A look at Saturday’s NFL preseason matchups:
Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck thought he’d return to the field before the end of last season. When his lacerated kidney refused to cooperate, Luck established last weekend’s Hall of Fame game as the target.
That didn’t happen either, when the game was canceled because of poor field conditions.
Luck’s next chance comes Saturday at Buffalo.
“Yeah, maybe a bit,” Luck said when asked if he was more excited to play this preseason after not appearing in a game since Nov. 8. “Maybe a bit just to get out there and be back on the football field.”
Luck is expected to play at least a couple of series in an interesting test against Rex Ryan’s defense. Last season, Luck struggled against the Bills in a 27-14 season-opening loss that set the tone for the worst season of Luck’s pro career.
NOT RISKING REGGIE
Rex Ryan is taking no chances of risking Reggie Bush to injury.
The Bills coach said the recently signed running back/return specialist is going to sit out Buffalo’s preseason opener against the Colts on Saturday. The 31-year-old Bush signed with Buffalo two weeks ago and is fully recovered since having surgery on his left knee in November.
He’s listed as the Bills’ starting kickoff and punt returner and is set to open the season as the primary backup to LeSean McCoy.
Ryan doesn’t expect starting receiver Sammy Watkins to play either. Watkins returned to practice Monday after missing four months recovering from surgery for a broken left foot.
NEW RUNNING BACK FOR SEAHAWKS
For the first time since early in the 2010 season, the Seattle Seahawks are without Marshawn Lynch on their roster.
The process of figuring out who takes his place begins on Saturday when the Seahawks travel to Kansas City for their exhibition opener.
The projected starter is Thomas Rawls, who filled in more than admirably last season when Lynch missed time with an abdominal injury. Rawls rushed for 830 yards and four touchdowns, and averaged 5.6 yards per carry.
But Rawls is coming off a major ankle injury that required offseason surgery. He was only activated off the physically unable to perform list earlier this week. Rookie draft picks C.J. Prosise and Zac Brooks are out with minor injuries as well. Look for rookie Alex Collins to get the bulk of the carries against the Chiefs, while converted running back George Farmer will also get extensive playing time.
GOING GREEN IN LA
The Rams are selling tickets they didn’t plan to at the LA Coliseum for Saturday’s preseason opener against Dallas — the first NFL game in Los Angeles since 1994.
The game could end up drawing close to the stadium’s capacity of 91,000. And as with most road games for the Cowboys, one of the questions will be how many of those fans are wearing the silver and blue.
Not only has Dallas always been a big road draw, but the Cowboys have held training camp in California off and on for more than 50 years. That includes the past five camps in Oxnard, about 60 miles north of LA.
But this supposed to be a celebration of the return of the Rams, 70 years after their first move to LA from Cleveland. The team moved to St. Louis for the 1995 season.
“I don’t know what it’s going to be like,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. “We do anticipate support for them, but there has been a presence for the Cowboys here for a long, long time.”
Rookie Jared Goff said he believes the tempo of practice and quality of the Rams’ defense has him prepared for his first NFL action. He expects to treat it like every other game, though there will be one notable difference as he will be coming off the bench. Goff, a three-year starter at California, didn’t remember the last time he did not take the first snap in a game.
Coach Jeff Fisher hasn’t divvied up playing time just yet, but indicated starters would likely play two or three series.
PLAYS FOR A GOOD CAUSE
The Tennessee Titans’ coaching staff won’t be calling the first two plays of their preseason opener against the San Diego Chargers.
That honor instead will go to two groups of fans that bid $10,000 each to earn that right. The auction occurred during a charity dinner benefiting Make-a-Wish Middle Tennessee and the Kevin Carter Foundation.
“For the first preseason game — the first two plays — you’re going to get probably five kids that are going to get wishes for life,” Titans coach Mike Mularkey said.
Mularkey said Thursday that the winning bidders already had selected their plays.
“One of them asked a very good question: If the other team knows that we’re picking the play, are they going to expect something like a gadget,” Mularkey said.
“I said, ‘That’s a good question. Now you understand what we deal with every Tuesday when we’re in here for 14 hours.’ They had fun with it. It was really a great experience for everybody.”
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