Ryan Mink of the Ravens' official website believes that TE Crockett Gillmore has a good chance to break out: Gillmore showed strong hands last year and they have only gotten better. He struggled with drops last training camp. So far this summer, he’s hardly let a ball touch the ground. He’s had another year in the offensive system, so he won’t be thinking as much on the field. Plus, Gillmore is massive. He was a big guy last year, but added 15 pounds of muscle in the offseason. He’s still got the ability to stretch the field, which he showed by catching numerous jump balls in Organized Team Activities (OTAs) and minicamp. Flacco seemed to develop a real comfort with Gillmore during the practices.
Gillmore is more of a blocker than a receiver but as the article notes, Gillmore has improved in that facet of the game. There is opportunity at the position with Dennis Pitta still sidelined and Owen Daniels in Denver, but the team drafted Maxx Williams as the long-term answer, so it's not clear how big of a receiving role Gillmore will have in 2015. Martellus Bennett shined under then-HC Marc Trestman in Chicago, so there is some upside for whoever wins the starting job in Baltimore. Fantasy-wise, rookie tight ends are notoriously disappointing, so this may be a muddled situation this season.
Via Blair Sheade of the Chicago Sun-Times, Jay Cutler gathered several teammates at his alma mater of Vanderbilt this week for extra pre-training camp workouts.
Bennett’s presence is significant because he stayed away from all non-mandatory offseason activities in search of a new contract. Most significant is the fact that Cutler managed to get his teammates to join him in Tennessee for non-mandatory workouts that fall beyond the boundaries of the offseason program.
It's a good sign that Cutler is working with his receivers, especially White, who missed some time during OTAs with an undisclosed injury. Cutler’s #15 finish was his highest in the last four seasons. Marc Trestman is gone, and now new OC Adam Gase is running the offense. He had success in Denver in the past two seasons, but Cutler is no Peyton Manning. As long as the season is going relatively well, Cutler should post solid numbers, but if the wheels start to come off, watch out.
Although the sessions he missed were voluntary, his absence disappointed the Bears’ new regime, particularly because of the learning and team-building elements to coach John Fox’s first offseason in charge. Bennett is the only Bears player to miss the entire offseason program to this point.
After making his first Pro Bowl last season, Bennett made clear his desire for a new contract.
Bennett finished #5 in both PPR and standard formats last season, and although he’s playing for a new OC, Adam Gase, he should remain heavily involved in the offense. He’s not happy with his contract, which is a concern.
ESPN's Mike Sando:
Eddie Royal's resurgence over the past two seasons and his early grasp of the Bears' new offense has him in great position to play a prominent role right away. The staff seemed excited about him when I visited Bears camp earlier in the offseason. Royal has 10 red zone touchdowns over the past two seasons, tied for ninth in the league among wide receivers.
Royal could continue to be a headache for fantasy owners. He's production tends to be spotty and comes in bunches, which makes it difficult to know when to use him. There's also the possibility that he draws targets away from Alshon Jeffery, Kevin White, Martellus Bennett and/or Matt Forte.
The team hit the halfway point in organized team activities with the veteran still not present.
“As I said before, this is voluntary,” Fox said after Wednesday’s session at Halas Hall. “That is not going to change for the rest of this offseason. You’ll have to ask him that. I just know we have a lot of guys working really hard to get better.”
What isn’t voluntary is the minicamp June 16-18. Does Fox expect Bennett to participate at the minicamp?
“Again, I can’t predict those intentions,” he said. “I would prefer him to be here. Right now, we’re putting all of our energy and focus on the guys who are.”
Bennett did not respond to a request for comment earlier this week.
Bennett finished #5 in both PPR and standard formats last season, and although he’s playing for a new OC, Adam Gase, he should remain heavily involved in the offense. His absence from OTAs is an indicator of his overall attitude towards his current contract. It's a minor concern, but from a fantasy standpoint we'd prefer it if Bennett were happy with his situation.
If Pitta starts the season on PUP, he won't be eligible to play in the first six games. It's not often that rookie tight ends are fantasy relevant. It's a tough position to learn and since it's a "onesie" position in most fantasy leagues, there isn't a ton of demand. Maxx Williams has a chance to be a factor at the position given the opportunity he has for playing time in Marc Trestman's pass-happy offense. Under Trestman, Martellus Bennett finished as the #10 and #5 TE in both PPR and standard formats in the last two seasons. If Williams has a great summer, he may be TE2-worthy in fantasy drafts.
Johnny Manziel is fresh out of a 10-week stay in a rehab facility. McCown is a stable veteran with a career completion percentage near 60. This wasn't difficult.
"We just look back to when he was in Chicago, when he had a pretty good supporting cast around him, and he was able to be more than functional. He had a very successful year," Pettine said on WKRK-FM, via the Beacon Journal. "When you build the team right, it minimizes the importance of the quarterback."
The problem here is that while in Chicago, McCown was throwing to Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery and Martellus Bennett and now he'll be targeting Dwayne Bowe, Brian Hartline and Rob Housler. That's a serious downgrade at all three positions. McCown didn't play particularly well with Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans in 2014, there's no reason to believe that he's going to make a passing game go with Bowe, Hartline and Housler.
Marc Trestman’s leadership abilities have come under fire in the wake of his two-year stint in Chicago, something that tight end Martellus Bennett didn’t do much to argue against in an appearance on NFL Network on Friday. Bennett did say that he thinks a move to the offensive coordinator role with the Ravens will work out well for coach and team.
“Trestman, I think, first off, the issue that he had, probably, was managing us all, all the different personalities,” Bennett said. “There’s a lot of big personalities. And I think, for a first-time head coach in the NFL, dealing with all the personalities that you have, I think that’s hard when you got guys like me, you know, [Brandon] Marshall … Lance Briggs on defense, (Charles) Tillman … Calling plays, he was excellent. I think he’s going to be an excellent coordinator for the Ravens. Strategically, he was great. But on the field, guys just weren’t executing.”
We generally agree, though Trestman takes a very pass-heavy approach, and that will impact the strong running game that Gary Kubiak built in 2014.
Pitta, who has suffered serious hip injuries in each of the past two seasons, saw a couple of specialists last week, and Harbaugh said he couldn't give any updates right now.
"I did get kind of an overview of that report from our trainer that I wouldn’t really want to share until Dennis has had a chance to kind of consider all of the ramifications of it," Harbaugh said. "But I think we’ll have something on that in a couple of weeks, kind of on Dennis’ time frame. We’ll see where that goes.”
Harbaugh indicated in early December that he expects Pitta to make a full recovery, and he said at the end of the season that he was "cautiously optimistic" about his return in 2015.
Enough is finally enough for the Chicago Bears.
After weeks of offensive futility, the team has benched starting quarterback Jay Cutler in favor of backup Jimmy Clausen prior to Sunday's contest against the Detroit Lions, NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Wednesday, according to two sources informed of the situation.
Cutler owners who are still alive are going to have to find another option this week, and Clausen isn't an attractive start. He has a career 5.2 YPA and it's a difficult matchup against the Lions. It's a downgrade for the entire offense, including Alshon Jeffery, Marquess Wilson, Martellus Bennett and Matt Forte. On the flip side, the Lions defense is still a very strong play in Week 16.
Wednesday, December 3, 2014, 6:30pm
Bears TE Martellus Bennett (foot, probable) practiced fully Wednesday. Bennett should be fine for a good matchup against the Cowboys.
Friday, November 14, 2014, 6:06pm
Bears TE Martellus Bennett (ribs, probable) took full practice reps on Friday after being limited earlier in the week and is probable for Week 11. Bennett will be fine to face the Vikings.
Thursday, November 13, 2014, 6:29pm
Bears TE Martellus Bennett (ribs) returned to limited practice reps Thursday after missing Wednesday practice. Bennett didn’t practice leading up to Week 10 and played against the Packers, so the fact that he’s practicing at all is an upgrade.
Wednesday, November 12, 2014, 5:52pm
Bears TE Martellus Bennett (ribs) did not practice Wednesday. Bennett didn’t practice leading up to Week 10 and played against the Packers, so we expect he’ll be out there against the Vikings.
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