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Staff Writer

Training Camp Hype ("TCH")
News, Notes & Quotes from Week 3

Week One | Week Two | Week Three | Week Four

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hype 1 (hip) Slang
1. Exaggerated or extravagant claims made especially in advertising or promotional material
2. Something deliberately misleading; a deception.

TCH’s sole purpose is to provide you with news and notes from around the league for you to process into your own rankings. If any of this news catapults you to your league championship, call me… maybe.

Arizona Cardinals

The News: Beanie Wells makes his preseason debut.

The Spin: After watching Wells sit out the start of preseason as he recovered from offseason knee surgery, Arizona will finally get to see the combination they have in Wells and Ryan Williams.

The Takeaway: Williams ran it three times for 15 yards and Wells rushed six times for 12 yards. Neither set the world on fire, so look for both to split carries and hopefully carry the load for a Cardinals offense in desperate need of some assistance. Like a car without tires, any assistance would be welcome.

The News: The quarterback situation is still up for grabs.

The Spin: John Skelton got the start against Tennessee with Kevin Kolb playing with the second team.

The Takeaway: Skelton went 4 of 10 for 41 yards. Kolb went 17 of 22 for 156 with one touchdown pass. Kolb threw two interceptions, including one that was taken back for a score, so he has the upper hand since, technically, he threw two more touchdowns than Skelton. hazmat. Bad news. Stay away.

Atlanta Falcons

he News: Coach Mike Smith says Jacquizz Rodgers can be a three-down back.

The Spin: The little man is getting big love from his coach. The team once again is trying to find a way to get him into the offense without taking too much away from Michael Turner.

The Takeaway: Rodgers had four rushes for four yards and one catch for 18 yards. Of course he can be a three-down back, just not in a row.

The News: The Falcons really wanted to look at Julio Jones.

The Spin: He had four catches for 90 yards and was targeted nine times. The growing buzz about Jones continues to grow.

The Takeaway: The Falcons and Matt Ryan have been throwing the ball all over this preseason. The offense looks a little more pass happy, which can only work in Jones’ favor. They just need to keep his hamstrings loose.

Baltimore Ravens

The News: Joe Flacco is looking better than ever.

The Spin: Joe Flacco would’ve finished the game with 16 points in standard scoring, which is especially great considering the offense is playing vanilla preseason football and he didn’t even finish three quarters.

The Takeaway: Joe Flacco is likely going to finish as a top-10 quarterback and he’s ranked 18th overall. You will likely be able to take Flacco in the 12th round and will get 2nd or 3rd round potential out of him.

The News: The Ravens release elite kicker Billy Cundiff for unproven Justin Tucker.

The Spin: Ironically, less than a week after Cundiff was quoted as saying, “This is really a competition with myself,” he was beat out for the kicking job by the new kid on the block, Justin Tucker. Ouch!

The Takeaway: Kickers are a valuable part of any real-life or fantasy team. If you drafted Cundiff because you want whoever the Ravens’ kicker is, then its time to hit the waiver wire. If you picked Cundiff because you know he is a great kicker, then hang on to him and see if he gets a job somewhere else.

Buffalo Bills

The News: Buffalo Bills trade for Tarvaris Jackson.

The Spin: The college all-star, Vince Young, came onto the field losing 14-7, but exited the field losing 38-7 this week. Being that 14 of the opponent’s points were off of VY’s turnovers, it appears that Vince Young wasn’t good enough to be the backup in Buffalo.

The Takeaway: If you went back in time to the National Championship game where VY defeated USC and told him that he couldn’t make QB #2 in Buffalo in 2012, I’m certain that you would be the first to be assaulted through time by a football player. If the backup QB in Buffalo has value in your league, Tarvaris Jackson is your man.

The News: The Buffalo Bills appear to have formed a deep and talented receiving corps.

The Spin: According to, “Donald Jones, rookie T.J. Graham, and Naaman Roosevelt are all making plays in the preseason.” This means that the Bills could have a committee of talented wide receivers similar to the New Orleans Saints or Green Bay Packers.

The Takeaway: The Bills will not put up league leading offensive numbers, but they should be able to spread a lot of yards and completions amongst numerous guys. The takeaway may actually be negative in this respect, as limited success may mean that none of the receivers have above average fantasy value.

Carolina Panthers

The News: Steve Smith is on crutches.

The Spin: An infection in his foot will cost Smith the remainder of the preseason. The infection is bad enough that the Panthers' head coach, Ron Rivera, said Smith wouldn’t play this week if it were regular season.

The Takeaway: Smith is on crutches, but let’s hope those crutches choose not to talk any trash to him. Everyone knows you don’t want to get Smith riled up. He is just relentless. Especially with inanimate objects that carry weight.

The News: Can Greg Olsen become a top-tier tight end?

The Spin: Rivera has been putting Olsen in the same category as Jimmy Graham and Rob Gronkowski. Their offense is wide open and Rivera believes Olson could approach the numbers put up by those two All-Pro players.

The Takeaway: Olsen has a solid year last year with 45 catches for 540 yards and six scores. If the offense does diversify and grow, Olsen could be the main beneficiary. But let’s not get crazy here, Coach.

Chicago Bears

The News: What is happening with Alshon Jeffery?

The Spin: One of the more intriguing rookies this season, Jeffery looked to get some more game action against the Giants.

The Takeaway: Jeffery was held in check Friday night with one catch for nine yards. He was targeted three times but failed to bring down a potential touchdown pass in the first quarter.

The News: Jay Cutler to Brandon Marshall is happening.

The Spin: Not a great night for Cutler, going 9 of 21 for 96 yards and struggling to get into a rhythm. Marshall was active and was targeted 10 times, five of which he caught for 51 yards as he and Cutler paired up for a nice-looking touchdown.

The Takeaway: I really think they will produce big numbers together this season; that wouldn’t be a surprise. The big surprise is how funny Cutler is in the new TV commercial for NFL apparel. I did not see that coming.

Cincinnati Bengals

The News: According to Matt Williamson, of Scouts Inc., “A.J. Green will soon rival Calvin Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, and Andre Johnson as the best receiver in the NFL.”

The Spin: Matt Williamson is one of the most respected names in NFL scouting, so when he makes statements like this, it is unwise to ignore them. Everyone knows that Green is a prime talent, but not many are speaking of him in the terms of receivers such as those in the above quote.

The Takeaway: If Green can produce Calvin Johnson-like numbers then he is absolutely a steal in the third round. Look for Green to outperform his draft position this year.

The News: BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Jermaine Gresham are expected to be back for Week 1.

The Spin: Both of these gentlemen have the benefit of riding the coat tails of Andy Dalton and A.J. Green. With Green taking the top off of the defense, Jermaine Gresham and the Law Firm can benefit in the middle of the field.

The Takeaway: Gresham is another big and fast tight end similar to Jermichael Finley or Brandon Pettigrew, and will show his worth if he is healthy. In the same way, because the passing game is improving, defenses will not be able to stack against the run as they did against the Bengals of old. Look for both of these players to perform above their projections if they play 16 games.

Cleveland Browns

The News: Brandon Weeden has to improve in order to save this team from its own offensive line.

The Spin: The Oklahoma State standout, “looked ragged” and “struggled to hold on to the ball” according to ESPN’s Jamison Hensley. This is mostly due to the same horrendous line play that will prevent Trent Richardson from meeting the expectations of his fantasy owners.

The Takeaway: Weeden, reportedly the best thing to happen to the Cleveland Browns since Vinny Testaverde, is the annual preordained savior of the Cleveland Browns. Cleveland fans will know that every year is the year that X quarterback will save the day and return the Browns to glory. If Weeden truly is the quarterback to pull the proverbial sword from the stone, he’s going to have to do a very good Ben Roethlisberger imitation.

The News: Josh Gordon may be the #2 wide receiver next to Greg Little.

The Spin: Gordon looks poised to instill some hope in Cleveland this year, after scoring a 28-yard touchdown against the pressing Nnamdi Asomugha.

The Takeaway: In addition to Richardson, Weeden, and Greg Little, the newly involved Gordon is looking for a spot on your fantasy team this year too. He’s a later-round flier in your fantasy draft.

Dallas Cowboys

The News: Injuries to the receiving corps.

The Spin: Dez Bryant has patella tendinitis and Miles Austin has hamstring injuries, and it looks like both will miss the remainder of the preseason. Add Jason Witten’s spleen injury and suddenly Tony Romo doesn’t have many legitimate weapons.

The Takeaway: Hello Dwayne Harris. The second-year wide receiver took full advantage of his chances, hauling in three catches for 118 yards and a pair of good-looking scores. Even when Bryant and Austin get back, Harris might be a player to keep your eyes on to fill that Laurent Robinson role from last year.

The News: How is the offensive line coming along?

The Spin: A trouble spot last year, the play of the line will help dictate how far the team goes this year. From establishing the running game to protecting Romo, the Rams game could show what kind of shape they are in.

The Takeaway: The line looked better. Romo had time to throw, going 9 of 13 for 198 and a pair of touchdowns. The run game was clicking, with Felix Jones and DeMarco Murray combing for 11 carries for 60 yards. Dallas fans hope this trend continues because as the line goes, so does the offense.

Denver Broncos

The News: Eric Decker was phenomenal against a great San Francisco defense.

The Spin: According to Bill Williamson of, “Eric Decker looked good against a strong defense as he had two touchdown catches from Manning.”

The Takeaway: This week, Decker proved why he lines up next to the physically impressive Demariyus Thomas. His play was impressive as he scored while fighting off defenders on quick-out passes.

The News: Peyton Manning took big hits like they were nothing.

The Spin: If you get hit by 49ers linemen, you get hit hard. The 9ers drove Manning right into the ground and he stood back up and threw a touchdown. In addition, Manning was able to throw to his right as if he didn’t have a nerve injury that kept him out for the entire penultimate season.

The Takeaway: Peyton appears to be back to 2010 form, at least as far as this preseason has taken him. I don’t know if Eric Decker and Demariyus Thomas can be the new Reggie Wayne and Marvin Harrison, but if Manning is truly back to form then he is undervalued as the 11th overall QB.

Detroit Lions

The News: Mikel Leshoure hits the field against the Raiders.

The Spin: The oft-nicked up second-year back saw action against the Raiders Saturday in hopes of getting himself ready for the start of the regular season. After injuring his Achilles last year, he has had hamstring issues so far this preseason. With Jahvid Best’s future uncertain, the Lions would love to see Leshoure thrive as Kevin Smith’s backup.

The News: Leshoure did play, but with very limited results: five carries for one yard and one catch for six yards. He will miss the first two games of the year serving a drug related suspension. Smith left the game with an ankle injury (x-rays were negative) so Leshoure might get more opportunities if Smith can’t stay healthy.

Green Bay Packers

The News: James Starks has turf toe, which will keep him out a few weeks.

The Spin: Two questions now swirl regarding Cedric Benson. What will his role be, and how much does he have left in the tank?

The Takeaway: Aaron Rodgers running for a pair of scores didn’t really open the door for anyone to make an impression. Benson did run six times for 38 yards and caught one pass for 10 yards, so that is promising. Rumors have surfaced concerning Starks’ future with the team, but such a drastic move by the team seems likes a long shot. Benson looks like a promising prospect in a non-running back friendly offense.

The News: Greg Jennings and Jermichael Finley are almost ready to return.

The Spin: Jennings is trying to shake off a concussion he suffered a few weeks back, and Finley is dealing with a sprained quad. Having those two weapons ready for the start of the regular season is imperative.

The Takeaway: Jennings led the team with 37 yards on a pair of catches. Finley did not play due to the birth of his child. Not sure if he will need a doctor’s note for that.

Houston Texans

The News: According to Randy Harvey of the Houston Chronicle, the Texans are, “…the NFL’s most fearsome team.”

The Spin: Harvey went on to state though, that the Texans are a fantasy team that, “fantasy players love to hate because they never know when one one of their stars is going to leave the field prematurely.”

The Takeaway: This is ultimate Texans fantasy wisdom. For years the Texans have been tantalizing explosive on offense, yet cannot keep it together for a full season. We all know the preseason hype for Matt Schaub, Andre Johnson, and Arian Foster. Now let’s see them do it all year.

The News: Shayne Graham, not Randy Bullock will be the place kicker for the Texans.

The Spin: The always-reliable Shayne Graham will take kicking duties for the season as Randy Bullock went on injured reserve for a torn groin muscle. According to head coach Gary Kubiak, Graham has, “done a hell of a job.”

The Takeaway: Shayne Graham should be drafted in 100% of leagues as he will be the kicker for a fantastic offense.

Indianapolis Colts

The News: Andrew Luck continues to look less and less like a rookie.

The Spin: According to The Bleacher Report, Luck, “again showed an advanced ability to navigate within the pocket and find receivers under pressure,” and Paul Kuharsky, of, added, “Luck showed poise and calm and had a good feel for what was going on around him.”

The Takeaway: Rookie QB prospects have long been physical prospects, and have had good football knowledge and passing comfort for years. However, most rookie QBs even this season are not able to process the speed of the game and the playbook as completely as Andrew Luck. In fact, I dare say a rookie QB has never looked so in control of an offense before he’s played one second of regular season football.

The News: Jim Irsay likes to make mountains out of molehills.

The Spin: Jim Irsay was blowing up twitter this week about a blockbuster trade that was going to shake the very foundation of the NFL, civil rights, and possibly the future of the world. Okay, that’s paraphrasing, but Irsay was really excited about a trade that was in the works. When that trade was revealed to be giving up a second-round pick for Dolphins cornerback Vontae Davis, it was a little underwhelming

The Takeaway: Vontae Davis is a physical specimen and should help bolster the Indy D/ST. That being said, with D/ST being such a volatile position, you should ststay far away from this D/ST even with a minor upgrade like Vontae Davis.

Jacksonville Jaguars

The News: Hyper-talented wide receiver Justin Blackmon continues to dominate in the preseason.

The Spin: The rest of the offense did just a little better than sputter, but according to NFL blogger Paul Kuharsky, “… most encouraging was Justin Blackmon.” Blackmon caught 4 of 8 for 72 yards, but more importantly he was just an imposing force on the football field.

The Takeaway: Blackmon has the build and mentality to be a force similar to Brandon Marshall or Dez Bryant. He should be a steal in most fantasy drafts this year.

The News: Maurice Jones-Drew may not be so trade-ready after all.

The Spin: During his holdout, the season’s most auto drafted player was paraphrased to have said that he would be open to a trade from the Jaguars. However, now Maurice Jones-Diva is quoted to have said, “I’d rather stay here with my team, my family.”

The Takeaway: MJD is holding but has no leverage. He has two years left on his contract. He will return, but he is close to endangering his starting time nd the Jags are not going to budge. Watch for MJD to return prior to Week 1, but when he does, he will still likely have his worst year as a starter due to missing so much time.

Kansas City Chiefs

The News: The offense for the Chiefs is headed south.

The Spin: According to head coach Romeo Crennel, “we have to get better to give ourselves a chance,” he later added about his starters, “they were the ones who were not able to get much done.”

The Takeaway: Despite have gobs of talent at skill positions, there is no quarterback quality on the Chiefs and you cannot win in the 2012 NFL without skill at QB. No matter how many great running backs and wide receivers you have, they’re nothing without the right guy under center. It is tough to draft any guy in KC, simply because of how mired they are in what may be the worst QB situation in the NFL.

The News: Jonathan Baldwin is coming of age before our eyes.

The Spin: Baldwin, who got into a fight with Thomas Jones last year after being criticized for off-field issues all through college, has been at the practice field getting better and learning from veterans all camp and preseason. Jonathan was quoted to have said, “I take a lot of notes at night. I study those notes so that I don’t come back and make the same mistake.”

The Takeaway: With Dwayne Bowe holding out for much of training camp, Baldwin will make strides in his second year in the league.

Miami Dolphins

The News: Ryan Tannehill had a 37.9 passer rating and was one of the best players on the Dolphins’ offense.

The Spin: Tannehill actually looks like he’s a pretty good QB, he just has no team around him. For this year at least, the Dolphins are rebounding and may not be very productive in either fantasy or actual football.

The Takeaway: It’s hard to get a high passer rating when Reggie Bush probably has the best hands on your offense and isn’t strictly a part of your receiving corps. Every time a defense stacks against Miami’s run game, the Dolphins are going to be in big danger of an interception or incompletion.

The News: Even the offensive line doesn’t know if the offense is any good.

The Spin: The fantastically named Richie Incognito was incognizant of the talent and plan for the Miami Offense after Week 3 of the preseason. Said the guard when asked what the strength of the offense is, “… It’s tough to tell…we’re still searching for our identity.”

The Takeaway: The take away is to take your picks away from the Miami Dolphins. Whoever is going to be valuable for this offense, they will likely come off of the waiver wire in a few weeks.

Minnesota Vikings

The News: Can Christian Ponder improve on his solid performance last week?

The Spin: Ponder was the victim of bad line play and no running game Friday night. He went 9 of 16 for 115 yards. He also had a few rushes that resulted in a pair of “Get down Brittle Bones! GET DOWN!!!” screams from the Viking faithful.

The Takeaway: With no AP and with Toby Gerhart getting limited carries, the Chargers teed off of Ponder, getting three sacks and hurrying him three other times. Not a great gauge of his talents this week, but his up-and-down career continues.

The News: Adrian Peterson won’t play this preseason; what does that mean for Toby Gerhart?

The Spin: The fact that they are even discussing Peterson playing this season is mind bending. He is gearing up for an early return in the regular season and in the meantime Gerhart will be the bell cow.

The Takeaway: Gerhart had six rushes for 18 yards on Friday and will have moderate to high(er) value depending on Peterson’s return. He is not a game breaker, but he will be the featured back, so that counts for something. Right?

New England Patriots

The News: Tom Brady and Brandon Lloyd have work to do.

The Spin: reports that Tom Brady and Brandon Lloyd have been “eerily familiar to how (Chad) Johnson performed last preseason,” as Lloyd had only one catch for 12 yards in a three-quarter performance on Friday.

The Takeaway: I have to believe that Brandon Lloyd will be effective this year; however, his midseason form may not come about until, well, midseason. If you draft Lloyd, you should be prepared to sit him for the first weeks of the season until you see encouraging chemistry on gameday.

The News: Tom Brady could approach his 50-TD record-breaking season this year.

The Spin: John Clayton, NFL analyst for ESPN, thinks that Tom Brady should “easily throw for more than 40 touchdowns.” Last year, tom Brady’s 39 TDs were epic enough, any more would just be icing on the cake.

The Takeaway: If I could be guaranteed that Tom Brady would throw 40+ TDs this season, I would gladly take him as the #1 overall pick without blinking. Draft Brady with reckless abandon this year.

New Orleans Saints

The News: Darren Sproles has been shut down the rest of the preseason to rest a minor knee injury.

The Spin: They say in New Orleans that Sproles would play if it were a regular-season game. But then again, “they” say a lot of things.

The Takeaway: This time to rest should keep the versatile Sproles’ value high as owners start drafting this week.

The News: Injuries have paved the way for a fourth and fifth position at wide receiver. Who will impress against the Texans on Saturday?

The Spin: The team certainly opened the throttle up against the Texans. Adding veteran Greg Camarillo this week gives some depth to the roster.

The Takeaway: Joe Morgan seemed to be the big winner with three catches for 68 yards and a long touchdown. Camarillo had a pair of catches for 15 yards, and Courtney Roby, who looked like he had the inside track, was shut out. The team is still waiting for rookie Nick Toon to get back on the field, so things are cloudy at best in this race.

New York Giants

The News: David Wilson’s value continues to rise.

The Spin: With Ahmad Bradshaw resting his injured hand Friday against the Bears, Wilson worked with the first team.

The Takeaway: He performed well with 49 yards on five carries and a pair of catches for 26 yards. Bradshaw will be the starter, but Wilson has shown both his speed and the ability to run hard and even catch the ball a bit. It is looking like he might be worth a late look and is a certain handcuff for Bradshaw.

New York Jets

The News: Tim Tebow will not play in the final preseason game.

The Spin: An honor typically reserved for starters, the praying man will take off the entire fourth preseason game at the decision of the coaching staff. Usually, this is done to prevent injury to your superstars such as Darrelle Revis or Santonio Holmes.

The Takeaway: This says to me that Tim Tebow is not truly a backup QB. It is almost as if the Jets consider Tim Tebow a different position than Mark Sanchez and consider them both starters. It would take guts of iron to start Tim Tebow in fantasy, especially early on, but I think that Tim Tebow is possibly in for more action than previously expected.

The News: The Jets still haven’t scored a touchdown.

The Spin: Both QBs were miserably bad in week 3, Sanchez was 11/18, 0 TDs, 1 INT and Tebow was 4/13 0 TD, 1 INT. But, Santonio Holmes was supposed to provide a spark you say! Following the theme of “training camp holdouts aren’t the same guys that year”, Santonio Holmes barely had his name called as he caught 1/3 for 8 yards in his preseason debut.

The Takeaway: It’s still the preseason, so you don’t want to get too caught up on anything, but no touchdowns when Tebow or Sanchez have been behind center almost 100% of the time is unacceptable. What will the Jets offense do when they have to play against a starting defense for a full game?

Oakland Raiders

The News: Carson Palmer continues to throw interceptions.

The Spin: Palmer, who should have stayed retired as a Bengal, threw two more interceptions in Week 3 of the preseason. Afterwards, Terrelle Pryor played a good game, but there is no chance of Palmer losing his started job to Pryor – at least not yet.

The Takeaway: For those keeping score at home, that’s 4 interceptions in three games in the preseason after 16 INTs in 10 games last season. Fantasy players should not start Carson Palmer under any circumstances until something changes in Oakland.

Second Takeaway: Pryor may end up becoming endeared to Raiders fans, and if so the boos will get loud enough for Palmer to be benched. There could be a mini-Tebow controversy in Oaktown.

Philadelphia Eagles

The News: Michael Vick somehow managed to get nicked up reading this headline.

The Spin: For a second straight preseason game, Vick refueled the anxiety tank for Eagles fans. First week it was his thumb, this time is was concerns over a rib injury after he was drilled during the Patriots game.

The Takeaway: The Eagles have figured out that playing Vick the remainder of the preseason might not be such a great idea. Maybe, just maybe, he's a little injury prone.

The News: Is it time to start wondering about Nick Foles?

The Spin: Vick hasn’t shown the ability to stay healthy, so with the hand injury to Mike Kafka, Foles suddenly has value as their potential No. 2 quarterback.

The Takeaway: Foles has looked solid, including going 12 of 19 for 146 yards and a pair of scores Friday night. Vick has shown the ability to get injured, so he might be someone to keep an eye out on the waiver wire. Let’s not forget, if this offensive set can make Kevin Kolb look good, anything is possible.

Pittsburgh Steelers

The News: Mike Wallace is expected to be back in pads at any moment.

The Spin: According to multiple news sources, Mike Wallace is supposed to show up and sign his tender sometime soon. As of this writing, he has not yet done so, but missing training camp results in an off-year or injury almost without exception.

The Takeaway: Mike Wallace could be back for Week 1, but who knows if he will be in “football shape.” Temper your expectations for the talented wideout once he does return, just in case he doesn’t catch 1,200 yards and 10 touchdowns.

The News: John Clayton ranks Ben Roethlisberger as the #4 overall quarterback.

The Spin: Of course, on-the-field performance does not always equate to fantasy. After all, no points are awarded for dodging a sack. However, #4 overall is quite high. Obviously, The Professor thinks there is a statistically impressive season ahead for Big Ben.

The Takeaway: If Big Ben is even a top-10 fantasy quarterback this season it will be impressive, but don’t be surprised if he can’t crack the top two within his own division behind Joe Flacco and Andy Dalton this year.

St. Louis Rams

The News: What will the Rams do at the wide receiver position?

The Spin: In hopes of improving their worst position last year, does any player look to breakout this year?

The Takeaway: Brian Quick continues to be the name creating the most buzz. The rookie missed practice due to back spasms earlier in the week. He did see game action and had one catch for 39 yards against Dallas. The team hopes to put him on the outside with Danny Amendola in the slot to give Sam Bradford some options.

The News: Sam Bradford is looking good again.

The Spin: In taking apart the Chiefs last weekend, Bradford showed no effects from a high ankle sprain that it was speculated might need surgery. A good showing against the Cowboys would give the Rams some optimism.

The Takeaway: Bradford looked like he was running for his life behind a shaky offensive line for most of Saturday. He went 6 of 17 for 64 yards. Whatever momentum there might have been, the emergency brake has been pulled back on. But if they don’t let go of the brake soon, it might lead to another holding penalty.

San Diego Chargers

The News: Antonio Gates and Philip Rivers were healthy scratches for Week 3 of the preseason.

The Spin: The Chargers know what they have in their two best offensive stars, so why risk them? Especially with Gates battling foot injuries for years, it was a smart move on the part of the Chargers.

The Takeaway: The O-line is currently decimated and there is no need to risk their starters.

The News: The running back situation continues to be unclear in Mathew’s absence.

The Spin: The Chargers are averaging 2.2 yards per carry without Mathews this preseason. Part of that is due to the above lack of O-line strength. The favorite to be Mathews’ backup, Ronnie Brown, is running at a paltry 2.7 yards per carry.

The Takeaway: Late-round drafters are hoping for value from Ronnie Brown in the Mathews-less games to come. However, if the O-line woes don’t get resolved, it wouldn’t matter if Walter Payton were in the Chargers backfield.

San Francisco 49ers

The News: How are Brandon Jacobs and LaMichael James feeling?

The Spin: After a nasty helmet-to-knee hit, it looked as though Jacobs’ season might be over. However, there is no structural injury to his knee. James limped off the field after twisting his ankle, but he was back in pads on Tuesday.

The Takeaway: Jacobs might be ready in Week 1 to poach some touchdowns from Frank Gore or Kendall Hunter around the goal line. James is an intriguing back, but where will the touches come from in an already crowded backfield?

The News: What is going to happen with the new receivers?

The Spin: Randy Moss, Mario Manningham and first-round pick A.J. Jenkins were added to the offense to potentially open things up a bit. Is that really how is it going to play out?

The Takeaway: I doubt heavily the mindset is going to change in San Francisco. They are going to pound the ball, rely on their defense, and end up apologizing for something Jim Harbaugh says or does this year. Something along the lines of, “He’s fiery,” “We love playing for him,” or “He didn’t know it was loaded.”

Seattle Seahawks

The News: Russell Wilson gets the start against Kansas City and will start Week 1.

The Spin: He and Matt Flynn are running neck and neck, so it wasn’t much of a surprise that Wilson got a chance to see what he could do with the starters.

The Takeaway: Wilson was impressive Friday, making all the throws and going 13 of 19 for 185 yards and a pair of scores with no interceptions. He also had 58 yards on a pair of rushes, if the passing numbers weren’t enough. As a result, Pete Carroll had no choice but to name Wilson the starter and wonder what to do with Flynn... “How can we defer some of Flynn’s cap number?” or “Can he play wide receiver?”

The News: Sidney Rice made his preseason debut.

The News: After surgery on both shoulders in the offseason and still suffering lingering effects from concussions, Rice finally got on the field Friday.

The Takeaway: Even with limited play, Rice might be the Seahawks best receiver. He caught one pass for eight yards. Braylon Edwards had one catch for 32 yards, so at least Rice will have some help this year. Hopefully it won’t just be to help him pop his shoulder back in place.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The News: LeGarrette Blount and Doug Martin continue to battle.

The Spin: As he writhed on the ground after taking a shot near his knee, Blount looked as though he had suffered a serious injury. Fortunately for him, it was classified as a groin injury and he was back on the practice field on Monday. Martin however took advantage of his opportunity.

The Takeaway: With the position up for grabs and with Martin fighting for lead back carries, it has been a tumultuous preseason for Blount. Against the Patriots, he had seven carries for 22 yards. However, Martin got the start, due to performance and not injury, and had 13 carries for 53 yards and a score and three catches for 12 yards. At least after this game, Martin looks like he has the inside track.

The News: Mike Williams wants to make up for a lackluster 2011.

The Spin: He is coming off a year with only three scores and 700 yards after breaking out as a rookie in 2010.

The Takeaway: Vincent Jackson is the clear No. 1 receiver on the team now. I find it hard to believe that the offense will be wide open enough for a second wide receiver to post solid numbers. Williams had one catch for 4 yards and Jackson had three catches for 49 yards. Looks like a sign of things to come.

Tennessee Titans

The News: We will get to see more of Jake Locker in preseason Week 4.

The Spin: According to head coach Mike Munchak, “I’d like to see him play a half, get into the two-minute warning and then call it a night.” This means that prospective fantasy owners will get to see one more performance before signing up if they should so decide.

The Takeaway: Jake Locker has looked good but not stellar in this preseason, now there will be one more chance to evaluate (and also get hurt) before being committed, if you’re a believer in the Titans’ offensive chances this year.

The News: Rookie WR Kendall Wright makes a name for himself.

The Spin: First round draft pick Kendall Wright made good on his potential in Week 3, catching 4 passes for 44 yards and a TD in just one quarter.

The Takeaway: At least while Kenny Britt is out, Wright should be started in all formats of fantasy, and if he does well enough, he may cut into Nate Washington’s productions this season.

Washington Redskins

The News: More questions at the running back position.

The Spin: Roy Helu and Tim Hightower will both be questionable for the start of the season. This looked like a great opportunity for Evan Royster to step up and seize the starting running back position.

The Takeaway: Of course not. Royster reported knee soreness and missed the third preseason game against the Colts. Alfred Morris was the next man in and he played well. He ran 14 times for 107 yards and a touchdown. The questions outnumber the backs at this point. I hope you have a late draft.

The News: How will RGIII fare in his third NFL game?

The Spin: With a rocky second game against the Bears, Griffin gets the chance to play not only against No. 1 overall pick Andrew Luck, he gets a chance to thrive (one would hope) against a dicey Colts team.

The Takeaway: He went 11 of 17 for 74 yards and a score. The plus side is that the team made an effort to play the vertical game and take a few cracks deep downfield. None of the throws connected, but it is nice to see that as an option. The downside is that he is still a rookie and his future remains unknown.