Could Terrelle Pryor be the Oakland Raiders Week 1 starter?
It is indeed put up or shut up time when it comes to securing a job in the NFL for 2013.
The vast majority of personnel decisions have been made around the league. But there are still a few moves that may need to be made, especially in light of recent events.
On Thursday night, the National Football League wraps up its preseason slate with all 32 teams in action. Action may be stretching a bit, at least in terms of the starters.
But what about those who suddenly find themselves thrust into the limelight per se for one reason or another?
Here are five players, three of which are quarterbacks, who consider this final summertime outing a little more important than most others. The reasoning is different for each and in some cases, has nothing to do with their own play during the preseason and/or in training camp.
So for those who think these games don’t really matter, we’ll give you cause to think again.
This offseason, the Buffalo Bills gave their quarterback position a makeover. And thanks (or no thanks) to some unforeseen circumstances, the work continues.
But this summer has hardly been a vacation for head coach Doug Marrone and the club. Manuel is recovering from minor knee surgery performed a week and a half ago, and Kolb’s NFL future could be in doubt after apparently suffering a concussion in last Saturday’s preseason tilt with the Washington Redskins.
So it’s been back to the drawing board. The team recently signed veteran free agent Matt Leinart and also traded for Thaddeus Lewis, the latter coming over from the Detroit Lions.
And then there is Jeff Tuel. The undrafted rookie free agent from Washington State, signed in May, has completed 72.1 percent of his passes for 299 yards and a pair of scores this preseason. While the young signal-caller hasn’t thrown an interception, he has lost one fumble. Tuel has also been sacked three times this summer.
Will Manuel be back in time for the season opener versus the New England Patriots? There seems to be some feeling that will indeed be the case, according to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport. Could Tuel actually be the team’s Week 1 starter? It’s safe to say that Marrone’s first year on the job has already been…eventful.
Fear not, Dallas Cowboys fans. Running back DeMarco Murray is not on the bubble when it comes to making the team’s roster.
However, it would be nice to see the third-year pro on the field a little more often. Injuries have cut short each of Murray’s first two NFL campaigns. The talented running back has led the team in rushing in each of his first two seasons.
But last year’s total of 663 yards was hardly anything to get excited about. Only the Arizona Cardinals totaled fewer yards rushing than Jason Garrett’s club.
Last week versus the Cincinnati Bengals, Murray was on the sidelines for a different reason. But he would return and make an impression, as the video shows.
Is the former University of Oklahoma product ready to make his third season the charm? It’s time for Murray to prove he is truly the team’s go-to guy in the backfield.
Thanks to a near-record 2,097 yards rushing, Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson was the NFL’s Most Valuable Player in 2012.
For the first three games of 2013, the workhorse runner will be minus one of his most valuable blockers.
Fullback Jerome Felton, named to the Pro Bowl following the 2012 season, has been suspended for the first three games this season for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy.
Now in his place comes backup fullback Matt Asiata, who saw action in 14 games for the Vikings in 2012. His career resume in terms of offense is a total of 11 yards from scrimmage.
But that’s not what the former undrafted free agent from Utah, who first signed with the team in 2011, is here to do. Can Asiata be a convoy for Peterson as was the case with Felton? And could Felton’s three-game absence be the difference between a great season and another 2,000-plus yards rushing for Peterson?
Inquiring minds, and perhaps a few fantasy football league owners, want to know.
Last Saturday night versus the New York Giants, rookie quarterback Geno Smith made his first start for the New York Jets.
And unfortunately for the team and the young player, there was more “no” than “gee.”
Smith completed just 16-of-30 passes for 199 yards and a score but was picked off three times against the Giants. But the young signal-caller figures to be back at the helm on Thursday night versus the Philadelphia Eagles.
That’s because veteran quarterback Mark Sanchez, inserted in the fourth quarter of the game against the Giants, injured his shoulder and has been ruled out of Thursday night’s contest.
Could Smith rebound in impressive fashion and make head coach Rex Ryan’s decision for his Week 1 starter a bit more difficult? Ultimately, Sanchez’s recovery, or lack of it, could dictate who will open on Sept. 8 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
You’re sometimes not sure how they manage it, but it is never dull when it comes to the New York Jets.
UPDATE: ESPNNewYork.com reported Wednesday that Jets quarterback Matt Simms will start the team's preseason finale versus the Philadelphia Eagles.
Just when you thought it was safe to assume you knew who the Oakland Raiders starting quarterback will be in 2013, think again.
This offseason, general manager Reggie McKenzie dealt 2012 starter Carson Palmer to the Arizona Cardinals. He also orchestrated a trade to acquire Matt Flynn from the Seattle Seahawks. And McKenzie also added quarterback Tyler Wilson in the fourth round in April.
Last Friday night versus the Chicago Bears, Flynn was the starter and would wind up throwing a pair of interceptions. Later in the contest, rookie free agent Matt McGloin threw a touchdown pass but was also picked off twice.
And in between, there was Terrelle Pryor. The former supplemental draft choice enjoyed a terrific evening in reserve of Flynn. Pryor completed 7-of-9 throws for 93 yards and a score, plus rushed for 37 yards and a touchdown in the team’s 34-26 loss.
On Thursday, the former Ohio State star will open against the Seattle Seahawks. Starting is hardly a novelty for Pryor, who was the team’s quarterback last December in the season finale against the San Diego Chargers.
As for who will be the Week 1 starter for the club against the Indianapolis Colts, well...?