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Miami's wide receiver group has been a hot topic debate during training camp and the debate continued following the Dolphins final preseason game. Members at SB Nation's Dolphins Blog The Phinsider made their picks for the final wide receiver corps.
"My guess at the WRs of the future
Bess, Hartline, Matthews, Moore, Gates plus an acquisition. Fuller and perhaps Cunningham to the practice squad.
I don't see that Naanee has done anything but showcase a remarkable capacity for dropping passes." - nickzi
"My guess - and this situation could change quickly
Davone Bess and Brian Hartline are on the 2012 roster no matter what.
Legedu Naanee is only here if we don't acquire a veteran to replace him - either via signing a free agent (Jabbar Gaffney) or by trading for someone (James Jones). He's earning more money than the other receivers "on the bubble," and he is under-producing for the most part.
For the bottom 3, I think we go with Rishard Matthews, Marlon Moore, and Clyde Gates.
I think Gates is saved by his raw speed, utility on special teams, and potential as a raw receiver only entering his second year.
I think Matthews has made the most of his opportunities - he's pieced together 2 good games out of 4 pre-season total - more than anybody else.
And Moore is the guy who does all the little things right - routes, blocking, and special teams - even if his receptions total isn't impressive.
Any of those 3 can be replaced by a waiver-wire pickup. My guess is that it's Matthews to the practice squad first if Ireland finds someone better because Moore and Gates are ineligible for practice squad, so cutting them means they're off the team.
Roberto Wallace is gone - practice squad ineligible, inconsistent in practice ("Ankle-weights"), and only 1 good game in pre-season." - MartinH04
The entire discussion wasn't about wide receivers, at least one member isn't very optimistic about the upcoming season.
it's going to be a long season...by the way what the hell is wrong with Matt Moore, he just doesn't look confident at all." - J4fins
The Dallas Cowboys finished their preseason in style with a 30-13 win against the Miami Dolphins, but following the game, Cowboy fans weren't too concerned with the result and were instead looking ahead to the final roster cuts.
Over at SB Nation's Dallas Cowboys blog, Blogging The Boys, community members offered their opinion on the state of the team, and which players should make the 53-man roster.
"Jerome needs to find a spot for Lemon, Silva, and Dunbar" - starmesh23
"I like the direction of our team and overall attitude towards doing business. Far cry from the Wade or Campo years. Tip of the cap to JG for instilling confidence and implementing change. There is something in the air about this team." - Rummob
It wasn't all positive, however, as a few members were not too happy with the play of Dan Connor.
"Woah. Connor seems to be getting progressively worse in games; especially in coverage. While I don't blame him for a big run by the Dolphins that many did (he was engaged by a guard and couldn't get off the block but appeared to be just bumbling) in space is a different story. He looked lost in a zone coverage that pushed Dallas back to within it's own five. Last two games we've seen him embarassed in pass coverage. I can't see him getting cut as some wondered; Jerry gave that man a $2.7 million signing bonus." - KD Drummond
"Dan Connor has looked so bad
We better not be paying that much for that type of player. He looks like a turtle in coverage. Might as well have kept Brooking and James in there." - MuensterM0nster
We'll know whether Connor and others make the cut soon, as teams must set their 53-man rosters by Sept. 2.
Most NFL teams use the final game of the preseason to get one last, long look at their backups, but with Hakeem Nicks returning to action for the New York Giants, Tom Coughlin sent out his first-team offense for most of the opening half on Wednesday night. In New York's 6-3 win over the New England Patriots, Nicks caught only one ball for 6 yards but proved that his surgically repaired foot is fully recovered.
Nicks broke his foot back in May, and missed the entire preseason prior to Wednesday night. Along with Victor Cruz, Nicks is expected to form one of the most fearsome receiver duos in the NFL. In 2011, Nicks caught 76 passes for 1,192 yards and seven touchdowns.
The Giants will kick off their season in the NFL's opening game on Wednesday, Sept. 5 vs. the Dallas Cowboys.
However, the Patriots had plenty to be happy about, including Jermaine Cunningham's performance. As Pats Pulpit points out, Cunningham may very well have been playing for his job. If that was indeed the case, Cunningham certainly kept it with a pair of sacks and multiple pressures throughout the night.
Cunningham is an intriguing player with great measurables who just hasn't made a consistent impact up to this point. The 24-year-old Bronx native only has one sack to his credit in 24 NFL games after being drafted in the second round in 2010.
Regardless, Cunningham played like a man bent on making an impact on Wednesday evening, something head coach Bill Belichick has to be thrilled about.
The Cowboys rested their starters, with Stephen McGee starting at quarterback in place of Tony Romo. McGee finished 9-of-18 for 124 yards. The offensive star for Dallas was rookie running back Lance Dunbar. After rushing for just one total yard during the first thee preseason games, Dunbar led the Cowboys with 105 yards on 15 carries, including a 58-yard touchdown run in the third quarter.
With the loss, the Dolphins finished 0-4 in the preseason. Starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill started the game for Miami in his final preparation for the season opener and looked sharp, completing 5-of-7 passes for 35 yards while also leading the Dolphins to a field goal on his second drive.
The teams will now make their final cuts and begin to prepare for the regular season. Dallas opens its season on Sept. 5, 2012, at the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants, while Miami will open the season at the Houston Texans on Sept. 9.
There's really not much more to add, is there?
Roy Helu of the Washington Redskins had a big game, rushing for 90 yards and two touchdowns in a 30-3 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The New York Giants defeated the New England Patriots Wednesday night by a score of 6-3. It was a potential Super Bowl preview, but due to the nature of Week 4 preseason games, it didn't feel like one.
The Patriots had a 3-0 lead at halftime, and it was tied at 3-3 after three quarters. A 32-yard field goal from Lawrence Tynes won the game for New York with 1:07 left in the fourth.
Tannehill went up against Cowboys third-string quarterback Stephen McGee, completing 6-of-8 passes for 41 yards, while McGee went just 2-for-8 for 10 yards in the first quarter. Tannehill led the Dolphins all the way down to the 3-yard line, but Miami ended up settling for a field goal.
The targets that Tannehill is throwing to are none other than the likes of Legedu Naanee, Marlon Moore and Marcus Thigpen, plus several other wide receivers with whom fans are probably not familiar. Naanee is the leading receiver of that group, with a pair of receptions for 19 yards. He was targeted four times.
Tannehill also has avoided being sacked while playing behind a group of offensive linemen that are unlikely to survive past Friday, when NFL teams must cut down their roster to 53 players.
Fans expect to see the second team starting the fourth and final preseason game, in which resting the starters is sort of a time-honored NFL tradition. That was not the case at FedEx Field on Wednesday night, where fans were treated to the third-string quarterbacks when the Washington Redskins took on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The Bucs rolled out Brett Ratliff, who threw two interceptions and was 7-for-12 midway through the third quarter. Washington at least gave fans a look at one of this year's draft picks -- quarterback Kirk Cousins. He was 15-for-27 with 222 yards and an interception with 10 minutes left in the third quarter.
The Redskins surprised fans and media members alike when they plucked the former Michigan St. Spartans quarterback out of the fourth round of the draft, having selected Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III three rounds earlier.
The only teams to open with their starting quarterbacks were the New York Giants and the Miami Dolphins. Rookie Ryan Tannehill was in the game to get a few more reps before Miami's season starts, while Eli Manning started against the Patriots to work with top receiver Hakeem Nicks, who was seeing his first preseason action after being sidelined with injury.
We remind you: Fans pay full price for preseason games, the same cost as the regular season.
Here he is following that sack, bloody lip and all. Does it look like he's having a flashback to his Houston Texans days, when his name became synonymous with battered quarterback syndrome?
For more on the Giants, check out Big Blue View.
While his quarterback counterpart Tom Brady sits on the sidelines, New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning got four drives worth of preseason reps on Wednesday night in his team's game against the New England Patriots, though he ended his outing without much to show for it.
In four first-half drives for the Giants, Manning went 4-of-8 for 29 yards, leading no drives down field of significance, as each series resulted in a three-and-out scenario for the Giants and produced no points. The only highlight of Manning's night was a 15-yard completion to speedy wide receiver Victor Cruz.
Backup David Carr has since come in to relieve the two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback.
Overall it's been a fairly quiet but reassuring preseason for Manning. Last week, he went 17-of-21 and threw for 148 yards, one touchdown and zero interceptions in a 21-17 loss to the Chicago Bears. Most importantly, he's looked healthy and stayed healthy, and appears ready for the regular season.
We can only use the "It's only preseason" excuse for a few more days. Pretty soon, these replacement referees are going to be feeling some real pressure when they blow a call.
The replacement refs are putting on a real show in the giants vs pats game. Just took 10 minutes to figure out an illegal shift. Literally.— BleedingGreenNation (@BleedingGreen) August 30, 2012
Replacement fans booing the replacement refs who are calling penalties on the replacement players.— Tom Rock (@TomRock_Newsday) August 30, 2012
Watching Patriots Giants and starting to feel bad for these replacement refs. They are struggling and slowing game down— Steve Muench (@SteveMuenchESPN) August 30, 2012
the kids call it an "epic fail". it's the only way to describe the replacement refs handling of a penalty on a punt in Pats/Giants game— trey wingo (@wingoz) August 30, 2012
The replacement refs seem particularly ... um ... confused tonight. And the crowd is really letting them have it.— Ralph Vacchiano (@RVacchianoNYDN) August 30, 2012
The Washington Redskins are not very exciting without Robert Griffin III. (Surprise.) Head coach Mike Shanahan left his prized rookie on the bench in the Redskins' final preseason game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Not to be outdone, Bucs head coach Greg Schiano went so far as to use his backup punter and long snapper.
Wednesday's game did still have a few notable things happening, though, including the Redskins' ceaseless search for a stable backfield rotation.
Evan Royster got the starting nod at running back on Wednesday. Through the early part of the second quarter, Royster had 28 yards on eight carries and a touchdown. He also caught a pair of passes for 15 yards. Royster and Alfred Morris are vying for Shanahan's eye as part of a rotation with Tim Hightower and Roy Helu.
Washington's newest player, kicker Billy Cundiff, kicked a pair of field goals prior to Royster's touchdown.
The Redskins' second-team defense opened the game with a sack on the Buccaneers' first play from scrimmage. Third-string quarterback Brett Ratliff made the start for Tampa Bay.
The Patriots and Giants are off to a slow start at MetLife Stadium, as the two teams continue on in this Super Bowl "rematch". There have been no points scored, as the game moves into the second quarter.
Give Tom Coughlin and the Giants credit, though. Eli Manning has played into the second quarter, which is longer than many people thought he would. The fourth preseason game is traditionally one in which your starters play a series or two. Hakeem Nicks is getting some preseason action, so he's likely part of the reason Manning is still in.
The Giants are expected to play their first team offense for at least one series in the final game of the preseason, and receiver Hakeem Nicks will be on the field with them. The receiver has stated that he is 100 percent healthy and ready to go as the Giants face their final preparations for next week's showdown against the Dallas Cowboys. Ahmad Bradshaw (hand) and G Chris Snee (leg) are not expected to play.
The Giants defense, however, will be missing nearly every player on the first team with Jason Pierre-Paul, Terrell Thomas, Bruce Johnson, Osi Umenyiora and Justin Tuck all sitting out of tonight's game.
The Patriots, meanwhile, are expected to play just one starter tonight with RT Sebastian Vollmer taking the field to give his ailing back a test in a game situation. Patriots quarterback Tom Brady spent warmups running routes and playing defensive back, apparently, as he won't be suiting up for tonight's game.
The NFL closes out the preseason with a rematch of the last Super Bowl.
The Bucs and Redskins square off in the final week of the NFL's preseason.
The Cowboys and Dolphins square off in their final preseason contests as both prepare for the regular season.
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