Posted on: August 23, 2008 6:09 pm
Edited on: August 23, 2008 11:09 pm

K.C.-Miami live

11:06 p.m.: I got a chance to speak with Dwayne Bowe, Larry Johnson, Tony Gonzalez and Brodie Croyle after the game. You can read more about it during the week, but here are some of the highlights ...

Bowe said he expects to reach the 1,000-yard mark this season and is confident in Croyle as his quarterback.

Johnson said he remains an elite running back and feels in the best shape of his career. He said 1,500 rushing yards is a goal.

Gonzalez said he's surprised "fantasy" owners are down on him because of his age. He said "look at the stats" last year when he had 99 catches.

Croyle said it was frustrating and the offense should be embarassed by how they played against the Dolphins. However, he was not disappointed with failing to throw a touchdown pass through threee preseason games. He said they will come, and he knows the Chiefs "are a running team."

10:28 p.m.: Never thought I would see a shutout in a preseason game, but the Chiefs looked that bad. Even kicker Nick Novak missed a field goal. Terrible.

9:57 p.m.: All the starters are done for the night, and I am concerned about Larry Johnson. He only had 13 carries for 36 yards, and the offense around him is bad, mostly because of Croyle. If they can't throw the ball, Johnson is going to suffer. For now, avoid him in the first round and let him fall to you in Round 2. He's a great pick at the beginning of the second round, but he's a reach in Round 1 at this point.

9:24 p.m.: The Redskins DST and Fantasy owners in IDP leagues just took a big hit with Jason Taylor apparently suffering a torn ACL. He was hurt in Saturday's preseason game at Carolina. Initial reports say it's just a sprain, but the injury is likely a torn ligament. He will probably miss the rest of the season, but he could now end his career since he talked about retirement prior to being traded from Miami to Washington.

9:21 p.m.: The Chiefs open the second half with a nice drive. Jeff Webb made a nice catch, and he is trying to earn playing time with Will Franklin (knee) out. Croyle looked better, and Larry Johnson was moving the ball. But they get down to the 1 and get stuffed, turning the ball over. K.C. is still scoreless.

9:00 p.m.: Fittingly, the first half ends with Brodie Croyle throwing an interception.

8:54 p.m.: I guess DeAngelo Williams was jealous of Stewart. He ran a 60-yard touchdown. Fantasy owners would love this game of anything you can do, I can do better.

8:49 p.m.: Almost halftime here, and looking around at some of the other games, it appears Jonathan Stewart has arrived. He had a 50-yard run for the Panthers against Washington and is finally looking like the rookie RB we all expected.  ... Kevin Smith also had a nice run today with a 35-yard carry, but other than that, he had nine carries for 10 yards, which isn't very impressive. ... Aaron Rodgers looked good Saturday and threw a touchdown to Donald Driver, which looked good. Jay Cutler also played well in that game, and it would be nice to see Brandon Marshall on the field for 16 games.

8:45 p.m.: Kansas City GM/President Carl Peterson is sitting behind me. I can't see if he's crying or not, but he has to be depressed. You can't spell ugly without the L and Y in Croyle.

8:32 p.m.: Pennington throws a touchdown to Fasano. I still think Fasano is a good tight end to draft if you like taking two in your league. And Pennington is starting to impress me more and more. He's worth taking as a backup right now, ahead of guys like Vince Young and Jeff Garcia. RIght now, he's creeping up the list.

8:23 p.m.:  Here's an IM conversation I just had with Jeff Lippman at our office.

Me: K.C. might be the worst team in the NFL.

Jeff: Really? I can see that. Croyle not so hot?

Me: He's not even cold. Cold would be an upgrade.

And as I'm writing this, Croyle takes a sack and fumbles. Terrible.

8:19 p.m.:  I've seen enough -- the Chiefs stink. The offense went 3-and-out, punted and Ted Ginn Jr. took the ball 59 yards for a touchdown. If you're looking for a sleeper DST, take the Dolphins with a late pick. Ginn is a great return guy, and the defense might surprise you. Or maybe after watching two K.C. drives, they're just that bad.

8:03 p.m.: The Chiefs, and more specifically Brodie Croyle, looked bad in their opening drive. Johnson had two carries for 10 yards, and he ran with authority, which is what I was looking for after his foot injury last year. There is no hesitation to get the ball and go. But Johnson is going to face lots of eight and nine-man fronts with this QB play. Croyle scrambled twice on the drive and threw the ball away. On one, he missed Tony Gonzalez wide open over the middle, and he also took a sack. It didn't help that Dwayne Bowe dropped a pass also. Let's see if he gets better as the game goes on.

7:55 p.m.:  The Dolphins go on a long drive that stalls inside the 5-yard line. They had seven tries inside the 5 to score and couldn't get it done. But on the drive, Pennington had a nice scramble, WIlliams led the way and looks all the way back and Ginn had a nice catch. If you're drafting this weekend or this week, plan on taking Williams with a pick in Round 5 or 6 at this point. I might take him ahead of Brown because he looks tremendous running the ball, and the Dolphins offensive line is playing great.

OK, Chiefs ball, here comes Larry Johnson.

7:38 p.m.: Game started. Dolphins ball. First play to was Chad Pennington to Ricky Williams. Here's the thing with the Dolphins offense, whether it's Williams or Ronnie Brown. You know they are going to run the ball, you know Pennington is not going to make many mistakes and the receivers (Ted Ginn Jr., Ernest Wilford, Derek Hagan and tight end Anthony Fasano) will have a chance to make some plays. Now, they won't be great on offense and put up great stats outside of the running backs, but the passing game could be serviceable.

If you didn't know, Brown is out with a thumb injury. Also out for the Chiefs are rookie RB Jamaal Charles (shoulder) and rookie WR Will Franklin (knee).

6:10 p.m.: The pregame warmups are going on right now. It's always fun to watch the guys catch passes and run around with the kickers hitting booming punts and field goal attempts. I'll have more as the game starts. Now, it's off to get press box food.

Category: NFL
Posted on: August 17, 2008 6:44 pm
Edited on: August 17, 2008 11:27 pm

Bucs-Pats game live

11:24 p.m.: Just got done with the locker room session, and I will have some stories coming on Jabar Gaffney and Chad Jackson, who are vying for the No. 3 WR spot for the Patriots. If you've followed any of my mock drafts so far, you know I like Gaffney a lot. I also spoke with Sammy Morris about the Patriots RB situation.

On a side note, I had to chuckle a little bit when the Patriots field camera crew walked by after the game. Those poor guys.

Hope everyone in Florida and the Caribbean are safe with the storm. Talk to you soon.

10:40 p.m.: Dave Richard is writing the Stockwatch this week, but here are my thoughts on guys who did well or did poorly from Week 2 of the preseason.


QB: Matt Schaub, Brett Favre, Jay Cutler and Trent Edwards

RB: Michael Turner, Ray Rice, Steve Slaton and Ricky Williams

WR: Calvin Johnson, Josh Morgan and Brandon Marshall 


QB: Kurt Warner, Marc Bulger and Vince Young

RB: Ronnie Brown, Tatum Bell and Jonathan Stewart

WR: Chad Johnson, Joey Galloway and Ernest Wilford

10:20 p.m.: The Bucs PR staff is great, especially Jeff Kamis. They had quotes ready at halftime, and here's what Earnest Graham had to stay about his night, which ended with five carries for 13 yards and a touchdown.

On getting back on the field: "I feel great. Any time you come out against the former world champions, a team that played in the Super Bowl last year, and go out there and have a 10 minute drive is great. We did a lot that first drive, and it is a lot to build on. But we still have a long ways to go."

On his first action of the preseason: "I felt good, and it felt good to out there and bang around a little bit. I got some live protection, some live goal line and it felt great."

On the difference between this year and last: "It is very different, but it is cool to sit back and watch the other young guys in the position that I was in to get a chance to play and really show what they have."

9:49 p.m.: It's a good thing the Pats are set at QB because Kevin O'Connell has looked bad so far. He'll get better, but it's going to take a while. Now if Brady ever got hurt ... hopefully that never happens.

9:40 p.m.: It's always good to see players you covered when they were young come back to have success. I covered Bucs DB Sabby Piscitelli in high school in Boca Raton, FL and he just scored a defensive touchdown for Tampa Bay. Good for him, and I hope he does well this year.

9:17 p.m.: The first half is almost over, and I wish I could see these offenses at full strength with Brady for the Pats and Garcia and Galloway for the Bucs. Some good things so far, but it would be totally different with the right starting quarterbacks.

9:08 p.m.: If you're looking for a handcuff option to Earnest Graham, it's Michael Bennett. He has looked impressive in two preseason games now and has moved ahead of Warrick Dunn as the top backup until Cadillac Williams returns. When that happens, all bets are off with the Bucs running backs, but for now it's Graham, Bennett, Dunn and Williams in that order.

8:59 p.m.: I might be changing my opinion on Antonio Bryant. He is making plays tonight against the Pats, and he could be a decent low-end Fantasy WR. I wouldn't take him unless I'm in a deep league, but as a late-round flier he might be worth it. He used to be a nice receiver before off-field problem derailed his career, and the Bucs are giving him a chance to revive his career.

8:47 p.m.: I really like what I see from Maroney so far on this drive. He's getting his share of carries and is running well. Again, with Brady in there, the Pats will throw more. But right now, Randy Moss hasn't done anything, Wes Welker is catching the ball underneath and the Pats are running Maroney often.

8:32 p.m.: No Brady means a lot of Laurence Maroney early, and he looks good. It looks like the Maroney of the playoffs on the opening drive, and that's a big deal for Fantasy owners. Things will change when Brady is in there, but continue to draft Maroney as a No. 2 Fantasy RB at the end of Round 2 or the beginning of Round 3.

8:29 p.m.: A note on Rams RB Steven Jackson from coach Scott Linehan ... He was asked how quickly it would take for Jackson to get involved once he signs and ends his holdout. "Right away," Linehan said. "You’ve got to have a plan for how to get him ready for the opening game at this point, but there’s still a lot of time and he got a lot of good work in the offseason and has a good grasp of what we’re doing offensively. It’s just a matter of getting him in that football shape. It is getting critical to where time now becomes more of an issue for just the physical part of getting ready for the opener. Every day we miss now, I know he’s working hard and I know he’s training and he’ll be in very good shape when he does get in, but it does start to factor in as to what the work load will be from the start.”

8:24 p.m.: The cannons are sounding, boom! That's just fun. Earnest Graham with a short-touchdown run. You can expect a lot of that this year, which is why Graham is a solid No. 2 Fantasy option worth a pick in the middle-to-end of Round 2 in all leagues.

8:20 p.m.: The Bucs are still in their opening drive, and so far the New England secondary could be a cause for concern. Brian Griese, who started for the injured Jeff Garcia, is picking on Ellis Hobbs, who is the left corner for New England. Griese to Ike Hilliard isn't a tough combo, and if the Pats can't stop this passing game, it will be a long season. On a positive note, that could mean high-scoring games for Brady and the Pats offense. ... Warrick Dunn got a loud ovation on his first catch, and John Lynch made his debut for the Patriots, which made the Bucs faithful happy since Lynch was a longtime member of the TB defense.

8:08 p.m.: The cannons are going off, which means it's game time. ... No Jeff Garcia (calf) or Joey Galloway (groin) for the Bucs, which isn't a surprise. But Earnest Graham is making his preseason debut.

On a side note, I was eating dinner at a table with a Florida Highway Patrol officer, and his cell phone ring was the CHIPS theme song. You can't make stuff like that up.

6:40 p.m.: I'm in the press box at Raymond James Stadium for the preseason game between the Patriots and Bucs. The last time I was here was to cover the Super Bowl when the Ravens beat the Giants. Seems like a lifetime ago. Anyway, I'll bring some live coverage during the game, and feel free to interact via email at Put "Raymond James" in the subject line, and I will send you a personal response.

As of now, the only news is Tom Brady isn't playing because of a foot injury. In other words, he's good to go for the regular season. It's doubtful this is anything serious, but we'll let you know if it is. More to come when the game starts.

Category: NFL
Posted on: August 11, 2008 5:09 pm

Preseason stock watch

Just finished writing the first preseason stockwatch following the full slate of games from this weekend. You'll notice a list of guys underneath the stock up and stock down, and here's my explanation why.

Other STOCK UP players:
Matt Ryan, QB, Atlanta - Threw a touchdown pass to Roddy White in NFL debut.
Jason Campbell, QB, Washington - Has looked solid in picking up the new offense and all reports are he looks great in camp.
Chad Pennington, QB, Miami - Guaranteed to start for the Dolphins, which makes him a No. 2 option once again.
Jon Kitna, QB, Detroit - Looked sharp against the Giants and threw a touchdown to Roy Williams.
LaMont Jordan, RB, New England - Made a nice impression as he fights to win the job as Laurence Maroney's backup.
Jacob Hester, RB, San Diego - Scored two touchdowns to take early lead in fight for LaDainian Tomlinson's backup with Darren Sproles.
Andre Hall, RB, Denver - Played well in preseason opener against Houston and got boost with Ryan Torain's injury.
Michael Bush, RB, Oakland - Scored his first NFL touchdown in preseason game against San Francisco. Should be goal-line back.
Calvin Johnson, WR, Detroit - Had a solid preseason debut against the Giants and is poised for a breakout year.
DeSean Jackson, WR, Philadelphia - Played well in NFL debut against Pittsburgh and got reps with the first team.
Steve Breaston, WR, Arizona - Has a chance to be the Cardinals' No. 3 WR and played well with Anquan Boldin (hamstring) out.
Robert Meachem, WR, New Orleans - Went from nothing last year to dominant in preseason debut against New Orleans. Is now draftable.
Tony Scheffler, TE, Denver - What foot problems? He played well against Houston.
Other STOCK DOWN players:
Marc Bulger, QB, St. Louis - An interception and six missed throws is a bad way to start the season.
Trent Edwards, QB, Buffalo - Looked unimpressive going 1-of-5.
Joe Flacco, QB, Baltimore - Looked like a rookie making his debut.
Josh McCown, QB, Miami - Demoted from potential starter with Pennington coming on board.
Tatum Bell, RB, Detroit - He handed the job to Kevin Smith with his outing against the Giants.
Warrick Dunn, RB, Tampa Bay - Doesn't appear to be the backup to Earnest Graham with Cadillac Williams still out.
Ahmad Bradshaw, RB, Giants - He's the third string behind Brandon Jacobs and Derrick Ward.
Steven Jackson, RB, St. Louis - The longer the holdout goes the worse his Fantasy value is.
Joey Galloway, WR, Tampa Bay - Old players with injuries are a concern.
Ernest Wilford, WR, Miami - He didn't start the preseason opener and is having problems catching the ball.
Plaxico Burress, WR, Giants - Ankle injury is becoming a headache.
Braylon Edwards, WR, Cleveland - You can thank Donte Stallworth for ruining his preseason

Category: NFL
Posted on: August 9, 2008 11:33 pm


Some quotes from the Dolphins-Bucs game and some final thoughts ...

Chris Simms on his performance: I'm not too worried about the whole situation. I'm just going to continue to keep cracking away and continue to get my game back to where it needs to be. Tonight was a good first step. I did some good things, and I'm just going to try to build on that.

Chad Henne on his NFL debut: I felt like I made some plays out there. Obviously I made some mistakes. It was a good learning experience getting my feet wet out there and make some plays.

Chad Henne on Chad Pennington: I think it's great. We were talking on the sideline. He's just kind of coaching up what he did and incorporating what we're doing. It was a good opportunity to meet him and learn from him.

Luke McCown on Michael Bennett: I think he looked pretty good last year with limited understanding of the offense. He can be a real weapon for us. He's got unbelievable speed, and when he gets on the edge, you're not going to catch him.

Chad Pennington on learning the Dolphins offense: It's going to be a process. I've never been in this situation before. I can either look at this like an obstacle or an opportunity. I'm going to look at it as an opportunity.

Finally ...

I spoke with Ronnie Brown after the game, and he feels ready to go. He would like to be ready for game action now, but he understands the comeback from the ACL injury will take time. I'll have more on that during the week. ... You can tell Pennington is used to the New York media because his press conference tonight was smooth. He answered every question with ease. He's excited about the opportunity to start and said his arm strength is better and that he's worked on throwing downfield with more consistency. We'll see about that. ... The Bucs had sort of a boring locker room with no Jeff Garcia, Joey Galloway or Earnest Graham around. I'll be in Tampa next week for Bucs-Patriots, so hopefully that will be more exciting. ... Check out our Stockwatch on Monday where I will wrap up all the preseason winners and losers from Week 1. So far I like what I've seen from DeAngelo Williams and Matt Ryan, but Ahman Green could take a nosedive with his groin injury.

Category: NFL
Posted on: August 9, 2008 10:20 pm


Ahman Green strained his groin on a 5-yard screen pass on his only touch of the game. That's the latest news. This does not sound good.

Now Chris Brown, Steve Slaton, Chris Taylor and Darius Walker become intriguing options. We'll have more soon.

Category: NFL
Posted on: August 9, 2008 9:55 pm


The Dolphins QB scenario is all jumbled. Josh McCown is in the game, which wasn't expected to happen after he was pulled as the starter in favor of John Beck.

Beck started and was 5-of-9 for 45 yards. He was replaced by rookie Chad Henne, who was 5-of-10 for 67 yards and played well in his first action. And now we'll see McCown with the scrubs.

After each QB came off the field, they sat with Chad Pennington, who didn't play but is the expected starter. Beck is the likely QB to leave the game, but it could be McCown. Who knows?

We'll find out soon enough, but none of these QBs are worth drafting.

As for the Bucs, they had a showcase for a trade of their own with Chris Simms making an appearance. He led a scoring drive, which was highlighted by some nice runs by Michael Bennett. He is filling in for Earnest Graham and Cadillac Williams and could make an impact if given carries. 

Category: NFL
Posted on: August 9, 2008 8:59 pm
Edited on: August 9, 2008 9:00 pm


We're getting some valuable information about the Houston-Denver game from a great source and someone Dave Richard knows quite well. He is reporting that Ahman Green left the game with a groin injury.

Keep an eye on what happens with Green, but if he is out for an extended period of time, that would open the door for Chris Brown or Steve Slaton. I hope Green is OK because I was expecting him to rebound this year from his knee problem.

I guess that's what I get for trusting a 31-year-old running back. Hopefully the injury is minor and he was taken out as a precaution. The only way you should be drafting Green, healthy or not, is as a backup. I was targeting him as a No. 4 option at best, but now I will probably just leave him alone unless he falls to me as a No. 5 RB.

Category: NFL
Posted on: August 9, 2008 8:52 pm


Matt Ryan threw his first career touchdown pass in his first preseason game. It was a 25-yards pass to Roddy White. I hope those two can hook up quite often, and you can count on Ryan being the eventual starter.

Chris Redman started the game, but Ryan will start the season opener. And if he can find White often, that would continue to allow White to be used as a No. 2 Fantasy option.

Go into the year with White as a No. 3 WR, but he does have upside if Ryan can take hold of the job and succeed.

Meanwhile, the Bucs just scored before halftime with Brian Griese throwing a touchdown to Brian Clark. Griese is currently the third string behind Jeff Garcia and Luke McCown.

Category: NFL
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