Monday, July 13, 2015, 2:23pm
For the third straight year, the Packers enter the season knowing who their top two running backs are. Training camp and the preseason will be used to figure out a new third option.
Eddie Lacy and James Starks combined for 1,472 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns in 2014. That’s a slight drop from their collective production the prior year (1,671 yards and 14 TDs) when they were relied on more during quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ injury absence.
The story pointed out Neal was making a bid for a roster spot last summer, only to be sidelined the rest of camp with a knee injury. He was placed on injured reserve at the first roster reduction and was eventually brought back to the practice squad right after last season’s bye week. Spending the rest of his rookie season in Green Bay appeared to pay dividends for Neal this past spring, as he got a lot of work during OTAs and showed trustworthy hands catching passes out of the backfield, the story added.
David Newton: It's not so much whether Newton is capable. He didn't win the Heisman Trophy at Auburn or win the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year at Carolina for a lack of talent. The question is this: Does Newton have the talent around him to become an MVP? Aaron Rodgers didn't win the award last season without having a solid offensive line, top receivers and a running game that takes the pressure off him. Newton needs the same.
The good news, the story points out, is Cam Newton seems to have a talent pool around him now. Wide receivers Kelvin Benjamin, Devin Funchess, Corey Brown and Ted Ginn Jr., along with tight end Greg Olsen, give him plenty of capable targets. Jonathan Stewart showed again at the end of last season that, when healthy, he's a top five back. Now, the offensive line is going to be the key. Newton will also have to become a more consistent passer. While the odds may be against him for MVP, he's capable of a solid fantasy season. Newton cracks our top-10 QBs heading into camps, coming in eighth with an ADP of about the seventh round. He's another of the long list of fantasy QBs who will be around during that stage of your draft if you're set on waiting on the position.
He stayed on the field on third downs as a pass protector and receiving outlet for quarterback Aaron Rodgers. He was solid in blitz pickup, and he boosted his pass-catching numbers considerably, from 257 yards and no touchdowns in 2013 to 427 yards and four scores last year.
All the while, he improved his per-carry rushing average a full half yard, from 4.1 to 4.6, without missing a single game and never touching the ball fewer than a dozen times per contest.
It’s a heavy workload that isn’t likely to diminish in the upcoming season, but the third-year running back is fine with his extensive every-down responsibilities.
“I don’t feel I have too much on my plate,” Lacy said last week as the offseason program wrapped up. “I really think it’s the perfect amount. You can see the chemistry between me and the offensive line, and me and the quarterback. We’re just all on the same page and we’re rolling.”
Lacy will certainly be a major factor again this season, and the coaching staff has emphasized it wants to get clicking from the get-go this year, the story said. That's something Lacy didn't do last season, thanks in part to a tough, early schedule. But we preached to stay patient with Lacy as his schedule eased. It paid off as he finished in the top-eight in both PPR and standard formats. This year Lacy is ranked third among our running backs heading into drafts, but with an ADP of 1.3, he's actually going before Adrian Peterson and Marshawn Lynch, who we have ahead of him here in late June.
“I would say Davante Adams for someone if, if you want a clear illustration and example of a first-year player taking a jump in his second year, you just saw it here the last four weeks,” Packers HC Mike McCarthy said. “I think he’s been tremendous throughout the OTAs. And he’s got more in front of him, too, so I think that’s what’s exciting. I think Davante has done a great job in the strength and conditioning. He’s been really, really good in practice throughout this deal. Davante, if you wanted me to pick an MVP or an all-star, he would definitely be atop the list.”
Adams had his moments during his rookie season, specifically against the Patriots (6-121 on 11 targets) in Week 13 and in the postseason against the Cowboys (7-117-1 on 11 targets). However, he only saw 66 passes come his way since he played alongside target hogs Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb. Aaron Rodgers has been highly complimentary of Adams this offseason and says he has “humongous upside.” In 20 games from 2012-13, the team’s WR3, James Jones, managed WR3-type numbers (3.7-50.3-.60 on 5.6 targets) with both Cobb and Nelson in the lineup, but that was mainly due to his unusually high TD rate. In 13 games that Cobb and/or Nelson missed, Jones averaged solid WR2 numbers (4.6-58-.46 on 7.3 targets), but his TD rate regressed. We’re bullish on Adams since he has more potential than Jones. The Packers are also without a tight end of Jermichael Finley’s caliber, so there may be more targets available for the team’s third receiver. Owners should expect fantasy WR2 numbers if Cobb or Nelson go down, making the second-year wideout a great handcuff for either player.
Tuesday, June 16, 2015, 3:03pm
"Andrew Quarless has had a great offseason," the quarterback said. "I think he's really, something clicked in for him at the end of last year and he's been taking the jump."
Richard Rodgers is also in the mix. Neither player is particularly attractive at this point since they rotated at the position for most of last year.
Maturity – combined with WR Davante Adams’ natural talent, physical dimensions, athleticism and commitment to learning the offense inside and out – has Packers QB Aaron Rodgers convinced that Adams is headed for big things in 2015, even with Pro Bowl receivers Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb at his position.
“In my mind, he has humongous upside – and he’s starting to reach that upside,” Rodgers said after the team’s open-to-the-public organized team activity practice. “I think the opportunities are going to come for him. He’s got two great guys to play with. His attention to detail is very impressive and his approach.
Adams had his moments during his rookie season, specifically against the Patriots (6-121 on 11 targets) in Week 13 and in the postseason against the Cowboys (7-117-1 on 11 targets). However, he only saw 66 passes come his way since he played alongside target hogs Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb. In 20 games from 2012-13, the team’s WR3, James Jones, managed WR3-type numbers (3.7-50.3-.60 on 5.6 targets) with both Cobb and Nelson in the lineup, but that was mainly due to his unusually high TD rate. In 13 games that Cobb and/or Nelson missed, Jones averaged solid WR2 numbers (4.6-58-.46 on 7.3 targets), but his TD rate regressed. We’re bullish on Adams since he has more potential than Jones and Rodgers' comments only reinforce this thinking. The Packers are also without a tight end of Jermichael Finley’s caliber, so there may be more targets available for the team’s third receiver. Owners should expect fantasy WR2 numbers if Cobb or Nelson go down, making the second-year wideout a great handcuff for either player.
Less than two months away, everything seems to be on schedule.
Nelson took another step in that direction this week, when he practiced for the first time since his offseason hip surgery. The Pro Bowl receiver took part in individual drills during Wednesday's organized team activities (OTAs).
"We're right where we want to be," Nelson said after practice. "We set a plan at the beginning, and we're hitting every target. We feel good and like I said a couple of weeks ago, we'll be ready to go by training camp."
Health, injuries and surgeries. They are perhaps Jordy Nelson’s least favorite topics, so you’re not going to get much out of him. But he did admit to having off-season surgery when he talked to reporters Thursday in Green Bay after organized team activities.
“Everything is going well. We’re excited where we’re at. I continue to move forward and everything is good though,” said Nelson.
There doesn’t seem to be a timetable for his return.
“Not necessarily,” said Nelson. “We’re just going to continue to progress going forward. Like I said, we’re excited where we’re at and don’t have any worries about anything that’s of importance down the road.”
Nelson said it bothered him during the season.
“Obviously, if it didn’t bother me, I probably wouldn’t have had surgery,” said Nelson. “But – nothing major. Just an opportunity to get some things cleaned up. We did it and I think it was a good move and I feel good with where we’re at, moving forward.”
Anytime a player has surgery it raises red flags, but this doesn't sound too serious. Nelson has finished in the top 11 in standard formats in three of the last four seasons, averaging 5.0 catches for 81 yards and 0.72 TD in that span. The Packers' offense remains intact, so as long as he and Aaron Rodgers stay healthy, we're expecting more of the same in 2015.
Sunday, April 5, 2015, 8:30pm
Rex Ryan has stressed all offseason that the quarterback position will be an open competition in training camp for the Buffalo Bills. Should we believe him?
After all, it was just last August that Ryan and the Jets staged a faux competition between Geno Smith and Michael Vick. The Jets stacked the deck so far in Smith's favor that Vick wouldn't even play along, publicly disagreeing with the coaching staff's notion that he was competing for a starting job.
Fast forward to present day, and Ryan is facing a familiar problem with a new team. EJ Manuel, like Smith, is a high 2013 draft pick who's struggled in his first two seasons and was benched in his second season. Matt Cassel, like Vick, is a 30-something veteran with past success.
"You look at Matt Cassel, obviously he's won in this league," said Ryan, according to The Buffalo News. "He's been a Pro Bowl-quarterback, so there's that experience that you have.
Ryan went on to say that he won't throw out Manuel after just two years and pointed out that Aaron Rodgers never took a snap for three years. From a coaching standpoint, Manuel may not have a lot of motivation if Cassel is named the starter at this point in the year, but it sure seems like that's where the team is heading.
Mike McCarthy says WR Jordy Nelson's hip surgery was a cleanup and took place after Pro Bowl. Said its 6-8 weeks and things went well.
Cobb reportedly had 6-7 other offers today, per Ian Rapoport, but "turned down considerably more money" to sign with Green Bay. It's certainly the best spot for his fantasy value, playing in a familiar system with a Hall of Fame caliber quarterback. Cobb finished #8 in PPR formats and #6 in standard and has finished in the top 11 in PPR points per game over the past two seasons. In early drafts, he's the 12th WR off the board and is going in the early 3rd round. Don't be surprised if his ADP settles in the late 2nd by the time draft season is in full swing. This is great news for Aaron Rodgers, Jordy Nelson and the entire Packer offense.
Cosell: Raiders QB Derek Carr has 'best combination of arm strength, pocket play and movement' of rookie QB classThursday, February 12, 2015, 1:34pm
I think Carr has the best combination of arm strength, pocket play and movement. He has a really good arm. There are times he snaps it off like Aaron Rodgers in the pocket.
Carr’s tendency to get rid of the ball short isn’t a bad thing. The Raiders’ sack numbers were way down. He didn’t stand there and hold the ball with a deer-in-the-headlights look. That tells me his processing was functioning. He didn’t always throw to the right guy, but he didn’t get stuck in the pocket. He struggled at times with lower body mechanics, but he had the instincts and feel of a pocket quarterback. And he showed progress with his lower body mechanics as the season went on.
Carr played well as a rookie, and as long as he progresses as he should in seeing things at the intermediate level, there’s a lot to like with him going forward.
Carr finished the season as the #20 QB in fantasy and averaged 12.5 FP per game. He'll be in the mix for QBBC and streaming strategies heading into the 2015 season.
Friday, January 16, 2015, 5:45pm
Packers QB Aaron Rodgers (calf, probable) took limited practice reps all week and is probable for Week 20. Rodgers' participation was increased this week, but he said that the calf is still sore and stiff, and he continues to get round-the-clock treatment. He's not going to miss Sunday's game, though he won't have full mobility.
Aaron Rodgers said his strained left calf felt "a little bit worse" after Sunday’s playoff win over the Dallas Cowboys, but it was a whole lot better on Monday than it was the day after the Green Bay Packers quarterback re-injured it in the regular-season finale two weeks ago.
And with just six more days until Sunday's NFC Championship Game at the Seattle Seahawks, that's an encouraging sign for the Packers given that he had two weeks between the Week 17 game against the Detroit Lions and the playoff opener against the Cowboys.
"Aaron made it through the game very well," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said Monday. "Saw him today. He's getting better. I think he feels better at this time this week than he did last week."
Friday, January 9, 2015, 6:47pm
Packers QB Aaron Rodgers (calf, probable) took limited practice reps again Friday and is probable for Week 19. Rodgers is going to play against Dallas on Sunday, but he may not be 100 percent in terms of mobility inside and outside of the pocket. He reportedly has a partial tear in his calf.
- Page 1