Broncos coach Gary Kubiak said last week that running back Ronnie Hillman is in “a helluva battle” to make the 53-man roster. It appears that Hillman is losing that battle.
Mike Klis of KUSA reports that it would now be a surprise if Hillman makes the team. That’s a surprise, considering the Broncos re-signed Hillman to a one-year, $2 million contract with $600,000 guaranteed this offseason.
C.J. Anderson is the clear starter in Denver and fourth-round pick Devontae Booker is a lock to make the roster as well. That leaves Hillman competing with Kapri Bipps for what is likely a third and final roster spot. Bipps has played well enough in the preseason that the Broncos would likely prefer to keep him at his $525,000 base salary than Hillman at the $1.4 million remaining they’ll have to pay him if he makes the roster. Hillman should catch on somewhere if he's let go as there are several teams, like the Patriots and Redskins, who may be interested in adding a back.
No matter what Jordy Nelson does when he practices Monday for the first time in nearly a year, it probably won’t reveal much about whether the Green Bay Packers receiver can return to a Pro-Bowl level.
But at least his first practice will give the world a look at where the 31-year-old is in his return from the worst injury of his career.
As coach Mike McCarthy said over the weekend, Nelson likely will be limited to only individual and position-group drills at first. As the story said,oOnly Nelson and the Packers’ medical staff know exactly what they’ll be looking for upon his return from his torn right ACL last Aug. 23. Those looking to spend a high pick on Nelson will be paying attention to how he progresses this week.
Monday, August 22, 2016, 9:07am
Week 2 of the preseason was an entirely different story. Saturday afternoon, Tennessee ran for only 96 yards, and RB Derrick Henry’s five rushes amounted to 31 yards.
“I still think he ran the ball with some power,” coach Mike Mularkey said. “I saw piles moving.”
“I thought they were a real test,” Henry said.
Henry’s longest run of the game was a 13-yard play up the middle on a first-and-5 at the start of the third quarter. He remains an interesting fantasy option behind DeMarco Murray, who struggled last year after a 392-carry year in 2014.
The Steelers’ battery of Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown and LeVeon Bell could take the field together Friday night in New Orleans. Precedent says Big Ben and Brown will play at least a few series together, unless coach Mike Tomlin heeds caution.
The wild card is Bell, who has yet to be tackled to the ground in live action since tearing multiple ligaments in his knee on Nov. 1 against Cincinnati. Bell can’t start his season until Week 4 because of a three-game ban for missed drug tests, so the Steelers might want to get him a few reps before then, especially considering how good he's looked in practice work. He's been a full participant every day, though he carries the ball with the proverbial "bubble" designated for star players, especially ones coming off an injury.
“He still looks the exact same and it’s just crazy,” Haden said, via Cleveland.com. “He looks a little bigger. I don’t know how that happened, but he’s still out there running around, looking the same, running his routes, floating. It still looks effortless.”
Victor Cruz's professional life rests on the results of this upcoming week. It’s the biggest week of the New York Giants wide receiver’s career since the summer of 2010, when he needed an enormous preseason performance against the New York Jets to introduce himself to the world.
Cruz is trying desperately to return to game action this week for the first time in almost two years. He’s been dealing with a nagging groin problem this summer, on the heels of calf and knee injuries the previous two years. It has been almost two weeks since Cruz last finished a practice, and almost two years since he last appeared in a game.
The former Pro Bowl receiver will practice on Monday, when the Giants run a light workout centered on conditioning. Cruz didn’t play on Saturday, but he did participate in warm-ups and run some routes before the game. That was considered a significant step in his comeback.
Monday, August 22, 2016, 8:49am
A few days after Obarski missed his only field-goal attempt against the Buffalo Bills, the Giants have decided to work out some kickers. According to NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport, former Saints, Browns and Steelers kicker Garrett Hartley is among those in the facility Monday.
“He’s taking coaching well and learning,” Jeffery said Sunday after practice at Halas Hall. “He missed the whole year last year, so this year he’s progressing right where we need him to be. He listens to the coaches and he’s making plays and having fun.”
Jeffery and White possess the potential to develop into one of the NFL’s top receiving tandems. Jeffery already has been voted to a Pro Bowl, his 3,728 yards are the most by a receiver in his first four seasons with the Bears, and he has recorded the top two most prolific games in franchise history by a receiver with 249 yards against the Vikings and 218 yards versus the Saints.
The Bears are hoping that White develops into the impact player they envisioned when they selected him with the seventh pick in the 2015 draft after he caught 109 passes for 1,447 yards and 10 touchdowns at West Virginia in 2014. Knowing that they’re both big and strong, the 6-3, 218-pound Jeffery has encouraged the 6-3, 216-pound White to use his size as a weapon, the story said. The two could also make QB Jake Cutler a sneaky late pick in drafts.
"It's important for him to be with the ones," coach Hue Jackson said. "Because I think he's going to be one of our better players. So we got to put him out there and see what he's capable of doing."
Gordon will be suspended for the first four games of the 2016 season, so Jackson has a balancing act in terms of preparing Gordon for when he returns while giving practice time to those who will be available for the first month.
But it looks like both players -- so critical to the Detroit Lions this season -- are nearing a return.
Tate was seen running on the side during practice Sunday afternoon, while Ebron jogged off the field following practice and then took some balls from the JUGS machine.
Coach Jim Caldwell has declined to address either player's status, but it seems both are not in danger of missing the season opener on Sept. 11 against the Colts, the story said. Tate's injury never really seemed major. Ebron's injury, though, provided Detroit with more of a scare when he had to be carted off the field during Detroit's mock game at Ford Field on Aug. 6, the story added.
Seferian-Jenkins, who called getting kicked out of practice “a wake-up call,” had five catches for 46 yards in two preseason outings and has earned good reviews for his blocking. More of the same over the rest of the preseason will likely lead to more than a half-share of the work come the regular season.
When the Buccaneers unveiled their first depth chart of the season, Brate was ahead of Seferian-Jenkins at tight end. That development came after Seferian-Jenkins was kicked out of an OTA practice by coach Dirk Koetter for not knowing what he was doing, the story said. Seferian-Jenkins certainly has the talent and proved it in very limited time last year.
Conventional wisdom said all along that the Broncos starting quarterback job would come down to whoever made the fewest mistakes between Mark Sanchez and Trevor Siemian. Sanchez was the heavy favorite before the preseason, but two weeks in Siemian has probably pulled ahead, especially after some costly mistakes from Sanchez Saturday night.
Better not rule out rookie Paxton Lynch. Gary Kubiak confirmed as much Sunday, telling reporters Lynch has "always been in the mix" even though he's inherently behind because he's a rookie.
"He's always been in the mix," Kubiak said. "I just told you guys that he's behind the other two from a knowledge standpoint, but we've been out there competing every day. Everybody is in competition to play."
In his immediate postgame interview on television, Kubiak only referenced "two" different quarterbacks, appearing to indicate the starting gig would come down to Siemian and Sanchez. But once he got in front of the podium, Kubiak continued to reference three different players and said the guy who is best for the team will start at quarterback, the story said.
As the team had promised, Seahawks running back Thomas Rawls was a full participant in Sunday’s practice as he continues on his road to recovery from off-season surgery to repair a broken and dislocated ankle.
Seahawks general manager John Schneider has said the team hopes to get Rawls into the fourth preseason game at Oakland on Sept. 1, though it remains unclear if or when Rawls will play in the preseason.
Regardless of what he does in the preseason, though, Rawls remains on track to be ready for the regular season opener Sept. 11, head coach Pete Carroll said Sunday.
Carroll said the emergence of Christine Michael makes it easier for the Seahawks to be patient with Rawls. Carroll said Michael has been a positive addition and will allow them to make sure Rawls is ready to go. Carroll has called the two a one-two punch leaving speculation Michael is going to be a part of the offense.
Jets RB Matt Forte did team periods Sunday for the second consecutive practice (also last Wednesday). He moved around well Sunday.
Forte sat out the Jets' first two preseason games. Will he play Saturday against the Giants? If he doesn't, he'd go into Week 1 with zero preseason game snaps. The Jets have three more practices before they face the Giants.
The story said HC Todd Bowles said Forte will play in that game "if he gets better during the week. We'll try to anticipate it in warm-ups. I'd like to get him a few snaps, if I could." If Forte doesn't play in the preseason it may be a stretch for him to see a bulk of the workload in Week 1, esp. with Bilal Powell in the picture who also excels in the passing game. It's a situation to monitor over the next few days.
About the only positive in a day littered with bad injury news for the Patriots: Thus far in the preseason, White has displayed a consistent ability to make defenders miss in space, as we saw on a 14-yard screen pass against the Bears that probably should have gone for a loss.
With Lewis facing a second knee surgery, as first reported by The Globe's Jim McBride, White should be considered a roster lock. He'll have a significant role in the Patriots' offense until Lewis returns.
White can give the Pats maybe 60 percent of what Lewis provided purely as a receiver, but there is no one on the roster that will replace Lewis' production as a runner from spread formations. On 1st-and-10, the Patriots could put Brady in the shotgun, flank him with Lewis and trot out four wide receivers. And from that formation, they could either pass or run.
The story went on to say the Pats may have to show their cards now. When White is in the game, the Patriots are probably passing. When LeGarrette Blount is in the game, they're probably running. The story made a case for Donald Brown, who can be considered a mix of both runner and receiver and perhaps keep defenses on their toes. But Brown hasn't been able to stay healthy and hasn't practiced in camp nor played in a preseason game.