Tuesday NFL NotesTrent Richardson missed practice with knee soreness – The Browns are downplaying the situation, but to be cautious it looks like they may hold Richardson out of the team’s first preseason game on Friday versus Detroit. Though coach Pat Shurmur is saying that Richardson’s knee is “just a little sore” it is still worth noting that it’s the same knee he had scoped in February to repair a torn meniscus. Nevertheless, until it’s clear his ability to play is impacted by the issue, it’s safe to assume he’ll be fine for the regular season.
Mike Goodson left practice on a stretcher after a helmet-to-helmet collision – While Goodson was taken to a local hospital to get checked out for a possible neck injury, it was later reported that he is doing well and should be okay. Depending on how much time he may miss, it’s possible the Raiders could once again look at adding a veteran like Cedric Benson or Ryan Grant for depth, but until further info is known on the extent of the injury, Oakland will likely move forward with the status quo behind Darren McFadden.
Matt Flynn was announced the starter for the Seahawks first preseason game – While the competition remains very much up in the air according to Pete Carroll, it will be Flynn that gets the first crack at claiming the job when Seattle faces the Titans on Saturday. Russell Wilson is expected to take over for Flynn in the second half and it appears Tarvaris Jackson will sit the game out entirely. Don’t be surprised though if Jackson starts the second preseason game to give him an equal chance to win the job for Week 1.
Evan Royster will start versus the Bills on Thursday – Royster appears to be holding the reigns for Tim Hightower until the veteran is expected to come back fully from his torn ACL, possibly by the third preseason game. Coach Mike Shanahan is calling Hightower his No. 1 back, but has apparently been more impressed with the consistency of Royster than the explosiveness of Roy Helu thus far in camp. Helu of course will get his shot versus the Bills and the Redskins backfield will likely remain a nightmare for fantasy owners as the three talented backs work in a constant and unpredictable rotation.
Greg Jennings (concussion) will be held out of the Packers' first preseason game – By all accounts this is just a precautionary measure as Jennings has since returned to practice after suffering a minor concussion in a team scrimmage. Jermichael Finley may also sit out the game to rest a quadriceps strain that is bothering him.
LeGarrette Blount was listed at the top of the Buccaneers’ RB depth chart – Blount appears to have done just enough in the offseason to cling to the job—at least on paper—that will ultimately go to Doug Martin. If Blount can hold onto the football, he’ll certainly carve out a role in the offense, but by all accounts Martin has been quite impressive during training camp and is without question the more complete player. Regardless of who gets the first carry, their performance on the field, beginning Thursday night in Miami, should tell owners when to target each player in drafts.
Michael Crabtree (calf) returned to practice in a limited capacity – He was able to participate in individual drills in full pads but sat out team drills. It remains unclear if Crabtree will be available for the 49ers’ first preseason game on Friday, but don’t be surprised if he’s held out just to be cautious.
Beanie Wells (knee) was removed from the physically unable to perform list – Wells was also slated to participate in the team’s walkthrough on Tuesday, but is not expected to see any preseason action until August 19 at the earliest, when the Cardinals face Oakland. Assuming all goes well as he begins practicing, Wells should be ready to go for Week 1 at the latest.
Rashard Mendenhall (ACL) is expected to begin the year on the PUP list – Coming from the mouth of Steelers GM Kevin Colbert, it would be a “surprise” for Mendenhall to avoid the PUP list to start the season, meaning the earliest he’d be available for game action would be Week 7. After tearing his ACL in the final week of the 2011 regular season, it wouldn’t be at all surprising if Mendenhall missed even more time as he works himself back into game shape.
Leonard Hankerson is pushing for a starting spot – Coming off hip surgery to repair the injury that cost Hankerson most of his rookie year, the young wideout is apparently not just back to full health but displaying enough ability to challenge for a spot opposite Pierre Garcon in the starting lineup. With Josh Morgan struggling with a hamstring issue, Hankerson should continue to distinguish himself as one of the top weapons in the Skins’ passing attack. The athletic, second-year target with strong hands could even emerge as a strong sleeper candidate as the preseason progresses, so keep an eye on his play when the pads and lights come on.