Friday, October 21, 2016, 6:26pm
Thursday, October 20, 2016, 6:10pm
Wednesday, October 19, 2016, 6:41pm
Five-plus weeks into the NFL season, Bears receiver Alshon Jeffery has been targeted with 31 passes, making him tied with eight other players for 49th in the NFL. There are six players ahead of Jeffery that have played only four games, including teammate Kevin White. Despite the exodus of other top targets like Martellus Bennett and Matt Forte, Jeffery's targets per game average is down to 6.2 a week after averaging 9.4 per game over the last three seasons.
Still, Bears coach John Fox does not necessarily think Jeffery needs to be thrown the ball more often.
"We would like to have the ball more. We would like to score more points," Fox said Friday, per the Chicago Tribune. "But there's only one ball, and it's hard to get it to everybody. I think he has been what I would consider -- I think our opponents do too -- pretty productive."
While Fox doesn't seem to mind, publicly at least, the fact is Jeffery is more talented than Eddie Royal and Zachary Miller, who have more catches than Jeffery this season. Considering the team is 1-4 and averaging just 17 points a game, this is something that may change sooner than later.
Friday, October 14, 2016, 6:25pm
Patriots TE Martellus Bennett (ankle, questionable) took limited practice reps all week and is questionable for Week 6. Bennett played through the injury last week and scored three touchdowns. We expect him to play.
Thursday, October 13, 2016, 7:01pm
Patriots TE Martellus Bennett (ankle) took limited practice reps again Thursday. Bennett tweaked his ankle in the game and finished with three touchdown catches against the Browns. He should be able to play this week.
Wednesday, October 12, 2016, 6:42pm
Patriots TE Martellus Bennett (ankle) took limited practice reps Wednesday. Bennett tweaked his ankle in the game and finished with three touchdown catches against the Browns. He should be able to play this week.
Wednesday, September 21, 2016, 6:15pm
Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski (hamstring, questionable) took limited practice reps Wednesday. We won’t if Gronk will play Thursday night until the inactives are released. Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald thinks this is the week that Gronkowski makes his return. Since the Patriots have two wins in two weeks, and a longer layoff after the Thursday game, it’s possible that they would continue to rest Gronk with the idea of getting him fully healthy for Tom Brady’s return in Week 5. If he’s out, Martellus Bennett would draw the start, but with Jacoby Brissett likely under center, there’s no telling how much the Patriots will be willing to throw the ball.
Friday, September 9, 2016, 5:48pm
Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski (hamstring, questionable) took limited practice reps all week and is questionable for Week 1. Yesterday, Gronkowski was described as “no sure thing” to play by Ian Rapoport, though the Boston Herald was told by two sources that he is expected to play “barring an unexpected setback.” He did not travel with the team on Friday, but could travel on Saturday after another day of treatment, so we should know more tomorrow. Martellus Bennett would have top 5 upside if Gronk misses any time. If Gronk does make the trip, owners who want to wait until Sunday night could pivot to Jessie James, Vance McDonald or even Lance Kendricks, who all play on Monday night.
Thursday, September 8, 2016, 7:04pm
Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski (hamstring) took limited practice reps again Thursday. Gronkowski is “no sure thing” to play, per Ian Rapoport, though the Boston Herald was told by two sources that he is expected to play “barring an unexpected setback.” We should know more on Saturday as the Patriots generally do not let players who aren’t expected to play travel with the team. Martellus Bennett would have top 5 upside if Gronk misses any time.
New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski is still not 100 percent healthy, still feeling the effects of when he pulled up and took himself out of practice on Aug. 15. He remains limited in practice with a hamstring injury.
Gronkowski's inclusion on the team's first injury report of the season Wednesday adds context to what he's been facing health-wise. Gronkowski took himself out of a joint practice with the Chicago Bears on Aug. 15 after attempting to catch a pass from quarterback Tom Brady along the sideline. He returned to practice Aug. 24, but didn't play in either of the final two preseason games, which wasn't a major surprise considering Gronkowski hasn't played in the preseason since 2012.
The implication is that Gronk may not play in Week 1, but if he's limited in practice on Wednesday, it's an indicator that he'll be out there on Sunday night. The Patriots play in Arizona, and players who are not going to play typically do not travel, so we should know more on Saturday.
Wednesday, September 7, 2016, 6:40pm
Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski (hamstring) took limited practice reps Wednesday. Gronkowski should be fine to play Sunday night, though this underlines his tendency to get nicked up during the season. Martellus Bennett would have top 5 upside if Gronk misses any time.
Mike Reiss on TE Martellus Bennett: I subscribe to the theory that with defenses paying extra attention to Rob Gronkowski, it will open up more opportunities for Bennett. It wouldn't be a surprise if the Patriots run more than 80 percent of their offensive snaps with both tight ends on the field, so it won't be a matter of playing time for Bennett as much as how defenses decide to handle the dual threat at the position. It also helps that Jimmy Garoppolo and Bennett have seemed to develop a rapport in the preseason.
Eleven tight ends played 80 percent or more of the snaps in 2015, so if Bennett reaches that sort of playing time, he'll have a good shot at posting TE1 numbers given the overall production of New England's offense. He also has top five upside if anything were to happen to the injury-prone Gronkowski.
Monday, August 8, 2016, 4:12pm
Clay Harbor, formerly of the Eagles and Jaguars, inked a two-year deal with the Pats in the spring, receiving a reported $400,000 signing bonus. That's a hefty guarantee for a player that is not considered a lock to make the final roster.
Or perhaps the Pats truly do have a spot set aside for Harbor. After all, he gives them something different.
While Gronkowski and Bennett have, as Bill Belichick said, "interchangeable" skill sets, the 6-foot-2 Harbor is in the "move" tight end mold: athletic and agile with the ball in his hands, able to serve as a fullback, and able to line up wide.
One reason the Chicago Bears deemed tight end Martellus Bennett expendable is the emergence of veteran Zachary Miller, who posted career highs in starts (14), catches (34), receiving yards (439) and touchdowns (five) in a complimentary role last year.
"If you look back, he finished the season as the [main] tight end [when Bennett went on injured reserve]," coach John Fox said on Sunday. "He was our tight end at the conclusion of last season. So it's not new, not a new training ground. He finished as our starter at tight end last year, a guy who made some big plays. A lot was made of his durability, but he's worked very hard and he's having a very good camp so far."
Following the trade of Bennett to New England, the Bears re-upped Miller on a two-year deal with $3 million guaranteed - the only real significant move made at tight end in the offseason.
Miller was the #5 TE over the final nine weeks of the season, and that includes Week 17, which he missed due to injury. He averaged 3.9 catches for 51 yards and 0.63 TD (on 5.1 targets per game) in that span. In the four games that Martellus Bennett missed, Miller averaged 5.0-55-0.50 on 6.8 targets per game. Those are solid TE1 numbers in both standard and PPR formats. Miller is 31 years old and has had trouble staying healthy throughout his career, but he'll be a compelling pick in the later rounds now that the Bears parted ways with Bennett.
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