Reed will work underneath routes which really is where he's best suited to play while Evans will stretch the field vertically down field. By getting Evans down field, this will also open things up for no.1 receiver Eric Moulds.
Running Back: Sammy Morris vs. Travis Minor
While Minor is no.1 on the depth chart, he hasn't exactly earned it by his play in their first three pre-season games. Some of it could be attributed to their poor run blocking up front but Minor has not shown any of the speed that made him a decent back in years past.
Morris has had little success in game situations leaving the club to look for help elsewhere. Look for Miami to either trade for a back or to sign a veteran that is released on Sunday.
Free Safety – Arturo Freeman vs. Antuan Edwards
Freeman came in to camp as the starter but the oft-injured Edwards has shown more play-making ability thus far and looks to have the edge. Edwards showed in the past to be a decent tackler and was better than average in coverage but he rarely could stay healthy.
New England Patriots
Wide Receivers: David Givens vs. Troy Brown vs. David Patten vs. Deion Branch
Givens missed most of camp with a leg injury so he'll likely come of the bench to start the season. However, he's their best inside threat at the position so look for his role to increase as the season progresses.
Brown will see a reduction in playing time this season due of age and numerous injuries over the past few seasons.
Patten, who looked like a candidate to be released this off-season, had a very solid camp and has a real chance to start opening day. The speedy veteran wideout stayed healthy and showed club insiders that he could still get deep on occasion.
Branch has taken over as the club's top receiver. The former Louisville Cardinal has shown improvement in route running as well as technique when catching the ball. He also is clearly the club's top deep threat. He should clearly benefit from the emphasis on the no-contact rule after five yards. If defenders can't throw him off his route within five yards, he could make lots of plays down field this season.
Lee Suggs vs. William Green
Although head coach Butch Davis has yet to name his starting running back, club insiders believe that Suggs is a shoo-in to be the main ball carrier this season.
During practices and especially in pre-season games, Suggs has shown to be a play-maker who posses the kind of down hill running that makes a back special. While not known as a good receiver out of the backfield in college at Virginia Tech, he has shown improvement in that area this off-season as well in his pass protection.
Green has done some nice things in camp but he clearly isn't any near the back that Suggs is. In fact, according to a league source, Green still is an indecisive runner and does not hit the hole quickly enough—which is the opposite of Suggs who is instinctive.
Quentin Griffin vs. Tatum Bell vs. Garrison Hearst
The diminutive Griffin clearly showed practice observers in camp that he could be a special back if given the chance. In fact, despite only being 5'7" and under 200 pounds, he showed burst of power in short-yardage drills. He also looked good in their first four pre-season games.
Bell, meanwhile, signed late. He then suffered a broken finger shortly beginning his first practice and fell behind. Bell, once his broken finger totally heals, will see more work then the club will be able to get a good look at him but probably not until week three or four of the regular season.
Hearst will back up Griffin and because he's excellent in blitz pickups, he'll see plenty of time in passing situations.
Look for Griffin to open the season up as the starter but once Bell, who is the bigger back, practices without restrictions, he'll close in on the starting job.
San Diego Chargers
Kevin Dyson vs. Kassim Osgood vs. Tim Dwight vs. Reche Caldwell vs. Eric Parker
What looks to be a committee situation on paper may have a few diamonds in the rough.
Parker, according to a league source, is the most sure-handed of the group and rarely makes mistakes. The former undrafted free agent from the University of Tennessee will almost certainly be in the mix for plenty of playing time this season. His only real issue is staying healthy (missed last week's game with a groin injury).
Dyson, the new comer of the group, had some good moments in camp but didn't separate himself from the group. Still, he has the most meaningful experience as a starter in the league so look for him to hold one of the two starting slots.
Caldwell showed some improvement in OTAs but never showed enough to warrant one of the two starting jobs. He'll be in the mix for a roster spot but he needs to be more consistent of all areas of his game.
Osgood continues to progress and has the best size of any of five. Although he's not the most experienced of the group, he has plenty of upside. He'll almost certainly be in mix of the top four due to his play in camp and because of his size, he'll be a factor in their redzone package.
Dwight's biggest problem is staying healthy. The former University of Iowa track star is too small to be an every down receiver and is best used on a rotational basis.
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