The biggest position battle news comes from the Jaguars, who might soon find themselves in a full blown quarterback controversy after Blake Bortles put up another impressive showing on Thursday night against the Bears. Bortles, the No. 3 overall pick, came into the game in the second quarter and finished in the fourth quarter with 160 passing yards, including some impressive throws on the run and and down the field.
The Jaguars maintain that veteran Chad Henne is going to be their Week 1 starter when the team visits the Eagles on the road, but head coach Gus Bradley announced that Bortles would get playing time with the first team in the Jaguars' next preseason game.
"Our whole philosophy is to get our rookies in with the 1s and I believe this week with Blake, we have to get that done to see how he handles it," Bradley told reporters on Friday afternoon. "And I would like to see him get in the game [with the 1s], too."
There was a single preseason game on Thursday night, but both the Bears and Jaguars suffered a few key injuries. For Chicago, first-round pick Kyle Fuller and training camp/preseason star Zach Miller suffered injuries, forcing them out of the game early on. Fuller rolled his ankle on the opening kickoff and did not return, though reports surfaced later that his X-rays came back negative.
Miller on the other hand was coming off a six-catch, 68-yard performance including two touchdowns. He's previously played for the Jaguars from 2009-11, but has never been able to stay healthy. He's also not to be confused with the Seahawks tight end of the same name.
The #Bears waive TE Zach Miller following his foot surgery. If he clears waivers, he’ll be placed on Injured Reserve. Bears want to keep him— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) August 15, 2014
On the Jaguars' end, the team lost Austin Pasztor, their starting right tackle, for at least a month due to a broken fourth metacarpal. Pasztor elected to have surgery to fix his finger, so he'll be out at least a month. SB Nation's Jaguars blog, Big Cat Country, doesn't feel this is a huge loss for the Jaguars, because their backup swing tackle has starting experience.
...Saunders was taken to the hospital & is being monitored as a precaution. He won't travel to CIN and is out for Saturday's game.— New York Jets (@nyjets) August 15, 2014
Even with the signing of Eric Decker, the Jets have a need at the wide receiver position, so they picked Jalen Saunders in the fourth round of the 2014 NFL Draft. Saunders was in a car accident on Friday and was taken to the hospital as a precautionary measure, so he'll miss the Jets' game on Saturday.
Bucs announce that Charles Sims will be out 12-14 weeks following ankle surgery tomorrow. So, that's bad.— Sander Philipse (@Bucs_Nation) August 15, 2014
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have had a rough preseason so far on the offensive side of the ball, most notably on the offensive line, but the team took a big hit on Friday with the loss of rookie running back Charles Sims. Sims was in line to be the primary backup to Doug Martin and was off to quick start in the Bucs' first preseason game, but will now be on injured reserve with a designation to return for the majority of the 2014 season.
Jim Irsay decision could come before regular season
Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay has yet to be suspended for his arrest during the NFL offseason, but Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com believes that a decision from NFL commissioner Rodger Goodell could come within the next three weeks before the regular season kicks off.
There were early reports that Irsay could be suspended anywhere from six to eight games for his arrest over the summer, despite the fact that it is Irsay's first offense. It has been nearly two full months without a word from Goodell on discipline for Irsay, but typically the league has levied all discipline prior to the start of the regular season.
Jerry Jones in no rush to extend
The Cowboys roster is in a bit of a mess right now, as is their salary cap situation, but the team would still like to lock up star wide receiver Dez Bryant. Bryant, who's in the final year of his rookie contract, has caught at least 90 passes for over 1,200 yards and 12 touchdowns in each of the past two seasons. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones refuses to talk publicly about where the team is at with a contract extension.
"I don't talk about these contracts that are in this particular stage, which is a negotiation, whether it be preliminary or whether it be at some advanced stage in the negotiation, so let's just say we're working towards those kinds of things," Jones said on KRLD, via the Dallas Morning News.
embraces being a bully
Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith has always been a tough player and not one to backdown on the football field, even in practice. During his time with the Panthers and Ravens, Smith has been in a handful of altercations on the field with opposing defensive backs and sometimes his own teammates. In Baltimore, however, Smith is embracing being a bully.
"When I look in the defensive meeting room and I see ‘Play like a Raven,' Baltimore Ravens, ‘We build bullies,'" Smith told Brian Mitchell. "That's what I'm talking about ... We take your lunch box. We take your sandwich. We take your juice box. We take your apple sauce. And we take your spork and we break it. And we leave you with an empty lunch. That's the Baltimore Raven way. That's the bully way. And that's football."