
Five wide receivers made the team: Anquan Boldin and Lee Evans,
David Reed, Torrey Smith, Tandon Doss and LaQuan Williams.
Key Cuts: QB Hunter Cantwell, TE Davon Drew, WR James Hardy,
RB Jalen Parmele, WR Marcus Smith
coach Chan Gailey wasn't all too happy about the performance of
his offense during the 16-6 loss to Detroit. “It was a mess,
to be honest with you,” Gailey said of the offense overall.
“I thought Fitz made good decisions. C.J. ran the ball good
the time he got a crease in there. Stevie dropped a pass. That’s
not gonna happen a ton. I think we had a chance to take that one
in and score if we catch the pass. We need for Tyler to play better.
We do. We gotta keep working on those things.”
With no viable receiving threats at the tight end position (Scott
Chandler, David Martin) keep your eye on starting wideout Donald
Jones - he could be a sneaky bye week fill-in for you this season.
Key Cuts: QB Levi Brown, WR Craig Davis, TE Shawn Nelson
off a two-win season it’s hard for Panther fans to hear but
this may be another dismal season on the scoreboard. The offense
will be reduced in scope for rookie QB Cam Newton and the lack of
talent at wide receiver is alarming. Columnist Tom Sorensen of the
Charlotte Observer sees the writing on the wall … “The
Panthers will be better than they were in 2010, but the record won't
reflect it. By the end of the season, they'll be interesting, and
perhaps pretty good. But the early games count, too. The Panthers
WR Seyi Ajirotutu was claimed off waivers from the Chargers.
Key Cuts: FB Tony Fiammetta, RB Tyrell Sutton, WR Wallace Wright
biggest names amongst the Bears cuts on Sunday were RB Chester Taylor
and veteran TE Desmond Clark. Taylor signed a four-year, $12.5 million
contract and was set to make $1.25 million this year. After rushing
for 2.4 yards per carry last year the Bears brought in Marion Barber
from Dallas and Taylor’s fate was sealed.
Clark is second among Bears tight ends all-time with 242 receptions
and 18 touchdowns but played in five games in 2011.
Key Cuts: TE Desmond Clark, RB Chester Taylor
back Cedric Benson had an interesting week completing a short stay
in Travis County Jail. Benson was sentenced to 20 days for misdemeanor
assault related to a 2010 bar incident in Austin, Texas but was
released early on good behavior and credit for work while in the
slammer. Benson originally was going to serve his sentence during
the Cincinnati’s bye week decided to pay his debt to society
before the season began.
According to sources, Bengals’ management reached out to
Carson Palmer last week. Owner Paul Brown had harsh
comments for Palmer earlier this summer, saying: “Carson
signed a contract, he made a commitment. He gave us his word.
We relied on his word and his commitment. We expected him to perform
here. If he is going to walk away from his commitment we aren’t
going to reward him for doing it.” Nothing came of the supposed
contact and a return to the Bengals seems unlikely for Palmer.
The Bengals picked up ex-Patriots receiver Brandon Tate who has
a chance to be the team’s starting punt returner. “I’m
ready to move on and get to work with the Bengals,” Tate
Key Cuts: QB Dan LeFevour (practice squad), WR/PR Quan Cosby,
TE Chase Coffman
Browns were hoping to sure up their running back depth this offseason
with the signing of Brandon Jackson but unfortunately a turf toe
injury will cost Jackson his season. Jackson was placed in IR this
week after signing a two-year deal worth $4.5 this offseason. His
injury allowed undrafted rookie running back Armond
Smith to make the team. "I'm feeling like the coaches,
they believe in me," said Smith after practice before the final
10 cuts were made. "They've been giving me a lot of great opportunities
and I'm proud of it." The Browns (and Tom Tom Heckert) are
now hoping that Montario Hardesty can be a key part of their offense
… “isn’t that much of a leap of faith …
We like him. He turned a corner coming off the injury. We fully
expect him to be what we thought he was when we drafted him.”
Key Cuts: WR Demetrius Williams
appears the Cowboys are going with undrafted rookie Dan Bailey as
their field goal and extra point kicker. David Buehler will remain
with the team but handle kickoffs only. The Cowboys shuffled through
five kickers in camp. “I want that ball to go into the end
zone,” Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said about kickoffs after
the preseason loss Thursday at Miami. “Seriously, I want it
to go there every time on kickoffs.”
Key Cuts: QB Tom Brandstater,
FB Shaun Chapas, K Shayne Graham, RB Lonyae Miller, K Dave Rayner
the fury of cutdown day, the Broncos revealed some encouraging news
on WR Demaryius Thomas (Achilles). He was not placed on the PUP
list; instead he’s made the roster. "He's been cleared
to practice. He's ready to go," Xanders said. After tearing
his Achilles in February it was expected that Thomas would miss
half the season. Eric Decker has landed the slot receiver position
with Eddie Royal and Brandon Lloyd lining up on the outside.
The Broncos have elected to go with Matt Prater as their kicker.
Steven Hauschka was released and later claimed by the Seahawks.
Key Cuts: WR David Anderson, TE Dan Gronkowski, K Steven Hauschka,
RB Jeremiah Johnson, TE Dante Rosario
Lions were busy in the running back market over the weekend releasing
Aaron Brown and picking up Keiland Williams off waivers from Washington.
Williams is a bigger back compliment to Best and Maurice Morris
but will only have fantasy relevance if injuries occur to Best and
Jerome Harrison. Brown didn’t see much action during his two
years in Detroit totaling 44 carries, 189 yards and 1 TD.
Key Cuts: WR Nate Hughes, TE Gijon Robinson, QB Zac Robinson, WR
Derrick Williams, RB Aaron Brown
Green Bay Packers
Packers for the time being are heavy at the tight end position (5)
and light at running back (4). The Packers' decision to keep five
tight ends was "amazing," a scout said. "Four would
be the most a team has carried," he said. "Very interesting.
That's heavy." Rookie D.J. Williams is expected to be inactive
on gamedays. FB Quinn Johnson to Tennessee who need a replacement
for the suspend Ahmard Hall. There was no surprise cut of Ryan Grant
as was suggested last week in the hype; Dimitri Nance was sent packing.
Key Cuts: QB Graham Harrell, RB Dimitri Nance
more surprising than who the Texans cut was who they did not cut.
Running back Steve Slaton remains on the roster (for now) possibly
an insurance policy against the gimpy hamstring of Arian Foster?
Speaking of Foster, his status remains in doubt after tweaking his
hamstring in the third preseason game. Here’s some interesting
analysis from Stephanie Stradley on chron.com … “if
Foster can’t go, at least short term I could see Derrick Ward
getting more touches than Ben Tate because Kubiak knows what he
can do in regular game action. That’s not to say that Tate
doesn’t know his assignments or can’t pass protect,
but he hasn’t done it in regular season action. As he proves
himself more in game situations, the more opportunities he could
Wide Receiver Bryant Johnson (Detroit) was signed this week. Apparently
the coaches are unhappy that nobody in their current crop of wideouts
has stepped up to claim the fourth and fifth spots at the position.
Key Cuts: WR Trindon Holliday (practice squad), RB Chris Ogbonnaya
(practice squad), RB Javarris Williams
he or wont he? We’ll find out for sure on Sunday but the hype
was in full throat this week surrounding Peyton Manning and his
bum neck. On Monday, Manning was activated from the PUP list and
started practicing on a limited basis doing light throwing and individual
work. On Sunday, numerous reports surfaced that Kerry Collins would
be getting the start Week 1 and that Manning would be out indefinitely
and another surgery on his neck was in the works. "I don't
know anything about that," said Polian. "I honestly don't."
ESPN later reported that Manning is being re-evaluated by several
doctors because of the slow progress in his rehab, but no procedure
has been scheduled. Even later CBS reported, “the team is
hoping for the best but preparing for the worst”. Polian did
confirm this week that Kerry Collins would start (not Curtis Painter)
if Manning is unable to go Week 1.
Former running back Dominic Rhodes has been suspended by the league
for one year, presumably for violating the NFL's substance abuse
policy for a third time.
Key Cuts: RB Javarris James, QB Dan Orlovsky
news for fantasy owners who targeted Rashad Jennings in their drafts-
he was put on IR Saturday and will miss the entire season. Deji
Karim vaults to number two on the depth chart. There has been no
word as to what injury Jennings actually suffered but he was seen
a crutches the majority of last week. Head coach Jack
Del Rio feels terrific about the situation. "I feel great
about our backfield. I think we have depth. I think we have productive
guys that will step up and play big for us. Deji is one of them.
I think you’ll see an increased role with Montell (Owens),
an increased role with Brock (Bolen). But Deji in particular has
been very explosive this preseason. He’s got some real quicks,
he’s got great vision and he’s been improved in all
facets of his game. And the thing that stands out is the explosive
element that he brings."
Key Cuts: TE Joey Haynos, RB Albert Young
Kansas City Chiefs
way Todd Haley has gone about this preseason doesn't gives us much
clarity about the Chiefs. Frankly they've looked bad in the games
but it's basically been by design. Haley's treated this shortened
off-season different than most teams choosing to focus on conditioning
- something he believes helped the Chiefs win games late in the
2010 season. They did very little hitting in "camp" and
treated their time in St. Joseph almost like a minicamp. Their first
preseason game was a glorified walkthrough and it showed, getting
shutout by Tampa Bay. In their final preseason game Haley played
the majority of their starters well into the 4th quarter, something
that's very rarely done in the league today… and it cost them.
TE Tony Moeaki was put on IR after tearing his ACL in the game and
are swirling that QB Matt Cassel suffered a cracked rib after
getting flattened by a 340-pound Packers defensive linemen. A source
close to the situation said Chiefs coach Todd Haley told Palko after
the game, “You’d better be ready to play Sunday.’’
“I just got the wind knocked out of me,’’ Casell
said. “We were just being cautious.’’
Key Cuts: FB Shane Bannon, FB Mike Cox, WR Jeremy Horne, WR Verran
speculated last week about the Dolphins motives for signing veteran
running back Larry Johnson part of the way through the preseason
and it appears the move was done to light a fire under disappointing
rookie running back Daniel Thomas. Johnson was released by the Dolphins
in their final cutdown, ensuring that Thomas will open the season
as Reggie Bush’s backup in Miami. There remains a possibility
that Johnson will be signed after the opening week of the season
but it appears that will not be the case.
With head coach Tony
Sparano in need of the Dolphins having a solid season in order
to secure his position beyond the 2011 season, it was no surprise
that the team decided to go with veteran talent on the team’s
final roster. Their final cuts included few surprises other than
the decision to release veteran cornerback Will Allen, who was
battling for a backup position behind starters Vontae Davis and
Key Cuts: RB Larry Johnson, FB Lousaka Polite
Vikings final cuts indicated the team is clearly undergoing a youth
movement with several veterans released in favor of younger players.
Minnesota will enter the season with unproven talent in key backup
roles along the team’s offensive line and at linebacker. However,
the team’s youth movement didn’t appear to extend to
the wide receiver position where five veterans were kept and a number
of promising young players were released. Percy Harvin, Bernard
Berrian, Michael Jenkins, Greg Camarillo and Devin Aromashodu were
kept on the active roster while youngsters Jaymar Johnson, Emmanuel
Arceneaux, Stephon Burton and Juaquin Iglesias were released.
Key Cuts: WR Jaymar Johnson
New England Patriots
we noted here last week, third year wide receiver Brandon Tate was
in jeopardy of not making the Patriots roster and he was released
by the team in their final cuts. The 2009 3rd round pick figures
to get a chance with another team at least partly due to his ability
as a returner.
While Tate’s release was mildly surprising, the biggest
surprise amongst the Patriots final cuts was the release of former
starting safety Brandon Merriweather. A former Pro Bowl performer,
Merriweather’s reputation always exceeded his actual performance
on the field and there were reports early in training camp that
he was in competition to retain his starting position. However,
he failed to make the squad and was released after the Patriots
tried and failed to trade their former 1st round pick.
New Orleans Saints
Key Cuts: RB Sammy Morris, WR Brandon Tate, WR Tiquan Underwood
Saints crowded backfield was thinned out slightly this week with
news that Chris Ivory was being placed on the physically unable
to perform list. Coming off an unexpectedly productive rookie season,
Ivory was recovering from lisfranc surgery and a sports hernia but
was expected to be ready for mid-season.
New Orleans will be without defensive end Will Smith will be
suspended for the first two games of the season. The suspension
comes as a result of the StarCaps dispute that involves several
players and began during the 2008 season. Smith’s presence
would have been helpful in the team’s opening week game
against a Green Bay squad that will likely rely heavily on the
pass in that game.
New York Giants
Key Cuts: N/A
Eli Manning is one of the more durable starters in the league, the
battle for the team’s backup quarterback position remained
an intriguing one given the state of the team’s rebuilt offensive
line with Sage Rosenfels battling David Carr for the position. The
battle ended with the Giants placing Rosenfels on injured reserve
with a back injury leaving Carr to serve as the team’s backup.
Key Cuts: RB Andre Brown, RB Charles Scott
New York Jets
a surplus of defensive backs and little quality depth along the
offensive line, the Jets traded veteran cornerback Dwight Lowery
to the Packers for interior lineman Caleb Schlauderaff. Schladeraff’s
acquisition helps solidify an offensive line that featured the unproven
Vladimir Ducasse and Robert Turner, who is nursing an ankle injury.
After their final cuts, the Jets had just healthy wide receivers
on the roster, a situation that could be remedied with the addition
of another team’s cast off. Veteran Logan Payne survived
the final cuts but is out with a wrist injury. That leaves the
Jets with only three proven receivers on the roster in Santonio
Holmes, Plaxico Burress and Derrick Mason.
At running back, the Jets chose to keep second year player Joe
McKnight and rookie 4th round pick Bilal Powell. McKnight showed
up at training camp severely out of shape as a rookie, barely
registered a blip on the field in 2010 and needed a strong training
camp to hold off Powell. In retrospect, the Jets made a disastrous
move at the end of the 2010 preseason when they chose to keep
the underperforming McKnight over Danny Woodhead, who was picked
up by division rival New England and had an outstanding season
as a reserve with the Patriots.
Key Cuts: WR Patrick Turner
the Raiders used a 3rd round pick in the supplemental draft to acquire
Terrelle Pryor, the writing was clearly on the wall for one of the
team’s veteran quarterbacks. It turns out Pryor’s acquisition
spelled the end for veteran Trent Edwards, who lost the battle to
be the team’s backup quarterback to Kyle Boller.
Chaz Schilens unexpectedly made the team’s final roster.
Schilens has done little when given an opportunity and has not
been able to stay healthy during his time in the league. He likely
benefited from being part of a Raiders depth chart that features
no proven performers so his status as a veteran with the team
likely secured his place on the team’s final roster.
Key Cuts: QB Trent Edwards, WR Chad Jackson
running back Deon Lewis has spent the preseason doing everything
possible to carve out a role on the Eagles opening day roster and
he may have done just that. The diminutive Lewis has played well
in the team’s base offense and as a returner, earning him
a spot on the depth chart behind LeSean McCoy and Ronnie Brown.
However, while the team’s 6th round pick has looked good,
his chances of earning significant playing time appear remote given
head coach Andy Reid’s preference for relying on one player
at the position. More likely, Lewis will be used in a small number
of specialty packages in the hopes of making a big play in key moments.
His preseason showing makes him an intriguing prospect in dynasty
Key Cuts: WR Johnnie Lee Higgins, TE Cornelius Ingram, TE Donald
Lee, WR Sinorice Moss
year running back Jonathan Dwyer suffered through a disappointing
season and was thought to be in danger of being released after the
team brought back Mewelde Moore to help out as a pass receiving
threat out of the backfield. Dwyer didn’t help his case by
showing up for training camp out of shape but appears safe as the
team’s fourth running back behind Rashard Mendenhall, Isaac
Redman and Moore.
With Mike Wallace already having established himself as one of
the league’s top big play threats and the emergence of second-year
player Antonio Brown as well as the solid future of fellow second-year
player Emmanuel Sanders, the Steelers may have the best group
of young wide receivers in the league. Sanders’ production
was similar to that of Hines Ward over the second half of last
season and Brown has had the best preseason of any of the Steelers
wide receivers. The team’s collection of young, emerging
wide receiver talent and current depth make quarterback Ben Roethlisberger
a valuable commodity in dynasty leagues.
St. Louis Rams
Key Cuts: TE John Gilmore
a glut of wide receivers on the roster and not enough roster spaces
to accommodate all of them, it was a surprise when the Rams re-signed
veteran wideout Mark Clayton. Clayton was quarterback Sam Bradford’s
top target over the early part of the 2010 season before suffering
a season-ending knee injury. However, having used two mid-round
draft picks on the position and signing former Jaguar Mike Sims-Walker,
Clayton wasn’t expected to be back with the team in 2011.
After signing, he was immediately placed on the physically unable
to perform list. Look for Clayton to return around mid-season but
be relegated to a secondary role unless no other receiver steps
up for St. Louis over the first part of the season.
touchdowns in the preseason, rookie 2nd round pick Lance Kendricks
has all but wrapped up the starting tight end position. Second
year player Michael Hoomanawanui was expected to open the season
as the team’s starter but a calf injury has sidelined him
and Kendricks’ strong preseason play will relegate him to
a backup role. Look for the Rams to use Billy Bajema heavily on
run downs with Kendricks playing more on obvious passing downs.
San Diego Chargers
Key Cuts: WR Donnie Avery, WR Mardy Gilyard, RB Keith Toston
Patrick Crayton recently undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his
ankle and rookie 3rd round pick Vincent Brown having missed much
of the preseason with a hamstring injury, the Chargers chose to
release three veteran receivers in Kelley Washington, Seyi Ajirotutu
and Laurent Robinson. The moves leave the team’s third receiver
position to Crayton and Brown with Crayton the clear choice to assume
a larger role if starting wide receivers Vincent Jackson and Malcom
Floyd were to be out with an injury.
Key Cuts: WR Seyi Ajirotutu, WR Laurent Robinson, WR Kelley Washington
San Francisco 49ers
Hunter has led the NFL in rushing yardage during the preseason and
it looks like the 49ers rookie 4th round pick has won the job as
Frank Gore’s backup entering the season. In a battle with
second year player Anthony Dixon, Hunter needed to improve on his
pass blocking to win the role and it appears he has done just that
with head coach Jim Harbaugh stating that Hunter had played well
enough to be the team’s number two running back. However,
if Gore were to get injured, Harbaugh would likely go with a committee
approach at the position with Dixon getting a healthy dose of carries
spelling Hunter as well as in short yardage.
Gore finally secured a long term extension with the team, agreeing
to a three year, $21-million contract. Although the contract appears
on the surface to be a solid deal for the 49ers, it was clearly
reflective of Gore’s lengthy injury history. The deal likely
means he will remain with the 49ers for the length of his career
as a starting running back.
Key Cuts: QB Josh McCown, RB Xavier Omon, WR Dominique Zeigler
as they might, the Seahawks seem cursed in their attempts to improve
the play along the team’s offensive line. After using the
4th pick in the draft last season on left tackle Russell Okung,
the team signed veteran left guard Robert Gallery in free agency
and used their 1st round pick this season on right tackle James
Carpenter as well as a 3rd round pick on right guard John Moffitt.
Unfortunately, Okung was injured early in training camp and Gallery
suffered a knee injury that puts his availability for Week 1 in
doubt. It’s shaping up as another year of shuffling the deck
along the team’s offensive line and that doesn’t bode
well for the team’s rushing and passing attacks. A kicker
swap was performed Sunday as Jeff Reed was sent packing and Steven
Hauschka was claimed off waivers from Denver.
Key Cuts: N/A
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
starting running back LeGarrette’s Blount’s checkered
past, it was somewhat surprising that the team appears content to
enter the season with veteran journeyman Earnest Graham as the team’s
top backup at the position. Graham also contributes at fullback
so an injury to Blount would cause changes at two positions and
Graham has done little to warrant many touches in the team’s
offense in recent seasons. It won’t be a surprise if Tampa
Bay eventually replenishes their running back depth chart with another
Key Cuts: N/A
Titans rushing attack was likely going to suffer with the lengthy
holdout by star running back Chris Johnson and the situation worsened
with news that starting fullback Ahmard Hall will be suspended for
the first four games of the season. The team traded for former Packer
Quinn Johnson but he isn’t in the same class as Hall and will
need to quickly pick up the team’s playbook.
As for Johnson, look for the team to be cautious in his usage
for the early part of the season. Although he is clearly the key
part of their offense, the Titans can hardly afford to lose him
to an early season injury which would decimate the team’s
offense. Expect a reduced workload for Johnson for at least the
first couple of weeks of the season.
The Titans had high hopes for Jason Jones this season with plans
to move the talented defensive lineman around to create mismatches
and take advantage of his pass rushing ability. However, those
plans have taken a back seat with Jones out for the past two weeks
with a knee injury, hindering his learning curve on the outside.
Key Cuts: WR Yamon Figurs, WR Justin Gage, RB Stafon Johnson
the strong preseason play of newly acquired running back Tim Hightower,
head coach Mike Shanahan has refused to name him as the team’s
opening day starter. Shanahan has only said that Hightower is
the front runner for the position, placing more meaning on the
strong play of incumbent starter Ryan Torain in his first preseason
game. Torain ran for 73 yards on just 17 carries. Look for this
situation to remain fluid for much of the 2010 season, with Hightower,
Torain and rookie Roy Helu sharing the role.
In a pair of somewhat surprising moves, the Redskins cut running
backs Keiland Williams as well as rookie 6th round pick Evan Royster,
leaving just Hightower, Torain and Helu at the position. Williams
became expendable when the team acquired Hightower to handle the
pass receiving role out of the backfield and Royster never really
got a chance to showcase his potential. Both players were also
affected by the team’s peculiar decision to keep eight wide
receivers, a rare occurrence.
Word is leaking that Rex Grossman will be the starting quarterback
Key Cuts: QB Kellen Clemens, TE Tony Curtis, WR Aldrick Robinson,
RB Evan Royster, TE Derek Schouman, RB Keiland Williams,