Thu Aug 18 7:23pm ET
By JOE REEDY
AP Sports Writer
COSTA MESA, Calif. (AP) Justin Herbert and Dak Prescott will be on the sidelines when the Los Angeles Chargers host the Dallas Cowboys in a preseason game on Saturday night. Both quarterbacks got plenty of snaps, though, the past two days during joint practices.
Herbert and Prescott practiced on adjacent fields at the Jack Hammett Sports Complex, but both took part in a friendly round of target practice after the two-hour session ended.
''I think they ended up winning, but it was fun to just see those guys and hang out with them a little bit,'' Herbert said of the side competition between the two QB groups. ''I've only met him a couple of times, but I really respect him as a player and as a competitor, as well.''
Dallas coach Mike McCarthy said early in camp that Prescott could play in the preseason finale Aug. 26 against Seattle. Chargers coach Brandon Staley, though, does not play the majority of his starters in any of the three preseason games.
For Herbert, the joint practices were the closest thing to a dress rehearsal that he is going to get before the Chargers' regular-season opener against the Las Vegas Raiders on Sept. 11.
''It means everything to us. Since we're not playing in the preseason we need to take advantage of these reps, and we did,'' Herbert said. ''We felt like we really got after it the past couple of days. To go up against a team like that, I think it's a great learning lesson for us as well, to see a team that flies around like that and a front seven like they have.''
Herbert had a nice completion to Keenan Allen in the back of the end zone but also threw an interception on the first play of a two-minute drill.
Herbert said having to adjust on the fly against another defense as well as seeing how the offensive line held up in pass protection was a bonus.
''That's a good front line that they have up there. To see those guys fly around up close and personal, I think it's a great job for us to be able to learn and grow from that and continue to compete against those guys. So, it's been good for us,'' Herbert said.
Prescott did have the highlight play to end Thursday's practice with a Hail Mary to Dennis Houston, who got position over teammate Simi Fehoko and Chargers cornerback Asante Samuel Jr. to come up with the ball.
''It was definitely good to end on that note, and just being in that situation, end of game, having to go Hail Mary with the clock running,'' Prescott said. ''The guys did a good job of protecting, giving me a lane, letting me buy some time.''
CeeDee Lamb missed both days of practice due to a foot injury, dealing another blow to a diminished Cowboys' wide receiver group already missing Michael Gallup (ACL) and James Washington (foot). Prescott's day featured a lot of handoffs to running backs Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard along with short passes.
While Lamb is expected to return to practice next week, Gallup and Washington are expected to be sidelined when the Cowboys open the season against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Prescott said he isn't getting frustrated over having an inexperienced wide receiver group, but he is hoping to see them make strides the next two weeks.
''This is exactly about that time to work and make other guys step up, take advantage of their opportunity,'' he said. ''Those guys got to know what I expect from them and how they expect me to throw the ball, so that's all good things to be worked on.''
Chargers coach Brandon Staley was also pleased with the two practices and noted that the snaps provided more quality for the first units compared to a preseason game because different situations could be practiced.
''You get more plays, and then the types of schemes that you're playing against you're seeing their premium scheme, where in the preseason no one is running their premium scheme,'' he said. ''These practices are where it's at. They may not get into the red zone in a preseason game, you may not have a two-minute situation that kind of expresses itself, so you're able to control what happens.''
New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones informed reporters on Thursday he underwent a non-football-related procedure on his neck during the winter. However, per the signal-caller, it wasn't associated with the issue that caused him to miss six games last season. Nevertheless, although the 25-year-old also conveyed his "neck is great," he must now turn his attention to turning things around after posting three subpar seasons since entering the league in 2019. With former Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll at the helm, Jones won't have any excuses if he doesn't deliver throughout the 2022-23 campaign, especially if his offensive weapons remain healthy.
Kansas City Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones (back) has a chance to play on Saturday during the preseason matchup against Washington. The veteran left Wednesday's practice and wasn't on the field for Thursday's session, with head coach Andy Reid referring to the injury as a "back spasm." The 28-year-old has been in the league for six seasons, all with the Chiefs, accumulating 199 total tackles (138 solo), 49.5 sacks, 10 forced fumbles, and two fumble recoveries. Jones has been a reliable IDP presence over the years due to his durability, so it would be surprising if the ailment forces him to miss time throughout the 2022-23 campaign.
Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Mecole Hardman (groin) has a chance to suit up for Saturday's preseason game versus the Commanders, according to head coach Andy Reid. Fortunately, the groin injury he suffered on Wednesday at practice isn't considered serious. Although he isn't a lock for Week 1, his potential availability for the exhibition against Washington is a good sign that he'll be ready. The 24-year-old has compiled 1,791 yards and 12 touchdowns off 126 catches throughout his three years in the league, all with Kansas City. Hardman has plenty of hype entering the 2022-23 campaign, primarily after Tyreek Hill was traded to Miami during the offseason, so the team is undoubtedly hoping to get him on the field for the regular season.
New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson (knee) has an "outside chance" to play in Week 1, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. The signal-caller had a meniscus trim after tearing it during the preseason matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles. While things could have turned out much worse for Wilson, he is also dealing with a bone bruise, complicating his recovery. Nonetheless, the Jets hope to see the 23-year-old improve significantly after his subpar rookie campaign. Yet, the team won't take any chances, so he won't be rushed back early. If that's the case, veteran Joe Flacco will be under center until Wilson can return.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers tackle Tristan Wirfs (core) exited Thursday's joint practice with the Tennessee Titans. Although there hasn't been much information released surrounding the issue, Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times reported the All-Pro is dealing "with some sort of left core injury." The team should have an update on his condition relatively soon. However, with the Bucs already bracing to be without Pro Bowl center Ryan Jensen (knee) during the regular season, losing Wirfs won't be ideal for the 45-year-old Tom Brady.
Tennessee Titans rookie wide receiver Kyle Philips stole the show in joint practice with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Thursday. Philips continued to get open all day, and he especially stood out near the goal line. "He goes rabbit hunting with a hammer," head coach Mike Vrabel said when describing Philips' quickness and shiftiness. The 23-year-old didn't catch his only target in the preseason opener against the Baltimore Ravens last Thursday. Even though the fifth-rounder has been impressing in camp practices this summer, he's still likely to open the regular season behind Robert Woods, fellow rookie Treylon Burks and Nick Westbrook-Ikhine on the receiver depth chart. But Philips is a name to file away for fantasy managers in dynasty/keeper leagues.
Dynasty | Jaguars running back James Robinson is on track to be ready for the season opener. Dynasty Analysis: This has been trending to happen for the better part of the Summer, but Doug Pederson is now on record saying that's the expectation. It's a quick recovery from a torn achilles last season, but it looks as if Robinson is going to join Cam Akers in the group of quick healers from the ailment. While much of the talk of the Jaguars running back room has been centered around Travis Etienne, Robinson has been likely undervalued by the dynasty community. At RB41, he's looking like a screaming buy at the moment.
It appears that Pittsburgh Steelers undrafted rookie running back Jaylen Warren has supplanted Benny Snell Jr. as the team's No. 2 running back behind Najee Harris. Warren has done nothing but impress at training camp and has benefitted from first-team repetitions with Harris and Snell banged up a bit. The 23-year-old probably isn't worth anything more than a late-round flier as a handcuff for those that take Harris early in deeper leagues, but he could see significant work in Pittsburgh's backfield in his rookie season if anything were to happen to Harris. Warren had six carries for 34 yards and caught four of his five targets for 30 yards and a touchdown in the preseason opener last week. He's rising up draft boards in dynasty/keeper leagues.
Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow (appendix), who had an appendectomy on July 26 after his appendix ruptured, took part in team drills at training camp practice for the first time on Wednesday. Burrow is looking to add weight and return his body to its pre-surgery form before Week 1 against the Pittsburgh Steelers, and he doesn't expect to play in the preseason. The third-year signal-caller played just one series in the preseason last year after coming off major knee surgery and went on to lead the team to the Super Bowl in 2021, so fantasy managers shouldn't be too concerned. The 25-year-old could be a little slow out of the gates in the regular season, but he's still worth a selection as a strong QB1 in fantasy drafts.
Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Michael Gallup (knee) was running routes to close out Thursday's training camp practice against the Los Angeles Chargers on Thursday. It's the first time that Gallup has run routes since he had surgery to fix a torn ACL on Jan. 2, so it marks a significant step in his recovery. He remains on the Physically Unable to Perform list at camp and won't be ready for the Week 1 regular season opener, but Gallup could be ready to go shortly after that. The 26-year-old had 35 receptions for 445 yards and two touchdowns in nine games in 2021 before his injury, and he should be Dallas' No. 2 receiver behind CeeDee Lamb when he's healthy enough to return. Because he won't be ready for Week 1, Gallup may go undrafted in 12-team fantasy leagues, but he's worth stashing as a late-round selection if you have the room.
Pittsburgh Steelers DE Cameron Heyward (ankle) was carted off the field after suffering an ankle injury during practice Thursday, Aug. 18. He was able to return to the field but did not participate in any drills.
Buffalo Bills QB Josh Allen will play in the second preseason game along with most of the other starters, according to head coach Sean McDermott.
Fantasy Spin: Allen probably will only be on the field for a few series so he can receive some work against another team. He is one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL and will be one of the first selected in all fantasy leagues.
Pittsburgh Steelers QB Mitchell Trubisky will be the starting quarterback for the second preseason game and will be followed by QB Kenny Pickett then QB Mason Rudolph.
Fantasy Spin: Trubisky will receive his second straight start, while Pickett may be moving up the depth chart after his strong showing in the first game. Trubisky should still be the leading candidate for the job but would be a low-end No. 2 quarterback in fantasy leagues.
Free-agent S Tashaun Gipson (Bears) recently worked out for the San Francisco 49ers.
New England Patriots RB James White was placed on the Reserve/Retired list Thursday, Aug. 18.
New York Giants WR Austin Proehl (undisclosed) was waived from the Reserve/Injured list Thursday, Aug. 18, after the two sides reached an injury settlement.
Las Vegas Raiders LB Kenny Young was released Thursday, Aug. 18.
New England Patriots WR DeVante Parker 'should be in the running for camp MVP,' according to Phil Perry of NBC Sports Boston.
Fantasy Spin: Perry notes that Parker has been a "jump-ball vacuum" and that Mac Jones trusts him. At this point, Parker seems like a good bet to be the team's top receiver, especially in the red zone. To what degree Jones (and presumptive offensive coordinator Matt Patricia) can make him viable for fantasy purposes is another story, but Parker is more than capable of producing at a WR3 level if he can stay healthy.
New England Patriots WR Nelson Agholor has consistently been one of the team's top three wideouts in the huddle with QB Mac Jones during training camp and 'seems to have improved by leaps and bounds,' according to Phil Perry of NBC Sports Boston.
Fantasy Spin: Combined with the apparent fall from grace of Kendrick Bourne, Agholor appears to have a real shot to play alongside DeVante Parker and Jakobi Meyers this season. It seems unlikely Agholor will be viable in fantasy as he is fighting for targets with Parker, Meyers, Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith, but we have also seen him flash big-play upside at both of his previous stops (Philadelphia and Las Vegas). Agholor may not be worth a fantasy draft pick, but he is worth keeping an eye on early in the season.
Los Angeles Rams QB Matthew Stafford (elbow) told NBC Sports' Peter King that his off-days during training camp are all about load management.
Fantasy Spin: Stafford's practice participation has been the subject of some debate, but the mere fact that he continues to practice and has not been shut down should have been a clear indication he is OK. While it is always possible Stafford could have a setback at some point, he has typically played well through pain and dealt with a similar elbow issue last year. Fantasy managers should not hesitate to draft him in the middle to late rounds after building a solid foundation everywhere else with their first eight or nine picks.