This is great news but we'd like to see him get through a few consecutive practices before considering him a full go for Week 1. In his second season, Brown finished in the top 25 in both formats, though HC Bruce Arians said that the receiver was pressing at the end of the season (which led to a few drops) and he should have finished with 1400 yards instead of 1003. His upside is somewhat capped due to the presence of Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd in the offense.
It has been one of the most dramatic changes this season. Detroit was in the bottom third of the league in offensive pace under former coordinator Joe Lombardi, because he wanted to shuffle in personnel and packages at a dizzying rate.
Now, though, Detroit has been in the no-huddle 62 percent of their plays during the preseason. That's up from just 7 percent in the regular season last year.
"I think if you do it right -- if you do it well in general -- it's a more efficient way to go about your business," Cooter said. "Now does that mean we're always playing extremely fast? Absolutely not. But it also doesn't mean we never do that. We like to have all the options at our disposal. Sometimes we play fast, sometimes we don't. Sometimes we're in the huddle, out of the huddle."
The Lions’ offense really took off after Jim Bob Cooter took over as the play-caller, but that probably had more to do with the strength of schedule than anything he did. The Lions played Minnesota twice, Arizona, Seattle, Kansas City and Denver in their first eight games, and the schedule was significantly softer after the Week 9 bye. Still, Stafford was the #4 QB over the final eight weeks, averaging 21.5 points per game. The loss of Calvin Johnson will sting, but if Cooter’s influence is real, then Stafford could push for QB1 numbers if things break his way. Playing at a faster pace should only help, assuming the offense can move the ball effectively and stay on the field.
Eric Decker isn't known as a deep receiver. Never has been. Sure-handed? Absolutely. Superb route runner? Definitely. Technically sound? 100 percent. But for all the things Decker is, he's not regarded as a player that can stretch the field.
The Jets, this season, are hoping to change that perception.
"You'll see more of that this year," Jets receivers coach Karl Dorrell said Wednesday. "Eric will surprise a lot of people."
"Eric can get deep," Dorrell said. "He can sneak by you and do those things."
Decker runs a 4.60 40-yard dash and isn't known as a speedster, but with his 6'3" frame he can compete for long passes downfield. He's the 24th WR off the board after finishing the season as the #10 WR. Now that Ryan Fitzpatrick is back, not much will change for the Jets and Decker was the most consistent fantasy receiver last season, posting 80-plus yards and/or a touchdown in each of his 15 games played. He's a great value in the 4th round.
Even if he lost that battle, he was expected to make the team. He even got $250,000 of his contract guaranteed.
Instead, he didn't even make it to the first round of cuts.
The Lions informed Ridley on Thursday morning that he has been released.
Ravens wide receiver Breshad Perriman says he feels as fast as ever – if not faster – since returning from a knee injury that held him out for two months. (He says he may be faster now that he’s lost three or four pounds from cutting off his dreads).
While that’s good news, there was never any doubt that Perriman would add some major speed to the Ravens’ wide receiver corps once he got back on the field. After all, he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.24 seconds at his pro day.
In perhaps better news, Perriman has improved in other parts of his game during his extended time away from the football field, and Offensive Coordinator Marc Trestman has already noticed in Perriman’s first few practices.
“I think his hands and his concentration have even got better since he first got here,” Trestman said Wednesday. “He is much more sure-handed – not that he wasn’t – but he has become even more sure-handed. I think that goes with confidence.”
Due to the opportunity in the Ravens' receiving corps, Perriman looked like a nice sleeper prior to his injury. The Ravens signed Mike Wallace, while Steve L Smith is back and Kamar Aiken emerged as a viable WR2, so Perriman is not guaranteed starter's snaps even though he brings deep speed to the receiving corps. He's a worthwhile late-round flier given the fluidity of his situation.
Eric Ebron missed more than two weeks with an ankle injury.
Then he came back. For a day.
And now he's gone again, with no word on what's up or when he'll return.
The Detroit Lions tight end missed a second straight day of work Thursday, and coach Jim Caldwell sidestepped questions about whether he had suffered a setback in his return from an ankle injury.
Ebron caught 47 passes for 537 yards and five touchdowns last season and finished as the #13 TE in PPR formats, though he was actually worse under then-interim and now-official offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter. He averaged 13.0 FP (PPR) through the first seven weeks, and 7.3 FP once Cooter was promoted. With Calvin Johnson gone, there are a lot of moving parts in Detroit, so this doesn't mean that Ebron won't produce similar (or better) numbers in his third season, provided he can get healthy. This injury situation doesn't seem to be trending the right way.
Gronk has finished as the top overall tight end in each of the last two seasons, though Jordan Reed gave him a run for his money last year. The increased depth at the position make him a less appealing 1st round pick, especially given his injury history.
With Marshawn Lynch out of the way, Rawls is first in line for workhorse back duties given his performance in 2015. In the six games in which Rawls played and Lynch did not, the rookie averaged 20.5 touches for 120 yards and 0.84 touchdowns (on a stellar 5.6 YPC). That doesn't even include Week 3, when he turned 16 carries into 104 yards while Lynch was limited to five carries. A fractured ankle ended his season, but he should be ready to play in Week 1.
Cardinals wide receiver John Brown went into the league’s concussion protocol early in training camp and wound up missing three weeks of work before getting cleared to return to practice last weekend.
Brown’s return to action has hit a snag, however. Coach Bruce Arians said, via Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic, that Brown has a headache and won’t practice on Wednesday.
Brown's departure is a bit alarming given that he already missed three weeks with the concussion. We've bumped him down our rankings a bit due to the chances that he might miss a game or two early in the season. When Brown missed Week 8 of last season, Jaron Brown played 47% of the snaps, catching one pass for 39 yards on four targets. J.J. Nelson played 25% of the snaps and caught three passes for 70 yards on four targets.
Both players have looked good in the preseason. The Titans drafted Henry with the intention of using him as a rookie, so we're expecting a fairly run-heavy game plan, at least until the Titans fall behind. Henry has a lot of upside as an attrition play if anything were to happen to Murray.
ESPN's Rob Demovsky picked WR Jared Abbrederis as his breakout player to watch:
The third-year receiver has built off the momentum that he established in the playoff loss at Arizona last year, when he came off the bench and caught four passes for 55 yards. Thanks to a strong showing in training camp combined with Jeff Janis' broken hand, Abbrederis continues to move up the Packers' depth chart.
Related players: Davante Adams
Steelers beat writer Ed Bouchette was asked how the team's depth chart would shake out. His response:
Last week, Dale Lolley (@dlolleyor) of the Observer-Reporter gave us the heads up about Rogers' likely role in the slot. If this holds, then Coates is being severely overdrafted in the 9th/10th round of fantasy drafts and Rogers is a deep sleeper, especially in PPR formats. We've favored Wheaton in our rankings all summer, the concern is that he'll now be competing directly with Coates for snaps, and if he doesn't carry over the momentum from late last season, he could find himself on the bench. On the plus side, Wheaton is currently starting in a high-octane passing attack and if that continues, he'll be a steal in the 10th/11th round. He'll have to prove that he can consistently get open on the outside, but he's apparently done enough in camp to earn the starting job.
"We're going to even out those reps with the first group with (Cameron Brake) and (Austin Seferian-Jenkins)," Buccaneers coach Dirk Koetter said after watching Saturday's tape. "Austin's worked his way right back in there, and when he got moved down the depth chart, all you can ask a player when he gets moved down is that he competes and does better and tries to get back up there, and he's done that.
"The catch in the second half that Austin made on the 'bow-out' -- there's just not a whole lot of guys that can make that play. He's earned a chance to get back and work more with the first group, so we should give it to him.”
The Bucs have recently been employing not just two-tight-end sets -- which also feature 6-6 Luke Stocker, the team's best run-blocker, or hybrid fullback/tight end/jack-of-all-trades Danny Vitale -- but also three-tight-end sets, where Brate and Seferian-Jenkins will both be out on the field together as passing threats.
We're still not as high on ASJ as we were early in the offseason, before a couple of practice blowups and glowing comments about Brate from the team's coaching staff, but it's easier to see a path to TE1-type status if Seferian-Jenkins continues to do and say the right things.
Expect Darren Sproles to be featured in the passing game this season. Offensive coordinator Frank Reich said that every week during game planning meetings, they will ask, "How can we get this guy the football?"
"Sproles is the original, right?" Reich said. "He's the original guy. He's the prototype. Right from the start, I remember coming in some of the immediate talk was the excitement of how we get to use a guy like Darren Sproles. . . . In Doug's offense, they've done that in the past. We'll continue to mix in some other things that we've all done, that our staff has done to kind of isolate backs and get good matchups."
As the article mentioned, Reich's history with Danny Woodhead shows that he knows how to get a pass-catching back the football. After Jordan Matthews and Zach Ertz, the Eagles are looking for playmakers in the passing game, and Sproles can certainly help in that area. He has finished in the top 30 in seven straight seasons in PPR formats.
Wednesday, August 24, 2016, 9:55am
Tom Curran of CSN New England reports that veteran wide receiver Nate Washington has been cut.
Washington signed with the Patriots in March and was part of what coach Bill Belichick called “probably as good” a competition for roster spots at the position as the team has had during Belichick’s tenure. Washington never made his way to the front of that competition, catching one pass for eight yards in two preseason outings, and will now have to find another team if he’s going to play a 12th NFL season.
- Page 1