Giants place Jim Sorgi on injured reserve

Jim Sorgi hoped to return and play in the preseason finale for the New York Giants on Thursday.

Now, he’s not going to play this season. Not for the Giants anyway. The team placed the reserve quarterback on injured reserver today with a torn muscle in his right throwing shoulder, meaning Rhett Bomar will be the backup to Eli Manning, at least for the time being.

Sorgi, who previously served as an understudy to Eli’s brother Peyton in Indianapolis, was injured in the first preseason game against the New York Jets. He saw his opportunity slipping away but could not recover in time.

To get to the 75-man roster limit, the Giants also placed wide receiver Sinorice Moss and linebacker Adrian Tracy on injured reserve. Offensive lineman Kevin Boothe was moved to the reserve physically unable to perform list, wiping him out for at least the first six weeks of the season and wide receiver Nyan Boateng was waived.

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No money down: Broncos bucking

With the NFL operating without a Salary Cap for the first time since 1993, there were rules in place to offset the expected bounce in player spending (which never happened). The most impactful rule, in my opinion, changed the number of years required for unrestricted free agency from four to six, taking 212 players off the market and saving teams tens of millions of dollars in player spending.

The Broncos entered free agency with five of their prime players in this limbo restricted free agent (RFA) group. Now all five have been addressed without any money spent in 2010 beyond their initial RFA valuation in March.

The traded

Keeping talented yet discontented Brandon Marshall under his RFA tender would have certainly caused him to ratchet up the volume on his unhappiness with his contract and Josh McDaniels. The April trade to the Dolphins eliminated any further obligation to Marshall. Also traded was tight end Tony Scheffler, a player the Broncos had been shopping for two years.

The long-term extended

Chris KuperICONKuper got a $25 million extension with no new money in 2010.

Chris Kuper, the Broncos' right guard, signed an extension worth $25 million in new money, with $13.25 million guaranteed.

Game-changing pass rusher Elvis Dumervil signed a record-setting $61 million contract with a $43 million “rolling guarantee” that triggers in February.

The Broncos will pay no new 2010 money to Kuper of Dumervil beyond their RFA tender valuations of $2.521 million.

The short-term extended

Starting quarterback Kyle Orton agreed to a one-year extension adding $9 million to his existing contract for the 2011 season. As with Dumervil, there is no new money in 2010 and Orton continues to play under his $2.6 million RFA tender valuation.

The Broncos did not spend one penny more in 2010 on these five talented players than they were scheduled to spend on March 4 when they applied the tenders, actually saving $2.5 million and $1.177 million that were applied to Marshall and Scheffler before trading those tenders to other teams.

For a team with cash issues, the Broncos handled them adroitly in this unique 2010. In the midst of the NFL declaring to the union that player costs have spiraled away from them, the Broncos may be an example for both sides to use in how they operated in 2010.

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Steve Smith close to making return for Panthers

Steve Smith continues to point to the season opener Sept. 12 against the New York Giants as his projected date to return from that inconvenient broken left arm he suffered playing flag football.

He’s been working on his conditioning in training camp with the Carolina Panthers, and an offense that has done next to nothing in preseason is going to need its biggest star.

“Have not diverted from the path at hand, which is Week 1 in New York,” Smith told Darin Gantt of the Charlotte Observer. “And that’s been the focal point, and that’s kind of where it’s going to start.

“This Monday, cardio-wise is a lot better than last Monday, significantly,” he said. “That’s a relief mentally for me. That’s a little bit more reps I can go before coming out cardio-wise, so that was good. Last week I was hurting, my lungs were hurting, chest was burning. It was like the last thousand meters” of a marathon.”

It is unlikely Smith will play on Thursday in the preseason finale at Pittsburgh. The Panthers need him badly as the lone threat in their passing game, and they’re fortunate there have been no setbacks to this point.

Carolina has a talented pair of running backs and the Panthers are going to face a slew of eight-man fronts until quarterback Matt Moore and Smith can prove to be an effective combination. Unfortunately, they haven’t been able to do much work toward that goal this summer.

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Malcolm Kelly in precarious position with Redskins

Could Malcolm Kelly be at the end of the line with the Washington Redskins?

That certainly is the way Jason Reid of the Washington Post is reading the situation. As Reid details, after Kelly’s latest episode with the pulled hamstring the Redskins have three options: keep him on the 53-man roster with the hope that at some point he’ll be healded up and ready to go, placed him on injured reserve and try again next season or waive him with the intention of reaching an injury settlement.

Kelly, a former second-round draft pick with terrific hands, can’t keep his lower body straight long enough to stay on the field and actually get evaluated by coach Mike Shanahan and his staff.

Kelly had been held out since the start of training camp with a “severe left hamstring injury” and re-injured himself on Monday, a development that likely puts him weeks away from even being able to plot a return to the field.

The Redskins are saying that Kelly will be sidelined indefinitely and that puts him in real jeopardy of losing a job. Keep in mind that Shanahan and general manager Bruce Allen had nothing to do with the draft pick. If healthy, he could turn into a productive player. In the big picture, the Redskins are desperate for help at the position but if a guy can’t help them this season, well, Kelly might not be long for the burgundy and gold.

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Josh Freeman has soft cast removed from broken thumb

Josh Freeman remains right on schedule to return in time for the season opener Sept. 12 against the Cleveland Browns.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers had the soft cast protecting his fractured right thumb removed on Monday, according to Ira Kaufman of the Tampa Tribune. He was injured when his hand hit the top of a helmet in a game against the Kansas City Chiefs 10 days ago.

“Definitely, I'm making progress,” said Freeman, who is now wearing a splint to protect the thumb. “We've got it immobilized and it's definitely healing.”

The hope is that Freeman will return to the practice field next week so he can fully participate in preparations for the Browns.

“Everything's going the right way for him,” coach Raheem Morris said. “Everything's on schedule. I'm not supposed to say this, but Josh was out there gripping a ball the other day.”

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Behm, DeCamillis settle up with Jerry Jones

Paralyzed Dallas Cowboys scout Rich Behm and special teams coach Joe DeCamillis have settled lawsuits against companies owned by Jerry Jones.

Behm and DeCamillis were engaged in litigation against companies run by the Cowboys owner as a result of the collapse of the team’s practice facility more than a year ago. Behm was paralyzed from the waist and below and DeCamillis suffered a neck injury.

According to Aman Betheja of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Behm and DeCamillis will each receive $5 million from Jones’ companies. That is in addition to $24 million in settlements from Summit Structures LLC of Allentown, Pa., and its parent company, Canadian-based Cover-All Building Systems.

According to their Dallas-based attorney Frank Branson, Behm will receive $24.5 million total and DeCamillis will get $9.5 million. DeCamillis suffered broken vertebra in his neck when the practice facility collapsed in high winds on May 2, 2009.

Behm and DeCamillis expect to remain employed by the Cowboys. The team declined comment, according to the report. They were suing Blue Star Development Co. and Cowboys Center Ltd., both companies held by Jones.

“Mr. Jones and his organization treated Rich and Joe like they were family,” Branson told the Star-Telegram.

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Suh not going to apologize for the way he plays

Ndamukong Suh could not care less what Seneca Wallace thinks about his play.

And the Detroit Lions defensive tackle isn’t about to change his style on the field. Of course, he might have a big ol’ fine coming his way very soon from the NFL.

Suh was called for a personal foul for a horse collar tackle of Cleveland Browns quarterback Jake Delhomme. He tossed Delhomme to the turf in the game last Saturday and Wallace has called for a suspension of the rookie and second overall pick in the draft.

“It's unfortunate that he thinks that,” Suh said, according to Chris McCoskey of the Detroit News. “But it's his opinion, which he's entitled to. I just want to go out and play hard. That's my main focus and that's all I am going to do. It's not my job to worry about whether I hit a guy too hard or not.”

The NFL is expected to act on Suh’s hit in the coming days. Given that he’s a rookie, he will likely be slapped with a good fine and be sent on his way. But they’ll be watching him now.

“I was just going after the ball and trying to make a play,” Suh said. “And that's what I will continue to do. I had no clue he let go of the ball. I just know as a defensive lineman, we want the quarterbacks and the offensive linemen to feel our presence.

“I know this is a different league and you get fined for these things, but I don't know,” he said. “That's their decision and something that I am going to have to live with. But I can't change the way I play. If I do, then I am doing a disservice to my teammates.

“Obviously, I am not going to go wild and hit quarterbacks in the head as hard as I can or try to do something stupid. But I am going to continue to play hard. I've slung quarterbacks before and got a personal foul and I've slung quarterbacks before and didn't get a personal foul. That's what the referee is out there for.”

Lions coach Jim Schwartz said he has spoken to Suh and doesn’t want the prized centerpiece of his defense to lose his aggression. A big fine might make him think twice about rag-dolling a quarterback next time though.

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The impact of Dixon's night in Denver

Going into the Sunday night game in Denver, I was excited to watch Dennis Dixon get some work with the Steelers' first team offense. He does have a sense of excitement when we talk about the QB position in this league. And, from what I have heard, the QB has had a good camp in Pittsburgh.

But, just as I wrote in my game notes yesterday, he struggled against the Broncos. The pick in the red zone is a drive killer and throwing a ball late to the opposite numbers on a curl route won’t work in the NFL against veteran secondary talent. Bottom line: poor decision making. Can’t have that and win, and definitely can’t have that when the head coach is trying to pick a week one starter with Ben Roethlisberger suspended for at least the first four games of the season.

Dennis DixonICONThe Steelers' Dennis Dixon.

Mike Tomlin has yet to make a call publicly on who the No.1 guy will be for next Sunday’s opener, but it would be easy to put money on Byron Leftwich right now. Is that too easy? Probably, but in this league, turnovers stand out.

However, it brings up something we should discuss when it comes to QB play. Anytime there is competition under center, coaching staffs take everything into account. As much as we want to compare preseason stats (which never tell the real story), it is much more involved. Every throw in practice is charted, along with how each QB responds to different situations in camp: 7-on-7, blitz period, 11-on-11 team work, etc. One of the main reasons every drill in practice is put on film—to evaluate QBs throughout the entire process. They want to see technique improve from footwork to their reads in the passing tree. Dixon, Leftwich, Charlie Batch and Roethlisberger.

And, in reality, preseason games are just as extension of training camp—only with more on the line. Game situations allow coaches to evaluate how QBs respond to play calling, different defensive looks than they see in practice, pressure and how they handle the pocket. Can they make the basic throws? Can they finish drives? Do they protect the football? There isn’t a lot of game planning that goes into a football game in August, and up until this last week, the offense will see very few scout-team looks during practice. It is more about basic fundamentals and controling the offense.

Tomlin has to see positive production, and he didn’t get that from Dixon on Sunday. I wanted to see the young QB make the throws, put points on the board and use that athletic ability to create plays down the field. All that work for one big opportunity that didn’t play out.

One game to judge a player? No, it goes deeper than that. But, when you are given the chance to see valuable reps in practice or in a preseason game, you have to show up. And, in my opinion, Dixon isn't ready to take over this offense.

Let's see what Tomlin does.

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Bears waive QB Matt Gutierrez

The Chicago Bears are down to needing to make one roster move to reach the 75-man limit by Tuesday afternoon.

The team cleared three spots today when quarterback Matt Gutierrez, wide receiver Zeke Markshausen and defensive end Maurice Evans were waived. The Bears signed Gutierrez as a camp arm after No. 2 quarterback Caleb Hanie suffered a sprained AC joint in his right shoulder in the preseason opener at San Diego Aug. 14. When veteran Todd Collins was added, that pretty much sealed Gutierrez’s fate, and Hanie returned to practice today on a limited basis.

The Bears will get another spot because running back Harvey Unga is on injured reserve. While being on IR counted for one of the spots for the 80-man roster, it will not count against the 75-man roster.

The fifth and final move could be placing fullback Will Ta’ufo’ou on injured reserve. He suffered a sprained MCL in his right knee in Saturday’s preseason loss to the Arizona Cardinals at Soldier Field. Stay tuned.

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Report: Cardinals could wind up cutting Leinart

Matt Leinart knows what is coming.

So does everyone else.

Ken Whisenhunt hasn’t gotten around to announcing yet that Derek Anderson will be the team’s starting quarterback. We explained here on Sunday how this is a no-brainer. While Leinart was measured with his comments on the issue last week when he was replaced as the starter just for the third preseason game at Chicago, he was more forthright today.

“I feel like I've outplayed the competition, training camp, preseason,” Leinart said, according to Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic. “I think my play speaks about that. For me, this goes beyond the football field.

“The philosophy is you want the best 11 guys to play. I feel like I've proved that with my performance. I don't really know what else I could possibly do, so it probably goes beyond football. For me, I just really want an explanation and I haven't been given one.”

Of course, he could ask the coach for an explanation. But he’s yet to do that. Whisenhunt has previously said there is no timetable for announcing his decision. The team didn’t pull the plug on Leinart before facing the Bears because they were thinking about making a move though. They were making a move and that reality seems to have settled in with Leinart.

“I've done all I can do at this point,” Leinart said. “I can't really worry about anything I can't control. I'll just keep grinding and keep working.”

Somers speculates that the Cardinals might cut bait with Leinart all together if he isn’t the starter, which as we’ve explained, he won’t be. The Cardinals have a pair of rookies in Max Hall and John Skelton and they like both of them as developmental projects. They probably wouldn’t like turning to either one of them as a No. 2 if something happened to Anderson though.

Things sure will get interesting if Leinart is launched. Stay tuned.

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