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Health, age could prevent storybook ending for Favre

There is never a shortage of news regarding the guys who make a living throwing a football (and many of the guys who hold the clipboard for the guys who throw the ball). This preseason it seems like there is quarterback news everywhere. Here's some that has caught my attention:

Preseason thoughts

The play of Aaron Rodgers and the Packers' newly installed 3-4 defensive scheme is just one thing that has caught the attention of Jason La Canfora during preseason play. **More ...**

How will Favre hold up?

My suspicion all along is that Brett Favre does not make it through this season, and suffers in the latter stages. I'm not basing this on his poor first preseason outing -- jumping from preseason high school football practice to the NFL is no small task, even for this guy -- or the fact that coach Brad "Chilly" Childress has put Favre on a pitch count. That makes sense given the health and age concerns at play here. I just don't smell this one ending well. I don't see Favre going out entirely on his own terms; I think his body and health are going to have a lot to say about it this time around. Favre's debut also overshadowed a fine outing by Tarvaris Jackson, which should have helped his trade stock. With a lot of quarterbacks suffering injuries (though most of them minor), I continue to believe the Vikings will shop Jackson before the cut date.

Who will win Bucs' job

Tampa Bay coach Raheem Morris surprised some in the organization by pushing back the decision to name a starter after being vocal that he should name one before the third preseason game. Morris told staff members that the strong play of Luke McCown gave him pause. I'd be surprised if Byron Leftwich doesn't come out the winner here, but McCown did account well for himself after some struggles.

A Cutler above the rest

Jay Cutler looked much better in his second game with Chicago, and the team also changed its approach, putting in more plays for him to get outside the pocket and use his feet. It's one of the things the organization feels Cutler does best and it made an effort to utilize more of that athleticism against a tough Giants defensive front. It worked splendidly and I'd anticipate seeing more of the same when the games count for real. Those designed rollouts worked well, and it seems as if the receivers are starting to get a feel for where to go when Cutler gets outside the tackles and makes things happen.

Down to the wire in Detroit

Matthew Stafford took a step back in Detroit after a fine showing in his preseason debut. His decision-making was not as sharp and the Lions could not get much done with him at the helm. Daunte Culpepper, however, performed well. This one seems like it will go down to the very end, with the usually meaningless fourth preseason game perhaps being the final piece of evidence as the men present their cases for being the first to get a chance to finally win a game for the Lions.

Injuries piling up

If Ben Roethlisberger was dealing with anything other than the minor Achilles injury we've been reporting, no way would he have been standing on the soggy sidelines in Washington all of Saturday night while a heavy rain continued to fall. He may miss another game, too, as a precaution, which only makes sense. Also, the shoulder injury No. 3 QB Dennis Dixon suffered in the game is expected to put him out 2-3 weeks, according to a league source. Likewise, the Bengals are taking no chances with Carson Palmer, who hasn't practiced in a few weeks. Coach Marvin Lewis says Palmer might return to the practice field later this week, but they're focused on Week 1.

49ers' Smith on shaky ground

Mike Singletary can take all the time he wants in naming a stater, but with how shaky Alex Smith is, there's no way he can hand him the ball Week 1, especially as he tries to establish a ball-control offense. Too many mistakes. Shaun Hill has earned more confidence in the locker room and he's simply been better (which, given how Smith has performed, doesn't necessarily mean good).

Big-arm Russell wins job

A lot of people will look at JaMarcus Russell getting the nod in Oakland as a result of Jeff Garcia being hurt, but the kid has performed well, and when you bring in quarterbacks of a certain age, you'd better count on them getting whacked around and needing more time to respond. It's an inherent danger in such moves (ahem, Favre). Garcia can't get the ball downfield, and as long as Al Davis is atop the Raiders organization you can bank on the guy with the big arm playing quarterback.

Troubles in D.C.

The Redskins better find a way to get something going against New England this week, because their passing attack has been anemic. Jason Campbell was enthused by the vertical game plan against the Steelers, taking several deep shots with more than one target getting downfield. But they never connected on anything and Santana Moss remains the only deep threat on the roster. No. 2 quarterback Todd Collins has never looked as comfortable in this system as he did with Al Saunders and he threw a bad pick Saturday, too. Backup Colt Brennan, the people's champion in Washington (perhaps no city exaults backups with no regular-season esxperience the way D.C. does), is certainly not the coach's champion there. His stock is fading -- a horrible forced INT Saturday was not much of a compliment to his sometimes too-brazen attitude -- while Chase Daniel is making up huge ground due to his heady and steady nature, deep knowledge of the playbook and quick improvement. Daniel was excellent Saturday night and if he outduels Brennan again in the fourth preseason game (won't be much playing time for them in the third game), look for Daniel to be the third quarterback there.

All eyes on Mike

Come Thursday night, with Michael Vick all but certain to make his Eagles debut, everything else in the quarterbacking world will be trumped. Everyone around the league is going to want to get a look at that game film. All will be watching.

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