This article is part of our Training Camp Notes series.
Training camp is over and we head into the final weekend of preseason games. After that, we'll be counting down until the regular season, and we'll have a meaningful football game in less than two weeks. Job battles are now really worth paying attention, particularly as we head into one of the biggest draft weekends.
Training Camp Storyline
Texans Rushing Attack
The biggest story of the day seems to be the change in the hierarchy in the Texans' backfield. Rookie Dameon Pierce started in Houston's final preseason game, and he took advantage by recording six carries for 37 yards and a touchdown. Perhaps most important, Marlon Mack — Pierce's primary competition — didn't play until the second half of the game. He also performed well, but reports have emerged that Pierce will be the starter for the team's Week 1 matchup against the Colts. Rex Burkhead looks to be settled into the pass-catching role, and he was second into the game Thursday.
- Damien Harris didn't play in Friday's preseason game against the Raiders after he reportedly tweaked something in Wednesday's practice. It doesn't seem to be a serious issue, and Harris seems likely to be ready for the regular season. This is still a situation worth monitoring, and if things change, Rhamondre Stevenson should see a bump in workload.
- Also in New England, Ty Montgomery suffered an ankle injury against the Raiders. He appeared set to fill a utility role in the Patriots' offense, potentially as a wide receiver while also filling in for James White's vacated role as the primary receiving back. His potential absence isn't likely to cause a huge shift in workload, but it would be another tick up for Rhamondre Stevenson.
- The Saints receiving corps is beat up. Michael Thomas didn't play in Friday's preseason finale, which wasn't a big surprise. However, Tre'Quan Smith also left the game with an injury. The team added to the depth chart this offseason by signing Jarvis Landry and drafting Chris Olave, so the situation isn't dire, yet.
- Sam Darnold already lost the starting quarterback battle to Baker Mayfield, but he also may not be healthy to begin the season after suffering an apparent ankle sprain against the Chargers. With Matt Corral already on injured reserve, P.J. Walker could enter the season as the team's backup quarterback.
- In positive news out of Carolina, DJ Moore was cleared of a shoulder injury. Barring another injury, Moore will be ready for Week 1.
- We'll shift back to Thursday momentarily, when we received late news that Marquez Valdes-Scantling missed the team's matchup against the Packers because he was in concussion protocol. That likely won't cost him any regular-season action.
- The starting quarterback job in Pittsburgh remains a key position battle. Mitch Trubisky will start the Steelers' preseason finale Saturday in the hopes of holding off first-round pick Kenny Pickett.
- Tony Pollard will reportedly be used as a slot receiver. We hear this news regularly (think Duke Johnson), and it often doesn't come to fruition. On the other hand, Pollard proved last season that he is an explosive player, so an expanded role in the Dallas offense could be exciting.
- Amari Rodgers is buried on the Packers depth chart, but his usage in the preseason is worth mentioning. He appears set to serve as the team's primary punt returner, which will be his primary role — at least to start the season. He also tallied at least one rushing attempt in each of the team's three exhibition games, and he also chipped in seven receptions for 66 yards.