June 28, 2017

All Out Blitz

Arizona Cardinals: Believe it or not, the Cardinals are still in the playoff hunt – now granted they still need the Falcons and Lions to lose both games but they are alive. Though there was some talk that coach Ken Whisenhunt’s job could be in jeopardy early in the season, this finish would seem to indicate that his job is safe…..Speaking of job’s that are safe, QB Kevin Kolb is still considered the Cards starter even though he has been outplayed by John Skelton while he has been dealing with a toe injury and a concussion. The Cards believe Kolb will be fine as soon as he gets an entire off-season with the team.

Atlanta Falcons: The Falcons will clinch a playoff berth with one more win and can still win the division if they win their last two games and the Saints lose both. Now you may think that is farfetched and while I admit it is unlikely, the Falcons do play the Saints on Monday night, and next week the Falcons have a gimme game versus Tampa while New Orleans will play Carolina. It is certainly not out of the realm of possibility, the problem though is that both of the Saints remaining games are at home. It is hard to see them losing twice in the Superdome.

Baltimore Ravens: The Ravens certainly laid an egg versus the Chargers last week, but still control the AFC North thanks to the Steelers loss to the 49ers…..How far the Ravens will go in the playoff might be directly proportionate to how well QB Joe Flacco plays. He has been the definition of inconsistency and certainly needs the help that RB Ray Rice can provide. The running game will open up things in the passing game, especially for WR Torrey Smith who can get behind any safety.

Buffalo Bills: With the emergence of RB C.J. Spiller, what will the Bills do next season with Fred Jackson? Jackson was leading the league in rushing when he went down for the season but Spiller is showing that he might be able to handle the full-time role as well. It’s a good problem to have, especially in today’s NFL where having two solid RBs seems to be a must…..The way QB Ryan Fitzpatrick has played since signing his big contract, one has to wonder if the Bills will cut bait and go in a different direction next season, especially before his bonus kicks in.

Carolina Panthers: If the Panthers can build a defense next season, at least an average one, and add another receiver or two to their current crop, they could be a team to watch…..QB Cam Newton should only get better and the NFC South should be a fun division to play in for years to come.

Chicago Bears: What a disaster this season has been for the Bears. They were well on their way to a playoff spot before losing QB Jay Cutler to a broken thumb and RB Matt Forte to a knee injury. QB Caleb Hanie has just been terrible and cost the Bears any chance they had at a playoff spot…..Josh McCown will start for the Bears versus the Packers on Christmas night and he will do so without WR Johnny Knox who is out for the season after suffering a back injury last week.

Cincinnati Bengals: You have to hand it to WR A.J. Green. He suffered a third-degree separation of his shoulder during the game last week but continued to try to play. The man has heart. His status for this week is unknown as the Bengals need to win out to have a shot at making the playoffs, something that looked like a definite about a month ago. It won’t be easy as they play the Cardinals this week, a team with an outside shot at the playoffs, and then the Ravens who will probably need the game to clinch the AFC North.

Cleveland Browns: We’ve all heard the hoopla surrounding the concussion suffered by QB Colt McCoy and how the Browns handled it. Well, McCoy still has concussion symptoms and Seneca Wallace is likely to start once again…..The NFL did change their concussion protocol once again as there will be a concussion specialist assigned to each team who will be in the booth to make sure that any player who is being treated by the medical staff will be looked at for a possible concussion.

Dallas Cowboys: Here is the situation for the Cowboys and their hopes of winning the NFC East, if they win their last two games versus the Eagles and Giants, they win the division, if the Giants lose to the Jets on Saturday and the Cowboys beat the Eagles later that day, it’s over, if the Giants and Cowboys both lose Saturday, than the Cowboys can clinch with a win over the Giants in Week 17, the Cowboys can also clinch the wild card with a win Saturday, loss in Week 17 if the Falcons lose twice, and the Cardinals lose once, fun fun fun…..RB Felix Jones is dealing with a hamstring injury, should come as no shock as Jones has never been able to stay healthy for any long period of time, Sammy Morris could get more carries than usual, and if the Giants win at 1pm Saturday, Dallas would have very little to play for at 4pm, and may rest Jones for what would be a winner take all game in Week 17.

Denver Broncos: Well QB Tim Tebow finally lost another game, sooner or later the magic run was going to end, but the Broncos are still in good shape and with the Raiders collapsing Denver is still the odds on favorite to win the division, Tebow has gotten better, should be interesting to see what a full off-season can do for him as Broncos GM John Elway announced this week the Tebow will be with the team next season.

Detroit Lions: The Lions are also on the verge of clinching a playoff spot and one win will do, they don’t have much of a running game, and their defense has major holes, but that passing game seems to get more dangerous each and every week as QB Matthew Stafford gains more and more trust in WR Titus Young…..The running game is still a problem as Kevin Smith is still hobbled by an ankle sprain, he will more than likely start this week, question is, can he finish?

Green Bay Packers: Although the Packers won’t have an undefeated season, the loss might be the best thing for them, they are a banged up team suffering two more losses to their offensive line during the game, we all know their defense isn’t very good, if they can’t protect QB Aaron Rodgers and allow them to score at will, than this season may not have a magical ending…..Rodgers has taken some heat for an off week in their loss to the Chiefs in Week 15, but truth is his receivers dropped at least a half-dozen passes, the biggest culprit being TE Jermichael Finley who has had a problem with the drops all year.

Houston Texans: The Texans look like a team that just may be running out of gas, losing a starting QB in Matt Schaub will do that as you can’t keep settling for field goals instead of touchdowns, be surprised if they weren’t one and done in the playoffs…..WR Andre Johnson could certainly help the offense but he won’t play in Week 16, there is a chance however that he could play in Week 17, but once again there could be very little incentive to play him in the final game of the season, his health for the playoffs is much more important.

Indianapolis Colts: Not only will there not be an undefeated team this season, but their won’t be a winless team either as the Colts finally managed to outscore an opponent…..RB Donald Brown had a big game including an 80 yard romp to ice the game late in the 4th quarter, he may be the front-runner to be Colts number one back next season…..Speaking of next season, the Colts are no longer a shoo-in to get the number one pick, which would alleviate all the problems of what to do with QB Peyton Manning…..Speaking of Manning, the Colts announced that he won’t practice with the team for the remainder of the season.

Jacksonville Jaguars: You have to love the season RB Maurice Jones-Drew is having with virtually no passing attack, not sure why defenses don’t put 8-9 guys in the box, not like they have to worry about QB Blaine Gabbert beating them over the top…..

Kansas City Chiefs: What a game by the Chiefs last week in handing the Packers their first loss, coach Romeo Crennel deserves credit for turning this team around, perhaps he will have a chance to get the top job on more than an interim basis next season…..The Chiefs are actually still alive for the division title, now they have to win both and have Denver and Oakland lose both along with San Diego losing at least one of two, but they do play the Raiders this week and Denver next week, so there is a chance.

Miami Dolphins: Whoever is the new head coach of the Dolphins next season will have an interesting dilemma, what to do with RBs Reggie Bush and Daniel Thomas?, Bush has proven this season that he can indeed handle the every down role and rush the ball between the tackles while Thomas has yet to prove much of anything, that being said Thomas is the bigger back and he was drafted to be the lead back, probably a good problem to have, but a problem none the less…..WR Brandon Marshall has had a solid season, but it would’ve been so much better if he would stop dropping TD passes, that was two more last Sunday.

Minnesota Vikings: RB Adrian Peterson teased fantasy owners last week by only rushing the ball 10 times, he did get 60 yards on those carries but in the end he may have cost quite a few owners in the playoffs, that being said fantasy owners only have themselves to blame as Minnesota was going to be very cautious with their franchise player, and with New Orleans and QB Drew Brees in town, there was very little chance that Minnesota was going to be able to keep the game close in the second half and not have to abandon the running game.

New England Patriots: With Texans losing last week the Patriots now have the first seed in the AFC, and if they win their last two games will have home field advantage throughout the playoffs, course playing in New England hasn’t helped the Pats in the playoffs the past couple of years…..The Pats defense has been abysmal all season and losing their best pass rusher, DE Andre Carter, for the year due to a quad injury certainly won’t help matters any.

New Orleans Saints: The Saints could finish anywhere from the number two seed to the number five seed depending on how they finish up, they need the 49ers to lose one of their last two games and win out in order to get the two seed and a first round bye, but if they lose out and Atlanta wins out, the Falcons would win the division and the Saints would play the NFC East winner in the first round…..I know QB Aaron Rodgers is almost a shoe in for the MVP but Drew Brees is going to deserve some serious consideration for the year he is having, and the he and the Saints may be the biggest obstacle towards Green Bay going back to the Super Bowl.

New York Giants: Wow, how can the Giants lay an egg in an important division game versus the Redskins?, they just came out flat, QB Eli Manning has taken quite a bit of heat for having a terrible game that included multiple interceptions, but he didn’t get any help from his receivers, specifically Hakeem Nicks who dropped two sure touchdown passes…..Has Osi Umenyiora played his last game for the Giants?, he is still dealing with a sprained ankle and unlikely to play this Saturday versus the Jets, and if the Giants lose, than it would seem unlikely that he would play it what would be a meaningless game for the Giants in Week 17.

New York Jets: The Giants weren’t the only team who didn’t show up last week as the Jets were also lambasted by the Eagles in what was an important game, like Eli Manning, QB Mark Sanchez also wasn’t given much help, as WR Santonio Holmes fumbled one reception that directly led to an Eagles TD, and then had a pass go right through his hands that led to another Eagles TD…..Holmes eventually scored a TD that made the score 28-10 Philly, he then went on to celebrate by standing on the football while doing an Eagle flap, a celebration that instantly drew a flag, a flag that Holmes admitted to later he knew was coming, good to see he cares about the team and not himself, seems to me it would’ve been the perfect time to bench him and send a message, but instead Rex Ryan said he supported his player publicly, not surprised, players take after their coaches and Ryan is out there to say the least.

Oakland Raiders: The Raiders looked like they had turned things around last week versus Detroit after a couple of disastrous road games only to fall apart in the second half when they forgot that WR Calvin Johnson is a really good receiver and you may want to cover him, they aren’t out of the AFC West hunt yet, but another poor outing and their season is done…..RB Darren McFadden is done for the season although the Raiders have yet to admit it, his loss seems to have triggered their downfall, just a big part of their offense.

Philadelphia Eagles: Who would’ve thought the Eagles would still have a chance to win the NFC East and make the playoffs at this point in the season?, now they still need a small miracle but stranger things have happened, it’s a shame it took them so long into the season to figure things out, but if they were able to sneak in, they would be a team that no one wants to play.

Pittsburgh Steelers: I don’t blame the Steelers for letting QB Ben Roethlisberger play Monday night, although he was hobbled, with the Ravens losing earlier in the day the Steelers had a chance to take over the top spot in the AFC, this week however is a different story, they can beat the Rams with or without Ben, but won’t go far in the playoffs without him, time to let him rest for a couple of weeks and get that ankle healthy.

San Diego Chargers: The Chargers are once again going on their late season run, more than likely though it’s a little to little, little to late for both the Chargers season and coach Norv Turner…..The Chargers offense is hitting on all cylinders as the Bolts have fixed their offensive line problems, which has opened bigger holes for RB Ryan Matthews and Mike Tolbert and also given QB Phillip Rivers time to find his receivers down the field.

San Francisco 49ers: How far can the 49ers go in the playoffs?, as things stand now they will likely play the Saints in the divisional round of the playoffs, not the best matchup for SF as their weakness is against the pass, something New Orleans does quite well, although not as well on the road as they do at home, 49ers could be one and done as well…..LB Patrick Willis still isn’t practicing after missing the past two games with a hamstring injury, 49ers may be playing it safe with Willis, wanting to make sure he’s as close to 100% as possible going into the playoffs.

Seattle Seahawks: The Hawks are another team with an extremely outside shot at the playoffs, although they play the 49ers on Saturday which could put those hopes to an end…..The most interesting thing about this game is that RB Marshawn Lynch, who has been one of the hotter backs in the league, will be going up against the SF defense, a defense that has yet to allow a rushing TD all season, drama…..Problem for the Hawks is the way to beat the 49ers is through the air, and QB Tavares Jackson seems to be losing target to throw to each and every week, not they he would inspire confidence anyway.

St. Louis Rams: The Rams season can’t come to an end soon enough and this season may be the last for coach Steve Spagnuolo and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, the Rams will be someone else’s mess next season, a mess that may include the first overall pick in the draft if the Colts could win another game, a pick they could get a bounty for as they already have a franchise QB in Sam Bradford, quite a few needs could be filled.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Talk about a team that has packed it in, the Bucs are the definition…..They have been terribly disappointing this season as QB Josh Freeman, WR Mike Williams, and RB LeGarrette Blount have all taken some serious steps back, the blame could fall on head coach Raheem Morris who at the very least will be forced to make some changes on his staff and may actually be out of a job…..CB Aqib Talib was placed on IR, ending his season. so things are only going to get worse in the TB secondary.

Tennessee Titans: Hard to believe the Titans gave the Colts their first win last week, a loss that may keep the Titans out of the playoffs…..Things may not get much easier for the Titans this week as RB Chris Johnson is hobbled and is once again not at his best, and QB Matt Hasselback seems to be feeling the effects of a long season as he has not been able to finish the last two games.

Washington Redskins: You have to hand it to the Redskins, they haven’t given up on the season, they gave the Cowboys and Patriots a run for their money in the past couple of weeks and then upset the Giants, possibly ending their season last week, perhaps there is a future for this team after all.

All Out Blitz

Arizona Cardinals: That’s back to back upsets for the Cardinals of division leaders. Good to see they still have some fight left in them…..Unfortunately, QB Kevin Kolb didn’t play long as he suffered a head injury early in the game and did not return. He has yet to practice in full this week and seems certain to be a game time decision this week…..Everyone thought WR Larry Fitzgerald would be the happiest guy in Arizona when the Cardinals signed Kolb, but he has had his best games this season with John Skelton under center.

Atlanta Falcons: Big comeback win by the Falcons over the Panthers last week. The Falcons are unlikely to catch the Saints in the NFC South, but are looking pretty solid to take one of the wildcard spots…..Although the Falcons keep stating it’s a minor injury, RB Michael Turner just hasn’t been the same since suffering a groin injury. He hasn’t missed any game action, but isn’t putting up his typical numbers either. If it is not the groin, maybe the long season is catching up with him.

Baltimore Ravens: It looks like LB Ray Lewis will be back in the lineup this week. The Ravens played it smart and kept Lewis out of the lineup until he and the team were sure he was ready to return…..WR Torrey Smith has been getting a bigger and bigger role in the Ravens offense each and every week. If he continues to develop, the Ravens may have an offense that can at least rival their defense, but more importantly it will take some of the opposing defense’s attention off of RB Ray Rice.

Buffalo Bills: The Bills came out and stated this week that they won’t take a QB in the first round of next year’s draft. Once again reinforcing their faith in Ryan Fitzpatrick. I have a feeling that’s a mistake. Fitzpatrick can look good at times, but still doesn’t have the look of a franchise quarterback…..The Bills will also have a big decision to make with WR Steve Johnson. Contract talks have broken off, so they may have to figure out if they want to use their franchise tag on him.

Carolina Panthers: QB Cam Newton finally played like a rookie last week, throwing two interceptions to open up the second half and with his team up 16 points in what eventually became a loss. Oh well, growing pains are a part of the job…..It looks like the only thing that may be keeping K Olindo Mare on the roster would be his four-year, $12 million contract. The Panthers brought in Adi Kunalic and promised he will kick Sunday if he outperforms Mare this week in practice.

Chicago Bears: If not for the injury to RB Matt Forte, Marion Barber may have been released before the plane hit the ground after failing to stay inbounds to keep the clock running on the Bears final drive of the 4th quarter; thus giving the Broncos the chance they needed to tie the game and send it to overtime. He than fumbled on the first drive of overtime when it looked like he was breaking into the clear, allowing Denver to win the game.

Cincinnati Bengals: The Bengals are quickly blowing what was a good start to the season. They have had trouble beating winning teams all season and it is quickly catching up to them. At this point they may have to win out to make the playoffs…..This all being said, the Bengals do get a layup this week in St. Louis, than Arizona, and even the last game versus Baltimore could be in their favor if the Ravens don’t have anything to play for with their playoff picture solidified.

Cleveland Browns: The Browns are catching plenty of heat for their handling of the concussion suffered by QB Colt McCoy versus Pittsburgh. Apparently no one on the Cleveland medical staff saw McCoy get hit by the oncoming truck that was LB James Harrison, and when they did check him out they were worried about his finger, not his head. Now apparently Browns players suffered multiple concussions during this game which may have spread the medical staff kind of thin, but still someone had to see that hit and say “Hey, you may want to check Colt out.”

Dallas Cowboys: The Cowboys once again snatched defeat from the jaws of victory Sunday night, blowing a 12-point lead with five plus minutes left in the game…..Everyone seems to want to blame QB Tony Romo for missing WR Miles Austin with a pass that would have gone for a touchdown late in the 4th quarter, but Austin admitted that he lost the ball in the lights and that’s why he didn’t catch it. Criticizing K Dan Bailey for the block seems to be off base also since the kick wasn’t low. It was much more of a blocking problem or maybe it was just a great play by Giants DE Jason Pierre-Paul.

Denver Broncos: QB Tim Tebow is starting to make a believer out of me. This guy finds a way to win every game, even if he did have a tremendous amount of help from the Chicago offense in this one. Now if the Broncos and Tebow are able to beat the Patriots on Sunday, I might be a true believer…..With Tebow being 7-1 as a starter, now the Broncos have little choice but to anoint Tebow as their starting QB next season.

Detroit Lions: Not sure what to make of the Lions who almost blew that game to Minnesota last week and if not for a missed face mask penalty on the final play of the game, may have blown it indeed…..The Lions right now are in a playoff spot but have an interesting schedule over the remainder of the season. They play an Oakland team that is fighting for their playoff lives, a San Diego team that may be doing the same next week, than a Green Bay squad that could be playing for a perfect season. It should be fun times in Motor City.

Green Bay Packers: The Packers can clinch home field throughout the playoffs with either a win or a San Francisco loss. Than the big question would remain, do you play your starters and go for a perfect season, or rest them and make sure you are completely healthy for the playoffs? Now the injury to WR Greg Jennings last week, which will keep him out for the remainder of the regular season, could push the Packers towards playing it safe. But they know that an undefeated season would be immortality, plus they did win the Super Bowl last season which should make going for 19-0 even more of a must.

Houston Texans: You just can’t stop these Texans no matter who is at the wheel. QB Tyler Yates led an impressive comeback over the Bengals last week, a game that was in Cincinnati and much more important to the Bengals than the Texans, but still Yates led them to a game winning drive. Impressive indeed, still though, I’m having a tough time seeing the Texans winning more than one game in the playoffs…..Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips will be away from the team for the next 7-10 days as he will have a procedure to deal with a kidney ailment. Good luck Wade.

Indianapolis Colts: QB Peyton Manning has started throwing again. The question is, does he have the same zip on the ball that he did before the surgery? Next question still remains, what will the Colts do with Manning after the season and are they still planning on having Manning get in some game action before the end of the season?…..TE Dallas Clark did indeed return to action and didn’t suffer any setbacks with the leg, but did suffer a stinger that has kept him from practicing this week.

Jacksonville Jaguars: The NFL officially ratified Shahid Khan as the owner of the team, and Khan for his part stated once again that he is not planning on moving the team. Now moving the team would be hard anyway as they do have a lease through 2029, but there is an out clause if the Jags lose money for three straight seasons…..RB Maurice Jones-Drew is having an incredible season for a bad team. The numbers he is putting up for a team that has no other offensive weapons is unbelievable.

Kansas City Chiefs: So much for the Todd Haley era as he was fired this week. At least he won’t be around for the beating that the Chiefs are going to take from Green Bay this week. Look for the Chiefs to hire former Broncos head coach and current Rams offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels for the top job once the season concludes. He is the man they wanted instead of Haley in the first place, but Denver offered him the job first…..QB Kyle Orton has recovered from his dislocated finger and will start for KC this week.

Miami Dolphins: Head coach Tony Sparano was put out of his misery this week as well. The team certainly played hard for him even though we all knew he was a walking dead man. He won’t have any problems getting another job, either at the head coach or coordinator level…..QB Matt Moore left the game last week with a concussion and hasn’t practiced yet, but should be available to play this week against Buffalo.

Minnesota Vikings: Tough loss for the Vikings last week but some good did come out of it. QB/WR Joe Webb played pretty well after taking over for Christian Ponder and may be able to handle that role in the future. The problem is Minnesota also likes what he can do as a receiver. You really can’t have your backup QB playing receiver, too good a chance of an injury. Maybe you can have your third string QB play receiver though…..Ponder is expected to start this week even though Webb was more effective than he was last week.

New England Patriots: That was some pretty funny stuff watching QB Tom Brady and the Pats offensive coordinator yelling at each other on the sideline after Brady threw an interception last week. Seems though if any of the Pats coaches were going to yell at any of the players, it should be on the defensive side of the ball…..If that was the funny part of the game, than the ridiculous part was watching the Redskin defense trying to tackle TE Rob Gronkowski. It looked like a high school team trying to tackle a top college player–just a joke.

New Orleans Saints: If you’re not a fan of any team in the NFC, you have to be rooting for a Green Bay-New Orleans rematch in the championship game, hopefully in good weather. Now that would be entertainment….TE Jimmy Graham is dealing with a bad back that almost kept him out of the game against Tennessee. He was able to play and has also been able to practice this week so this may not be as serious as it once looked…..RB Mark Ingram has yet to practice this week and may yet miss another game due to turf toe.

New York Giants: What a win for the Giants over the Cowboys on Sunday. They are now in control of their own destiny in the NFC East, but things could get testy. They have what should be a gimme versus Washington this week, although the Skins played the Pats tough. They than have to play the Jets and then Dallas once again. Here’s hoping that last game is a winner take all…..The most impressive thing to me about the Giants’ win wasn’t the 37 points they scored but that they didn’t give up a sack.

New York Jets: The Jets have come alive once again and look like a team that could be dangerous come playoff time. They have a strong running game with Shonne Green and LaDainian Tomlinson, and QB Mark Sanchez has been more careful with the football in the past couple of games. The loss of S Jim Leonard is a blow to the defense, but he missed the playoff run last season as well due to injury.

Oakland Raiders: Not that the Raiders had much of a chance of beating Green Bay anyway, but that is back to back weeks that they virtually didn’t get off the plane. The team certainly has dealt with its share of injuries. Their receiving corps has been decimated and losing their biggest playmaker in RB Darren MacFadden has been huge, but that’s still no excuse for their play of late.

Philadelphia Eagles: QB Michael Vick had a successful return to action last week, but WR Jeremy Maclin did not as he had to leave the game early when his hamstring tightened up on him. He might give it a go once again this week but there is no way of knowing if he will be able to finish the game…..WR DeSean Jackson actually showed up last week and had a big game. The question is, can he do it again, especially with the games becoming more and more meaningless?

Pittsburgh Steelers: It seems unlikely that QB Ben Roethlisberger will play Monday night after suffering a high ankle sprain, an injury that looked pretty ugly when it happened. The Steelers need to think about the future. Sure they would like to win the division, but they have a wildcard spot all but locked up and need to make sure Ben is as close to 100% as possible for the playoffs…..C Maurkice Pouncey also suffered a high ankle sprain. He wants to play, but once again the Steelers may play it safe and hold him out.

San Diego Chargers: Can the Chargers make another miracle comeback in the division? Probably not, but they are once again giving it a go. If only Tim Tebow would stop pulling out these miracles…..With the rash of coaching changes that have been going on, it’s fair to wonder if Norv Turner could be let go when the Chargers next lose a game and are officially eliminated from playoff contention.

San Francisco 49ers: That’s two losses in a row for the 49ers and now they have the Steelers coming to town. Now they have a firm grip on the NFC West but that first round bye might be slipping away…..I still can’t see how this team can win a playoff game. They need to score points. Their defense is good, but not great…..RB Frank Gore is certainly beat up and the 49ers admit that he’s not 100%. But what running back is at this point in the season? The real question is, how far from full health is he?

Seattle Seahawks: RB Marshawn Lynch has set himself up to make a ton of money next season, assuming the Seahawks don’t franchise him. He’s as tough a runner as there is to bring down. Inconsistent, sure, but once he’s in the secondary he’s a runaway train. The Hawks must retain his services next season.

St. Louis Rams: It’s hard to believe that OC Josh McDaniels will be in high demand next season with the way the Rams offense has been this season. Of even more importance is that QB Sam Bradford has certainly regressed this season. Still look for McDaniels to be the Chiefs first choice…..If McDaniels were to leave, would free agent WR Brandon Lloyd leave with him?….Speaking of Bradford, his ankle seems to have taken a turn for the worse and as of now he is unlikely to play Sunday.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The Bucs look to be out of control and it seems unlikely that coach Raheem Morris keeps his job…..QB Josh Freeman stated that he still doesn’t have the same zip on his fastball due to injury. That could explain the problem he has had with interceptions this season. Freeman has to be one of the more disappointing players this season…..Freeman should be licking his chops at facing the Dallas secondary Saturday–Lord knows everyone else has this season.

Tennessee Titans: Tough loss by the Titans versus the Saints. They had a chance to beat them at the end. They might have had an extra play had rookie QB Jake Locker thrown the ball on the final play. He had time. Even if he throws the ball away, he still would have had another play. Then he could have run around forever and tried to make a play. You can’t take a sack, even if you just heave it up for grabs. Give your team a chance.

Washington Redskins: On that great run by TE Rob Gronkowski last week, did anyone notice CB DeAngelo Hall observing the play while two of his teammates were being dragged by Gronk? Way to get involved…..Coach Mike Shanahan stated this week that QB Rex Grossman is auditioning for the starting job next season. While that may be true, the Skins are sure to use their first-round pick on a rookie quarterback.

All Out Blitz

Arizona Cardinals: QB Kevin Kolb returned last week and the Cardinals won, but Kolb still didn’t play all that well. He was constantly throwing passes into the ground…..RB Beanie Wells is battling knee, thumb and hamstring injuries which has limited his practice time this week, but he still should play versus the 49ers on Sunday.

Atlanta Falcons: QB Matt Ryan has just not been able to take that next step this season. For the Falcons to advance deep into the playoffs, they will need him to do so or they will have no chance of beating the Packers or Saints…..RB Michael Turner is dealing with a groin injury that certainly seemed to slow him down last week, but the Texans’ defense may also have had something to do with his performance. This week he gets the Panthers, a much better matchup.

Baltimore Ravens: Some consider the Ravens to be the best team in the AFC, but I’m just not feeling it. I’m not sure I trust QB Joe Flacco to raise his game to an elite level when it matters. Even though the Ravens beat the Steelers twice, I still think the Steelers may be the best overall team…..LB Ray Lewis still isn’t practicing due to turf toe and is unlikely to play once again on Sunday.

Buffalo Bills: The injuries just keep coming for Buffalo as TE Scott Chandler won’t play this week due to an ankle injury and K Rian Lindell was officially placed on IR, ending his season…..LB Nick Barnett has had a very good first season for the Bills, already racking up 97 tackles. He would seem to be a must play in IDP leagues.

Carolina Panthers: WR Steve Smith’s production has been down of late even though the Panthers running game has picked up. Smith could certainly use some help to take the defense’s attention off of him. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to give QB Cam Newton another target to throw to, not to mention Smith is getting up there in age and could see a drop off in his numbers at any time.

Chicago Bears: Things just keep getting worse and worse for the Bears. First they lose QB Jay Cutler with a thumb injury, now they may have lost RB Matt Forte with a knee injury…..What makes the Forte injury even more interesting is that this is the last year of his contract as he and the Bears have been at odds all season long on an extension. It would seem business wise that it would be a good decision for Forte not to rush himself back, making sure he’s 100% healthy next season.

Cincinnati Bengals: It seems the sand may be running out in the hourglass for the Bengals as they were wrecked last week by Pittsburgh. They’re going to be a good team, but they still need time…..RB Cedric Benson is dealing with a foot injury that caused him to miss practice Thursday. He could still play though as he missed practice last Thursday as well.

Cleveland Browns: The Browns are going to have to make a decision this off-season. Do they believe in QB Colt McCoy, or do they draft a QB in the first round of April’s draft? They should have a top ten pick and could select one of the more highly rated quarterbacks that will be available. Of course they still need WRs and may need a RB also if Peyton Hillis leaves. Yeah, they don’t have many playmakers on this team.

Dallas Cowboys: Head coach Jason Garrett has been lit up this week for “icing” his own kicker. That isn’t actually what happened. You can clearly see special teams coach Joe DeCamillis and kicker coach Chris Boniol ask Garrett to call timeout…..What Garrett should be taking criticism for was not calling a timeout after WR Dez Bryant caught the pass at the Cardinals 32-yard line with 26 seconds left. Dallas had two TOs left and should have used one there so they could run a couple more plays to get in better FG range. It wasn’t like K Dan Bailey was having a great day. He missed a FG earlier in the game from 50+ and banked another one off the goalpost, not to mention the league percentage on 50+ yard FGs is 50.2. This is the reason why it’s extremely bewildering that Garrett keeps insisting that he didn’t make an error. Garrett has cost the Cowboys two games this season with conservative play calling (New England). If they miss the playoffs, the blame should fall squarely on him…..The good news is that WR Miles Austin should return this week as should FB Tony Fiammetta.

Denver Broncos: It is hard not to be a believer in QB Tim Tebow after last week’s performance. I know it came against a terrible secondary in Minnesota, but still this was the first game that Tebow had to win with his arm and not his legs…..The Broncos have to be considered the favorite to win the AFC West. Scary I know, but I still think they are one-and-done as they will most likely play Pittsburgh or Baltimore in the 1st round.

Detroit Lions: Head coach Jim Schwartz has done a great job of turning around the Lions, but he needs to get control of his team. They make way too many personal foul penalties and are playing way out of control which may be costing them games as well as yardage…..RB Kevin Smith is still being hampered by an ankle injury and is having a difficult time finishing games. He also hasn’t practiced this week which could lead to RB Maurice Morris having a bigger role this week.

Green Bay Packers: That’s 18 straight wins now for the Packers if you count the playoffs. The only team that I believe can beat them would be the Saints in a shootout. It might just come down to which team had the ball last or who had to kick a FG instead of a TD in a cold weather playoff game in Green Bay that hindered the passing attack (think Brett Favre versus the Giants when the G-Men last won the Super Bowl – it was close to zero degrees that night).

Houston Texans: The Texans just keep finding ways to win even without their best players. WR Andre Johnson’s return to the lineup was short-lived as his hamstring acted up once again and he had to leave the game last week. He has already been labeled as out for this week’s game. The Texans may want to keep him out multiple weeks to get him as healthy as they possibly can for the playoffs…..Another player who is really banged up is LB Brian Cushing who is dealing with injuries to various parts of his body. He’s not going to miss any game time, but certainly won’t be anywhere near full strength either.

Indianapolis Colts: I know the final numbers for QB Dan Orlovsky looked good, but keep in mind a good percentage of those numbers came when the game was out of hand and basically over…..The Colts have finally admitted that it is unlikely QB Peyton Manning returns this season. It seems we have known that for months, yet they still haven’t placed him on IR. It should be very interesting in early March when Manning is due a $28 million bonus. It will be decision time!

Jacksonville Jaguars: It is hard to believe that RB Maurice Jones-Drew leads the league in rushing on a team with virtually no passing game. QB Blaine Gabbert had what may be his best game of the season Monday night versus the Chargers yet was only 19 of 33 for 195 yards and two scores. That is hardly lighting up the scoreboard, but every journey starts with a first step. Hopefully, that’s what this is for the Jaguars and Gabbert.

Kansas City Chiefs: So much for QB Kyle Orton. He comes in for one play, a flea flicker, gets hit and dislocates a finger on his throwing hand. Now he is questionable at best to play this week…..My first question would be if Orton was mentally prepared enough to come in the game in the first half, why didn’t he start? Were the Chiefs really thinking Tyler Palko was going to improve?

Miami Dolphins: RB Daniel Thomas has played better of late, but RB Reggie Bush has so far proven that he can be an every down back. He’s not posting out of this world numbers, but they are solid numbers week in and week out…..LB Kevin Burnett is starting to justify his contract of late as his play has really picked up the past couple of weeks…..The Dolphins are playing great and are certainly one of the hottest teams in the NFL, but this still may not be enough to save Tony Sparano’s head coaching job.

Minnesota Vikings: RB Adrian Peterson is questionable to play Sunday versus Detroit, but Peterson came out Friday and said he is still having a difficult time cutting on that ankle. Assuming that’s true, I wouldn’t let Peterson play. He is your franchise player and you don’t need to be risking his health in a meaningless game…..WR Percy Harvin has picked up the offense with the absence of Peterson, showing why many people believe he is a threat to score anywhere on the field when he has his hands on the ball. He did however tear a ligament in his finger. He’ll play Sunday but could have a problem catching the ball.

New England Patriots: With the Patriots’ schedule for the remainder of the season, I still believe they end up with home-field advantage throughout the playoffs…..We’ve heard a lot of news this week concerning the health of WR Wes Welker as he is dealing with knee and wrist issues. He may be banged up, but it won’t keep him from any game action.

New Orleans Saints: You have to be rooting right now for a Saints-Packers NFC Championship game. If the weather was decent in Green Bay (big if), that could be a game for the ages. It would remind me of the Cowboys versus 49ers in the 90s…..RB Mark Ingram will miss this week’s game with turf toe. This guy just can’t stay healthy. What is even more annoying is that he comes off of two productive weeks where he was finally starting to show why the Saints drafted him so early.

New York Giants: You have to admire the bravado of S Antrel Rolle. After the Giants have lost four straight games, given up close to 80 points and 1,000 yards in the past two games, he still comes out and states the Giants have a great defense.  Yeah, not so much Antrel…..RB Ahmad Bradshaw returned last week. Although his numbers were not great, he should force defenses to respect the run again and not go all out to stop QB Eli Manning and the passing game…..The Giants seemed to have every call go against them last week, including a couple that maybe shouldn’t have. Even if that’s so, it just makes up for the Arizona game where a terrible call gave them the game.

New York Jets: I’m not a big Mark Sanchez fan, but you actually hear some of the talk shows in New York mention that the Jets should sign Peyton Manning (if he becomes available) in the off-season and trade Sanchez. It seems they forget that Sanchez is coming off back-to-back championship game appearances. He must have done something right and no one will know if Manning can truly come back from his neck surgery until he gets into a game, plus it’s not like he’s going to come cheap.

Oakland Raiders: The Raiders look like they are in the middle of a late season collapse. They barely showed up last week, getting crushed by Miami, and now they get the Packers. Sure they have injuries, maybe even more than most, but you still have to play the game…..Speaking of injuries, RB Darren MacFadden is out once again this week. This is longest day-to-day injury I’ve ever seen.

Philadelphia Eagles: QB Michael Vick and WR Jeremy Maclin are both expected to return this week. This should give the Eagles’ offense a boost, and it will certainly be interesting to see if Vick does play with more caution as he stated he will earlier this week…..How much money has WR DeSean Jackson cost himself with his play and attitude so far this season?  Jackson is still signed for another season, but the Eagles can’t go through this again. They either need to sign him to a long-term deal and make him happy or ship him to a team that will.

Pittsburgh Steelers: I wrote earlier in this column that Pittsburgh may be the best overall team in the AFC. Well that was before QB Ben Roethlisberger suffered a high ankle sprain in Thursday’s win over Cleveland. Ben probably won’t miss any game time as the Steelers don’t play again until a week from Monday, but Ben’s mobility will certainly be hampered…..Another concern for the Steelers is the health of C Maurkice Pouncey who also suffered a high ankle sprain in the same game.

San Diego Chargers: QB Philip Rivers looked real good Monday night. Granted it came against a Jaguars team that lacks a pass rush or a solid secondary, but it also shows what Rivers can do when all of his receivers are healthy…..Speaking of healthy, RB Ryan Mathews also looked good and could be a future star in San Diego…..I have a feeling the Chargers offense lights it up again this week against Buffalo, everyone else has of late.

San Francisco 49ers: Because of their record, the 49ers are listed as #2 in most power rankings. I just don’t see that and have a very strong feeling they are one-and-done in the playoffs. I think their record is more because of a terrible division and nice schedule. I love their defense, but in the playoffs you need to score points and I just don’t see QB Alex Smith being able to beat Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints, their most probable playoff opponent.

Seattle Seahawks: You have to love the way RB Marshawn Lynch is playing of late. He’s actually making the Hawks offense somewhat interesting…..OT Russell Okung was placed on IR this week after tearing his pectoral muscle, a tough blow for Lynch and that running game…..QB Tarvaris Jackson reported this week that his arm strength is back to 100% after his pectoral injury earlier this year.

St. Louis Rams: As if the Rams offense isn’t bad enough, there is a pretty good chance that Tom Brandstater is going to start against Seattle on Monday Night Football. I’m sure ESPN is just thrilled with this game, not to mention RB Steven Jackson can’t be very happy with seeing what is sure to be an overloaded front to stop him…..WR Brandon Lloyd should probably be benched in fantasy leagues.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Here’s a stat I didn’t see coming–the Bucs have trailed for longer this season in term of minutes than any other team in the NFL, including the winless Colts…..QB Josh Freeman missed last week’s game with a shoulder injury. His replacement, Josh Johnson, suffered a dislocated shoulder on his non-throwing arm. Ouch! Now Freeman looks like he will start this week but how long he goes is anyone’s guess, not that it matters much right now.

Tennessee Titans: Tough game for the Titans this week as they host the Saints. I doubt the Titans would have a chance if this game were being played indoors, but in Tennessee in the elements and with RB Chris Johnson looking like he has returned to his normal self, stranger things have happened. Not to mention the Titans need the game much more than the Saints. Yeah, I’m not buying that either.

Washington Redskins: As if this wasn’t a dismal enough season for the Redskins, now they lose TE Fred Davis and OL Trent Williams for violating the league’s drug policy. Apparently they were supposed to be suspended for a year but were able to get it down to four games because of a technicality (the players thought there was a grace period after the lockout–like it’s even legal to do these drugs)…..Because of their dismal finish, the Skins should be in good shape to draft a franchise QB next year.

All Out Blitz

Arizona Cardinals: Well the first game in the Kevin Kolb era went well as Kolb looked like he could be the answer to the Cardinals QB question…..How on Earth did the Cardinals pass defense allow QB Cam Newton to throw for over 400 yards against them in his first NFL game? That does not bode well for the future…..There has been no word out of Cardinals camp as to why prized free agent LB Stewart Bradley hardly saw the field Sunday.

Atlanta Falcons: Losing the first game of the season is not a big deal, but this loss comes after getting blown out in the playoffs at home last season and losing all four preseason games. Now ex QB Michael Vick comes to town…..If QB Matt Ryan doesn’t play well against Vick on Sunday, it should be interesting to see how the home crowd reacts…..The Eagles had a hard time stopping the run in Week 1. Look for a healthy dose of RB Michael Turner in this one.

Baltimore Ravens: That was a good old-fashioned butt whipping the Ravens put on the Steelers last Sunday…..WR Lee Evans was in a walking boot this week, but it looks to be more of a pre-caution than anything else and he should be good to go this Sunday…..Rookie CB Jimmy Smith has a high ankle sprain and will miss the next couple of weeks.

Buffalo Bills: WR Steve Johnson has been dealing with a groin injury for about a month and missed practice Thursday. He is still likely to play Sunday…..That was quite a game Buffalo played versus KC on Sunday. Perhaps, they could be a surprise team this season…..TE Scott Chandler has been a popular pickup in fantasy leagues after his big game.

Carolina Panthers: After having what could conservatively be called a bad preseason, Cam Newton came out firing in Week 1, throwing for over 400 yards and two TDs. Perhaps, he is just the type of player that plays best when the bullets are live…..WR Steve Smith must be thrilled to playing with a QB who can get him the ball down the field. He can finally use his speed again…..Enough with the praise of Newton, the Panthers had better be able to run the ball efficiently. Those kinds of games are usually few and far between for a rookie QB.

Chicago Bears: LB Brian Uhrlacher rejoined the Bears Thursday after leaving the team to attend to the passing of his mother earlier this week…..RB Matt Forte showed in Week 1 why he is deserving of a big contract…..Still have no idea why the Bears haven’t anointed Johnny Knox to the starting lineup, but they may have no choice this week as Roy Williams is dealing with a groin injury and may not be able to go.

Cincinnati Bengals: QB Andy Dalton looks like he will be able to go Sunday after suffering a wrist/hand injury in Week 1…..RB Cedric Benson rushed for 121 yards. If he can keep that up, he would be a rookie QB’s best friend…..Rookie WR A.J. Green may have had only once catch in his debut, but it was a big one–41 yards and a TD.

Cleveland Browns: Some thought that Cleveland could be a surprise team this season with a soft opening schedule, but a loss to the lowly Bengals may have most rethinking that position…..WR Mohamed Massaquoi is dealing with a hamstring issue but should be able to play Sunday…..CB Joe Haden is quickly proving himself to be one of the better corners in the game.

Dallas Cowboys: Secondary was a major weakness in the Dallas defense last season and it’s proving to be so again this year. They played a good part of Sunday’s game against the Jets with their 4th and 5th string CBs as Terrance Newman missed the game with a groin injury. Orlando Scandrick suffered an ankle sprain early in the game and is out until October. Mike Jenkins was in and out of the game with multiple injuries. Newman won’t play this week either.

Denver Broncos: You have to love that there is a group of fans in Denver that are going to take out an ad on a billboard stating they want Tim Tebow to be their QB. Do they really believe that it will change John Fox’s or John Elway’s mind if they pass a billboard on their way to and from work?….WR Brandon Lloyd (groin) and RB Knowshon Moreno (hamstring) are both questionable to play Sunday. If neither can go, it could be another tough day for QB Kyle Orton and the chant for Tebow may only get louder.

Detroit Lions: QB Matthew Stafford once again showed what he can do if he is able to stay on the football field. The Lions are a dangerous team…..WR Calvin Johnson has an ankle injury and isn’t practicing, but is expected to play Sunday…..DT Nick Fairly still isn’t practicing with the team after undergoing surgery in early August.

Green Bay Packers: Green Bay proved in Week 1 that you didn’t need to organize off-season workouts during the lockout to be effective…..Big question for fantasy owners is who is more valuable at RB, James Starks or Ryan Grant Best guess is, as the season rolls along, Starks sees more and more of the action…..Rookie WR Randall Cobb showed why he is considered a dangerous return man bringing back a kickoff 108 yards for a TD. He looked good running routes as well. Makes you wonder if the Pack regrets re-signing James Jones.

Houston Texans: RB Arian Foster missed Week 1. Not a shock as the team didn’t want to push him to play, figuring they could beat Indianapolis without him. He is slated to start this week. Good thing too as Derrick Ward could miss the game with an ankle injury…..Do you think QB Matt Schaub and WR Andre Johnson are licking their lips knowing they are playing the same secondary this week that was lit up for over 500 yards passing Monday night?

Indianapolis Colts: Here’s a question: Do you think QB Peyton Manning could win the MVP this season if the Colts finish the season with four wins or less, proving just how valuable Manning is to the team?…..The Colts just aren’t built right now to win without Peyton. The running game is not very good. Neither is the offensive line. The defense is built to attack the QB, assuming the other team is playing from behind. This is a recipe for disaster.

Jacksonville Jaguars: The good news is that RB Maurice Jones-Drew looked good rushing the ball last Sunday, easing the doubts of fantasy owners who thought he may not be fully recovered from past injuries. The bad news is that for the first time in 67 games, MJD did not catch a pass…..TE Marcedes Lewis has missed practice this week with a calf injury. Luke McCown’s safety blanket may not be able to go Sunday.

Kansas City Chiefs: Wow! That was not a good start to the season for KC, getting their brains beat in by Buffalo at home…..S Eric Berry is gone for the season with a torn ACL. This is a huge blow and one the defense may not be able to recover from…..QB Matt Cassel is not on the injury report. Perhaps, he and WR Dwayne Bow will have a better game this week–they better.

Miami Dolphins: The Dolphins were expected to have one of the better defenses in the NFL this season, but they were absolutely torched by the Pats in Week 1…..RB Daniel Thomas missed his first game with a hamstring injury. Although he should play Sunday, the carries are still expected to fall heavily into Reggie Bush’s favor, but Thomas could get a majority of the goal line work…..QB Chad Henne played pretty well himself Monday, throwing for over 400 yards. It’s nice to know he can do that, but the Dolphins can’t rely on that week in and week out. They are not built to win games through the air.

Minnesota Vikings: That’s not a misprint you saw on Monday, QB Donovan McNabb only threw for 39 yards in the Vikings loss to the Chargers on Sunday. Teams are going to load up the line of scrimmage to stop RB Adrian Peterson until Minnesota proves they can throw the ball…..Christian Ponder is the number two behind McNabb.

New England Patriots: That was some display of offensive football the Patriots displayed on Monday night. If you can’t put pressure on Tom Brady, it’s all over; he will carve up your defense no matter how many defenders you put out there…..Not everything was perfect however, OT Dan Koppen fractured his ankle and will miss the next 6-10 weeks…..WR Chad Ochocinco was criticized pretty heavily for tweeting that he was in awe of the Pats offense. I’m not really sure what the big deal was and wonder if this would even measure on the Richter scale if it wasn’t Ochocinco who said it.

New Orleans Saints: The loss of WR Marques Colston to a broken collarbone was a huge blow, especially with Lance Moore still not being at 100%. This should mean more consistent looks for Robbie Meacham and TE Jimmy Graham…..The Saints and QB Drew Brees still have a long way to go on a new contract, but it doesn’t really matter if the Saints can’t sign him to a long-term deal. They will most certainly use their franchise tag on him in the off-season.

New York Giants: WR Hakeem Nicks is questionable at best to play Monday with a knee injury. He plans on practicing Friday to see how it goes…..The Giants stated this week that they don’t want to have to rely on QB Eli Manning to win games. Translation: they will run the ball more with Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs…..DE Justin Tuck is questionable to play Monday with a neck injury. He missed Week 1 and is playing it cautious, but the injury is muscular, not structural.

New York Jets: The Jets pulled out a miracle versus Dallas Sunday and know they have to play better if they want to win on a more consistent basis…..QB Mark Sanchez was dinged up during the game and given a concussion test afterwards, but all tests came back negative and he will be good to go this week.

Oakland Raiders: RB Darren McFadden tweaked his neck during the game Sunday. Actually a Broncos defensive player trying to rip his head off tweaked it and he has been slowed this week in practice…..WR Louis Murphy (groin) will not play this week and Jacoby Ford is not looking too good this week either…..K Sebastian Janikowski tied an NFL record with a 63-yard FG on Monday. The Raiders are petitioning the NFL that it was actually a 64 yarder.

Philadelphia Eagles: It shouldn’t surprise anyone if QB Michael Vick is a little more amped up than normal Sunday in his first game back in Atlanta. It might even take him a quarter or so to return to normal…..Eagles coaches want to get WR Jeremy Maclin more involved in the passing game this week. He was on the field more than any other receiver in Week 1, but still only caught one pass…..CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie played in the slot on Sunday, meaning he was only in on 18 plays. Seems Asante Samuel and Nnamdi Asomugha are the starters.

Pittsburgh Steelers: After the beating the Steelers took last week, I wouldn’t want to be the Seahawks…..The weakest part of the Steelers team is the offensive line, and the loss of Willie Colon certainly won’t help matters any…..The Steelers are going to use a no huddle offense at times this week to keep the Seahawks guessing defensively.

San Diego Chargers: The Chargers lost K Nate Kaeding for the season on the first play of the game with a torn ACL. They signed Nick Novak to replace him…..RB Mike Tolbert suffered a knee injury during the game that looked serious at the time, but turned out to be minor. He will be good to go this week…..RB Ryan Matthews also had a good game as the Chargers look to have a two headed monster at RB.

San Francisco 49ers: WR Ted Ginn Jr. took a pay cut the week before opening day and may have taken his anger out on the Panthers with both a kickoff return and punt return for touchdowns. He may not be able to catch the football consistently, but he can sure run with it…..WR Michael Crabtree is still not close to 100% and is limited in practice, but may play this week versus Dallas…..The 49ers have encouraged QB Alex Smith to scramble–a good idea with their offensive line. He may be running for his life against DeMarcus Ware this week.

Seattle Seahawks: Hard to take this team seriously on offense until they get a real QB, fix the offensive line and get WR Sidney Rice healthy. A better RB than Marshawn Lynch wouldn’t hurt either. How exactly did this team make the playoffs last season–and beat the Saints?

St. Louis Rams: The Rams were crushed with injuries in Week 1: QB Sam Bradford missed part of the game with a finger injury after hitting a helmet on a pass attempt, RB Steven Jackson will miss this week’s game after suffering a quad injury on his touchdown run, and WR Danny Amendola is expected to miss quite a bit of time after dislocating his elbow. Talk about a MASH unit…..S Ronald Bartell was placed on IR after suffering two small fractures in his neck.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: I know the Bucs were down for a good part of the game Sunday, but how can RB LeGarrette Blount only receive five carries? The problem is that Blount is not a good blocker and can’t catch the ball which means he is not likely to play in passing situations or when the Bucs are trailing. Earnest Graham could have a bigger role on this team than first thought.

Tennessee Titans: RB Chris Johnson is expected to get close to 20 carries and 25 touches overall this week as the Titans didn’t want to overuse him last week…..Kenny Britt has court dates September 20 and 27. Neither one should land him in jail, and it doesn’t seem like either one will land him in trouble with the NFL either.

Washington Redskins: Sexy Rexy came out and played last week against a depleted Giants defensive line. He could be a good fantasy play this week against a Cardinals defense that was absolutely shredded by Cam Newton…..Good news for Tim Hightower owners, Mike Shanahan came out this week and stated that he has no plans to monitor Hightower’s touches. Of course with Shanahan’s past history, he has no problem benching him on a whim either…..TE Fred Davis played more than TE Chris Cooley last week.

All Out Blitz

After finishing my column last week I started to worry about what I would write about in this column. The NFL was still in a lockout, and a news and notes column was getting more and more difficult to fill out. Well as we have all seen this week, the NFL players, general managers, and owners are trying to cram 136 days of non-action into a single week. It’s been a smorgasbord of roster moves and transactions. I mean wow, it’s been a wild week. Let’s get started.

Arizona Cardinals: The Cards got their man when they acquired QB Kevin Kolb from the Eagles for CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and a 2nd round pick in next year’s draft. This instantly puts them back in contention in the NFC West and makes WR Larry Fitzgerald the happiest man in the state. Some might argue that this was too steep a price to pay, but the Cards did draft CB Patrick Peterson this past April in the 1st round, and without a franchise QB, you’re just not going to get very far in this league.

Atlanta Falcons: Earlier this week, the Falcons stated they would not be able to sign DE Ray Edwards. Now they have reversed course and stated they would be able to sign him, but at their price…..The Falcons have signed all of their drafted rookies including WR Julio Jones. It should be just a matter of time before Jones makes his presence felt in the NFL.

Baltimore Ravens: The Ravens released WR Derrick Mason earlier this week, but would like him back at a reduced rate. The problem is Mason’s former team, Tennessee, is also interested in his services…..If the Ravens don’t sign a WR, 2nd round pick Torry Smith could end up starting from the get go opposite Anquan Boldin…..Like Mason, the Ravens decided to cut TE Todd Heap, but would like him back if they can agree on a smaller contract.

Buffalo Bills: Although he signed a three-year contract and has played for head coach Chan Gailey in the past, Tyler Thigpen should not be a threat to start over Ryan Fitzpatrick, unless Fitzpatrick falls on his face…..Although RB CJ Spiller is expected to touch the ball more, Fred Jackson is still expected to be the lead back for the Bills.

Carolina Panthers: I understand DeAngelo Williams is a great RB and the Panthers had plenty of money under the salary cap, but with Jonathan Stewart and Mike Goodson also on the roster, couldn’t that money be spent elsewhere…..I do love the move of adding TE Greg Olsen. They have a rookie QB in Cam Newton, and rookie QBs need a good TE as a safety blanket…..The player to be named later in the Olsen trade is not WR Steve Smith who stated on Thursday that he wants to finish his career in a Panther uniform.

Chicago Bears: You had to know the Bears would eventually trade TE Greg Olsen. In a Mike Martz offense, there just isn’t much use for a TE…..The Bears are said to be very close to signing WR Roy Williams. They want a tall receiver to make those catches over the middle, and Williams has played for Martz before…..Rumors are going around that RB Matt Forte could hold out for a better contract. He is only scheduled to make about $550,000 this season.

Cincinnati Bengals: I understand about standing on your principles but it seems kind of stubborn to not trade QB Carson Palmer and get a draft pick or two rather than just force him into retirement…..The Bengals are still expected to sign RB Cedric Benson as teams may be shying away from him due to yet another arrest this off-season…..The Bengals made yet another error when they let CB Jonathan Joseph sign with Houston. They have the money, but just don’t spend it wisely…..The trade of Chad Ochocinco to New England opens up a starting job for Jerome Simpson.

Cleveland Browns: Browns have a ton of money they could spend under the cap, but so far have not been able to sign anyone…..The Cowboys are interested in S Abram Elam. The Boys might be interested in quite a few of the Browns defensive players that played under defensive coordinator Rob Ryan while he was in Cleveland.

Dallas Cowboys: Dallas has solidified their offensive line with the signings of Doug Free and Kyle Kosier, but have lost defensive lineman Stephen Bowen to Washington…..The Cowboys are said to be in negotiations to bring in DT Cullen Jenkins. This would be an interesting signing as Jay Ratliff would normally play that position. Would Ratliff move to DE if the boys sign Jenkins? If the Cowboys can’t sign Jenkins and start to worry about their defensive line, one has to wonder if they will make a push to sign CB Nnamdi Asomugha. If you can’t get to the QB, better make sure you can cover those wideouts for as long as possible.

Denver Broncos: The Broncos and Dolphins are playing a game of chicken when it comes to QB Kyle Orton. The Broncos want to trade. The Dolphins want him to be their starting QB. However, Denver wants at least a 3rd round pick, and Miami doesn’t want to give up more than a 4th.  The Broncos are currently around $8 million over the cap; they must be under the cap by Aug. 4. Orton makes almost $9 million. So by the 4th, they must trade or release Orton. Miami knows this and right now there are no other suitors for his services. Miami might just wait Denver out unless someone else decides to step in with a better offer.

Detroit Lions: The Lions have a terrific defensive line. Unless they find a CB or two, it might not much matter…..Things aren’t any better on the linebacker front, as the Lions seemed to have dropped out of the running for Stephen Tulloch…..LT Jeff Backus has a shoulder injury that will force him to miss at least a couple of weeks of action. This is certainly not good news for QB Matthew Stafford, who needs his offensive line to be at full strength to protect him.

Green Bay Packers: Although the Packers want to retain WR James Jones, it looks like he will sign with Minnesota today…..The Pack picked up the bonus in Ryan Grant’s contract, assuring that he should once again be the starting RB for that high scoring offense…..LB Nick Barnett was a cap casualty but kicker Mason Crosby received a five-year deal.

Houston Texans: The Texans were said to be hot after CB Nnamdi Asomugha but seemed to be pretty happy with their signing of Jonathan Joseph on Wednesday. There biggest need was a CB and, although they may not have signed the number one guy on the board, they still got a very good player…..The signing of SS Danieal Manning and Joseph makes a weakness, now a strength. Could this finally be the year Houston makes the playoffs?

Indianapolis Colts: The Colts are another team that has been quiet this week, and now we’re hearing rumblings they may not sign RB Joseph Addai…..They did sign one of their own, S Melvin Bullitt…..We should find out the severity of QB Peyton Manning’s neck surgery by how much money the Colts guarantee him in his new contract.

Jacksonville Jaguars: TE Marcedes Lewis is expected to get a new contract shortly, as the Jags don’t want to lose his services…..The Jags did sign Clint Session, an unspectacular, yet solid LB who should help the Jags in the middle.

Kansas City Chiefs: WR Steve Breaston signed with the Chiefs, reuniting with head coach Todd Haley. This gives the Chiefs a legitimate threat opposite Dwayne Bowe and gives rookie WR Jonathan Baldwin time to grow into the job…..I’m getting a bigger and bigger feeling each day that RB Jamaal Charles is going to have a huge season, providing he can stay healthy.

Miami Dolphins: The Dolphins signed the scatback they were looking for Thursday in Reggie Bush. Some might think this is bad for Daniel Thomas, but the Dolphins were always planning on signing a back to share the load. Bush will get his 12-15 touches a game, but Thomas will still be the main ball carrier, including when the Dolphins are in scoring position.

Minnesota Vikings: The Vikings upgraded their QB situation with the addition of Donovan McNabb, but lost their best WR in Sidney Rice. Good thing they have RB Adrian Peterson…..One WR the Vikings did sign was former Bear Devin Aromashodu. Aromashodu has talent, but just never fit in Mike Martz’s offense.

New England Patriots: You have to hand it to coach Bill Belichick. He has no problem taking on other teams problem children. First he makes a trade with Washington to take DT Albert Haynesworth off their hands, and then makes another trade for WR Chad Ochocino. Good luck to you Mr. Belichick…..One might think the Haynesworth deal has no chance of working, as the Patriots also play the 3-4 defense that he hates, but what Haynesworth really hated was lining up over the center. In New England, he will play one of the end positions, as Vince Wilfork will do that bit of dirty work.

New Orleans Saints: The Saints wasted no time in replacing RB Reggie Bush by agreeing to a contract with Darren Sproles on Thursday…..New Orleans seems to be in a battle with Denver and Dallas for the services of DT Cullen Jenkins. Jenkins isn’t really needed in New Orleans so one might think they wouldn’t be the favorite to land him.

New York Giants: The G-men received good news this week when the Dolphins dropped out of bidding for RB Ahmad Bradshaw; would almost seem a lock that he returns to them…..Things could get very ugly with DE Osi Umenyiora. Osi believes he was promised a new contract and may hold out until he gets it…..Could the Giants really be interested in re-signing WR Plaxico Burress? Seems if coach Tom Coughlin believes that he and Burress can get along; a second go around could be possible.

New York Jets: The Jets signed their number one priority this off-season in WR Santonio Holmes, but his $50 million contract will probably cost them any chance at signing fellow wideout Braylon Edwards…..The Jets are also trying to lock up CB Nnamdi Asomugha. Can you imagine trying to pass against that secondary?…..The Jets fallback option if they are unable to sign Asomugha is expected to be Antonio Cromartie, not a bad second choice.

Oakland Raiders: The Raiders are said to still be in the market for a QB to challenge Jason Campbell for the starting job. It seems unlikely they would go after Kyle Orton however, as those two franchises don’t like each other.

Philadelphia Eagles: The Eagles found their backup to QB Michael Vick with Vince Young all but signed and delivered. You can certainly question Young’s maturity, but he would seem to be a good fit for the Eagles offense as he is sort of a Vick clone…..The addition of CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie gives the Eagles a really strong twosome with Asante Samuel, good thing too because their competition in the NFC East is strong at receiver. Dallas has Miles Austin and Dez Bryant, while the Giants boast Hakeem Nicks and Mario Manningham.

Pittsburgh Steelers: If the Giants don’t sign WR Plaxico Burress than the Steelers might. It seems only his former teams are interested in him at this time…..The Steelers number one off-season priority was retaining CB Ike Taylor; mission accomplished with a four-year deal…..The Steelers are doing their best to sweep LB Jerome Harrison’s comments under the rug, but you still have to wonder if the team is getting tired of his act.

San Diego Chargers: TE Antonio Gates is likely to begin camp on the PUP list, but that’s not anything to worry about as he should be ready to join the rest of the team in no time. One still has to wonder if Gates will be suffering from plantar fasciitis all season again…..It seems to be just a matter of time until WR Malcolm Floyd signs with another team.

San Francisco 49ers: The 49ers seem to be out of the running for CB Nnamdi Asomugha…..For the third straight season, WR Michael Crabtree will miss most if not all of training camp, and you wonder why he hasn’t taken that next step to stardom. This time it’s a foot injury that will keep him out…..The 49ers did upgrade their kicking situation with the addition of David Akers…..RB Frank Gore looks like he is going to be a holdout.

Seattle Seahawks: The Seahawks decided to sign former Vikings QB Tarvaris Jackson to compete with Charlie Whitehurst for the starting job. Whichever one wins the job will have Sidney Rice to throw to as he also went from Minnesota to Seattle…..I’m not sure the Seahawks QB situation got any better with Jackson, and have no doubt it would be much better with Matt Hasselbeck.

St. Louis Rams: The Rams have yet to sign that big time WR to help QB Sam Bradford make the jump to the next level…..The Rams are in the market for a solid RB to backup Steven Jackson. They realize Jackson has plenty of mileage on those tires and is unlikely to be able to play all 16 games.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The Bucs are yet another team that has backed out of the Asomugha sweepstakes. Kind of surprising since they have a need, and have the money…..They have also let LB Barrett Rudd know that they will no longer require his services. He was a tackle machine, but to many of those tackles were 2-3 yard up field.

Tennessee Titans: The good news for the Titans is that the signing of QB Matt Hasselbeck gives the team a solid QB. The bad news is that he has about as much a chance of starting all 16 games behind center as I do…..More bad news is that RB Chris Johnson is a holdout waiting to happen…..The NFLPA will indeed fight the commissioner’s right to discipline players who got in trouble during the lockout. This could be good news for WR Kenny Britt who is a lock to be suspended if Roger Goodell is allowed to suspend players for sullying the NFL shield.

Washington Redskins: The Redskins have made a slew of moves; signing DE Stephen Bowen, WRs Dante Stallworth and Jabbar Gaffney, and CB Josh Wilson. It doesn’t amount to a hill of beans if they don’t have a QB, and they don’t have one…..The trade of DT Albert Haynesworth was addition by subtraction…..The re-signing of WR Santana Moss is nice, but he’s still not a real number one wideout. Skins seem to be pretty far behind the Cowboys, Giants, and Eagles in the NFC East.

All Out Blitz

After taking last week off to deal with an illness, Lyme Disease, I’m back to go over some more news and notes for each team throughout the National Football League. Of course the best news is that it looks like the lockout could be coming to an end as early as today, Friday at the latest. Teams would then have three days to go over the new Collective Bargaining Agreement and sign their own free agents, before free agency would start in earnest next week. Most teams have about 40 players under contract and would need to bring that number up to about 90 for training camp. That would mean there would be about 1600 player moves in about a two week span. The transaction wire is going to blow up.

Arizona Cardinals: The Cards are still the favorite to land QB Kevin Kolb once free agency/trading begins, instead of draft picks they are rumored to be making CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie available to trade as the Eagles want players rather than picks for Kolb…..Don’t be surprised if Beanie Wells or Tim Hightower is traded once training camp is underway.

Atlanta Falcons: The Falcons still feel the biggest need of their defense is to put more pressure on the QB, they will be in on DE Ray Edwards and are still looking for ways to make DL Jamaal Anderson, 2007 1st round pick, a better pass rusher.

Baltimore Ravens: The Ravens secondary is still sort of a work in progress but S Ed Reed should be full bore for training camp…..It’s looking more and more like Marc Bulger will be re-signed to backup QB Joe Flacco…..The Ravens seemed to want to become more of a throwing team last season with the additions of WR Anquan Boldin and TJ Houshmandzadeh, will they go back to more of a ground and pound this season?

Carolina Panthers: The Panthers will have a couple of interesting personnel decisions to make once the lockout is ended…..Do they re-sign DeAngelo Williams even though, with Jonathan Stewart and Mike Goodson on board, RB is a position of strength and perhaps that money could be wisely spent elsewhere…..What to do with WR Steve Smith? He might fetch a considerable return if they put him on the market.

Chicago Bears: The Bears are one of those teams that are said to be interested in the services of WR Steve Smith, should the Panthers make him available…..How will the fans react to QB Jay Cutler after some questioned the validity of his knee injury that took him out of the NFC Championship game in January…..Look for the Bears to use Matt Forte even more this season as he could easily touch the ball more than 300 times should he stay healthy.

Cincinnati Bengals: With the new salary cap floor expected to be at least 95% of the cap, the Bengals are one of those teams that will be forced to spend money as they have been historically, hhhhmm, let’s say thrifty with their payroll…..Pacman Jones is in legal trouble again, I’m shocked…..RB Cedric Benson is also in trouble with the law after being charged with assault, not the best timing for the free agent to be…..The Bengals are said to prefer signing CB Leon Hall to a long term contract rather than Jonathan Joseph.

Cleveland Browns: Montario Hardesty, who had ACL surgery, is said to be ready to go once camp opens. He will still be the backup to RB Peyton Hillis…..The Browns would like to get the ball into the hands of WR Joshua Cribbs as much as possible, but he is far from a polished receiver and may see his role in the passing game reduced as a result…..S Abram Elam could be a hot commodity once free agency opens.

Dallas Cowboys: DL Stephen Bowen is going to draw a lot of interest in free agency…..Dallas is one of those teams that will have cap problems and may not be the big players in free agency that everyone expects them to be, which would seem to put them out of the running for CB Nnamdi Asomugha…..LT Doug Free should be the top priority of the Cowboys, followed by at least one safety, possibly two if Gerald Sensabaugh finds big money elsewhere.

Denver Broncos: The Broncos keep stating that the QB competition will be wide open between Tim Tebow and Kyle Orton, but it’s Tebow’s job to lose, and if the Broncos are offered at least a 3rd round pick for Orton, he will be playing elsewhere…..Keep in mind that under new head coach John Fox, the Broncos are not expected to run as many three WR sets as they have in the past; this should be a boon to RB Knowshon Moreno.

Detroit Lions: If QB Matthew Stafford can stay healthy, the sky is the limit for what the Lions might accomplish on offense this season…..RB Javhid Best will probably touch the ball more, but rookie Mikel Leshoure could be the goal line back; thus vulturing short TD runs…..Even though Dave Rayner impressed the team with his kicking last season, Jason Hanson is expected to once again be the Lions kicker this season.

Green Bay Packers: Don’t overlook WR Jordy Nelson in your fantasy drafts…..James Jones is probably going to depart in free agency…..Donald Driver is slowing down and might not be able to stay healthy…..Opposing defenses already have their hands full with Greg Jennings and TE JerMichael Finley…..If the Packers need to clear salary cap space, LB Nick Barnett and his $4.4 million salary could be the first to go.

Houston Texans: RB Arian Foster stated this week that he played most of last season with a torn meniscus in his knee; makes you wonder what he will do on two healthy knees…..In an expert fantasy draft that started this week, Foster was the 1st overall selection, and WR Andre Johnson was the 1st receiver taken, 5th overall…..Back to Foster, he also stated that he won’t holdout this season despite only making $480,000 this season.

Indianapolis Colts: WR Anthony Gonzalez, remember him, should be ready to go once training camp opens, but it’s anyone’s guess as to whether or not he will be the same player he was before he suffered two season’s worth of knee injuries…..The Colts insist that Peyton Manning will be ready for the regular season…..2010 1st round pick DL Jerry Hughes was arrested for public intoxication; he won’t be suspended, but if it happens again, all bets are off.

Jacksonville Jaguars: The Jaguars plan to use the franchise tag on TE Marcedes Lewis once the lockout ends…..With the lockout and the loss of OTAs, any chance that Blaine Gabbert starts over David Garrard are slim and none…..The Jaguars deny it, but it would make sense to limit Maurice Jones-Drew’s carries week in and week out, especially coming off knee surgery.

Kansas City Chiefs: LB Mike Vrabel retired, not a big loss in the overall scheme of things to the Chiefs defense…..The addition of WR Jonathan Baldwin should help the Chiefs offense, but could hurt WR Dwayne Bowe’s production as now there is another mouth to feed plus TE Tony Moeaki could also see the ball more.

Miami Dolphins: The Dolphins could be one of the bigger players in free agency as they will need at least two QBs and a RB to split the load with rookie Daniel Thomas…..Apparently Vince Young will not be one of those that will be brought in, and Tyler Thigpen is likely to get a bigger offer elsewhere…..Speaking of players not returning to south Florida, Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown won’t be brought back.

Minnesota Vikings: WR Sidney Rice may want a big contract but it seems like teams may only be willing to offer incentive laden contracts in order to protect themselves from his injury history…..RB Adrian Peterson is in the last year of his deal and is threatening to hold out, but odds are the Vikings will sign AP to an extension, it would give AP the money he wants, and the Vikings valuable cap space.

New England Patriots: Could WR Randy Moss end up back with the Pats? They do need a WR who can get deep…..The lockout may be about to end but G Logan Mankins still wants out of town and may be holding up the agreement to make that happen

New Orleans Saints: Unless RB Reggie Bush agrees to restructure his contract, he is as good as gone in New Orleans…..The Saints are going to be in a dogfight all season in the NFC South with Atlanta and Tampa Bay, which might be the best division in football; although the NFC East may have a say in that also.

New York Giants: The new “soft cap” when it comes to veterans could make it easier for the Giants to sign RB Ahmad Bradshaw…..DE Osi Umenyiora is expected to hold out once the lockout ends, as he believes GM Jerry Reese broke a promise to him to redo his contract. Considering Umenyoria was benched for part of the 2009 season for his inability to play the run, it seems odd that the Giants would’ve made some kind of promise.

New York Jets: CB Antonio Cromartie has stated that he won’t give the Jets a hometown discount, which will probably lead his way out of town…..WR Braylon Edwards could also find another team, as Santonio Holmes is expected to be the Jets top priority…..Gotta love that the NFL scheduled the Ryan brothers to face each other opening weekend. I’m sure there won’t be any press conferences leading up to that game.

Oakland Raiders: The owners ratified the CBA 31-0 with one team abstaining. Guess which team that was?…..The Raiders are almost $12 million over the salary cap, just another reason they have no chance to re-sign Asomugha

Philadelphia Eagles: QB Kevin Kolb is so sure that he will be traded to Arizona once the lockout is lifted, that he has been looking at real estate in Arizona. He has also been working out with WR Larry Fitzgerald…..The Eagles have money to spend in free agency and could be in the market for a CB if they don’t get one in a Kolb trade; or also for pass rush help. Did someone say Ray Edwards?

Pittsburgh Steelers: LB James Harrison may be playing his way out of his house with his mouth. Criticizing the commissioner is one thing, but when you start to turn on your teammates, it’s another thing altogether…..You have to love the rivalry between the Steelers and Ravens. WR Hines Ward gets arrested, and the Ravens start making fun of him on Twitter. The two games next season between these two teams are must see TV.

San Diego Chargers: Like Logan Mankins of the Patriots, WR Vincent Jackson is also said to want more out of his lawsuit than just a new CBA…..Don’t be surprised if RB Mike Tolbert carries the ball more this season than you might think; even if Ryan Mathews is healthy…..The Chargers would like to keep WR Malcolm Floyd, but it seems likely that he will leave during free agency.

Seattle Seahawks: The Seahawks don’t seem to be convinced that Charlie Whitehurst is their QB of the future, but they do seem to be convinced that it is time to move on without QB Matt Hasselbeck…..I know the Hawks made the playoffs last season, but would it really surprise anyone if they finished this season with a record of 4-12.

St. Louis Rams: WR Donnie Avery is healthy and could be the big play man in the Rams offense…..RB Steven Jackson seems to have lost a step and it would do the Rams some good if they could find a complementary back…..The Hall of Fame game between the Rams and Bears has been cancelled, let’s hope that is the last game cancelled.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The Bucs may be a better team this season, but due to a tougher schedule and teams not taking them lightly anymore, their record may not reflect that…..It looks like the Bucs will now keep CB Aqib Talib and his legal troubles, but it would be a suprise if he wasn’t suspended…..RBs Earnest Graham and Cadillac Williams may have played their last down in a Tampa uniform.

Tennessee Titans: The Titans are now rumored to be the new landing place for QB Matt Hasselbeck…..RB Chris Johnson is expected to hold out until he gets a new contract…..WR Kenny Britt is another player who could be suspended once the lockout is lifted…..So let’s see, your top RB is going to holdout, your top WR could be suspended, and you don’t have a QB right now. There is no sweet music playing in Tennessee right now.

Washington Redskins: This is a scary thought, the Skins are predicted to have plenty of money to spend under the cap as they dumped a truckload of bad contracts into the uncapped season of 2010. Owner Dan Snyder might go completely nuts with a WR and a CB topping his wish list…..They need a QB also, but aren’t expected to be players in the Kevin Kolb sweepstakes. No matter how much money they may spend, if you don’t have a top QB, it just won’t matter.

All Out Blitz

Welcome to Leatherheads of the Gridiron, our inaugural week of operation. Each week I will be going over each NFL team, giving a couple of nuggets of information about the clubs. Hopefully the lockout will be lifted sooner rather than later so that there will be a full, uninterrupted season. Negotiations do seem to be heading in the right direction, but still, as anyone knows in labor negotiations, one bad day can set things back to square one. With that being said, let’s see what we have as far as news and notes around the NFL.

Arizona Cardinals: The Cardinals seemed to be the off-season favorite to acquire Eagles backup QB Kevin Kolb, but with news that the Seahawks offered 1st and 3rd round picks in the 2012 draft, they may now be running second…..RB Beanie Wells has insisted that this will be his breakout season. It better be or 2nd round pick Ryan Williams is going to see more and more playing time. Tim Hightower could be relegated to backup duty which may be what he is best at after fumbling the ball 10 times last season.

Atlanta Falcons: The Falcons traded away five draft picks for wide receiver Julio Jones who should keep opposing safeties deep in the secondary. This will allow more running room for running back Michael Turner when he can break through the first wave of attackers, not to mention Jones is another big weapon for quarterback Matt Ryan…..Expect the Falcons to be big players for defensive end Ray Edwards if and when free agency begins.

Baltimore Ravens: RB Willis McGahee and the Ravens seemed destined for a contract squabble as the team wants him to take a reduction from his $6 million salary…..Linebacker Sergio Kindle, who was injured all of last season before signing a big contract, is fully healthy, but will have to earn a big contract with his play on the field, not because he was drafted in the 1st round…..Safety Ed Reed is still not fully recovered from hip surgery but is expected to be ready to go by the time the regular season comes along, even so, smart money is on Reed playing less than a full season.

Buffalo Bills: Linebacker Paul Posluszny is going to have some decisions to make once free agency opens; either go back to the Bills who will want to retain his services, or play for a contender…..Even though the Bills are going to try and get WR Lee Evans more involved in the offense, Steve Jackson seems to be the better bet for a big season…..The Bills never addressed their QB situation in the draft and seem unlikely to do it in free agency, so it will be Ryan Fitzpatrick once again.

Carolina Panthers: What will the Panthers do if they bomb again this season, a distinct possibility, and have the number one pick in next year’s draft?  Can they pass on Andrew Luck?…..As for this season, they maintain that they want to re-sign DeAngelo Williams even though running back is not an area of concern…..WR Steve Smith may want to be traded, but the $15 million he is due to the next two season’s could be a formidable road block.

Chicago Bears: The Bears have done a good job with the fallout of Jay Cutler leaving the NFC Championship game early, some questioned his toughness but that all seems to be water under the bridge now…..The Bears could be looking to get Cutler some help in free agency in the likes of a tall lengthy receiver…..RB Matt Forte is entering the final year of his contract and should be in line for a big pay day.

Cincinnati Bengals: If QB Carson Palmer truly doesn’t play for Cincy this season and the Bengals don’t go out and find an adequate starter, they could be the leading contender for the 1st overall draft pick next year…..Not that there was a chance he was going to return anyway, but WR Terrell Owens had surgery for a torn ACL in the spring and will have to prove he is healthy if he wants to sign with anyone…..Chad Johnson, when he’s not wresting alligators, could be released shortly after the lockout is ended, but he shouldn’t be unemployed for long.

Cleveland Browns: Colt McCoy is a nice fiery QB, but he doesn’t seem to be the type of franchise player you want at this position…..Peyton Hillis is a bowling ball of a running back, but if he doesn’t change his style of play, not only is he going to have a short career, but would have a hard time going through a 16 game schedule…..For the Browns to be any kind of competitive this season, they need to find some wide receivers, and they need to find them quickly.

Dallas Cowboys: With a salary cap likely to be back in place this season, the Cowboys will be seeing the last of Marion Barber and Roy Williams…..Felix Jones is expected to be the feature back this season with Tashard Choice and DeMarco Murray fighting for the backup role, of course no one expects Jones to remain healthy for long…..Seems unlikely that the Cowboys will be big spenders in free agency as they are well over the expected salary cap now, even with the assumption that Barber and Williams get released. With that being said, they need help on the d-line and secondary, and locking up offensive tackle Doug Free is a huge priority.

Denver Broncos: The biggest question for the Broncos is who will be the starting QB going into camp. It seems Tim Tebow has grown on general manager John Elway (still seems strange to say that) and Kyle Orton will be dealt to the highest bidder…..Plenty of rumblings that Denver will be players in the DeAngelo Williams sweepstakes but running back may not be their biggest worry, and with RBs being a dime a dozen, this may not be the position Denver wants to spend their free agent bucks on…..WR DeMaryius Thomas seems likely to begin the season on the PUP or even miss the season entirely after tearing his Achilles earlier this year.

Detroit Lions: Don’t be surprised if the Lions are players for the services of cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, along with quite a few others…..Let’s face it, the key to the Lions season is the health of QB Matthew Stafford. He could have a bright future if he can play a full season…..Javhid Best and Mikel Leshoure could be one heck of a dynamic duo in the backfield with defenses worried about WR Calvin Johnson down the field.

Green Bay Packers: For those of you who play fantasy football, Aaron Rodgers is my number one QB off the board, just a wealth of talent to throw to…..One talent he didn’t have for much of last season was tight end Jermichael Finley, whose rehab is coming along nicely and should be full go for training camp…..James Jones could be a sleeper WR on the free agent market, odds are he won’t re-sign with Green Bay, but look for a better opportunity someplace else.

Houston Texans: The key to the Texans season lies on defense, what will they do to strengthen their secondary, and how will Mario Williams react to a Wade Phillips defense…..Steve Slaton is almost certain to be traded at some point in training camp…..Speaking of running backs, Ben Tate is healthy and ready to go, but he will play second fiddle to Arian Foster as Foster will once again be the main man for Houston.

Indianapolis Colts: Peyton Manning had another surgery on his neck this off-season, although the Colts insist everything is a-ok, one can’t help but be skeptical…..Speaking of skeptical can Austin Collie play a full season after suffering multiple concussions last year…..It seems like RB Joseph Addai and the Colts will stay together for at least one more season.

Jacksonville Jaguars: The Jaguars have decided that David Garrard and Blaine Gabbert will split the reps evenly in camp, but Garrard is still expected to be the starter once the regular season opens…..Maurice Jones-Drew is expected to be 100% recovered from knee surgery around August 1…..Michael Sims-Walker is not expected to come back to the Jags once free agency opens.

Kansas City Chiefs: Wide receiver Dwayne Bowe had a fantastic season last year, one would think with the emergence of RB Jamaal Charles and the number one draft pick Jonathan Baldwin, Bowe could finally realize his full potential…..Chiefs head coach Todd Haley has stated that he expects Charles to get more carries this season providing he stays healthy…..The addition of Baldwin means you can say goodbye to WR Chris Chambers.

Miami Dolphins: It seems highly unlikely that both Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams will be back with Miami after they drafted Daniel Thomas, and GM Jeff Ireland has stated as much, that being said, they will want a complementary back to give Thomas a breather now and again…..Chad Henne may be one of the few players who has benefitted from the lockout as the Dolphins were unable to bring in a veteran QB to learn the system and challenge Henne for the starting job.

Minnesota Vikings: The Vikings are another team in need of a starting QB, and they seem to have their sights on Donovan McNabb if and when he’s released from the Redskins…..WR Sidney Rice is also a free agent who will test the free agent market and one has to wonder if he will leave just because of the unknown situation at QB…..The Vikings also have a good chance of losing DE Ray Edwards as there are quite a few teams interested in his services.

New England Patriots: The Patriots are being linked to just about any receiver that is available on the market, from Steve Smith and Chad Johnson; to the paroled Plaxico Burress…..The Patriots also neglected drafting a pass rushing linebacker and may be after Matt Roth in free agency….. For those of you worried about kickers, Stephen Gostkowski is fully recovered from quad surgery and has resumed all normal kicking duties.

New Orleans Saints: Will Reggie Bush be back or won’t he, that is the question?  Bush seemed to talk his way out of New Orleans at the draft, but has made nice nice of late and perhaps there is a chance he will stay.  As usual, it all comes down to money…..Devery Henderson could be the odd man out in the Saints receiver corps…..If you’re looking for the next “superstar” tight end, look no further than Jimmy Graham.

New York Giants: Although Plaxico Burress last played for the Giants and the G-men sort of have a need with the so-so health of Steve Smith, don’t look for a reunion as Burress and head coach Tom Coughlin never really saw eye to eye…..Big Blue could however be in the market for a linebacker, with Paul Posluszny and Barrett Rudd as possible targets…..Re-signing Ahmad Bradshaw will also be top priority as Brandon Jacobs can’t handle the running duties all by himself.

New York Jets: Burress may not sign with the Giants, but how about the co-tenant? Santonio Holmes and Braylon Edwards are both free agents and if the Jets can’t sign both, than Burress or even Randy Moss could be on their radar…..The Jets may also be in the market for a CB if Antonio Cromartie leaves as expected…..The Jets could be the team to beat in the AFC if Mark Sanchez can show more consistency.

Oakland Raiders: There are a few reports now that RB Michael Bush will be a restricted free agent this season, not unrestricted…..Tight end Zach Miller is likely to be a well sought after target in free agency since top TEs don’t exactly grow on trees…..Not sure how the Raiders can let Nnamdi Asomugha go, not to mention Michael Huff, they are going to have a completely revamped secondary this season.

Philadelphia Eagles: What will the Eagles do with QB Kevin Kolb?  First it was thought Arizona was the likely destination. Now we hear that Seattle came in with an offer of 1st and 3rd round picks, but now Philadelphia seems to want players that can help them on their Super Bowl run this season.  Hard to pass up those picks if I’m Philly. Whatever they decide to do, they will need to sign a veteran backup QB as Michael Vick has as much chance of playing all 16 games with his running style as I do of running the Boston Marathon.

Pittsburgh Steelers: Any chance that Burress resurrects his career in Pittsburgh seems remote at best…..Re-signing CB Ike Taylor is top priority, but he also may be the top priority of every other team that loses out on signing Asomugha as well…..Ben Roethlisberger said he may need surgery on his foot while his agent stated he won’t. Either way, with Big Ben’s style of play, there is a good chance he will spend this season limping around the pocket once again.

San Diego Chargers: Rumors are once again flying over the status of WR Vincent Jackson. Will the Chargers sign him?  Will they franchise him?  Will they trade him?  Seems to be a never ending soap opera…..Mike Tolbert and Ryan Matthews should make for an interesting 1-2 punch this season, but don’t forget that Tolbert is not just a short yardage guy as he has the ability to break many a long run himself.

San Francisco 49ers: Once again the lockout may have saved a job as Alex Smith will probably hold off draft pick Colin Kaepernick for the starting QB job…..WR Micheal Crabtree hurt his surgically repaired foot in one of those organized practices that players have been participating in.  He is expected to be 100% for training camp however…..Frank Gore did not participate in those workouts to rehab a hip, which is also expected to be 100% recovered before camp opens up – if camp opens up.

Seattle Seahawks: Apparently the Hawks aren’t sold on Matt Hasselbeck’s or Charlie Whitehurst’s ability to start at QB to make that big of an offer to Philly for Kevin Kolb…..Apparently WR Mike Williams took his 2010 season seriously as he has been working out all off-season and looks to be in the best shape of his young career.

St. Louis Rams: Why haven’t the Rams acquired a top notch WR in the draft or free agency as of yet?  Could this be the landing spot for Plaxico…..The Rams are loaded with 2nd receivers in Donnie Avery, Laurent Robinson, and Danny Amendola, but a true number one would sure help Sam Bradford make that jump to the next level…..Darren Sproles is mentioned as a possibility to backup Steven Jackson.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The Bucs will need to continue their improvement this season as they won’t be catching anyone by surprise…..RB LeGarrette Blount will need to prove once again that he is the real deal…..CB Aqib Talib may have played his last game in Tampa thanks to all of his legal woes which could lead the Bucs into being big players in the CB market.

Tennessee Titans: Odds on favorite to start at QB in Tennessee, Matt Hasselbeck, as he has connections to the coaching staff…..Chris Johnson and the Titans front office seemed destined for a showdown as CJ does not want to play under his current contract…..How many games will WR Kenny Britt be suspended for once the lockout is lifted? Over/Under is 2.

Washington Redskins: Who will start at QB on the Redskin merry-go-round? Donovan McNabb, no, Kyle Shanahan doesn’t like him, likely to be released. Rex Grossman, no, free agent who the Skins may not view as their long term starter. John Beck, favorite, yippee, another team that may be in the running for the number one draft pick.