11:04 p.m.: Final thoughts from the first night of preseason games not in Detroit:
-- LaMont Jordan still has it. Sort of. Jordan had 76 rush yards on 19 carries with a touchdown against the Ravens, but he was playing with second-stringers. What's important is that he posted some nice stats against defenders he should be dominating. I can't shake the feeling that he'll be a significant part of the Pats' offense.
-- Kyle Boller won Round 1 of the QB derby in Baltimore. 'Who cares?,' says the amateur Fantasy owner. Anyone who drafts Derrick Mason or Todd Heap cares. Boller should be able to get them the ball better than Troy Smith, though it's not exactly an overwhelming difference.
-- Mike Freeman sarcastically said he fell asleep during the Chiefs-Bears game. Was there even one good quarterback in the game? Freeman thinks Croyle has improved, but Damon Huard has a much better command of the offense. Here we go again with the Chiefs' QB-go-round, but they're ahead of the Bears, who couldn't string too much together.
-- Luckily, the Bears have found a runner in Matt Forte. It looks like he's way ahead in the race for the starting job in Chicago. Second-year speedster Garrett Wolfe also had a nice run and a good showing. By the way, 14 Bears caught passes in this game; Forte was the only one with a game-high three receptions until RB P.J. Pope topped him very late in the fourth quarter.
-- From Jeff Lippman's player update on Robert Meachem: Saints WR Robert Meachem, who has been impressing in camp after not dressing in his first season in the league, impressed in a game situation Thursday against the Cardinals. Meachem caught four passes for 129 yards and a touchdown including a 49-yard bomb from Mark Brunell in which he outran the defender to catch the ball in stride. He then later took a pass over the middle to the house for a 60-yard highlight-reel catch and run. Meachem was on our radar earlier this offseason but dropped off. Could you imagine the New Orleans' offense if Meachem could put games like this together? Even games half this good? Drew Brees might have three 400-yard games this season.
-- Our preseason hero of the night is David Clowney of the Jets, who scored on touchdown catches of 70 and 71 yards against the Browns'second- and third-string defense. Based on my notes, Clowney is a pure speed receiver with little bulk or physicality. And get this -- Clowney was originally drafted by ... the Packers. Hmm, wonder if Brett Favre remembers him (Green Bay cut him and put him on its practice squad after last preseason). This performance should get him a second look from the coaching staff.
-- Honorable mention No. 1: Cardinals RB Tim Hightower, who scored on a 1-yard goal-line plunge with the first team and finished with 23 yards on five carries. Our scouting report on him says that he's a strong inside runner without elusive speed. Jeff Lippman called him a big, physical, stocky rusher. Sounds like a potential goal-line back to me. Worst part is that Edgerrin James is too good of a teammate to care about losing out on touchdowns, so long as the Cardinals are winning.
-- Honorable mention No. 2: Browns rookie TE Martin Rucker, who led the Browns in receiving through 3.5 quarters. There's murmurs that Rucker will be the backup tight end in Cleveland and be in line to catch passes when Kellen Winslow lines up in the slot. If no Browns WR steps up this preseason, we could see a decent amount of that. So far, Rucker is the leader in the clubhouse.
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10:31 p.m.: With the game over, Ford Field is quieter than a church.
But in the Lions' locker room, they're howling.
"Tell 'em there's a new Super Bowl champion," receiver Mike Furrey said.
True, the Lions aren't gullible enough to believe they're the best in the league after one preseason game, but their defense played better than expected and the passing game is still potent even with Mike Martz gone.
I talked with rookie RB Kevin Smith after the game and he was pleased with his play even though he didn't know his stats. A Q&A is forthcoming.
Giants RB Brandon Jacobs -- who is an absolute BEAST in person -- was also pleased with his play. He said he has goals for this season but isn't telling anyone. "But they're big. Big!" Brandon the Giant said.
Coaches were off limits after the game, but I would have liked to know about how both offensive coordinators plan on using their running backs this season, particularly Detroit's since they were completely inept in this game.
By the way, if you need a hint as to which way the media is leaning in the Tatum Bell vs. Kevin Smith debate, there were about 10 reporters around Smith and zero around Bell.
9:12 p.m.: Robert Meachem blazed past a Cardinals defender and hauled in a 49-yard bomb from Mark Brunell that put the Saints in the red zone. Lippman said it was an overthrow.
The Jets haven't done diddly offensively. Their best play was an interception of Brady Quinn. Man, do they need a quarterback ...
Here, Lions CB Stanley Wilson just hurt his left leg and was helped off the field. Giants rookie LB Jonathan Goff got a fracture in his back. Rough injuries.
8:59 p.m.: Nicest ovation of the night was for Drew Stanton, the former Michigan State QB taking on third-string duty here in the second half. His first play? An end-around toss to Taye Biddle that was sniffed out by Giants' first-round pick Kenny Phillips.
Bears and Chiefs' first-stringers playing into the second half. Kyle Orton looks average but finished his time making nice throws, says Freeman. Forte is also racking up hard yardage (35 total yards on 10 touches) and should be making a case for the starting job.
Interesting development for the Cardinals: Brian St. Pierre follows Matt Leinart. No Kurt Warner. I doubt it means anything ... unless we see Warner play well into the second half.
8:50 p.m.: Dan Orlovsky not looking too shabby for the Lions, making lots of different throws and connecting when his receivers are on the same page.
Jeff Lippman tells me that Ryan Torain will miss 3 months with a broken bone in his elbow. That's much worse than his initial diagnosis of up to eight weeks. If the Broncos feel a roster crunch, Torain could be put on Injured Reserve, which would be an absolute shame since he had the makings of a quality sleeper. He's definitely still draftable in dynasty/keeper leagues.
8:44 p.m.: Here's a sleeper for you: Tim Hightower, who scored for Arizona to get them tied with the Saints. He scored on a 1-yard plunge with the first team. Hightower is a rookie, sixth-round pick I think, who has been so good in camp that the club dumped Marcel Shipp before this preseason game.
Matt Leinart is sharp. He spread the ball around, according to Jeff Lippman, and is hitting his guys in stride. Nice work early from Leinart.
Not so nice work for Kyle Orton, who has 23 yards on 3-of-6 passing.
Damon Huard is getting first-team reps for the Chiefs, working with Larry Johnson.
8:35 p.m.: Nice start for Bears rookie RB Matt Forte, who has 18 yards on four carries including a 9-yard burst.
Had a nice IM chat with Freeman about Maroney. He seems to think he'll see more work this year than he did last year. I think it will depend on the opponent.
Meanwhile, Lippman chirped in on a solid 34-yard connection from Matt Leinart to Steve Breaston. Breaston is competing for Bryant Johnson's old spot in the Zona offense.
David Carr opens the second half at quarterback for the Giants. Tough tumble for a former No. 1 overall pick.
8:23 p.m.: Larry Johnson scored from 5 yards out to give the Chiefs' their first score of the preseason. That was set up by a 22-yard reception by Will Franklin, a rookie who is turning heads in Kansas City. Freeman admitted that Croyle's toss to Franklin was sharp. I guess it's not bad for a guy with a career-high passing game of 214 yards.
The Patriots have run the ball six times and completed one pass. Laurence Maroney has gotten ALL of the work. All of their first seven plays for yardage. He has six carries for 6 yards. It is Baltimore he's up against, though.
We're at halftime here in Motown. Lions' first-string offense can get it done through the air. Not so much otherwise. Giants look about the same as last season, but it's hard to judge them without Plaxico.
8:17 p.m.: The Chiefs line is "pushing the Bears around a bit," according to Freeman, who is immediately impressed by Kansas City's front five. This is with first-round pick Branden Albert inactive. Interesting.
Kyle Boller is making a statement in the Ravens' QB race. Boller already has over 100 passing yards thanks to some strong hits to Derrick Mason. He's also coughed up the ball once.
8:13 p.m.: Freeman just IMed me "Larry Johnson looks freaking awesome!" Says the line is holding up but Brodie Croyle isn't sharp at all. An early ray of hope on his Fantasy value. All this after two carries for 7 yards each.
Lippman said Marques Colston is out for the Saints. No biggie at this point, but his knee has been giving him some trouble.
8:09 p.m.: Mike Freeman just said that the Bears announced that first-round pick left tackle Chris Williams had surgery on a disk in his lower back. Not good at all for the guy the Bears invested over $10 million in.
He added that Larry Johnson's first run was a nice 7-yard jaunt.
7:58 p.m.: The Browns are off and running, looking good on the first string. The run defense has stymied the Jets' run offense (6 yards for Thomas Jones on three carries) and they scored on their first drive (Braylon Edwards 2-yard TD catch from Derek Anderson). A big pass interference call on Jets CB Justin Miller set it up, though.
For the Giants, Ahmad Bradshaw has not looked good early. Couldn't catch up with an Anthony Wright pass over the middle and had just one carry on the Giants' seven-play drive that ended with a 33-yard field goal made by Lawrence Tynes.
Highlight play: Wright hit WR Domenik Hixon right on the hands on a lob to the back right corner of the end zone, but couldn't keep two feet in bounds. Nice effort by Hixon.
Mike Freeman has checked in from Chicago, and Jeff Lippman from ... Florida, where he's watching Cards-Saints.
7:50 p.m.: Kevin Smith's first series is a forgettable one. His longest run, seven yards, was on a third-and-22. Lions' second-team O-line isn't helping (two penalties on rookie Gosder Cherilus). If there's a positive, it's that he falls forward when he runs, which is a trait of better running backs. I'll see some more of him, I'm sure.
The starters are out of this game now. I'm about to see a lot of Dan Orlovsky, Anthony Wright, Ahmad Bradshaw, and ... David Carr. Ecch.
7:42 p.m.: A 13-yard drive for the Giants comes up empty as Giants kicker Lawrence Tynes misses a 44-yard field goal. Derrick Ward did most of the ball carrying for the G-Men and wasn't great outside of a nice catch in the flat for a first down.
Kevin Smith about to make his debut for the Lions.
In Baltimore, Kyle Boller has started off hot for the Ravens, hitting Derrick Mason and Yamon Figurs for big gainers. Mason was a deep route.
7:27 p.m.: Two series for the Lions, and I have yet to be convinced that anything that Lions head coach Rod Marinelli or offensive coordinator Jim Colletto have said about running the ball is true. Tatum Bell has 8 yards on seven carries and has been tripped up by the Giants on all but one carry. No sign of Kevin Smith yet.
Meanwhile, Calvin Johnson was used on a jump ball route over Giants CB Corey Webster, and he just skied over him for the ball. It's the kind of play the Lions don't want to run because it risks Johnson's health, but it's just as dominant of a single-coverage play as you can ask for.
7:20 p.m.: Early rust for Eli Manning as he didn't complete a pass on his first series, lobbing two balls too high for Brandon Jacobs and slow on the trigger to another to Amani Toomer that was knocked away. Highlight of the drive was a Jacobs run off the right tackle for 27 yards. Lions defense playing aggressive and attentive early.
7:11 p.m.: The Lions take the opening kickoff and drive into the Giants' end zone, but probably not how the coaching staff would have prefered. Running back Tatum Bell has four carries for 5 yards. They moved the chains thanks to Jon Kitna's escaping the Giants' pass rush and connecting with Calvin Johnson on three passes and a hit to Roy Williams who crossed the middle and tiptoed the right sideline for a touchdown.
Giants' defensive line looked good but definitely couldn't corral Jon Kitna. Preseason rust?
6:46 p.m.: Looks like Brett Favre is serious about playing this year. He appears to be calm, but excited, about joining the Jets. He said he's excited about the opportunity and admitted that he really doesn't know the guys there but wants to put the circus about his future behind him and be "1 of 53."
"I don't know anyone in this locker room. I don't know what I am getting into," he said.
We've projected Favre out to just over 3,800 yards and 24 touchdowns with plenty of interceptions. The good news is that his supporting cast is very good -- the O-line is talented (guard Alan Faneca leads the way), the running game should be strong and the receivers are experienced.
But answer me this: How many former Jets (or Giants) have been regular 225-to-250-yard passers in the Meadowlands? Do the research and let me know. Don't worry, even if you don't, I will.
6:34 p.m.: Just got done talking to Giants GM Jerry Reese, who clued me in on Kevin Boss, Steve Smith and Domenik Hixon as guys to really watch in 2008. We also spoke about Brandon Jacobs in a contract year, which he was candid about. Hope to have the conversation up later tonight.
6:06 p.m.: The Giants are on the field warming up. Eli Manning looks loose.
Here are the notable inactives for the Giants-Lions preseason game:
LB Ernie Sims
WR Shaun McDonald
WR Steve Smith
WR Plaxico Burress
WR Mario Manningham
WR David Tyree
I got a feeling we'll see a lot of Domenik Hixon and Sinorice Moss tonight. Good chance for Moss to impress.
Tatum Bell is starting at RB for the Lions. Kevin Smith is second string. Hope to see him with the 1s.
Here's the scene: Last year, Week 3 of the preseason. I'm in the press box at Reliant Stadium in Houston watching the Cowboys and the Texans. Jamey Eisenberg is in the press box at Dolphin Stadium watching the Bucs and Dolphins. CBSSports.com columnist Mike Freeman was at a third preseason game (I'm not sure which one). We were all on an instant messenger service.
DRichard: Matt Schaub is the real deal. Solid footwork and knowledge of the offense.
JEisenberg: Cadillac looks a little sloppy. I doubt it's the Dolphins defense.
MFreeman: Nice grab by Marques Colston. Maybe he's the real deal after all.
Anyway, it was through that chat that made me realize that we could be giving Fantasy owners like yourself legit, up-to-the-minute analysis on the players we're watching live.
So through the magic of Instant Messaging, I will cull info from several games tonight -- including the Cardinals-Saints preseason tilt on TV -- into this blog for your viewing pleasure ... and Fantasy Education, of course.
Here's who is contributing thus far ...
Dave Richard: Giants at Lions
Mike Freeman: Chiefs at Bears
Jeff Lippman: Cardinals at Saints
Other games we'll keep an eye on ...
Ravens at Patriots
Jets at Browns
So unless you've got big plans for tonight, your online destination (as always) should be right here at fantasynews.CBSSports.com for instant analysis from Thursday's preseason games.
I'll be back before and/or after the Favre press conference at 6 p.m. Check back then.