Sunday Roundup: Clemens, Fairley, Bortles

The preseason has reached its unofficial halfway point, and teams must trim their rosters to 75 players in just over a week from now. As position competitions continue to smolder and as bubble players strive to prove themselves in preseason contests, let’s take a look at some notes from around the league:

  • Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean offers some lessons learned from the Titans‘ second preseason game against the Saints. He notes that Travis Coons‘ accuracy has made the kicking competition with Maikon Bonani much more interesting than anticipated, and while return specialist Marc Mariani still faces an uphill battle to make the club, his returns on Saturday night have kept him in the picture.
  • Jamison Hensley of believes the Ravens should keep starting corners Lardarius Webb and Jimmy Smith on the shelf until the regular season opener against the Bengals. Baltimore has been “snakebitten” at the cornerback position and Hensley believes the team’s best bet is to hope that a decent player gets released as the preseason rolls on. He writes that, if free agents like Asante Samuel and Dunta Robinson could help, they would have jobs by now.
  • Kevin Acee of U-T San Diego writes that the Chargers are thrilled to have Kellen Clemens as Philip Rivers‘ backup, as they are confident Clemens could win games for them if he were pressed into duty.
  • Mike Klis of the Denver Post ranks undrafted free agent Juwan Thompson as the Broncos‘ biggest training camp surprise. Though Thompson entered camp as the No. 6 tailback on the roster, he now appears to have a legitimate shot at making the club.
  • Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press writes that the Lions need to salvage Nick Fairley, who represents their last hope from the now infamous 2011 draft, but if Fairley does not show improvement soon, he could be a midseason trade candidate.
  • Birkett (Twitter links) and Michael Rothstein of offer brief discussions of the Lions‘ wide receiver competition and predict which wideouts may make the club.
  • Rob Demovsky of provides a list of which Packers bubble players helped themselves and who hurt themselves in Saturday’s preseason game against the Rams.
  • Ben Volin of the Boston Globe believes the Browns and Jaguars should hand the reins to Blake Bortles and Johnny Manziel┬áright away, rather than have them sit behind the players they will eventually overtake. Since Joe Flacco and Matt Ryan led their clubs to the playoffs during their rookie seasons in 2008, rookie quarterbacks have fared very well when thrown into the fire from day one. For what it’s worth, Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida-Times Union tweets that Bortles will finally get reps with the first team offense on Monday and could play with the ones in the second quarter in the team’s upcoming preseason game against the Lions.
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