Friday preview: Ryan Fitzpatrick gets some much-needed game reps

AP Photo/Paul Sancya

NFL Nation reporters look ahead to Friday practices and preseason games.


Buffalo Bills: The Bills will return from Cleveland with eight days before their next preseason game, when they host the Steelers on Aug. 29. That should give the banged-up offense a chance to recover from injuries to its top five running backs and top four receivers. Evaluating the quarterback competition will be easier with a more complete offensive group against Pittsburgh. -- Mike Rodak

Miami Dolphins: Training camp officially ended Thursday for the Dolphins, following their joint practice with the Panthers. Coach Joe Philbin will give his team the day off Friday to rest and prepare for Saturday's preseason game against Carolina. -- James Walker

New England Patriots: After two full-pads joint practices with the Saints on Wednesday and Thursday, the Patriots will dial it back Friday with more of a walk-through-type pace in advance of Saturday's preseason game in New Orleans. There is no media access schedule, as the team will also be traveling later in the day. A run of injuries at receiver, most recently with Brian Tyms, has shined the spotlight brighter on Josh Boyce and Chris Harper as players who could have a larger opportunity than they otherwise would have. -- Mike Reiss

New York Jets: The spotlight will be on quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and the starting offense when the Jets play the Falcons on Friday night at MetLife Stadium. The plan is to play Fitzpatrick most of the first half. He needs the work: He's had only five practices and one game possession with the starters since replacing the injured Geno Smith. -- Rich Cimini


Baltimore Ravens: The Ravens and Eagles will conclude their three days of joint practices with a far less intense workout Friday, which comes one day before their preseason game. Ravens coach John Harbaugh said the teams won't suit up in full pads and will work on situational football. "It'll be mental type practice together, so that will be good," Harbaugh said. -- Jamison Hensley

Cincinnati Bengals: Training camp is now over in Cincinnati. For the next couple of days, the Bengals will start easing into their regular-season practice schedule, beginning with Friday's late-morning workout. On the docket will be more game-plan installation as they start making their final preparations ahead of Monday night's game at Tampa Bay. We'll be keeping an eye on tight end Tyler Eifert and running back Terrell Watson, who left Thursday's practice early with injuries. -- Coley Harvey

Cleveland Browns: The Browns have a day off Friday following their second preseason game on Thursday night against Buffalo, and they need one. The team's lengthy injury list matters more and more as the regular season approaches, and the Browns have had key players like RB Duke Johnson, WRs Dwayne Bowe and Terrelle Pryor, and CBs K'Waun Williams and Joe Haden miss a scrimmage and the first two preseason games. This team's most immediate need is to get healthy. -- Pat McManamon

Pittsburgh Steelers: The Steelers' biggest training camp battle might be at punter, where incumbent Brad Wing has his hands full fending off big-legged Jordan Berry, who reached nearly 70 yards on a few kicks this week, though he shanked a bad one Wednesday. Coach Mike Tomlin has been vocal on the field that Berry is coming for Wing's job. Expect the Steelers to give these two an extensive run in Friday's camp finale. -- Jeremy Fowler


Houston Texans: In the Texans' meetings on Thursday, the coaches asked players probing questions about how they were supposed to react to various situations. Those questions were meant to determine just how much the players knew about the Texans' offensive and defensive systems. To O'Brien's delight, their knowledge was far ahead of where it was at this time last year, offering another sign of the Texans' year-over-year improvement. -- Tania Ganguli

Indianapolis Colts: The Colts will go through a closed walk-through at the their facility Friday before playing a preseason game against the Chicago Bears at Lucas Oil Stadium on Saturday. The two teams spent the past two days practicing together. Colts coach Chuck Pagano said he would like to continue having a joint practice against teams in the future. "It was phenomenal," he said. "Coming off these two days, we're going to look back on it and say this was extremely beneficial to our development as a football team." -- Mike Wells

Jacksonville Jaguars: Friday is a travel day for the Jaguars. After a light walk-through the team departs for New Jersey for Saturday night's game against the New York Giants. Coach Gus Bradley said Thursday he won't make a decision on whether RB T.J. Yeldon (sprained finger) will make his NFL debut until just before kickoff. -- Mike DiRocco

Tennessee Titans: The Titans will have one more practice before their second preseason game on Sunday against the Rams. This team feels pretty good about itself in-house, so a second outside gauge will be big in terms of calibrating just how much better the Rams are -- or are not. The offensive line has been scrambled, and the unit that gets first-team reps on Friday will likely start against St. Louis. -- Paul Kuharsky


Denver Broncos: Coach Gary Kubiak said defensive end Kenny Anunike will miss "two to three weeks" after arthroscopic knee surgery Thursday morning. The Broncos then moved nose tackle Marvin Austin Jr. to injured reserve Thursday afternoon. That means rookie nose tackle Darius Kilgo and rookie defensive end Josh Watson will have the opportunity to get a little more work in the days and weeks ahead. Kilgo, in particular, has worked plenty as the No. 2 nose tackle already with Austin out. -- Jeff Legwold

Kansas City Chiefs: The Chiefs will be looking to see how their patched-up and remodeled offensive line holds up in their preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks at Arrowhead Stadium. Because of injuries and other lineup changes, the Chiefs will have new starters from last week's game at left tackle (Donald Stephenson), right guard (Laurent Duvernay-Tardif) and right tackle (either Paul Fanaika or Jarrod Pughsley). -- Adam Teicher

Oakland Raiders: The Raiders are deep at the back end of their receiver group. Players to watch are Kenbrell Thompkins and Kris Durham. Both are NFL veterans who have had good camps, but there may not be room for both. This battle will go down to the wire. -- Bill Williamson

San Diego Chargers: Melvin Gordon returned to practice on Thursday after taking a day off due to a minor ankle injury. Gordon says the expectation is that he will play against the Arizona Cardinals on Saturday. However, head coach Mike McCoy said the coaching staff will meet after the team's short walk-through on Friday to decide which players -- including Gordon -- will play, and how much. -- Eric D. Williams


Dallas Cowboys: After 13 padded practices, the Cowboys have dialed back the physicality of training camp, having players practice in shells Thursday and Friday leading into the San Francisco game. Jason Garrett has stressed the importance of practicing well in shells because it will become commonplace in the regular season. Garrett wants to make sure players understand they need to continue working at a high tempo. -- Todd Archer

New York Giants: The Giants are off Friday in advance of Saturday's preseason home game against Jacksonville. That game is likely to feature a lot of backup wide receivers. With Victor Cruz (knee, calf) and Rueben Randle (knee) unlikely to play, look for guys like Dwayne Harris, James Jones, Geremy Davis, Corey Washington and Preston Parker to continue to try to impress the coaches. They're particularly interested to see more from Davis, this year's sixth-round pick, who has shown something on special teams and impressed more than expected as a receiver in practice. -- Dan Graziano

Philadelphia Eagles: With a game Saturday night, Friday's session between the Eagles and the Baltimore Ravens figures to be shorter and less intense. It also marks the final open practice of training camp. Beginning Monday, the Eagles will work out without fans or media watching. -- Phil Sheridan

Washington Redskins: The Redskins now will begin monitoring quarterback Robert Griffin III, who suffered a concussion in Thursday's 21-17 preseason win over Detroit. It did not sound as if his injury was too serious, but he now must undergo concussion protocol to make sure he can play in the third preseason game Aug. 29. Regardless of who's to blame, this is another reminder that Griffin gets hit a lot and those hits often lead to injuries. -- John Keim


Chicago Bears: The Bears did not escape their joint practices with the Colts completely unscathed. Starting right tackle Jordan Mills (calf) and outside linebacker Pernell McPhee (knee) were unable to finish Thursday's workout. Their status for the second preseason game is unknown, according to head coach John Fox. Mills' situation is concerning; He battled a foot injury almost all of last season, and never played with the confidence he displayed as a rookie in 2013. Charles Leno took the first-team right tackle reps on Thursday. The Bears have a closed practice in Indianapolis on Friday. -- Jeff Dickerson

Detroit Lions: The Lions' practice Friday will likely be a light walk-through. The biggest question revolves around the health of right guard Larry Warford and defensive tackle Caraun Reid, both of whom were hurt against Washington on Thursday. -- Michael Rothstein

Green Bay Packers: Last year in the regular season, the Packers started taking Fridays off from practice, and with a Sunday preseason game at Pittsburgh this week, coach Mike McCarthy is following that same plan. It means that Thursday's spirited 2-hour and 9-minute practice was the final open session of the week. The team will hold a short, closed practice on Saturday before heading to Pittsburgh. -- Rob Demovsky

Minnesota Vikings: The Vikings concluded practice for the week, and will spend Friday going through final preparations for their third preseason game against the Oakland Raiders on Saturday night at TCF Bank Stadium. Former Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder will make his return to Minnesota to face his old team. -- Ben Goessling


Atlanta Falcons: The Falcons' coaches will have some tough decisions to make at wide receiver as the preseason progresses. The emergence of Leonard Hankerson as a legit second option behind Julio Jones makes starting Hankerson tempting, but there's no reason to discount Roddy White, unless his left knee becomes a major concern. Rookie Justin Hardy is a keeper, while Devin Hester and Eric Weems bring great special-teams value. But Nick Williams, a player who shined throughout training camp, should get strong consideration as well. -- Vaughn McClure

Carolina Panthers: Training camp is over -- or at least the portion at Wofford College in Spartanburg, South Carolina. The Panthers have Friday off in Charlotte before facing the Miami Dolphins in Saturday's preseason game at Bank of America Stadium. The focus will be on figuring out which direction the team will go offensively without star wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin, who is out for the year with a torn ACL. -- David Newton

New Orleans Saints: The Saints will bid farewell to The Greenbrier resort in West Virginia and travel home Friday before hosting Saturday's preseason game against the New England Patriots. Overall it was a solid camp. The highlight was the consistent play of offensive linemen Terron Armstead and Max Unger. The lowlight was the rash of injuries throughout the secondary, though there's still time for everyone to heal up. And the general vibe was that the Saints got in some good work and had the right mindset coming off of a humbling 7-9 season. -- Mike Triplett

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The Buccaneers don't have practice Friday. When they return on Saturday for the final workout of training camp, the focus will be on getting veteran right tackle Gosder Cherilus up to speed on the offense. Cherilus was brought in after Demar Dotson suffered a knee injury. The Bucs have been working Cherilus with the second team, but they have other injuries on the line and he could get his first work with the starters. -- Pat Yasinskas


Arizona Cardinals: The Cardinals will prepare for their second preseason game, against the San Diego Chargers, with a day off on Friday. It'll also give the team some time to compose itself after losing starting nose tackle Corey Peters for the season and finding out left guard Mike Iupati needs surgery to repair a meniscus. -- Josh Weinfuss

St. Louis Rams: The Rams are off Friday and traveling to Tennessee, before spending Sunday night playing their second preseason game. The return trip to Nashville will be meaningful for seven Rams coaches and five players who previously spent time with the Titans. That includes coach Jeff Fisher, who said Thursday he's thankful that his first trip back to Tennessee since leaving the Titans in 2010 is in the preseason and not the regular season. -- Nick Wagoner

San Francisco 49ers: Jarryd Hayne, the Australian rugby star trying to make it as a serviceable NFL player, flashed as a punt and kick returner in the Niners' exhibition opener at Houston last week. But Hayne, who also broke off a 53-yard run as a second-string running back, wants to work on becoming more "crisp" out of the backfield as well as selling the play-action better. He has one more practice -- Friday -- to work on things before the 49ers play host to the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday night. -- Paul Gutierrez

Seattle Seahawks: The second game of the Seahawks' preseason schedule will mark the first test for their newly configured offensive line, and it will be a tough one. The player to watch will be second-year right tackle Garry Gilliam. He'll have his hands full, to say the least. Not only will it be Gilliam's first career start, but he'll have to deal with reigning sack champion Justin Houston in the din of Arrowhead Stadium. -- Brady Henderson