Monday NFL preview: Broncos move on from RB Montee Ball

NFL Nation reporters look ahead to what Monday has in store for each team.


Buffalo Bills: The Bills trimmed their roster to 51 -- two players below the 53-man limit -- and then filled one of those spots by claiming former Titans center Gabe Ikard off waivers Sunday. The Bills also hosted former Seahawks center Lemuel Jeanpierre on a free-agent visit, per ESPN NFL Insider Field Yates' report, and so it's clear the team was looking for depth along the interior of the offensive line. Buffalo has one open roster spot as it begins preparations for the Colts this week. -- Mike Rodak

Miami Dolphins: The Dolphins begin their preparation for Washington on Monday. The pressure is on quarterback Ryan Tannehill to have a strong week and continue his hot start from the preseason. Tannehill threw for 303 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions and completed 80.4 percent of his passes in three preseason games. -- James Walker

New England Patriots: The most pressing storyline from an injury perspective for the Patriots is with starting center Bryan Stork, who wasn't spotted at practice Sunday. Stork didn't play in the preseason after reportedly sustaining a concussion. If he isn't ready to go, it could thrust Ryan Wendell into the pivot. -- Mike Reiss

New York Jets: The focus will be on the health of certain players as the Jets return to practice after a three-day respite. Defensive end Leonard Williams (knee), linebacker Calvin Pace (groin) and wide receiver/punt returner Jeremy Kerley (concussion), all of whom have missed more than a week of practice, will be evaluated as opening day draws closer. Williams and Pace should be OK, but there's still some uncertainty with Kerley. -- Rich Cimini


Baltimore Ravens: The fantasy sleeper pick in Baltimore is tight end Crockett Gillmore, who will be in his first year as a starter. His stock continues to increase because rookie second-round pick Maxx Williams is still wearing a red, non-contact jersey in practice. The Ravens expect Williams to play in the season opener in Denver, but he likely won't be at full strength. Gillmore will be Joe Flacco's top target at tight end. -- Jamison Hensley

Cincinnati Bengals: With their initial 53-man roster and practice squad now set, the Bengals begin preparations Monday for Sunday's season opener at Oakland. After the Raiders hounded Arizona's quarterbacks for four sacks in the preseason Week 3 "dress rehearsal" game a couple weeks ago, Cincinnati's offensive linemen will be focusing this week on keeping Andy Dalton upright. Last season, the Bengals' line made it through the first three games before allowing a sack. -- Coley Harvey

Cleveland Browns: The Browns return to the practice field Monday with their 53 as they start preparations for the season opener against the Jets. The team has two quarterbacks on the roster, so they must feel good about Johnny Manziel's progress from an elbow injury. However, the backup had not been cleared to throw as of Friday. If he can throw Monday he should be OK to be the backup in New York. -- Pat McManamon

Pittsburgh Steelers: As the Steelers' defense game plans for Tom Brady and the Patriots, this is the time to craft a new identity under coordinator Keith Butler. Troy Polamalu, Dick LeBeau and Ike Taylor are long gone. Now it's time to see what this year's leaders -- Cam Heyward, Lawrence Timmons, James Harrison -- have in store for Brady. The Steelers have at least four capable cornerbacks, and all four could see playing time, including recently acquired Brandon Boykin. -- Jeremy Fowler


Houston Texans: Though the Week 1 preparations begin in earnest Monday, the Texans actually started working on Kansas City even before they played their final preseason game against the Dallas Cowboys. Texans coach Bill O'Brien even said the coaches have already started working on Week 2 preparations when the Texans will play the Carolina Panthers. Multitasking becomes necessary with roster cuts so close to the beginning of the season. -- Tania Ganguli

Indianapolis Colts: Experience is not on the Colts' side when it comes to their defensive line. Veteran Kendall Langford is the only defensive lineman with any experience starting. The defensive end has started 90 of the 112 games he has played in. The other five defensive linemen on the roster: zero combined starts. That's a scary thought when you consider the Colts finished 18th in the league in stopping the run last season. -- Mike Wells

Jacksonville Jaguars: The Jaguars begin preparations for Sunday's season opener against Carolina. We'll get an idea of the status for WR Marqise Lee based on the extent to which he practices. Or if he even practices at all. Lee hasn't practiced since the fifth day of training camp because of a hamstring injury. -- Mike DiRocco

Tennessee Titans: The Titans will have a practice Monday that serves as an introduction to the first opponent of the regular season, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Ken Whisenhunt said the game plan will be mostly done by then. In addition Whisenhunt, quarterback Marcus Mariota and outside linebacker Brian Orakpo will speak to the media. Then the team will have another day off Tuesday before diving into the regular preparation week. -- Paul Kuharsky


Denver Broncos: When the Broncos waived running back Montee Ball, it confirmed the Broncos have plans for Ronnie Hillman as the change-of-pace back to C.J. Anderson. Juwan Thompson, who also beat Bell out, can play running back and fullback, is a better short-yardage option and caught the ball better out of the backfield in practices. Toss in Thompson's full-slate of special teams work and it was going to be difficult for Ball to move out of the No. 4 spot on the depth chart. -- Jeff Legwold

Kansas City Chiefs: The Chiefs need to get new tight end Brian Parker up to speed quickly. They claimed Parker, who was a rookie free agent, off waivers from the Chargers. The Chiefs like their three-tight end formations but their ability to go to them early in the season will be limited because Demetrius Harris only recently returned to practice after breaking his foot. -- Adam Teicher

Oakland Raiders: The Raiders have yet to add a cornerback, which is their least experienced positon. Unless things change quickly, the Raiders will head into the regular season with TJ Carrie, DJ Hayden and Keith McGill as their top cornerbacks. While Carrie was fine, Hayden and McGill struggled this summer. -- Bill Williamson

San Diego Chargers: After two days off, players return to practice Monday to begin preparation for the team's season opener against the Detroit Lions. One focal point for the Chargers will be getting the running game going. The Chargers averaged just 3.1 yards per carry during exhibition play, tied for No. 26 in the NFL. Even though Ndamukong Suh is now in Miami, San Diego faces a Detroit defense that held teams to a league-leading 3.2 yards per carry in 2014. -- Eric D. Williams


Dallas Cowboys: The Cowboys get back to work today at Valley Ranch and will introduce newly acquired running back Christine Michael to their offense for the first time. Normally running backs don't have to take long to get accustomed to schemes but the Cowboys' zone running game banks on precise steps and angles of running backs to succeed. -- Todd Archer

New York Giants: As the Giants begin their week of practice for their regular-season opener, they have questions to answer about the health of wide receiver Victor Cruz, who hasn't practiced in three weeks. Cruz has told people he intends to practice this week and play Sunday, but the Giants will be careful with his rebuilt right knee and the left calf that has been bothering him for the past few weeks. -- Dan Graziano

Philadelphia Eagles: The Eagles have Labor Day off thanks to that Monday night game in Atlanta next week. Players report back to the NovaCare Complex Tuesday for meetings. On Wednesday, they hit the practice field in preparation for the first meaningful game of the season. -- Phil Sheridan

Washington Redskins: Redskins coach Jay Gruden said Trent Murphy will start at the outside linebacker position opposite Ryan Kerrigan, but that comes as only a mild surprise. Murphy worked with the starters all spring and summer (though Junior Galette would have bumped him from that job had he stayed healthy). The question is, how long will Murphy keep that job with rookie Preston Smith ascending. The coaches love Smith's length and size; at some point he'll be the starter. -- John Keim


Chicago Bears: The Bears are not required to release an injury report until midweek, but the team does practice Monday at 9:45 a.m. CT. This is an opportunity to update the health of injured wide receivers Alshon Jeffery (calf), Eddie Royal (hip) and Marquess Wilson (hamstring). Jeffery is the real question mark. The former Pro Bowl receiver has not worked out in front of the media -- outside of playing catch prior to the exhibition finale -- since he hurt his calf on Aug. 12. The Bears have insisted that Jeffery will be ready for Week 1, but he obviously needs to practice for that proclamation to come true. -- Jeff Dickerson

Detroit Lions: The Detroit Lions start practicing Monday for their season opener against San Diego. The thing to watch is whether or not DeAndre Levy, Caraun Reid or Larry Warford end up practicing. Those are the three starters to be most concerned about being healthy against the Chargers. -- Michael Rothstein

Green Bay Packers: James Jones will officially rejoin his old team on Monday for his first workout after signing on Sunday. He's expected to be the No. 3 or No. 4 receiver when the Packers open the regular season at the Bears. -- Rob Demovsky

Minnesota Vikings: As the Vikings get back to work on Monday, the health of center John Sullivan is worth watching. Sullivan hasn't practiced in two weeks with back spasms, though the Vikings have claimed they're just being cautious. If Sullivan were unable to play, it would be a setback for the Vikings as they begin the season next Monday in San Francisco. -- Ben Goessling


Atlanta Falcons: The Falcons made a needed roster move Sunday in claiming offensive tackle Bryce Harris off waivers from the Saints. Depth at tackle was a concern with Tyler Polumbus being the only healthy body behind starters Jake Matthews and Ryan Schraeder. And with Matthews dealing with a back strain, the Falcons needed more insurance in case Matthews is not ready for next Monday night's opener against Philadelphia. -- Vaughn McClure

Carolina Panthers: Defensive tackle Star Lotulelei has been a big part of Carolina's success up front the past two seasons, but he missed all four preseason games with a stress reaction in his foot, which was surgically repaired in January. The Panthers say Lotulelei is on schedule to play in Sunday's opener at Jacksonville, but the 2013 first-round pick hasn't been on the practice field since the first week of training camp. If Lotulelei is on target then Monday's practice will be key to how close he really is to being ready. -- David Newton

New Orleans Saints: The Saints are entering Week 1 with five running backs on the roster -- a sign that C.J. Spiller and/or Khiry Robinson might not be ready for Week 1. Both are expected to return soon from minor injuries, but stay tuned for the first official injury report Wednesday to get a better feel for where they stand this week. -- Mike Triplett

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The most intriguing name on the Bucs' list of waiver claims was quarterback Ryan Griffin. He had been with the Saints and looked sharp in the preseason. The Bucs have rookie Jameis Winston as their starter and Mike Glennon as the backup, but Griffin will get a look as a developmental player. -- Pat Yasinskas


Arizona Cardinals: The Cardinals' three-day weekend continues with the same 53-man roster as it had after cuts on Saturday. Arizona didn't add anyone after claims were announced Sunday. The Cardinals return to practice Tuesday. -- Josh Weinfuss

St. Louis Rams: The Rams actually began game-planning for Seattle a couple of weeks ago, but those efforts have doubled since the end of the preseason. One thing Rams middle linebacker James Laurinaitis believes will be helpful for the Rams is their familiarity with the Seahawks. But with that in mind, the Rams will spend a little extra time this week preparing for Seattle's prized addition, tight end Jimmy Graham. -- Nick Wagoner

San Francisco 49ers: The Niners, with their 53-man roster intact, and a nine-man practice squad still having one opening, reconvene at their Santa Clara facility Monday. Ahmad Brooks, asked to stay away since charges of misdemeanor sexual battery came his way on Aug. 26, will rejoin the team. -- Paul Gutierrez

Seattle Seahawks: Another day of Kam Chancellor watch. Pete Carroll gave the team three days off after the preseason finale but opted to get an extra practice in today. If Chancellor is going to play in Week 1 against the Rams, he'd likely have to show up either today or Wednesday. Otherwise, the Seahawks face the reality of starting the regular season without him. -- Sheil Kapadia