September 19, 2017

All Out Blitz

Arizona Cardinals: Even with the addition of RB Chester Taylor, Beanie Wells is still expected to handle the bulk of the rushing load for the Cardinals…..SS Adrian Wilson has a torn biceps but looks to be a go for Sunday.  It is still anyone’s guess as to how long he will last…..Andre Roberts will line up opposite WR Larry Fitzgerald on opening day.

Atlanta Falcons: Former WR Andre Rison was indicted for failure to pay child support. Well at least his house didn’t get burned down this time…..The Falcons have had an extremely quiet preseason for a team this good…..There doesn’t seem to be a question as to whether or not the Falcons will make the playoffs this season. Instead, the question is how deep they will go into the playoffs.

Baltimore Ravens: David Garrard would be a perfect backup for the Ravens in their quest for a Super Bowl run…..WR Torrey Smith will get his shot at returning kicks in Week 1 with David Reed suspended…..Have to like the signing of OL Andre Gurode. The guy has made quite a few Pro Bowls and will provide valuable experience along the line.

Buffalo Bills: The Bills may want to get the ball in the hands of RB C.J. Spiller more often, but it will not be on kick or punt returns; where he will be the backup, not the starter…..Spiller will also be the backup to Fred Jackson at running back, who is the number one guy for Buffalo right now…..I’m still having a hard time seeing the Bills finish anywhere but last this season in the AFC East. Unfortunately for them, they probably won’t be bad enough to be in the Andrew Luck sweepstakes.

Carolina Panthers: LB Jon Beason is still battling an Achilles injury but is expected to be ready to play Sunday…..How the mighty have fallen! Not only has QB Jimmy Claussen lost the starting job to Cam Newton, but he may have also lost the backup gig to Derek Anderson…..I have the over/under on Panther wins this season at four.

Chicago Bears: Not sure why, but WR Roy Williams is still listed ahead of Johnny Knox on the depth chart. This may actually be nothing more than a matter of semantics in a Mike Martz offense–rarely there are only two receivers on the field…..Contract negotiations between the team and RB Matt Forte have broken down and will not resume again until after the season…..RB Marion Barber will be the goal line guy assuming he can remain healthy.

Cincinnati Bengals: There are rumors being circulated now that the Bengals let the cat out of the bag about QB Carson Palmer visiting ownership in order to light a fire under Andy Dalton…..RB Cedric Benson has been released from prison and should be good to go Sunday, but it’s really hard to see him having any kind of value this season…..The Bengals claimed WR Ben Tate off waivers. He has some upside, but it won’t be easy breaking into the Bengals receiver rotation.

Cleveland Browns: RB Montario Hardesty is healthy and should be able to give Peyton Hillis enough rest to keep him from wearing down as the season moves along…..WR Greg Little won’t open the season as a starter, but impressed the Browns coaching staff enough where he might get there by season’s end…..The new kickoff rule should definitely hurt the value of WR Josh Cribbs. You have to wonder though, if he will feel the pressure to return kicks even if he is eight yards deep into his own end zone.

Dallas Cowboys: The Cowboys may be traveling to New York on a Red Cross bus. CB Terrance Newman is out with a groin injury, CB Mike Jenkins injured his knee in practice Wednesday and is questionable at best, and 1st round pick OG Tyron Smith hyperextended his knee in practice and is unlikely to play–ouch…..The good news is that WR Miles Austin returned to practice, granted on a limited basis, but should be good to go.

Denver Broncos: Although it has yet to be stated officially, QB Brady Quinn is the number two behind Kyle Orton. Still have to believe though that if the Broncos get off to a bad start, they are going to have to see what they have in Tim Tebow…..WR Demaryius Thomas is well ahead of schedule in his recuperation of an Achilles injury, and could possibly be ready to play in Week 1.

Detroit Lions: Quick, who is the Lions number two WR? That’s right, Nate Burleson, who could have a big season with everyone worrying about Calvin Johnson. If only QB Matthew Stafford can stay healthy…..DT Nick Fairley is not expected to be ready for Week One after undergoing foot surgery earlier in camp…..RB Maurice Morris is out for Sunday, leaving the backup job in the hands of Jerome Harrison.

Green Bay Packers: Looks like RB James Starks and Ryan Grant are going to split the carries somewhat to begin the season, but it shouldn’t shock anyone if Starks gets a bigger and bigger share as the season goes along…..With TE JerMichael Finley back, WR Greg Jennings could see fewer balls thrown his way…..I’m going to say the Packers will get their title defense off to a good start on Thursday with a 31-23 win.

Houston Texans: If ever the Texans were going to get over the hump and win the AFC South, this season is it…..There is a rumor going around that with QB Peyton Manning not playing in Week 1, the Texans may choose to sit RB Arian Foster and give him another week to rest his injured hamstring. The thinking being that without Manning, they can beat the Colts without Foster…..If Foster were to miss the game, look for Derrick Ward to lead the Texans in carries, not Ben Tate.

Indianapolis Colts: The Colts season may be teetering on the brink of disaster. If QB Peyton Manning misses anything more than a game or two, the season for the Colts and their fans will be a long one. No team that I can remember has ever been so dependent on one person. Without Manning, the Colts ground game isn’t good enough to scare anyone. Kerry Collins has never been anything more than an average QB. Even the defense is built to rush the passer to protect a lead and leads may be rare…..It’s a shame that Manning’s streak of consecutive starts has to come to an end, but what a great ride it’s been. Here’s hoping he starts another streak shortly.

Jacksonville Jaguars: The release of QB David Garrard this late into camp came as a shock to just about everyone in the NFL. The team will start the season with Luke McCown under center but one has to believe that Blaine Gabbert could take over that role after their bye in Week 8…..The Jags have tried to sell this move by telling everyone that McCown outplayed Garrard, but the truth is it was all about money as the team saves about $8 million if he is not on the roster come Week 1.

Kansas City Chiefs: QB Matt Cassel may or may not have a cracked rib depending upon whom you believe, but either way it looks like he will start Sunday…..TE Tony Moeaki wasn’t so lucky however as he will miss the entire season with a torn ACL…..As I’m writing this, it has started to thunder and lightning outside–not sure what that means for the Chiefs chances this season.

Miami Dolphins: QB Chad Henne has had a good preseason and looks to be in sync with WR Brandon Marshall. If Henne can’t get it done this season, he won’t get another shot in south Florida…..The Dolphins were toying with the idea of starting Marshall and Davone Bess at WR, but in the end they decided to keep Bess in the slot and return Brian Hartline to his starting role.

Minnesota Vikings:  The Vikings are trying to figure out a way to get QB Joe Webb on the field to take advantage of his athleticism…..WR Bernard Berrian had to agree to restructure his contract in order to stay on the team…..TE Visanthe Shiancoe didn’t play at all this preseason, but looks to be ready to start Week 1…..RB Adrian Peterson is going to have a monster season.

New England Patriots: QB Tom Brady stated this week that he would welcome WR Randy Moss back. One has to wonder if this is Brady’s way of saying that he is not all that happy with his current stable of wideouts. Of course, the only opinion that matters is that of HC Bill Belichick’s, and he may not want the headache that is Moss on his team again. Could you imagine Moss, Chad Ochocinco, and Albert Haynesworth all on the same team?

New Orleans Saints: WR Lance Moore won’t play Thursday versus Green Bay…..This week may not be an optimal situation, but WR Robert Meacham could have a solid season. At the very least, he should be more of a target with the injury to Moore and Marques Colston playing on cranky knees…..Speaking of more targets, TE Jimmy Graham is going to be a household name by the end of the season.

New York Giants: The Giants lost yet another player when LB Jonathan Goff went down for the count with a torn ACL…..WR Domenik Hixon will open the season as the punt returner…..DE Osi Umenyiora is out for at least the first two games–at least it’s not for the entire season…..You have to love that the agent for former Giants RB Tiki Barber said he was shocked that no one signed his client. Really? Shocked that no one would sign a player who hasn’t played football in a couple of seasons and torched his former team in the media when he left.

New York Jets: I know the Jets aren’t a passing offense, but you have to think they will come out throwing Sunday night against Dallas if the Cowboys don’t have their top two CBs playing…..David Garrard could also be a good backup QB for the Jets who only have Mark Brunnell behind Mark Sanchez…..CB Darrelle Revis has been dealing with a hip flexor, but he will be good to go Sunday.

Oakland Raiders: TE Kevin Boss is still not practicing and he is questionable at best to play Sunday…..QB Terrelle Pryor has changed his mind once again and now will appeal his suspension. Seems to me he was probably pressured by the team and the NFLPA into appealing. He might be better off just serving the suspension and getting it over with.

Philadelphia Eagles: WR Jeremy Maclin is taking all of his usual snaps in practice and should be good to go for Sunday, but don’t be surprised if it takes him a week or two to get into the flow of things…..WR Steve Smith practiced Wednesday and may actually be available to play Sunday after all…..Sticking with WRs, DeSean Jackson will once again be the punt returner for Philly.

Pittsburgh Steelers: WR Emmanuel Sanders is indeed ready to go for Sunday…..LB James Harrison still does not believe he is 100% recovered from off-season back surgery…..The Steelers and S Troy Polamalu have been in contract negotiations. If Pittsburgh is unable to sign him, they will franchise the All-Pro after the season.

San Diego Chargers: Deciding which RB to take in your fantasy league, Mike Tolbert or Ryan Matthews, can drive an owner crazy. Matthews will probably get more carries, catch more passes, and be the main guy between the 20s, but Tolbert is the goal line guy and he’s going to get his fair share of carries also…..WR Patrick Crayton didn’t practice Wednesday, but still has a good chance to play Sunday.

San Francisco 49ers: WR Michael Crabtree finally practiced in pads and might actually be able to play Sunday, although it would likely be at less than 100%…..Not only did RB Kendall Hunter win the backup job behind Frank Gore, but he also won the kickoff return job…..WR Braylon Edwards was fined $50K this week for violating the league’s substance abuse policy, but once again won’t be suspended.

Seattle Seahawks: The Hawks said they are not interested in QB David Garrard. You would think with Tavares Jackson and Charlie Whitehurst on your roster that you would be interested in any QB that comes around…..WR Sidney Rice is still not practicing with a shoulder injury and may not play Sunday…..After the release of Jeff Reed, it looks like Steven Hauschka will start the season as the placekicker for Seattle.

St. Louis Rams: After placing WR Mark Clayton on the PUP list, he won’t be available until Week 7…..Former Rams WR Donnie Avery made it through waivers, so he’s free for anyone to claim…..I still think it’s a crime that the Rams haven’t found a true number one WR to play with QB Sam Bradford.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: CB Aqib Talib will play for Tampa this week, not so long ago it looked he might be released or even in jail…..RB LaGarrette Blount will not play on 3rd downs, but will still be the main ball carrier on 1st and 2nd downs…..Not only will Arrelious Benn play this week, but he will be the starter–nice to see as he had to battle back from injury.

Tennessee Titans: Now that RB Chris Johnson is signed, we will see if he suffers some kind of leg injury like it seems many players suffer who don’t attend training camp…..WR Kenny Britt will be good to go Sunday. He could be in for another excellent season if QB Matt Hasselback can remain upright…..Have to feel a little bad that WR Kevin Curtis couldn’t make the team.

Washington Redskins: So Rex Grossman will once again be the Skins starting QB. Makes you wonder how long until his turnovers drive the Shanahans crazy and force them to turn to John Beck…..S Oshiomogho Atogwe has been battling a hamstring injury all preseason but will play Sunday if he can practice later this week…..Roy Helu will be the backup RB behind Tim Hightower to start the season.

All Out Blitz

Arizona Cardinals: Right now Andre Roberts is expected to start opposite Larry Fitzgerald at WR. Now don’t get too excited and go running out to pick him up in your fantasy leagues. This could easily change before the season begins…..Speaking of Fitzgerald, he wants to sign a long term deal with Arizona as he is happy with their off-season moves, but if a deal can’t be worked out, the Cards can’t franchise him as he has a clause in his contract that prohibits that move.

Atlanta Falcons: Rumors are flying around the Atlanta training camp that the addition of WR Julio Jones will allow the Falcons to have more of a high tempo aerial attack. With WR Roddy White and TE Tony Gonzalez, the Falcons could certainly go this route, but it’s hard to see them going in this direction unless it is necessary; as it’s hard to win shootouts week in and week out…..With all the talk about the Saints, Packers, and Eagles, the Falcons have been able to fly under the radar so far. They just may be the best of them all.

Baltimore Ravens: TE Ed Dickson is practicing once again. Dickson needs to be on the field as much as possible in order to gain QB Joe Flacco’s trust. Flacco could use a big target over the middle…..Where RB Ray Rice goes in your fantasy draft probably depends on whether or not you believe that Ricky Williams will take over the Willis McGahee role and vulture short yardage touchdown runs. The Ravens coaching staff states that Rice will get those carries, but I have my doubts.

Buffalo Bills: If LB Shawn Merriman can continue to put pressure on the opposing QB like he did in the first preseason game, than the Bills’ defense could be better than first thought…..QB Brad Smith saw quite a few snaps in the Wildcat formation during the first preseason game. He could be a weapon in that offense, as the Bills want to use him similar to how the Steelers used Kordell Stewart in the 90s…..The Bills finally parted ways with former 1st round pick LB Aaron Maybin. Can you say bust?

Carolina Panthers: QB Cam Newton impressed in his first pro start and seems to be on target to start the season under center for Carolina. With that being said, if the Panthers had a solid veteran presence at QB, they would probably prefer to have Newton watch and learn but Jimmy Claussen does not give them that option…..TE Greg Olsen had a solid 1st game for Carolina. It should surprise no one if he is the team’s best receiver this season no matter who is throwing him the ball.

Chicago Bears: Neither WR Johnny Knox nor Roy Williams was all that impressive in the first preseason game, as only one ball was caught between them. So if there is indeed a training camp battle between these two, no one did all that much to cause separation…..I have a hard time thinking the Bears believe they can go into this season with Williams and Hester as your starting wideouts. Not all that impressive.

Cincinnati Bengals: The Bengals and CB Leon Hall are likely to open up contract negotiations shortly. Hall has pretty good leverage, as the Bengals have plenty of cap room and can’t let another CB walk and get nothing in return. They already let Jonathan Joseph go to the Texans. But then again, this is the Bengals we’re talking about…..WR AJ Green injured his knee in practice Wednesday, but it looks to be minor. Green may be one of the few reasons to watch the Bungles this season.

Cleveland Browns: I’m still trying to think of a reason to watch the Browns…..The teams top two RBs, Peyton Hills (hamstring) and Montario Hardesty (knee), are both banged up but should be good to go by next week…..QB Colt McCoy might be that reason to watch the Browns. He had an impressive first preseason game. Still he is not a true franchise QB, rather he is more of a game manager.

Dallas Cowboys: WR Dwayne Harris had a fantastic first pro game and is gaining on Kevin Ogletree for the 3rd WR job, but before anyone gets too excited, the Cowboys don’t use three WR sets all that often. They love to go with two TEs and line up Jason Witten in the slot to go along with Miles Austin and Dez Bryant…..A name to remember in those two TE formations is John Phillips, as he may eventually surpass Martellus Bennett on the depth chart. Phillips was making noise in training camp last year before tearing his ACL.

Denver Broncos: While RB Knowshon Moreno has looked very good in practice so far, Willis McGahee could vulture TDs from him just like he did from Ray Rice last season…..It’s pretty much set in stone that Kyle Orton will start over Tim Tebow at quarterback. The bigger question may be who will backup up Orton: Tebow or Brady Quinn…..DT Ty Warren, who was being relied on to stuff the run for Denver, tore his triceps and is a candidate for IR.

Detroit Lions: DT Ndamukong Suh may think the $20K fine for ripping the helmet off yet another QB’s head is excessive, but he still will want to calm himself down for fear of getting the reputation that LB James Harrison of Pittsburgh has gained. Last thing Suh wants is the NFL to look at his play with a fine tooth comb…..DT Nick Fairly is no longer wearing a cast and seems to be on pace to possibly play in Week One.

Green Bay Packers: WR Donald Driver has stated that he will accept a demotion from his starting WR role if he feels James Jones or Jordy Nelson warrants the job…..WR Randall Cobb may not see much action in the passing game since the Packers are absolutely loaded at WR. He still could make a huge mark in the return game. Cobb will be a threat to take the ball to the house every time he touches it, as if the Packers didn’t have enough of those types of players.

Houston Texans: LB Mario Williams doesn’t look the least bit comfortable yet in the 3-4 defense. Switching from DE to LB means Williams will now have coverage responsibilities, something he is not the least bit familiar with…..The Texans are starting to tire of RB Ben Tate’s injuries. They need to see him on the field to see if he can be a legitimate backup to Arian Foster. If not, than Steve Slaton will remain on the roster.

Indianapolis Colts: After watching the Colts backup QBs, you have to seriously wonder if they could ever win a game that Peyton Manning didn’t start…..Will this be the year that WR Pierre Garcon takes that next step? It would be a big boon to the offense if Garcon could become a bit more consistent in his route running, and even more so, if he could actually catch the ball. He has been one of the league leaders in drops the past couple of seasons.

Jacksonville Jaguars: There is a pretty good chance that the Jags will play it safe with RB Maurice Jones-Drew this preseason. He may not see a snap until Week One of the regular season…..QB David Garrard looks to get his first action of the preseason this weekend. He better get on the field soon if he wants to remain the starting QB. The longer he is out, the more likely it is Blaine Gabbert that opens the season as the #1.

Kansas City Chiefs: Rookie WR Jonathan Baldwin looks to finally be healthy and could see some action this week. But don’t expect anything big. Baldwin may be no better than 5th when it comes to passing options…..No matter where the Chiefs place RB Jamaal Charles on their depth chart, the team will go as far as Charles can take them.

Miami Dolphins: QB Matt Moore hasn’t practiced all that well with the team. However, he did impress the coaches with his play during the game Friday. Will he unseat Chad Henne? Probably not right away, but the team/players have little to no faith in Henne. It could just be a matter of time, unfortunately for the Fish, that their quarterback of the future is not on the roster…..RB Reggie Bush will get his first action this weekend. Coach Tony Sparano is still undecided if he will use Bush on punt returns. I am not sure why you wouldn’t.

Minnesota Vikings:  Apparently the Vikings first choice to start at QB was Tyler Thigpen, not Donovan McNabb. If that’s true, I’m not sure why Thigpen would sign in Buffalo for a backup job…..WR Percy Harvin may not play this weekend. It’s not due to migraines, but rather bruised ribs…..DL Kevin Williams has accepted his fate that he will finally be suspended after losing an appeal in the StarCaps case, probably four games.

New England Patriots: WR TJ Houshmandzadeh is scheduled to visit New England this week. It could be interesting to see Housh and Ochocinco together once again…..QB Tom Brady is said to be on fire in training camp. I would still like to see who becomes the Pats deep threat to stretch out the secondary…..You have to love coach Bill Belichick’s honesty about why the NFL moved the kickoff up to the 35 yard line—because they want to eliminate the return game.

New Orleans Saints: RB Mark Ingram has looked impressive in camp, but still it’s hard to see him having a big season with Pierre Thomas still on the roster…..If you’re looking for a sleeper WR for your fantasy league, Lance Moore could be your man.

New York Giants: A little bit of controversy here in the Northeast as QB Eli Manning compared himself to Tom Brady. You have to love his self confidence. He did beat Brady in a Super Bowl, but Manning has a ways to go before he can consider himself in Brady’s class, a sure fire Hall of Famer…..DE Osi Umenyiora has returned to camp, but one has to wonder if it’s just a matter of time until he walks out again if he is unable to get his contract extension.

New York Jets: WR Plaxico Burress finally practiced Wednesday. He will need all the reps he can get with QB Mark Sanchez…..LB Aaron Maybin, formerly a Bill, signed with the Jets Wednesday…..RB Joe McKnight suffered a concussion during the game Monday. He’s going to have to prove himself a bit more durable if he wants a bigger role in the Jets offense this season.

Oakland Raiders: WR Louis Murphy will miss the regular season opener with hamstring and groin injuries…..The good news is that WR Jacoby Ford and RB Darren McFadden are both on the mend and should get into a preseason game or two, but not this weekend.

Philadelphia Eagles: The Eagles received a dose of good news when it was discovered that WR Jeremy Maclin does not have a significant illness and could begin practicing with the team in a week to 10 days. He is expected to be ready for the regular season…..The asking price for CB Asante Samuel is two 2nd round picks. So it seems he is unlikely to go anywhere, which makes sense seeing as though the Eagles seem to be all-in for this season.

Pittsburgh Steelers: CB Ike Taylor suffered a broken thumb in the first preseason game. Not a big deal though. He is supposed to be out of action for just a couple of weeks and won’t miss any regular season time…..WR Mike Wallace has set a goal this season of 2,000 yards receiving this season. While it’s always nice to set your goals high, that’s certainly not going to happen. Wallace seems to forget that the Steelers are a run team first.

San Diego Chargers: In fantasy leagues, drafting RB Ryan Matthews or Mike Tolbert could be dangerous, as the Chargers plan for these two seem to change by the day. The team wants Matthews to be the every down back, but right now, he hasn’t been all that impressive in camp…..TE Antonio Gates returned to practice this week and once again seems to be somewhat healthy. However, with plantar fasciitis, it could act up again at any time.

San Francisco 49ers: The 49ers were thinking about signing QB Daunte Culpepper but decided on Josh McCown instead…..WR Michael Crabtree was spotted without a walking boot, so it seems like the worst may be behind him…..If there is a QB competition between Alex Smith and rookie Colin Kaepernick, Smith is clearly ahead.

Seattle Seahawks: TE John Carlson has a labrum injury in his shoulder. Any missed time could find Carlson on the outside looking in with Zach Miller the new number one TE…..Even though Charlie Whitehurst clearly outplayed Tarvares Jackson in the first preseason game, head coach Pete Carroll stated that there is no competition at quarterback and that Jackson is his man.

St. Louis Rams: With the Rams minus a true number one WR, rookie TE Lance Kendricks could play a major part in their passing game…..WR Donnie Avery has returned to practice, but may have a hard time making the team. Don’t be surprised if he finds himself on the waiver wire before the end of camp.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: WR Arrelious Benn, who is coming off ACL surgery, will be cleared for contact next week…..Apparently LB Mason Foster will be eased into game action rather than having everything thrown at him at once.

Tennessee Titans: RB Chris Johnson not only wants to be the highest paid back, but also wants to be one of the highest paid players in the NFL. This situation could get real ugly if his contract demands don’t come down…..Still no word yet on whether or not WR Kenny Britt will be suspended for his multiple transgressions this off-season…..If there was any doubt in your mind, Matt Hasselbeck will start at QB for the Titans, at least to begin the season.

Washington Redskins: The Skins plan to start John Beck at QB this season unless he plays terribly this preseason. The Shanahan’s believe he is the real deal. This is not saying much, but I think Rex Grossman is the better QB. Ouch!…..TE Chris Cooley made a visit to Dr. James Andrews regarding his knee. Makes one wonder how serious the injury is…..The Skins are deep at TE though, as Fred Davis is a pretty good option.