Preseason battles: Week 2
Steelers Starting RB: Le'Veon Bell, Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer
Redman got the start, but he split carries early in the game with LaRod Stephens-Howling, who actually was the most impressive player of the bunch. He gained 40 yards on seven carries. Redman and Dwyer touched the ball 10 times combined and gained 21 total yards. Bell didn't play due to a minor knee injury, but the good news is he was back at practice a few days ago and should play Monday night versus the Redskins. His absence had no effect on his standing in this competition.
Week 1 Leader: Bell, definitely
Week 2 Leader: Bell, definitely
Colts Second WR: T.Y. Hilton and Darrius Heyward-Bey
Heyward-Bey got the start alongside Reggie Wayne, and Hilton was on the field only when the Colts used three wideouts. But that should change soon if Hilton continues to outperform Heyward-Bey like he did against the Bills. He had three receptions, including a beautiful, diving grab for a long touchdown. DHB was held without a catch and has been doing a lot of not-catching in practice.
Week 1 Leader: Hilton
Week 2 Leader: Hilton
49ers Second WR: A.J. Jenkins, Kyle Williams, Quinton Patton and Austin Collie
Collie had the best statistical game of anyone here as he caught two passes for 20 yards. Most everyone else was either held out due to injury – Williams and Patton – or didn't record anything on the stat sheet. This position remains extremely muddled, but perhaps Collie will rise to the top of a lackluster group.
Week 1 Leader: Nobody yet
Week 2 Leader: Nobody yet
Eagles Second WR: Riley Cooper, Russell Shepard and Damaris Johnson
Unlike DeSean Jackson, none of these guys were able to do anything to stand out last Friday night. Cooper, Shepard and Johnson all caught one pass. Cooper was in the starting lineup while Johnson did most of his damage as a returner, as expected. It seems like the uproar surrounding Cooper's use of a racial slur has really died down, and he has a pretty clear path to a starting job.
Week 1 Leader: Cooper
Week 2 Leader: Cooper
Ravens Second WR: Jacoby Jones and Deonte Thompson
Neither player did much in the first preseason game, but that's not the story. Thompson suffered a sprained foot in the game and will be out for an unspecified period of time. The Ravens added Brandon Stokley during the week, but it looks like this is Jones' job as long as he stays healthy.
Week 1 Leader: Jones
Week 2 Leader: Jones, definitely
Patriots Second WR: Aaron Dobson, Kenbrell Thompkins, Julian Edelman and Josh Boyce
Thompkins' campaign for a starting job seems to be gaining steam. He's working often with the first-team offense, he started in last week's game, and he had a better performance than Dobson. Thompkins caught four passes for 23 yards. Dobson gained more yardage, but he hauled in just two of his eight targets and had a pretty bad drop. Boyce worked with the backups and was targeted only once. Edelman caught three passes, but also fumbled twice.
Week 1 Leader: Dobson, barely
Week 2 Leader: Thompkins, barely
Eagles Second RB: Bryce Brown and Chris Polk
Polk played ahead of Brown, but that was basically the high point of his evening against the Patriots. He gained just seven yards on four carries, while Brown racked up 41 yards on seven touches and scored a touchdown. Brown simply outclassed Polk, and his grip on this job should be tightening.
Week 1 Leader: Brown
Week 2 Leader: Brown
Cowboys Second RB: Lance Dunbar, Joseph Randle and Phillip Tanner
Again, the incumbent in a backup-RB battle gets the best of his competition. Dunbar averaged seven yards per carry with his three carries and tacked on three receptions. Tanner got more work out of the backfield, but didn't post as lofty of an average. Randle scored a touchdown, but he got most of his playing time on offense in the third and fourth quarters and really struggled to get anything going as a runner. Dunbar has a significant lead here.
Week 1 Leader: Dunbar
Week 2 Leader: Dunbar
Raiders Second RB: Rashad Jennings and Latavius Murray
Murray looked good after missing a lot of learning time this summer due to an injury, and he posted a nice stat line – eight carries, 29 yards. However, Jennings wasn't bad either – nine carries, 39 yards. Murray will have to be really special in the next three games to pass Jennings on the depth chart.
Week 1 Leader: Jennings
Week 2 Leader: Jennings