Keep a lid on the Johnny Football hype. Despite throwing for 42 yards and rushing for a 12-yard touchdown in the Browns’ preseason opener, Johnny Manziel remains firmly behind Josh McCown on the Cleveland depth chart. “I haven’t wavered on that,” Browns coach Mike Pettine told the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “He’s firmly the number one.” McCown didn’t look bad either, completing all five of his passes in directing the Browns to a touchdown on his only drive. Hey, there could certainly be worse issues to have in Cleveland than a quarterback battle that doesn’t hinge on which one sucks less.
No team hated the preseason more Thursday night than the Redskins. Tight end Niles Paul, running with the first team in part because Jordan Reed is dinged up, fractured his ankle and will miss the entire 2015 season. Joining him on the sidelines will be backup running back Silas Redd, who suffered a knee injury that will prematurely end his season as well. At least Redd made it to the game this time; you may remember last year he was injured when the team bush crashed en route to a game.
- Be sure to check out this year’s “Why Isn’t C.J. Anderson the Consensus #1?.“
Chip Kelly likes to keep things private, but he clearly has some hockey in his background. Why else would he refer to Zach Ertz as having a “core muscle injury”? Ertz won’t play this preseason, and today the Eagles revealed specifics: Ertz underwent surgery to repair a partial groin tear. He’s still slated to be ready for the start of the regular season, but on behalf of everyone with a groin… yeeouch.
Cowboys running backs are giving Redskins tight ends a run for their claim to the “Spinal Tap drummers of the NFL” title. With Darren McFadden and Lance Dunbar already on the sidelines, Dallas lost impressive undrafted rookie Gus Johnson to a shoulder injury. Cowboys coach Jason Garret told the Dallas Morning News that the injury was an AC joint separation, and Johnson’s timetable for return is unknown. Maybe now the Cowboys will find someone—anyone—who can fill the chasm left by DeMarco Murray’s departure?
What else can be gleaned from Thursday night’s slate of fake games? Jonas Gray is taking advantage of his opportunity as the Patriots’ healthiest back with an evening that included a 55-yard touchdown run. James White looks to be leading the battle to be New England’s third down back. Of course, it’s Bill Belichick so both guys could be inactive—or on the street—when Jimmy Garoppolo leads the Patriots against Pittsburgh to kick off the regular season.
Also, Ryan Tannehill’s preseason opener did nothing to dissuade the hype surrounding him. Tannehill marched the Dolphins 85 yards, capped with a touchdown toss to Jarvis Landry. And in Detroit Ameer Abdullah flashed everything the Lions had been hoping for in his NFL debut. If you’ve been sitting on either of these guys as fantasy value picks… sorry, secret’s out.
Finally, six more preseason games on the docket tonight including a rematch of Super Bowl 48 in Seattle. Enjoy the football!