On the heels of the first full weekend of preseason action, the benchings have begun. In Tampa the Bucs started with their offensive line, demoting guard Jamon Meredith in favor of former practice-squader Jace Daniels. It wasn’t all that long ago the Bucs seemed set at guard with Davin Joseph and Carl Nicks; now they’re scrambling to put effective beef in front of Doug Martin and Josh McCown. The latter certainly had issues in the face of an uncontained Jacksonville pass rush in the Buccaneers’ preseason opener, so those banking on Vincent Jackson or Mike Evans for fantasy help need Tampa Bay to iron out the kinks on their o-line sooner rather than later.
Brian Tyms was one of the standouts in the Patriots’ first preseason game, with five catches for 119 yards, but New England won’t be banking on him to help solidify their receiving corps for at least the first month of the season. Tyms will miss the first four games due to testing positive for a banned substance. Tyms indicated the substance was Adderall, and that he’s had a prescription for it since he was nine years old, but that he didn’t get it cleared with the league beforehand. Tyms absence leaves the Pats with multiple wideouts battling for regular roles in Tom Brady’s receiver rotation, and it’s entirely possible Tyms will return to a similar situation and still have a chance to contribute.
- Be sure to check out our pre-season analysis features “10 Stats That Matter From Week One of the Preseason” and “Targets, Touches & TDs: Preseason Week 1“.
Johnny Manziel made his NFL debut over the weekend, but he has yet to nudge Brian Hoyer aside for the starting gig in Cleveland. Browns coach Mike Pettine has not announced his starter for the second preseason game, but on Monday Manziel was still taking snaps with the twos while Hoyer was directing the ones. Pettine has indicated he’ll name the team’s regular season starter before the third preseason game, which means Johnny Football is running out of time to be Johnny Starter and instead inching closer to opening the season as Johnny Clipboard.
There’s no such quarterback controversy in Houston, where first-year coach Bill O’Brien reiterated that Ryan Fitzpatrick was the Texans’ starter. O’Brien needed to reiterate Fitzpatrick’s status after a poor showing in the preseason opener against Arizona, though the backups were no better as Houston was kept off the scoreboard. Case Keenum and Tom Savage are the primary contenders for the QB2 job, with Savage the likely quarterback of the future—a future those banking on a fantasy contribution from Andre Johnson or DeAndre Hopkins have to hope comes sooner rather than later.
After sitting out one game and a handful of practices, Martellus Bennett is back with the Bears. Bennett was suspended after slamming Kyle Fuller to the ground during a practice skirmish; reportedly the incident was the capper after enduring Bennett’s bad attitude since the beginning of camp. While Bennett sat, backup tight end Zach Miller scored twice and totaled 68 yards in the preseason opener against Philly.
Finally, Steve Smith picked up some extra coin by virtue of keeping his renown temper in check. Evidently their was a cache of cash ponied up by Smith’s teammates with an over/under set on the number of fights he’d get into with the 49ers during their series of joint scrimmages. Smith somehow managed to keep that number at zero, winning what most certainly was a league-approved non-bounty pool.