The regular season of the NFL kicks off on Thursday night with Pittsburgh playing at New England. Now that the preseason is behind us, we look at some of the highlights, starting with the Steelers.
Will Johnson returns as a starter at fullback for the Steelers. With HB Le’Veon Bell suspended and the tight ends and other backs having injury concerns, we could see the versatile Johnson at halfback, fullback and tight end early on in the Regular Season. Terence Garvin is listed as a third-string LILB.
Tavon Austin is one of the Rams’ starters at receiver while Stedman Bailey is listed as fourth behind Austin, Kenny Britt and Brian Quick. Don’t take Bailey’s position as a sign he won’t play much. He’ll be on the field every time the team goes to four wide receivers and on third downs where they value his precise route running and pass catching ability.
Will Clarke bulked up during the offseason hoping to climb up the Bengals depth chart at defensive end. When head coach Marvin Lewis released the Week 1 depth chart on Tuesday, Clarke finds himself listed as the third-string right defensive end.
We figured that while the team made efforts to get rookie Mario Alford involved in the offense and on special teams during the preseason, that come the Regular Season, it would take time for him to get touches. That looks to be the case. The Bengals list him as the fourth punt returner, third kickoff returner and third-string receiver. Pacman Jones will continue to be the primary punt returner as well as the starting corner on the right side.
While Charles Sims produced in Tampa Bay’s passing game–as expected–he struggled in the run game. His push for the starting job came up short and will start the season behind Doug Martin.
Rookie Shaq Riddick will start the season as the Cardinals’ third-string weak outside linebacker. For the Titans, Quinton Spain is listed as the primary backup at both guard positions. In Seattle, rookie Mark Glowinski will backup J.R. Sweezy at RG. Don Barclay will be Brian Bulaga’s backup at RT in Green Bay. JT Thomas is the Giants starting WLB.