NFL team reports: Spiller gets the call for Bills
Bills: Coach Chan Gailey confirmed that rookie running back C.J. Spiller will start Sunday’s opener vs. Miami. Gailey’s decision was based on Spiller getting more snaps during preseason as Fred Jackson and Marshawn Lynch recovered from injuries. Another factor: Spiller’s dynamic nfl jerseys
playmaking skills are a huge part of Gailey’s offense. Spiller is expected to get touches as a runner and as a receiver out of the backfield from the slot. He won’t be alone in the backfield, though. Jackson, last year’s starter, is expected to play Sunday after missing most of preseason with a broken hand. Lynch also is healthy after a sprained ankle. The coaches don’t want to overwork Spiller, especially early in the season, but with the depth at running back that shouldn’t be an issue.
Raiders: QB Jason Campbell (neck, wrist) practiced and pronounced himself healthy enough to play Sunday at Tennessee. He sat out some practices and the final exhibition game afer being injured in an exhibition game Aug. 28. Both injuries have healed to the point where he feels as if he can play without any lingering effects. Backup QB Bruce Gradkowski performed the best of the three quarterbacks in exhibition games and is ready if needed. The Raiders are fortunate in that Gradkowski is experienced enough and talented enough to play at a level comparable to Campbell.
Cardinals: Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald practiced fully and didn't seem to be slowed by a knee injury that caused him to miss most of the preseason. Fitzgerald said his conditioning is fine, though coach Ken Whisenhunt said it appears Fitzgerald gets winded easier than he did before the injury. Fitzgerald said he has been able to run all of his routes without any trouble.
Chargers: Outside linebacker Shawne Merriman returned to practice but only to do position drills, and it is becoming increasingly apparent he will not play Monday at Kansas City. The coaches are willing to sacrifice one game in the hope he will be healthy for 15 (or more). Merriman had Indianapolis Colts jersey
run on the side for almost a week but had not practiced since Aug. 17. Larry English will start in his place, and Antwan Applewhite figures to take snaps as well.
Ravens: Wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh began practicing with the team, in Baltimore’s first full practice in preparation for the Monday night game vs. the Jets. Houshmandzadeh will be the No. 3 receiver behind Anquan Boldin and Derrick Mason. Houshmandzadeh lacks great speed but still can find holes in zone defenses and still blocks well. There won’t be many No. 3 cornerbacks or safeties who can cover him in the slot. Houshmandzadeh is familiar with the Ravens’ offense and knows all three-receiver sets well.
Buccaneers: QB Josh Freeman's status for Sunday's opener against Cleveland is still not certain. The Bucs remain confident Freeman will start, but he was shelved Wednesday -- one day after returning to practice for the first time since he broke his right thumb in the second exhibition game. Freeman took all the snaps normally allotted to the starting quarterback in Tuesday's workout, but his right thumb was bandaged and he didn't participate in passing drills Wednesday. Freeman was planning to play Sunday without protection on his thumb and that may still happen. The team hopes Freeman will need only occasional rest to keep his thumb healthy enough for game days.
Colts: The team Dallas Cowboys jersey
waived backup offensive tackle Tony Ugoh, ending a three-year association during which Ugoh never fulfilled expectations. Indianapolis selected Ugoh in the second round of the 2007 draft, yielding a 2008 first-round pick to get into position to select him. The team felt more comfortable releasing Ugoh after left tackle Charlie Johnson practiced Wednesday for the first time since spraining his right foot Aug. 6. Johnson could play Sunday, although the coaches might decide the foot needs more time to heal.