Are you ready for some football?
It's that time of year, as teams across the National Football League are gathering for the annual rite of training camp in advance of the Hall of Fame Game between the Dallas Cowboys and Miami Dolphins in Canton, Ohio on August 4.
Between now and the end of the 2013 preseason, there will be tons of news and even more speculation. Players will be cut, position battles will be settled, and injuries will strike.
We'll have you covered throughout training camp, with a day-by-day, blow-by blow account of the happenings around the league.
Here's the latest from around the NFL on Monday, August 19.
- The Indianapolis Colts are expecting big things from their Stanford trio in 2013: former offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton, quarterback Andrew Luck and tight end Coby Fleener. The latter had a disappointing rookie campaign plagued by injuries in 2012. According to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, Fleener "injured his knee on Sunday night." Head coach Chuck Pagano said, "[W]e’ll get an MRI tomorrow." The results of the MRI revealed a minor sprain, and Fleener is considered day-to-day per ESPN's Adam Schefter.
- After a 10-year career that saw him make 83 percent of his kicks, the Buffalo Bills released Rian Lindell Monday morning, per Chris Brown of BuffaloBills.com. Dustin Hopkins, who was picked in the sixth round of the 2013 draft, will take over field-goal kicking duties.
- Here's two pieces of information regarding the New York Giants. Center David Baas suffered a sprained MCL in the team's preseason game against the Colts on Sunday, according to Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.com. Head coach Tom Coughlin said Victor Cruz "jammed his heel and is sore," also per Youngmisuk. Rotoworld.com speculated that the "injury could theoretically sideline Cruz for New York's third preseason game, but wouldn't affect his fantasy outlook unless he were in danger of missing Week 1. Cruz should be fine." The G-Men have one of the best one-two punches at receiver if the two could be healthy at the same time.
- More bad news for Houston Texans running back Arian Foster. According to head coach Gary Kubiak, the pain in the reigning rushing touchdown champ's back has "extended into his legs and forced him to get injections before the first preseason game at Minnesota," per John McClain of the Houston Chronicle. McClain also wrote the following: "Although nothing is official, Ben Tate is expected to start a third consecutive preseason game on Sunday."
- However, head coach Gary Kubiak has still expressed optimism that the 26-year-old Foster will be ready for Week 1. While speaking with Brian T. Smith of the Chronicle, Kubiak said "I am [optimistic], because I watch him work.”
- When the New England Patriots open the 2013 regular season against the Buffalo Bills, it appears they will do so without star tight end Rob Gronkowski. That's the latest from ESPN's Adam Schefter, who reports that a source told him it is "not realistic" to expect Gronkowski to be ready for the season opener. "It's a huge stretch to think he could play against the Bills," the source said.
- The status of Green Bay Packers wide receiver Jordy Nelson for the team's season opener against the San Francisco 49ers isn't any more certain, but Nelson at least appears hopeful that he'll be ready to go. The six-year veteran, who underwent arthroscopic knee surgery two weeks ago, told Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, "Our main goal is San Fran. And that’s just a goal. You never know what could happen. We’ll just continue to go day by day."
- The 49ers already lost their top wide receiver when Michael Crabtree tore his Achilles tendon, but the team is apparently compensating quite well. Matt Maiocco of CSN Bay Area reports that the chemistry between quarterback Colin Kaepernick and tight end Vernon Davis has been "unstoppable," and Maiocco goes on to write that Kaepernick has been the top offensive player of camp. "He ran the read option with aplomb," Maiocco said, "and he showed touch on the short routes, including screen passes, and got the ball into the hands of his two top pass targets: Davis and wide receiver Anquan Boldin with regularity."
- The Denver Broncos were throttled by the Seattle Seahawks over the weekend in a game where injury has been piled onto insult. Now it's middle linebacker Stewart Bradley who has been sidelined after undergoing surgery on his left wrist, according to Mike Klis of the Denver Post. The injury means that weak-side linebacker Wesley Woodyard will slide to the middle, while Danny Trevathan will replace Woodyard outside.
- That wasn't the only bad news the Broncos got on Monday. Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter of ESPN report that outside linebacker Von Miller is actually staring at a six-game suspension for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy, not four games as was originally believed. Schefter and Mortensen report that Miller is trying to negotiate a shorter ban, but it now appears almost certain that Miller will be out of action for at least a month.
- The Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed guard Carl Nicks to a huge free-agent deal a season ago, only to see a toe injury cut the 28-year-old's first season in Florida short. Now it appears that the two-time Pro Bowler will start the 2013 campaign watching from the sidelines as well. Josh Alper of Pro Football Talk reports that head coach Greg Schiano revealed at his Monday press conference that Nicks will be out indefinitely, due to an infected blister on that same toe.
- Despite an impressive preseason debut by Green Bay Packers running back Eddie Lacy, it was veteran DuJuan Harris, and not Lacy, who opened Monday's practice as the first-team running back according to Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. Harris may be the nominal starter for now, but if Lacy continues to run like he did against the St. Louis Rams, then it's just a matter of time until Lacy is perched atop the depth chart.
- The San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs swung a trade on Monday involving a pair of first-round wide receivers who have been major disappointments to this point in their careers. As Tom Pelissero of USA Today reports, the 49ers shipped 2012 first-round pick A.J. Jenkins to Kansas City in exchange for Jonathan Baldwin, whom the Chiefs drafted in Round 1 in 2011. "We felt like this trade was beneficial for all parties involved," Chiefs general manager John Dorsey said in a statement. "A.J. is a talented individual with a skill set that we feel can add value to our football team."
- Finally, at least one of the quarterback battles in training camps across the NFL appears to be over. Will Brinson of CBS Sports reports that Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley has named third-year pro Blaine Gabbert the team's Week 1 starter. Gabbert sustained a hairline fracture of his thumb in Saturday's preseason game with the New York Jets, but Bradley said, “In two weeks, he should have a chance to come back and begin his preparation.”
- Despite a report over the weekend from Howard Eskin of Fox 29 claiming that Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin could miss the first month of the 2013 season, signs continue to point towards the 2012 Offensive Rookie of the Year being under center in Week 1. Griffin told ESPN's SportsCenter (via Will Brinson of CBS Sports) that he's "close to 100 percent," while Dr. James Andrews flew to Washington Monday to discuss the team's plans for Griffin in 2013 according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.
Here's the latest from around the NFL on Sunday, August 18, including information on a number of injuries that occurred during Saturday's preseason games.
- Houston Texans running back Arian Foster has yet to take to the practice field this year, and it appears that Foster's recovery from a sore back has hit yet another snag. John McClain of the Houston Chronicle reports that the 26-year-old won't return to practice Monday as originally expected, due to injections he received in an attempt to alleviate the pain. McClain goes on to write that "If I'm Kubiak and Arian Foster has a back injury that's requiring injections and feeling pain in legs, I'm worried about him for opener."
- The Denver Broncos were hit hard by injuries on both sides of the ball during Saturday's loss to the Seattle Seahawks, but the team did manage to dodge the proverbial bullet where wide receiver Wes Welker is concerned. Lindsay Jones of USA Today reports that Welker, who injured his ankle in the game, has only a "minor" sprain.
- The Broncos also received positive news regarding defensive end Derek Wolfe, who was taken off the field on a stretcher after a scary-looking neck injury in the first quarter. Jones reports that X-rays and an MRI on the second-year pro were negative, Wolfe was allowed to fly home with the team, and the 23-year-old tweeted, "[I]'ll be okay and will be back on the field soon."
- The news wasn't as good where cornerback Champ Bailey is concerned, however. According to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, Bailey suffered a "serious" foot sprain. While an MRI revealed no torn ligaments, the 15-year veteran could be out of action for "several weeks."
- It was looking more and more like rookie E.J. Manuel would be the Buffalo Bills' starting quarterback in Week 1, but those plans hit a snag when Manuel underwent knee surgery. However, according to Chris Brown of the Bills' website, head coach Doug Marrone still hasn't ruled Manuel out for their September 8 matchup with the New England Patriots. “There are a lot of variables that go into that," Marrone said. "How Kevin [Kolb] is doing and how he is playing. How EJ comes back from the time off, so there’s a lot of speculation on that.”
- The Broncos weren't the only team to be hit by injuries on Saturday, but the Tennessee Titans appear to have avoided a major setback. That's the latest from ESPN's Adam Schefter, who passes along word that second-year wide receiver Kendall Wright has been diagnosed with a sprained knee, rather than an ACL tear as was originally feared. Wright is expected to miss the rest of the preseason, and his status for Week 1 is unknown.
- The Miami Dolphins weren't so lucky. Tight end Dustin Keller, who joined the team in free agency, will miss the entire 2013 season after suffering a horrific knee injury against the Houston Texans. According to ESPN, Keller tore his ACL, MCL, PCL and dislocated his kneecap after being hit low by safety D.J. Swearinger. Swearinger defended the hit, stating that "With the rules in this era you've got to hit low. If I would have hit him high, I would have gotten a fine."
- Keller's old team was also hit by injuries on Saturday. Outside linebacker Quinton Coples, whom the New York Jets selected in the first round of the 2012 NFL draft, suffered a fractured ankle in the team's preseason tilt with the Jacksonville Jaguars. It was originally believed that Coples would not need surgery, but Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports that Coples will go under the knife and is out for at least the rest of the preseason.
With the second week of the 2013 preseason in full swing, here's a look at the latest news from around the NFL on Saturday, August 17.
- The Tampa Bay Buccaneers received a scare during their preseason loss to the New England Patriots when second-year running back Doug Martin was forced from the game after taking a knee to the helmet in the first quarter. However, Martin appears to have avoided serious injury. Stephen Holder of the Tampa Bay Times reports that Martin did not sustain a concussion.
- The Buffalo Bills weren't so lucky. One day after yet another solid preseason performance from first-round pick E.J. Manuel, the Bills received terrible news. As the Bills' website reports, Manuel has experienced significant swelling in his knee and will undergo surgery that will cost him at least the remainder of the preseason, all but insuring that Kevin Kolb will start at quarterback for the Bills in Week 1.
- Fans of the Washington Redskins also received quite a jolt on Saturday, but it now appears that it was much ado about nothing. As Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk reports, multiple media sources in the nation's capital have refuted a tweet by Philadelphia radio host Howard Eskin claiming that Dr. James Andrews has advised the Redskins to sit quarterback Robert Griffin for the first four games of the regular season. Tarik El-Bashir of CSN Washington was among those who shot down Eskin's "bombshell," writing that "I'm also told by a source that 's report about RG3 is 'not true.'"
- The defensive backfield was a sore spot for the Detroit Lions last year, and the Lions continue to address that area. As Tim Twentyman of the Lions' website reports, the Lions have agreed to terms on a free-agent contract with veteran cornerback Rashean Mathis. The 32-year-old Mathis, who had 20 tackles in limited duty last year, spent the first 10 seasons of his career with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
- It appears that there may finally be some separation in the race to start at quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles. According to Jimmy Kempski of Philly.com, for the first time since camp began, Michael Vick received the vast majority of first-team reps in Saturday's practice, while Nick Foles worked primarily with the second team.
- The San Diego Chargers have been absolutely decimated by injuries to their wide receivers, and the injury bug bit hard yet again on Saturday. As Micheal Gehlken of the San Diego Union Tribune reports, slot man Eddie Royal was taken by ambulance to a local hospital after a hard fall in practice. Royal, who caught 23 passes for 234 yards in 2012, was diagnosed with a bruised lung and is being evaluated for a concussion according to USA Today.
- Finally, as Marc Sessler of NFL.com reports, the knee injury suffered by rookie quarterback Geno Smith of the New York Jets in the preseason opener will sideline Smith in the team's exhibition tilt with the Jacksonville Jaguars Saturday night. Not only that, but Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News speculates that Mark Sanchez now has the starting job under center all but sewn up. According to Mehta, "Geno Smith is on the verge of losing the Jets’ quarterback competition fair and square, no matter how much general manager John Idzik tries to rig it."
Here's a look at the top news around the league on Friday, August 16.
- The San Diego Chargers weren't exactly impressive as a team in Thursday night's preseason outing against the Chicago Bears, but head coach Mike McCoy liked what he saw from running back Ryan Mathews. "The way that he ran the ball was outstanding. I think the way he's running the football is what we're looking for in our back," per Michael Gehlken of San Diego Union-Tribune. After years battling injuries, Mathews' nine-carry, 45-yard performance is encouraging.
- Chip Kelly has a legitimate quarterback battle on his hands. Both Michael Vick and Nick Foles were solid against the Carolina Panthers on Thursday night. After the game, the athletic southpaw, who many believe is the best fit in the new Philadelphia Eagles offense, said he "fell in love with the game again" after a sit-down with Kelly this offseason, per Les Bowen of the Philadelphia Inquirer & Daily News.
- The Cleveland Browns pieced together another strikingly sound effort in preseason game No. 2 against the Detroit Lions, and quarterback Brandon Weeden was the star, going 8-of-12 for 117 yards with two touchdown passes. However, the team got some bad news after the 24-6 victory. First-round pick Barkevious Mingo bruised his lung, but according to NFL.com's Ian Rapoport, the former LSU star should "only miss a week or so." On the offensive side, Scott Petrak of the Elyria Chronicle-Telegram filed a report that running back Dion Lewis fractured his fibula. Rotoworld.com wrote Lewis "will now likely miss at least first couple months of the season." The former Pittsburgh Panther carried the ball five times for 33 yards against the Lions and had a 5.5 yards-per-carry average this preseason.
- Those weren't the only injuries to strike the Browns in their win over the Lions. As Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports, starting right guard Jason Pinkston suffered a high-ankle sprain and will "probably miss some regular season time" according to head coach Rob Chudzinski. That injury leaves the Browns precariously thin up front; Shawn Lauvao was already on the shelf after having ankle surgery.
- One of the most durable skill-position players in the NFL suffered an injury on Thursday evening. Roddy White of the Atlanta Falcons, who's never missed a game in his eight-year NFL career, left the team's exhibition game against the Baltimore Ravens with an ankle injury. NFL.com's Ian Rapoport gave a specific update, tweeting, "White has a low-ankle sprain." Rapoport also mentioned that the Pro Bowl wideout would play if it were the regular season.
- Miami Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland traded up in the 2011 NFL draft to select running back Daniel Thomas, and Ireland has been publicly extolling Thomas' virtues of late. However, Don Banks of Sports Illustrated believes it will be Lamar Miller, and not Thomas, who shoulders the load for the Dolphins in 2013. Banks writes, "The Dolphins want balance on offense and plan to run the ball plenty with new starting tailback Lamar Miller, the team's fourth-round pick in 2012." Thomas isn't mentioned at all in the article.
- The Kansas City Chiefs dodged a bullet recently when the foot injury suffered by running back Jamaal Charles turned out to be minor, but the team isn't about to tempt fate. Josh Alper of Pro Football Talk reports that Charles won't play against the San Francisco 49ers on Friday night, and it's believed that the sixth-year pro has seen his last game action until Week 1.
- Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin won't play in the preseason, but the 2012 Offensive Rookie of the Year continues to look like a good bet to be under center in Week 1. That's the latest from Mike Jones of the Washington Post, who reports that teammate Rex Grossman came away impressed after watching Griffin in 11-on-11 drills. "I would say he’s 90 percent capable of doing everything,” Grossman said. “His drops and everything were a lot smoother, his reads were quicker, his understanding of the offense and the passing game was more second nature to him.”
- A calf injury suffered by Chicago Bears middle linebacker D.J. Williams has given rookie Jon Bostic an extended audition with the first team, and it now appears that Bostic may not be giving the job back. Jeff Dickerson of ESPN Chicago reports that Bostic, who returned an interception for a touchdown in the preseason opener, has made quite the impression on coaches and teammates, and "it's going to be difficult to move Bostic out of the spot, even if Williams returns in the next week."
- Sticking with "Da Bears," Chicago drafted Oregon offensive lineman Kyle Long in April in an effort to bolster a shaky front four, and so far so good. According to Pete Damilatis of Pro Football Focus, Long, who made the switch to guard with the Bears, has the highest grade at PFF of any offensive lineman in the NFL to this point in the preseason.
- The departure of Michael Bennett left a hole on the defensive line for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and the team was hopeful that 2013 would be when the third-year pro stepped up and filled that void. However, Roy Cummings of the Tampa Tribune reports that the idea of benching Bowers is "gaining steam" with head coach Greg Schiano. According to Cummings, Schiano "is clearly losing patience with the 2011 second-round draft pick. He's not happy with Bowers' conditioning, effort in practice or performance."
- The Carolina Panthers were hoping that quarterback Cam Newton would take the "next step" in his third NFL season, but if the exhibition season has been indication, there may be trouble afoot. As Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer reports, Newton has completed fewer than half of his passes and engineered only one touchdown drive in eight possessions in two preseason games this year. However, it's worth noting that Newton struggled mightily in each of the past two preseasons, only to improve his play markedly once the games began to count.
Here's a look at the top news around the league on Thursday, August 15.
- Let's start with bits of information regarding the Buffalo Bills offense. Top wideout Stevie Johnson, who's been nursing a hamstring tweak for the past two weeks, returned to practice on Wednesday night, according to Chris Brown of BuffaloBills.com. However, head coach Doug Marrone said, "I’m not going to play him in this upcoming game." Marrone made another decision on Wednesday, giving Kevin Kolb the starting nod against the Minnesota Vikings on Friday, also per Brown. Scott Chandler, who tore his ACL on December 23, will return to the field in the team's second preseason outing.
- Staying in the AFC East, Rex Ryan has picked Mark Sanchez to start the New York Jets' preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, per Gang Green's official Twitter account.
- Tom Brady's "injury" sent the Twitter world into a frenzy late Wednesday afternoon, but now, the New England Patriots and their fans can breathe easy. According to Albert Breer of NFL.com, the All-Pro quarterback "expects to play vs. Tampa," on Friday. Breer's tweet read, "worst fear after tests was bone bruise." Bullet officially dodged.
- The Houston Texans brought in Ed Reed to add more playmaking ability to the back end of their defense, but the future Hall of Famer has been laboring through the pain that's come from his surgically repaired hip. Texans writer Tania Ganguli of ESPN.com recently caught up with Houston owner Bob McNair and tweeted that "he's not concerned about Ed Reed's status for the season."
- Per Adam Schefter of ESPN.com, a "2nd opinion on Chargers WR Malcom Floyd's knee revealed no structural damage," and "time missed will depend on how he feels." Another bullet dodged.
- The Cincinnati Bengals recently handed defensive end Carlos Dunlap a six-year, $40 million contract extension, but there's been a slight delay in the team getting a return on their investment. That's because the 24-year-old still hasn't been cleared to return to practice after suffering a concussion last month, according to Geoff Hobson of the team's website. Dunlap will miss the Bengals' second preseason game on Saturday, but there doesn't appear to be any real concern about Dunlap's availability for Week 1.
- Much has been made of the slow-developing chemistry between quarterback Ryan Tannehill and wide receiver Mike Wallace, and now there appears to be even more cause for concern with Miami's high-priced wideout. Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reports that cornerback Nolan Carroll, whom he calls "not exactly a household name," has "pretty much had his way with Wallace" in practices. La Canfora concedes that Wallace has never practiced well, but this is disquieting for a player making $12 million a year.
- The Green Bay Packers have some question marks in the defensive backfield, and the team badly needs to get cornerback Tramon Williams back in the fold. Tyler Dunne of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports that the 30-year-old is confident that will be the case for Green Bay's season-opening tilt with the San Francisco 49ers. Williams told Dunne that his rehab from a bone bruise in his knee is "progressing" and that "I’m just trying to take my time with it at this point and continue to get treatment."
- The battle to start at quarterback for the Jacksonville Jaguars hasn't received the publicity of similar competitions in New York and Philadelphia, largely because of its participants. However, someone has to start under center for the Jags, and Ryan O'Halloran of the Florida-Times Union reports that when the Jaguars face the New York Jets this week it will be third-year pro Blaine Gabbert who draws the start.
- The defense of the New Orleans Saints was positively horrific last year, allowing more yardage than any defense in NFL history. The last thing the Saints needed while making the switch to the 3-4 was to lose their defensive play-caller, but that's reportedly exactly what has happened. According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, inside linebacker Jonathan Vilma will miss the remainder of the preseason after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery in Philadelphia on Thursday.
- Star running back Arian Foster has been on the shelf throughout training camp in 2013 due to calf and back injuries, but it appears the 26-year-old may be set to take the field for the Houston Texans. That's the latest from John McClain of the Houston Chronicle, who reports that head coach Gary Kubiak is "hoping" that Foster will return to practice on Monday.
Here's a look at the top news around the league on Wednesday, August 14.
- The Miami Dolphins can't afford to lose anyone on their offensive line, but that may have happened on Monday. Jeff Darlington of NFL.com cited sources who told him guard/tackle Nate Gardner hurt his shoulder "bad" and is "out indefinitely." Ryan Tannehill may be ready to break out. However, if he's not protected, developing will be much more difficult.
- Undrafted free agents have emerged as the biggest storyline at New England Patriots training camp. Zach Sudfeld isn't the only non-drafted rookie who's taking reps with the first-team offense. Per Mike Reiss of ESPN Boston, Kenbrell Thompkins "has consistently taken top repetitions and Tuesday was no different." Reiss wrote the following about Thompkins: "He made one of the most remarkable catches of training camp, reaching around Buccaneers cornerback Rashaan Melvin and snaring a one-handed pass from Tom Brady by pinning it against Melvin's back" Late-round fantasy sleeper? Yeah.
- The Jacksonville Jaguars could use some good news about their offense. They've gotten that with Maurice Jones-Drew's availability this summer. According to Ryan O'Halloran of the Florida Times-Union, MJD "has missed only one practice and the team’s lone preseason game so far and both were coach Gus Bradley’s decision." After a serious Lisfranc surgery last December, it's an encouraging development that the 2011 rushing champ isn't missing practices.
- Who will shoulder the load on the ground for the Green Bay Packers this season—Eddie Lacy or Jonathan Franklin? Both were drafted in April and have been fighting for the No. 1 spot all summer. But according to Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel writer Bob McGinn, Lacy figures to get "most of the carries" this season.
- The Oakland Raiders already have plenty of problems this season, and a potentially serious triceps injury suffered by starting left tackle Jared Veldheer smacked of catastrophe. However, Veldheer's injury may not be as serious as was originally believed. Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that Veldheer's triceps muscle is only partially torn. While the fourth-year pro will need surgery, doctors "believe he will be available for much of season."
- If Veldheer's injury caused groans in Oakland, then one happened in Boston that caused panic attacks. However, the knee injury suffered by New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady in practice Wednesday isn't believed to be serious, according to Schefter. The injury set off a firestorm of freaking out on social media sites, but Shefter reports that an MRI was negative and Brady is considered day-to-day.
- Arizona Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson is one of the top young players in the game at his position, but Cardinals general manager Steve Keim thinks that Peterson is much more than just a top cornerback. In fact, according to Robert Klemko of Sports Illustrated, Keim went so far as to compare Peterson to two all-time greats in Bo Jackson and Deion Sanders "I’ve never been a part of a team with a more valuable defensive player," Keim said.
- A rough offseason for Denver Broncos outside linebacker Von Miller took another ugly turn on Wednesday. As ABC-7 TV in Denver reports, the 24-year-old Miller, who is appealing a four-game suspension for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy, was arrested over the weekend for failing to appear in court. The missed court date stems from a traffic citation last October, and Miller was booked and released on a $1,000 bond.
- St. Louis Rams linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar enjoyed a career year in 2012, tallying 115 tackles, but there all but certainly won't be a repeat performance in 2013. That's because the 28-year-old Dunbar will spend the first quarter of this season watching the action from the sidelines. According to John Breech of CBS Sports, Dunbar has been suspended by the NFL for the first four games of the 2013 season for violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing drugs.
- Fans of the Washington Redskins got some good news on Wednesday, even if it was expected. As Tarik El-Bashir of CSN Washington reports, quarterback Robert Griffin took part in his first full-team practice of 2013. “It was nice to get him into a team atmosphere,” head coach Mike Shanahan said. “I thought he did a good job."
- The news about star tight end Rob Gronkowski of the New England Patriots wasn't so good. According to Rotoworld, ESPN's Ed Werder stated on NFL Insiders that the fourth-year pro "still seems to be a ways away yet" in his recovery from June back surgery.
- Detroit Lions defensive end Ezekiel Ansah made quite an impression in his NFL debut, snatching a Mark Sanchez pass and returning it for a touchdown. According to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, defensive line coach Kris Kocurek thinks that's only the beginning. “We view him as more than a situational guy,” Kocurek said. “He’s not just going be a third-down player for us. He’s in the scheme, and he’s going to do everything we ask the other guys to do."
- When the Oakland Raiders drafted Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson in the fourth round of April's draft, there was hope that Wilson might be the quarterback of the future for the team. Those hopes are fading fast, and as things stand right now Wilson may not even make the team. That's the latest from Bill Williamson of ESPN, who writes that Wilson is the "most disappointing rookie in [the] division this summer," and "falling further behind the QB pack every day."
- Things have been better for rookie signal-caller Geno Smith of the New York Jets, but after spraining his ankle in the preseason opener, Smith's status for the Jets' next preseason game with the Jacksonville Jaguars is uncertain. As Seth Walder of the New York Daily News reports, head coach Rex Ryan admitted that it's a "possibility" that Smith will miss the game after a four-interception practice session that Ryan characterized as "brutal."
Here's a look at the top news around the league on Tuesday, August 13.
- Exhale, Kansas City Chiefs fans and fantasy owners—it looks like Jamaal Charles isn't seriously injured. According to Dave Skretta of the Associated Press, the former All-Pro running back was at practice on Tuesday without pads but wasn't wearing a boot or "anything on his right foot." What a relief.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers GM Mark Dominik was quoted by ESPN's Sal Paolantonio (via Rotoworld.com) as saying that the club "is considering playing Darrelle Revis in its third preseason game." Paolantonio astutely reported "that would be three weeks ahead of schedule." The Bucs play at the Miami Dolphins on August 24.
- Cincinnati Bengals wideout A.J. Green is close to returning to practice, according to Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com. The third-year receiver bruised his knee on July 26 and hasn't taken a snap in training camp or the preseason since. Hobson wrote the following about Green: "[H]e may give it a go on Wednesday after Tuesday's day off, which would be 19 days after he bruised his knee on the second day of camp. But still don't look for him in Saturday's 7 p.m. game against the Titans."
- The Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback competition is at a stalemate. Per Vito Stellino of the Florida Times-Union, offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch said, "We look at it is if they’re continuing to improve, they’re going to continue to stay close. If neither is improving, they’re going to continue to stay close" when asked if he was disappointed that neither Chad Henne nor Blaine Gabbert have gained separation.
- The last thing the San Diego Chargers need is any more injuries to their wide receivers, so of course that's exactly what they got. With Danario Alexander down for the year and Malcom Floyd nursing a sprained knee, rookie wideout Keenan Allen is also now on the shelf. According to Michael Gehlken of the San Diego Union Tribune, Allen was unable to finish practice Tuesday and needed treatment on his surgically repaired knee. When it rains, it pours.
- Buffalo Bills quarterback E.J. Manuel was impressive in his NFL debut, but the battle between Manuel and veteran Kevin Kolb to start for the Bills goes on. However, new head coach Doug Marrone won't wait until the last minute to name a starter. According to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, Marrone stated that he will name a starter 10 to 12 days before the Bills' season opener against the New England Patriots, although Marrone said the competition could end sooner if "a clear winner emerges."
- After battling injuries for much of 2012, Cleveland Browns running back Trent Richardson missed the team's preseason opener due to a shin injury. However, it appears the second-year pro is ready to hit the field. Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that Richardson, who scored 12 touchdowns for the Browns as a rookie, will play "a couple of series" in Cleveland's second preseason game against the Detroit Lions.
- The defensive backfield was the Achilles' heel of the Washington Redskins in 2012, and now the team has lost one of the youngsters they drafted in an effort to fix that problem. Mark Maske of the Washington Post reports that safety Phillip Thomas, who started at strong safety for the Redskins in their preseason opener, will miss the 2013 season after tearing the Lisfranc ligament in his left foot during the game.
- After spending much of his first two seasons running the read-option in Charlotte, it appears that there are some changes afoot for Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton. As Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer points out, Newton has spent most of camp running the offense from the pocket. According to Person, new offensive coordinator Mike Shula only "occasionally broke out" the read-option in practices.
- The Tennessee Titans were hopeful they would have wide receiver Kenny Britt back at 100 percent in 2013, but that plan may have already hit a snag. Jim Wyatt of the Nashville Tennessean reports that Britt missed a third consecutive practice on Tuesday due to swelling in his surgically repaired knee. The 24-year-old Britt's status for Saturday's preseason game in Cincinnati is unclear.
- Upgrading the offensive line was a priority for the Chicago Bears in the offseason, and it appears that a shakeup is underway in the starting lineup. When the Bears host the San Diego Chargers on Thursday, it will be rookie Jordan Mills, and not J'Marcus Webb, who will draw the start at right tackle. Michael Wright of ESPN reports that the Bears claim that Webb's demotion is so the fourth-year pro could get more reps with the second team at left tackle, but Wright believes, "If Mills puts together a strong performance against the Chargers on Thursday, Webb could ultimately find himself fighting for a roster spot."
- Arizona Cardinals safety Tyrann Mathieu may have just gotten the opening he needed to ascend into the starting lineup. As Mike Jurecki of 910 AM in Phoenix reports, Mathieu will start the team's second preseason game against the Dallas Cowboys in place of the injured Rashad Johnson. The fifth-year pro has been diagnosed with a sprained ankle and MCL suffered in practice on Monday.
- Johnson wasn't the only starting safety to have a rough go of it Monday. According to Paul Schwartz of the New York Post, New York Giants safety Antrel Rolle is in a walking boot after spraining his ankle in practice on Monday. However, Rolle expects to be fine by the team's Week 1 matchup with the Dallas Cowboys, telling Schwartz, “I am going to do whatever it takes."
- When the Minnesota Vikings signed free agent linebacker Desmond Bishop, it was widely believed he would start in the middle for the Vikings. Now it appears that Bishop may not even make the team. That's the latest from Dan Wiederer of the St. Paul Pioneer-Press, who reports that Bishop's roster spot may be in jeopardy. With Bishop nursing a groin injury, head coach Leslie Frazier said, “So much of this is about how he plays over the next two weeks... He needs to show us he can help our football team in order to make our team.”
Here's a look at the top news around the league on Monday, August 12.
- The Baltimore Ravens signed Dallas Clark and Brandon Stokley over the weekend, but the team is still concerned about tight end Ed Dickson. According to Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun, the fourth-year tight end "remains out indefinitely with a slightly torn right hamstring." Dickson said, "You can't rush back those things. I'm trying my hardest to get back out there. It kills me." Later in Wilson's report, he wrote, "Dickson was noncommittal on whether he can return in time for the Ravens' Sept. 5 regular-season opener against the Denver Broncos."
- The Dallas Cowboys' Anthony Spencer, who had minor knee surgery on July 26, is in the midst of the typical rehabilitation process. He just wishes that process would move along a bit faster. The pass-rushing specialist said the following to Charean Williams of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram: "I’m just focused on getting healthy. I still can’t do a lot of running around and stuff, the stuff that I want to do, so I don’t feel very encouraged right now. I’ve still got a little bit of time." Williams wrote, "He expects to rehab for another 2-3 weeks but vows to be back for the Sept. 8 season opener."
- MMQB's editor-in-chief Peter King has traveled across the country this summer, making stops at the training camps of many NFL clubs. After visiting the St. Louis Rams, King made quite the bold statement about tight end Jared Cook: "I have not seen a better offensive weapon in all the practices I’ve seen on this training camp tour." With Cook, Tavon Austin and a revamped offensive line, quarterback Sam Bradford won't have many excuses this year if he underwhelms again.
- After newly signed offensive lineman Brandon Moore decided to retire instead of joining the Dallas Cowboys, Jerry Jones' team is still looking to acquire a free-agent guard. Per Calvin Watkins of ESPN Dallas, the Cowboys have extended a contract offer to Brian Waters and are awaiting a response from the 36-year-old veteran, who last played for the New England Patriots in 2011.
- The San Diego Chargers wide receiver corps was dealt another potentially huge blow on Monday. Only days after losing wideout Danario Alexander for the season with a torn ACL, veteran receiver Malcom Floyd was carted off the practice field with a knee injury of his own. Initial reports of Floyd's injury were positive, with Michael Gehlken of the San Diego Union Tribune relaying that an MRI Monday night revealed a "sprain." The 31-year-old Floyd, who led the team with 814 receiving yards in 2012, will undergo further testing on Tuesday.
- Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin remains on track to take the field for the team in Week 1, but he won't be seeing any action before then. That's the latest from Chris Russell of ESPN Radio, who reports that head coach Mike Shanahan will not allow Griffin, who is recovering from a torn ACL, to play in any preseason games on the advice of Dr. James Andrews.
- It appears that running back Ahmad Bradshaw may see action for his new team sooner than many thought. Rotoworld reports that the 27-year-old Bradshaw, who signed with the Indianapolis Colts in free agency, has been activated from the PUP list. However, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reports that the NFL forced the Colts to activate Bradshaw after learning that Bradshaw took a few handoffs in practice a week or so ago.
- Tyrann Mathieu has been very impressive in training camp for the Arizona Cardinals, and it looks like the former All-American may be set for a much larger role on defense than was originally expected. As Darren Urban of the Cardinals' website reports, head coach Bruce Arians is confident that the 5'9" Mathieu is big enough to play free safety full time, stating, "He plays bigger than he is and plays faster than he is."
- The Kansas City Chiefs were dealt a scare on Monday when star running back Jamaal Charles went down with a foot injury. However, it appears that the Chiefs dodged a bullet. According to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, X-rays on the foot were negative, and a source told Florio that Charles is expected to be "fine."
- The New York Jets desperately need some sort of good news from training camp, and they may finally have gotten some. Running back Chris Ivory, who joined the team in a draft-day trade with the New Orleans Saints, made his way onto the practice field after nursing a hamstring injury. Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports that head coach Rex Ryan came away from the practice impressed. "He looked excellent," Ryan said "That's one every Jets fan has been waiting to see."
As the first week of the 2013 preseason draws to a close, here's a look at the latest news from across the NFL.
- Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin's rehab from an ACL tear has been nothing short of remarkable, and the second-year pro may be ready to go in Week 1. Mark Maske and Mike Jones of the Washington Post report that Griffin's practice activities are expected to increase next week, and the 2012 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year is expected to face an 11-man defense for the first time on Tuesday.
- It hasn't garnered the publicity of the quarterback battles in Philadelphia or New York, but the Buffalo Bills have a competition under center of their own. Rookie E.J. Manuel helped his case quite a bit with a strong performance in Sunday's preseason opener against the Indianapolis Colts. Playing the entire first half. Manuel completed 16 of 21 passes for 107 yards and a touchdown while adding three carries for 28 yards.
- The offensive line was a sore spot for the San Diego Chargers in 2012, and there's still a great deal of uncertainty surrounding the unit in 2013. That's because the team hasn't decided on a starter at left tackle, according to Michael Gehlken of the San Diego Union-Tribune. Both King Dunlap and Max Starks will see playing time with the first team in San Diego's upcoming preseason game with the Chicago Bears, with Starks telling Gehlken that the competition between him and Dunlap is "wide open."
- The San Francisco 49ers desperately need someone to step into the void created by wide receiver Michael Crabtree's Achilles injury. With second-year pro A.J. Jenkins failing to capitalize on the opportunity, the team appears set to turn to a pair of recent acquisitions. Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee reports that Austin Collie and Lavelle Hawkins, who were signed by the 49ers on August 2, will see increased practice reps with starting quarterback Colin Kaepernick this week. Head coach Jim Harbaugh told Barrows he's "pleased with what they're doing, definitely. They're studying hard, working hard to get out there and chomping at the bit to be out there."
- With tight end Dennis Pitta out for the year, the Baltimore Ravens need a viable underneath target in the passing game. In an effort to address that need, the Ravens added a veteran receiver on Sunday, agreeing to terms on a one-year deal with Brandon Stokley according to Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun. The 37-year-old Stokley had 45 catches for 544 yards and five touchdowns for the Denver Broncos in 2012.
- The Ravens weren't done there. According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, Baltimore also signed free-agent tight end Dallas Clark. The 11-year veteran, who caught 47 passes for 434 yards and four scores in 2012 with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, joins Visanthe Shiancoe as the second veteran pickup the Ravens have made at the position since Pitta went down.
As the first week of the 2013 NFL preseason winds down, here's a look at the latest news and notes from around the NFL on Saturday, August 10.
- Fans of the New York Jets were dealt a scare in Friday's preseason, and we're not just talking about every time Mark Sanchez dropped back to pass. Rookie signal-caller Geno Smith limped off the field in the third quarter, but as Darryl Slater of the Newark Star-Ledger reports, the injury doesn't appear to be serious. According to Slater, X-rays were negative and Smith stated he hopes to practice Monday and should be fine to start New York's second preseason game next week.
- The Jacksonville Jaguars did not look sharp in their loss to the Miami Dolphins on Friday night, and to add injury to insult, one of the team's leading defenders went down. As Ryan O' Halloran of the Florida Times-Union reports, linebacker Russell Allen was in a walking boot after the game due to an ankle injury suffered on the game's first play. The 27-year-old Allen was the Jaguars' second-leading tackler in 2012, racking up 131 stops.
- Allen's injury wasn't the only bad news for the Jaguars. Wide receiver Justin Blackmon continues to make headlines for all the wrong reasons. The second-year pro, who is suspended for the first four games of the 2013 season, had to be escorted from the field after verbal confrontations with both Miami cornerback Nolan Carroll and teammate Jason Babin, according to Mark Long of the Associated Press. Ryan O'Halloran of the Florida Times-Union reports that head coach Gus Bradley met with Blackmon after the game. “You know how it is in the preseason,” Bradley said. “Sometimes a player talks to the sideline. It started off as just banter and I just addressed it."
- The Denver Broncos are one of the AFC's leading Super Bowl contenders in 2013, but that hasn't stopped the team from considering a defensive shakeup. As Christopher Dempsey of the Denver Post reports, Stewart Bradley is making a strong push to unseat Nate Irving as the team's starter at middle linebacker. Bradley started the team's preseason opener against the San Francisco 49ers on Thursday, but head coach John Fox says nothing has been decided yet. "It's competition," Fox said, per Dempsey. "We'll take a hard look at the tape and see who executed the best in the game situation and move from there."
- The retirement of Ray Lewis left a large void in the middle of the Baltimore defense, a void that most expected would be filled by second-round rookie Arthur Brown. However, it was veteran Daryl Smith who started the Ravens' preseason opener, and the 10th-year pro is already making a big impression with his new teammates. Smith, who joined the Ravens in free agency after spending his entire career with the Jacksonville Jaguars, had five tackles in his Ravens' debut, and Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun reports that head coach John Harbaugh said that Smith has already become "a quarterback of the defense."
Here's a look at the top news around the league on Friday, August 9.
- With Ray Rice entering the 2013 season with more than 1,500 career touches, the Baltimore Ravens are ready to lean on second-year runner Bernard Pierce more frequently. The former Temple star, who averaged 4.9 yards per carry as a rookie, had a 20-yard touchdown run in the Baltimore's preseason opener. However, it looked like he injured his knee after being hit in the end zone. Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun provided an update after the game. In his report, Zrebiec wrote, "Pierce, who had his knee wrapped, declined to talk to reporters, saying that he had to get treatment."
- Things are not looking good for San Francisco 49ers 2012 first-round pick A.J. Jenkins. After a disappointing, injury-plagued rookie campaign, he needs a big second season to make an impression on head coach Jim Harbaugh. Following the team's preseason contest against the Denver Broncos, Harbaugh said the following of Jenkins' night: "Uh, could have been better," per Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee. Jenkins fumbled on his only catch of the evening. With Michael Crabtree out for a prolonged period, Jenkins has a prime opportunity to get on the field, but there's plenty of competition at the wide receiver position.
- According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, veteran wideout Plaxico Burress tore his rotator cuff in Thursday's practice. It "could be a season-ending injury." Burress is 36 and re-signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers in March.
- If Brandon Weeden plays in the regular season like he did against the St. Louis Rams in the preseason opener, the Cleveland Browns will surprise the masses. The second-year quarterback went 10-of-13 for 112 yards and a touchdown. His 8.2 YPA was well above the 6.5 YPA average he had in 2012.
- Heading into training camp, the guard position was one of the more heated battles for the Browns. That competition appears to be over. Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that Shawn Lauvao will miss the season opener (at least) after arthroscopic surgery on his ankle, which effectively hands the starting job opposite John Greco to third-year pro Jason Pinkston.
- Although the Seattle Seahawks have Marshawn Lynch and Robert Turbin to spearhead their running game, they selected the uber-talented Christine Michael in the second round of this year's draft. Michael has an undesirable injury history, but at 5'10'' and 220 pounds, the Texas A&M product is a special athletic specimen. In the team's first preseason game, Michael played all four quarters and finished with 16 carries for 89 yards. Head coach Pete Carroll was happy with his rookie running back, saying, "He’s got a long way to go, but he ran hard, looked quick and made some guys miss. So I think it’s a very good first game for him," per Eric D. Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune.
- The Indianapolis Colts may have dodged a bullet when wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey's knee injury wasn't as bad as originally believed, but the team is now hoping for good news yet again in the passing game. According to Mike Chappell of the Indianapolis Star, tight end Dwayne Allen, who injured his foot in practice, is seeking a second opinion on the injury. No further updates are available on the second-year pro's status, but we'll keep you posted.
- The most prominent injury during Thursday's games occurred in the contest between the Browns and St. Louis Rams. While the news isn't horrible regarding Rams tackle Rodger Saffold, it isn't exactly sunshine and puppies either. Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Saffold dislocated his shoulder in the loss, but the Rams hope to have Saffold back for Week 1.
- New York Giants general manager Jerry Reese recently stated that he expects star defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, who recently had back surgery, to be ready for Week 1. That optimism isn't shared by Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News, who writes, "I remain very skeptical about whether Jason Pierre-Paul will be back in time for the season opener, or if he'll even be much help the first month of the season -- especially after listening to him last week."
- After early reports that rookie quarterback Geno Smith had outplayed Mark Sanchez in training camp for the New York Jets, it appears that the youngster has fallen back to the pack a bit. That's the latest from Darryl Slater of the Newark Star-Ledger, who reports that Smith "has sputtered of late." That hasn't gone unnoticed by offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg, who told Slater, “He’s got to power through it. We’ll see how he rebounds.”
- The retirement of Brian Urlacher left a hole at middle linebacker for the Chicago Bears that was expected to be filled in the short term by free-agent acquisition D.J. Williams. However, the future may be now in the Windy City, as Michael Wright of ESPN Chicago reports that second-round pick Jon Bostic "could wind up making a serious push for the starting job" with a strong preseason.
- Oakland Raiders running back Darren McFadden has had a star-crossed NFL career, but McFadden's lengthy injury history hasn't stopped the team from discussing a contract extension with him, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. However, McFadden reportedly isn't interested, with Rapoport stating that McFadden "wants to return to his old self and be in position to command big dollars after the season rather than talk now."
- The New England Patriots badly need someone to step up at wide receiver opposite Danny Amendola. Despite not having much luck at the position in the NFL draft in recent years, it appears the Pats may have their man. Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald reports that rookie Aaron Dobson has been "flourishing with Tom Brady and the first-team offense," and that "Brady’s willingness to allow Dobson to make tough plays has become a noticeable trend over the past two weeks."
With tight end Heath Miller working his way back from an ACL tear, the Pittsburgh Steelers were already hurting at the position. Now the situation has gone from bad to worse. Seventh-year veteran Matt Spaeth, who was penciled in as the team's starter, will be sidelined eight to 10 weeks by a Lisfranc sprain according to Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Here's a look at the top news around the league on Thursday, August 8.
- The Carolina Panthers are relying on Brandon LaFell to emerge as a legitimate complement to Steve Smith, and in the process, they may have found another pass-catcher to aid Cam Newton's development. According to Tom Sorensen of the Charlotte Observer, head coach Ron Rivera said Armanti Edwards has been the team's training camp MVP thus far. The speedy slot receiver/returner caught five passes for 124 yards in 2012.
- Darren McFadden is one of the most physically gifted running backs in all of football, but he has yet to play a full 16-game season in his NFL career. Now he's healthy, and Oakland Raiders head coach Dennis Allen wants his feature back to play in the preseason. The following Allen quote came via Scott Bair of CSN Bay Area: “I’ve seen it where guys like Darren don’t play in the preseason and I’ve seen it where those guys do. It’s my feeling that guys need to play."
- Justin Tuck may be learning a new position in his ninth season with the New York Giants. Conor Orr of the New Jersey Star-Ledger reported that during practice Tuck was "lining up as a roaming, stand-up rush end." The Giants are still a base 4-3 team; however, Orr wrote "Tuck has played a handful of snaps from the stand-up position," and that the team "will experiment and see what fits in the overall framework." It will be interesting to see how Tuck produces if he plays standing up more often in 2013.
- With Greg Jennings now a Minnesota Viking and Jordy Nelson nursing an injured knee, the Green Bay Packers would love one of their previously complementary pass-catching targets to step up. According to Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel writer Bob McGinn, Jermichael Finley may be the man ready to elevate his game. McGinn quoted quarterback Aaron Rodgers as he spoke about the massive tight end: "He's been running his routes really well. Something clicked last year midseason and it's carried over this spring. He's got himself in unbelievable shape, and he's come in and been dominating out there."
- After a trade to acquire his services fell through, the San Francisco 49ers are apparently taking another chance on cornerback Eric Wright. Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com reports that the 28-year-old Wright, who was released by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last month, signed a one-year deal and was immediately placed on the active/non-football injury list.
- The Philadelphia Eagles looked to improve the passing game in the 2013 NFL draft with the selection of Stanford tight end Zach Ertz, and so far that pick appears to be a wise one. That's the latest from Sheil Kapadia of Philadelphia Magazine, who writes that Ertz has been "as good as advertised" in training camp and that "The guess here is that he’ll end the season with more catches and receiving yards than Brent Celek or James Casey."
- Things haven't gone as well for rookie cornerback Leon McFadden of the Cleveland Browns. McFadden, who was considered the front-runner to start opposite Joe Haden after being selected in the third round of April's draft, has been sidelined for much of camp by a groin injury and is "no longer considered a serious competitor for the job" according to Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
- Randy Covitz of The Kansas City Star believes Jamaal Charles' workload will decrease this year...at least on the ground. Covitz writes that Charles "may not rush for much more than 1,000 yards" in 2013, but that "Charles, who caught 35 passes for 236 yards last year, will more than double that this season based on what we’ve seen in training camp."
- Vic Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Alex Barron, who hasn't played in the NFL since 2010, "might be in the mix for the starting right tackle position." Barron, who was the 18th overall pick in the 2005 NFL draft, was a colossal bust with the St. Louis Rams and Dallas Cowboys. If you need any more proof that fans of the Oakland Raiders are in for a long season, consider this.
- When the Jacksonville Jaguars open the preseason Friday against the Miami Dolphins, they will do so without their best offensive player on the field. John Oehser of the Jaguars' website reports that running back Maurice Jones-Drew will sit out the game as a precaution, while Ryan O'Halloran of the Florida Times-Union tweeted that Blaine Gabbert will draw the start at quarterback for the Jaguars.
- We reported yesterday that Michael Vick would start the Eagles' preseason opener on Friday, but the battle to start at quarterback in Philadelphia is far from over. Les Bowen of the Philadelphia Daily News reports that Vick and Nick Foles will split first-team reps in Friday's game and that Foles will start Philly's second preseason contest.
- The Eagles may well need a big season from whoever starts at quarterback, at least if the performance of their defense in practices with the New England Patriots is any indication. According to John Gonzalez of CSN Philadelphia, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has "feasted" on the Philly secondary, stating that Brady "threw several touchdowns during red-zone sessions and went long stretches without an incompletion."
- One of the more interesting storylines during Thursday's preseason action will be the three-man battle to start at running back for the St. Louis Rams. However, it may be only a two-man race for now. Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that rookie Zac Stacy may not play against the Cleveland Browns due to "general soreness." Second-year pro Daryl Richardson was listed as the starter on the team's initial depth chart, but head coach Jeff Fisher cautioned that the race is far from over, telling Thomas, “We haven’t ruled anybody out.”
Here's a look at the top news around the league on Wednesday, August 7.
- More bad news for the Philadelphia Eagles at the wide receiver position. First reported by Philadelphia Inquirer reporter Jeff McLane, offseason acquisition Arrelious Benn tore his ACL and will miss the entire regular season. DeSean Jackson remains the lone viable threat on the outside, and it looks as though Riley Cooper will make the team after all.
- The Seattle Seahawks have one of the better defensive fronts in football, and they could get back a key contributor earlier than expected. Head coach Pete Carroll said Chris Clemons "could to be back by the opener," this according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. The former Georgia Bulldog had 11.5 sacks in 2012.
- The Atlanta Falcons fielded one of the league's most dynamic offenses in 2012, but after losing right tackle Tyson Clabo in free agency, they may have lost his replacement. Per the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's D. Orlando Ledbetter via head coach Mike Smith, Mike Johnson "suffered a dislocated left ankle and fibula fracture during Tuesday’s practice." He was slotted to play right tackle in 2013.
- In what will likely be the most unusual news of the day, the Dallas Cowboys signed former New York Jets offensive guard Brandon Moore to a one-year contract, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. Now, the unusual part. On Wednesday morning, the veteran offensive lineman decided to retire instead. Reported by Schefter, Moore "could not bring himself to get on [the] plane and leave his family."
- The Indianapolis Colts drafted a pair of tight ends last year, with Dwayne Allen having the better first season. However, the tables may be turning, at least if Indianapolis general manager Ryan Grigson is to be believed. Grigson told Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk that Coby Fleener has made a number of "wow" plays in camp, and Grigson went on to call the former Stanford star the Colts' top breakout candidate for 2013.
- There are backfield battles raging in both Denver and Green Bay, but neither may have a clear winner. Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers told Don Banks of Sports Illustrated that Jonathan Franklin has a "slight edge" to be Green Bay's passing-down back (with Eddie Lacy playing on early downs), while Jeff Legwold of ESPN writes that Montee Ball has become the "No. 1B" running back to Ronnie Hillman's "No. 1A" with the Broncos.
- After leading the NFL in rushing in 2011, Maurice Jones-Drew of the Jacksonville Jaguars suffered through a nightmarish 2012 season. The 28-year-old may be set to bounce back in 2013. Jones Drew told Eugene Frenette of the Florida Times-Union that there is no pain in his surgically repaired foot, stating that the foot is "back to normal again."
- The Baltimore Ravens were left with a large hole in their passing game thanks to the season-ending hip injury suffered by tight end Dennis Pitta, and the team may be looking at an inventive way of filling it. Thanks in part to the strong play of reserve tailback Bernard Pierce as a rookie, the Ravens are considering splitting running back Ray Rice out wide in some offensive sets according to Chris Mortensen of ESPN (via Rotoworld).
- Indianapolis Colts running back Ahmad Bradshaw has yet to fully practice with his new team, but that may be about to change. As Craig Kelley of the Colts website reports, Bradshaw has begun doing more side work with the team. The 27-year-old hopes to ditch his walking boot "in about a week."
- It wouldn't be a day of news reports without an update on the competition at quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles between Michael Vick and Nick Foles. Wednesday brought more news that suggests Vick may have pulled ahead. ESPN's Adam Schefter reports that it will be Vick under center when the Eagles open the preseason Friday night against the New England Patriots.
- The Chicago Bears' secondary was dealt a fairly serious blow on Wednesday. According to Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune, veteran cornerback Kelvin Hayden, who was expected to serve as the nickel cornerback for the Bears this season, tore his left hamstring and will miss the entire 2013 season.
- The Bears weren't the only team to be bitten by the injury bug. According to Larry Holder of the New Orleans Times-Picayune, the Saints lost both wide receiver Joe Morgan and defensive end Kenyon Coleman to season-ending injuries. Morgan tore his ACL and injured his meniscus, while Coleman, who was expected to start at left defensive end, tore a pectoral muscle.
Here's a look at the top news around the league on Tuesday, August 6.
- Joe Morgan was essentially a lock to win the New Orleans Saints' No. 3 WR job this season—that is, until he got injured. According to Mike Triplett of the New Orleans Times-Picayune, Morgan injured his knee in Saturday's scrimmage and newly signed Steve Breaston could now challenge Morgan for a starting job. Triplett wrote Morgan's injury came "at an awfully tough time."
- In the wake of Bryan Bulaga's ACL tear, the Green Bay Packers tried fourth-round rookie David Bakhtiari at left tackle and veteran Marshall Newhouse at right tackle during the team's most recent practice, per ESPN.com's Rob Demovsky.
- Cam Newton needs production from his pass-catching contingent to take the next step as a quarterback, and Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera is encouraged by the play of fourth-year pro Brandon LaFell. Jonathan Jones of the Charlotte Observer quoted Rivera: "I think (Brandon) is a solid No. 2 and he’s still trending up. I think the arrow’s still up on Brandon. Now it’s just a matter of doing it. I really believe that." LaFell had 44 grabs for 677 yards and four touchdowns in 2012.
- With Kevin Kolb sidelined with a knee injury, Buffalo Bills rookie E.J. Manuel had his first real opportunity in the spotlight on Monday evening. The team held its first intrasquad practice of training camp. While the first-round pick had an inauspicious start, he finished strong, leading three straight touchdown drives to end the session. Despite the shaky beginning, Doug Marrone was pleased with Manuel's performance. Per Tim Graham of the Buffalo News, Marrone said, "We're very, very pleased with his development. I'm pleased with a couple things, just his demeanor coming back, obviously, from the start with the interceptions. I'm pleased that he led us on a two-minute drive."
- Last week, per Brian Costello of the New York Post, Santonio Holmes "told friends he expects to miss at least the first four games of the season." But Seth Walder of the New York Daily News passed along more optimistic news directly from Rex Ryan on Monday. The head coach "would not rule out the receiver playing in the opener against Darrelle Revis and the Bucs, and said he's 'running and training.'"
- The injuries just keep piling up for the Green Bay Packers. In addition to losing Bulaga for the season, the team may now be opening the 2013 campaign without one of its top receivers. As ESPN's Adam Schefter reports, wide receiver Jordy Nelson underwent knee surgery Tuesday that will sideline the 28-year-old for four to six weeks. Nelson, who caught 15 touchdown passes in 2011, struggled with hamstring and ankle issues in an injury-marred 2012.
- Much has been made of Cleveland Browns running back Trent Richardson's potential in Norv Turner's offense in 2013, but all the potential in the world is no good if Richardson isn't on the field. As Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports, Richardson hasn't been participating in team drills and likely won't play in Thursday's preseason opener, although his absence is being called "precautionary."
- And now for the daily update regarding the ongoing battle to start at quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles. It's shaping up to go down to the wire, as ESPN's Sal Paolantonio reports (via Rotoworld) that Michael Vick and Nick Foles are currently "neck and neck."
- The offensive line was a weak spot for the Atlanta Falcons in 2012, and that line has been dealt a potentially serious blow already this year. According to D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, right tackle Mike Johnson was taken via ambulance to a local hospital after being carted off the field with a left leg injury.
- The Indianapolis Colts got a bit of good news on Tuesday. Contrary to reports on Monday claiming that wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey had a sprained MCL and would be sidelined indefinitely, ESPN's Chris Mortensen passes along word (h/t Rotoworld) that the injury isn't as serious as originally believed. Heyward-Bey, who joined the Colts in free agency, is considered day-to-day.
- It's been a rough week for Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Riley Cooper, but it appears the dark clouds may be parting. Cooper, who was fined and excused from all team activities last week after video surfaced of him using a racial slur, was back at practice and working with the first team Tuesday according to Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
- There has been some speculation that Geno Smith has the edge in the competition to start at quarterback for the New York Jets, but it will be Mark Sanchez who opens the game under center when the Jets kick off the preseason. That's the latest from Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News, who reports that Smith will also see time with the first team.
- Running back Mark Ingram has been a disappointment over his first two seasons with the New Orleans Saints, but there may reason for optimism. According to Mike Triplett of the New Orleans Times-Picayune, Ingram has looked "strong, fast and fluid." Triplett goes on to write, "If this were Ingram's first summer with the Saints, the buzz would probably be through the roof by now."
- San Diego Chargers wide receiver Danario Alexander was one of the biggest surprises of the second half of last season, but the knee problems that have dogged Alexander throughout his career may now have ended it. As Dan Hanzus of NFL.com reports, the 24-year-old Alexander, who has had five surgeries on his left knee, tore his right ACL in practice Tuesday and will miss the entire 2013 season.
Here's a look at the top news around the league on Monday, August 5.
- Aaron Rodgers was sacked 51 times in 2012, the most of any quarterback in football. Now, he'll be without starting left tackle Bryan Bulaga for the entire season. Via ProFootballTalk.com, the fourth-year offensive lineman "tore his ACL in Saturday night's intra-squad practice." While his loss is a big one for Green Bay, a team that'll be forced to undergo some offensive front shuffling, the Packers did go 6-3—including the playoffs—without Bulaga a season ago.
- Vince Young couldn't make the Buffalo Bills in 2012 with Tyler Thigpen and Ryan Fitzpatrick as his quarterback competition, but he's getting another chance to earn an NFL job. Per Josina Anderson of ESPN, the former two-time Pro Bowler and Offensive Rookie of the Year has signed a one-year deal with the Green Bay Packers.
- The St. Louis Rams used a second-round pick on Appalachian State wide receiver Brian Quick in 2012; however, he's apparently not playing well in training camp. St. Louis Post-Dispatch writer Jim Thomas named Chris Givens, Austin Pettis and Tavon Austin as the team's top three receivers. As for Quick, he wrote, "Quick has made strides but still has work to do."
- The offensively challenged New York Jets need all their pass-catching talent available, regardless of which quarterback is under center to start the season. Unfortunately, the team's most established wideout, Santonio Holmes, may be sidelined come September. According to Brian Costello of the New York Post, Holmes "has told friends he expects to miss at least the first four games of the season."
- Arizona Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson is one of the better defensive backs in football. Now, new head coach Bruce Arians wants to use the 6'1'', 220-pound athletic freak on offense. According to MMQB's editor-in-chief Peter King, Arians has "Peterson in about 15 offensive plays, and could use him as a wideout at anytime." Peterson was an All-Pro punt returner as a rookie in 2011.
- The New Orleans Saints bolstered their depth at wide receiver on Monday in light of Joe Morgan's knee injury, agreeing to terms with free-agent veteran Steve Breaston according to Adam Schefter of ESPN. The 29-year-old Breaston, who barely played for the Kansas City Chiefs in 2012, had 77 catches for 1,006 yards with the Arizona Cardinals in 2008.
- Right about now, the Indianapolis Colts probably wish they had signed Breaston. That's because wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey, who was competing with T.Y. Hilton for the second receiver spot, sprained his MCL in practice Sunday. According to ESPN's Chris Mortensen via Evan Silva of Rotoworld, the 26-year-old Heyward-Bey is expected to miss "a lot of time."
- Kansas City Chiefs strong safety Eric Berry had a down third season in the NFL, but the team is apparently looking for big things from Berry in 2013. As Randy Covitz of the Kansas City Star reports, Berry has been lining up at strong safety in base and nickel defensive packages but shifting to linebacker in the dime. Said Berry of his role in new coordinator Don Sutton's defense, "I'm going to be all over the place."
- Rookie defensive back Tyrann Mathieu has been turning heads at the Arizona Cardinals' training camp, and praise for Mathieu just continues to grow. As Ron Wolfley writes at Arizona Sports, one scout stated that Mathieu was "pound-for-pound, the best player on the field," while an offensive assistant coach told Wolfley he believed "No. 32 was going to change the team."
- After losing Dennis Pitta for the season, the last thing the Baltimore Ravens need is any more injuries at the tight end position, but that's what they have. According to Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun, Ed Dickson will miss at least a week with a "slight tear" of his hamstring.
- After injuring his hand last week in practice, All-Pro linebacker Patrick Willis of the San Francisco 49ers went under the knife. That's the latest from ESPN's Mike Sando, who reports that Willis will be sidelined a "few weeks" by surgery on his fractured hand. However, the seventh-year pro has played through similar injuries in the past, and Willis is expected to be all systems go for Week 1.
- Much has been written about the battle to start at quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles. Nick Foles appeared to have the early edge, but the gap between Foles and veteran Michael Vick appears to have narrowed. So says Reuben Frank of CSN Philadelphia, who wrote that while Foles "hasn't been bad at all," the 33-year-old Vick has been "tremendous" of late.
With the Hall of Fame game between the Dallas Cowboys and Miami Dolphins set to kick off the 2013 NFL preseason, here's a look at the top news around the league on Sunday, August 4.
- After a picture reportedly showing a "fat" Eddie Lacy made the social media rounds earlier this week, some people speculated that fellow rookie Johnathan Franklin may have a better chance to start at running back for the Green Bay Packers. Think again. As Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee-Journal Sentinel reports, Lacy was impressive during the team's intrasquad scrimmage. Lacy carried the ball eight times for 65 yards, while Franklin, who played behind both Lacy and James Starks, managed only 17 yards on seven totes.
- The news wasn't all positive from that scrimmage, however. The Packers were dealt a crushing blow, according to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. Florio reports that left tackle Brian Bulaga suffered a season-ending torn ACL during the practice, a huge loss for a team that struggled at times protecting Aaron Rogers in 2012.
- In more running back news, Ahmad Bradshaw of the Indianapolis Colts, who began training camp on the PUP list due to his bad foot, took a few handoffs during walk-throughs according to Mike Chappell of the Indianapolis Star. However, in doing so, Bradshaw may have gotten the Colts into hot water with the NFL. Even that limited participation in practice is a violation of the rules regarding players on PUP.
- When the Cincinnati Bengals travel to Atlanta to open the preseason on Thursday against the Falcons, they'll do so without their top offensive weapon. Wide receiver A.J. Green, who "tweaked" his knee on Friday, has been ruled out of the game according to Josh Alper of Pro Football Talk. The injury isn't believed to be serious.
- The latest updates regarding the rehab of New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski's back aren't especially promising. As Ben Volin of the Boston Globe points out, Gronkowski hasn't even dressed for any of the Patriots' practices so far this year, watching the action from the sidelines in street clothes. Volin theorizes that it's "likely" Gronkowski will open the regular season on the PUP list (costing him the first six games), but that's admittedly speculation.
- The departure of Jake Long in free agency thrust second-year pro Jonathan Martin into the starting role at left tackle for the Miami Dolphins. So far, that hasn't gone so well. As Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald reports, Martin has been repeatedly beaten by young defensive ends Olivier Vernon and Dion Jordan in practices, with Salguero writing that "[Martin's] hand placement is admittedly inconsistent."
- The New York Jets conducted their Green and White scrimmage Saturday night, and as Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News passes along, Geno Smith solidified his claim to start at quarterback for the Jets. Smith started ahead of Mark Sanchez and outplayed the veteran, and Mehta states, "Make no mistake: Smith will be the starter against the Buccaneers on Sept. 8 if he’s sharp in the preseason."
- Finally, Green Bay Packers kicker Mason Crosby struggled in 2012, and as Jason Wilde of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports, those struggles appear to have followed Crosby into 2013. Crosby made only three of eight field-goal attempts at the Packers' "Family Night" practice, leading head coach Mike McCarthy to grumble, "Well, Mason Crosby is competing for a job on our football team, like everyone else. He definitely didn’t take a step in the right direction with his performance."
As the National Football League prepares to welcome seven new faces to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, here's a look at what's going on around the league on Saturday, August 3.
- When the Miami Dolphins and Dallas Cowboys open the preseason Sunday in the Hall of Fame Game, they will do so without a pair of prominent players on the field. Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald reports that Dolphins wideout Mike Wallace isn't expected to play due to a sore groin, while Calvin Watkins of ESPN Dallas passes along word that Dallas quarterback Tony Romo and "several Cowboys starters" will sit out the game as well.
- The Arizona Cardinals will hold their "Red vs. White" scrimmage Saturday night without two of their top running backs. Ryan Williams had treatment on his surgically repaired knee and is on crutches according to Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic, while Rashard Mendenhall will be out "a couple of days" due to tendonitis in his own surgically repaired knee.
- Buffalo Bills quarterback Kevin Kolb isn't doing himself any favors in his battle with rookie E.J. Manuel to start in Buffalo. According to the Associated Press via ESPN, Kolb tripped on his way to the practice field and "tweaked" his knee on Saturday. The injury isn't considered serious, but Kolb will reportedly be sidelined a few days, which means more first-team practice reps for Manuel.
- The Cleveland Browns are hopeful that the addition of offensive coordinator Norv Turner will jump-start an offense that ranked 25th in the NFL in 2012, but so far results have been mixed. That's the latest from Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, who reports that Turner admits the passing game has been "ragged" at times. "We've had a lot of mixed results and more inconsistencies than I'd like but that doesn't surprise me,'' said Turner. "However, we do need to have that sense of urgency that this thing's going to be on us real fast.''
Here's the latest from around the NFL on Friday, August 2.
- Initially, the San Francisco 49ers weren't sure of the severity of Chris Culliver's knee injury. But NFL Network's Ian Rapoport confirmed the veteran cornerback tore his ACL in Thursday's practice and will be out for the year. That's another major loss for the defending NFC champions, who may look to the waiver wire after camp cuts are made to replace Culliver on the outside.
- Mike Wallace was a surprise non-participant to start the week at the Miami Dolphins' training camp, and he hasn't been on the field since. To clear up some of the mystery surrounding the team's prized free-agent acquisition, Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald wrote the following: "Wallace confirmed today he is battling a groin injury and that's the reason he led a handful of players being held out of practice today." The Dolphins would likely love to get Wallace back into the fold so the speedster can continue to establish a rapport with quarterback Ryan Tannehill.
- Staying in the AFC East, Buffalo Bills wide receiver Steve Johnson pulled up lame when running a route in Friday morning's practice. Shawn Stepner of Buffalo's WKBW-TV wrote that Johnson was "helped off, limping, by trainers" and that it "looked to be a hamstring." Although the Bills added speed to their receiving corps this offseason, after three straight 1,000-yard seasons, Johnson is the clear No. 1.
- Per Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News, second-year wideout Rueben Randle has been the No. 1 star of training camp. Vacchiano wrote that Randle has gotten an "enormous opportunity" with Hakeem Nicks sidelined and "he’s taken advantage with a sometimes spectacular performance." If Randle continues to impress, the Giants will suddenly possess quite the threatening pass-catching trio for Eli Manning.
- The Green Bay Packers could have a new right tackle this season. According to the Green Bay Press-Gazette, fourth-round pick David Bakhtiari "has worked his way into the running for the starting job at right tackle," although Marshall Newhouse is the favorite to win the job. Mike McCarthy said of Bakhtiari: "He’s clearly one of the guys that has made a step in the padded work."
- The controversy surrounding racist remarks made by Philadelphia Eagles' wide receiver Riley Cooper took another turn on Friday. Amid remarks from teammate LeSean McCoy that "I can't respect a guy like that," Marc Sessler of NFL.com reports that Cooper has left camp. The team released a statement which read in part, "As we have said, Riley Cooper will be seeking counseling and we have excused him from all team activities. This is all new territory and we are going to evaluate this timetable every step of the way."
- Oakland Raiders kicker Sebastian Janikowski was heading into the last year of his contract, but it now appears the 35-year-old will finish his career with the team. As Tom Pelissero of USA Today reports, the Raiders signed the big man with the bigger leg to a four-year, $15.2 million contract that will keep Janikowski in the Bay Area through 2017.
- With top wideout Michael Crabtree likely out for the season and none of the youngsters stepping up, the San Francisco 49ers looked outside the organization for help at the position on Friday. As Mike Garafalo of USA Today reports, the 49ers have signed wide receiver Austin Collie, who played his first four seasons in Indianapolis. The 27-year-old has been productive when on the field, but his career has been marred by a series of concussions.
- There's been a great deal of speculation about who will emerge as the winner of the three-man competition to be the lead back for the St. Louis Rams, and the winner appears to be no one. According to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, head coach Jeff Fisher indicated that the team could use a committee attack, stating that the Rams could end up "playing two or three backs all the time. Which is good."
- When the Denver Broncos drafted Wisconsin running back Montee Ball in the second round of April's NFL draft, it was widely assumed that Ball would take lead back duties for the team. However, second-year pro Ronnie Hillman has received the majority of the first-team carries to this point in camp, and Hillman had drawn the praise of coaches according to Adam Caplan of ESPN. Said offensive coordinator Adam Gase of Hillman, “He has done a good job. The last two days he has been very impressive and has had very minimal mistakes.”
- In more running back news, it appears that the New York Giants may be headed for a return to a two-headed "thunder and lightning" ground game. That's the latest from Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News, who reports that Andre Brown and second-year back David Wilson will "split" the carries for Big Blue in 2013.
- When the Minnesota Vikings first signed free-agent linebacker Desmond Bishop, the prevailing school of wisdom was that Bishop would supplant Erin Henderson at middle linebacker, while Henderson kicked outside. However, as the St. Paul Pioneer-Press reports, head coach Leslie Frazier said that Henderson is "thriving" in the middle and "maturing as a defensive leader," while stating that it was now "unlikely" that a switch will be made.
- Much has been made this year of the potential for Cleveland Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden to thrive in Norv Turner's offense, but at least one prominent scribe just isn't seeing it. Peter King of Sports Illustrated visited the Browns in Berea, Ohio and came away skeptical, saying, "I question whether he can be accurate enough to be this team's quarterback for both this year and the long haul."
Here's the latest from around the NFL on Thursday, August 1.
- The San Francisco 49ers have had two inside linebackers named to the All-Pro team in each of the last two seasons—Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman—and both are currently dealing with injuries. Citing a team source, Matt Maiocco of CSN Bay Area reported that "Willis is scheduled to undergo an X-ray on Thursday to determine the extent of his injured right hand." Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk went further, writing that the linebacker "may have a 'slight fracture' in his hand," per a league source, despite that source telling Florio that Willis "feels fine." PFT's report ended with the following on Willis' linebacker mate: "Bowman also missed a portion of Wednesday’s practice after sustaining a groin strain on Tuesday."
- After failing to acquire Joe Mays, the Washington Redskins have signed former Green Bay Packers and Buffalo Bills linebacker Nick Barnett to a one-year deal, according to NFL Newtork's Ian Rapoport. Barnett should serve as depth at inside linebacker behind London Fletcher and Perry Riley.
- After losing J.D. Walton to a broken ankle and Dan Koppen to an ACL tear, the Denver Broncos needed help at center. So they lured a former Peyton Manning protector out of retirement. Ryan Lilja, who played with the Indianapolis Colts from 2004 to 2009, was signed to a one-year by John Fox's club on Wednesday, according to Mike Klis of the Denver Post. Lilja was a member of the Kansas City Chiefs for the last three seasons and has played both guard and center in his NFL career.
- Some would argue the best quarterback in football resides in the AFC West. Of course, they'd likely be referring to that Manning fellow, the four-time league MVP. Not so fast. Per Randy Covitz of the Kansas City Star, Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Doug Pederson has a different view on the top signal-caller in the NFL. He actually favors Alex Smith. Pederson said, "Ultimately, every team has to have a quarterback, I think we have the best in the league.” Alrighty then.
- Cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, who signed with the Broncos this offseason after a relatively underwhelming stint in Philadelphia, suffered a high ankle sprain in practice on Wednesday, according to Mike Klis of the Denver Post. Klis wrote, "Rodgers-Cromartie is expected to be out two to three weeks."
- The chemistry between Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill and wide receiver Mike Wallace has been slow to develop, and that development has now stalled out altogether. Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald reports that Wallace has been sidelined since Monday with a groin injury. The status of the 27-year-old Wallace for Sunday's Hall of Fame game isn't presently known.
- Sticking with the wideouts, one of the standouts in camp for the San Diego Chargers has also been bitten by the injury bug. According to Tom Krasovic of the San Diego Union-Tribune, Vincent Brown missed his fourth straight practice Thursday due to a hamstring injury. Brown, who lost the entire 2012 season to a broken ankle, hopes to resume practicing early next week.
- The injuries continue to mount on defense for the NFC champs. San Francisco 49ers cornerback Chris Culliver, who made headlines during Super Bowl week with his homophobic comments, was carted off the practice field with a potentially serious knee injury according to Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee. Barrows reports that Culliver "was running down the field on a one-on-one punt coverage drill with rookie Marcus Cooper blocking him when he fell to the ground and clutched his left knee."
- The New England Patriots finally got some much-needed good news about their receivers on Thursday. Julian Edelman, who had 21 catches for 235 yards and three touchdowns in nine games last year, has been activated from the PUP list according to Field Yates of ESPN.
Green Bay Packers tight end Jermichael Finley has been a source of great frustration for the team, but there's optimism in Titletown that 2013 could be different. Tyler Dunne of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports that Finley has had a great camp so far, with head coach Mike McCarthy stating, "[H]e's in a very good place. I think he's having a heck of a camp."
Here's the latest from around the NFL on Wednesday, July 31.
- Buffalo Bills defensive end Mario Williams missed the first three days of training camp and spent Sunday and Monday away from the team getting a second opinion on his sore foot. But after the somewhat mysterious injury created a media firestorm in Pittsford, New York, Buffalo News beat writer Mark Gaughan tweeted that Williams was back for a morning practice on Tuesday.
- Following up on Eddie Lacy's overweight/bad angle picture that went viral on Monday—per Rob Demovsky, who covers the Green Bay Packers for ESPN.com, Lacy said the following on the matter: "I'm at a weight where I'm comfortable at and the coaching staff feels as though they're comfortable where I'm at. So as far as that's concerned, we're all on the same page." Head coach Mike McCarthy chimed in as well, saying, "If we had any concerns about any of our guys conditioning-wise, they wouldn't be on the field."
- This from Tarik El-Bashir of CSN Washington regarding Washington Redskins cornerback DeAngelo Hall's injury: "Hall said an MRI exam on Tuesday afternoon revealed sprained ligaments in the back of his ankle. He said he’ll be sidelined anywhere from two days to two weeks." That doesn't appear to be a major loss for Mike Shanahan's team, but with an already thin secondary, Washington cannot afford to lose him for a prolonged period.
- It's still very early, but according to the Denver Post, second-year runner Ronnie Hillman has "his arm wrapped tightly around the starting running back spot." He is battling rookie Montee Ball for the starting gig.
- The Cincinnati Bengals recently inked defensive end Carlos Dunlap to a six-year, $40 million extension, but 2013 isn't getting off to a good start. The 24-year-old, who had 40 tackles and six sacks a year ago, suffered a concussion and will be sidelined indefinitely according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.
- The rehab of Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Darrelle Revis from a torn ACL continues to progress well. As Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times reports, Revis covered wide receivers on Wednesday for the first time since injuring his knee early in the 2012 season while with the New York Jets.
- Throwing the ball to the running back has long been a staple of Andy Reid-led offenses, and it appears that nothing will change in Kansas City. According to the Associated Press via ESPN, Chiefs tailback Jamaal Charles has been "catching plenty of balls out of the backfield while also lining up at wide receiver," with Reid stating, "He's a legitimate threat with his speed, his route-running ability and his hands. He catches the ball very easily."
- Unless your last name is Manning, job security at the quarterback position in the state of New York is in short supply. In Buffalo, WGR Radio reports that veteran Kevin Kolb isn't doing himself any favors by struggling against blitzes (in practice, mind you), while Peter King of Sports Illustrated relays that rookie E.J. Manuel has looked "comfortable, confident, strong-armed and accurate."
- There's a similar quarterback controversy brewing in New York City, and much like in Buffalo it appears that youth is currently being served. Per a Rotoworld report, Rich Cimini of ESPN told NFL Live that Geno Smith's chances of unseating Mark Sanchez are growing. "If Mark (Sanchez) has more days like this," Cimini said after Wednesday's practice, "we could see a changing of the guard at QB."
- The offseason news just gets better and better at wide receiver for the Philadelphia Eagles. Riley Cooper, who was expected to start for the Eagles with Jeremy Maclin lost for the year, could face NFL discipline after a Deadspin video (WARNING: contains objectionable language) surfaced showing Cooper uttering a racial slur at a concert. The 25-year-old Cooper has apologized via Twitter, writing, "I am so ashamed and disgusted with myself. I was wrong and I will accept the consequences." Cooper has already been fined by the Eagles, who released a statement via ESPN that read, "We are shocked and appalled by Riley Cooper's words. This sort of behavior or attitude from anyone has no role in a civil society."
- The knock on New York Jets running back Chris Ivory entering 2013 was that he just can't stay healthy, and so far this year Ivory doesn't look to have much chance of shaking the "injury-prone" label. On the same day that Rich Cimini of ESPN wrote that the Jets are "hopeful" they can get 15 carries a game out of Ivory, Mark Cannizzaro of the New York Post passed along word that Ivory's balky hamstring once again flared up in practice.
- The Houston Texans were hopeful that signing veteran safety Ed Reed would improve their chances of a Super Bowl run in 2013, but at this point there's no telling when (or even if) Reed will take the field for the team. The 34-year-old Reed told the Associated Press via ESPN that he's still experiencing "constant" tightness and soreness in his surgically repaired hip, and until that abates there is no timetable for Reed's return.
- The Indianapolis Colts were 21st in the NFL in pass defense last year, so improving the secondary was a priority for the team in the offseason. However, one of those new pieces will be on the shelf for a bit. The Associated Press reports via Fox News that cornerback Greg Toler was forced from practice with a concussion.
Here's the latest from around the NFL on Tuesday, July 30.
- With outside linebacker Victor Butler already lost for the year, the New Orleans Saints and new defensive coordinator Rob Ryan can't afford another injury to a prominent pass-rusher. Unfortunately, Martez Wilson was bit by the injury bug in practice Monday. According to Larry Holder of the New Orleans Times-Picayune, he "will miss 2-4 weeks after sustaining a left elbow injury."
- Staying on the injury front, the Philadelphia Eagles lost linebacker Jason Phillips for the year to a torn ACL in practice on Monday, according to NFL.com's Jeff Darlington. He appeared in all 16 games for the Carolina Panthers in 2012 but was expected to only be a depth linebacker for Philadelphia in 2013.
- The Miami Dolphins added a few pass-catchers in free agency this offseason to help quarterback Ryan Tannehill—most namely Mike Wallace—but after an injury to red-zone target Armon Binns, the team will look for other receivers to replace him. According to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, Laurent Robinson will work out with the Dolphins on Tuesday. Jackson wrote, "Austin Collie also is on Miami’s radar."
- Tim Tebow is back in the news—has he ever left?—kind of. According to Boston Globe beat writer Ben Volin, "ninety-nine percent of Tebow’s activity during his time with the Patriots has been spent learning to play quarterback in the team’s system. He has only spent time in the quarterback meeting room, he wears a red non-contact jersey on the field and he runs the third-team offense during team drills." While it's a major long shot that Tebow even gets on the field as a quarterback with Tom Brady the unquestioned starter, the positioning of the most polarizing player in the NFL is at least worth noting.
- The New York Jets are one of the organizations with a training camp quarterback competition on their hands. According to Brian Baldinger of NFL.com, who attended a recent Jets practice, rookie signal-caller Geno Smith looked good "until he ran gassers." Baldinger said Smith "looked like he had done no conditioning. It was actually embarrassing to see how far behind he (Mark) Sanchez and (Matt) Simms and everybody else that's there." Yikes.
- But wait, the news gets better, Jets fans. Not only is the organization "losing confidence" that top wideout Santonio Holmes will be ready for Week 1 according to Rich Cimini of ESPN, but there have been no updates on the status of MIA running back Mike Goodson, who has yet to report to camp.
- Tuesday brought with it the much-awaited second opinion on the Seattle Seahawks' Percy Harvin's balky hip, and the news was terrible for Seattle fans. Harvin tweeted Tuesday evening that his partially torn labrum will require surgery. Harvin will have the operation on Thursday and will all but certainly open the season on the PUP list. The 25-year-old Harvin had 62 catches for 677 yards and three touchdowns in 2012.
- As if the Seahawks needed any more problems with their wide receivers, the health of Sidney Rice has now been thrown into question. As Liz Matthews of ESPN Radio in Seattle reports, the oft-injured seventh-year veteran is currently in Switzerland undergoing treatment on his knee according to head coach Pete Carroll.
- Harvin isn't the only superstar whose status is up in the air. Buffalo Bills defensive end Mario Williams, who has been sidelined recently with a sore foot, also sought out a second opinion. According to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk the news is positive. While Williams has been advised to rest, the injury isn't considered serious.
- There has been a great deal of drama surrounding the New York Giants' star wide receivers this offseason, and even though Victor Cruz got his contract, that soap opera has continued. In the latest chapter, brought to us by Conor Orr of the Newark Star-Ledger, Hakeem Nicks appears to have drawn the ire of head coach Tom Coughlin for missing practice. According to Orr, Coughlin would say "only that Nicks was limited. But he made several references to the importance of practicing [and] seems to be irritated."
- The Indianapolis Colts brought in running back Ahmad Bradshaw to bolster their ground game, but the news just isn't getting any better where Bradshaw's foot is concerned. The 27-year-old Bradshaw, who topped 1,000 yards for the New York Giants in 2012, will miss at least a couple more weeks and could be sidelined for the entire preseason according to Mike Chappell of the Indianapolis Star.
- Finally, the last thing the Green Bay Packers need headed into the 2013 season is an injury in their secondary. Unfortunately, that's exactly what has happened, as Jason Wilde of ESPN Wisconsin reports that cornerback Tramon Williams will miss a couple weeks with an injured knee. However, head coach Mike McCarthy is hopeful that Williams will be ready for Week 1, stating, "I'm not concerned [the injury is] of a serious nature."
Here's the latest from around the NFL on Monday, July 29.
- MMQB editor-in-chief Peter King has provided some optimism regarding Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Percy Harvin. King wrote, "My money’s on rest and treatment—and Harvin to be ready on opening day." The former Minnesota Vikings wideout, who was traded to the Seahawks this offseason, is dealing with a hip injury and will get a second opinion from a New York-area specialist this week.
- With wide receiver Jeremy Maclin lost for the year with a torn ACL, the Philadelphia Eagles are now exploring options to replace him. According to Philly.com, GM Howie Roseman said, "[T]he Eagles will focus on internal options to replace Maclin, and they will count on more than just their wide receivers."
- Following the knee injury to right guard John Jerry, the Miami Dolphins have been forced to tinker with the offensive line. Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald reported that rookie Dallas Thomas was kicked inside to guard, while Richie Incognito and starting center Mike Pouncey also saw time at that spot during a recent practice.
- It appears there won't be a Jeff Saturday-Peyton Manning reunion in Denver this year. After Broncos center Dan Koppen went down with a season-ending knee-ligament tear, some speculated that the now-retired Saturday would be interested in joining Manning's team. ESPN's Ed Werder shot down that possibility on Twitter Monday morning with this concise sentence on Saturday: "No interest in rejoining Peyton in Denver."
- The New York Jets are hopeful that Chris Ivory will jump-start their ground game in 2013, but so far things haven't gone well. The 25-year-old Ivory, who struggled with injuries during his time with the New Orleans Saints, has been sidelined in camp by a hamstring tweak according to Jane McManus of ESPN New York.
- With tight end Dennis Pitta done for the year, the Baltimore Ravens made a move to shore up their running game on Monday by bringing back a player released earlier in the offseason. As Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reports, the team has agreed to terms with fullback Vonta Leach, who graded out as the NFL's top player at his position in 2012 according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required).
- In the social media age, molehills become mountains very quickly. On Monday, a firestorm was set off when an unflattering picture of Green Bay Packers running back Eddie Lacy made the rounds. As Dan Hanzus of NFL.com reports, Lacy became a trending topic on Twitter before yet more photos surfaced that seemed to show Lacy looking much more trim. Grantland's Bill Barnwell summed things up pretty well, quipping, "You don't check Twitter for a half hour and somehow Eddie Lacy's gained 20 pounds and lost them all already."
- The Houston Texans took steps to address their lack of depth at inside linebacker Monday, signing free agent Joe Mays according to Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk. The 28-year-old Mays, who played sparingly for the Denver Broncos last year, had 75 tackles back in 2011.
- The last of this year's first-round picks are now in camp. As ESPN's Adam Schefter reports, the Tennessee Titans inked offensive guard Chance Warmack to a four-year, $12.2 million contract. The contract is fully guaranteed, but it contains the offset language that has become the sticking point du jour in rookie deals nowadays.
- There may be no more scrutinized body part in the NFL than the knee of Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin, but it appears that knee will be a bit harder to see this year. Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk passes along word that Griffin will wear a brace on the knee in 2013, with RG3 stating, “I don’t know if I’ll wear it forever. I know I’ll wear it for the rest of the season.”
- Finally, the Jacksonville Jaguars appeared to have dodged a bullet. Or not, depending on how you feel about third-year quarterback Blaine Gabbert. Gabbert was carted off the field at practice on Monday with an apparent ankle injury. However, tests did not indicate the dreaded high-ankle sprain, and Gabbert told Ryan O' Halloran of the Florida-Times Union that he's "good."
Let's look at some NFL news from training camps on Sunday, July 28.
- The injuries keep piling up in training camps, and this time one of the AFC's top Super Bowl contenders was victimized. Center Dan Koppen, whom the Broncos re-signed after J.D. Walton had ankle surgery, is lost for the season with a torn ACL according to Jay Glazer of Fox Sports. The 33-year-old was carted off the practice field, and ESPN's Adam Schefter reports that an MRI confirmed the original diagnosis.
- Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Heath Miller had a great year in 2012 cut short by an ACL tear. While Miller is progressing well in his rehab, there remains no timetable for his return. That's the word from Miller himself, who told the team's website that he's been running and cutting but that "I’m just trying to maintain my focus on the short-term and make progress every day and not think about the big picture."
- One day after losing starting tight end Dennis Pitta for the season, the Baltimore Ravens took steps to replace him, agreeing to terms on a one-year contract with free agent Visanthe Shiancoe, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. The 33-year-old Shiancoe had zero catches in four games with the New England Patriots last year.
- There's a position battle of sorts brewing in Indianapolis, where free-agent acquisition Darrius Heyward-Bey and second-year pro T.Y. Hilton are vying to be the Colts' second wide receiver behind Reggie Wayne. So far Heyward-Bey has the upper hand, as Mike Chappell of the Indianapolis Star observed that's it's been Heyward-Bey over Hilton in base offensive formations to this point.
- According to new ESPN Buffalo Bills beat writer Mike Rodak, Kevin Kolb took most of the first-team reps during the team's first training camp practice at St. John Fisher College. However, there won't be a decision at quarterback soon. Via Rodak, head coach Doug Marrone said, "Really if you can get 10-12 days prior to that first [regular season] game, that's when you're going to get pressed for time and have to make a decision on a quarterback."
- And then there was one. The New York Jets and cornerback Dee Milliner agreed to a four-year, $12.66 million, fully guaranteed contract, according to a team announcement per NFL.com's Ian Rapoport. Chance Warmack of the Tennessee Titans remains the only 2013 first-round pick who has yet to sign his rookie deal.
- San Francisco 49ers Pro Bowl tight end Vernon Davis has been taking snaps at wide receiver at the club's training camp, according to Associated Press writer Joe Stiglich. Davis said, "They've been having me line up at wide receiver, pretty much all over the place. It's a good thing...it not only helps me at the wide receiver position, it also helps me at the tight end position. My feet get quicker, my route-running is better."
Here's the latest from around the NFL on Saturday, July 27.
- The injury bug bit the Philadelphia Eagles hard on Saturday. As Martin Frank of USA Today reports, wide receiver Jeremy Maclin tore his ACL in practice and will miss the entire 2013 season. The 25-year-old Maclin was being counted on to be a big part of Chip Kelly's offense this year, but teammate DeSean Jackson said, "It looked like his knee just kind of buckled on him a little bit."
- The Eagles weren't the only team left scrambling after a major injury. The Baltimore Ravens, who already lost wide receiver Anquan Boldin in free agency, will now be without the services of tight end Dennis Pitta as well. The fourth-year pro, who reeled in seven touchdown passes last year, fractured his hip after colliding with a teammate in the end zone and will miss all of 2013 according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. Now the Ravens must act quickly to repair a suddenly fractured passing game.
- It hasn't taken Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blaine Gabbert long to make a first impression with new head coach Gus Bradley, and apparently that impression isn't good. Gabbert had a disastrous day of practice Saturday, botching play after play and throw after throw according to Ryan O' Halloran of the Florida Times-Union. A clearly exasperated Bradley was none too pleased by the performance, stating, "It's not acceptable. We’re not going to tolerate it."
- Not all the news was bad for the Jaguars, however. Running back Maurice Jones-Drew's recovery from a Lisfranc injury is apparently progressing well according to the Associated Press (via ESPN). The 28-year-old Jones Drew, who had the worst season of his career a year ago, said "I feel like I had a little burst. I feel like I did some old stuff. I just want to continue that and continue on that track."
- It was a scary day of practice in Berea, Ohio. Second-year offensive lineman Ryan Miller of the Cleveland Browns was taken off the field on a stretcher after lying motionless on the ground for several minutes. Miller was transported to the Cleveland Clinic according to Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon-Journal, but he is reportedly awake, alert and has feeling in all of his extremities.
- Three of this year's first-round draft picks remain unsigned, and in the case of New York Jets cornerback Dee Milliner, it doesn't appear that's going to change anytime soon. That's the latest from the NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, who reports that "nothing is imminent" in regards to the former Alabama star getting into camp.
Training camp news and notes for Friday, July 26.
- No news update would be complete without some Tim Tebow news, so we'll kick things off with Tebow's debut with the New England Patriots. Tebow was "horrendous" in quarterback drills according to Tom Curran of CSN New England, but some eyebrows went up when Tebow ran some drills with the receivers, per the NFL Network's Albert Breer.
- The biggest news of Friday continues to be the injury of wideout Percy Harvin. A day after Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll refused to rule out potentially season-ending surgery, Adam Schefter of ESPN reported that the fifth-year pro will meet with a specialist early next week. Tom Pelissero of USA Today relayed, however, that sources within the Seahawks remain "hopeful" that surgery can be avoided.
- All eyes in Philadelphia were turned towards the split in reps at quarterback between Michael Vick and Nick Foles. For those keeping track, Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer counted 25 first-team snaps for Vick and 18 for Foles. Make of that what you will, but it's still awfully early.
- The New England Patriots badly need one of their young wide receivers to step up and help out their ravaged passing attack. According to Jeff Pini of Boston.com, rookie Aaron Dobson has seized the early lead in the competition, working ahead of Josh Boyce and Mike Jenkins with the first team on Friday.
- It seems like Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger actually plays better when he's nicked up, but it still can't come as good news to the team that Roethlisberger is experiencing pain in his surgically repaired knee. That's the news from the Steel City, where Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette quotes head coach Mike Tomlin as stating that Roethlisberger is experiencing "a little discomfort" in the knee he had scoped in June.
- Any number of prominent NFL players have begun training camp on the PUP list, but few appear to have a prognosis as bleak as New York Jets wide receiver Santonio Holmes. The 29-year-old Holmes, who missed most of 2012 with a Lisfranc injury, still is nowhere close to a return to action. When asked if he would play at all this year, Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News says that Holmes replied, “I can’t answer that question right now.”
- The pending suspension of Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller has been a big storyline this week. However, according to Lindsay Jones of USA Today, Miller's teammates expect the third-year pro to win his appeal. According to one source inside the organization, "He didn't test positive for anything."
Here's what happened at camps across the land on Thursday, July 25.
- The biggest news of Thursday involved one of the NFL's elite passers and a whole lot of money. As Chris Mortensen of ESPN reports, the Atlanta Falcons and Matt Ryan came to terms on a multi-year extension worth well over $100 million. The deal contains a $30 million signing bonus and almost $60 million in guaranteed money.'
- After signing Desmond Bishop in free agency, it was widely believed he would line up at middle linebacker for the Minnesota Vikings. However, Ben Goessling of the St. Paul Pioneer Press (via Pro Football Talk) passes along that Bishop, for now, will slot on the strong side. Longtime SAM linebacker Chad Greenway will move to the weak side, while Erin Henderson mans the middle.
- An offseason that started out like gangbusters for the Seattle Seahawks has taken a couple of dings lately. The latest came on Thursday, when Tom Pelissero of USA Today reported that wide receiver Percy Harvin will seek a second opinion on his ailing hip. Both Harvin and the team are hopeful that surgery won't be necessary, but it hasn't been ruled out.
- The Buffalo Bills have opened camp without their franchise player. According to Tim Graham of the Buffalo News via NFL.com, free safety Jairus Byrd remains unhappy about his contract and will not report to camp.
- The Arizona Cardinals were very busy on Thursday, signing a pair of veteran free agents and probable starters. First, Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reported that the team had agreed to terms with offensive tackle Eric Winston, who played with the Kansas City Chiefs in 2012. Later in the day the Redbirds were at it again, inking defensive end John Abraham to a two-year deal according to Rapoport.
- Not all the news was good in the desert, however. Rotoworld reported that rookie wide receiver Ryan Swope, who opened eyes at February's NFL combine with a 4.34-second 40-yard dash, has been forced to retire from football due to the effects of multiple concussions. Swope set school records for receptions and yardage in a season while a junior at Texas A&M in 2011.
- The results of an "extensive physical" on Carolina Panthers running back Jonathan Stewart didn't produce the results the team was looking for. The balky ankles of Stewart are apparently still a problem, as Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer relayed that Stewart has been placed on the PUP list. According to Person, "The sixth-year running back said the left ankle has healed well while the right one is 'still an issue.'"
- Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler will be playing for his next contract in 2013, so the pressure's on the 30-year-old to perform this season. Bears general manager Phil Emery thinks that Cutler has taken that to heart this offseason. Emery recently told Mark Potash of the Chicago Sun-Times that Cutler was "fully dialed in" during OTAs.
- Finally, injuries are a part of training camp, and the San Diego Chargers' depth at linebacker will be tested by the one they experienced Thursday. Jonas Mouton, who was being counted on for a larger role defensively in 2013, was carted off the practice field after injuring his knee according to Michael Gehlken of the San Diego Union-Tribune. Mouton has battled injuries seemingly non-stop since the Chargers drafted him in the second round in 2011, and at this point another serious one may end his career.
Here's the latest from around the National Football League on Wednesday, July 24.
- The New York Jets are in dire straits at wide receiver, and desperate times call for desperate measures. Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News reports that pending the outcome of a physical, the team is preparing to sign veteran wideout Braylon Edwards. The 30-year-old Edwards had 18 catches for 199 yards and a touchdown last year with the Jets and Seattle Seahawks.
- Edwards wasn't the only veteran getting a look on Wednesday. According to Marc Sessler of NFL.com, defensive end John Abraham, who had 10 sacks in 2012 for the Atlanta Falcons, will visit with the Arizona Cardinals. Abraham would seem an odd fit for Arizona's 3-4 defense, but the Redbirds need to upgrade a pass rush that struggled in 2012.
- Despite that fact that quarterback Christian Ponder led the Minnesota Vikings to the playoffs last year, he may be on precariously thin ice with the team. At least that's the belief of ESPN's Adam Schefter, who wrote on Wednesday, "If [Ponder] struggles, my sense is the Vikings wouldn’t hesitate to go to Matt Cassel."
- There are no such problems in the nation's capital. The recovery of Robert Griffin from a torn ACL has gone as well as the Washington Redskins had dared hope, and apparently the organization is in no mood to push its luck. Griffin told Brian McIntyre of Yahoo! Sports that although he's been cleared to practice, "I don't think I'll play in the preseason unless coach says so."
- Not all the news is good for the 'Skins, however. Defensive end Adam Carriker, who lost most of the 2012 season to a torn quadriceps muscle, needs surgery on the leg again according to Tarik-El Bashir of CSN Washington. Given that it's the third operation on Carriker's leg, and the timing of the surgery, the outlook for the sixth-year pro in 2013 isn't good.
- Wide receiver Mike Williams had a great season in 2012 for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and now Williams has been rewarded for that performance. As ESPN reports, Williams signed a six-year, $40 million contract extension upon arriving at Tampa's training camp Wednesday. The fourth-year pro had 996 receiving yards and nine touchdowns a season ago.
- If early news from training camp is any indication, the Kansas City Chiefs are going to open up the offense in 2013. According to Randy Covitz of the Kansas City Star, the Chiefs entered the second day of camp having not practiced a running play in team drills. Rotoworld also reports that head coach Andy Reid told NFL Network he expects quarterback Alex Smith to "pull the trigger" more in 2013.
News from around the National Football League for Tuesday, July 23.
- The Tampa Bay Buccaneers got some good news regarding their biggest offseason acquisition on Tuesday. As Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com reports, cornerback Darrelle Revis has been cleared to practice and will join the veterans when they report on Wednesday.
- The Buccaneers also made a move to bolster their backfield depth on offense. According to Stephen Holder of the Tampa Bay Times, the Buccaneers agreed to terms on a one-year deal with running back Peyton Hillis. The 27-year-old Hillis, who rushed for nearly 1,200 yards in 2010 with Cleveland, played with the Kansas City Chiefs in 2012.
- Veterans being cleared for practice was the theme of the day in Florida. Jacksonville Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew, who led the NFL in rushing in 2011, has been medically cleared to practice, according to ESPN. The 28-year-old, who lost much of last year to a foot injury, told reporters, "Now, it's back to football. It's been a long time coming."
- Bad news continues to swirl around the Dallas Cowboys' defensive line. After losing Tyrone Crawford for the season, the Cowboys will now be without the services of starting defensive end Anthony Spencer for up to a month. That's the latest from Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com, who reports that Spencer, who had 95 tackles and 11 sacks last year, will undergo arthroscopic knee surgery this week.
- As the Baltimore Ravens begin the first post-Ray Lewis training camp, they will be doing so with his heir apparent in the fold. After missing much of OTAs and training camp due to sports hernia surgery, rookie linebacker Arthur Brown is a "full go" for practice, according to Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun.
- The Buffalo Bills sank a ton of money into their defensive line last year, and now some of that money is just sunk. As Rosenthal reports, on Tuesday the Bills released defensive end Mark Anderson, just one year after signing a four-year, $20 million contract. The 30-year-old had a single sack last year after racking up 10 the year before with the New England Patriots.
- Training camp isn't getting off to the best of starts for the newest member of the Indianapolis Colts. According to WANE-TV, running back Ahmad Bradshaw will begin training camp on the active/physically unable to perform list. The 27-year-old, who had surgery on his oft-injured foot in January, is eligible to be activated at any time, but Bradshaw has been in a walking boot since June.
Here's a look at the news and notes from around the NFL on Monday, July 22.
- As the rookies reported for Cleveland Browns training camp in Berea, Ohio, the team got a bit of good news. Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon-Journal reports that running back Trent Richardson, who has been battling a shin injury, has been cleared to practice fully.
- The news was similarly positive in the nation's capital. With the Washington Redskins scheduled to open training camp in Richmond, Virginia Thursday, Jim Corbett of USA Today reported that quarterback Robert Griffin's surgically repaired knee has also been cleared. Griffin himself broke the news, tweeting, "Doctors cleared me to practice. Coach is going to ease me in. Thank you for your support & See you in Richmond."
- Things haven't been so rosy for the Dallas Cowboys as training camp opens in California. Defensive tackle Jay Ratliff has been sidelined by a hamstring injury, rookie defensive end Tyrone Crawford was lost for the season after tearing his Achilles tendon over the weekend, and now Carlos Mendez of the Fort-Worth Star Telegram reports that defensive end Anthony Spencer has been unable to practice due to a bone bruise on his knee. Said Spencer, "It’s concerning to me. It’s bothering me right now. I really don’t know what else to do, so I’m just taking it day by day.”
- The relationship between second-year quarterback Ryan Tannehill and free-agent prize Mike Wallace hasn't gotten off to a smashing start for the Miami Dolphins. According to Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald, Tannehill and Wallace "failed to connect" in practices, with Tannehill saying, “It wasn’t our cleanest day. We definitely have rust we have to knock off.”
- To the surprise of absolutely no one, the San Francisco 49ers placed wide receiver Michael Crabtree on the active/PUP list Monday according to Matt Maiocco of CSN Bay Area. The move means that Crabtree will open the 2013 season on the PUP list, costing the 25-year-old at least the first six games of the season.
- Carolina Panthers running back Jonathan Stewart is a talented player who just can't stay on the field, and after offseason ankle surgery, we may not see Stewart at practice anytime soon. That's the speculation from ESPN's Pat Yasinkas, who predicts that it could be "toward the middle or end of camp before we see much of Stewart."