Tuesday NFL NotesMike Wallace signed his tender and reported to the Steelers – Wallace will have to hurry to play catch up from both a physical and mental standpoint, as it’s unlikely he’s in game condition after missing so much practice time. The real concern for the speedster though is the mental side of things with a new offense under Todd Haley having been installed between minicamps, OTA’s and the preseason. While his draft stock should rise significantly due to his return, expectations should be tempered for Wallace early as a slow start is a likely scenario.
Kenny Britt (knee) was removed from the PUP list – Britt will be added to the Titans’ active roster on Wednesday and could be ready to play limited snaps as early as Week 1. However, he will not play in the team’s final preseason game versus New Orleans and it remains a strong possibility that he will face a suspension to begin the year. If Britt does resume his pre-injury form at any point early in the season—whether he is hit with a suspension or not—he could be a major draft day steal this year.
Andre Johnson did not practice as he deals with a rib issue – It seems as if the 31-year-old All Pro just can’t get 100% healthy. Last year it was his hamstrings, then an arthroscopic knee procedure in May, a tweaked groin early in training camp and now he’s got sore ribs keeping him out of practice. Johnson remains an all-world talent, but he also is looking more and more like one of the bigger injury risks at the position. Given how high he needs to be drafted to secure him, the risk may not be worth the rewards.
Ray Rice is expected to see just as many touches as last year – According to offensive coordinator Cam Cameron, Rice will still be heavily involved in the team’s game plan despite the Ravens unveiling a much more passing-centric attack during the preseason. If his touches are not scaled back and Joe Flacco gets the passing game into higher gear, that could just open up more running lanes for Rice to gouge defenses.
Miles Austin (hamstring) expects to be ready for the season opener at the Giants – It would be a stronger endorsement if it were Jason Garrett who voiced this expectation, but it’s still a good sign that Austin’s injured hamstring is improving. Having missed basically all of August practices and the team’s preseason games to rest the muscle, a return to the field should be coming shortly for Austin, if not by Week 1.
Matt Flynn (elbow) returned to full practice – He may be back, but Flynn’s not the starter. And if Russell Wilson’s preseason dominance is any indication, Flynn won’t be getting his chance to see the field anytime soon, so it looks like one more year of Flynn being amongst the league’s top reserve quarterbacks.
Ed Dickson (shoulder) and Dennis Pitta (hand) could be ready for Week 1 – If both do return for the beginning of the season, it’s a good chance they rob each other of targets and reduce each other’s overall value. The arrow for Flacco, however, should be pointing up once his two tight ends return to action and give him some added underneath weapons.
T.Y. Hilton missed practice as a result of a shoulder injury suffered on Sunday – Hilton hurt his shoulder against the Redskins and is a good bet to sit out the team’s final preseason game in order to rest up for Week 1. With Austin Collie’s concussion issues back in the picture, Hilton is a prime candidate to take over the No. 2 receiver spot opposite Reggie Wayne and has some great sleeper value provided his shoulder injury does not become serious.
An MRI on Jake Long’s knee revealed a sprained MCL – If Long is unable to return by the start of the regular season, the Dolphins offense could suffer considerably more than expected, particularly in the passing game.