Monday, August 11, 2014, 5:37pm
Cardinals TE John Carlson made a play that didn’t count within a game that didn’t count.
Some would call that worthless, but Cardinals coach Bruce Arians knew its impact as he grinned from ear-to-ear when discussing it on Monday.
The veteran tight end chewed up No. 1 pick Jadeveon Clowney with an out-and-up route in the preseason opener against the Texans on Saturday night, finishing it with a 13-yard touchdown reception early in the first quarter. The score was called back for illegal use of the hands on center Ted Larsen, but it was an in-game glimpse of what Carlson has shown in practice for the past several months.
It has never been a question of talent with Carlson, who averaged 53 catches, 600 yards and six touchdowns per season in his first two years in the NFL with the Seahawks. Instead, it was the risk of concussions which allowed the Cardinals to take a low-risk flier – a two-year, $4.65 million deal with little guaranteed money – on him after the Vikings waived Carlson in March.
Carlson quickly ascended the depth chart upon arriving in Arizona and played seven snaps with the first-team offense against the Texans. While he didn’t officially record a catch, there seems to be little doubt Carlson can be a productive player if he can stay on the field. Carlson ranks just 25th on our list, but is ahead of teammate Jake Ballard, so we think there are better TE options out there.
Wednesday, August 6, 2014, 6:11pm
Cardinals TE Jake Ballard, who started 13 regular-season games and three postseason games for the 2011 Giants, has retired from the NFL. Ballard tore an ACL during New York’s Super Bowl XLVI win over the Patriots.
Monday, July 28, 2014, 6:14pm
But the Patriots had other ideas.
According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, the Patriots claimed Gaffney off waivers, even though he needs season-ending knee surgery.
This time a year, if a player is placed on IR he must first clear waivers before heading to IR. It's an unwritten rule, but perfectly in a team's right to make a claim on an injured player. It's likely why the Colts have yet to place Vick Ballard on IR. The Panthers tried to sneak Gaffney through waivers to sign another player, which turned out to be Fozzy Whittaker...
Friday, June 6, 2014, 6:37pm
Cardinals TE Rob Housler, Bruce Arians said, has had a “fantastic” offseason so far. And that’s at least a start.
Where Rob Housler goes from there, we’ll see. It seems that Housler’s “make-or-break” year, or “year to make a leap” has been every year except his first. The Cardinals are still waiting, and now the reality of the NFL means time grows short. Housler is in the last year of his rookie contract. The Cardinals signed John Carlson (who has looked very good so far), brought Jake Ballard back to health and drafted Troy Niklas. Even, at least in the heat of OTAs, Darren Fells has looked the part. Arians has called his tight ends group “an NFL room right now” and they all certainly look the part. Making this team — and getting playing time — won’t be simple.
We're not expecting much from any of the Cardinals tight ends. It's not a featured spot in Arians' offense and the pecking order is too murky with Housler, Carlson and rookie Niklas all in the mix.
Tuesday, March 11, 2014, 5:05pm
Friday, December 13, 2013, 6:49pm
Friday, August 30, 2013, 6:31pm
Wednesday, August 14, 2013, 1:40pm
There was a moment where Tom Brady yelled at Sudfeld for not getting to the ground in a drill simulating a late-game situation, but Sudfeld has been one of the most impressive Patriots throughout camp, and he carried it over into joint practices by consistently getting open against the Buccaneers linebackers and safeties. Sudfeld went 2-1 in the one-on-one coverage drills with the Patriots running backs and tight ends vs. the Buccaneers linebackers and safeties. He also caught a team-high three passes in 11-on-11 work, including a touchdown against safety Keith Tandy.
Sudfeld might be the right player to handcuff to Rob Gronkowski. He's been getting glowing reports from camp and it looks like he would start if Gronk misses time at the beginning of the season.
Sunday, August 11, 2013, 1:27pm
Patriot TEs Zach Sudfeld, Daniel Fells, Jake Ballard and Michael Hoomanawanui all filled their roles nicely in the opener. Sudfeld will assume some of Aaron Hernandez’ responsibilities, lining up offset or in the slot and catching passes, and his nifty spin move by the sideline was eerily familiar. Fells, who has had a nice camp, played well in his blocking and receiving assignments.
Ballard was counted on as more of a blocker, and Hoomanawanui did some of the same, including several snaps at fullback. All four would be useful on the 53-man roster until Rob Gronkowski returns.
Sudfeld and Fells have stood out the most in camp and there was talk of Ballard not making the team as he tries to get back to 100-percent. It seems like all could make the team if Gronkowski misses time or starts on PUP. But with the lack of info about Gronk, it's even possible Gronkowski is ready for week one. Either way, don't expect any of the other TEs to put up Hernandez-like numbers as the Pats are expected to run more and/or use more three WR sets.
Sunday, August 4, 2013, 10:19am
Patriots TE Jake Ballard was great for the Giants in 2011 with 604 receiving yards and four touchdowns, but we’re concerned about his mobility and pain threshold, even 18 months after ACL and microfracture surgery. Ballard doesn’t have any guaranteed money on his contract, either, so the Patriots could cut him with no salary-cap penalty.
Monday, July 22, 2013, 7:02pm
While Patriots TE Jake Ballard has seemed like the reasonable fill-in for Rob Gronkowski, he didn’t appear to be fully back to health during minicamps. He slogged through some routes and wasn’t a full-go participant. Microfracture surgery is hell to come back from.
Ballard could be a viable stopgap solution for Gronk owners, but he's not going to explode in this offense as some sort of replacement for Aaron Hernandez.
Patriots TE Jake Ballard was very successful for the New York Giants in 2011 when they won the Super Bowl, catching 38 passes for 604 yards and four touchdowns. He’s coming off an ACL tear and through OTAs and minicamp has appeared rigid. But you can expect him to loosen up as he fully recovers from his injury.
The New England Patriots issued the following statement: “A young man was murdered last week and we extend our sympathies to the family and friends who mourn his loss. Words cannot express the disappointment we feel knowing that one of our players was arrested as a result of this investigation. We realize that law enforcement investigations into this matter are ongoing. We support their efforts and respect the process. At this time, we believe this transaction is simply the right thing to do.”
Apparently the Patriots aren't waiting for due process to run its course here. This is a damning sign for Aaron Hernandez. The Patriots will walk away from the embattled TE and his guaranteed money and move on with a less than 100% Rob Gronkowski, Jake Ballard, Daniel Fells and Michael Hoomanawanui on the roster. Another player to monitor is rookie 6'7" Zach Sudfeld out of Nevada. Sudfeld went undrafted, but had a really impressive pro day and the fact that the Patriots picked him up during all this turmoil may be telling. The loss of Hernandez as a weapon ultimately hurts Tom Brady. The Patriots could move towards a more run-oriented attack led by Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen. We'll have a full rankings update with all the fallout later today, but don't expect Ballard or any other TE to just step in and fill the hole left by Hernandez.
Friday, June 21, 2013, 9:46am
Garafolo - Huge. He's almost 100%.
Ballard is coming off reconstructive knee surgery after getting hurt in the Super Bowl in 2012 while with the Giants. Ballard will turn 26 in December. He caught 38 passes for over 600 yards during the 2011 season along with four TDs. With the uncertainty of the Patriot TEs, it's possible Ballard has a role on New England by the time the season comes around. There's a lot that will have to shake out first, though, before Ballard becomes a target in drafts.
On Wednesday, Boston media reported Hernandez hasn't been ruled out as a suspect in a homicide case where a dead body was found less than a mile from his home.
Now Hernandez will reportedly be facing a lawsuit stemming from a February incident where he allegedly shot a man in the face, according to TMZ. Sports Illustrated has also confirmed the existence of the lawsuit.
According to TMZ, the man filing the lawsuit, Alexander Bradley, claims he went to a club in Miami with Hernandez on Feb. 13 and at some point, an argument broke out between the two men.
Hernandez and Bradley left the club in the same car, where the argument continued. At some point during the car ride, Hernandez allegedly aimed a gun at Bradley and the gun discharged, hitting Bradley in the face, according to the report.
Bradley claims to have lost his right eye and had reconstructive surgery. He also claims Hernandez isn't licensed to carry a gun. From a football standpoint, the Patriots could already be without TE Rob Gronkowski for at least the start of the season, and right now Hernandez seems to be in a lot of hot water. The Pats currently have 7 TEs on the roster, including Gronk and Hernandez. The other five are: Jake Ballard, Daniel Fells, rookie Brandon Ford, Michael Hoomanawanui and rookie Zach Sudfeld.
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