Redskins wide receiver Laveranues Coles continues to have problems with his injured toe from last season. Coles still shows a burst on routes where he has to run straight ahead but he has pain when he has to make sharp cuts or has to go from one side to the other….The battle for the starting weak-side linebacker job for the Cowboys is wide open between second-year player Bradie James and the incumbent Dexter Coakley. The coaching staff is very high on James and they believe he's the starter of the future. They love his size and ability.
The injury situation with backup Anthony Thomas (ribs) could derail any trade value for the Bear running back. Thomas is expected to miss at least a few weeks….Vikings backup center Cory Withrow is seen in NFL circles as one of the best backup offensive linemen in league. In fact, the Vikings were asking for a first day pick if they were to move him. That's how good they believe he is. With starting center Matt Birk out for three to four weeks, Withrow could be show casing his talent to other teams….
This past weekend's practices could help determine who wins the starting middle linebacker job for the Saints. Rookie Courtney Watson (quad) and second-year pro Cie Grant (hamstring) have been battling injuries this week but are expected to battle for the job the rest of camp. Watson ran with the first team defense during Saturday's intra squad scrimmage while Grant worked with the second team….New Buccaneers wide receiver Joey Galloway has really shown to practice observers that he hasn't lost a step. He's done a great job of creating separation against defensive backs in camp. With the new emphasis on calling contact penalties, Galloway could have a real resurgence this season.
Rams backup wide receiver Dane Looker seems to have a very strong hold on the no.3 role again for the second straight season. Even with second-year wide receiver Kevin Curtis healthy, Looker hasn't done anything to lose that role….Starting running back Kevan Barlow showed up to 49ers training camp in the best shape of his career. Everyone around the club believes he is taking his job seriously and is ready to put together a big season….
Bills offensive tackle Mike Williams will not be given his starting job back no matter what his draft status was. Offensive line coach Jim McNally prefers nimble linemen who work hard at improving their talent. It's very questionable if Williams is willing to do what's needed to realize his potential….The top four wide receiver jobs for the Patriots remain wide open between five players (David Givens, Bethel Johnson, Troy Brown, David Patten, Deion Branch). It's believed that when all the smoke clears that Givens, Brown, and Branch will man the top three spots with Patten as the odd man out. Johnson is best used as a situational receiver for certain match-ups….How ironic was it that Dolphins starting wide receiver David Boston showed up to training camp in the best shape he has in the past two seasons (now under 230 lbs), only to blow out a knee and be sidelined for the season…
Ravens second-year running Musa Smith has looked good during training camp drills and has solidified his role at no.2 on the depth chart. The club believes that he could handle 15-20 carries a game if need be. …Although no one will come out and say it, there could be some concern with Bengals starting wide receiver Peter Warrick and his surgically repaired knee. Considering he had surgery last December and he has been limited in camp, you have to wonder if we're looking at a chronic situation. Warrick is an integral part to the club's offense because he's their slot receiver. There is no other receiver on the roster who can play that role effectively.
Colts backup running back Dominic Rhodes is running well in camp and seems to be over his knee issues over the last few seasons. Rhodes is important to their offense because he offers a nice change of pace to starting running back Edgerrin James….
Some progress has been made between the representatives for first-round pick quarterback Philip Rivers and the Chargers. If the two sides continue to make progress over the weekend, look for the two sides to reach an agreement by the middle of next week….Although he likely won't start this season, keep an eye on Raiders second-year wide receiver Doug Gabriel. He'll be no worse than no.3 on the depth chart and the club is very pleased with his development this year. He has shown a real strong improvement in his route running….Chiefs rookie tight-end Kris Wilson has been the surprise of camp so far. Because starting tight-end Tony Gonzalez (foot) has been limited to one practice a day, Wilson has been given a chance at more playing time and has taken advantage of his opportunity. In fact, starting quarterback Trent Green told us after Friday's morning practice that Wilson is learning two positions (move and stationary position) and has not been overwhelmed. Broncos rookie wide receive Darius Watts has made the most splash of any first-year player on their roster. He has made the tough catch look easy. If he keeps this up, he'll open the season as their third receiver….
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