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Training Camp: Week 4 Review


Things are slowing down ahead of the season opener and outside of a few noteworthy events, it has been a relatively ho-hum week.

With a full slate of games on tap for tonight, action should be spirited but, for all formats other than dynasty, less than intriguing.  Thankfully, for those of us that prefer the dynasty format, there will certainly be takeaways that can be used to your advantage as you fill out those bottom slots on your roster.

Let’s get you caught up:

Quarterbacks

The big news of the week comes as no shock to most that follow the NFL:  Matt Leinart appears to be on the outs in Arizona and is on the trade block.

Unaffectionately dubbed “Captain Checkdown” to some on the team, Leinart has never been able to rekindle his USC success on the field for the Cardinals.  His lack of arm-strength has been on full display on a weekly basis, his less than charismatic style hasn’t garnered any confidence and in the few short interviews that he’s had in 2010, he has more closely resembled a lost child than he has a NFL quarterback.

Any one of those are enough to cast a significant shadow of doubt and all three print a first class ticket out of town.  Leinart will get one last shot tonight to show that he can be a productive QB, but this is more about showcasing him for 31 other teams than it is for his competition with Derek Anderson.

Speaking of Mr. Anderson, while far from stellar in the preseason, he stands tall in the pocket and has a rocket arm.  Anderson’s decision making has always been suspect and it likely still is.  Stay tuned.  If you have deep roster QB needs, roll the dice with an addition of John Skelton or Max Hall.

In Washington, there is some concern about McNabb’s ability to be healthy week 1.  Move along, he’ll play.  You have my personal guarantee on that.

The Cowboys have every reason to play their starters tonight but are sticking with the plan of resting them.  Tony Romo has looked far from comfortable, has virtually no pre-season chemistry with his receivers and seems to have that same lost child look in his eyes.  Come game day, week 1, you have to believe that the preseason performance will be completely forgotten and the explosive offense will be on display.

The Rams have yet to name their starting quarterback, but there is little chance in my mind that it isn’t Sam Bradford.  Bradford has the football IQ and the confidence to take what is surely going to be the end result in St. Louis.  That experience, without the pressure to win from day one, is something he will need.  As long as Bradford survives 2010, I expect him to start every game for the Rams this year.

If you’re Brett Favre, you can’t be happy that you waited until the eleventh hour to come back to the team, only to then find out that your main receiver, Sidney Rice, will be out for half the season.

Call me a conspiracy theorist if you like, but no one has yet to fly the possibility that it could have been somewhat well known that Rice would need surgery weeks ago, but was asked to hold off due to the fact that it could adversely affect Favre’s desire to return to the team.

If Favre knew that Rice was going to miss a substantial part of the season, would he have returned?

Buffalo is a mess, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again now – stay away.  Stay far, far away.

In Denver, Tebow looks like your #2 and if Brady Quinn can hold off the backup left tackle for the No. 3 quarterback job, he’ll stick on the roster.

Rumors are flying about Colt McCoy’s potential release.  It was suggested that McCoy has done so little towards showing that he has the potential to be a starting NFL quarterback that his roster spot may not be guaranteed.  Given the current names in camp, McCoy will stick.  Another guarantee.  Take it to Vegas and tell them I sent you.

No new news out of Pittsburgh.  Byron Leftwich seems to have the inside track on the position and a poor showing from Dennis Dixon in week 3 all but hands it to him.  In the end, this means a lot more for 2011 than it does for 2010.

Running Backs

The battle for carries in Big D is getting more interesting.  Jerrah (Jerry Jones) seemed to be visibly frustrated with Marion Barber and his inability to stay healthy.  Felix Jones looks to lead the race for carries but this may be a classic 2-2-1 situation with Felix Jones, Marion Barber and Tashard Choice respectively sharing the load.

In Philly, don’t look now but the air from the Charles Scott balloon has escaped.  Scott was traded to Arizona, most likely as a fullback.  Upgrade Mike Bell as LeSean McCoy’s backup.

Ryan Torain is said to be the likely RB3 in Washington.  This likely means that Fast Willie Parker makes a bee-line to the airport and out of town.

In Seattle, Leon Washington seems to be pegged for all return duties, likely securing the RB1 role for Justin Forsett.  A popular sleeper in 2009 and 2010, Forsett’s value continues to increase and he has an army of followers projecting a great 2010 campaign.  I don’t buy it.  Forsett won’t be worth the risk on a weekly basis.

In Green Bay, Quinn Porter hits the IR.  James Starks starts the season on the PUP list and won’t be available until the half way mark.  Brandon Jackson is the clear RB2 and Kregg Lumpkin looks to stick as the RB3.

Rumors are flying that Kevin Smith may be traded or cut at the deadline.  Not a chance.  While Smith hasn’t flashed anything in 2010, he should be commended for even being on the field this soon after tearing his ACL.

Smith is clearly in the joint-trust portion of his recovery and likely won’t be in game shape until mid season.  Jahvid Best is clearly the RB1, but the Lions will count on Smith for his ability to run between the tackles.

Do you know who Chris Ivory is?  You should.  The Saints have a good looking young back in the mold of Marion Barber.  A deep sleeper in dynasty leagues, he’s a worthy addition now to your roster for your last RB spot.

In Tampa Bay, Coach Raheem Morris made Derrick Ward walk the plank and turned over the RB2 job to Kareem Huggins.  Lofty ascent for the young RB, but if Cadillac can’t finish the year, Huggins’ value goes much higher very quickly.  Huggins must be owned in all leagues, even in deeper redraft ones, now.

In Buffalo, Marshawn Lynch will be on the field tonight, Spiller is the RB1 for now and Fred Jackson is recovering quickly from a broken bone in his hand.  It’s likely that Jackson will spend the first week or two without a lot of action, but upon his return, Lynch will likely fall back to RB3 unless he shows something special with his carries.

I hesitate to offer too much space here for the Oakland Raiders, but I would be remiss if I didn’t at least mention that Darren McFadden will get more time with the first string due to the injury to Michael Bush.  McFadden hasn’t shown anything in two years, so odds are that he won’t start now.  Healthy, young and not without college talent, McFadden at least gets an opportunity to show that he should be the RB1.  Count me as skeptical at best (but I’m rooting for him).

In Cleveland, it’s Hardesty – no, it’s Harrison.  Either way, doesn’t matter.  In 2010, neither back can be started with confidence.  In Dynasty leagues, unless Harrison starts 2010 as he finished 2009, Hardesty is the one to target.  But Hardesty’s knees are like fine china and shouldn’t be handled, let alone allowed to carry a football.

In Houston, much like Chris Ivory, Jeremiah Johnson is a back to pick up now!  Johnson looks to be ahead of even Steve Slaton at this point and Arian Foster is the clear RB1.  Johnson plays faster than his 4.60 speed would suggest and he has good vision.  Nothing in HOU is set in stone and if Foster puts the ball on the ground, Johnson may get a chance.

Lastly, Mike Goodson appears to be the RB3.  Normally this wouldn’t be an important fact other than the Panthers like to run the ball and DeAngelo Williams is in the last year of his contract.  Tyrell Sutton is on the outside looking in.  Goodson should get plenty of work tonight.

Wide Receivers

Headlining this week is Sidney Rice, who managed to go all year without knowing that he was going to need surgery, only to find out two weeks before the start of the season.  Favre conspiracy (as noted above) anyone?

In Cincinnati, Antonio Bryant gets $7M for a cup of coffee for the Bengals.  Just who is running the show over there?  The circus is most certainly in town in Cinci, the only thing missing are the clowns.  Oh, I forgot about OchoCinco and T.O. My bad!

Stay away from all receivers in Washington. Every day there is a new rumor as to which ones will not make the roster.  Santana Moss is your only safe option.

Dez Bryant will be back in uniform for the Cowboys but Jerrah says he won’t play in the final game.  Better that way.

If you listen carefully, you can hear the silent cheering by the Arizona WRs in that Anderson will be their starter come week one.  Anderson is no savior, but his strong arm certainly upgrades Fitzgerald’s value, if only a small bit.

The bears have three WR1s – Hester, Johnny Knox and Aromashodu.  Actually, I think they have three WR2s.  Knox is the favorite to lead the group with catches but Aromashodu should lead in TDs.  Hester should lead in excuses as to why he isn’t producing.

In Green Bay, I have been telling you all along that James Jones has been underdrafted.  It will be no shock to me when Jones is lining up across from Greg JenningsDriver still has gas in the tank, but the tires are all but shot.  This will likely be Driver’s last year.  Jordy Nelson should be owned as well as the eventual WR3.

Word out of Carolina is that Brandon LaFell isn’t ready to start.  If you aren’t ready to start over Dwayne Jarrett, you’re in trouble.  LaFell is still young and will be starting before week 8.  I don’t buy that Jarrett has turned the corner.

I didn’t think it was possible, but Wes Welker looks good to go and healthy for week one.  Truly amazing and he is in line to be comeback player of the year, even if he wasn’t out much at all last year.  To be back that soon and look as good as he has is phenomenal.  Did you take a risk on him earlier than expected this year?  If so, nice job!

I promise, no more Raiders discussion.  Ok, just one more time – Louis Murphy.  We mentioned him much earlier in the season and I was flamed for it as I recall.  I still like him.  He’s dynamic and under the radar … way under.  But he’s the best receiver in Raider nation and I think he’ll surprise many this year.

Tight Ends

I have to mention Zack Miller in Oakland.  Jason Campbell looks for him constantly and he’s the #1 sleeper TE in 2010.  Hard for me to argue that fact.

In Green Bay, Jermichael Finley is going to make a lot of owners happy, especially those in the dynasty format.  It could be that he’s even overvalued right now.

Brent Celek owners may want to take note of the fact that Celek has been targeted only a handful of times in the preseason.  I believe this is more by design than a precursor of things to come.  Rest easy.

Defense

Not much to note this week.

In Detroit, Deandre Levy left last week’s game with a groin strain.  His status hasn’t been updated and he will not play this week.  All signs would point to him playing but you may want to be cautious before starting him.

We’re just over a week away from the beginning of the season.  NFL fans everywhere – Rejoice!

Jeff Haverlack
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Chad
12 years ago

good read!

Josh
12 years ago

Nice update…thanks for keeping us informed!

Josh
12 years ago

I just noticed the backwards hat…have you been listening to Sirius Blitz? 😉

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