I saw the Pirate Ship as I landed in Tampa Thursday afternoon and it reminded me how close the season is to starting -- and none too soon. The final preseason games behind us, there are actual games ahead.
It's a big week for drafts, and in a recent expert league draft, I ended up making what some people thought were risky picks. I'm often guilty in fantasy baseball of accepting too much risk, but with guys such as
While Manning was able to finally practice and reportedly looked good, the Colts got a bigger hit. Saturday, the linchpin of the line, is out for at least six weeks and likely more after tearing his MCL. Saturday, known as one of the best at adjusting schemes and as a bruising pull blocker, is going to be limited even once he returns. The Colts have
Earlier this week -- I do a Tuesday column at
It was about 20 minutes after drafting Lewis in the second round that I got a text saying "JLewis no prac. Ham." My reaction was more grammatically correct, but much less printable. The Browns, Lewis, and the people like me who drafted him, though, got a bit lucky; he's expected back at practice next week as the Browns gear up for Week 1 and is expected to be healthy enough to get "most of the carries," I'm told. It's hard to say if that means a normal load or something slightly less, but it should be enough to make him a good start.
The deep cut on Edwards' foot has him questionable for Week 1. It will affect him, but until he gets back out on the practice field, we're not sure how or how much. Since he's a speed player, any problem with the foot is going to limit him, but trainers I spoke with think this is something the medical staff can get him through pretty well. We have a week of practice to watch.
Finally, Anderson is still working back from a concussion. He's not completely symptom free, though the symptoms he still has are minor. He's expected to be ready for Week 1, but
Plaxico practiced, then he practiced again. Going out on back-to-back days isn't a big deal for most players, but Burress was limited much of last season and much of the preseason due to his chronic ankle issues. Burress didn't play Thursday, but he's doing better than expected, which gives him some chance of being more than just a red zone target. With
Hackett has always put up the secondary numbers that screams "breakout," but every season, he seems to breakdown instead. This year, he has a chance to be a key component for the Panthers' passing game, but his foot injury is holding him back. He didn't play Thursday and is likely to hit the first Official Injury Report as "questionable", according to my sources. Hackett remains a speculative play. Last year, he performed well in Seattle, but only between injuries. Until Hackett proves he can stay healthy, he's just tantalizing waiver bait.
It's just a coincidence, I'm sure, but the Chargers have four big "stars" on the team and all four of them have had major injuries since the 2007 regular season ended. Merriman is the latest, having two "loose ligaments" -- PCL and LCL -- and there's no clear indication of how this happened. We'd assume that Jim Andrews didn't see this during his March surgery to clean up the left knee, and Merriman himself said in July that his knee was fully healed, but again, there's no known trauma that would cause significant ligament tears. Since Merriman tends to speed rush the RT, and the normal blocking on that is to push him further out, that's exactly what would tax his knee. The Chargers could flip-flop him to help, but this is going to be one of those things that is going to mostly go off of Merriman's ability to feel comfortable and to play through pain. Merriman's accustomed to needles, so I think he'll be able to play, but I'm not sure if he'll be able to make it through the season. Dr.
I'm not even going to try listing all the players who will miss the final preseason game. In most cases, it's not meaningful information ... If you're high on