It was a fairly light day of NFL work as teams reconvened following the first full weekend of fake games. Kenny Stills returned to practice for the Dolphins, flashing some speed in catching a deep ball from Ryan Tannehill during 7-on-7 work. “It’s nice to have him back,” Tannehill told the Associated Press. “He’s definitely a big-play receiver.” Stills has been sidelined with a calf injury. Fellow wideout DeVante Parker has yet to join the fray, but he’s started running and the hope is he’ll be back in time for some game action before the preseason is over.
Atlanta’s backfield committee returned to practice as well, though neither Devonta Freeman nor Tevin Coleman participated in team work. Antone Smith is still sidelined with his hamstring injury, leaving Terron Ward to get reps with the first team once again.
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Karlos Williams looked good in the Bills’ preseason opener, rushing for 40 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries and adding a pair of catches for 23 yards. However, Bills coach Rex Ryan said Williams “was in a lot of pain” when he woke up Monday and the rookie back has been hospitalized. Williams was looking at an opportunity with Buffalo backs Fred Jackson and Bryce Brown slowed by injury; instead, he’ll join them on the sidelines.
Even if DeMarco Murray stays healthy, he’ll see fewer touches in Philadelphia. Murray endured 497 touches last season, so Chip Kelly has lightened his load throughout training camp and the preseason. “I don’t think you can have a guy carry it 370 to 400 times per season and be successful,” Kelly told Sports Illustrated. “We’re going to run it a lot—we always do—but we’ll have more than one guy doing it.” So just in case you were paying for Murray’s 2014 numbers, use Kelly’s words and the presence of Ryan Matthews as proof positive Murray’s volume will be turned down this season.
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Finally, Super Bowl standout Chris Matthews has a “slight” shoulder sprain according to coach Pete Carroll and is expected to miss at least a week. The Seahawks are also shopping for quarterback depth after Tavaris Jackson suffered a high ankle sprain that will keep him out at least two weeks. Not that Seattle throws that much anyway.