6 Players Whose NFL Lives Will Be Decided in Preseason Week 4
Three quarterbacks head the list of players whose NFL lives are set to be decided during the final week of preseason. One has a final chance to show he even belongs on an NFL roster, while the other two have to prove they can be trusted as backups heading into the new season.
In the AFC North, a former second-round pick faces surely his last chance to prove he can contribute in the NFL. There are also two undrafted running backs who can prove they can be a factor once the real action begins.
Here are the six players whose NFL lives will be decided in Week 4 of the preseason.
Sergio Kindle, OLB, Baltimore Ravens
After fracturing his skull as a rookie in 2010, Sergio Kindle struggled to make a successful comeback last season. He didn't register a stat for the Baltimore Ravens and things haven't improved during this preseason.
Garrett Downing of BaltimoreRavens.com, recently reported that despite impressing coaches in training camp, it is not certain that Kindle will even make the final roster.
Kindle needs to use the final preseason game against the St. Louis Rams to show he can provide the athleticism and pass rush the Ravens thought they were getting when they drafted him.
Graham Harrell, QB, Green Bay Packers
Graham Harrell will lead the Green Bay Packers offense against the Kansas City Chiefs, looking to prove he can be a capable and credible deputy to Aaron Rodgers. The 27-year-old has thrown for 261 yards, with one touchdown and two interceptions so far in preseason.
That might not be enough to convince the Packers that Harrell can fill in for Rodgers. His preseason performances to date haven't really made a strong enough case that he can put up the numbers Matt Flynn managed,before he signed for the Seattle Seahawks in free agency.
Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com recently reported that head coach Mike McCarthy remains non-committal about Harrell's future with the team. That likely means Harrell needs a strong performance in the preseason finale to ensure his role with the NFC North champions.
Chris Polk, RB, Philadelphia Eagles
When the Philadelphia Eagles snatched Chris Polk off the rookie free-agent market, it was considered something of a steal. So far, Polk hasn't quite lived up to that billing and has been locked in a battle with Bryce Brown for playing time.
A natural power back, Polk can give the Eagles ground game an element it doesn't currently possess. However, he'll need a strong showing against the New York Jets to ensure he's around to do just that once the regular season begins.
Bobby Rainey, RB, Baltimore Ravens
Another Baltimore Ravens youngster who can decide his NFL future in the preseason finale is rookie free agent Bobby Rainey. The diminutive former Western Kentucky standout has caught the eye of the AFC North outfit by posting some impressive numbers so far, according to Matt Zenitz of the Carroll County Times.
Rainey has given himself a great chance of winning the job as third-down back in Cam Cameron's offense. After it appeared as though he didn't have an NFL life after the draft, Rainey could actually make the roster for a perennial AFC contender.
Jimmy Clausen, QB, Carolina Panthers
Since being drafted in the second round of the 2010 draft, Jimmy Clausen has failed to make the grade in the NFL with the Carolina Panthers. Seeing action in the final preseason game and posting decent numbers is surely his last hope of proving he can handle life in the pro league.
He will find the going tough against the Pittsburgh Steelers, but eventually, the Panthers have to decide if Clausen has a future on their roster. If the answer is no, Clausen's disastrous NFL career could be over.
Colt McCoy, QB, Cleveland Browns
Having lost his starting job to Brandon Weeden, Colt McCoy is facing the reality of not even being assured of the backup role with the Cleveland Browns. He is currently in competition with Seneca Wallace and McCoy is probably only one poor showing away from being shown the door.
NFL.com reports he will start against the Chicago Bears. If he can produce a good performance, it might be enough to convince the Browns to keep him around. Another possibility is McCoy using the preseason finale to advertise his skills to other teams.
If he doesn't produce, expect last season's starter to quickly find himself searching for a new home by Friday.