Wednesday, August 27, 2014, 12:10pm
Broncos WR Wes Welker is making daily progress on his return from a third concussion in under a year.
"He's in the exercise mode right now. He won't be back out there until he's completely well," coach John Fox told KOA-AM radio Wednesday morning, via Broncos public relations vice president Patrick Smyth.
Players aren't allowed to be in "exercise mode" until symptoms have begun to subside, so that is a positive step. The veteran receiver still needs to clear concussion protocol before he can play in the Week 1 opener against the Indianapolis Colts.
Tuesday, August 26, 2014, 6:39pm
On Monday's edition of the Around The League Podcast, we highlighted speedy Arizona Cardinals rookie John Brown as one of the few "hype bunnies" to successfully translate offseason praise to preseason production.
After Brown's impressive preseason debut, general manager Steve Keim raised expectations, suggesting the third-round wide receiver is capable of an impact on par with Anquan Boldin's stellar rookie season a decade ago.
After Sunday's game versus the Bengals, coach Bruce Arians estimated to TheMMQB.com's Peter King that Brown will be used on "60 percent" of offensive snaps this season.
Brown is obviously a name to keep an eye on once the season starts. He's not getting a lot of draft day action, but playing 60% of the snaps could get him noticed at least in deeper fantasy leagues. He's also drawn comparisons to former Colt Marvin Harrison.
Indianapolis Colts coach Chuck Pagano was asked about the team's running game and he said, "it's going to be a work in progress the whole season."
The whole season, and he's not even specifically talking about running back Trent Richardson. Pagano was talking about the whole unit.
The Colts will be fine when it comes to their passing game, but they need some kind of production out of running backs Trent Richardson, Ahmad Bradshaw and Daniel "Boom" Herron to keep the defense honest.
"I don't think it's where we want it," Pagano said about their ground game. "I think we're headed in the right direction. ...We're still working at it. We've had some lineup changes, obviously, on the offensive line. We went through a whole season last year with that, from a continuity standpoint getting those guys together. We got (tight end) Dwayne (Allen) back."
Pagano doesn't sound the least bit positive about the running game, but it could be a motivational tool. Indianapolis is averaging 3.5 yards a carry as a team in the preseason while also dealing with injuries at center and right guard in the preseason. Starting center Khaled Holmes has missed the past two games with an ankle injury and guard Jack Mewhort missed a game with a knee issue. Richardson and Bradshaw have some mid-to-later round potential depending on your league format.
The sobering reality, however, is that Welker has suffered three concussions in 10 months, all serious enough to force him to exit a game. He will undergo the mandated concussion protocol and must be cleared by the Broncos' medical staff and an independent doctor before practicing.
"I believe he's going to be good," said receiver Demaryius Thomas, who spoke to Welker on Saturday.
Welker makes a living on underneath routes that turn him into a human pinball, as the story puts it, and it's a frightening number of concussions in a short period of time. Welker has potential to put up huge numbers, especially in PPR leagues, but the treat of losing him for weeks at a time means you need to back yourself up. Andre Caldwell and Cody Latimer could be guys to keep an eye on as possible pickups, with the rookie Latimer having a higher upside.
Sunday, August 24, 2014, 4:09pm
It’s possible that the Eagles’ kicker for the 2014 season is not currently on their roster.
They are obviously not totally sold on Alex Henery, who has missed from 47 and 31 yards this preseason.
Cody Parkey was acquired from the Colts for running back David Fluellen on Wednesday and will get a brief tryout for the job. If the team isn’t satisfied with either option, they’ll look to the outside for help.
There are some big names available should the Eagles decide to go that direction. Mentioned on the list were Rob Bironas, David Akers and Rian Lindell among others. It's a situation to keep an eye on because the Birds will put up points this season, and place their kicker in situations to put up points, too - but they'll have to trust him first.
Reggie Wayne was back.
The Indianapolis Colts veteran receiver didn’t have any catches -- the two he made were taken away because of penalties -- but he was back on the field for the first time in 10 months. That’s all that matter Saturday night against the New Orleans Saints.
“It was good to catch the football and get a real live game under my belt,” Wayne said. “There’s no way you can simulate that. That’s what I said last week. It was an opportunity for me to go out there, and there was some real live bullets flying at me so it was good. One down.”
Wayne, who tore his ACL in Week 7 last season, and wasn't sure he was going to get playing time in the preseason. He's looked good all through camp and it looks like he passed his final test before the regular season. Wayne is shaping up to be a nice, middle-round option in fantasy drafts. Recovering from an ACL injury could mean a slow start but Wayne is poised for a big workload again in the Colts offense.
Jets WR Eric Decker had barely played in this preseason. He missed last week’s game at the Bengals with a quad injury. He got just 12 snaps in the preseason opener against the Colts. But he appears to be establishing chemistry in the Jets’ offense just fine. Decker caught three passes for 34 yards, with a long of 27. In the third quarter, Decker caught a 3-yard touchdown pass from backup quarterback Michael Vick. Decker actually had just one catch from presumptive starting quarterback Geno Smith. His other two were from Vick. Still, this is the sort of positive game that could put Decker in a good rhythm to start the regular season.
While it would be nice for the Denver Broncos to get running back Montee Ball into a preseason game for a few snaps, get him a carry, see him run through some contact, his real target date to be ready to go is still Sept. 7, or the regular-season opener against the Indianapolis Colts.
Ball, who had an appendectomy Aug. 4, returned to the practice field Tuesday and did a little more on Wednesday, but as it stands now the Broncos’ top running back is not expected to play in Saturday night’s preseason game against the Houston Texans. And since the Broncos usually play few, if any, starters in the fourth preseason game, Ball’s most likely return date is still the regular-season opener.
We're not worried at all about the injury, though his conditioning might need some work if he doesn't see game action prior to Week 1. Ball had a higher YPC (4.7) than Knowshon Moreno (4.3), but wasn’t quite the weapon in the passing game. Still, his catch percentage (receptions/targets = 74.1%) wasn’t bad for a running back. His play down the stretch (8.5 FP/game in final eight games) is encouraging. He’s locked in as the RB1 in a great offense, so 10+ touchdowns seems likely.
Colts RB Trent Richardson’s first run of the preseason was for 8 yards, giving the indication that good things were to come with him. But he gained only 26 yards since then. The New York Giants, according to HC Chuck Pagano, loaded up the box on more than 20 of the first 30 plays of their preseason game last weekend. Richardson’s two longest runs -- 8 yards each -- came with Andrew Luck in the shotgun. Richardson's running with better instincts. It's just not showing up in the results, which is the determining factor.
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. As the #20 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.
Monday, August 18, 2014, 8:17pm
It’s only natural for receivers like Da'Rick Rogers or Griff Whalen to look over his shoulder and wonder how the other player at that position is doing.
That leaves Rogers and Whalen and the remaining receivers on the roster competing for one or two spots on the roster at that position.
The other question is: When will Wayne play in a game? There’s no answer to either one of those questions yet.
Wayne has said a number of times during training camp that he wants the first tackle on his surgically repaired knee to be in a preseason game. With that said, you have to believe Wayne will play in Saturday’s game against the New Orleans Saints because the starters are expected to get extensive playing time in the first half.
“There’s a possibility,” coach Chuck Pagano said when asked if Wayne will play against the Saints. “We’re managing that thing and keeping a close eye on him. From a physical standpoint, make sure there’s not too much wear and tear on that knee early on and coming back and all those things. We’re going to monitor him this week and see how he goes. If things go according to plan, there’s a possibility there, but again, we’ll make sure he’s ready for action.”
Wayne has looked good in camp according to reports but the Colts just may not want to risk him getting hurt. Still, it seems like Wayne would feel better seeing action in the preseason rather than jumping right into the regular season...
Sunday, August 17, 2014, 10:43am
Giants TE Adrien Robinson said, “I’ve been waiting for a chance to make plays like that.’’ The Giants have been waiting for it, too. Saturday night, the third-year tight end finally showed some of the potential general manager Jerry Reese was talking about two years ago when he called Robinson “the JPP of tight ends.’’
With the Giants facing a fourth-and-16 situation, Robinson broke open down the middle of the field — he said it was “like the Red Sea’’ — and hauled in Ryan Nassib’s pass for a 26-yard gain. On the next play, Nassib again found Robinson, this time for 33 yards. They were the two most significant plays Robinson has made in a Giants uniform.
Granted this was late in the game against backups, but the Giants need someone to step up at the position and this could at least give Robinson a shot to compete with the first team. So far this preseason, the Giants offense has been non-existent and could possibly use a spark by Robinson.
Sunday, August 17, 2014, 10:28am
Colts WR Hakeem Nicks, whose first August had fallen somewhere in the gulf that resides between “blah” and “meh,” caught plenty of attention on Saturday night with a five-catch, 53-yard performance in limited duty against his former team, the Giants. Now, Nicks is catching praise along with those passes.
It would have played out as six catches for 86 yards for Nicks, but a 36-yard gain was wiped off the board due to Nicks giving a wave to cornerback Trumaine McBride during the play.
Nicks was not impressive in camp to this point but it looks like things are picking up for the veteran. Earlier in camp, we learned from Colt beat writers that Nicks would be the team's WR3 and when he came in Reggie Wayne would move to the slot with T.Y. Hilton and Nicks on the outside. For now, his fantasy value is still a bit limited.
Saturday, August 16, 2014, 4:56pm
So far, to this point in the preseason, Giants QB Eli Manning hasn't shown us much. The Giants have trotted him out to make some calls at the line of scrimmage and mostly hand or throw it to his running backs.
With left tackle Will Beatty back protecting Manning's blindside on Saturday night, there are no more excuses. The Giants have their projected starting offensive line protecting their starting quarterback. They can now open it up (a little bit) and show some of their new passing attack.
They don't need to display everything. Some of the innovative stuff can be saved for the regular season, but some of the basics (deep sideline and vertical routes) can be practiced in a live game setting against the Colts.
Of course, we'll be watching and breaking it all down, because that's what you do with a quarterback working in a new system. You look for hints of what is to come in the regular season.
Two specific areas pointed out in this article to watch for are Manning's downfield throws and communication with WR Rueben Randle. So far in two games Manning hasn't thrown more than 10 yards. Last year communication with Randle wasn't great and as recently as Thursday in practice it lead to another INT so it's still a work in progress.
Chiefs HC Andy Reid revealed a finger injury to wide receiver Dwayne Bowe that could explain why Bowe has dropped so many passes. “His finger is shot,’’ Reid said. “It’s been thrown out of place about 15 times and he’s not catching the ball. But he’s getting his work done. You can practice with that type of thing.’’
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, despite the finger injury.