If they can bring back Justin Forsett, the Ravens are expected to pair him with a young running back. They met with Melvin Gordon (Wisconsin), David Johnson (Northern Iowa) and Duke Johnson (Miami) at the NFL scouting combine.
"He doesn’t have the wear and tear, and Justin did a very good job of coming in, competing and then being our bell cow," GM Ozzie Newsome said. "We would like to retain Justin, but I’ve learned something since the end of the season about Justin that I didn’t really know. He has mentored some very good, young backs, starting with Arian Foster, Marshawn Lynch, Maurice Jones-Drew when he was in Jacksonville.
"Having Justin here, and with the opportunity also bringing in hopefully another young running back, to have Justin be around that guy would be an asset also. So, we will work to try to retain Justin.”
Under OC Marc Trestman, Matt Forte caught 176 passes in the last two seasons, including 102 catches in 2014. Forsett caught 44 passes last season, and could potentially see that number double if he's the RB1 for the Ravens in 2015. Depending on his asking price, re-signing the 29-year-old Forsett isn't a no-brainer for the Ravens, though he's not likely to garner a huge contract in free agency. As the #8 RB in both standard and PPR formats in 2014, he'll likely hold RB2-type draft value if he stays in Baltimore. If the Ravens draft a running back early, it would certainly damper Forsett's outlook in 2015.
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.
The first order of business will be to re-sign Forsett, who should see his PPR upside increase due to Trestman's tendency to use his running backs in the passing game. Under Trestman, Matt Forte caught 176 passes in the last two seasons, including 102 catches in 2014. Forsett caught 44 passes last season, and could potentially see that number double if he's the RB1 for the Ravens in 2015. Depending on his asking price, re-signing the 29-year-old Forsett isn't a no-brainer for the Ravens, though he's not likely to garner a huge contract in free agency. As the #8 RB in both standard and PPR formats in 2014, he'll likely hold RB2-type draft value if he stays in Baltimore.
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.
The Bears are hiring Adam Gase as their offensive coordinator, source said.
John Fox is the new head coach of the Chicago Bears, agreeing to a four-year deal on Friday, sources told ESPN.
Fox becomes Chicago's third head coach since 2012, taking over for Marc Trestman, who was fired on Dec. 29 along with general manager Phil Emery, after posting a 13-19 record over two seasons. The Bears have missed the postseason for four consecutive years.
Fox is experienced and should be able to change the culture in Chicago, but he's known to be very conservative in game situations and has had issues with clock management.
Vikings WR Charles Johnson turns 26 on Feb. 27 and, unlike the feeling for Cordarrelle Patterson, the assumption by the team is Johnson will continue to improve. In just 12 games (six starts) this season, Johnson finished third in receiving yards (475) on 31 catches as he morphed from “who’s that guy?” to “he’s the No. 1 receiver on the team.” Johnson’s two touchdown receptions tied for second on the team, while his 15.3 average per catch was No. 1 among players with more than nine catches.
When the Vikings lost Adrian Peterson after Week 1, they struggled for weeks without an offensive identity. OC Norv Turner said it wasn’t until after the Nov. 16 Bears game that the Vikings established an identity with quarterback Teddy Bridgewater running a spread-it-out offense over the final six games.
“Part of that was we started playing Charles Johnson, which gave us a different guy on the outside to attack,” Turner said. “It created some differences in how people defended us. I think we became a much more efficient offensive football team and put ourselves in position to win games. We won some and there were some that a year from now, put in the same situation, we’ll be ready to handle it and be ready to win.”
“Next year will be my first year to actually get my first full year to play in the NFL and two years in a row of practicing and playing in the same system,” said Johnson, who was with Turner in Cleveland in 2013, but was rehabbing his knee the whole season. “Even Norv said the first season in this system is all right, but the second season is always better.”
Johnson also said he expects to be physically stronger and faster next season. And, remember, this was a guy who ran a 4.39 at the 2013 combine.
“I’m going to be a little bit more comfortable because I am coming off ACL surgery,” Johnson said. “I can say that I’m coming off ACL surgery and not fully confident in myself. training this offseason is going to be important for me. I look forward to it.”
Johnson started playing significant snaps in Week 11, and over the final seven games of the season, he averaged 3.6 catches for 59 yards and 0.29 touchdowns. He was the #31 fantasy receiver in that span. He should continue to have plenty of opportunity to grow in Turner's offense. His ADP will likely land in the 9th-12th rounds of 12-team leagues, depending on what the Vikings do at receiver this offseason.
Just minutes after news first broke that the Bears have fired General Manager Phil Emery, news also broke that head coach Marc Trestman was fired. Jay Glazer of FOX Sports first broke the Trestman news.
Now the Bears will attempt to pick up the pieces, with a new coach and a new general manager inheriting the mess that Emery and Trestman have left behind.
Trestman was a surprising, outside-the-box choice as the Bears’ head coach, coming as he did from the Canadian Football League. But in his first season as the head coach of the Bears, he showed a lot of promise as an offensive innovator. Unfortunately, Trestman’s second season was a disaster, as the Bears appeared to quit on the season, the story pointed out. One positive out of Trestman's time was re-establishing RB Matt Forte in the passing game, something previous HC Lovie Smith got away from. Forte broke the record for RB receptions in a season with 102 this year, one better than Larry Centers' mark of 101 set back in 1995.
Sanders is good to go for an important game.
Friday, December 26, 2014, 6:53pm
Friday, December 26, 2014, 6:53pm
Friday, December 26, 2014, 6:53pm
Bears beat writer Michael C. Wright:
I think the relationship between Jay Cutler and Marc Trestman is broken. So Cutler will be invested, but he’ll also probably be out there doing his own thing as opposed to playing within the confines of Trestman’s system. My expectation is Cutler will play a backyard brand of ball in this last outing.
Oh, this should be good. Trestman is likely on his way out, and Cutler was understandably miffed by being benched, and now the two are in the awkward situation of preparing for a meaningless Week 17 game against a division rival. We like the Minnesota defense as a streaming defense play with Cutler in full "I don't give a s&*t" mode.
Both Peyton Manning (thigh) and Emmanual Sanders (illness) were questionable coming into this game, but reports all week said there was little doubt both would play and both are indeed active and can be safely started for Week 16. Ronnie Hillman is inactive meaning C.J. Anderson will again carry the load in what is a great matchup on paper.
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