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One Step Back

What's clear is that the running game did not look as good in yesterday's scrimmage as it did last week. Luicci seems to be manic as usual.

Kevin Haslam's absence at left guard due to an ankle sprain had an effect on the way the line played. No question about that. But there's just nothing there in the running game yet. No holes. Too much defensive penetration. Not enough push up front.

After a while, opponents are going to notice that Rutgers seems to run a lot of plays behind left tackle Anthony Davis. As good as Davis is -- and he could be the best lineman in school history -- he is only one person.

The pass protection has been good -- not great, not bad. It helps that Rutgers runs a lot of quick timing patterns. But the hope was that this would be more of a vertical passing team. It may not be able to showcase that if the pass protection and running game don't improve.

Why manic? Because in that very same post, Luicci hypes the hell out of Teel and the receivers. One other note is a positive blurb on McGovern, who seemed to have fallen behind Graves last week. Dom Natale also looked much better.

Is it time to panic? At this point there's cause for alarm, sure. Let's see how the team looks in practices leading up to the game before we pull out the razor blades that have been hidden in our sinks for the past year and a half. Is the positive spin on the scrimmage that the defense looked good? The beatwriters have been hinting that a couple freshman DBs may see the field early.

Adam Zagoria posted some highlights from yesterday's scrimmage. He also points out that the Star-Ledger is not the only New Jersey paper with a cloudy future. Gannett and the Record are struggling too. It's no coincidence that Zagoria now works for SNY. More notes and quotes from Zags.

RS-Freshman LB Al-Ghaffar Lane also went down with an injury.

Brian Leonard is in line to see less touches with the Rams, as Stephen Jackson has ended his holdout.

Eric Foster sat out practice yesterday.

I never thought Gary Gibson would amount to much in the NFL, but he's proving his doubters wrong.

The Panthers parted ways with injured defensive tackle Ian Scott on Wednesday, further thinning a thin position.

Scott suffered a strained medial collateral ligament in his left knee early in camp and was still weeks away from coming back. By reaching the settlement with him now, they left the door open for him to return later this year. He'd be eligible to after Week 9.

"He did everything right," Fox said of Scott. "This kid was a guy we liked. It was very unfortunate, but the way it worked out, there is a chance when he gets healthy we can bring him back later in the season. I felt like we dealt with him fairly. It was nothing he did wrong; actually, he did a fantastic job for us."

The Panthers were hoping he and Darwin Walker would give them an experienced pair of backups when they signed him after the draft. Now, former practice squader Gary Gibson's working with the second group after finishing a strong camp and earning the respect of teammates and coaches.

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5. Two players who were never drafted — receiver Jason Carter and defensive tackle Gary Gibson — had outstanding camps and now have a reasonable chance not only to make the team but to get regular-season playing time. Carter looks like a true NFL receiver and also has gotten some turns returning kicks. Gibson is very strong and has put himself in position to get into the playing rotation on the defensive line.

Is Ray Rice the long-term starter in Baltimore?

Harbaugh said he didn't know when injured running back Willis McGahee would return, and that McGahee might possibly miss the entire preseason. Somehow that doesn't surprise me, and I wouldn't be surprised if the Ravens cut him before the season is over.

McGahee has angered a lot of Ravens officials over at the Castle with his poor work ethic. He doesn't know his plays so I don't see him playing much in the first regular-season game.

This keeps popping up in my RSS feeds, so I might as well mention that former Rutgers baseball player and Philadelphia Phillie Darrin Winston lost his battle with cancer recently.

Toms River wrestler Vinnie DelleFave committed to Rutgers wrestling.

Rutgers prevailed in a recent tax dispute with Piscataway. This has implications for further developing the Livingston campus.