Here are Monday’s notables from the NFL:
Sam Bradford will start Rams’ third preseason game — The rookie from Oklahoma gets the nod with A.J. Feeley on the shelf with a sprained thumb. Bradford has certainly looked like a rookie in his first two professional contests, completing 12-of-27 (44 percent) of his passes for 81 yards. This will be a nice audition for Bradford, but without a ton of weapons at his disposal, it’s hard to see the rookie making any sort of fantasy impact this season even if he starts all 16 games.
The Bills look set to roll with Trent Edwards — Buffalo hasn’t yet named a starter for its third preseason game, but Edwards is seeing twice as many practice reps as Brian Brohm and Ryan Fitzpatrick. Should Edwards be named the starter for the Bills’ third preseason game this week, it would be a pretty strong indicator that he’ll be the starter come Week 1, although it is already pretty clear that’s what the route the Bills appear ready to take.
Earnest Graham to play fullback for Bucs — Graham is certainly a former fantasy favorite thanks to his 2007 campaign, but he’ll largely be relegated to irrelevance now that he’ll work primarily as a supporting cast member. Graham is the consummate teammate, willing to play whatever role he’s asked, but, again, that causes his fantasy value to plummet in this situation. He’ll do a little bit of everything, but not enough of one thing to make an impact — unless the Bucs choose to feed him a heavy diet of goal-line touches, though that certainly can’t be counted on.
Josh Freeman to play through some pain — Already fairly inaccurate, playing with a swollen, painful thumb isn’t going to help Freeman, who threw nearly twice as many picks as touchdowns during his rookie campaign. The Bucs still expect Freeman to be healthy enough to play and start come Week 1, but the door is cracked for Josh Johnson and Rudy Carpenter to make an impression.
A look back on Monday’s notables. An all-running back edition.
Ryan Grant sits out practice with a concussion: The Packers downplayed the injury, even going as far as saying Grant may practice on Tuesday evening. Grant didn’t suffer any memory loss, but with the NFL’s new focus on concussion treatment, it wouldn’t seem likely that Grant would immediately return to the practice field. That said, the indication is that Grant won’t be in much danger of missing any regular season time.
The Bills’ injury situation may not be as bleak as first thought: Both Marshawn Lynch (sprained ankle) and Fred Jackson (broken hand) seemed to think Monday that their respective injuries aren’t as severe as originally feared. Head coach Chan Gailey said that Lynch didn’t suffer "a major injury by any stretch of the imagination" and that he should be back for the preseason finale. Jackson’s feelings were that his broken hand wasn’t something that would keep him sidelined for long either, but he’s still no lock to be ready for Week 1. All those ready to jump on the C.J. Spiller bandwagon will want to take a deep breath with this news.
49ers ink Brian Westbrook to one-year deal: With Glen Coffee‘s unexpected retirement, the Niners were in need of a Frank Gore contingency plan and Westbrook will fit that bill. It’s probably the best situation that the soon-to-be 31-year old could have landed in, fantasy speaking at least. While Westbrook’s injury history is certainly both a concern and well documented, Gore hasn’t exactly been a model of health himself. Westbrook’s biggest hurdle will likely be staying healthy, but should Gore go down, the veteran would step right into a featured role.
Ladell Betts signs with the Saints: Betts will slide in behind Pierre Thomas and Reggie Bush after Lynell Hamilton season was ended due to injury. Betts could move into a goal-line specialist role, but there’s no guarantee there. The biggest impediment for Betts will be his health. He’s coming off surgery that repaired both a torn MCL and ACL, which he suffered last November. He’ll need to show the Saints he’s completely recovered before they dream of handing off goal line duties to him.
Some news and notes from the NFL on Monday as training camps are in full swing:
Percy Harvin still absent from Vikings camp: The second-year pro left Minnesota’s camp on July 31st after the passing of his grandmother, and his absence is now approaching the two-week mark. Head coach Brad Childress said last week that Harvin had returned to Minnesota, but he still hasn’t made it to camp – leading to speculation that he’s again suffering from migraines that hampered him last season as well as during his collegiate career at the University of Florida. Harvin has seen numerous specialists and tried many different types of remedies to alleviate the problem, but nothing has really worked and it’s pretty clear that this will continue to be a long-term issue for him. He missed just one game because of the migraines last year, but dealt with problems surrounding the condition numerous other times. He’s missed 15 practices already this training camp, and it’d be hard to believe missing that much time wouldn’t impact his conditioning. His place in the offense isn’t in jeopardy, but Harvin owners will have to be prepared to deal with plenty of “Questionable” and “Game-time decision” designations this season.
Chris Wells suffers rib injury during practice: Wells owners can breathe a sigh of relief — though that same act might be painful for Wells himself — as a CT scan showed no fracture or any other damage to the second-year man’s ribcage. Injuries have been a part of Wells’ resume for some time now, so it’s good to see this isn’t anything that will keep him off the field for an extended piece of training camp, but it’s another indicator that he’s pretty susceptible to the injury bug. By all accounts, Wells has made a lot of strides this offseason and is impressing during camp. He remains behind Tim Hightower on the Cardinals’ official depth chart, but, if Wells can stay healthy and not put the ball on the ground, it’ll be just a matter of time before he overtakes the less talented Hightower.
Willie Parker debuts at No. 4 on ‘Skins’ depth chart: It’s startling to think that just three years ago Parker amassed over 1,300 yards and was one of the NFL’s top rushers. Now, he’s looking up the depth chart at Clinton Portis, Larry Johnson and Ryan Torain. Conventional wisdom had Parker pushing for the starting spot when he was brought into Washington, but now it looks like he has a tenuous hold on a roster spot. There are certainly quite a few moving parts here, namely Portis’ injury history and the ever-present threat of Johnson getting into off-the-field trouble, but things aren’t looking good for Parker, and that’s not even factoring in head coach Mike Shanahan’s affinity for Torain, which dates back to the pair’s time in Denver.
Darrelle Revis continues holdout: The Revis Watch has now reached past nine days, and things aren’t looking promising. Jets owner Woody Johnson told the media he doesn’t like the chances of getting a deal done in time for the regular season, and some are even speculating that Revis might sit out the whole of the 2010 campaign. It’s too early in an already lengthy saga (the two sides have been trying to get this done since January) to say Revis won’t suit up for the Jets this season, but his absence is a real problem for the New York defense. Revis’ excellence frees up a lot of his teammates on the field and allows the Jets to do things many other defenses cannot do because they lack that elite talent. The frustration level from Jets management seems already to be high and increasing — which could cause them to dig their heels in.