NFL Position Update: Receivers
By Lane Adkins
Date: Aug 31, 2005
Here is the lastest scoop on who is doing well (and not so well) this pre-season at the wide receiver position. Great info for fantasy football owners as well as all NFL fans.
ARIZONA CARDINALS: WR Charlie Lee, a sixth-year veteran, appears to be the leader for fourth receiver in a battle among Reggie Newhouse, seventh-round pick LeRon McCoy and undrafted rookies Carlyle Holiday and Dan Sheldon.
BALTIMORE RAVENS: WR Devard Darling is in danger of not making the team just a year removed from being a third-round pick. He has yet to show he can handle the physical nature of the game.
BUFFALO BILLS: WR Drew Haddad, a seventh-round pick of the Bills in 2000, is making a strong pitch to make the club's roster for a second time. In addition to leading the team in receiving through two preseason games, he added a 45-yard punt return against the Bears to go with a 37-yarder the previous week against the Packers.
CAROLINA PANTHERS: WR J.R. Tolver was released by Carolina. WR Taylor Stubblefield was released by Carolina. WR Drew Carter has done little to prove himself after an incredible minicamp and training camp. He has great speed though and the Panthers probably can't afford to release him or someone else will pick up him. Look for Carter to be a regular on the weekly inactive list.
CLEVELAND BROWNS: Rookie WR Braylon Edwards played some with the first offense against Carolina in the third preseason game. It was significant because he was with the third offense the week before.
DALLAS COWBOYS: WR Quincy Morgan has not only lost the third receiver job to Patrick Crayton but is danger of not making the roster. The fourth receiver must play special teams. Morgan does not play special teams, making him a luxury the Cowboys might not choose to afford.
DETROIT LIONS: WR Mike Williams will go into the season as the No. 4 receiver behind Roy Williams, Charles Rogers and Kevin Johnson. The Lions' first-round draft pick is learning to play all the receiver positions and has the luxury of learning at his own pace.
HOUSTON TEXANS: Rookie WR Jerome Mathis has started returning punts. He only returned kickoffs during his collegiate career at Hampton. In his first preseason game returning punts, Mathis returned a punt 51 yards.
JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS: WR Reggie Williams has had problems running poor routes and has just 5 catches in the first preseason, but will remain a starter. WR Jimmy Smith, who had 10 drops last year, had drops in the first and third preseason games, but coach Jack Del Rio said he'll make the team and remain the No. 1 receiver.
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS: WR Eddie Kennison, who did not have a catch in KC's first two preseason games when the emphasis was on evaluating younger receivers, had three catches for 53 yards in the Chiefs' first-possession 80-yard scoring drive against Seattle. Kennison finished the night 4-66.
MIAMI DOLPHINS: WR David Boston continues to impress as Miami's third receiver, leading the team for a second consecutive preseason game in receiving with three catches for 29 yards against Tampa Bay.
MINNESOTA VIKINGS: WR Travis Taylor continues to impress and appears well ahead of Marcus Robinson for the No. 2 spot on the depth chart. R Keenan Howry served as the top return man on both kickoffs and punts against San Diego on Friday. Mewelde Moore, who is being considered for the No. 1 role on kick returns, wasn't used in that capacity because he started at running back. FS Darren Sharper has been getting a look on punt returns in practice.
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS: WR David Givens was helped off the field after making a touchdown catch last week vs. Green Bay when he appeared to grab his left ribs. There was no update on Givens' status, but he is believed to merely have had the wind knocked out of him as he landed.
WR Deion Branch insists that he is completely healthy and ready to go despite not having played a single down in the preseason. He was dressed again last week for the Packers game, but never stepped on the field beyond pregame warmups. He said afterward that he is as healthy as ever. Bill Belichick was mum on the subject other than to say he wanted to see some other players. It's hard to imagine Belichick holding him out simply to avoid injury since he's never approached the preseason that way with any player.
WR David Terrell was off to a strong start to camp, but an injury kept him out of the first two preseason games. He played late in the win over the Packers and did not have a catch. Recently acquired Andre' Davis played ahead of him, leaving one to wonder if Terrell will be jobless in another week. Davis did not have a catch either.
WR Tim Dwight is another veteran who likely played his way onto the roster this summer. He started camp on PUP but came on strong, showing some playmaking ability as a punt returner and as a deep threat in the passing game.
NEW YORK JETS: WR Brock Ralph was released by the Jets on Sunday.
OAKLAND RAIDERS: WR Randy Moss scored his first touchdown as a Raider and it came in his first appearance in Oakland. The touchdown covered 40 yards and came against blitz coverage. Moss was wide open 10 yards behind the closest defender. He celebrated by shaking hands with fans in the north end zone (opposite the Black Hole). WR Alvis Whitted was the third Raider receiver to stand out in three weeks, making five catches for 77 yards against the Cardinals. Gabriel had two touchdown receptions including a 70-yarder, the previous week and in the opener, Johnnie Morant had four catches for 76 yards.
PITTSBURGH STEELERS: WR Fred Gibson, the Steelers' fourth-round draft choice from Florida, has been so inconsistent that he may not make the 53-man roster. WR Cedrick Wilson, the club's only UFA signing, has not been a factor in preseason games with two receptions for 23 yards.
SAN FRANCISCO 49ers: WR Fred Amey is making a strong bid for a roster spot. Amey, an undrafted free agent, is currently the team's No. 4 receiver and he might be the team's most reliable punt returner, other than starting receiver Arnaz Battle. WR Javin Hunter was released.
SEATTLE SEAHAWKS: WR Darrell Jackson caught seven passes for 99 yards and a touchdown Saturday night at Kansas City. This was by far his most productive outing of the exhibition season. Jackson did most of his damage against Chiefs CB Patrick Surtain, including a 36-yard touchdown grab. Jackson probably should have beaten Surtain for another 36-yard score, but the pass from QB Matt Hasselbeck sailed a bit long. WR Jerheme Urban helped his cause with a four-catch, 66-yard performance at Kansas City on Saturday night. This has been a difficult summer for Urban, who dropped passes in each of the first two exhibition games. But coach Mike Holmgren lauded him for stepping up big in Kansas City. Urban caught passes for gains of 24 and 27 yards.
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