La Canfora on Twitter: Steelers RB LeGarrette Blount "is traveling with the Steelers according to a source. Was not arrested and was told he could call someone and leave the scene. Again, from what I'm told Blount is not facing charges from the incident today."
This explains why Blount is traveling with the team but Bell is not. The fallout from Bell's arrest may not impact his outlook in 2014 since the league is so slow in handing out discipline. Stay tuned.
There has been much speculation about what New Orleans Saints running back Pierre Thomas' role would be this season and the eighth-year veteran said Wednesday night he knows things are going to be different in 2014.
"I know my role is going to change a whole lot this year," Thomas said. "I'm going to do more pass protection and route running. I'm improving my route running game. I'm still going to be running the ball too. I've got a few changes here and there."
Thomas racked up 224 touches for 1,062 yards and five TDs as the lead back in the 2013 version of the Saints’ committee at running back. With Darren Sproles gone, Thomas's receptions may increase. The team has shown signs of moving to Mark Ingram and Khiry Robinson more in the running game, so PT may have trouble pushing 150 carries again in 2014. Still, he’ll be a regular part of the rotation in a potent offense and should be a good value in the later rounds. In PPR formats, he has finished in the top 30 in PPG in five of the last six seasons.
Wednesday, August 20, 2014, 11:27pm
Bears WR Alshon Jeffery’s work ethic was considered a concern when he taken with the 45th overall pick in 2012. That’s a far-fetched worry now. He seems more confident with his blossoming stardom every time he talks.
‘‘He’s done it for one year,’’ coach Marc Trestman said. ‘‘He knows he’s got to prove himself, [that] he’s got to stack years and years together to be a great player, like Brandon has. He’s certainly confident he can do it. He knows he can compete at this level and compete at a high level.’’
“[Dunbar] and Randle are going to have an important role this year and those are guys that not only do I trust, but the coaches trust,” Murray said Wednesday. “Me not wanting to come out last year was because I wasn’t sure if things would go right, but these guys playing the way they play and practice the way they practice, I’m very confident that if I come out they can continue to carry the load and do some great things for us.”
This is not earth-shattering news but it speaks to the workload that Murray is expecting heading into the season. He may not be quite the bellcow he has been in recent years. He saw nearly 65% of the carries in 2013, but only played 14 games.
Wide receiver Julio Jones slipped out of the locker room after Saturday night's loss to the Texans before the media had a chance to get his reaction to his first game back after last year's foot injury. Jones met with the media after Wednesday's practice and sounded confident in his health as the third preseason game approaches. He said he needs to knock some of the rust off, but being back on the field felt good and there were no lingering ill effects immediately or in the days following the game: "I felt good," Jones said. "No pain. I'm still doing a lot of treatment, still doing my routine of one-day-on, one-day-off. Right now, they're going to increase the workload. I practiced (Wednesday) and then (Thursday), I'm going to practice."
Jones was on pace for 131-1856-6.4 prior to his foot injury in Week 5. He has the potential to be the most productive receiver in the league, but the foot injury is a bit concerning, especially since it’s a broken bone in the same location as his pre-Draft injury. If he plays a full season, he’ll very likely finish in the top 5. It sounds like the preseason is going according to plan.
Wednesday, August 20, 2014, 10:52pm
Tom Pelissero of USA Today reports that the Rams have waived-injured Isaiah Pead on Wednesday. Should Pead clear waivers, he can revert to the Rams and go on injured reserve for the entire season or reach an injury settlement that makes him a free agent.
Boldin continues to be a good value in the 10th round. He finished #15 in 2013, and actually posted better numbers with Michael Crabtree in the lineup. Boldin averaged 4.7-66-.45 without Crabtree and 5.7-83-.43 with Crabtree, so the potential is there for another top 20 season, though we're expecting him to be more of a WR3-type in the 49ers run-heavy attack.
Wednesday, August 20, 2014, 10:41pm
Jerry Fontenot likely will follow a similar same plan he used with tight end Andrew Quarless in 2012, when Quarless missed the entire season while recovering from knee surgery.
To keep Quarless involved, Fontenot would have him write out the test that the tight ends take at the end of the week in order to make sure they're dialed in to the game plan.
For Lyerla, just having the opportunity to be around the team this season should benefit him even though he won't be allowed to practice. He has not practiced since Aug. 2, when he tore both the medial collateral ligament and posterior collateral ligament in his right knee. Lyerla said he will not need surgery, but the injury will take more than a month to heal.
That means it will be another year without game experience for Lyerla, who has not played since he left the University of Oregon last fall.
The Packers are now playing the long game with Lyerla, who would have been a first or second round talent if not for a variety of off field issues.
Wednesday, August 20, 2014, 10:35pm
In the highly competitive position battle at Giants place-kicker, incumbent Josh Brown took a step back Wednesday, missing a long field goal attempt on the last play of practice -- not the kind of taste you want to leave when you're trying to hold off a strong challenge from the very strong-legged Brandon McManus.
Wednesday, August 20, 2014, 10:34pm
Just a few minutes later, Ryan Fitzpatrick launched a ball to the back of the end zone, high enough that only receiver Andre Johnson could catch it. Johnson tip-toed in-bounds in throwback Andre Johnson fashion, and was enveloped by his teammates.
"I thought Fitzy came out here and worked very well today," Houston Texans coach Bill O'Brien said.
Wednesday, August 20, 2014, 10:32pm
"He looked good out there running around so he should be good to go for the game,'' Allen said.
Wednesday, August 20, 2014, 10:28pm
Norwood was trying to catch a sideline touchdown pass from Peyton Manning when Houston cornerback Brandon Harris broke it up. Norwood landed awkwardly and was carted off the field.
While it would be nice for the Denver Broncos to get running back Montee Ball into a preseason game for a few snaps, get him a carry, see him run through some contact, his real target date to be ready to go is still Sept. 7, or the regular-season opener against the Indianapolis Colts.
Ball, who had an appendectomy Aug. 4, returned to the practice field Tuesday and did a little more on Wednesday, but as it stands now the Broncos’ top running back is not expected to play in Saturday night’s preseason game against the Houston Texans. And since the Broncos usually play few, if any, starters in the fourth preseason game, Ball’s most likely return date is still the regular-season opener.
We're not worried at all about the injury, though his conditioning might need some work if he doesn't see game action prior to Week 1. Ball had a higher YPC (4.7) than Knowshon Moreno (4.3), but wasn’t quite the weapon in the passing game. Still, his catch percentage (receptions/targets = 74.1%) wasn’t bad for a running back. His play down the stretch (8.5 FP/game in final eight games) is encouraging. He’s locked in as the RB1 in a great offense, so 10+ touchdowns seems likely.
Wednesday, August 20, 2014, 9:41pm
A Bronco to watch from afar this year is former Indiana product WR Cody Latimer. He caught a shallow under for a touchdown during this drill from Osweiler and then he made an extraordinary catch in the back of the end zone later in the day. On that play, he skied near the goal post and snatched a pass out of the air that had no business being caught. Just keep it in mind for fantasy football late round draft purposes.
Latimer isn't likely to see significant snaps without an injury to Demaryius Thomas, Wes Welker or Emmanuel Sanders, so while he has upside, he's not expected to contribute right away.
Quarterback Tony Romo never practiced more than two consecutive days while the team was in Oxnard for training camp.
He will follow that routine this week. Romo didn’t practice Wednesday but is expected to return Thursday.
Head coach Jason Garrett indicated that routine will change once the regular season is underway.
“Again, that’s a couple, three weeks out,’’ Garrett said. “We do anticipate him being able to handle the load of a work week leading up to the game.
Much has been written about how Romo will thrive under new “Passing Game Coordinator” Scott Linehan. Under Linehan, the Lions threw the ball 62.2% of the time in the last two seasons. Over the same span, the Cowboys threw it 64.3% of the time, so the Cowboys may not be that much more "pass happy" under Linehan, though the number of plays they run could increase, helping the offense as a whole. The Lions have averaged 1,105 plays in the last two seasons, while the Cowboys averaged just 968 plays, so Detroit ran 14% more plays than Dallas over that span. This bodes well for Romo and Co. Hopefully that back holds up.
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