We’re now halfway through the preseason action and we’re approaching the pivotal third week, which most teams consider the “dress rehearsal” for the regular season. With another 15 games in the books (and one more tonight) we’ve learned a bit more about many key players. Here’s your wrap up of the weekend’s news.
After weeks away from the team and training camp, Browns WR Josh Gordon returned to the team just as the Browns prepare to break camp. There are still questions about the timing and motivation of Gordon’s time away, but the Browns have remained supportive of him throughout. After learning of his return to camp, an NFL spokesman announced that Gordon had not been cleared by the league to practice. This could simply be some red tape or it could be part of the reason he didn’t report sooner. Although there is reportedly no timetable for the next step in this process, Gordon can attend meeting and do off-field work. Browns HC Hue Jackson suggested there was “a chance” that the team could have Gordon back and on the field for the opener against Pittsburgh. This remains a confusing situation.
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Starting the Bills second preseason game, QB A.J. McCarron suffered a broken collarbone, an injury that typically keeps players out up to ten weeks. Buffalo HC Sean McDermott seems unsure about the diagnosis and suggests that the results were “not totally conclusive,” sending his quarterback for a second opinion. Assuming McCarron is out for the next several weeks, rookie QB Josh Allen is essentially locked into the starting role. Allen played well, leading three scoring drives. The hate for Allen in the fantasy community might have gone too far.
Redskins RB Woes
Having already lost rookie RB Derrius Guice (ACL) for the season, second-year RB Samaje Perine went down with a sprained ankle last Thursday and the Redskins backfield has been decimated. Factor in pass-catching back Chris Thompson is not fully recovered from his season-ending injury last year and the Skins are left with Rob Kelley and Kapri Bibbs. Because of this, they’ve brought in multiple veterans for visits and/or workouts, including Jamaal Charles, Adrian Peterson and Orleans Darkwa.
Preseason Game Notes
Browns RB Carlos Hyde played into the second-quarter, gaining 64 yards on just nine carries, including a touchdown. There is no running back controversy in Cleveland as Hyde is clearly the lead back as the season approaches. ... Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes bounced back from a subpar preseason opener to throw for 138 yards and a score, though he did add yet another interception. ... Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey continues to be one of the top stories of the preseason. He racked up 92 yards on just five carries, including a 71-yard touchdown run. The team is showing that this is clearly McCaffrey’s backfield while veteran C.J. Anderson has just provided solid depth. ... Falcons star WR Julio Jones sat out the team’s preseason game, opening the door for rookie WR Calvin Ridley to enjoy additional opportunity and he took advantage, catching three balls for 49 yards and a score, seeing heavy playing time with the first-team…Cardinals RB David Johnson kept up his strong preseason, totaling 27 yards and a touchdown on seven touches against the Saints…Browns rookie QB Baker Mayfield did not fare as well in his second preseason game, passing for 75 yards and completing just seven of 13 attempts, but was hampered by poor offensive line play and offensive penalties. ... Rookie WR Christian Kirk enjoyed a big game against the Saints, catching four passes for 49 yards and a score and beat writers suggest he has opened a big lead in the battle for the team’s WR2 job…WR Corey Coleman made his Bills debut, catching one pass for seven yards, playing with the second-teamers against his former team. ... Saints RB Jonathan Williams continues to impress, rushing for 37 yards on eight carries and seeing snaps with the first-team offense. Williams has reportedly taken command among backups and could see a pivotal role with veteran RB Mark Ingram suspended for the season’s first four games. ... Rookie RB Royce Freeman continues to outplay veteran RB Devontae Booker this preseason. Freeman rushed for 20 yards and a touchdown playing in a timeshare with Booker…Titans second-year WR Taywan Taylor has been the talk of camp with WRs Corey Davis and Rishard Matthews missing time with injuries. That carried over to the preseason game as Taylor caught all four targets thrown his way, gaining 95 yards and scoring a pair of touchdowns. Taylor has seemingly locked down a starting spot and his ADP will increase as a result of this impressive performance. ... Rookie RB Ronald Jones continues to struggle as he saw just four carries and gained two yards in the Bucs’ second preseason game. The team has already declared RB Peyton Barber as the starter. ... Bears new TE Trey Burton posted a 4/45/1 line while playing less than a half, essentially serving as the top target for QB Mitchell Trubisky. This should be a big year for the former Eagles backup.
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It looked like a potential major injury at first glance, but later reports showed Bears TE Adam Shaheen suffered only a low ankle sprain. Shaheen has a chance to be ready to play by Week One. ... Patriots RB Rex Burkhead has yet to play in the preseason and beat writers are now reporting that the specific injury is a slight tear in his knee. Fortunately, this is not as bad as it sounds and Burkhead is expected to be ready for the regular season. ... Packers RB Jamaal Williams suffered an ankle injury in last Thursday’s preseason game, but it was later announced as only a minor ankle sprain and he too will be ready for Week One, which is good news for the Pack considering RB Aaron Jones will be serving his suspension. ... After suffering a shoulder injury that forced him from the team’s preseason game, Eagles QB Nick Foles was able to return to practice during the weekend. ... The 49ers announced RB Jerick McKinnon (knee) and RB Joe Williams (rib) would both be out until Week One. With RB Matt Breida already ruled for the remainder of the preseason, San Fran will likely add another body to go along with veteran RB Alfred Morris, Raheem Mostert and second-year man Jeremy McNichols. ... Patriots first-rounder OL Isaiah Wynn suffered a torn Achilles and will miss the entire 2018 season. ... We continue to get good news on Seattle WR Doug Baldwin (knee) as he was spotted sprinting at practice last week and then HC Pete Carroll confirmed that Baldwin had “ramped up” his conditioning. He should be good to go for Week One. ... Packers WR Jake Kumerow has been a hot topic of camp and leads all wide receivers in preseason yardage and fantasy points, suffered a sprained SC joint in his shoulder. He’s expected to miss time, though the injury is not serious. Kumerow still has a chance to crack the 53-man roster after his back-to-back big games…After suffering a concussion last week, Jets RB Isaiah Crowell has been cleared and is set to return to practice. ... Colts WR T.Y. Hilton suffered a shoulder sprain during a weekend practice. While he could sit out of this weekend’s game, this should have no impact on the regular season. ... Bucs RB Charles Sims suffered what appeared to be a serious knee injury during the team’s preseason game, but tests showed it to be only a minor injury. ... OL Zack Martin of the Cowboys suffered a scary knee injury Saturday night that had Dallas fans panicking, but his test results came back clean. Martin could miss some time, but the injury is not a long-term concern. ... Denver WR Demaryius Thomas sat out of the team’s game against Chicago with a wrist injury suffered in practice, though it is reported to only be minor. ... The Chargers have lost yet another player for the season after CB Jaylen Watkins suffered a torn ACL. This is a tough hit to the team’s secondary after having already lost Jason Verrett for the year.
Although there were rumors of a possible return, retired RB DeMarco Murray took yet another step away from the playing field after he joined Fox Sports as a college football analyst. It appears any chance of a return to the league is all but gone. ... According to a Vikings beat writers, RBs Dalvin Cook and Latavius Murray could split the rushing load this season. Cook has yet to play in the preseason as he recovers from a torn ACL a year ago. Cook has been coming off the board as the RB10, while Murray’s ADP place him at RB49. ... The Chiefs and former Redskins CB Orlando Scandrick agreed to a one-year, $1.5 million contract. ... Reporter Ben Volin of the Boston Globe reported over the weekend that the Colts turned down an offer of a second-round draft pick for backup QB Jacoby Brissett from the Seattle Seahawks. This is interesting for both teams, but especially noteworthy as QB Russell Wilson is set to enter free agency following the 2019 season…The Bengals released starting S George Iloka, saving $5.6 million in cap space. This was strictly a financial move and Iloka shouldn’t be on the open market for long.