Saturday, August 16, 2008

Saturday NFL Games

Hey folks - another Saturday brings us that much closer to the launch of the 2008 season.

Here's the high and low points from today's games.....

Jets vs Redskins
So I was totally surprised that Brett Favre played today.... of not. Favre looked good enough in his limited action, hitting Cotchery for 2 passes and rookie Dustin Keller for a TD. Chris Baker took in a catch as well, so it's still up in the air who will be the TE top dog there. Once Favre left, Kellen Clemens struggled, tripping over someone's feet twice. He had 7 incompletes - 6 were dropped passes. Sometimes things just go badly. Brett Ratcliffe looked good again in limited action vs walk-ons and busboys. David Clowney left the game with an apparent shoulder injury - details to come.

Also leaving early was LaDell Betts who hurt his knee, though how serious is subkect to debate. We'll have to see on that as well. Colt Brennan continued to look good in late snaps, and running back MArcus Mason is making a play for a roster spot as well, adding 75 yards to a three game total of 178.

Colts vs Falcons
Matt Ryan did what we expected him to tonight - he looked like a rookie, including throwing a pick that went for 6 the other way. Sadly for the Falcons, Ryan actually looked like the most advanced rookie as Chris Redman, DJ Shockley and Joey 'The Pianist' Harrington looked pretty morose as well. The one bright spot would be Michael Turner who rebounded fro ma decidely average game last week to put 114 yards in 4 carries on the struggling Colts run D. So far his per carry average is impressive (even the pedestrian 5-22 last week works out to 4 ypc) but the Colts aren't dominating the run so the jury will still eb out. Turner has to produce though - that pass game is almost unbearable to watch, much less draft in fantasy.

The Colts QBs weren't exactly Manninglike either - and boy are Colts fans worried. Not so much that Peyton won't start week 1 - he should - but that he might EVER get hurt. Sorgi used to seem competant, but now just seems lost. Quinn Gray looked OK, throwing for 100 yards. Jared Lorenzon threw a pick. I shudder to think what would happen if Manning WAS down for more than preseason.

Vikings vs Ravens
Good news - Tarvaris Jackson looked good for a second straight game (7-11, 82, 1TD). Bad news - Jackson also went down with an injury to his right knee, hurt while scrambling before being tackled by Antwan Barnes. While he w asn't a hot prospect on fantasy radars, his effectiveness was giving Bernard Berrian owners hope. Berrian did not make an appearance by the way, while Blurb stealth target Sidney Rice caught 3 passes for 31 yards.

QB Troy Smith didn't lock the #1 job down, going 3-5 with a pick. Lucky for him, Kyle Boller looked.... well like Kyle Boller (8-12, 40, 1INT). Could Joe Flacco still win the start? It shouldn;t matter in your redraft leagues and Flacco has a ton of work to do to become an effective QB, so I kinda hope they let him marinate on the pine a year. Ray Rice, on the other hand, is making anyone who took Willis McGahee worry, as he continues to look very solid (8 for 77, 1 TD and 3 catches for 17 yards). McGahee is facing recovering from his knee 'scope and if Rice keep playing lights out, the Ravens may just let McGahee rest a while longer.

Dolphins vs Jaguars
Chad Pennington looked good in his debut in the sea-foam green, while rookie Chad Henne looked very good the rest of the game. McCown and Beck were MIA in Miami. Read into that as you will. But the real story here is Ricky Williams' continued assault on Ronnie Brown's carry total and Brown leaving the game with a hurt thumb. Now, apparently he could have continued to play if the game meant anything, but Sparano has been vocal in his Ricky love, so be aware - if you take Brown, do so at your own risk and nowhere near the second round, where his ADP had been last year. Williams could figure into the running game very heavily.

Oh and Tedd Ginn is starting to look good. I will always think it a bad choice, but Ginn is starting to develope into a nice target.

The Jags had no rhythm and looked out of synch the whole night. Garrard couldn't string a good series together, the run game stalled and the recievers were unspectacular. It's only preseason, but the Jags need to get some semblance of momentum going or they could start off on the wrong foot - something that could cost them in the tough AFC.

Texans vs Saints
Steve Slaton is continuing to look like a nice late pick in redrafts (and Dynasty leagues) as he once again looked very good (12-57, 1TD). It's hard to say whether anyone will unseat incumbent Ahman Green but Green is old and tends to be hurt - and Chris Brown just tends to be hurt. So Slaton, Darius Walker and Chris Taylor are all guys to watch closely. Matt Schaub is looking solid and he, Andre Johnson and Owen Daniels should make beautiful music together all season long. Kevin Walter might sneak in there for some love too.

The biggest piece of news for the Saints would be the appearance (effective no less) of Deuce McAllister, who saw his first action of the preseason. 16 yards on 4 carries aren't stud back numbers of course, but he picked up a trio of first downs and ran hard. Overall, the Saints offense looked as good as you'd hope, though the defense struggled a little at times. The secondary is better than last year (how could it not be?) but still needs work as the Texans QBs threw for nearly 300 yards and 2 TDs.

Cardinals vs Chiefs
Kurt Warner started but didn't impress tonight, while Matt Leinart went 7-11 with a TD. Warner didn't play badly - just not well enough to unseat Leinart. Stay tuned. The Cards D came to play - Chase Stuart mentioned them as a good Defense by Committee candidate in Thursday's Drive Block and if tonight is any indication, he is once again right. Newly acquired Travis LaBoy with 6 tackles, 1 assist and a pair of sacks. This is a D on the rise and one worth considering in Fantasy. They might finally have stopped teasing Fantasy Owners and arrived.

While Larry Johnson looked solid with 14 carries for 61 yards, Brodie Croyle missed a few recievers and stalled without getting into the end zone while Tyler Thigpen had gaudier stats (16 for 27, 174 with 1 TD) but threw a late pick. The O-line also gave up 4 sacks, something they still need to improve upon if they are ever to get the team on track again.

Chargers vs Rams
Darren Sproles hurt his knee during a special teams play and could miss some time. The Chargers shouldn't flinch though, as rookie Jacob Hester continued his outstanding play with 12 carries for 59 yards. Craig Davis played very well at reciever and - well everythign else. He caught 2 passes for 40 yards, ran for 10 and had a 36 yard punt return.

While the Rams running backs are contributing nicely in Steven Jackson's absence, the offensive line is not. Marc Bulger is already taking hits and he's very shaky right now. He threw two picks and only got 56 yards on 7 completions for the half. The Rams need better play from him, but they need to protect him as well. Back to Steven Jackson though - with Antonio Pittman and Brian Leonard playing so well, I have to wonder how much longer Jackson will sit. He's losing his leverage and every positive yard by Pittman and Leonard eats it away more.

Cowboys vs Broncos
The 'boys aren't looking like world beaters in preseason, but they don't have to. They know what they have to do, know what their studs CANdo and are just curious how the new fellas will fit in. Felix Jones, for one, fits like a well worn pair of boots. 3 carries for 17 yards and a 27 yard catch isn't a tone of work, but Jones continues to look good doing everything and anything they ask of him. Cecil Lammey doesn't love him and watched him practice in the Cenver/Dallas intersquad days this week - in practice, he dances too much. But so far, it hasn't hurt his game impact. We'll have to see if the practice flaws catch up with Jones on the playing field.

As Lammey mentioned on both the Thundering Blurb podcast and The Drive Block, Adam Jones and Brandon Marshall jawed a ton in those same practices. Well, Marshall won this round to the tune of 6 catches for 59 yards and a TD. Jones looked good shagging punts though, and the Cowboys need him to contribute there as well. Broncs rookie Eddie Royal continues to look great and added 2 catches for 67 yards. With Marshall out, the Broncos shouldn't miss a beat with this talented rookie in place and it's concievable that once there, he won't let go and could end up in the #2 spot, with Stokely remaining in the slot.

Bears vs Seahawks
Bears QB; the job nobody wants. They should advertise on, because the guys in place don;t seem to want to win the job. Kyle Orton looked like Kyle Orton (I ywan even typing his name) and Rex Grossman had one of his 'down' games - the Seahawls pressured him and he folded like a tent, including an INT that popped into the air as he was hit while throwing. The Hawks kept the heat up and Rex just looked lost. Luckily, the Bears D seems back on track, as that accounted for pretty much all the good play from Chicago in this game.

The Seahawks need Matt Hasselback to return soon, as Charlie Frye seemed to be auditioning for the Bears Qb role - 203 yards is nice. 3 INTs? Not so much. The biggest bright spot was RB Justin Forsett - a DraftguysTV alum, Forsett lit the Bears up for 136 yards (on 15 carries) and a TD. He's got to fight to make the roster, though TJ Duckett is expensive for a guy who will likely end up a fullback. Neither guy is Fantasy worthy right now, though at least Forsett has upside that has yet to be tapped. A very late flier could be worth the time.

Packers vs 49rs
Don't let JT O'Sullivan's numbers fool you - his 8-17, 154 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT mask a QB who missed open receivers, made bad reads and generally looked as bad as Alex Smith's statline looked. Here's another QB fight where nobody seems to want to win. Luckily Frank Gore and Vernon Davis looked good despite the QBs and rookie Josh Morgan added to his impressive week 1 total with 114 yards and a TD on 5 catches. Here's another guy who could be worth a very late add to yoru roster on draft day. But the QB situation might make me look elsewhere.

The Packers have to be a bit worried with Aaron Rodgers' struggles. Rodgers was terribly inconsistant - on the other hand his line played awfully and he found himself with little time to throw, constantly scrambling and being sacked 4 times. Maybe Favre escaped more than was pushed out?

Thats all for tonight - will review tomorrow's games (and Thursdays which I didn;t have time to today) tomorrow night and Monday.

And as sure as Mike Nugent bouncing a kick off an upright in a game winning situation, I'll be back all next week.

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