Monday, September 1, 2014, 5:56pm
In Keenum, the Rams are getting a third-year player with some actual game experience, something current backup Austin Davis lacks. The Rams will have to make a corresponding roster move but it seems unlikely Davis would leave so Keenum could arrive. Having Davis allows the Rams to have a backup who knows coordinator Brian Schottenheimer's offense. It would also allow for Keenum to take his time getting acclimated in St. Louis.
And that should bode well for both them and Mathews, 26.
In the months since a game but gimpy Mathews sat out most of the Division Playoff loss at Denver, Tom Telesco and Mike McCoy have added three running backs to the 53-man roster while also retaining third-down specialist Danny Woodhead and subtracting Ronnie Brown. Giving the run game another dimension, Telesco signed David Johnson, a fullback-tight end noted for his blocking.
We'll see how long rookie backs Marion Grice and Branden Oliver will stay on the active roster behind another Telesco addition, Donald Brown, the ex-Colt who averaged 5.3 yards per carry last year. The kids look they could help in a pinch, but other roster moves this week could affect one of them.
At any rate, it made sense to give Mathews more cushion. As terrific as he was last year, overcoming a concussion and ankle sprain, powering the team's late run into the playoffs and never missing a start, it would’ve been foolish to be as dependent on him this year.
The plan seems to be to ride Mathews on occasion but it really seems like the team wants to ease his workload to keep him healthy down the stretch for a possible playoff run. It's not the first time we heard this, as similar reports were out even before camp. That likely means more work for Brown and Woodhead. Mathews had just two, 20-plus carry games through Dec. 1 last year, but the final four weeks of the season went 29-29-25-24 and wasn't able to get over a high ankle sprain. Look for the Bolts to keep Mathews in the 13-19 range, which is where he was for most of the September-November.
Mallet, a 2011 third round draft pick by the Patriots, was the subject of trade rumors for the past two seasons. Those rumors only intensified after the team drafted Jimmy Garoppolo this offseason in the second round.
Mallett, in his fourth year out of Arkansas, was in the final year of his rookie contract.
There were definitely signs that the Pats were looking to trade Mallett and they found a partner in the Texans. Texan coach Bill O'Brien is familiar with Mallett from 2011 before moving on to coach at Penn State, so this makes a lot of sense. Ryan Fitzpatrick will likely still start the regular season but Mallett could be a guy they turn to if the team struggles at any point this season. While he's been well hyped, Mallet has only attempted four passes in the NFL.
Texans beat writer John McClain: I predict Foster rushes for more than 100 yards against Wash and finishes with more than 1,400 yards and 15 TDs, with at least 60 catches.
McClain's prediction equates to 230 fantasy points in standard formats. We're close on the yardage and receptions, but we're not as optimistic about the number of touchdowns he'll score. We just don't see the Texans moving the ball well enough to facilitate 15 touchdowns for Foster. We predict he'll score about half that number. For Foster to hit McClain's projections, he'll have to stay fully healthy, and that is far from a sure thing.
Tuesday, August 26, 2014, 8:50pm
“I’d like to see him out there Thursday,” Jim Harbaugh said on KNBR Tuesday morning. “That’s the way we’ve always done it, where the quarterback plays some in each game, not necessarily more in any one game than in any of the four other games.”
Kaepernick has yet to lead San Francisco’s offense to a touchdown through three preseason games. Harbaugh didn’t sound alarmed by the first unit’s failure to produce a touchdown.
Tuesday, August 26, 2014, 9:04am
A day after the rookie quarterback helped engineer a game-winning touchdown drive at Denver, his head coach offered up praise, with caution.
"Let's be real clear here now: he's got a long way to go," Bill O'Brien said. "We're not headed for Hawaii and the Pro Bowl now. We're talking about battling for the number two job."
With Ryan Fitzpatrick as the starter, Keenum has taken to bulk of the reps this preseason as the backup. But O'Brien said Sunday that Savage has "closed the gap" and made the competition much closer.
"I would say that Keenum's still two, but it's a good tight race between two really competitive guys," O'Brien said.
Sunday, August 24, 2014, 1:58pm
While he was only on the field for one drive, with eight total touches, Ball’s presence was felt.
But, as Head Coach John Fox said, “We got him in and out quickly.”
Ronnie Hillman had a good night behind Ball and undrafted rookie Juwan Thompson has made an impression during camp and this week against the Texans and seems to be “becoming a pro” at a rapid pace, the story pointed out. Ball looks like the safe RB1 and it was good to see him get 8 touches in limited time. The Broncos also seem comfortable with their RBs behind Ball.
Broncos coach John Fox said Welker suffered a concussion during the team's 18-17 loss Saturday night to the Texans. Welker left the game following a hit to the helmet from Houston safety D.J. Swearinger.
"It was determined it was a concussion," Fox said. "He'll go through the protocol. The biggest thing on him is, of course, player safety. He'll go through the protocol."
As the article states, Welker has had a history of concussions, so this could be a serious situation. It's unclear how this will impact his long-term status. In the short-term, Emmanuel Sanders will likely move to the slot with rookie Cody Latimer and trusted veteran Andre Caldwell competing for snaps on the outside. Caldwell had his moments last season, but we believe that Latimer will eventually see a significant role if Welker is out for any length of time. We'll have more as this situation develops, but if you're drafting this weekend, avoid Welker and target Latimer in the later rounds. Caldwell is also a deep sleeper at this point.
Friday, August 22, 2014, 1:06pm
Going into the offseason program, Texans RB Jonathan Grimes was a long shot to make the team and was expected to be the fourth back at best behind Arian Foster, Andre Brown and rookie Alfred Blue. Grimes has developed into one of the team’s best surprises, impressing the new staff with his skills, work ethic and ability to pick up the new system. Brown was released, opening a spot for Grimes. He took advantage of Foster’s hamstring injury to start the first two preseason games and led the team in rushing with 81 yards on 19 carries (4.3 average). He has three catches for 25 yards (8.3 average). He’s improved as a pass protector. Grimes (5-10, 209) impressed the team as an undrafted rookie in 2012 and was placed on the practice squad but was signed by the Jets. He returned to the Texans in 2013 and saw some action near the end of the season.
Grimes is currently slated to serve as Arian Foster's primary backup, though rookie Alfred Blue could make a push.
Dating back to the beginning of the offseason program, Texans WR DeAndre Hopkins made the kind of improvement expected of young players entering their second seasons. His progress has been consistent and often spectacular. The best indication yet was during three practices with the Broncos. Working against Pro Bowl cornerback Aqib Talib, Hopkins was physical getting off the line of scrimmage and attacking the ball. He didn’t let Talib frustrate him. He took the ball away from Talib more often than not, and the veteran corner gave him his proper respect. Hopkins has improved as a route runner. His ball skills are tremendous. He’s got quick, strong hands. His leaping ability is superb. Watching him work the sideline and the back of the end zone against the Broncos to make one catch after another was amazing.
Hopkins finished as the #50 WR in 2013, posting 52 catches for 802 yards and two touchdowns, a solid season for a rookie wideout playing along an established veteran like Andre Johnson. Since 2000, 1st round rookie wideouts with at least 700 yards receiving have increased their fantasy output by 33% in their second season. If Hopkins sees this kind of increase, he’ll be a very solid WR3.
The fourth-year veteran, who turned 26 on Thursday, has looked polished and decisive since the start of training camp. And while rookie Terrance West will get some carries, the starter's job belongs to Tate as the Browns prepare for their dress-rehearsal game against St. Louis at FirstEnergy Stadium on Saturday night.
Tate spent the last four seasons with the Houston Texans, which employed a similar wide-zone blocking scheme requiring backs to make one cut and turn upfield.
The question with Tate, who's averaged a career 4.7 yards per carry, is his durability. He played in just 40 of 64 regular-season games since the Texans drafted him in 2010.
Tate wants to be a feature back and he'll have his chance in Cleveland. Tate has averaged 4.7 YPC in his career and has touched the ball at least 15 times in 13 career games, averaging 94.5 yards and 0.54 TD in the process. That equates to 12.7 fantasy points, which is about what Chris Johnson averaged as the #9 RB in 2013. Touchdowns are going to be tougher to come by in Cleveland than they were in Houston, and rookie Terrance West is in the mix. Keep in mind that in addition to missing the entire 2010 season due to a broken ankle, he has missed eight other games in his career. Durability is a big concern.
Thursday, August 21, 2014, 4:04pm
“Very impressive,” O’Brien said. “(Foster is) a smart player, he’s an instinctive player. … Obviously, when we put him out there, he’s a matchup problem for people. Because he can run routes and he can run all kinds of different routes.”
Foster's health is obviously a concern. He has missed 11 games in the last three years, but did play a full season in 2012 and no longer has Ben Tate to worry about. After finishing in the top 2 in fantasy points per game from 2010 to 2012, he was #19 in that category in 2013. At 27, Foster should have plenty of tread left on his tires, though the injuries seem to be piling up. The team wants to get him more involved in the passing game, which is a good sign for his PPR value. He is a risk-reward pick in the 2nd round.
Wide receiver Julio Jones slipped out of the locker room after Saturday night's loss to the Texans before the media had a chance to get his reaction to his first game back after last year's foot injury. Jones met with the media after Wednesday's practice and sounded confident in his health as the third preseason game approaches. He said he needs to knock some of the rust off, but being back on the field felt good and there were no lingering ill effects immediately or in the days following the game: "I felt good," Jones said. "No pain. I'm still doing a lot of treatment, still doing my routine of one-day-on, one-day-off. Right now, they're going to increase the workload. I practiced (Wednesday) and then (Thursday), I'm going to practice."
Jones was on pace for 131-1856-6.4 prior to his foot injury in Week 5. He has the potential to be the most productive receiver in the league, but the foot injury is a bit concerning, especially since it’s a broken bone in the same location as his pre-Draft injury. If he plays a full season, he’ll very likely finish in the top 5. It sounds like the preseason is going according to plan.
Wednesday, August 20, 2014, 10:34pm
Just a few minutes later, Ryan Fitzpatrick launched a ball to the back of the end zone, high enough that only receiver Andre Johnson could catch it. Johnson tip-toed in-bounds in throwback Andre Johnson fashion, and was enveloped by his teammates.
"I thought Fitzy came out here and worked very well today," Houston Texans coach Bill O'Brien said.
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