January 16, 2018

Bears 13, Lions 7: A Monster Named Suh

Gentle souls and kindly critters shutter to think of the horrors Ndamukong Suh commits away from the football field when the cameras are off, the referees are absent and Jay Cutler isn’t such an easy target.

Mr. Suh, the defensive tackle for the Detroit Lions and a target of government drones and audits, hit the Bears quarterback and, with the crafty use of his legs and arms, tossed him to the turf during the second quarter at Chicago’s Soldier Field on Monday night in such an earnest and truculent manner it scared grownups and cracked statues.

Ndamukong Suh is bigger than Kirstie Alley and meaner than Leonard Nimoy.

Jay Cutler survived Suh’s savage tackle which, in fairness, was perfectly legal.  But keep in mind, please, that many monstrous things are within the rule of law including corduroy and Dane Cook concerts.

Cutler bounced back – not just from the ground – and hung in there as the Bears went on to beat Detroit, 13-7, for their fourth straight win to improve to 5-1 which are also the odds against Suh being invited to Jay’s next weenie roast.

Suh did ask Cutler if he was OK.  Japan also apologized for Pearl Harbor.  Eventually.

Perhaps too much is being made of Suh’s savagery, just like some people are still hot and bothered over that whole silly financial meltdown.  Chicago’s victory was about more than just that one play, it was about a defense that forced four more turnovers, came about 30 seconds away from pitching a shutout, and now leads Made in Jersey in voting for “The Most Frightening Thing on the Planet.”

The signature play of this game was not, in fact, Cutler getting rag-dolled by Mean Mr. Number-90, but rather came in the third quarter when Bears cornerback Charles Tillman punched the ball out of the hands of Lions receiver Calvin Johnson in the end zone in an act that, had it occurred on Michigan Avenue instead of inside Soldier Field, would have landed Charles in jail.

On the very next play, Lions running back Joique Bell forgot that humans, at least humans named Joique Bell, cannot fly and so his attempt to cross the goal line from roughly the Illinois-Indiana border was thwarted and he coughed up the ball like a cat that just licked up a cigar.  The Bears recovered and it was all very appropriate and funny.

The Bears have allowed 78 points this season.  No other team has allowed less than 100.  Bears cornerback Tim Jennings was the NFC Defensive Player of the Month for September and Tillman might win it for October.  Or maybe Lance Briggs will.   Or Julius Peppers.  What does it say about the Bears defense when Brian Urlacher might be its fifth best player?  Might be.

The Bears are 5-1 and afraid of nothing mortal nor helmeted.  But, the victories they’ve accumulated so far have come against teams with a combined record of 12-19.  Looming in the second half are the 5-2 49ers, the 6-1 Texans, the 5-2 Vikings (twice) the 4-3 Cardinals and the 4-3 Packers.  But first, the Bears get a home date with the 1-5  Carolina Panthers and then a road trip to the 3-4 Tennessee Titans.

There’s nothing like eating SpaghettiO’s before going off to fight the Huns.

The Bears could, and should, reach the season’s 50-yard line at 7-1.  They’ll need to be because even if they continue to play well it’s easy to see them going 4-4 down the stretch.  But winning, like Liam Neeson movies, tends to be habit-forming so maybe there’s no need to fret about those mountains ahead.  Maybe they have flowers.  Maybe there are goats that can’t kick.  Maybe Suh really is sorry.


All Out Blitz

Arizona Cardinals: QB Kevin Kolb should make his long awaited return this week from his toe injury, hopefully the month off will improve his accuracy…..Speaking of consistency, RB Beanie Wells had a career day rushing versus the Rams in Week 12, then again, it seems every back is having a career day against St. Louis…..LB Sam Acho may be a name you want to remember as he has taken over the starting role formerly belonging to Joey Porter, and looks to be the kind of pass rusher the Cards need now and in the future.

Atlanta Falcons: WR Julio Jones is still dealing with a hamstring injury, he played last week but didn’t have a catch and only had a single target and now comes word that he missed practice Wednesday, the Falcons may have played this one wrong by not sitting Jones down for as long as it took to get him 100% healthy and now may have to deal with Jones not being at full strength for the remainder of the season…..More bad news for the birds is that RB Michael Turner sat out practice due to a sore groin Wednesday, not what you want to hear from a player that is coming off of off-season groin surgery.

Baltimore Ravens: Chalk the first battle of the Harbaugh brothers to the Ravens as they proved that the 49ers aren’t quite in their class yet, that was nine sacks San Francisco allowed in that game, offensively though it would be nice if OC Cam Cameron found a way to get the ball in the hands of RB Ray Rice more often, especially in the passing game where it seems like the Ravens have forgotten what a weapon Rice can be when catching the ball out of the backfield.

Buffalo Bills: Aren’t we getting tired of WRs being so selfish that they are costing their team games?, on Sunday Steve Johnson caught a TD pass and then decided to do a little dance, mimicking Jets WR Plaxico Burress shooting himself, and then mimicking WR Santonio Holmes “jet” dance, crashing into the ground which drew a 15 yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, this penalty forced the Bills to kickoff from their 20, their kicker wanting to crush the ball due to the penalty ended up shanking it, giving the Jets good field position, field position they then used to score a TD, as if that wasn’t bad enough, Johnson than dropped what would’ve most likely been a TD pass right in his hands, and couldn’t reel in another pass in the end zone, that was behind him, but could’ve been caught.

Carolina Panthers: The Panthers running game seems to finally be getting untracked as DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart both had solid games last week, and now they get to play Tampa Bay, a team that has one of the worst run defenses in the NFL.

Chicago Bears: QB Jay Cutler came out this week and stated that he doesn’t expect to play again during the regular season, that means Caleb Hanie will need to lead the Bears into the playoffs, Hanie did throw two interceptions last week but also was able to get the ball down the field with regularity…..OC Mike Martz’s name is being mentioned in connection with several head coaching opportunities, both in the NFL and collegiate level.

Cincinnati Bengals: We all knew the Bengals season might come down to how they performed in their games versus Baltimore and Pittsburgh, well they lost their first game versus each, and now they have their rematch against Pittsburgh this week, a win would seem a necessity if they want to win the AFC North, or at least put themselves in a better position for a wildcard spot…..RB Cedric Benson missed practice Wednesday with a foot injury, a situation that bears watching as the season progresses.

Cleveland Browns: Is there anymore boring team to watch in the NFL than Cleveland?, I think not…..RB Peyton Hillis sort of came out of nowhere last week to have a solid game, still, he will be playing for someone else next season…..WR Greg Little may have the biggest upside of all the Browns receivers, but he also needs to learn how to catch the ball, he had quite a few drops last week.

Dallas Cowboys: With the Giants once again suffering a second half collapse, the NFC East is there for the taking, and Cowboys seem to want it, not only that, but they are also getting healthy at the right time, WR Miles Austin could possibly return from a hamstring injury this week, and if not this week, then he should be back in Week 14 versus those Giants in what could be a last hurrah for the G-men…..WR Dez Bryant will be the punt returner now in Dallas which may lead to him having a slight lesser role in the passing offense, which Dallas can afford with the emergence of Laurent Robinson, who seems to be QB Tony Romo’s favorite target, especially in the red zone.

Denver Broncos: I know we all want to ride the Tim Tebow bandwagon and thank him for rescuing the Broncos season, and he does deserve some accolades, but let’s not forget that the orange crush are only averaging 16 points under Tebow. It’s the defense that deserves a bulk of the credit, as they are only giving up 12 points per game…..The leader of that defense and probably rookie defensive player of the year, LB Von Miller, underwent surgery this week to repair torn ligaments in his thumb and is unlikely to play Sunday versus Minnesota.

Detroit Lions: DT Ndamukong Suh was suspended for two games for a stomping incident in the Thanksgiving game versus Green Bay, Suh very much deserved his suspension and needs to get his game under control, but what is even more disturbing were his comments after the game, he actually doesn’t believe he did anything wrong, explaining that he was just trying to regain his balance when he pushed the opposing players head in the ground and then stomped on his arm, pretty scary indeed if he actually does believe this is what happened.

Green Bay Packers: Some thought the Lions might be the team to give the Packers their first loss, playing in Detroit, on Thanksgiving, on national TV, oh well, guess not…..Will this be the week they get their first loss, at the Giants, close to a must win for the G-men, I think not…..The Packers defense is certainly playing better than they were earlier this season as CB Tramon Williams is once again playing up to the potential that we saw last season.

Houston Texans: First the Texans lose QB Matt Schaub for the season, than they lose Matt Leinart, certainly seems like you don’t want be a Houston quarterback, especially if your first name is Matt…..Rookie Tyler Yates will take over the QB duties and is unlikely going to be asked to air it out, the Texans are going to rely on their running game with Arian Foster and Ben Tate, their offensive line (which may be the best in the game), and a solid defense to keep them in games, have a feeling that final game between Tennessee and Houston in Week 17 will decide the division.

Indianapolis Colts: Dan Orlovsky will start at QB this week instead of Curtis Painter, I’m sure that will enable the Colts to keep up with the Patriots offense this week…..TE Dallas Clark will once again miss this week’s game with a fibula injury…..The Colts are letting it be known that they would have no problem drafting QB Andrew Luck next season to pair with Peyton Manning.

Jacksonville Jaguars: Pretty big week for the Jags, they put coach Jack Del Rio out of his misery and fired him, and on the same day owner Wayne Weaver announced that he had sold the team to a Chicago businessman who has agreed to keep the team in Jacksonville, keep in mind though that this is a verbal agreement, there is nothing in writing that prohibits the Jaguars from moving, can you say Los Angeles.

Kansas City Chiefs: Coach Todd Haley has insisted all week that Tyler Palko will remain the starter at QB this week even though Kyle Orton is taking quite a few snaps with the first team offense, is there any doubt that Orton starts this week, not in my mind, especially not after watching Palko perform in his two starts with the team, besides, it would be a good story to see Orton start against his former team.

Miami Dolphins: How ironic that WR Brandon Marshall makes a great TD reception with Cowboys QB Terrance Newman trying to rip his head off when he has dropped so many easier touchdowns this season…..RB Daniel Thomas is not getting much traction this season in what is looking like a lost season for the rookie…..K Dan Carpenter will be back this week as Shayne Graham has been released.

Minnesota Vikings: RB Adrian Peterson is unlikely to play again this week as he still isn’t sufficiently recovered from his high ankle sprain, but Toby Gerhart isn’t the answer…..The Vikings did look to get WR Percy Harvin more involved in the offense, but there is only so much that can be done when you have a rookie QB and your best playmaker is sitting on the bench…..WR Michael Jenkins was placed on IR after having surgery for a torn meniscus.

New England Patriots: WR Deion Branch was questionable coming into last week’s game and may have been on the bench for quite a few fantasy teams that didn’t want to risk that he would be inactive before a 4pm game, what a shame as Branch ended up having his best game of the season so far against a depleted Eagles secondary…..Anyone else notice that WR Julian Edelman has spent some time playing CB that past couple of games?, Troy Brown is revisited.

New Orleans Saints: The only team that would seem to be able to stop the Packers in their quest for another Super Bowl championship are the Saints, they certainly have the offense to be engage in a shootout, and they opened the season in what was an extremely entertaining game…..RB Mark Ingram may have had what was a statistically good game against the Giants on Monday, but most of that came in garbage time when the game was all but over, Pierre Thomas did most of the heavy lifting although the Saints only use their running game to keep opposing defenses from going all out to stop their aerial attack.

New York Giants: That’s three straight losses and counting for the Giants and now they get to face the undefeated Packers, lucky them…..RB Ahmad Bradshaw will once again miss the game with his foot injury, without him the Giants haven’t been able to generate much of a rushing attack, leaving to much pressure on the Giants defense and passing attack…..The good news is that WR Victor Cruz has become one of the better slot receivers in the NFL as his huge game Monday night versus New Orleans can attest to.

New York Jets: QB Mark Sanchez has been taking a lot of heat in the media and from the fans for how he has performed this season, but he did throw four TD passes last week although that came with only 180 yards and a pick…..The Jets defense was roasted pretty good by a Buffalo team that was looking lost on offense in November and was without RB Fred Jackson, let’s see what they do this week versus Washington, another offensively inept team.

Oakland Raiders: RB Darren McFadden is unlikely to play once again this week as he still isn’t recovered from his foot sprain, there are some who believe that even when he does return Michael Bush should still start over him and McFadden should be used sparingly to keep him healthy, that’s not going to happen, Bush is a really good player, but McFadden is a game breaker…..For those who care, QB Jason Campbell started to throw the ball around this week, have a feeling Campbell will make a good backup quarterback for someone next season.

Philadelphia Eagles: QB Michael Vick will once again miss this week’s game, the third straight, which will give Vince Young another opportunity to show that he can be the starting QB for a team next season…..WR Jeremy Maclin is also out for this one, once again Riley Cooper should get the start in his place…..WR DeSean Jackson was benched for most of the 4th quarter last week after dropping a couple of TD passes, been a rough year for Jackson who believes he should be paid like one of the top receivers in the game, but his attitude and play may make that unlikely.

Pittsburgh Steelers: S Troy Polamalu suffered another concussion last week, his second one this season, and though the Steelers state that he will play this week, one has to worry whether this is going to become a habitual thing as Polamalu has been having concussion issues since his college days…..QB Ben Roethlisberger didn’t have a great game versus the Chiefs Sunday night, was it just a bad game, or is his thumb a bigger problem than the team and Ben are letting on.

San Diego Chargers: After their sixth consecutive loss last week the Chargers season is all but over, their play calling in OT left something to be desired, RB Ryan Matthew got them into field goal position, but rather than continue handing him the ball they gave it to Mike Tolbert who couldn’t do much with it and ended up trying a 53 yard FG instead of a more manageable try, Norv Turner coached not to lose here, rather than to win…..WR Malcolm Floyd was back on the practice field this week and might actually play this week.

San Francisco 49ers: The 49ers need to fix their offensive line in a big hurry, that was nine sacks they gave up to Baltimore, not to mention there was little no running room for Frank Gore, something that should be solved this week against the Rams…..What should be of concern to Gore owners is that coach John Harbaugh admitted this week that the 49ers offensive scheme limits to what Gore can do in the passing game.

Seattle Seahawks: WR Sidney Rice was placed on IR this week with a concussion, this was pretty much a bust of a first season for Rice and the Seahawks…..QB Tavaris Jackson has been practicing in full this week, the first time since suffering his pectoral injury, he could have a better game than expected against a depleted Eagles secondary…..One has to believe that Seattle will be looking for a different starting QB next season.

St. Louis Rams: WR Brandon Lloyd has played up to expectations since being acquired from the Broncos, so much so that one has to wonder if the Rams can’t come to a long term contract extension with Lloyd, that they might franchise him…..Speaking of Lloyd, the pick the Rams will send to the Broncos will not be a 5th rounder since Lloyd will catch 30+ passes this season.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: What is it with professional athletes and guns?  It comes out this week that QB Josh Freeman had to take five stitches to his thumb after getting it caught in the recoil of a gun while firing it at the range, for his part Freeman stated that he will no longer fire guns during the season, how nice of him…..The Bucs play the Panthers twice between now and the end of the season, fantasy owners should take note and not forget about RB LeGarrette Blount, who should have a field day against that defense.

Tennessee Titans: Let’s hear it for RB Chris Johnson who finally had a big game last week, of course it came against the Bucs, a team that is horrendous against the run, but still, better late than never, and the Titans will need him if they want to catch the Texans in the AFC South.

Washington Redskins: RB Roy Helu once again looks like the starting back for the Skins, but I certainly wouldn’t risk anything valuable that Shanahan won’t change his mind when he wakes up Sunday…..WR Santana Moss returned Sunday and although he didn’t have a big game, he also didn’t report any setbacks with his hand.

All Out Blitz

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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