NFL rumors roundup

Andrew Weber/USA TODAY Sports

Here's a look at the top rumors for Wednesday, August 19:

  • It appears another running back-needy team will pass on Ray Rice, who is still looking for a new team since being released by the Baltimore Ravens after Week 1 of last season. Sources told Mike Garafolo of Fox Sports that the Buffalo Bills had "begun internal discussions on whether to explore signing" the 28-year-old back, but Vic Carucci of The Buffalo News hears there is now "zero" chance of a deal. On Tuesday, Buffalo's backfield lost LeSean McCoy to a hamstring injury that could keep him out the rest of the preseason. That came after Bills' RBs Fred Jackson, Karlos Williams and others suffered various ailments. The Bills signed Cierre Wood for depth on Wednesday. Wood has spent time with four other teams since going undrafted out of Notre Dame in 2013 and didn't see any regular-season action in 2014.

  • Despite the electric debut of running back Ameer Abdullah, the Detroit Lions' backfield hierarchy doesn't appear to be shuffled yet. Undrafted rookie back Zach Zenner -- who had a nice debut as well, with 55 yards on 13 carries -- told Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press that incumbent Joique Bell is "still set up to be the starting running back at this point." Bell still hasn't participated in training camp as he recovers from knee and Achilles surgeries and wasn't exactly a star last season: He had 860 rushing yards while averaging 3.9 yards per carry and posted a career-low 322 receiving yards. Still, the coaches know what they're getting with Bell, and his reliability as a blocker should ensure he at least remains part of a committee in the regular season. But don't be surprised if Abdullah starts earning more carries.

  • Another preseason stud who may not earn a starting job right away is Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Martavis Bryant, who showed off his explosiveness again last week. Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette expects the team to open with Markus Wheaton as the starter opposite Antonio Brown. That would make sense, considering Wheaton is a more versatile route-runner, but it also may not seriously affect Bryant's fantasy value. The former Clemson Tiger should be on the field plenty in the Steelers' oft-used 3-WR sets, in which Brown's presence will facilitate one-on-one looks for Bryant.

  • Bouchette also gave his thoughts on Pittsburgh's reconstructed defense, saying that while a wealth of young players could improve during the season, "it will probably be ugly early on." Even if new coordinator Keith Butler's schemes are effective, a similar defensive performance to last season (30th in the NFL in yards per play allowed, 18th in points allowed) would be a reasonable expectation.

  • Among all of the bodies the Miami Dolphins have at wide receiver, one player who might be getting unfairly overlooked is Greg Jennings, who will be 32 in September. After two mediocre seasons with the Minnesota Vikings, he's working with his old offensive coordinator, Joe Philbin, and is making an impression. Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald expects Jennings to be at least fourth in Miami's rotation, noting that "coaches LOVE him." Between Jarvis Landry, Kenny Stills and DeVante Parker, it's easy to forget Jennings, but don't be surprised if he excels with his new team.

  • The Philadelphia Eagles' second-round pick, former Utah cornerback/safety Eric Rowe, is starting to make a good impression in camp. The Philadelphia Inquirer's Jeff McLane noted that Rowe was the starting slot corner in Tuesday's action and "seems more comfortable inside with each passing practice." Since trading Brandon Boykin to the Steelers Aug. 2, Philly has tried several players in the slot, but Rowe winning the job as a rookie would be the ideal outcome. His versatile skill set makes him a useful tool for Bill Davis to deploy in the middle of the field.