You may have noticed Jamaal Charles didn’t play in the Chiefs’ exhibition tilt with Carolina on Saturday. The reason given was a bruised foot, and it turns out Charles’ injury was incurred as he was moving out of the Chiefs’ training camp dorm. Doesn’t sound like he’s in any danger of missing significant time, but he may not get a full whirl in the annual dress rehearsal that is Week Three of the preseason.
The biggest injury to come out of the second weekend of preseason action may have been the season-ending knee injury to Falcons left tackle Sam Baker. The shuffle up front includes first-round pick Jake Matthews moving to the left side (where he played in college) and Lamar Holmes taking over on the right side (which is a far better fit for him anyway). More on how this might impact the fantasy fates of Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, and Roddy White, but suffice it to say an area of concern for Atlanta just got thinner.
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An emergency appendectomy scuttled Montee Ball’s fantasy draft value, but the Broncos’ feature back was attempting to get medical clearance on Monday that would allow him to return to practice and maybe even play in this weekend’s exhibition game. Being cleared to practice and being cleared for contact are two different steps, however, and there’s really no need for the Broncos to rush Ball back into the lineup. A few carries, however, would go a long way towards restoring Ball’s fantasy value.
While clubs continue to hope veteran quarterbacks will allow them to bring their rookies along slowly, rookies continue to play well and make that decision more difficult. While the Jaguars reiterated that Chad Henne would start the regular season opener, they are now giving Blake Bortles some first-team reps in practice and indicated he might get time with that unit in the preseason. Same for Teddy Bridgewater in Minnesota; though Matt Cassel has played well and remains the starter, Bridgewater’s strong performance—which included an 83-yard game-winning drive in the final minute of their second preseason tilt—has earned him reps with the starters as well. It still feels like a split season at best for both Bortles and Bridgewater, but for dynasty leaguers the future is a whole lot closer than it was earlier in the preseason.
Finally, the Monday night stage could yield more information as to who opens the season as Cleveland’s starting quarterback. Brian Hoyer clings to the job, but rookie Johnny Manziel will get some time with the ones against RG3 and the Redskins. Browns coach Mike Pettine indicated that Manziel has “definitely closed the gap,” according to NFL.com, with the end result being that Hoyer will be on a strict produce-or-else schedule—with Johnny Football looking right over his shoulder.