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Friday, August 1, 2014, 5:09pm
The biggest name to be sidelined was Eagles receiver Jeremy Maclin, who missed the second half of team drills. Why Maclin was sidelined wasn't clear as he sat with his helmet and watched the first team practice.
49ers HC Jim Harbaugh said WR Michael Crabtree is "working through something," could be back on practice field in a week or two. Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com reports Harbaugh did say that the injury Crabtree is working through wasn’t to his foot or Achilles.
Including three playoff games, Crabtree appeared in eight contests last season and averaged 4.3 catches for 61 yards and 0.13 TD. For a better indication of his potential for 2014, we should include the 10 games he played with Colin Kaepernick in 2012 (and in the 2013 playoffs). When those numbers are rolled in, Crabtree averaged 5.3 catches for 76 yards and 0.50 TD, which equates to 10.6 PPG, or strong WR2-type numbers. He looked liked himself during the 49ers' playoff run, so we're expecting a productive 2014 from the 6th-year receiver, provided this injury doesn't linger too long.
As veteran teammate Greg Jennings has pointed out, though, new coordinator Norv Turner is going to force-feed Patterson the ball, moving him around the field like a souped-up Percy Harvin. In fact, Jennings is now convinced there's "no ceiling" to Patterson's potential and the second-year receiver's success is "going to shoot straight through the roof." "I'm excited," Jennings added this week, via ESPN.com. "I told him this, and maybe it was a little premature, but I told him, 'At some point, I'm going to tell my kids I played with Cordarrelle Patterson.'"
Patterson posted the 5th-best FP/snap (0.24) among wideouts who played at least 20% of their team’s snaps. Patterson was the #10 WR from Week 10 to Week 17 – as a rookie. He scored seven touchdowns in that span (three rush, four receiving) while racking up 29 catches for 323 yards to go along with 10 carries for 156 rushing yards. With Josh Gordon coming off of a breakout season under new Vikings OC Norv Turner, Patterson should be a fantasy starter sooner rather than later. His TD rate will be difficult to maintain, but he should see a jump in touches in 2014. Patterson is very raw as a route runner and needs to develop quickly in that facet of the game if he's to have the type of season that many are predicting.
Texans WR Andre Johnson is “doing better,” according to head coach Bill O’Brien after missing Friday’s practice with a lingering injury. After tweaking his hamstring while flattening himself for a catch, All-Pro receiver has not practiced since Sunday. “I think that is something he and I talk about every day,” O’Brien said. “I don’t think there is a need to rush him back. I think he needs to come back when he feels ready to be back. Again, that is not a serious injury, but it is not something that you need to rush him back.”
Johnson finished the season as the #12 WR but failed to find the endzone in the final seven weeks after scoring all five of his touchdowns in Week 9 (9-229-3) and Week 10 (5-37-2) against the Colts and Cardinals, respectively. Johnson will turn 33 in July and is starting to show signs of slowing down. He's missing valuable reps -- he needs to practice to learn the offense and build a rapport with new QB Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Wide receiver Eric Decker, the New York Jets' prized free agent, missed most of practice Friday with a hamstring injury. It's not serious, according to Rex Ryan. "It's a little bit of a hamstring," Ryan said. "It's not like he pulled a hamstring. We took care of him." Decker is expected to play Saturday night in the annual Green & White scrimmage. He apparently got hurt Thursday, as he was seen in the trainer's area at the start of Friday's practice. He didn't participate in any team drills.
There’s no doubt that Decker is going to see a downgrade at QB going from Peyton Manning to a combination of Geno Smith and Michael Vick. But as the Jets’ clear WR1, he should see enough targets to become a fantasy starter even if his per target production is likely to drop. He looked great in camp prior to the injury.
Patriots beat writer Mike Reiss on RB James White: "Has opened eyes with how many quality reps he's getting and looks like he’ll be a significant part of the team’s attack -- on all three downs."
White appears to be the RB3 backing up both Shane Vereen and Stevan Ridley, the team's 'passing back' and 'big back,' respectively. White isn't a big back, but he's shifty. He's worth a late-round pick as a handcuff/prospect type.
Running back Arian Foster, who’s presumably dealing with a strained hamstring – neither he nor the team has yet confirmed that’s his injury – returned to a spectating role Friday after having participated in a full practice Wednesday. He’d already missed two workouts and part of a third earlier this week. “He’s doing OK,” coach Bill O’Brien said. “It’s kind of a day-to-day thing. It’s nothing serious. I would assume – (but) guess you can’t assume anything – he’d be back pretty soon.”
Foster's health is obviously a concern, as these nicks are starting to add up to quite a bit of missed practice time. He has missed 11 games in the last three years, but did play a full season in 2012 and no longer has Ben Tate to worry about. After finishing in the top 2 in fantasy points per game from 2010 to 2012, he was #19 in that category in 2013. Still, he has been one of the most productive RBs in the league when healthy and is a candidate for a bounceback season if he can get healthy.
Friday, August 1, 2014, 4:21pm
Yes, Cowboys WR Dez Bryant seems to make two or three spectacular catches every practice. He’ll do it again Saturday when the players take the field. But it’s not always about a great athletic play. Bryant constantly shows how much he’s improved as a route runner. The latest example came Thursday afternoon in red zone drills against the cornerbacks. Bryant gave an inside move, dug in hard to the outside then immediately came back inside for the slant to freeze Orlando Scandrick in place. It was a routine catch but there was nothing routine about the set up.
Friday, August 1, 2014, 4:08pm
Eagles QB Nick Foles has attempted more back shoulder throws in practice this week than he did all of last season, even with lengthy wideout Riley Cooper out with a foot injury. HC Chip Kelly likes to talk about “tools in the toolbox,” and the Eagles have the personnel this year -- Cooper, Jeremy Maclin, Jordan Matthews -- to make the back shoulder throw more prominent in their offense. They’ve become trendy tosses for quarterbacks in a league where wideouts now resemble outside linebackers, and they’re effective because receivers don’t have to create separation with speed to make the play. All it takes is the proper adjustment to an intentionally underthrown pass. “It's part of the game,” offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur said. “I think they can be very effective if they're thrown with the right timing and at the right spot. So it's just one of the things guys work on. We try to take advantage of every opportunity to get the ball down the field, and that is just another way to do it.”
Bengals WR Marvin Jones is yet to practice due to an ankle injury he suffered in a non-football-related activity. Watching the rest of his team compete and run around has challenged his patience, but he's stayed confident in his progress working on the side field. "In due time I will be out there," Jones said. The most important question in regard to Jones' status is if he's concerned about possibly missing the start of the regular season. He wasn't having that. "No, I'll be ready," Jones said.
He injured the ankle in an offseason workout with QB Andy Dalton. He isn't worried about his status for Week 1 and neither are we. He finished strong down the stretch, including an 8-130 outing against the Chargers in the playoffs.
Jacksonville Jaguars rookie receiver Allen Robinson will miss extended time with another hamstring injury. Robinson strained his right hamstring in practice Thursday. It's the same leg that kept him out during organized team activities.
Jaguars writer John Oehser said that Robinson's availability for Week 1 is not in jeopardy, but the repeated hamstring injuries are worrisome. Marqise Lee will have the opportunity to distance himself and win the starting job opposite Cecil Shorts, who is also out with a hamstring injury.
Friday, August 1, 2014, 12:46pm
The Pittsburgh Steelers have given kicker Shaun Suisham a four-year contract extension that runs through the 2018 season.
There are a few kicker battles going on around the league, but Suisham's job is safe.
Friday, August 1, 2014, 12:44pm
Speaking to the media on Thursday, Eagles head coach Chip Kelly described the injury to Riley Cooper as not serious, and said that the receiver should be back any day. That day, however, was not Friday. Sporting a walking boot on his right foot walking around the NovaCare Complex, Cooper was on the sidelines again on Friday as the Eagles took the field for training camp practice. The practice was the third straight day that Cooper has been either out of practice or limited.
Injuries to the Eagles' WR corps should be closely monitored because Jordan Matthews is a likely fantasy starter if he can work his way into starter's snaps for his own team.
Friday, August 1, 2014, 12:43pm
The pads have come on. And so has Jaguars rookie QB Blake Bortles, who has exceeded offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch's expectations with his growth spurt through the first week of training camp. Not that Bortles is a legitimate threat yet to unseat veteran starter Chad Henne, whose experience and knowledge of Fisch's system give him a sizable advantage.
Friday, August 1, 2014, 12:18pm
Jets RB Bilal Powell, who must fight Chris Johnson and Chris Ivory for playing time, missed his third straight practice Thursday with a hamstring injury. Powell was just so-so last season, when he averaged 4 yards per carry – the same number he averaged in 2012. Ivory last season averaged 4.6, as he emerged as the Jets’ most reliable back. This is the final year of Powell’s rookie contract. He needs to show the Jets growth, though you have to wonder how many opportunities he will get.
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