By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer
Marshall hopes to make team
This is the final preview in a series of training camp previews. We will continue to release the previews throughout the week. The previews give you a quick look at each team, going over position battles and injuries to watch in camp. The season is right around the corner.
The Rams had a breakout season last year, so hopes are high for this squad this year. The big thing to watch this training camp is how the team adjusts in year two, especially with the team adding some high-priced talent on both sides of the ball. Will the new talent mold well with players left from last year? This will be the job of the coaching staff to get all the team on the same page for the coming year. Expectations are high for the Rams for the first time in several seasons.
Position battle: Most positions are set for the Rams but the tight end spot remains a bit up in the air. It is likely to be a timeshare with Tyler Higbee and Gerald Everett, but those two will compete for the right to start. And the starter in this explosive offense will have a little more value than the backup. So this position battle is one to maybe keep an eye on in training camp. Both these players are young guys with upside for good things. If one emerges and grabs most of the playing time, the fantasy value of that player will increase.
Injury watch: Kicker Greg Zuerlein had his season cut short last year because of a back injury. He was having a career season before the injury. Zuerlein needed surgery to repair a herniated disc. He is expected to be ready for training camp, though, and shouldn't be impacted much by this past injury. It is something to watch because back injuries are worrisome for a kicker.
The Cardinals have a new coaching staff and starting quarterback, so this should be the story of camp for the team. Plus, the return of star running back David Johnson will be closely watched. Arizona seems in rebuild mode for the first time in a few years, which isn't great news for veteran receiver Larry Fitzgerald. The new staff will do all they can to get this team going in the right direction in a hurry, so Fitzgerald can have another year of success.
Position battle: Larry Fitzgerald is the clear No. 1 receiver for the Cardinals but after him, there is a wide open competition for the other starting job. Rookie Christian Kirk, J.J. Nelson and Chad Williams are the top options to start for the Cardinals. Kirk has the top skill set of the bunch but he won't be handed the job. He will need to show he knows the playbook and is ready to start in the NFL. This will be a position battle to watch as the starter for the Cardinals has some obvious value in an offense that likes to throw the ball.
Injury watch: Tight end Jermaine Gresham tore his Achilles' late last year. He is not expected to be ready for the start of training camp but there is hope he will be ready for Week 1. The veteran will be brought along slowly to make sure he doesn't have a setback. His injury opens the door for Ricky Seals-Jones to earn the starter's job and play a big role offensively this year. If healthy, Gresham is likely headed to backup duty for the Cardinals.
San Francisco is a team on the rise. There is a lot of young talent on both sides of the ball. This team is expected to compete for a playoff spot and take a big step forward this year. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo gets his chance to be a No. 1 quarterback from day one this year. He has a lot of pressure on him to play at a high level, but certainly seems up to the task to be an elite NFL quarterback. The 49ers are an exciting team that should be closely watched this training camp to see the progress they are making.
Position battle: The 49ers have a true battle for the No. 3 receiver job. Trent Taylor, Aldrick Robinson, Dante Pettis and Kendrick Bourne will battle it out for the right to man the slot for the 49ers. Taylor is the favorite but he will need to hold off the others gunning for his job. This could end up being a rotation, especially since the 49ers have so many options vying for the job. We should have a better idea about how this all shakes out in training camp and preseason action.
Injury watch: Receiver Trent Taylor had minor back surgery this offseason and might be slowed for the start of training camp. This is an injury to watch because he is battling for the No. 3 receiver job. If he isn't healthy or sidelined any of camp, this could really hurt his chances to win the job. Nothing is certain for Taylor right now.
Seattle lost some players on the defensive side of the ball that had been stalwarts the past several seasons. It will be intriguing to see if the Seahawks can replace these key players, guys there were leaders on this team. These are big losses. The Seahawks are trying get a little younger, though, on both sides of the ball. Quarterback Russell Wilson still leads the offense but will need his offensive line to play better and a running game to take some pressure off of him. The transformation on both sides of the ball begins to take place in training camp.
Position battle: The Seahawks took Rashaad Penny in the first round of this year's draft, hoping to have found their No. 1 back for the next several years. But Chris Carson is still around and No. 1 on the depth chart right now. He has been very impressive in offseason workouts and most consider him the best back on the roster right now. Penny will be given a shot to unseat Carson, though, and should at some point. But for now, Carson will try to hold onto the job and open the season as the starter for the Seahawks.
Injury watch: Newly acquired receiver Brandon Marshall had toe and ankle surgeries last year, which cut his season short. Marshall is expected to compete for a starting job this year but will need to show he is healthy and able to perform near his level of past years if he hopes to just make the team. Marshall is at an age where injuries can start to mount, so keep an eye on his health this training camp to make sure he doesn't have any setbacks.
Jacksonville Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette could see more action on third down this year, according to head coach Doug Marrone. The Jaguars used Fournette on third down plays with the first team offense in Saturday's preseason game against the Vikings and Marrone said the second-year back seems to be doing a good job in the situations. If Fournette can be a true three-down back for Jacksonville this year, he could see his value in PPR formats vault into the top five by the end of the season.
Detroit Lions RB Theo Riddick (undisclosed) did not participate in practice Tuesday, Aug. 21.
Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon should be on the practice field very soon, according to head coach Hue Jackson.
Cleveland Browns WR Antonio Callaway (groin) worked on the side during practice Tuesday, Aug. 21, and may not be able to play in the third preseason game.
Buccaneers left tackle Donovan Smith (knee) will miss the next two-to-four weeks with a sprained knee. Smith looked like he had suffered a much more serious injury in practice but was luckily diagnosed with just a sprain. This is good news for Tampa, but bad news for Ryan Fitzpatrick. The Bucs' line will look to be pretty ugly come Week 1 of the regular season if Smith is still out.
Updating a previous report, Washington Redskins RB Adrian Peterson's one-year deal is worth $1.015 million, according to a source.
Philadelphia Eagles RB Jay Ajayi (undisclosed) has been missing practice because of a lower body injury, according to head coach Doug Pederson.
Free-agent FS Eric Reid (49ers) could be an option for the San Francisco 49ers if he is willing to accept a backup role and a salary close to league minimum, but head coach Kyle Shanahan said he does not believe Reid would be willing to accept that type of role.
San Francisco 49ers QB C.J. Beathard (foot) did not participate in practice Tuesday, Aug. 21, because of a foot injury, but head coach Kyle Shanahan said the hope is that Beathard will practice Wednesday, Aug. 22.
Free-agent LB Junior Galette (Redskins) will not sign with the Los Angeles Rams, according to head coach Sean McVay. McVay said Galette underwent a physical during his visit but is not sure if Galette worked out for the team.
Miami Dolphins CB Tony Lippett (ankle) participated in practice Tuesday, Aug. 21.
Miami Dolphins WR Kenny Stills (ankle, calf) participated in practice Tuesday, Aug. 21.
Miami Dolphins RB Kalen Ballage (concussion) is still going through the concussion protocol and did not participate in practice Tuesday, Aug. 21.
Free-agent LB Nick DeLuca (Titans) signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars Tuesday, Aug. 21. Terms of the contract were not disclosed. The team also placed FS Don Carey (undisclosed) on the Reserve/Injured list.
Detroit Lions CB Antwuan Davis was claimed off waivers by the Oakland Raiders Tuesday, Aug. 21. The team also waived/injured S Tevin Mitchel (undisclosed).
Dallas Cowboys DE Datone Jones (knee) is expected to miss a few weeks because of a knee injury, according to head coach Jason Garrett.
Dallas Cowboys WR Cole Beasley (groin) returned to practice Tuesday, Aug. 21.
Dallas Cowboys LB Leighton Vander Esch (groin) is not expected to practice this week as he nurses a groin injury.
Seattle Seahawks RB J.D. McKissic (foot) suffered a Jones' fracture in his foot and is expected to be out four to six weeks, according to a source.
Seattle Seahawks SS Bradley McDougald (pectoral) did not practice Tuesday, Aug. 21, with a pectoral strain, according to head coach Pete Carroll.