Quarterbacks continue along recovery trail
From impressive rookie QBs to the amazing recoveries of a number of injured signal callers, John Clayton checks in with some observations.
Lelie went to the Falcons in a three-way deal that sent halfback T.J. Duckett from Atlanta to Washington and Redskins draft picks to the Broncos. The pick could be a straight third-rounder or could involve swapping first-round picks and other picks.
More than anything else, the deal signifies that teams truly are getting into their regular-season mind-set. Other than Deion Branch's holdout, this was only a modest year for contract holdouts. Only 18 draft choices reported late, and Cardinals quarterback Matt Leinart was the only healthy draft choice to miss more than two weeks of camp. Holdouts didn't impact too many camps.
Two waves of cuts are coming as teams set their rosters for the start of the regular season. There are just six teams (Giants, Bills, Steelers, Raiders, Seahawks and Saints) still training away from their home facilities, and all of them will return home by the end of the week.
Here are my 10 main observations from training camps and preseason action:
Vince Young of the Titans has a lot of work to do with his game, but he will be used as Billy Volek's backup and should get a series or two in early regular-season games. Jeff Fisher loves his mobility and accuracy in what will be a running offense. Despite Leinart's holdout, he has picked up the offense enough to be Kurt Warner's backup. The guy was given the freedom to call audibles in minicamp. He's that smart.
The big surprises have been Kellen Clemens of the Jets, Tarvaris Jackson of the Vikings and Bruce Gradkowski of the Buccaneers. Patrick Ramsey really has to pick up his game to beat out Clemens to be the Jets' No. 2. Jackson moves the offense smoothly with a strong arm and good legs and is jumping ahead of Mike McMahon. Gradkowski is the ultimate surprise and looks like a good fit in Jon Gruden's offense.
Although there are still some questions about Palmer's status, the other quarterbacks with injury questions seem to be answering them. Daunte Culpepper seems to have fully recovered from his triple knee ligament surgery. Drew Brees of the Saints and Chad Pennington of the Jets are back from their shoulder surgeries in starting roles. Brian Griese is back from his knee reconstruction and has looked better so far than projected Bears starter Rex Grossman. Ben Roethlisberger shows no side effects from his motorcycle accident and is expanding the passing playbook in the Steelers' offense.
It has been an amazing offseason for quarterback comebacks.
J.P. Losman has all but won the Bills quarterback job. That's not a surprise. He is faster and has better arm strength than Kelly Holcomb and Craig Nall. Plus, new offensive coordinator Steve Fairchild wanted a stronger-armed quarterback for his version of the Rams offense.
As for the Raiders, it's hard to call their quarterback situation a controversy. Neither quarterback is lighting it up. Aaron Brooks probably will win the job because he's more mobile, but he completed only two passes in his first two starts before rebounding with a 10-for-17 effort in Oakland's third game. Former Raider Jerry Rice said this past weekend that Brooks doesn't have any chemistry going with Randy Moss and needs to get something going. But Andrew Walter has been just as inconsistent. Brooks wins by default.
New York Giants
John Clayton is a senior writer for ESPN.com.
MORE NFL HEADLINES
- Falcons RB Jackson likely out, sources say
- Harbaugh's brother: Family staying out of it
- Peyton intent on playing for Broncos in 2015
- Aaron Claus: QB buys Packers linemen TVs