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Chris Givens had a nagging ankle injury in 2013
Wednesday, April 23, 2014, 1:14pm
Rams WR Chris Givens has taken a lot of steps to get his game back on track since the 2013 finale against Seattle when he didn’t have a single catch. He decided that he had to make changes in his life and make football his No. 1 priority.
“When I was young, I felt like I was trying to do too much, please too many people,” he said. “Saying ‘yes’ too much. Being afraid to let my light shine because of how it made someone else feel. So I humbled myself and made football my job. Made it a priority. And I just started writing goals and doing a lot of things.”
In Arizona he worked with longtime fitness and martial arts instructor Mack Newton. Givens described him as “this 68-year-old trainer. ... Old school. No weight-lifting. He works on building you up from the inside-out. Before every class, we’d sit down and talk for like an hour, just about spiritual things, and having the proper self-esteem.”
By now, Givens has put the frustration of last season behind him, a season that included a shoulder injury and an especially nagging ankle injury. Givens didn’t miss any games but said the ankle injury required a lot of maintenance and bothered him most of the year.
“My goals right now are to be really involved with the team, and to really embrace the whole concept of team,” Givens said. “And just to be a leader. Be a finisher. Be a catalyst. To do everything I need to do to put my body in the best position to start (training) camp.”
Givens is a candidate for a bounce-back season after a very disappointing sophomore campaign. A renewed focus on football will help, but so should the return of QB Sam Bradford, who missed much of the season with a torn ACL.
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Mike Wallace likes Miami's new offense
Wednesday, April 23, 2014, 10:27am
What Mike Wallace found in his return to Miami: A whole new offense, one that he believes is better suited to his strengths.
“My style: Big-play offense,” Wallace said, referring to first-year coordinator Bill Lazor’s new system. “I see [Ryan Tannehill is] excited about it. He’s called me about eight, nine times.
“I just want to make some plays for my team,” Wallace continued. “Go out and make some plays for my team and have a much better year than last year. We can't have the kind of year we had last year. We need to be on the same page.”
Wallace had a career-high 73 catches last year, his first in Miami, but believes he left 15 to 20 touchdowns on the field because he and Tannehill could never figure out the deep ball.
“It’s a process,” said Joe Philbin, also appearing on the team-run radio program. “We feel like we’re going to see greater dividends this year.”
Wallace finished as the #25 receiver in 2013 and is currently the #36 WR off the board in the 8th round. He will have a chance to bounce back this season in Lazor's offense. It's good to hear that he's a fan of Lazor's approach.
Giants' new offense has West Coast principles
Wednesday, April 23, 2014, 10:20am
Once the Giants receivers learn the new verbiage, Ben McAdoo's offense in general should be easier to execute. Gone are the complicated route-reads the wide receivers were tasked with under Kevin Gilbride. In are the defined routes of McAdoo and his West Coast-style offense.
“As far as my route-running was concerned in the slot position, a lot of my routes were determined by what the secondary was doing, what type of coverage they were in. That would dictate my route,” Victor Cruz said. “As far as this offense is concerned, it’s a lot more of your route is your route, and you can dictate that off your coverage and know what you have and [Eli Manning] can find you within those different holes. Now it’s a lot less dependent on what my body language is.”
That should help the Giants cut down on the mistakes. It should help Manning cut down on the interceptions.
Defined routes should also help Rueben Randle, who struggled at times to stay on the same page as his quarterback. Randle was the #28 WR through the first 11 weeks, but faded down the stretch (12-151 in the final six weeks).
Tuesday, April 22, 2014, 9:59pm
Ravens happy with Ray Rice's conditioning
Tuesday, April 22, 2014, 9:56pm
With his legal troubles having cast doubt on his playing future, Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice has been committed to what he can control: losing weight and getting back to full strength after a hip injury derailed him last season.
Rice is attending the start of the Ravens' offseason conditioning program and has impressed team staff.
"He looks great," strength and conditioning coach Bob Rogucki told reporters Tuesday.
Rice played too heavy last year and it showed. He's facing a major off-field issue, but if he can clear that hurdle he should be a RB2 in Gary Kubiak's offense.
Tuesday, April 22, 2014, 5:21pm
Eli Manning expects to be ready for training camp
Tuesday, April 22, 2014, 5:21pm
Manning's message, as he always tries to make it, is that there's nothing to worry about -- that the ankle surgery he had a couple of weeks ago was the right move at the right time and that it shouldn't affect the Giants' 2014 season.
"I think I'm safe to say I'll be 100 percent by the start of training camp," Manning said. "I would hope so."
Manning had arthroscopic surgery on his left ankle April 10. At that time, he and the team said he expected to be cleared to start running again in six weeks. But cleared to run doesn't necessarily mean cleared to practice.
Manning is missing valuable time throwing to his receivers, specifically Rueben Randle, with whom Manning had several miscommunications during the 2013 season. The Giants are also installing a new offense; Manning surely will be getting "mental reps," but we'd feel better about the prospects of a bounce back season if he were able to throw this spring.
David Wilson expects to be ready for OTAs
Tuesday, April 22, 2014, 4:09pm
He doesn't feel any pain in his neck, and never has. The only thing keeping him off the field are "pictures," or X-Rays that will show whether or not his spinal chord has fused properly following surgery in January.
He's not sure when that clearance will come, but has appointments for future MRI exams set up.
Nonetheless, he expects to be ready for offseason training activities, which begin in less than a month.
"For sure," he said. "I expect to. I want to."
He added: "We're just playing it by ear," he said. "I had the longest break out of anyone in this locker room. I'm just looking forward to getting back out with my teammates and competing. I love to compete. I'll always have that in me."
Given the negative comments by team officials in the last few weeks, we'll believe it when we see it. Wilson's return will certainly change the dynamic in the Giants' backfield, but for now we're expecting Rashad Jennings to be the clear RB1 with Wilson potentially rotating in as a change-of-pace back.
Julio Jones to be limited in early workouts
Tuesday, April 22, 2014, 4:06pm
"Julio is participating with our athletic performance department,'' Smith said Tuesday. "He will be able to get out on the field and do some walkthrough stuff with us when we start going. Our focus on Julio is one thing, and that's having him prepared for our opener. ... He's progressing well. We're not going to do anything to hinder his timeframe in terms of getting back to work with us."
Jones injured his foot in Week 5 of last season and missed the remainder of the 2013 campaign. Smith previously said Jones was ahead of schedule in his recovery, but the coach never put a timetable on when Jones would start running routes again.
Jones has the potential to be one of the most productive receivers 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. He's currently the #6 WR off the board in the early 2nd round.
E.J. Manuel (knee) full participant at offseason workouts
Tuesday, April 22, 2014, 11:31am
The Buffalo Bills began their offseason program Tuesday morning, with quarterback EJ Manuel, wide receiver Stevie Johnson, and linebacker Brandon Spikes among those taking part in the voluntary workout.
After missing the final two games of last season with a sprained LCL in his left knee, Manuel underwent knee surgery in January. He took part in the entire portion of Tuesday's workout open to reporters.
Tight end Scott Chandler did not participate in the portion of the workout open to reporters. He worked on a stationary bike and did extra stretching with a member of the training staff.
It's a good sign for Manuel that the knee is not an issue at this point in the offseason. At best, he looks like a low-end QB2 in the Bills' run-heavy system.
Seahawks trade for Terrelle Pryor
Monday, April 21, 2014, 8:38pm
Monday, April 21, 2014, 6:12pm
Monday, April 21, 2014, 3:06pm
Bowe finished the season as the #44 fantasy WR, but was the #26 wideout from Week 11 to Week 16. (The Chiefs rested their starters in Week 17.) He had the 34th-most targets on the season, and he posted 8-150-1 against the Colts in the Wild Card round of the playoffs, so there is some reason for optimism heading into 2014.
A.J. Green has gained 6-10 lbs to become more physical
Monday, April 21, 2014, 3:04pm
Green has finished as the #4 WR in each of the last four seasons, but may have a tough time finishing that high if new OC Hue Jackson installs a run-heavy offense. The Bengals threw the ball 55.0% of the time last season (which was below the league average of 56.6%) under supposed 'pass-happy' Jay Gruden, so the Bengals were already a tad run-heavy on offense. We're expecting a bit more running, so Green deserves a slight downgrade. He's still a very solid WR1.
Monday, April 21, 2014, 2:58pm
Kelce is a sleeper candidate since the Chiefs are in need of a receiving threat at tight end.