Owens, Westbrook, Stewart deal with injuries

August, 19, 2009

Terrell Owens participated in a workout on Monday with his sore toe, but according to the Buffalo News he didn't like the way his foot felt afterward and wound up sitting out Tuesday's practice as a result. The team then announced Wednesday that he'll miss the next preseason game. It's far too early to call this a concern, and the Bills say the whole thing is precautionary. But it would be nice to get some assurances that T.O. was getting enough time in the Buffalo offense with Trent Edwards & Co. Because the season starts so late this year, the Bills are probably just being overcautious, but we'll keep our eyes on the situation.

• The Charlotte Observer reports that running back Jonathan Stewart sat out yet another practice on Tuesday because of his sore Achilles'. As with T.O., it's probably too early to start getting really concerned about Stewart, but he's missed an awful lot of practices over the past week and also had to sit out Monday night's preseason game against the Giants. The Panthers may just be taking it easy on The Daily Show, but considering they have a pretty darn good alternative at running back in DeAngelo Williams, one wonders if Stewart is digging himself an early-season hole.

Brian WestbrookAP Photo/Matt RourkeBrian Westbrook is seeing plenty of practice time, but don't expect much of him on the field until the regular season begins.

Brian Westbrook told the Philadelphia Inquirer that despite the fact he's practicing again, he doesn't think it would hurt him if he sits out the entire preseason. Presumably, Westbrook wouldn't make such a statement unless someone in the Eagles organization had given him a hint that that's how the next month would play out, so we're not likely to see Westbrook in game action until Week 1, which is what I've been saying since May. LeSean McCoy is a must-handcuff running back for anyone with the temerity to draft Westbrook.

• The Arizona Republic reports that rookie running back Beanie Wells twisted his ankle in Tuesday's early practice, causing him to have to sit out the night session. He carries the injury-prone label with him from Ohio State, and while this is really the same injury Wells suffered his first day of camp, it's not doing him any good. It already appears that Tim Hightower is locked into the No. 1 job for Week 1, but how fast Wells is able to get over these nagging injuries will determine how quickly he gets a chance to surpass Hightower. He'd be the more valuable back as a starter.

• According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, Carson Palmer won't play in the Bengals' second preseason game because of a lingering ankle injury. Palmer is reportedly still in a walking boot, and the Enquirer speculates that the injury is a high-ankle sprain. This probably isn't a huge deal, and Palmer was solid (7-for-11, 133 yards, 1 interception) in the preseason opener.

• Oakland wideout Chaz Schilens was starting to look like a deep-ish sleeper, as he appeared to be in line for the Raiders' No. 1 receiving gig. Unfortunately, he broke a bone in his left foot in Tuesday's practice, and will be out for at least a month. It's unlikely Schilens will be ready when the regular season begins. This is more bad news for an organization swimming in it. Now it appears that Javon Walker and Darrius Heyward-Bey may be in line to start the season opener; that would be the worst pair of bookend receivers in the NFL, bar none. Johnnie Lee Higgins, more a straight-line runner and special-teamer extraordinaire, could also get in the mix. You don't want any of those guys, though.

• The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that neither of the Browns' rookie receivers (Brian Robiskie, Mohamed Massaquoi) is listed as a starter or even as a slot man in Cleveland's offense. Instead, the Browns' top three receivers are currently Braylon Edwards, Mike Furrey and Josh Cribbs. This continues to be disappointing news for Robiskie, who impressed scouts by appearing to be the most NFL-ready receiver at the scouting combine this winter, but who just hasn't made a lot of plays in Browns camp. Presumably, Cribbs would be the team's starting flanker right now, with Furrey in the slot.

• Some guy named Favre signed with the Vikings on Tuesday. You may have heard. Here's what I wrote right after the news broke.

• The St. Louis Post-Intelligencer reports that Marc Bulger will miss the remainder of the preseason because of his fractured pinkie. You'll recall that this is the same injury that sidelined Tony Romo in the middle of the 2008 season, costing him three starts and hampering his effectiveness for perhaps five or six weeks. Considering Donnie Avery is also out with a broken bone in his foot (though the Post-Intelligencer did report that Avery was out of his walking boot Tuesday, which is a good sign), there's really no reason to invest heavily, or even lightly, in the Rams' passing game.

• The Post-Intelligencer also reports that Kenneth Darby has lost his hold on the No. 2 running back job after a poor showing in the Rams' preseason opener. Old fantasy friend Samkon Gado ran for a 77-yard score in the same game and is now the No. 2 man behind Steven Jackson. Antonio Pittman may also have vaulted over Darby. Clearly, though, this depth chart is fluid. If you draft Jackson, you won't have any need to handcuff any of these guys; none would be good bets for fantasy glory if Jackson gets hurt.

• The St. Petersburg Times reports that Byron Leftwich has a relatively strong hold on the Buccaneers' starting quarterback job, and that he'll have to play very poorly in the Bucs' next preseason game to give up the gig. This is by no means official, but it jibes with other reports coming out of Tampa over the past week. It seems that Luke McCown just hasn't shown enough to win a very winnable starting job, and McCown could find himself released as a result. By the same token, I've always thought that Leftwich's ponderous throwing motion is an awful fit for a West Coast offense. I don't think his ascension to the starting job would be good for Antonio Bryant or Kellen Winslow.

• The Colts' secondary took another body blow Tuesday when starting CB Kelvin Hayden hurt a hamstring, which will cause him to miss 3-4 weeks, according to the Indianapolis Star. Considering Bob Sanders can't get on the practice field because of his injured knee (and recently met with Dr. James Andrews to discuss it) and Marlin Jackson is recovering from his torn ACL, Indy's solid pass defense is starting to look wobbly.



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