There will be some new names among the Cardinals' starting units on Saturday in Chicago, but coach Ken Whisenhunt isn't saying how long the starters will play in the third preseason game. "We're mixing some new guys in," he said. "We're going to see how we play. Obviously, there are a lot of things we're still looking to find out about our team, from a personnel standpoint, from scheme. We'll see how the game unfolds." There will be at least three changes in the starting lineup. Derek Anderson will start instead of Matt Leinart at quarterback. Greg Toler will replace Trumaine McBride at left cornerback, and Daryl Washington will start at inside linebacker instead of Pago Togafau.
Bears coach Lovie Smith confirmed that Brian Urlacher, who did not practice for a fourth straight day will not play against the Cardinals during Saturday night's exhibition at Soldier Field. Urlacher did run on an adjacent field under the watchful eyes of the training staff and appears to be improving, however. In other injury news, rookie safety Major Wright is now able to participate in everything except contact drills while recovering from surgery to repair his fractured finger.
As anyone familiar with the team knows, the St. Louis Rams aren't exactly swimming in wide receivers. And they lost one of their starters, Donnie Avery, on Thursday night to what appears to be a serious knee injury. "Donnie probably has a significant knee injury," coach Steve Spagnuolo said after the Rams' 36-35 preseason victory over New England. "We'll know a little bit more after we get the tests (on Sunday). He was a little bit down, and rightfully so. Hopefully, it's not as bad as we think."
Dez Bryant showed some good signs at practice Thursday, running routes for the first time since he suffered a high-ankle sprain last month. Before practice started, Bryant ran some routes for quarterback Stephen McGee under the watchful eye of wide receivers coach Ray Sherman. "I'm excited," Bryant told the Cowboys' official site early Thursday. "I am ready for it. I know I can (cut on the ankle)." But by the end of the session Bryant was jogging through the routes with Sherman going over the proper release techniques and footwork. Full participation in practice could come as early as next week.
Antonio Bryant knows that the final decision on whether he plays a down for the Bengals is not up to him. Although speculation swirls about the team possibly releasing the eighth-year NFL wide receiver, one thing Bryant does know is that he is making progress in rehabilitating his surgically repaired left knee. "I've been on the field doing a couple things here and there," said Bryant, who was signed to a four-year, $28 million contract by the Bengals in March. "It's just a matter of timing. We're getting there. We're getting close." Reports that the Bengals would reach in injury settlement with Bryant picked up some steam Thursday, when Newsday reported the team is set to release him.
Detroit Lions veteran defensive end Jared DeVries, according to his agent, has undergone minor knee surgery and could return to the field this season. However, it's not likely the team will save a roster spot for DeVries and it's more likely he'll be placed on the injured reserve list, effectively ending his season. No decision has been made at this point, but there are a couple of factors that point in that direction. One, the Lions are fairly deep at that left defensive end position. After starter Cliff Avril, the Lions just traded for defensive end Lawrence Jackson, a former first-round pick, and they also have rookie seventh-round draft choice Willie Young, who shows some promise.
Stephen Gostkowski didn't say one cross word about the Patriots when he received a restricted free agent tender instead of a contract extension. Now, the Pro Bowl kicker has been rewarded. The Patriots and Gostkowski agreed to a four-year contract extension worth nearly $14 million, the Herald learned. The deal includes $5 million in guaranteed money and will pay the former fourth-round draft pick an average of almost $3.5 million per season. The deal begins after his one-year salary of $1.759 million, which he received because he signed the RFA tender. The extension will keep Gostkowski in New England through 2014.
The Vikings continued to add to their depleted receiving corps by obtaining Greg Camarillo from Miami. The Dolphins got third-string cornerback Benny Sapp in exchange. Camarillo caught 105 passes for 1,165 yards and two touchdowns the past two seasons. Camarillo is a slot receiver, which should allow Percy Harvin to play more on the outside. According to FootballOutsiders.com, Camarillo was targeted 73 times without a drop last season, tops in the NFL. He signed a three-year, $5.7 million extension with Miami in November 2008. His contract runs through 2011, with base salaries of $1.3 million this season and $1.7 million in 2011.
With his sprained ankle wrapped, Donovan McNabb wore a ballcap turned backward at practice Wednesday afternoon as he watched someone else command the offense he was brought here to guide. Midway through the preseason schedule, the ankle has sidelined McNabb, who is not expected to appear in another game until the regular season begins. Concern over the quarterback's injury has little to do with the Washington Redskins' preseason game at the New York Jets on Friday night and everything to do with their regular season opener against Dallas in 2½ weeks. McNabb's progress picking up the new offense has been inconsistent.
The Lions continue to add offensive tackles. Last week they signed Noah Franklin and on Wednesday they claimed Tyler Polumbus, 25, off waivers from Denver. Polumbus started five games for the Broncos last season, but a change in offensive schemes this season left him the odd man out.
New York Giants cornerback Aaron Ross has a tear in the plantar fascia in his right foot according to the team. Ross has been out all week with plantar fasciitis and has had his swollen right heel in a cast. Coach Tom Coughlin initially said that Ross' plantar fasciitis did not involve any tear following Wednesday's afternoon practice. But after receiving the latest report from the team's medical staff, Coughlin was informed there was a tear on Wednesday night. The team said the tear does not change Ross' initial prognosis. He will remain in the cast for 7-10 days -- which will likely keep him out of the remaining two preseason games -- and then will work on "his strength and modality."
Browns rookie running back Montario Hardesty will practice today for the first time this preseason, but is questionable for the Detroit game, coach Eric Mangini said. Hardesty said earlier in the week that he's aiming to get some reps in the final preseason game Sept. 2 against the Bears. Mangini said Hardesty will be limited in practice today and that "it's the next step in coming back, a really positive step.''
Raiders wide receiver Chaz Schilens underwent an arthroscopic procedure on his left knee Tuesday and is at risk of missing at least the Sept. 12 regular-season opener against the Tennessee Titans. Coach Tom Cable said he's hopeful Schilens won't miss too much time based on the minimally invasive procedure performed. "We hope so," Cable said. "That's what I'm waiting for, for him to get back so we know more. We just don't have any of those answers for you right now." Schilens' knee began hurting early in training camp, and the pain persisted to the point where it became necessary to have surgery.