Monday, August 31, 2015, 9:15am
Last time Tomlin took that tone postgame, Shaun Suisham was headed for injured reserve with a torn ACL.
Now, if Hartley's out for an extended period, the offense still doesn't know what to expect from the field-goal unit when it approaches the red zone.
The leftover options are serviceable but not overly exciting.
The Steelers can revisit recent tryout players Alex Henery, a career 86 percent kicker before his 1-of-5 performance got him fired in Detroit last year, or veteran Jay Feely, who attempted four kicks for Chicago last year (he went 3-of-4).
The Steelers could be looking for a third kicker in four weeks. No free agent kicker was replacing Suisham, a top-10 kicker in the league, but Hartley was a good backup. Hartley is pretty consistent, although he doesn't have a booming leg for kickoff returns -- 80 percent of his kickoffs have been returned this preseason, the story said.
Arizona gained 11 yards and a first down on two runs and a pass. Quarterback Carson Palmer stayed upright. Arizona looked like it was on its way to another offensive outpouring.
Then on the Cardinals' fourth play from scrimmage, right guard Jonathan Cooper got beat by Oakland defensive end Denico Autry, which ignited a chain of events that led to the offense crashing down. Autry then bulldozed Cardinals running back Andre Ellington, who nearly fell into Palmer, who had to tuck the ball for a moment to avoid getting hit and losing it. Palmer then missed the opening to hit Larry Fitzgerald, which led to an interception.
And it didn't stop there.
Palmer was sacked three times and threw two interceptions in the first half before backup Drew Stanton replaced him in the third quarter. After weeks of promising practices with air-tight pockets and pinpoint accuracy, the Cardinals' offense looked scattered. The tackles -- both Jared Veldheer on the left side and Bradley Sowell on the right -- were consistently beat, which led to Palmer getting hit 14 times in the first half.
It's not good news for Palmer and his owners, but it is just the preseason. The team had concerns about keeping Palmer upright and healthy this season all through the offseason. As we saw last year, Palmer is the key to making this talented offense run.
Monday, August 31, 2015, 9:01am
Broyles tweeted a good-bye message to Detroit, two days after he asked for his release, according to the Detroit Free Press.
The move marks the end of a frustrating three-plus year relationship marred by injuries and the wide receiver's inability to crack the rotation following his most recent rehab.
Detroit's depth allowed the team to bring Broyles along slowly his rookie year, resting him the first two games of the season. His usage increased near mid-season when Nate Burleson suffered a broken leg, with a breakout performance coming on Thanksgiving against Houston. Broyles caught six passes for 126 yards in the overtime loss.
A second-round draft pick in 2012, Broyles' selection was a head-scratcher for most outside observers, the story said. The Lions already had three productive receivers on the roster at the time, and Broyles, despite being one of the most prolific pass-catchers in NCAA history, was still recovering from an ACL injury suffered less than six months earlier.
According to the report, front office officials and coaches are prepared to move on from Robert Griffin III but they are meeting resistance from ownership. There have been trade talks involving Griffin but there has been no interest.
But, in any case, it appears that Griffin’s time as the starting quarterback here is near an end. According to the report, from Adam Schefter and Dianna Russini, there is a “groundswell of support from a strong segment of football people within the organization to change quarterbacks.”
In terms of either trading or releasing Griffin, they are meeting resistance from owner Daniel Snyder. It is uncertain if coach Jay Gruden, general manager Scot McCloughan, and others in the football part of the operation have the authority to remove Griffin from the roster against Snyder’s wishes.
It's going to be an ugly divorce, especially if owner Daniel Snyder is not on board. Kirk Cousins owns a career 7.4 YPA, but posted 8.4 YPA last season, along with a 10:9 touchdown-to-interception ratio. The sample size is small (six games), but DeSean Jackson's numbers remained pretty much the same with Cousins under center while Pierre Garcon's production increased significantly. He averaged 4.2 catches for 53 yards and 0.5 TD in the six games that Cousins played last season. Those are high-end fantasy WR3 numbers.
Funchess participated fully in Panthers practice on Sunday, according to the Charlotte Observer. The rookie wideout reportedly dropped a few passes, but otherwise looked as if his strained hamstring wasn't bothering him.
With Kelvin Benjamin out for the year, Funchess likely becomes the de facto WR1 for the Panthers. Provided he has no further setbacks, we would expect his ADP to climb into the 8th round after Benjamin went in the 7th/8th as a rookie. He's going to see a ton of targets as Cam Newton's primary target in the passing game.
Victor Cruz's comeback from his serious knee injury has hit an unexpected roadblock with what was thought to only be a minor injury to his calf. But now that minor injury is becoming a major issue, with Cruz on track to miss yet another practice week.
Tom Coughlin said the 28-year-old receiver has not yet been cleared to practice this week. "Not as far as I know," Coughlin said on a conference call with reporters. "I have not been told that. Progress, yes. But he's not definitely given the green light."
Cruz, who was seemingly making a remarkable recovery from the major knee surgery he underwent last fall, has been out since Aug. 19 and has yet to appear in a preseason game. If he is unable to practice Tuesday or Wednesday, it makes it unlikely he'll appear in the Giants' preseason finale on Thursday night in New England.
He's not going to get the same number of targets given Odell Beckham's emergence as a top-flight wideout. Cruz will likely play the Randall Cobb role in OC Ben McAdoo's offense, so there is some upside if his explosiveness is still there. He just needs to get healthy. All seems well with the knee, but it's not uncommon for athletes to suffer injuries elsewhere in the body when recovering from another injury.
Mason hurt his hamstring in the first half of Saturday’s game against the Colts and didn’t return to the field. Coach Jeff Fisher said Sunday that Mason won’t play in Thursday night’s preseason finale and that he’s questionable for Week One.
If Mason is out, Cunningham is sure to be involved, but the Rams may elect not to be quite so cautious with Gurley if it looks like he's close to 100 percent.
Montee Ball doesn't see the fire yet, but he sure smells the smoke. Despite being listed as the No. 2 tailback on the Broncos' depth chart, Ball didn't get a carry until the fourth quarter of their 19-12 preseason victory over the 49ers on Saturday.
The third preseason game usually is the one that best models the regular season, and Ball was stuck without a significant role in it.
Broncos coach Gary Kubiak, who has built a career out of getting the most out of running backs, defended his decision to not play Ball much by saying it's difficult to give carries to four running backs during a game.
"Special teams is a big factor with him and (Juwan Thompson)," Kubiak said. "We'll see. I'm fine with Montee."
C.J. Anderson, the Broncos' starting tailback, controlled most of the carries in the first half Saturday with Ronnie Hillman spelling him occasionally. Hillman and Thompson were the go-to backs to start the second half.
It's possible that on gameday, the Broncos will dress only Anderson, Hillman and Thompson, due to Thompson's role on special teams. The team could attempt to trade Ball, or just wait for an injury further up the depth chart before making him active on Sundays.
White was the 7th overall draft pick by the Bears, but his 2015 season is in jeopardy. White was fine at the beginning of OTAs, but he aggravated his shin towards the end of their offseason workout program. The Bears decided to start training camp with White on the PUP list, but once he started some light running, he felt discomfort.
He was re-evaluated and a stress fracture was discovered. White underwent surgery a week ago and had a rod inserted into his shin.
With White starting on the PUP list that means he's ineligible to play for at least the first six games of the regular season.
White's season is reportedly in jeopardy, but the Bears aren't closing the door on his rookie year. He may be able to make an impact later in the season, but he's only draftable in redraft leagues with large rosters and/or an IR spot. Eddie Royal's stock is on the rise since he'll be starting for at least the first six weeks, probably longer.
On the topic of the Cowboys' RBBC approach...
If you're seeking knowledge for your fantasy football draft, well, peace be with you.
Dallas isn't relenting on this. It's not a bluff. As it stands right now, this will be a committee in the purest NFL form. The Cowboys are adamant that their elite offensive line can be the glue that elevates a collection of parts into a greater whole.
Ultimately, what we saw Saturday night against the Vikings is likely a facsimile of what to expect this season. Joseph Randle came in and ended up playing the role of the guinea pig, with the Cowboys probing some inside runs for signs of weakness, then ending up sputtering with some third-and-long situations that weren't conducive to running. Lance Dunbar got one carry that went one yard. And then once Dallas identified some soft spots, Darren McFadden came in and cleaned up with 37 yards on four carries. Had this been a regular-season game, it's highly likely that Dallas would have ridden McFadden's hot hand as the lead, while mixing in Randle in both the run and pass, and then getting some situational opportunities to Dunbar. It wouldn't have played out that way because Randle is the No. 2 – it would have played out that way because he did the grunt work early and set the stage for McFadden.
That's how committees like this work.
Recent play has McFadden trending up with Randle trending downward. This has the makings of a full on committee, which means that the team is likely to ride the hot hand in any given week. This is not conducive to success in fantasy football, so we wouldn't recommend drafting Randle at his current ADP (#42). McFadden is the better value in the 9th or 10th round, but he may go early given the way things are trending. Keep in mind that his durability is a major question mark given his extensive injury history.
Packers WR Randall Cobb was injured on the team's third play from scrimmage against the Eagles. He appeared to land on his right side while attempting to catch a pass from quarterback Brett Hundley along the sideline. He was initially examined in the bench area by team physician Dr. Pat McKenzie. Shortly thereafter, he was taken to the Lambeau Field locker room for further examination.
Cobb initially feared he broke his collarbone, but tests showed that was not the case.
"I just caught the ball and was going down to the ground, and I had a guy land on top of me," Cobb said. "I was just jogging off the field at the end of the series, and I could feel the pain. I didn't know exactly what it was. It was discomfort, and I let Doc check it out and we went back and got X-rays. It's not what we think it could've been."
Cobb is scheduled for additional tests Sunday, but he expressed a feeling of relief after the game.
"It's been very unfortunate these few weeks for us," Cobb said. "At least there's a silver lining in this injury."
Cobb isn't sure if he'll be ready Week 1, but it appears that he avoided a long-term injury like a broken collarbone. For those drafting today, he's still a 2nd round pick in 12-team PPR leagues, but we'd draft him after the top seven receivers are off the board.
Lions coach Jim Caldwell said Saturday that Joique Bell is "moving along really well" in his recovery after being placed on the physically unable to perform list prior to training camp. Bell had offseason surgery to help solve knee and Achilles issues and missed the entire spring recovering from those injuries.
He's also missed all of training camp but has been running off to the side almost daily in an attempt to ramp up for his eventual return.
"After speaking to the doctors back in June, he said if I was running at all by the end of July, I'm making good progress," Bell said. "I feel by the end of July I was running. I'm not going to say I'm ready to go out there and take every play and run every down right now, but you never know how I feel in two weeks."
Bell did say he does not think he needs to take hits during the preseason to prepare for the season opener, mostly because he's been playing football his entire life. He said he and the Lions are "still playing it by ear" as for when he'll be activated.
When Bell does return, the Lions expect he'll be able to handle a full workload fairly soon after that.
Bell was the #14 RB in standard formats (#13 in PPR), while racking up 257 touches in 15 games. That works out to a 17.1-touch average. While he certainly benefited from Reggie Bush's injury-plagued season, Bell dominated the touches even when Bush was active and playing. We now project Ameer Abdullah for more touches, but not by much. Bell is likely to see the goal line work and is active in the passing game as well, so his 7th round ADP seems more than reasonable.
Deep in Vikings territory, McFadden took a stretch handoff to the left side and made two explosive cuts that extended the play, giving Dallas a first-and-goal situation inside the Minnesota 10. The carry spawned a thousand Vines wondering if McFadden is finally back. It beat his previous best on the night, a 13-yard carry with 13:59 to go in the second.
"I think that what you saw was vintage McFadden," Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said after the game, per the Dallas Morning News. "You saw that acceleration. You saw his abilities."
The question with McFadden will always be health. There is no doubt that plays like these are still in his arsenal, but with a body that has betrayed him so many times, is it something that can be counted on?
While Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett won't go that far, he'll agree that it was a step in the right direction; a step away from uncertainty.
We're expecting Randle to be the lead back, but he didn't help his cause with just 15 yards on six carries. The Cowboys will use a committee to a certain extent, and McFadden's health is not to be trusted. but if he's healthy and active on game day, it may be difficult to trust Randle, either.
In the third quarter, Rivers told Tracy Wolfson of CBS that the hand recently used to sign a gigantic contract is fine.
“It’s good,” he said of the right hand, adding that he’d still be playing if it were a regular-season game.
Rivers played at an extremely high level for the first half of the season, completing 68.3 percent of his passes for 277 yards, 2.5 TD and just 0.6 interceptions through Week 8. He posted #3 QB numbers in that span, but he was the #19 QB down the stretch after injuring his hand in Week 9 against the Dolphins. He then suffered back and rib injuries and threw for multiple touchdowns in just two of his final eight games (averaging 1.6 INT) as the Chargers fell out of playoff contention. If he's fully healthy entering the 2015 season, he will once again be a fine value pick in the later rounds, but owners should be prepared to stream if the injuries start to pile up. The four-game loss of Antonio Gates doesn’t help, but Ladarius Green and Stevie Johnson should be able to pick up the slack.
Goodness gracious does Eagles QB Sam Bradford look sharp. Any tentativeness we saw Saturday night at the Linc vs. the Ravens was gone. Any jitters that were apparent in his first appearance in a year were nowhere to be seen. He used all his receivers, was remarkably accurate, made quick and smart decisions in the pocket and even threw a touchdown pass to Trey Burton while under heavy pressure from Packers safety Micah Hyde. Bradford played three series in his final preseason appearance, threw three touchdown passes and then gave way to Mark Sanchez. Add in his own series against the Ravens, and Bradford played four series this preseason and put up four touchdowns. His final numbers Saturday: 10 for 10 for 121 yards with three TDs and no INTs. Things aren’t going to come this easily in the regular season — I don’t think — but it’s hard not to be incredibly excited about where Bradford is and how far he’s come.
Over the last two seasons, Philadelphia quarterbacks have averaged 16.7 passing game-only fantasy points. Bradford isn’t much of a runner, but he adds about 0.7 FP per game as a rusher. That adds up to 17.4 FP, or about what Eli Manning averaged as the #10 QB in 2014. The Eagles’ offense has lost their top receiver – DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin – in each of the last two seasons, but Jordan Matthews and Zach Ertz are emerging and the team added Nelson Agholor in the draft. This is a definite system upgrade due to the overall effectiveness of Chip Kelly’s offense.
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