Lots of ink has been spilled about the quarterback competition going on in Cleveland, but there might be an even more intriguing battle happening in Jacksonville. It was on display again Thursday night in the Jaguars' loss to the Chicago Bears. Both Chad Henne and Blake Bortles had strong games, combining to complete 23 of 34 throws for 290 yards and a touchdown.
At the moment, Jags coach Gus Bradley and his coaching staff have a good problem on their hands. Henne, while not spectacular, is a passable passer capable of keeping the team afloat in the short term. Bortles on the other hand, has shown a strong arm and good mobility in his two outings. In two preseason games, the rookie is 18-of-28 for 277 yards and no turnovers. Bradley says the team feels "very strongly about Chad," but Bortles is certainly giving them something to think about.
If nothing else, the talk of Bortles sitting for the entirety of 2014 has died down. Until he officially has the starter's job, it's not worth taking a chance on him outside of deep leagues. But it wouldn't be a surprise to see the rookie take over the gig before the season is out. Based on what Bortles has shown he could be every bit the fantasy equal of That Guy in Cleveland in their respective freshmen campaigns.
» We'll get our first preseason look at Cam NewtonSunday when the Panthers and Chiefs get together. Carolina coach Ron Rivera says the team will take things slowly with its star quarterback, with Newton avoiding any designed runs or scrambles. Look for Newton to play the first quarter, but it sounds as though the coaching staff would prefer he do it at less than maximum effort. Newton's health is critical for the Panthers' success this year. They'll do all they can to protect him in advance of the regular season, but it's something fantasy owners should keep in mind during their drafts.
» Toby Gerhart gained sleeper traction when the Jaguars said they wanted to use him in a Marshawn Lynch role. Expect the same thing to happen to Andre Ellington after reports that the Cardinals want to use their lead back in a Jamaal Charles-type fashion. Arizona coach Bruce Arians has repeatedly said that he wants to use a single workhorse back this season, a designation that has been bestowed upon Ellington. We don't know if he can handle that type of load for a full season, but he's going to get every opporunity to show us. The prospect of another back who could approach 300 touches for a season is tantalizing.
» It's been a slow recovery for Knowshon Moreno, but the running back is back at camp with the Dolphins and "starting to look like kind of his old self," according to coach Joe Philbin. Hopefully he means the Knowshon Moreno of old ... and not the old Knowshon Moreno. With the former Denver Bronco having missed so much time, Lamar Miller is now the leader for the starting job. Neither running back is more than a flex option.
» Dwayne Bowe entered camp with high expectations after talking about his new training regimen. But the results on the field have been mixed with reports of plenty of dropped passes. Coach Andy Reid says the problem stems from Bowe's finger which has "been thrown out of place about 15 times." That doesn't bode well for a player who makes his livelihood with his hands. Bowe has been on a steady decline since a career year in 2010. This won't help him get back to those totals.
» Odell Beckham and Jeremy Maclin are among the notable players who will miss their team's Week 2 preseason games with injuries. In the case of both Beckham and Maclin, hamstring injuries have them sidelined. For Maclin, it's a reminder that his injury history is something of which to beware. For Beckham, it's been the obstacle preventing fantasy enthusiasts from seeing if he will have an impact this season. The wait continues.