Tuesday NFL Notes
Brutal news for the Chargers and for those hoping to see Danario Alexander reprise his role as Philip Rivers’ biggest downfield threat as the receiver tore the ACL in his right knee during practice and will miss the entire 2013 season. He’s had five different procedures on his left knee already so this injury actually may leave his career in doubt which now also kills his value in keeper leagues as well. Expect to see Vincent Brown’s role increase significantly as well as a likely increase in targets for Malcom Floyd and Antonio Gates.
Across the country, the Eagles also lost themselves a wide receiver for the entire season as Arrelious Benn also tore his ACL during practice today. This is a huge blow for Philadelphia as Benn, whom the Eagles traded for during the offseason, was supposed to replace Jeremy Maclin who suffered the same exact injury just a few short weeks ago. Depth at the receiver position is going to be a tough one for the Birds as now Riley Cooper and Jason Avant are starting to look like their best options.
The Packers also seem to be hurting at the receiver position as Randall Cobb left practice with a biceps injury while it was also announced that Jordy Nelson would miss the rest of training camp (three to four weeks) after undergoing a procedure on his knee. Both are expected to be fine for the regular season, but this could certainly have an effect on Aaron Rodgers’ timing early on.
Mike Wallace missed another practice with a lingering groin issue, but word out of Miami camp is that he is improving steadily and should be back sooner than later. That’s a good thing as the Fins need to get their offense moving here. Brian Hartline has also been out and Ryan Tannehill seems to be struggling in practice with his top two wideouts. The team seems to be playing it safe with its receivers so you may not see either one suit up for Friday’s preseason game.
Also keep a close watch on Dolphins running back Lamar Miller who tweaked his ankle in practice today and was seen limping around the rest of the day. Both Miller and the Dolphins say that he is fine, but it’s always good to keep watch and make sure.
Don’t expect to see Browns running back Trent Richardson during the team’s first preseason game this Thursday. He’s still nursing a shin injury and the powers-that-be have opted to err on the side of caution and keep him out, though they view the injury as something minor. Richardson hasn’t exactly been a beacon of health during his short NFL tenure, so holding him out makes sense.
Jets running back Chris Ivory continues to be hindered by hamstring issues and has yet to be a full participant in any practice this offseason. He claims that he’ll be ready to go Tuesday of next week, but he won’t be suiting up for Friday’s preseason opener. Many have expected Ivory to take the lead this year, but the door remains wide open for Bilal Powell.
The Jets quarterback battle could start tilting one way or the other this week as coach Rex Ryan announced that Mark Sanchez would start Friday’s game, but that Geno Smith would also see some time with the starters. Neither has really outperformed the other in practice just yet, so in-game performance will be highly scrutinized here.
It looks as if running back LaMichael James will get the first opportunity to be the 49ers return specialist this season, in addition to his usual duties in the backfield. Coaches have been raving over his year-to-year improvements in rushing, pass-blocking and returning kicks and will likely utilize him in every way they can this year. If your league scores return yards, then James should probably be bumped up a few spots on your cheat sheets.
Julio Jones’ injury is being described simply as hamstring tightness and he will be held out of Atlanta's preseason game on Thursday. He should be fine moving forward.
While the Falcons may have dodged a bullet there, they weren't so lucky with right tackle Mike Johnson who has been diagnosed with a dislocated left ankle and broken leg, and will undergo surgery next week. The injury will likely keep him out for the entire year and unless second-year pro Lamar Holmes steps up and shines, this could be a huge blow to both the running game and pass protection. The offensive line was having its issues as is, so this just compounds the damage.