Praise for Patriots rookie running back James White has been effusive thus far in training camp, and Thursday his fantasy stock took an even sharper turn up as he ran with the first team for a portion of the joint practice session with Philadelphia. White and Shane Vereen took the first team snaps while Stevan Ridley ran with the twos. Both Vereen and Ridley are in the final season of their Patriots contracts, so it wouldn’t be at all surprising if the Patriots chose sooner rather than later to move on from them and roll with the fourth-round pick.
The day after getting the better of Darrelle Revis in the Eagles/Patriots joint practice, then leaving early with a hamstring tweak, Jeremy Maclin remained on the sidelines nursing that same injury. No word yet on whether he’ll still be sitting when the teams meet for real, or at least for a preseason game, this weekend. Riley Cooper has already been ruled out, meaning even more looks for rookie Jordan Matthews.
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The Texans failed to dent the scoreboard in their preseason opener, with multiple fingers of blame pointing at the quarterback position. Earlier in the week new coach Bill O’Brien said Ryan Fitzpatrick was still his starter, but Thursday Case Keenum took some reps with the starters. O’Brien said Keenum wouldn’t get the same opportunity in this weekend’s game against the Falcons, but if Fitzpatrick struggles again it throws the door wide open for Keenum. As for draftnik fave Tom Savage, he appears to be running a distant third in whatever quarterback competition the Texans are holding.
Talented but troubled rookie tight end Colt Lyerla was showing much of the former and less of the latter during his training camp run with Green Bay. However, the knee injury he suffered earlier this month is now being reported as being both a torn MCL and PCL in his knee, so he’ll likely be moved to IR and miss the entire season. That leaves Brandon Bostick and rookie Richard Rodgers as the top candidates to fill Jermichael Finley’s stats, though Finley himself remains on the waiver wire awaiting medical clearance—and an NFL contract—to return to action.
Finally, Week 2 of the exhibition season kicks off as the Jaguars traveling to Chicago to face the Bears. All eyes will once again be on rookie Blake Bortles, who looked great in his pro debut against the Buccaneers last week. The plan remains for Bortles to hold a clipboard all season long, but if Chad Henne can’t generate more than the four yards of offense he cobbled together last week and Bortles continues to play like the top pick he was, that timetable will be expedited.