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8/22/2014
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Adrian Peterson Won't See Much Preseason Action (8/7 1:44 PT)

The Facts: Peterson has not played a preseason game since 2011 and there was every indication Tuesday that streak will continue. HC Mike Zimmer said the star running back was unlikely to play in Friday night's preseason opener against the Oakland Raiders at TCF Bank Stadium. Reported by the St. Paul Pioneer-Press

Diehards Line: Peterson has accepted his diminished workload and might only lobby for a few carries before the Sept. 7 regular-season opener in St. Louis. "It all depends on how I'm feeling," Peterson said. "I haven't played a preseason game in two or three years, so we'll see. With the new offense, I might want to go out there and get a few plays in, but I'll sit down with Zimmer and see what he thinks. ..." As the Pioneer Press notes, Peterson was a virtual ghost throughout 2012 training camp and did not play a preseason snap as he continued rehabilitating from ACL surgery stemming from his Dec. 24, 2011 injury. He rushed for 2,097 yards that season. Fantasy football owners shouldn't be worried. In fact, they should embrace everything that preserves Peterson until the snaps are meaningful in September.

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Knowshon Moreno Passes Physical; Ready To Practice (8/6 11:52 PT)

The Facts: Moreno, who missed the first two and half weeks of training camp while on the physically unable to perform list, has passed his physical and is now active and ready to work. Reported by the Miami Herald

Diehards Line: Moreno, 27, immediately joins a running back competition that so far has been dominated by Lamar Miller, who has taken nearly 80 percent of the snaps with the first-team offense. Moreno is expected to compete for the starting job but more likely will share the position and get much if not most of his time as the team's third down back -- a spot that takes advantage of his prowess as a blocker. Moreno is practicing today but he is highly unlikely to play Friday evening when the Dolphins open their preseason at Atlanta.

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Browns Holding Out Hope For Josh Gordon; But They Aren't Counting On Him (8/6 2:07 PT)

The Facts: The Browns are bracing themselves for at least an eight-game suspension for Gordon, league sources told cleveland.com. The star receiver's appeal hearing wrapped up Monday afternoon in New York City, and the decision on his indefinite ban could take anywhere from one to three weeks, a source said. If he wins, he'll resume his career without interruption, and if he loses, he'll be banished from the team and the league for at least a year. But the two sides can also hammer out a settlement, and that's what the Browns are hoping for. Realistically, the best-case scenario would probably be about eight games, the source said.  Reported by the Cleveland Plain Dealer

Diehards Line: But as Plain Dealer staffer Mary Kay Cabot notes, the Browns certainly aren't counting on it. They know that no NFL player has ever won an appeal based on second-hand smoke and that Gordon will be hard-pressed to end up with anything less than the indefinite ban. But Gordon's legal team drove home the point that Gordon has tested negative 70 times since his rookie year in 2012 and that he barely tested positive for marijuana this time around. In the event Gordon's ban is reduced to eight games, he'd be eligible to return Nov. 6 at Cincinnati, a Thursday night game on NFL Network. The final eight contests include three AFC North contests, two against the Bengals and one against the Ravens in the finale. Of course, Gordon would have to stay clean during his time away, and efforts are underway to make sure that he has the right support system around him during the ban. In the meantime, Gordon is practicing with the team, making big plays in practice -- including several big catches during a challenge period at the end of Tuesday's session -- and gearing up for Saturday's preseason opener in Detroit. ... Stay tuned.

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Wilson: Tony Romo Still Not Throwing The Deep Ball As Well As He Will (8/5 8:45 PT)

The Facts: According to Romo and the Dallas Cowboys front office brass, the veteran is 100 percent recovered from December back surgery. Wade Wilson, who has monitored Romo as closely as anybody over the past nine years as the team's QBs coach, agrees with that overall assessment, save for one exception. Wilson said Romo has had problems throwing the deep ball since coming back to practice following back surgery. "It’s been OK. I think the deeper the ball goes down the field, it’s a little bit more inconsistent," Wilson said. "It’s the nine routes and the deep posts. Those things have been a little inconsistent. I think that’s all due to his back." Reported by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Diehards Line: Wilson believes Romo is not cutting it loose completely and is a little tentative when it comes to the deep ball. But Wilson is not overly concerned, partly because the Cowboys don't feature the go-route in the game plan as much anymore. Wilson also said Romo will get better at throwing the deep ball with more rehab and as he gets more comfortable. "He can get the ball down the field," Wilson said. "That’s not an issue. As camp goes on, he’ll just get nothing but stronger and more confident in his throws." Wilson believes that could happen at soon as Saturday, considering that Romo took Tuesday off and won't play Thursday. Official team off days on Wednesday and Friday give Romo four consecutive days off before the next practice. "Hopefully with four days of complete rehab, he can come back on Saturday and start to look like his old self completely," Wilson said. ... We'll see.

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Josh Gordon's Hearing Is Over; Decision Should Come Within A Week Or So (8/4 2:25 PT)

The Facts: After 9.5 hours on Friday and another three on Monday, the hearing on Gordon’s appeal of a one-year suspension has concluded. Under the substance-abuse policy, a ruling must be issued by hearing officer Harold Henderson within a “reasonable time.” Reported by Profootballtalk.com

Diehards Line: According to PFT's Mike Florio, the current expectation is that a decision will come in a week or so. Florio went on to note that until a ruling is issued, it’s possible that the two sides will work out an agreement that would impose something less than a year but more than zero games. Without a settlement, the rules contemplate an all-or-nothing decision from Henderson. Meanwhile, Gordon remains eligible to participate in training camp and preseason games. If he is suspended for a year, the decision becomes immediate and final. ... Stay tuned.

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Marquess Wilson Suffered A Fractured Clavicle (8/4 1:46 PT)

The Facts: According to Chicago Tribune staffer Rich Campbell, Wilson suffered a fractured clavicle. HC Marc Trestman told reporters, "It's extremely disappointing. He was continuing to ascend." Reported by Twitter.com

Diehards Line: There is no timetable for his return. This is obviously bad news for Wilson and fantasy football owners hoping to land a late-round wideout with considerable upside. Wilson has been impressing coaches and teammates alike all offseason. We'll be watching for word on that timetable and pass it along as soon as possible.

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Montee Ball Undergoing An Appendectomy; Should Be Ready For Week 1 (8/4 1:09 PT)

The Facts: Ball will undergo an appendectomy today but is expected to be ready for regular-season opener vs. Colts, a source tells ESPN's Adam Schefter. Reported by Twitter.com

Diehards Line: The expected return for Week 1 notwithstanding, this clearly isn't what fantasy football owners who already drafted Ball as a top-10 RB wanted to hear. That said, best to get it out of the way now. In fact, the additional work might give C.J. Anderson a chance to work his way back into the good graces of coaches after reporting for training camp at over 230 pounds. According to ESPN.com's Jeff Legwold, Anderson was sluggish and lacked the spark he had shown in his 2013 training camp. Anderson has lost weight and shown a little more pop and has consistently worked as the No. 3 back so far behind Ball and Ronnie Hillman. As for Ball? We'll obviously be following up as needed.

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Report: Giants Doctors Shutting David Wilson Down For Now... And Likely Beyond (8/4 12:04 PT)

The Facts: Following up on the ongoing story. ... According to ESPN's Josina Anderson, Giants doctors are shutting down Wilson due to the neck injury that he sustained last year and most recently re-injured in camp. There is a belief that the injury could be career ending. Reported by Twitter.com

Diehards Line: Neither the immediate shutdown and the possibility the injury could be career-ending come as a great surprise. The Giants are pretty well stocked at the position with Rashad Jennings and rookie Andre Williams leading the way. Peyton Hillis and Michael Cox will provide depth. But if Wilson isn't on board, the team will lack the kind of explosive threat capable of threatening defenses as a change of pace to the rest of the more powerful cast. ... Stay tuned. We'll be following up.

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Tony Romo Confirms He'll Skip The Exhibition Opener (8/4 9:17 PT)

The Facts: Romo expects to sit out Thursday’s preseason opener against the San Diego Chargers, which led to extended work for the quarterback Sunday. “We’ve talked about it a little bit, and we’re going to be smart,” Romo said. “… Most likely I’ll probably sit out the San Diego game and play in Game 2 and go from there.”  Reported by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Diehards Line: No surprise here. In 2013, Romo sat out the Hall of Fame Game before playing 12 plays against Oakland in the second of five preseason games. Romo, who had surgery to repair a herniated disk in December, returned to practice Sunday after back-to-back days off. He took the most reps he’s had so far in training camp, throwing 25 passes in 7-on-7 and team drills. The Cowboys practice Monday and Tuesday before departing for San Diego. Romo said he expects to take one of those days off.

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Andy Dalton, Bengals Agree To Contract Extension (8/4 9:16 PT)

The Facts: According to ESPN's Adam Schefter and Adam Caplan, the Bengals and Dalton reached agreement on a six-year, $115 million contract extension. Reported by FootballDiehards.com

Diehards Line: While the details of the contract are not available, the new deal is a clear indication of the Bengals' commitment to Dalton. As Profootballtalk.com pointed out, the former second-rounder has kept them consistently competitive, but hasn’t delivered a playoff win yet. Clearly the Bengals expect that to change. ... Stay tuned. We'll have more details as they come to light.

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Rob Gronkowski Won't Work In Joint Practices With Washington (8/4 9:15 PT)

The Facts: The Patriots are getting some work in against the Redskins this week, but they’re not using one of their biggest stars. According to Ben Volin of the Boston Globe, Gronkowski is being held out of the joint workouts. Reported by Profootballtalk.com

Diehards Line: There have been no reported setbacks in Gronkowski’s return from knee surgery. He said recently he wasn’t going to change his playing style, but the Patriots are clearly modifying his work load so that he’s ready for the regular season opener. He’s been doing individual work during Patriots camp and all indications are he's on schedule to be ready Week 1. Fantasy football owners can understand and appreciate the team's desire to keep it that way.

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Josh Gordon Practicing While Awaiting Word On Appeal (8/4 9:14 PT)

The Facts: There has been no news on Gordon’s appeal of his potential suspension, after his hearing went all day Friday and was scheduled to continue today. But even if he won’t continue to play for the Browns this season, he’s going to get in a little work. According to Tony Grossi of ESPNCleveland.com, Gordon was in uniform and practicing this morning with the team.  Reported by Profootballtalk.com

Diehards Line: As PFT notes, the Browns have backed Gordon throughout the process and owner Jimmy Haslam has said the team wasn’t going to cut the talented-but-troubled wideout. But the decision on whether he'll play this year or not should come soon. In the meantime, Gordon is on the field doing his thing.

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Aaron Rodgers Thinks Tougher Officiating Will Help Passing Attacks (8/4 12:44 PT)

The Facts: Rodgers expects passing offenses around the NFL to be even more productive this season than they were last season, thanks to a stricter emphasis on illegal contact, pass interference and defensive holding. Rodgers said after officials worked a Packers practice that the way the officials are calling those penalties this year, it can only help quarterbacks and wide receivers. “I think you’re going to see the passing game reffed a little more tightly this year,” Rodgers said. Reported by Profootballtalk.com

Diehards Line: As PFT's Michael David Smith reminded readers, the best pass defense in the NFL last year was in Seattle, where opposing teams often complained that the Seahawks’ defensive backs got away with grabbing and holding receivers. Rodgers said he hopes penalties are called just as strictly in the Packers’ season opener at Seattle as they were when officials visited the Packers’ practice. “I was joking with this crew that we might want them to head up to the Pacific Northwest in about a month,” Rodgers said. Smith went on to suggest that if the NFL is serious about its officials getting strict with defensive backs, that will be bad news for teams like the Seahawks with physical pass defenses, and good news for teams like the Packers who rely on their passing offenses. And that will be good news for fantasy football owners as well.

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Could Bears Be Interested In Kyle Orton? (8/4 12:40 PT)

The Facts: On Saturday, GM Phil Emery talked about the possibility of bringing back Orton, a former Bear who was traded to acquire Cutler in 2009. "I have great respect for Kyle," Emery told ESPN Radio. "Great leadership skills, guys really like playing for him, big arm. So the skill set is there. But as far as where he's going in his career. ... That we don't know." Reported by NFL.com

Diehards Line: The Bears entered training camp with legitimate question marks behind Jay Cutler. They're still there. Jimmy Clausen and Jordan Palmer remain the two most likely replacements to inherit the backup role so capably held down by Josh McCown in 2013. Clausen and Palmer have no history of NFL success, leading to speculation the Bears could bring in another option. Orton was released by the Cowboys last month after sitting out the team's offseason program. Orton had been contemplating retirement, but Jerry Jones says Orton intends to continue his career. The Bears have twice tried to re-acquire Orton in the years since they traded the quarterback. Don't be surprised if a third attempt is in the works.

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49ers Release WR Jon Baldwin (8/4 12:39 PT)

The Facts: The Niners announced Sunday they waived Baldwin after less than a year with the team. In a corresponding move, San Francisco claimed wide receiver L'Damian Washington off waivers from the Dallas Cowboys. Reported by NFL.com

Diehards Line: Last August, the Niners sent wide receiver A.J. Jenkins to the Kansas City Chiefs to acquire Baldwin in a trade of two struggling former first-round picks. The change in scenery didn't help Baldwin, who had three catches in seven games last season. Multiple Niners beat reporters had noted that Baldwin wasn't moving well at all. Baldwin, 24, could struggle to latch on to another team this summer.

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Hakeem Nicks Off To A Slow Start In Indianapolis (8/3 1:26 PT)

The Facts: Last year’s contract year didn’t go so well for Nicks. This year’s contract year isn’t off to a stellar start. Per Tom James of the Terre Haute Tribune-Star, OC Pep Hamilton didn’t exactly rave about the former Giant. “I don’t know if I can say that I’ve seen enough,” Hamilton said. “I think he is still working to get himself in game shape. His talent is well documented and his ability to be a productive receiver in the league is without a doubt something that we are not questioning, he’s a special talent.” Reported by Profootballtalk.com

Diehards Line: The talent is undeniable. But as PFT's Mike Florio asked, "how can Nicks not show up for the most important training camp of his life in game shape?" Fantasy football owners who have rolled with Nicks the last two season are painfully aware the numbers haven't been there. As a result, Nicks didn't have many suitors in free agency. He signed a modest one-year deal with the Colts in the hopes of hitting the market again, and striking it rich, in 2015. But with T.Y. Hilton coming into his own and Reggie Wayne recovered from a torn ACL and the Colts perhaps not planning to use three-receiver sets on an extensive basis, Nicks could have a hard time getting to the end zone this year, because, as Florio suggested, "he could have a hard time getting on the field."

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Trent Richardson Working At Full Speed And Looking More Comfortable (8/3 1:25 PT)

The Facts: After showing up for camp with a tender hamstring that prompted HC Chuck Pagano to go easy on him early in training camp, Richardson is coming off an impressive week of practice. It’s been obvious Richardson is more comfortable in the system. He’s gone from thinking too much after taking the handoff to running off his natural instincts and with explosion. “He’s getting back to 100 percent, so I think some of those runs you’re starting to see, the hard work, the full offseason, the comfort with the scheme, the terminology, being around the offensive guys, the guys that are lined up in front of him blocking and seeing him starting to put a foot in the ground, see a hole, burst through the line of scrimmage, all that stuff is coming,” Pagano said. Reported by ESPN.com

Diehards Line: As ESPN.com's Mike Wells suggests, Richardson’s role in the offense became even more important once fellow running back Vick Ballard was lost for the season with a torn Achilles. Richardson, the likely starter, and Ahmad Bradshaw are the Colts' two primary running backs. Still, as Wells wrote: "Practice is one thing, but Richardson will be judged off what he does when the games count. If last week was any indication, he’s definitely on his way to improving on the 2.9 yards per carry he averaged last season. ..." Fantasy football owners seem to be gaining confidence in Richardson. His ADP has climbed to RB20 putting him firmly in RB2 territory.

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DeAndre Hopkins Making A Leap Forward (8/3 1:18 PT)

The Facts: While Andre Johnson remains on the sidelines, Hopkins is leaping forward -- and upward -- during the Texans’ training camp. Hopkins hauled in several impressive catches Saturday, building on his impressive early work during camp.  Reported by the Houston Chronicle

Diehards Line: The 6-1, 207-pound Hopkins entered preseason practices vowing to improve on his inconsistent rookie season, when he collected 52 receptions for 802 yards and two touchdowns, but too often disappeared from games. According to Chronicle staffer Brian Smith, Hopkins entered camp in excellent shape and has easily been the Texans’ premier receiver with Johnson dealing with a hamstring strain. “He’s one of the guys out there that I think is much improved from April 7, when we started, to where we are now,” HC Bill O’Brien said. “He just has to keep it going. He’s a very hard worker. It’s very important to him. He’s a guy that really, in our opinion, gets better and better every day. So just got to keep it going. ...” Hopkins’ progress -- and the team’s play at quarterback -- is worth watching.

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Brandin Cooks Continues To Make Waves (8/3 1:17 PT)

The Facts: The star of the New Orleans Saints' scrimmage on Saturday? The same guy who has been the star of their entire camp -- Cooks.  Reported by ESPN.com

Diehards Line: According to ESPN.com's Mike Triplett, the dynamic playmaker keeps managing to top himself with each passing day. Among his other highlights on Saturday, Cooks torched cornerback Rod Sweeting with a sharp cut for a touchdown of about 25-30 yards, leaped up to reel in a deep ball behind cornerback Patrick Robinson at the 1-yard line and broke a big gain on a kickoff return. Triplett went on to stress that expectations shouldn’t soar too high for Cooks based on a couple weeks’ worth of training camp highlights -- especially in a deep Saints offense that likes to spread the ball around. "But it really has been remarkable how consistent and versatile Cooks has been," Triplett wrote. "He has thrived by flashing his speed and quickness, as well as his ball-catching ability and instincts." Cooks, who put up monster numbers at Oregon State last season (128 catches, 1,730 yards, 16 touchdowns) before posting some monster measurables at the NFL scouting combine (4.33 seconds in the 40-yard dash) is starting to look very much like the right guy in the right place.

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Rookie WR Jared Abbrederis Suffers A Torn ACL (8/3 1:15 PT)

The Facts: Abbrederis, a fifth-round rookie receiver, has confirmed he suffered a torn right ACL. Abbrederis told reporters Saturday night he thinks he injured the knee in Wednesday's practice. However, the rookie took part in Thursday's entire workout and it was only later that tests were done on his knee. Reported by NFL.com

Diehards Line: It is not the first ACL injury for the 23-year-old pass-catcher. Abbrederis injured his ACL during high school in a devastating collision that broke his femur. Abbrederis is expected to undergo surgery as soon as possible after his most recent knee injury. He wouldn't say he's done for season, but it's likely he will be rehabbing until the 2015 offseason.

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