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2009 Preseason Job Battles-Week 2

Kenn Ruby

Kenn Ruby

Kenn has been writing and editing for RotoWire since 2003. Though he attended Northwestern with the co-founders of RotoWire, he is not considered a made member of the RotoWire Northwestern mafia, as he can't trace back all of his ancestors to Dan Okrent.


Preseason Job Battles
By Kenn Ruby
RotoWire Writer



Last Week's Article

BEARS WR: Although Devin Hester is returning punts, he's still expected to be the No. 1 receiver this year. He needs a running mate though, and there are a lot of uninspiring options in camp. Earl Bennett is probably the frontrunner for the other starting job, and he's looked good so far. He'll be a popular sleeper in drafts this year. One other sleeper that has hardly been mentioned is Brandon Rideau, who has been haunting the league since 2005 but has never caught a pass in a regular-season game. He'll be given plenty of opportunities this summer to make his mark with the Bears, and he's currently No. 3 on the depth chart.

BRONCOS RB: While Knowshon Moreno works on getting signed, veterans Correll Buckhalter and LaMont Jordan have been splitting carries with the first-team offense. Moreno should sign in the next few days, so Buckhalter (who missed practice Monday) and Jordan will have to impress in a hurry if they want to get the Opening Day assignment.

BROWNS WR: With Braylon Edwards sidelined for undisclosed reasons, there aren't many experienced receivers in camp. Josh Cribbs, who is still threatening to hold out unless his contract is restructured, is in camp, but his mind may be elsewhere. Rookie Brian Robiskie agreed to his contract, and he has a decent chance of winning a starting job. David Patten, Mike Furrey and Mohamed Massaquoi are all still contenders as well.

BROWNS QB: Both Brady Quinn and Derek Anderson have struggled some this summer, but that's partly due to playing with all those young and inexperienced receivers. Quinn has shown some success airing it out, which is something we haven't seen from him thus far in his career. He's still the favorite to win the job, but it won't be handed to him.

BUCCANEERS QB: This doesn't look like it's going to be a good place to search for fantasy glory this year. First stringer Josh McCown has struggled some this summer, but Byron Leftwich has struggled as well, and rookie Josh Freeman threw a pick six Sunday. Freeman has no shot of winning the job out of camp, but McCown or Leftwich will have to step up soon or it'll be a long season in Tampa Bay.

CARDINALS RB: Saturday was a good news-bad news day for Chris Wells. First he signs his first big contract for five years and $11.8 million. Later that day he was carted off the field with a sprained right ankle. He'll sit out a week, and the injury is a reminder that he had some durability concerns while at Ohio State. Tim Hightower is still first on the depth chart, while he and third stringer Jason Wright will both get a few more reps with Beanie on the sidelines.

EAGLES RB: Thanks to his June ankle surgery, Brian Westbrook will be out until mid-August and may not play any preseason games. Fortunately, the Eagles drafted LeSean McCoy as insurance. If you have Westbrook on your team this year, you should draft McCoy as insurance as well.

JETS QB: Kellen Clemens opened camp ahead of rookie Mark Sanchez on the depth chart, but many prognosticators expect Sanchez to still win the "open competition." The Jets will be a run-heavy team in 2009, so although there are high hopes for Sanchez, don't rank him too high on your quarterback cheat sheets just yet.

LIONS QB: Like in New York, the top job in Detroit is between a mediocre veteran and a much-heralded rookie. Daunte Culpepper is taking snaps with the first team, while Matthew Stafford is working exclusively with the second team. The Lions reportedly will not make a decision until the final preseason game.

RAIDERS WR: Darrius Heyward-Bey signed his contract, but the man the Raiders chose instead of Michael Crabtree dropped three uncovered passes in Sunday's practice. The starting job opposite Javon Walker is there for the taking, but if Heyward-Bey can't hold onto the ball, Chaz Schilens, Johnnie Lee Higgins, and Louis Murphy could all figure into this battle.

RAMS WR: Laurent Robinson opened camp ahead of Keenan Burton, which was a mild surprise. He was a sleeper with Atlanta, but that never panned out. With a new team and fresh start, Robinson could surprise. Ronald Curry is also getting a fresh start, but he'll need to show a little more than he did in previous stops to beat out Burton or Robinson.

RAVENS WR: Derrick Mason's strange offseason had him abruptly retiring and then dragging out his return. Officially, he's back on the roster, which means the Ravens go from Mark Clayton and a cast of thousands to a solid Mason/Clayton combination and Demetrius Williams as the No. 3 receiver. Clayton and Williams have minor hamstring injuries, but assuming they are healthy, the top three slots appear to be set in Charm City.

REDSKINS WR: Antwaan Randle El will be moving to the slot full time this year, meaning the starting flanker position will belong to either Devin Thomas or Malcolm Kelly. Early on in camp, Thomas has the edge, but there's still a lot of football left to be played.

VIKINGS QB: With Brett Favre out of the way, Tarvaris Jackson should have been able to breathe a little easier. Unfortunately, a sprained MCL in his knee has sidelined Jackson since Saturday. Sage Rosenfels will get valuable reps with the first team, while John David Booty should also see a little action. And of course don't count out Favre, who reportedly will stay in shape just in case Minnesota - or someone else - gets serious about him.

Article first appeared 8/4/09