"He was a pleasant surprise for us [in 2014] after his first year. He came back stronger and bigger and really shocked us. He had a couple of games in a row [of 100 yards rushing] where he did some really nice things for us and it was unfortunate he had the [foot] injury at the end. We’re really pleased with his progress and we’re hopeful that he takes the next step. Where that takes him in the rotation, that’s yet to be seen. He’s doing a great job coming back from his injury. The future is bright for him."
(on running back Toby Gerhart and if he can salvage a role in 2015 after a non-productive 2014)
"He’s done a good job. With a new offensive staff, that’s what we’re in the process of doing right now – looking at everybody’s strengths and how to best utilize those. Toby’s done a nice job for us. I know people may consider him a third down-type back or a short-yardage, situational back but we saw him do enough good things on first and second downs that he’ll have a place with us. He is a different style of back and we’re putting tougher an offense that best utilizes his strength."
Robinson averaged a solid 4.3 YPC on 135 carries, while Gerhart struggled to 3.2 YPC after suffering an early season foot injury. He did average 3.9 YPC from Week 9 on, and 4.0 YPC over the final six games, so things improved as he started to get healthy. Gerhart has a career 4.3 YPC, so he's probably better than he showed last season. We're currently expecting a RBBC with Gerhart and Robinson each getting a fair share of the workload.
The quarterback competition that Washington Redskins coach Jay Gruden discussed after the season apparently has ended. Gruden told reporters at the NFL scouting combine Wednesday that Robert Griffin III will enter next season as the starter.
"We'll go into the season with Robert as our No. 1 guy," Gruden said. "It's up to Robert to continue to grow and mature as a quarterback and as a person. Moving forward we want to see improvement. It's up to us as a staff to get more out of him."
RG3 averaged 12.0 fantasy points in the six games that he started (and finished) in 2014. That's what Blake Bortles averaged as the league's #24 fantasy quarterback. We know Griffin is capable of more, but he hasn't been the same player since his rookie season. Specifically, he's not running the ball as often or as effectively.
Jaguars WR Allen Robinson’s late-July hamstring injury kept him out of every preseason game. But he had at least four catches in each of his last nine games and was targeted 10 or more times in four games. Robinson had eight “explosive” receptions and played 516 snaps.
Robinson underwent surgery in November for a stress fracture but is expected to be full-go when the offseason program starts in April.
“He’ll have an offseason, an OTA, a training camp and should be able to accelerate his game,” WR coach Jerry Sullivan said. “The thing about all these young guys, they come out of college, they train for the Combine and then they train for each team that wants to work them out. Now they can really compartmentalize what they need to do.”
Robinson averaged 5.2 catches for 61 yards and 0.22 TD from Week 2 to Week 10, which extrapolates to an 84-9774-3.6 over the course of a full 16-game season. Those are fringe WR2-type numbers. The Jacksonville receiving corps should feature Robinson, Marqise Lee, Allen Hurns and perhaps Justin Blackmon. If QB Blake Bortles can progress, this could be a dangerous passing game.
Greg Cosell on Jagaurs QB Blake Bortles:
This offseason, Bortles has to go back to basics. He lost his technique.
There are all kinds of valid reason for that – the Jaguars offensive line was below average, the offense was inconsistent, there was an inability to stay on schedule during games because of that inconsistency and the Jaguars trailing most of the time – but the bottom line is he lost his technique and needs to go back to school and start from scratch. I don’t mean that in a negative way. But before the Jaguars get to “What are the best route concepts against ‘Cover 4’ zone?” they need to work with him so he has repetitive proper fundamentals. Otherwise he won’t throw it accurately enough on a consistent basis.
One thing I noticed is Bortles started to have a tendency to drop the ball too low in his release. That throws off the timing, if the release and stride isn’t working together. Then you lose velocity and accuracy. Bortles has a good arm (though not a great one) but his arm strength suffers when the mechanics suffer. There are too many moving parts.
Bortles averaged 12.0 fantasy points per game, which led to a #24 finish at his position. He's a passer who could make a leap in his second season if the Jaguars can give him time to throw and he can clean up his fundamentals. The receiving corps is young but talented, with Allen Robinson, Marqise Lee, Allen Hurns and potentially Justin Blackmon all capable of producing when given the opportunity. Bortles averaged nearly 30 yards rushing, so he offers some baseline production as a runner.
"They said they want me back, for sure," he said. "I was their draft pick, so they said they definitely want me to come back."
The market for free agent running backs has dried up considerably in recent years, but Ingram should be able to garner the $3 million per year (or so) that Toby Gerhart and Rashad Jennings received last year. Ingram would hold RB2-type value if he returns to New Orleans since a healthy Khiry Robinson would likely cap Ingram's workload. Robinson's injuries played a big role in Ingram getting the 19.6 touches per game that he saw in 2014.
The Jaguars are hiring Greg Olson to be their offensive coordinator.
Jack Del Rio is expected to be the next head coach of the Oakland Raiders.
NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Wednesday morning, citing two sources informed of the team's thinking, that signs point to the former Broncos defensive coordinator and Jaguars head coach being the next man tapped to lead the middling franchise out of a playoff drought that began in 2002. Rapoport adds that the Raiders decided Tuesday against sticking with interim coach Tony Sparano.
Dirk Koetter, 55, agreed to terms on a two-year deal with the Buccaneers with an option in 2017. He interviewed for the job last week and brings familiarity with the NFC South. Before coming to Atlanta, he spent five seasons as the Jaguars' offensive coordinator, following stints as head coach at Boise State and Arizona State.
During his three seasons in Atlanta, the Falcons ranked eighth, 14th and eighth in total offense. The Falcons' Matt Ryan posted the three highest passing yardage seasons in franchise history under Koetter, as well as three of the four highest completion percentage seasons.
That's important because the Bucs have the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft and are in position to select either Florida State's Jameis Winston or Oregon junior Marcus Mariota, who has yet to declare.
Koetter runs a pro-style offense that is heavy on the passing side, which could be a fit for Winston. But he also has a strong connection on the Mariota side — Oregon coach Mark Helfrich was Koetter's quarterbacks coach for eight years, at Boise State (1998-2000) and Arizona State (2001-05).
This looks like a good hire for whomever the Bucs tap to be quarterback in 2015.
General manager Dave Caldwell said Tuesday he's "hearing good things" about Blackmon, who is suspended indefinitely for repeated violations of the NFL's substance-abuse policy.
"We hope he comes back because we know he's talented," Caldwell said. "But we know he's also a good person that's fighting a tough battle. I think we have to treat it as a luxury. If he comes back, that's great. If he doesn't, we can't count on it."
Caldwell said in April he didn't expect Blackmon to play in 2014. He responded by drafting Marqise Lee and Allen Robinson in the second round and adding Allen Hurns as an undrafted free agent. The trio combined to catch 136 passes for 1,647 yards and nine touchdowns as rookies.
Blackmon certainly would bolster the unit, especially if veteran Cecil Shorts III hits free agency as expected. Blackmon voluntarily checked into a 90-day treatment facility earlier this season, and coach Gus Bradley said back then that updates from Blackmon's agent were positive. Blackmon was suspended without pay in November 2013 for at least a year for his latest violation. NFL rules prohibit coaches and general managers from having contact with players suspended indefinitely. Blackmon has already proved he has the talent, but would be a risky fantasy pick aside from a safer spot in the middle of the draft.
Friday, December 26, 2014, 6:53pm
Friday, December 26, 2014, 6:53pm
Friday, December 26, 2014, 6:53pm
Running back Mark Ingram is wrapping up the final year of his contract with the team and preparing to head into free agency after his best NFL season. Ingram missed three games early in the season, but has since held up well under a heavy workload caused by injuries other backs. Ingram has set career highs in attempts, yards, receptions and touchdowns and thinks he’s sold himself well in the process.
“Yeah, I think that’s a good thing, seeing that I could carry the ball and be out there doing whatever they ask me to do for a stretch of time and be healthy,” Ingram said, via the New Orleans Times-Picayune.
Running backs have not found a friendly market in free agency in recent years, so Ingram will have to buck that trend to land a big contract. That will be tough in a year when DeMarco Murray, Ryan Mathews, C.J. Spiller and Frank Gore are also set to make up a crowded free agent market at the position, but coming off his best pro season shouldn’t hurt when it comes time for Ingram to talk contract.
Ingram's 75.6 rushing yards per game are the 7th-highest this season. He's not going to land a big contract due to how the position has been devalued in recent years, but he should be able to match the three-year, $10.5 million that Toby Gerhart got in Jacksonville. If Ingram leaves, Khiry Robinson figures to take over the role as the team's primary between-the-tackles runner. Robinson is signed through the 2015 season.
Thursday, December 18, 2014, 7:04pm
Blake Bortles is active and starting as expected.
Wednesday, December 17, 2014, 5:57pm
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