Archive for category Baltimore

Friday News Stampede

Covering some of the news aftermath of last night’s games – expect some big cuts tomorrow, which we will discuss sometime between now and Wednesday, unless soemone huge gets canned.

Baltimore Ravens
Troy Smith’s tonsillitis has taken a turn for the worse and Smith has now been hospitalized. While he may be released in a few days the inability to eat during portions of the last week and now a hospital stay doesn’t bode well for his ability to start week 1. Joe Flacco looked good last night (8/13, 72 yards) but still has work to do. He may have run out of developmental time though and could start the first game.

Houston Texans
The running back situation will clear by the end of day Saturday – Darius Walker carried the ball 9 times and only got a meager 18 yards. That 2 ypc isn’t going to cut it and the only thing that might save him is that they are paying Chris Brown more money to do less and be injured. Ahman Green may be the initial starter, but Steve Slaton or Chris Taylor will emerge later and my money is still on Slaton.

New Orleans Saints
Deuce McAllister carried the ball 11 times for 30 yards in a final test of his surgically repaired knee. He seems to be all right, though he wasn’t tremendously effective. While Deuce will probably start the year as a #2 (although could he be cut?) I expect Aaron Stecker or Pierre Thomas to tale over that job gradually. Thomas hasn’t been lights out or anything, but he played well last year briefly and Stecker is decent as a back-up.

Washington Redskins
Has any preseason rookie Qb impressed like Colt Brennan? Probably not, because few had expectation as low as his. Still, give him credit – he has looked very good so far in preseason action. 13/18 for 119 yards isn’t Joe Montana numbers and he has a way to go, but Brennan seems to have overcome some of his shortcomings and should stick around. It will be a long time before he has an impact, but one day – if he keeps this up – he will get his shot.

That’s all for now folks – more later including some college thoughts. Figure late afternoon/early evening for you east coast peeps.

Wednesday Stampede

The first round of cuts have happened and teams have begun figuring out who will be able to contribute this year – as well as who they will try to sneak onto the practice squad.

A couple of straggling cuts:
Chiefs: waived OT Ken Shackleford and placed WR Kevin Robinson (knee) on the PUP list.
Lions: K Dave Rayner and DE Claude Harriott were released.
Redskins:re-signed LB Danny Verdun-Wheeler and waived WR Burl Toler.
Texans: placed OL Scott Jackson (foot) on injured reserve, ending his season.

Here’s this mornings round-up of news.

Jacksonville Jaguars
Rookie defensive lineman Derrick Harvey has finally signed and will report to camp. His 33 day holdout will probably kill any IDP value he had this year and while he will have a shot to start, probably will be rotated in and out of the game too much and have too steep a learning curve to contribute in a big way. Missing the whole of camp will set him back this year, though he will become an impact player down the road.

Baltimore Ravens
Let’s check the damage out at QB – Troy Smith has been out with tonsillitis. Joe Flacco is raw, with a big arm but much to learn. And now, according to the Carroll County Times , there is a fear that Kyle Boller could be done for the year with a fairly serious shoulder injury. The first set of MRIs taken don’t look good and if Boller goes down, some lucky journeyman QB may get a phone call. Vinny Testeverde anyone? Best bet is that if Troy Smith can get back on his feet, he’s the guy, but I don’t love this group of QBs and wouldn’t even want them as parts of a QBBC. Not thrilled with the WRs or Todd Heap either, in part because of this sort of stuff. Ray Rice may be the only fantasy option here and you can expect him to wear down towards he end of the season – assuming McGahee doesn’t just show up and take his job back.

Tennesse Titans
Everyone is talking about rookie Chris Johnson and the immediate impact he can have here this year and consequently, everyone is also talking a lot of gloom and doom regarding LenDale White. As we spoke about on last week’s Drive Block (and if you missed it, check it out on ITunes, or to the right of this column), it may not be a bad thing for White to split carries. I don’t think it will happen week 1 and furthermore, I don’t think Johnson’s strength is running between the tackles. White will get a lot more of those carries – Johnson will see a lot of his work on the outside and in the receiving game. Plenty of value for both. In fact, with that core of WRs, Johnson may end up splitting out wide more than the Titans are thinking right now.

Both are good fantasy options – Johnson as a marginal #2 or a #3 with huge upside and White as a #2 who may taper off later this season. And of course, if you’re looking to clear a buffet, well, White’s your #1 pick. (That was for Cecil.)

Indianapolis Colts
Is it time to get nervous? Had you been nervous already about Manning? No? Well then, suck on this: According to a report on the Associated Press, Manning won’t begin fully practicing until next Wednesday. While he’s been doing limited work the past week, he hasn’t been running them fully and certainly hasn’t had any contact.

It’s not as bad as it sounds. First of all, we’re talking Peyton freaking Manning – he could miss OTAs, minicamps, Preseason and most regular season practices and be just fine (excuse the hyperbole). Secondly, this is The Franchise here – they will handle him like a China Doll until they have to throw him into a game and be cautious with him. Now, will he miss Week 1? Maybe. And that’s why if you got Manning in your draft, it better be no earlier than the second and you’d better get a quality back-up – something you never had to worry about before. Don’t bother with Sorgi – he’s a mess. I think you need to be looking at someone at least in the Garrard area and I would be tempted to reach for a guy in the Roethlisberger range instead. Worst comes to worst, he’s quality trade bait. But if Manning takes an extra week or two, you will be happy you have him. Problem is, he’s goign to cause you to go too early for your backup.

And for that reason, this may be the year to let Manning pass you in the 2nd and go another direction.

Cleveland Browns
Derek Anderson’s concussion is still affecting him, according to . Apparently he is still sensitive to light and feelign some other after effects. Not uncommon after getting your bell rung – I’ve had a few concussions and it can take a little while to get your head back together. He’ll sit this week – I’d say for sure, though the team is hedging – and could miss week 1. Watch Brady Quinn closely – if Anderson sits for Week 1, it could be a rough week for all the growing team of studs the Browns have: Edwards, Winslow, Lewis and even potential impact players like Donte Stallworth. We can only hope that Quinn is ready for Prime Time and that the O-line plays like I hope it will. I think the studs in Cleveland will play well with Quinn, but until I see more of him, he makes me extremely nervous. Completing 14 passes for 106 yards is ok, but he only put together one scoring drive and started out slow. He’s got work to do and as much as I was not sold on Anderson as joining the Elite Fantasy QBs, I know Quinn isn’t there yet. Still, he has the weapons and the tools. I wouldn’t play him – but I will gamble that he keeps Edwards & Co. valuable.

Carolina Panthers
We have a DJ Hackett sighting! Yes folks, the high-upside but oft-injured WR is running on the sidelines! Huzzah! He may even be ready for week 1! In all seriousness, the Panthers need him to be if they are going through with the Steve Smith suspension. He’ll start opposite Muhsin Muhammad during the two game sit-down and would have a great deal of value to start the season off. But once again, his health has been his downfall. Hackett is very talented but he just can’t stay on the field. I have loved his upside for several years but am now far too concerned with his injury history to rely on him, nor grab him as an overall #3 or 4 WR – if not just use him for bench depth. One day he may show us what he is capable of. But I have to say, I am dubious whether he will be able to sieze the opportunity before him early this season.

Grab him late – he has the upside – but be prepared to have him on the bench more often than your lineup.

That’s it for now – remember tonight at 9pm EST/6pm PST The Thundering Blurb Fantasy Football Podcast will be coming at you on and we’ll catch you up on the news and notes going int othe final preseason games.

Back more later with news and some straggling cuts….

Tuesday Morning Stampede

Hey folks – just a short week away from the return of actual NFL football. College gets us started this weekend, then kickoff on Thursday between Washington and the NY Giants.

Here’s the morning look at the news -

Baltimore Ravens
Troy Smith has been vying for the starting QB job and looked like he might get it – until Tonsilitis derailed him. He didn’t start game three and hasn’t been practicing. The QB situation in Baltimore is bad and if there is any value at the WR position, this is making it hard to find. Mark Clayton is probably the guy to own here but who will throw him the ball. Smith is unproven, Flacco needs work and we all know Boller isn’t the clear answer, despite good play last year. If you have to take someone, Clayton is it.

We still don’t know what is going on with McGahee’s knee, by the way. Ray Rice is an exciting prospect but 1) what if McGahee comes back and 2) he could wear down late in the season. Don’t reach for Rice, but if he falls to you as your #3 back somewhere in the 5th – 8th, take him in smile.

Jacksonville Jaguars
MJD owners can breathe a sigh of relief (or sleep soundly at night or relax – whatever trite saying floats yoru boat) as HC Jack Del Rio says Jones-Drew’s ankle is only mildly sprained. Don’t expect to see him in the preseason finale at Washington, but then again, that’s standard procedure for most studs on most teams. I still like Fred Taylor as a guy to shoot for in the 5th-8th rounds. Taylor has something left in the tank and while you can never count on him for TDs, he’s great for yardage.

The WR core is still a shambles, though. Garrard will put up respectible numbers but who knows who is catching the ball. Porter has been hurt, Williams -despite last year- is unreliable, Troy Williamson still has hands of cement and most of the guys behind them havne’t stepped up. Matt Jones has played well and probably saved his job after the cocaine fiasco a month ago, but he’s burned us before, hasn’t he? I wouldn’t draft him.

San Diego Chargers
The Darren Sproles/Jacob Hester battle continues. After excelling at the goal line this preseason, Hester was stuffed 4 times last night, though he scored on a 5th attempt. Sproles had a huge night, carrying thw ball 13 times for 102 yards and a TD which was – you guessed it – short yardage. As we have said, if LT goes down (ok, I just got a chill typing that) these guys will likely split carries. One bad preseason game does not kille Hester after several very good games. Neither does it puff Sproles up too much. Sproles isn’t an every down back, his size and skill set don’t quite fit it. Could he step up? Sure. But Hester has played well enough to get a piece of the action. I like Hester as a late back-up for LT or a high upside pick. You know I hate handcuffing, but if you must, go Hester.

Seattle Seahawks
After 3 games, we still don’t know who is playing around Nate Burleson (who looked pretty darn good last night. This week, it was Jordan Kent who stepped up on the stat sheet, with 4 catches for 47 yards and a TD. Kent has been very productive, though he fits into the split end position Burleson occupies and is a bit raw. Courtney Taylor only had 3 catches for24 yards, but threw a gorgeous block during Burleson’s 68 yard TD. That’s the sort of thing coaches love to see, as it proves you can help the run game as well as catch balls. Burleson did some nice work after the catch there as well, but Taylor just annihilated a defender.

Maurice Morris looks to have crept ahead of Julius Jones on the depth chart here in Seattle – but expect a full blown RBBC, though both backs may have some value anyway. They may not be consistent, but then again, one may break out during the season. The run game has to get going here, so the issue will get forced during the early part of the season.

Speaking of RBs -

Quick RB Notes
Mike Bush (OAK) may be getting some work at fullback – that’s usually a sign he will be left out in the carries deptartmen and is not going to have much value as a RB for you….. rookie Jamall Charles (KC) is back at practice but will not overtake Kolby Smith as Larry Johnson’s back-up. LJ is a guy who has been beat up the last few seasons, but his back-up is not really someone i will go out of my way to draft…. Seattle rookie full back and Blurb fave Justin Forsett fell back to earth after a good preseason. Last night he only got 9 yards on 4 carries, caught on pass and lost a fumble. He’s #3 here, though I still think down the road a few seasons, he may prove to be a guy who can start… I don’t buy the Rudi Johnson trade rumors out of ESPN. First off, Chris Mortenson (who I have all the respect in the world for) seems to have been off his game this year. Aside from the Favre story, we’ve seen him throw out some real hum-dingers (Miami trading Ronnie Brown anyone?). But beyond that, who is going to take Johnson and for what? He’s been hurt since the jump last season and we’ve yet to see him in preseason. And with Chris Perry being a walking injury time bomb, Kenny Irons gone and very little behind them (Kenny Watson and………?) can they afford to dump hinm? And for a ‘quality wide receiver’? They could use some shoring up at WR, but I don’t know who will be a guy they can get when Rudi is a big question mark and Shaun Alexander, Cedric Benson and others sit out there who might be cheaper and healthier. Of course, who really wants Benson? As I have said, between the injuries and the O-line questions, I have avoided the running backs here all Draft season and will continue to look elsewhere for my #2,s 3 or bench depth…. Speaking of Ronnie Brown, he and Ricky Williams are splitting reps in practice – exactly what we said would happen. Williams hasn’t proved he can still carry a whole season and Brown is still coming along from his injury. Both are good RB3s.

OK, folks – that’s it for now – will be back with more later!

Keep sending those draft questions to – been responding to them since I got back Sunday night and will turn them around ASAP for you guys drafting up to the start of the season.

Tuesday Stampede

I will be posting my top 20 College Football rankings this afternoon either all at once or in halves – depends on how long the list is with commentary.

Onto the NFL -

Arizona Cardinals
Cards coach Ken Whisenhunt says that Matt Leinart has improved his audibling and red zone work and will not be coming out of games at that spot on the field. While I still think Leinart is a shaky choice for a Fantasy QB until he shows me he can be consistent, it’s good to hear he won’t get ‘middle relievered’ during an important Fantasy sequence on the field and it does lessen my concerns a bit.

Oakland Raiders
From ‘The Sky is Falling’ column – rookie RB Darren McFadden fumbled 3 times in Monday’s practice. While I don’t think think the sky really IS falling (first fumbles of the preseason) you will now recall that one of the issues some people (including me) had with him pre-draft was his 15 fumbles his last year at Arkansas. This was a concern and will continue to be until he proves otherwise, but as these are his first fumbles in camp, I won’t worry much, he shouldn’t be going so early in drafts that a fumble problem will leave you hanging too badly.

Cincinatti Bengals
Rookie Keith Rivers seems undaunted by missing a teeny bit of camp – he led the Bengals with 7 unassisted tackles Monday night and didn’t even start. He will probably be an intriguing late round/waiver pickup in IDP leagues, asssuming people chalked him up to ‘rookie’ and he went undrafted in the first place. He certainly seems to have stepped right up for the Bengals which they really needed to have happen. Tight End Ben Utecht seems to really be getting those promised looks in the offensive scheme. He had a good Monday night and the staff is putting ’special plays’ together for him. I might be starting to believe it…..

San Diego Chargers
Antonio Gates is running but also in a lot of pain, and apparently very frustrated with his lack of progress. He says he will not play early if it damages the season long term, which is good for your overall season, but bad if you want to draft him. If you get Gates, you may be in the position of being forced to take a back-up TE early to cover for him if he’s out a few weeks. If you go early on a tight end, my advice is to think of Jason Witten or even Tony Gonzalez. Better yet, get one of the later tier guys and keep an eye on the waiver for value. Amongst the TEs I like later are Jeremy Shockey, Vernon Davis on the earlier side, Owen Daniels, LJ Smith, Ben Utecht on the later side.

Baltimore Ravens
More great news for McGahee owners – the knee he just had scoped? It’s the one he has had multiple surgeries on, the one he wrecked in the Fiesta Bowl 5 years ago. He showed up to camp out of shape so rehab is an iffy proposition. Ray Rice continues up the boards as McGahee drops.

That’s all for now – questions and comments can go to as well as the comment section below.

College rankings coming later this afternoon (my afternoon, not the East Coast’s).

Tuesday Morning Stampede

Yesterday, Green Bay Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy and estranged quarterback Brett Favre met for something on the order of 9 hours or so, longer than expected and wrapping their discussion at about 12:30am EST. Not much is known for sure about the meeting but we know they talked about what a QB controversy and battle might do to team chemistry. We still don’t know what is going on here and there is supposed to be a press conference at some point today.

As the World Turns, These Are The Days of our Lives……

Washington Redskins
Yesterday Malcolm Kelly got his knee scoped and today it looks like fellow rookie Devin Thomas is going to miss all the practices this week and the second preseason game. Not a good start for the rookies here. Now word on if Fred Davis has woken up in time for camp or gotten a new alarm clock.

New York Jets
The rookies in this camp are faring much better, as Dustin Keller has been showcasing his talents all camp long and now Vernon Gholston is doing the same. While the Newark Star-Ledger is saying he has had a quiet camp so far, both the blogs at and have mentioned Gholston being in the backfield many tiems in the day since he has signed his contract. Both players could have an impact – though Gholston’s learning curve and the return of Chris Baker at tight end may limit the upside of both this season.

St Louis Rams
Steven Jackson continues to hold out but I think he shows to camp soon. Not because he will get what he wants or cave, but because if he misses one more day of camp, he loses a year towards being an unrestricted free agant, according St Louis Post-Dispatch . He may be willing to lose that if he thinks he can sign an extension but at this point both sides seem pretty far apart.

Baltimore Ravens
Wednesday’s episode of The Thundering Blurb Fantasy Football Show will talk about Training Camp battles, but I’ll touch on this one here as well. Rookie Joe Flacco is struggling in camp, overthrowing short passes or throwing them too hard. Touch Passes are important for the Ravens scheme so that’s not good for his starting bid. Flacco has doubters and certainly has holes in his game. He was going to take a year to develop at least. Troy Smith has the edge in camp right now and looks like the starter.

More later.