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.
Reggie Wayne is barely six months removed from ACL surgery, yet yesterday’s progress (running along the side) was another step in the right direction for the 14-year veteran trying to make a comeback in 2014.
Wayne tore his ACL in late October, so he'll be 10 months removed from the surgery by the time the season starts in September. We're not optimistic that the 35 year-old Wayne is going to look like his old self anytime soon. The Colts signed Hakeem Nicks as insurance.
There had been a lot of speculation about what the Giants' offense would look like under new coordinator Ben McAdoo. The belief was that it would be a West Coast offense in the mold of what the Green Bay Packers -- his former team -- run, with a sprinkle of coach Tom Coughlin's power game.
Until now, it was all talk.
But Thursday we were able to see that the Giants, in fact, have moved into the 21st century. They're installing a spread-'em-out offense that includes three wide receivers on almost every play. They ran a ton of screen passes (most unsuccessfully), quick-timing horizontal pass patterns and three-step drops. It appeared dissimilar to Coughlin and former coordinator Kevin Gilbride's vertical attack.
This is good news for both Rueben Randle and Odell Beckham, who should both see enough snaps to be fantasy relevant in 2014. Last year, Randle played 56% of the snaps behind Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz; that number should surpass 70% this season. More snaps typically lead to more fantasy points.
The severity/nature of the injury is unknown, but it's something to monitor as the offseason wears on. 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.
Friday, May 30, 2014, 9:59am
At 6-2, 224, Moncrief has the biggest stature of any Indianapolis receiver, and Mississippi coach Hugh Freeze feels his addition will reap dividends.
“(His) size, speed-ratio for a kid who’s of that size and strength,” said Freeze on why Indianapolis would have him so high on its draft board.
“He’s a phenomenal run blocker, as good as I’ve ever seen in that regard. He needs to be more consistent in route precision, but he can stretch the field vertically. He absolutely can. For a kid that size, it’s a pretty rare find.”
At the very least, Moncrief is buried behind Reggie Wayne, T.Y. Hilton and Hakeem Nicks, but if he can learn to channel his world class speed, he may get on the field sooner than people think.
Thursday, May 29, 2014, 9:34pm
New season, new mind frame from Colts offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton.
"We’re going to be a score-first team," Hamilton said. "We’re going to do whatever we need to do to score one more point than our opponent."
Don’t kid yourself; Hamilton isn’t going to allow Andrew Luck drop back in the pocket and fling the ball downfield – even if he does have plenty of weapons at his disposal – 50 times per game. The Colts will still run the ball, which is why they have three backs they think will be able to carry the load.
But like Hamilton said, it’s all about scoring more points than the opponent and that will likely end up being with Luck doing what he does best: Using his arm.
The Colts threw the ball 582 times and ran it 409 times last season.
"Our mentality has not changed; we have to be physical at the point of attack. We have to try and knock people off the ball and wear them down physically," Hamilton said. "We have to have a sense of balance and still have a physical mentality, make up going into games so we can wear our opponents down how we see fit."
Luck has finished #8 and #6 in his first two seasons in the league and is locked in as a solid QB1 pick in 2014 fantasy drafts. He is currently the #4 QB off the board in the 4th round. The Colts wanted to utilize a run-first mentality in 2013, and ended up throwing the ball 58.7% of the time, which was in the middle of the pack as far as pass/run balance goes. With the addition of Hakeem Nicks and the return of both Reggie Wayne and Dwayne Allen, we would expect Hamilton to utilize the passing game more often in 2014.
All indications point to Colts WR Reggie Wayne still making good progress from his torn ACL. He’s taking part in football activities again, but he likely won’t participate in the team’s mandatory minicamp next month. The Colts will likely wait until training camp before Wayne goes all out on the field.
His progress will have a big impact on the team's pecking order at WR, though we expect T.Y. Hilton to continue to build on two good productive seasons in the league. Hakeem Nicks is also in the mix.
Thursday, May 22, 2014, 12:03pm
"It takes that everyday grind to really come back," said Allen, who caught 45 passes as a rookie in 2012. "I've really had to teach myself how to run again. Once I got back going after the first couple of days, it was getting back into my timing with the quarterback. But it's going well. It's getting better and it's about not getting discouraged when you have a setback."
Friday, May 16, 2014, 11:50pm
Colts announced that LB Robert Mathis has been suspended four games for violating the NFL's performance-enhancing drugs policy.
Wednesday, May 7, 2014, 12:18pm
"I'm not at a 100 percent compared to what I was before my surgery,'' Peyton Manning said during his segment on The Late Show with David Letterman. "But I have made strides each season and this year felt a lot better than I did the year before. These nerves just go at their own pace.''
Manning also discussed how he tried to regain the feel in his throwing motion and the differences in the player he is now compared to the 13 seasons he spent with the Indianapolis Colts before his surgery.
"I used to sit in the mirror and just sort of go through my throwing motion trying to get the feel back the way I'd always thrown before,'' Manning said. " ... Maybe I can't throw the 100 mile-an-hour fastball any more, but I can still strike you out, picking my spots, working the plate. I don't make the same kind of throws I used to make, I try to use the cerebral part, use my experience.''
And as he said in the days leading up to the Super Bowl, Manning said he has no intentions of retiring. He has participated in the Broncos' offseason program and is set to enter the third season of a five-year contract.