“He was ready to run in there at the end of that team drill. Looks great,” HC Chuck Pagano said. “We’re going to have to have plenty of security around so he doesn’t sneak out here in pads come training camp time and get in there too soon.
“We all know what Reggie’s made of and how he’s wired and what his DNA is. He’s champing at the bit to get back out there.”
Wayne was the #19 WR in standard formats and the #17 WR in PPR through the first seven weeks prior to tearing his ACL. He's 35 and coming off of a major knee injury. He may be able to play, but it's hard to envision him returning to his usual form in time for the 2014 season. The Colts signed Hakeem Nicks as insurance.
Hakeem Nicks is gone (signed with the Colts) and Rueben Randle has moved into a starting role alongside Victor Cruz. Jerrel Jernigan, though, might be stuck where he is on the depth chart, because the Giants selected a receiver, Odell Beckham Jr. from LSU with the No. 12 overall pick in the NFL Draft, and the expectation is he will get on the field immediately.
“It didn’t bother me at all,’’ Jernigan said of the addition of Beckham. “Everyone knows we lost Hakeem Nicks, so we had to bring somebody else in.’’
Jernigan at 5-foot-8 and 189 pounds, is well-suited to the slot receiver role, a spot Cruz is most effective in, causing a logjam. Beckham and Randle are considered more adept on the outside.
Jernigan racked up 19 catches for 237 yards and two TDs in the final three games, making him the #2 WR in fantasy in that span. The arrival of Odell Beckham puts a damper on his 2014 outlook.
Per The Star, Chiefs QB Alex Smith and WR Dwayne Bowe have been firing on all cylinders during OTAs. Smith even dispensed with his usual low-risk approach, hitting Bowe on several shots downfield. Reid is encouraged with the offseason results of his top pairing.
"I think Dwayne came back in phenomenal shape, that's one thing, Reid said. "It looks like it out here. He's really moving around well."
Bowe finished the season as the #44 fantasy WR, but was the #26 wideout from Week 11 to Week 16. (The Chiefs rested their starters in Week 17.) He had the 34th-most targets on the season, and he posted 8-150-1 against the Colts in the Wild Card round of the playoffs, so there is some reason for optimism heading into 2014.
Friday, June 13, 2014, 5:54pm
Rookie WR John Brown was compared to both T.Y. Hilton, the Colts’ wideout, and Antonio Brown, the Steelers’ wideout, by HC Bruce Arians when he was drafted. And he looked solid all through the offseason. He did make mistakes sometimes, and there were multiple times when Carson Palmer took Brown aside for a teaching moment. The quarterback doesn’t make that kind of effort unless Brown is going to play a role in what he is doing.
“(Trent Richardson is) one of the guys who has benefited tremendously from the classroom time,” said Colts OC Pep Hamilton. “It was ambitious to think he could come in in week three last year, pick it up and hit the ground running.
“It was one of those situations where the defense knew when we put him in the game, more than likely we were running the ball. They were packing the box, and he was faced with some tremendously tough looks.”
Hamilton speaks from experience for the need to have multiple backs. A pecking order and delineation of duty is not something for the moment.
“The guys we have are very capable of making the big plays. Trent is plenty explosive enough, as well as (Ahmad Bradshaw) and (Vick Ballard),” said Hamilton. “Those guys are versatile enough to play on first, second and third down.
“We know how long the season is. We’re going to need all our guys at some point during the season. We’re not at the point where we have to decide on a rotation or a specific role for anybody in our offense. We’re just working to make sure we continue to grow and put a winning product on the field.”
Richardson averaged a woeful 2.9 YPC after joining the Colts, but he blames the learning curve he faced after joining a new offense midseason. Since they gave up a first round pick for him, he’ll have the backing of this Colts regime, but Hamilton wasn’t afraid to give more work to Donald Brown given the disparity in the quality of play between the two backs. The offseason has gone pretty well for T-Rich — Brown is now out of the way, but the Colts did re-sign Ahmad Bradshaw while Vick Ballard is working his way back from a knee injury.
Manning also sounds rejuvenated by the process of learning a new offense under new coordinator Ben McAdoo.
"It is tough, it's not easy, but it has definitely re-energized me and brought an urgency to this time of year," Manning said Tuesday, on SiriusXM NFL Radio.
"It's definitely challenging. Each night, I'm staying up and preparing, and I feel like I'm in season right now with the amount of preparation I'm trying to put in to get ready for each practice," Manning said.
"Each practice is draining on you mentally, you're thinking so much about everything that has to go on and the different calls," the quarterback continued. "But it is also exciting. As a football player, as a competitor, you like to be challenged."
After eight straight top 15 finishes, Manning (and the Giants offense) tanked in 2013. He finished #21, but his play seemed even worse than that. A bounce back season is likely given his talent and the arrival of McAdoo, who is installing a quick hitting offense from his days in Green Bay. Hakeem Nicks is gone, but Odell Beckham and Rueben Randle are expected to emerge.
Once thought of as a scratch for OTA's, Manning hasn't missed one yet.
"Yeah, 100 percent, yeah," Manning said. "I don't think about it, I don't notice it. I go about practice and do everything and they're not even worried about it. It hasn't been an issue and there's no question I could play tomorrow."
"Yeah, and in all the OTA's, I've taken all the reps that I would normally take."
After eight straight top 15 finishes, Manning (and the Giants offense) tanked in 2013. He finished #21, but his play seemed even worse than that. A bounce back season is likely given his talent and the arrival of OC Ben McAdoo, who plans to install a quick hitting offense from his days in Green Bay. Hakeem Nicks is gone, but Odell Beckham and Rueben Randle are expected to emerge.
Monday, June 9, 2014, 6:46pm
Giants beat writer Dan Salomone said that WR Rueben Randle stood out at practice on Monday: "The third-year wide receiver made a pair of exceptional plays during OTA No. 7 on Monday. The first was a laser of a pass from Eli Manning to Randle, who was surrounded by defensive backs and managed to control the ball. The second was a sideline catch as Randle fell out of bounds during the two-minute drill."
Hakeem Nicks is gone, but the Giants drafted Odell Beckham in the 1st round. New OC Ben McAdoo utilizes a lot of three-WR sets (a la the Packers), so Randle should see starter’s snaps. He has been productive in his first two seasons on a per target basis, so he should produce starter-caliber numbers in significant playing time.
With two solid pass-catching running backs in Shane Vereen and fourth-round draft choice James White, one consideration for the Patriots is putting them on the field together. We know this much: The two-running back package is part of the team’s deep playbook as evidenced by one play in last year’s AFC divisional round playoff win over the Colts. It was the only time all season the Patriots used the two-RB grouping – with Vereen and Brandon Bolden – and it produced a 25-yard catch-and-run reception over the middle by receiver Julian Edelman. The Patriots like to manipulate matchups with various personnel groupings and that play against the Colts provided a snapshot of how a two-RB package (with 2 WRs and 1 TE) can put stress on a defense. The Colts matched in their 4-3 base, the Patriots sent both RBs into pass routes (Bolden to the left flat, Vereen up the right sideline), and there seemed to be just enough confusion between the linebackers and defensive backs on how to handle it that it opened things up for Edelman underneath.
Vereen, by the way, made one of the best plays in Thursday’s organized activity by beating linebacker Jerod Mayo down the sideline for a big gain in the passing game. When a running back draws a one-on-one matchup with a linebacker, that’s usually something Brady will take every time. Backs on 'backers – we wouldn’t be surprised if that becomes a bigger part of the Patriots’ attack this year because of the solid pass-catching combination of Vereen and White.
Vereen figures to be a productive back, especially in PPR formats. It will be interesting to see just how many snaps the rookie White plays compared to Vereen, Stevan Ridley and Brandon Bolden. Anything can happen with the Patriots.
On Friday's edition of the "Around The League Podcast," NFL Media analyst Bucky Brooks revealed that Rivers is running the same heavy no-huddle scheme that the Colts used when new Chargers offensive coordinator Frank Reich was Manning's position coach in Indianapolis.
"I think they're going to give Phillip Rivers more leeway than he's ever had," Brooks explained. "I think you're going to see them play at a pace that we haven't seen them play at, and I think they're ramping up and they'll be far more exciting than we're used to seeing the Chargers in terms of passing."
If successful, this could benefit the entire Charger offense.
Thursday, June 5, 2014, 12:22pm
Whenever a receiver changes teams, developing a rapport with his new quarterback is key. While we're not loving Nicks's move to Indianapolis, there is some upside here, especially if Reggie Wayne isn't 100 percent by the time the season starts.
Colts RB Ahmad Bradshaw, who did not take in the team's OTA session last week, was back practicing Wednesday, albeit wearing a red non-contact jersey. He was cleared to participate in OTAs late last week. Bradshaw underwent neck surgery last season after injuring it in Week 3 against San Francisco.
Bradshaw has an outside shot of usurping Trent Richardson as the team's RB1, though he has been fragile in recent years.
Wednesday, June 4, 2014, 2:20pm
Prior to Reggie Wayne’s injury, Hilton played 63.1% of his team’s snaps. After Wayne tore his ACL, that number rose to 76.9%. With Wayne coming off of a serious injury, Hilton will be (or at least he should be) the primary target in the passing game in 2014. With Wayne sidelined, Hilton averaged 6.5-91-.45 over the final 11 games, including the playoffs. That equates to 11.8 fantasy points per game, or fringe WR1 numbers. The arrival of Hakeem Nicks and the return of Dwayne Allen (potentially leading to more two-TE sets with Coby Fleener) may limit Hilton's upside.
Wednesday, June 4, 2014, 9:25am
Veteran backup quarterback Matt Hasselbeck is the latest member of the Colts to express confidence in RB Trent Richardson, relating T-Rich's struggles to those of former teammate Marshawn Lynch while settling into Seattle after a 2010 midseason trade.
"Marshawn's numbers weren't spectacular either," Hasselbeck said Monday, via the team's official website. "Everyone in the locker room understood he was doing the best he could and was working really hard.
"It's very similar to Trent. He came in in tough circumstances. We say these OTAs matter and training camp matter and preseason matters. To put unrealistic expectations on him after he missed all that with us (was unfortunate). I would definitely expect his numbers to look better this year."
Richardson averaged a woeful 2.9 YPC after joining the Colts, but he blames the learning curve he faced after joining a new offense midseason. Since they gave up a first round pick for him, he’ll have the backing of this Colts regime, but OC Pep Hamilton wasn’t afraid to give more work to Donald Brown given the disparity in the quality of play between the two backs. The offseason has gone pretty well for T-Rich — Brown is now out of the way, but the Colts did re-sign Ahmad Bradshaw while Vick Ballard is back from a knee injury. As the #22 RB off the board in the 5th round, it appears that fantasy owners are expecting Richardson to post RB2 numbers. Even that may be a stretch given his career output.
Saints coach Sean Payton started feeding the 6-foot, 220-pounder more during the playoffs after veteran Pierre Thomas was injured. And Payton famously revealed that his mentor, Bill Parcells, compared Robinson to Hall of Famer Curtis Martin and insisted that Payton needed to use him more.
Now, Robinson is hoping to build off that success while also becoming a more well-rounded back capable of catching passes and being trusted in pass protection.
"He is someone obviously that has more confidence now," Payton said last week during the Saints' first week of organized team activities. "You see him, just from an assignment standpoint, understanding the protections much quicker. That took a while for him last year. I think (with) a year under his belt, the overall understanding of all the things he needs to do at the running back position is a lot better. …
"He is a lot further along than he was this time last year."
A 'monster year' is probably overstating things, since Robinson finished with 33 carries for 152 yards and a TD in his final three games. That extrapolates to 176 carries for 811 yards and 5.3 TD over a full season, or about what Trent Richardson scored as the #34 RB in 2013. His upside is capped by the presence of Thomas and Mark Ingram, though if one of those players goes down, Robinson could emerge as a starting-caliber fantasy back. We currently have him ranked #46 in standard formats.