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Friday Morning Special
FFL: Offseason | NFL: Superbowl

Newton expected to make preseason debut against Bills

Thu Aug 15 4:21pm ET
By The Associated Press

Players: Frank Gore, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Eli Manning, Cam Newton, LeSean McCoy, Golden Tate, Cole Beasley, John Brown, Trey Burton, Jameis Winston, Devin Funchess, Mitch Trubisky, Curtis Samuel, Kaare Vedvik, Josh Allen, Preston Williams, D.J. Moore, Daniel Jones, Sam Darnold, Eddy Pineiro, Devin Singletary

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton jokes with a player during an NFL football training camp with the Buffalo Bills in Spartanburg, S.C., Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)


Chicago Bears coach Matt Nagy encourages his team during the second half of an NFL preseason football game against the Carolina Panthers on Thursday, Aug. 8, 2019, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Amr Alfiky)


Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton passes against the Buffalo Bills during an NFL football training camp in Spartanburg, S.C., Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2019. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)


The Chicago Bears congratulate kicker Elliott Fry (8) after he made a field goal during the first half of the team's NFL preseason football game against the Carolina Panthers on Thursday, Aug. 8, 2019, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Mark Black )


Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton passes during an NFL football training camp with the Buffalo Bills in Spartanburg, S.C., Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)


Cam Newton is expected to see his first game action since Dec. 17 when the Carolina Panthers host the Buffalo Bills on Friday night.

Newton, the league MVP in 2015, missed the final two games of last season and underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder in January. He and Carolina's other starters did not play in the first preseason game against the Bears.

Wide receiver Curtis Samuel was the star of training camp for the Panthers. His speed, quickness and ability to create separation are quickly turning him into Newton's favorite offensive option. Samuel will step into a starting role in his third NFL season and play alongside D.J. Moore after the Panthers let Devin Funchess leave in free agency.

Panthers rookie first-round draft pick Brian Burns had two sacks against the Bears and has looked dominant in Carolina's 3-4 defense. However, Burns tweaked his ankle Tuesday in a joint practice with the Bills. He tried to practice Wednesday, but couldn't. Burns said he plans to play against Buffalo, but it's possible coach Ron Rivera will err on the side of caution and keep Burns out.

Bills quarterback Josh Allen gets an opportunity to carry over what was an encouraging performance during two days of practices with the Panthers.

Aside from continuing to develop rapport with new receivers Cole Beasley and John Brown, Allen took time to get advice from Panthers star linebacker Luke Kuechly on how he defended against certain plays.

Running back LeSean McCoy is expected to make his preseason debut after fellow veteran Frank Gore started in Buffalo's preseason-opening win over Indianapolis. And there will also be focus placed on rookie running back Devin Singletary to see if he can build on the production - 27 yards rushing and 21 yards receiving - he had against the Colts.

BEARS AT GIANTS

Giants rookie quarterback Daniel Jones gets another chance to impress in the teams' first preseason matchup since 2012.

Jones was 5 for 5 for 67 yards and a TD pass in last week's preseason opener against the Jets.

Jones and Eli Manning and both played one series. Both should see more action against Chicago in the Giants' first game since the suspension of wide receiver Golden Tate was announced Tuesday.

The Giants' defense struggled as Sam Darnold drove the Jets right down the field on the opening possession.

Bears coach Matt Nagy continues to keep quiet on how much the starters will play, but all indications are little or not at all even if they're obviously tired of hitting each other and want to hit someone else.

They went through a two-hour-plus mock game Wednesday night, complete with pumped-in stadium noise, light hitting, a clock and starters facing backups. Kyle Long got into a fight, removed the helmet of rookie defensive lineman Jalen Dalton and began swinging it at defenders before being sent to the bench for the night. It was their third straight practice with a fight of some sort.

Starting tight end Trey Burton returned to play in the simulated game after a week and a half away while recovering from hernia surgery, but left guard Cody Whitehair injured a finger and left the practice. So, seeing any starters after a practice so long and intense would seem unlikely.

Mitchell Trubisky and the starting offense played only three snaps and handed off three times in last week's preseason opener, a 23-13 loss to Carolina.

The kicking competition between Eddy Pineiro and Elliott Fry continues after the Bears reportedly failed in a bid to trade with Baltimore for Kaare Vedvik, who was dealt to Minnesota.

DOLPHINS AT BUCCANEERS

Ryan Fitzpatrick, battling with Rosen for the Dolphins' starting quarterback job, will face the team for which he played the last two seasons.

Fitzpatrick is expected to start, but Rosen may also get some snaps with the first team. First-year coach Brian Flores this week declined to say who is leading the competition.

Flores will likely take another long look at undrafted rookie receiver Preston Williams, who had a breakout performance in the first exhibition game with four catches for 97 yards.

Also expected to see significant action are rookie guards Michael Deiter and Shaq Calhoun, both competing for starting jobs, and rookie defensive ends Jonathan Ledbetter and Dewayne Hendrix, who both won praise for their play in the first game.

The Buccaneers' regulars, including quarterback Jameis Winston, played one series in last week's preseason opener at Pittsburgh.

They probably won't play as much as they might normally in a second preseason game because the Bucs and Dolphins held a pair of joint practices this week.

''With as much (practice against Miami) as our 1s are getting ... I don't think it's necessary probably to play them much in the ballgame, maybe a few more plays than last week,'' coach Bruce Arians said. ''If things go as well as they did early offensively, it'll probably be the same. Defensively, the same, just because of the work we're getting this week. If we weren't working together this week, we'd probably play 20 or 25 plays.''

Player Notes
Leighton Vander Esch Jan 21 4:40pm ET

Dallas Cowboys vice president Stephen Jones said that linebacker Leighton Vander Esch's (neck) surgery "went well." "I feel really good about it. I feel really good about him making a full recovery and being ready to participate in everything," Jones said. The second-year linebacker should be good to go for the team's offseason workouts after missing the final five games of the 2019 season. He recorded a total of 72 tackles (43 solo), half a sack and one forced fumble in his nine games played. LVE was a beast his rookie season with 140 total tackles, and he could return to being an IDP force again in 2020 if he can just stay on the field.

From RotoBaller

Dak Prescott Jan 21 4:30pm ET

Dallas Cowboys vice president Stephen Jones said that quarterback Dak Prescott is the team's "No. 1 priority as we go into the offseason." Despite the Cowboys missing the playoffs in 2019, Prescott wasn't the problem. He had his best season with 4,902 passing yards, 30 touchdowns and 11 interceptions in his fourth year in the NFL. The Cowboys continue to reiterate that Prescott is their QB of the future, so expect a contract extension to come soon. If that doesn't happen, the franchise tag is another option to retain him for 2020. Prescott finished as the No. 3 fantasy signal-caller last season, and he'll head into the 2020 campaign as a strong high-end QB1.

From RotoBaller

Julian Edelman Jan 21 1:40pm ET

New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman (shoulder) underwent a shoulder procedure last week that is said to involve "not a lengthy rehab," and Edelman is expected to be ready for the team's offseason program, according to a league source. The 33-year-old was noticeably hindered by his shoulder to close out the year, but overall it was a very successful 2019 season. Edelman had 100 receptions for a career-high 1,117 yards and six touchdowns over a full season. It was the second time in his career that he reached the 100-catch mark as quarterback Tom Brady's only real trusted receiving option. Edelman's outlook may change if Brady isn't under center in 2020, but he should at least be a solid WR2 in PPR leagues.

From RotoBaller

Odell Beckham Jr. Jan 21 12:20pm ET

Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (abdomen) underwent successful surgery on Tuesday to fix a core muscle injury. A full recovery is expected. OBJ didn't miss a game in his first season with Cleveland despite fighting through injuries. He caught 74 passes for 1,035 yards and only four touchdowns in what was a very disappointing first year with the Browns. Quarterback Baker Mayfield was extremely inconsistent behind a terrible offensive line, which didn't help matters for Beckham's fantasy owners. Another offseason to gain chemistry with Mayfield should help Beckham rebound in 2020, and he could be a nice value pick as a low-end WR1/high-end WR2.

From RotoBaller

Jarvis Landry Jan 21 12:20pm ET

Cleveland Browns wide receiver Jarvis Landry (hip) is not expected to undergo surgery, and he will play in the Pro Bowl. It's great news for a Browns offense that will be looking to shake off the disappointment of the 2019 season heading into 2020. Landry was the team's most consistent wideout last year, catching 83 passes for a career-high 1,174 yards and six touchdowns over a full season. In his six NFL seasons, Landry has had at least 81 receptions and four touchdowns and has never missed a game. He's a very consistent WR2/3 in PPR leagues, and the presence of Odell Beckham Jr. should continue to take attention away from him.

From RotoBaller

Deebo Samuel Jan 20 10:40pm ET

San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle and wide receiver Deebo Samuel combined for just three catches for 65 yards in the NFC Championship victory against the Green Bay Packers. Samuel added two rushes for 43 yards. The Niners opened up the game with a dominant running attack and a 27-0 lead, resulting in quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo attempting just eight passes. While the stat sheet was underwhelming, both aerial playmakers made the most of their opportunities, picking up chunk gains on each touch. With the vaunted Kansas City Chiefs offense on deck, the Niners will conceivably need to throw the ball more in the Super Bowl.

From RotoBaller

Emmanuel Sanders Jan 20 10:40pm ET

San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders failed to record a catch in the NFC Championship blowout win against the Green Bay Packers. With quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo attempting just eight passes, Sanders saw only a single target. The clear third option in a low-volume passing game behind standout rookie wideout Deebo Samuel and tight end George Kittle, Sanders has just two catches in the playoffs. Hell likely be tasked with more work in the Super Bowl against the Kansas City Chiefs.

From RotoBaller

Raheem Mostert Jan 20 10:30pm ET

San Francisco 49ers running back Raheem Mostert exploded for 220 yards and four touchdowns on 29 carries against the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship. He also caught two passes for six yards. Mostert was unstoppable on Sunday, converting three rushing scores of 36, nine and 18 in the first half. He capped his evening with a 22-yard touchdown in the third quarter. The fifth-year breakout player was the star in the Niners easy 37-20 victory and will again lead the backfield into the Super Bowl in two weeks against the Kansas City Chiefs.

From RotoBaller

Jimmy Garoppolo Jan 20 10:30pm ET

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo completed just six of eight passes for 77 yards and no scores in the NFC Championship against the Green Bay Packers. Garoppolo had little to do but watch running back Raheem Mostert annihilate the Packers rush defense for 220 yards and four scores. With two consecutive easy victories in the playoffs, Jimmy G has attempted just 27 passes this postseason. Sledding will surely get tougher in the Super Bowl against the red-hot Kansas City Chiefs.

From RotoBaller

Jaquiski Tartt Jan 20 8:13pm ET

San Francisco 49ers S Jaquiski Tartt (ribs) aggravated his injured ribs during the NFC Championship game but should be available for Super Bowl LIV.

From TheHuddle

Tevin Coleman Jan 20 7:50pm ET

San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan said that running back Tevin Coleman (shoulder) suffered a dislocated right shoulder in the NFC Championship win over the Packers on Sunday. Coleman had his shoulder popped back into place and Shanahan thinks that Coleman has a chance to play in the Super Bowl in two weeks. Only time will tell if the 26-year-old will be able to play against Kansas City. He ran the ball six times for 21 yards before his injury and had a season-high 22 totes for 105 yards and two touchdowns in the Divisional win over the Vikings. Even if Coleman plays, he'll be second fiddle to Raheem Mostert, who ran for over 200 yards and four scores against Green Bay. Matt Breida would spell Mostert in the backfield if Coleman doesn't gain clearance.

From RotoBaller

Tevin Coleman Jan 20 6:53pm ET

Updating a previous report, San Francisco 49ers RB Tevin Coleman (shoulder) suffered a dislocated shoulder during the NFC Championship game but had it popped back into place, according to head coach Kyle Shanahan. The team is still waiting on the results from Coleman's MRI.

Fantasy Spin: Coleman could be a game-time decision for the game, so fantasy players should keep an eye on his status over the next few weeks. He could be a starting fantasy option if he plays.

From TheHuddle

Tevin Coleman Jan 20 6:43pm ET

San Francisco 49ers RB Tevin Coleman (shoulder) has undergone an MRI on his injured shoulder, but the team is waiting for the results, according to head coach Kyle Shanahan. Shanahan said Coleman has a chance to play in Super Bowl LIV.

Fantasy Spin: Fantasy players will need to keep an eye on Coleman's practice participation over the new few weeks to see if he has a chance to play against the Kansas City Chiefs. He will be part of a committee at running back if he plays and could be a starting fantasy option.

From TheHuddle

DeAndre Hopkins Jan 20 4:43pm ET

Houston Texans WR DeAndre Hopkins (rib) suffered a broken rib during the Divisional Round playoff game but continued to play in the game.

Fantasy Spin: Hopkins could miss some offseason workouts but will be fine for the 2020 season. He is one of the top receivers in the NFL and will be an early round pick in fantasy drafts.

From TheHuddle

Logan Ryan Jan 20 4:33pm ET

Tennessee Titans impending free-agent CB Logan Ryan said he would be interested in re-signing with the Titans this offseason but does not know what will happen in free agency.

From TheHuddle

Marcedes Lewis Jan 20 4:23pm ET

Green Bay Packers impending free-agent TE Marcedes Lewis said he wants to continue his playing career and hopes to re-sign with the Packers this offseason because he felt comfortable with his role in head coach Matt LaFleur's offense.

From TheHuddle

Philip Rivers Jan 20 2:03pm ET

Los Angeles Chargers QB Philip Rivers is set to become a free agent at the end of the league year and recently moved from San Diego to Florida in order to be closer to his family in Alabama. The combination of the two is fueling 'a lot of buzz' that Rivers may be a potential target for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, according to CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora.

From TheHuddle

Philip Rivers Jan 20 1:50pm ET

There has been buzz that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are a possible landing spot for Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers, who will become a free agent in March. After his worst season since 2007, the aging gunslinger is unlikely to re-sign with the Bolts, and he recently moved his family from San Diego to Florida to be closer to his extended family in Alabama. The 38-year-old might have a year or two left of football in him if he continues to play, but the 2019 season showed that he's near the end of the line. Rivers would only be an option for Tampa if they choose not to bring Jameis Winston back for at least another season after he led all of football in passing yards last season.

From RotoBaller

J.J. Watt Jan 20 1:10pm ET

Houston Texans defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel has been fired, and defensive line coach Anthony Weaver has been promoted in his place, according to league sources. Houston's defense was a liability for most of the year, especially their leaky secondary. The Texans allowed 51 points and seven straight touchdown drives to the Chiefs in the Divisional Round loss. During the 2019 season, Houston's defense allowed 388.3 yards per game (fifth worst), 267.3 passing yards per game (fourth worst), 121.1 rushing yards a game and 24.1 points per game. Getting J.J. Watt back healthy for a full season will be a start to the Texans rebounding on defense under Weaver.

From RotoBaller

Luke Kuechly Jan 20 1:00pm ET

The Carolina Panthers hired former Baylor defensive coordinator Phil Snow as their new defensive coordinator on Monday. Snow oversaw the defenses for Matt Rhule at both Baylor and Temple. He has 37 years of college coaching experience and has also served as a defensive coordinator at UCLA, Washington, Arizona State and Boise State. Snow coached four seasons in the NFL with the Lions from 2005 to 2008 when he worked with the team's linebackers. Snow will lead a Carolina defense in 2020 that will be without All-Pro linebacker Luke Kuechly, who recently announced his retirement from football.

From RotoBaller