Aloha: Rams and Cowboys face off in Honolulu

Fri Aug 16 6:31pm ET
By The Associated Press

In this May 11, 2019, file photo, Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Devin Bush, left, catches the ball during pass defense drills at NFL football practice in Pittsburgh. First-round pick Bush will get a chance to show his eye-opening debut _ when the inside linebacker made 10 tackles against Tampa Bay _ was a taste of things to come. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic, File)

In this July 29, 2019, file photo, Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten catches the ball from a passing machine at the NFL football team's training camp in Oxnard, Calif. The Cowboys and Los Angeles Rams meet Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019, in Honolulu, a place that used to be a regular NFL stop for the Pro Bowl. The first exhibition game in Hawaii since 1976 also figures to be Wittens return after a year in retirement as a broadcaster. (AP Photo/Michael Owen Baker, File)

Aloha. The Dallas Cowboys and Los Angeles Rams meet Saturday night in Honolulu, a place that used to be a regular NFL stop for the Pro Bowl.

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By The Associated Press=


The Dallas Cowboys and Los Angeles Rams meet Saturday night in Honolulu, a place that used to be a regular NFL stop for the Pro Bowl.

Instead, Hawaiians will see lots of backups for both teams, who faced off in a playoff game in January won by LA on its way to the Super Bowl.

''Hawaii is a magical place,'' coach Jason Garrett said. ''There is a great football tradition there, a lot of great players have come from there. One of our great players years ago, Mark Tuinei, is from Hawaii, and so many others. But once you get around the logistical part it's going to be fun to go over there and play a football game and hopefully grow as a team in a great environment.''

The first exhibition game in Hawaii since 1976 also figures to be Cowboys tight end Jason Witten's return after a year in retirement as a broadcaster. The 11-time Pro Bowler is on the verge of setting a club record with a 16th season. The 37-year-old Witten already holds the Dallas records for catches and yards receiving and could threaten the mark for touchdowns receiving.

With two-time rushing champion Ezekiel Elliott about to miss his second preseason game in a holdout, rookie Tony Pollard should get a slightly longer look than he did in the opener at San Francisco. Playing just the first series against the 49ers, Pollard had four carries for 16 yards on a drive to a field goal. Alfred Morris, the primary replacement during Elliott's six-game suspension two years ago, could see his first action of the preseason after signing during training camp.

Many of the Rams' top players are not even making the trip to Hawaii. Coach Sean McVay intends to stick to his strategy of sitting out his key starters for the entire preseason.

After spending last week in Northern California ahead of a game in Oakland, the Rams are already a bit tired of life on the road again, so they're only spending about 48 hours total in Hawaii.

Lions at Texans

While Houston coach Bill O'Brien doesn't seem ready to play many starters, one of them who would like to get in Saturday's game, or at least one of the next three preseason contests. Receiver Will Fuller, a first-round pick in 2016, sustained a season-ending knee injury last October.

''I think I need to play in a preseason game because I haven't played a football game in a long time,'' he said. ''So just being out there and feeling game speed again, getting hit again, I haven't gotten tackled yet, is important.''

For the second straight week, the Lions will play a team after having joint practices with the opponent. Last week, New England was at the Lions' facility for practices and faced them in their preseason opener.

''Competing against the Patriots, competing against Houston, you really get three good sets of evaluation with different types of players,'' Detroit coach Matt Patricia said. ''J.J. Watt is obviously a phenomenal player, as is everybody that's down there, so I think that it is a great opportunity.''

Of course, Watt and those others ''down there'' likely won't play.

Browns at Colts

After two days of physical workouts and minor skirmishes, Cleveland and Indianapolis get together one more time.

Indy needs to see more productivity out of its offense. In last week's loss to Buffalo, the Colts managed only two first downs on their first seven possessions. Those problems reappeared during the joint practices and included slow starts by the offensive line on both days. Coach Frank Reich wants to see that corrected this weekend even as Andrew Luck continues sitting out to recover from calf and lower left leg injuries.

The Browns are expected to keep the bubble wrap on star receiver Odell Beckham Jr., who didn't play in the first exhibition and is dealing with a hip injury the team claims is minor.

Beckham's absence has given Rashard Higgins more reps and the receiver's development has been one of the team's most pleasant surprises this summer.

Quarterback Baker Mayfield is expected to get a few more snaps with the starting offense.

Patriots at Titans

The Patriots have wideout woes.

Julian Edelman is still recovering from a thumb injury, and they also practiced without N'Keal Harry for a second straight day this week. Phillip Dorsett also watched with a wrap over his left thumb and hand after not being able to finish Wednesday's practice. And Maurice Harris didn't finish that practice and wasn't seen Thursday.

Not that it mattered to Tom Brady, who simply completed most of his passes to receivers such as undrafted rookie Gunner Olszewski of Bemidji State. And the standout thus far in camp has been undrafted WR Jakobi Meyers.

Three-time Pro Bowl tight end Delanie Walker is hoping to play for Tennessee after watching the Titans' preseason-opening win in Philadelphia. He sat out three straight practices before working against the Patriots on Thursday. The Titans also might get back rookie wide receiver A.J. Brown, who sat out for two weeks of training camp after hurting his left hamstring on the opening day of camp.

Chiefs at Steelers

The Steelers will begin the painful process of moving on following the death of wide receivers coach Darryl Drake.

Drake's passing left the Steelers in mourning and the young group of receivers the 62-year-old led missing more than just a coach.

''It's hard to get back to the game you love because he's not out there telling you what to do, he's not out there yelling,'' Steelers receiver Ryan Switzer said. ''So it's hard. But it's part of our profession, and it's something we have to do. And something that coach Drake would want us to do.''

First-round pick Devin Bush will get a chance to show his eye-opening debut - when the inside linebacker made 10 tackles against Tampa Bay - was a taste of things to come.

The Chiefs head to Pittsburgh with quarterback Patrick Mahomes and the rest of their starters expected to play most of the first half. That includes a number of guys who have missed practice this week with an illness, such as wide receiver Sammy Watkins and defensive end Frank Clark.

Newly signed cornerback Morris Claiborne could also get on the field for the first time with Kansas City, even though he will be suspended the first four games of the regular season for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy.

Saints at Chargers, Sunday

The Saints' first-team defense struggled in its preseason opener while healthy Pro Bowl edge rusher Cameron Jordan watched from the sideline.

''We've got some things we have to fix,'' Jordan said. ''I'm always going to put it on the front D-line when we don't generate enough pass rush. I'd say it's concerning, but at the same time, that's why you have a preseason game to tune everything up.''

While Jordan could see his first preseason action, more attention is on how much progress fellow end and 2018 first-round draft choice Marcus Davenport is making. He struggled to create pressure on Vikings QBs last week in a 34-25 loss.

''He's got a lot of things he wants to do, mentally,'' Jordan said of Davenport. ''So, I try to tell him sometimes it's not about thinking so much. It's about just going out there and physically performing.''

Philip Rivers will be held out for the second straight game as Chargers coach Anthony Lynn continues to get the backups and young players more snaps. Rivers said he would be fine with not playing in a preseason game, which is a pretty stunning admission from him; he likes getting in as much work as possible.

Tyrod Taylor will get the start followed by Cardale Jones and rookie Easton Stick.

Adrian Phillips will get a lot of snaps at free safety now that Derwin James (foot) is injured.

Seahawks at Vikings, Sunday

After playing the starters one series in their opening win at New Orleans, the Vikings will probably give the first-team offense a longer look as quarterback Kirk Cousins continues to settle in to the revamped scheme under coordinator Kevin Stefanski and adviser Gary Kubiak. Running back Dalvin Cook, entering his third year after two injury-shortened seasons, was held out against the Saints as a precaution. Rookie Alexander Mattison is the leading candidate to be the No. 2 running back and will get plenty of action against the Seahawks.

The most intriguing player in purple will undoubtedly be specialist Kaare Vedvik, the recent acquisition from Baltimore who is being evaluated equally as both a kicker and a punter. Though it's unlikely Vedvik, a native of Norway in his second year in the league out of Marshall, would be given both jobs for the regular season, he'll get a chance to kick and punt in the remaining exhibition games.

Russell Wilson likely will see the field for the first time and will give the first true look at his connection with rookie wide receiver DK Metcalf that has shown promise during training camp. Running backs Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny - leaders of the top running attack in the NFL last season - are also likely to get some carries.

Defensively the focus will be on Seattle's pass rush that remains the biggest question heading into the season.

49ers at Broncos, Monday night

San Francisco quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is expected to get his first game action since going down with a season-ending knee injury last September. Garoppolo sat out the first exhibition game, but is expected to play at least a series at Denver. The Niners are counting on big things this season from Garoppolo, who has made only 10 starts in five NFL seasons.

Broncos WR Emmanuel Sanders is expected to make his first start since tearing his left Achilles tendon in practice last December. Sanders revealed recently that in addition to that injury, he had ''tightrope'' surgery on his right ankle (which is being used in athletes now to speed the recovery from high ankle sprains).

The Broncos are hoping to finally have their starting O-line together in a game. LT Garett Bolles, LG Dalton Risner and C Connor McGovern have all played, but health concerns have limited RG Ronald Leary and RT Ja'Wuan James. The Broncos need this group to show marked improvement and keep Joe Flacco upright for them to have any chance of returning to respectability in 2019.

Player Notes
David Johnson Sep 16 4:40pm ET

Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury said that running back David Johnson (wrist) is fine to play in Week 3 against the Panthers. Because Johnson was forced to leave the Week 2 game against the Ravens with his injury, he only carried the ball seven times for 14 yards and caught his only target in the passing game for no gain. He somewhat salvaged his day with a rushing score, but it was a disappointing week for Johnson's owners nonetheless. Johnson remains a focal point in an offense that hasn't struggled to move the ball through two games, though, and he should be a strong RB1 this weekend against a Carolina defense that has had problems slowing down the run so far.

From RotoBaller

DeVante Parker Sep 16 4:20pm ET

Miami Dolphins wide receiver Devante Parker tied for the team-lead with his seven targets in a 43-0 loss to the Patriots on Sunday but the perennial breakout candidate was unable to haul in even a single catch. Some concessions can be made given that Parker drew primary coverage from shutdown corner Stephon Gilmore but getting blanked is still unacceptable from a fantasy perspective. With the hapless Miami Dolphins going on the road to face the Dallas Cowboys and Ryan Fitzpatrick still leading the impotent offense, there are no good reasons to start Parker in Week 3.

From RotoBaller

Ryan Fitzpatrick Sep 16 3:23pm ET

Miami Dolphins QB Ryan Fitzpatrick will get the start for Week 3 versus the Dallas Cowboys, although head coach Brian Flores made it clear to the media Monday, Sept. 16, that the team is 'evaluating all positions.'

Fantasy Spin: Nothing much to see here. The Dolphins have been horrendous thus far, averaging five points and 192 yards of offense. It doesn't seem like it will take much longer before Miami pulls the plug here, but the question is whether Josh Rosen will be given much of a chance to prove himself behind the same poor offensive line. Pretty much any Dolphin player is not worth using in fantasy at the moment.

From TheHuddle

Michael Gallup Sep 16 3:03pm ET

Dallas Cowboys WR Michael Gallup (knee) is expected to miss two to four weeks with a torn meniscus in his knee, according to the Dallas Morning News' Calvin Watkins via a source. Gallup is not believed to have suffered any structural damage to his knee, however.

Fantasy Spin: It's a bit of a blow to the Cowboys in that Gallup was really beginning to thrive as the vertical threat in Kellen Moore's offense, but the good news is he could be back as soon as Week 5 against the Green Bay Packers. Devin Smith makes for a strong fill-in in fantasy and reality in the interim, while Amari Cooper and perhaps even Jason Witten could see one to two more targets while Gallup is recovering.

From TheHuddle

Michael Gallup Sep 16 3:00pm ET

Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Michael Gallup (knee) will undergo arthroscopic surgery to trim the meniscus in his knee and will miss two to four weeks, according to sources. Gallup should be able to return relatively soon since no structural damage was found besides the meniscus tear. This is a tough one for his fantasy owners, as Gallup was off to a great start to his sophomore season, catching 13 passes (15 targets) for 226 yards in the first two weeks. The 23-year-old should remain stashed everywhere while he's out. Devin Smith, who caught three passes for 74 yards, including a 51-yard touchdown, should be inserted into three-wide sets. However, before this Sunday Smith hadn't scored since 2015. Randall Cobb and Amari Cooper should benefit the most from more targets with Gallup sidelined.

From RotoBaller

James Conner Sep 16 2:53pm ET

Pittsburgh Steelers RB James Conner (knee) is not expected to miss much - if any - time with the knee injury that sidelined him late in Week 2 against the Seattle Seahawks. According to ESPN's Jeremy Fowler, multiple teammates believe the injury is not serious, and Conner appeared to be moving fine walking around the locker room after the game.

Fantasy Spin: While this isn't exactly getting clearance from a doctor, this news combined with the fact he is expected to do his usual Monday radio interview are good signs all is well. It hasn't been a good start to the season for Conner, but the Steelers may need to rely on him more now than ever with Ben Roethlisberger done for the year. Jaylen Samuels would get the start if Conner misses a game, but it looks like fantasy owners of Conner may have lucked out here.

From TheHuddle

Willie Snead Sep 16 2:50pm ET

Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Willie Sneadcaught his only target for five yards in Sunday's win against the Cardinals. Through the first two weeks of the season, Snead has three receptions for 46 yards and a touchdown. Snead is the third receiving option on the depth chart but has one more catch and 30 more yards than second option Miles Boykin heading into Week 3. Snead should be left off fantasy rosters for now.

From RotoBaller

Ryan Fitzpatrick Sep 16 2:50pm ET

Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick remains the team's starter heading into Week 3 against the Cowboys, according to head coach Brian Flores. There has been zero Fitzmagic in Miami in two games to begin the 2019 season, and the 36-year-old veteran was 11-for-21 for 89 yards and three interceptions, including two pick-sixes, in the 43-0 beatdown by the Patriots in Week 2. Fitzpatrick was benched for backup Josh Rosen for the second straight week in the fourth quarter, and he has completed half of his 50 attempts for one touchdown and four picks through two games. Fitzpatrick shouldn't even be a consideration in fantasy going up against an improved Dallas defense this weekend. It probably won't be long before Rosen is starting games for this rebuilding franchise.

From RotoBaller

James Conner Sep 16 2:40pm ET

Multiple teammates believe that Pittsburgh Steelers running back James Conner's (knee) injury is not serious, but Jaylen Samuels is prepared to start in Week 3 against the 49ers on the road if necessary. Conner walked through the locker room following the Week 2 loss to the Seahawks and appeared to be moving fine. Keep a close eye on Conner's practice status this week, although he could be questionable either way for an afternoon game this Sunday in San Francisco. All skill players for Pittsburgh need to be downgraded with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (elbow) out for the year, but Samuels could have RB2 upside in Week 3 if Conner doesn't play. Samuels will be a popular waiver wire addition this week, especially for those that own Conner.

From RotoBaller

Gus Edwards Sep 16 2:30pm ET

Baltimore Ravens running back Gus Edwards rushed for 11 yards on three carries in Sunday's win against the Cardinals. Quarterback Lamar Jackson led the team with 120 rushing yards on 16 carries and starting running back Mark Ingram led the backfield with 47 yards on 13 carries. No one from the Ravens backfield rotation got in the end zone Sunday. At this point in the season, it's hard to see Edwards have any relevance for your starting lineup as the second option in Baltimore, but he could prove to be a valuable bench-stash handcuff to Ingram in the event that Ingram goes down. Ingram exited the game briefly Sunday with an apparent back injury but returned shortly after.

From RotoBaller

Corey Clement Sep 16 2:13pm ET

Updating a previous report, Philadelphia Eagles RB Corey Clement (shoulder) is expected to miss one to two weeks after suffering a shoulder injury in Week 2 against the Atlanta Falcons.

From TheHuddle

Noah Fant Sep 16 2:00pm ET

Denver Broncos tight end Noah Fant saw a slight uptick in production on Sunday afternoon versus the Chicago Bears. The rookie out of Iowa hauled in all four of his targets for 33 total yards. While Fant has yet to show the signs of being a tight end that will break onto rosters, it is clear that he is slowly getting more acquainted with the offense. At this point, the athletic rookie should only be on rosters if being stashed in a deep league or dynasty setting, as owners wait for him to have a breakout game.

From RotoBaller

Sep 16 1:53pm ET

New York Jets QB Luke Falk was added to the active roster Monday, Sept. 16. The Jets waived S Bennett Jackson to make room for him on the roster.

From TheHuddle

Sean Davis Sep 16 1:53pm ET

Pittsburgh Steelers S Sean Davis (shoulder) underwent an MRI on his injured right shoulder Monday, Sept. 16.

From TheHuddle

David Moore Sep 16 1:53pm ET

Seattle Seahawks WR David Moore (shoulder) 'has a chance' to play in Week 3 versus the New Orleans Saints, according to comments made by head coach Pete Carroll on Monday, Sept. 16.

From TheHuddle

DaeSean Hamilton Sep 16 1:50pm ET

Denver Broncos wide receiver Daesean Hamilton struggled once again in Week 2, as the Broncos lost their home-opener versus the Chicago Bears. In similar fashion to Week 1, the Penn State product failed to haul in the targets thrown his way, only catching two of six passes that signal-caller Joe Flacco threw his way. This tallied 15 yards on the game, far below the production of the other pass catchers on the team. Hamilton has yet to provide any reason for owners to consider starting him, let alone keep him on their roster, as he should be a scratch in all leagues in Week 3 against the Green Bay Packers.

From RotoBaller

Courtland Sutton Sep 16 1:50pm ET

Denver Broncos wide receiver Courtland Sutton saw a decrease in production in Week 2 relative to his outstanding Week 1 performance. The switch flipped, and teammate Emmanuel Sanders was the go-to target for quarterback Joe Flacco against a stout Chicago Bears Defense. Sutton's final stat-line on the afternoon was four catches for 40 yards. The upside was that Sutton managed to see volume while his teammate was having a phenomenal game and he was playing one of the league's best defenses. The 2nd-year pass catcher will be a stretch flex play against the Green Bay Packers in Week 3, as their secondary has looked solid to kick off the 2019 season.

From RotoBaller

Ezekiel Ansah Sep 16 1:43pm ET

Seattle Seahawks DE Ziggy Ansah (shoulder) could make his debut with the team in Week 3 against the New Orleans Saints after sitting out the first two weeks due to injury, according to comments made by head coach Pete Carroll on Monday, Sept. 16.

From TheHuddle

Eli Manning Sep 16 1:10pm ET

New York Giants head coach Pat Shurmur declined to name quarterback Eli Manning the starter for Week 3 against the Buccaneers. Manning went 26-for-45 (57.8 percent) for 250 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions in the Week 2 loss against a tough Bills Defense. To be fair, Manning was without Sterling Shepard (concussion) and lost Cody Latimer to a concussion during the game. He was forced to work with Bennie Fowler, Russell Shepard and T.J. Jones in the passing game. The 38-year-old signal-caller is near the end, but it's hard for him to be productive when those are his options to throw to. If the G-Men turn to rookie Daniel Jones, it might be more of the same or worse. Getting Sterling Shepard back will help -- and eventually Golden Tate from his suspension -- but Jones would be nothing more than a low-end QB2 in two-QB leagues if he's thrust into the starting role.

From RotoBaller

Tre'Quan Smith Sep 16 12:50pm ET

New Orleans Saints wide receiver Tre'Quan Smith finished with just three catches for 49 yards during the loss to the Rams. After finding the end zone in Week 1, the sophomore wideout didn't do much in this one, with most of the team not producing as well, to his credit. Smith will likely continue to have a seesaw season unless he develops a rapport with backup Teddy Bridgewater, who will start in place of Drew Brees (thumb) for at least six weeks. Keep an eye on Smith's production over the weeks ahead.

From RotoBaller