Training Camp Notebook: Slow down on Tavon Austin

  • By Marcas Grant NFL.com
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It's somewhat cliche in the NFL -- there's a difference between being hurt and being injured. The trick right now is determining which category Brandon Marshall fits into.

The Chicago Bears receiver missed practice Wednesday. The team downplayed it, saying the day off was previously scheduled. However, it seemed a little suspicious that it came a day after Marshall announced that he didn't expect his surgically repaired hip to be 100 percent coming into the season.

So far, no one seems overly concerned about the situation -- and that includes us. Earlier this offseason, Marshall pointed out that he played with pain in 2012. And what did he do? Oh, not much ... just post the best numbers of his career. He later said that his hip felt as good as it has in awhile.

Overall, this is a little bit of something to note heading into the regular season, but with so much of the Bears passing expecting to funnel through Marshall's hands, it will take a little more than this for us to get squeamish about making him one of the first receivers off the board.

T-Rich ready to roll


For those of you sick of us hyping the Cleveland Browns offense ... here's more about the Cleveland Browns.

Running back Trent Richardson says he's found an even stronger rapport with his offensive line this season. Usually it's fun to find out how these sorts of things happen -- buying watches for the crew or springing for steak dinners. But that's not important right now.

What is important is that the man who is going to be top option in Cleveland's offenstive attack is on the same page as the men who will be opening holes for him. Yes, we've harped on this a lot, but the addition of Norv Turner in the booth calling plays is reason enough to be optimistic. The thought that the 11 guys on the field will be working of one accord is an even bigger reason.

Quick outs


» The Bears are reportedly looking to move wide receiver Earl Bennett, though it's uncertain when a deal could possibly happen. Bennett has been plagued with concussion issues through the preseason and just recently got back onto the field. Injuries have been an issue for Bennett who has played 16 games just once in five seasons. Regardless, it leaves Alshon Jeffery as a solid No. 2 option on Chicago's WR depth chart.

» More fuel to the "Tavon Austin is overvalued" fire: Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch suspects that it could be Chris Givens, not Austin, who sees more targets in the Rams offense this season. The greater point is that the Rams plan to spread the ball around in their passing game this season. Austin's greatest value could come as a return specialist and a slot receiver catching short passes. There's talent there, but don't make too much of it just yet.

» Le'Veon Bell is out of a walking boot. That's the good news. There's still no definite timetable for his return. That's the bad news.

» The Arizona Cardinals backfield could shrink by one depending on what happens in Thursday's games. Ryan Williams is reportedly on the bubble in the desert. It's not a complete surprise, which is why Stepfan Taylor is getting more attention as a potential sleeper. It's hard to believe Rashard Mendenhall will survive a full season -- keep an eye on the guys playing behind him.

» The Jacksonville Jaguars have named Blaine Gabbert as their Week 1 starter, which isn't a big surprise. However, the young QB says he might not be completely recovered from a thumb fracture by the time the regular season cranks up. It won't affect Gabbert's value, since that's nearly nil in most fantasy leagues. However, it could impact Cecil Shorts in the first week or two of the season if Gabbert can't properly grip or throw the foootball.

Marcas Grant is a fantasy editor for NFL.com. Follow him on Twitter @MarcasG.

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