Monday, March 30, 2015, 12:48pm
"Jordan is a veteran running back who has had some success in the league," coach Ron Rivera said in a statement. "We think he has some return skills and we are always looking to be good in that area. At running back, he brings versatility. He is stout and physical enough to run the ball up inside, but he's got the quickness and speed to get outside to the corner."
Todman will provide depth behind Jonathan Stewart.
After finishing 2-14 with one of the league’s worst offenses, the Buccaneers replaced interim OC Marcus Arroyo with a proven NFL offensive coordinator in Dirk Koetter, and the one player who could benefit the most is Austin Seferian-Jenkins, who is expected to be featured in Tampa Bay’s new offense.
The Bucs are so high on Seferian-Jenkins that he’s expected to be the starter in 2015 and the team did not go out in free agency and add a new tight end. The Bucs re-structured Myers’ contract to reflect the role of a backup tight end, and also re-signed blocking tight end Luke Stocker, but that’s it. The Bucs aren’t expected to address the tight end position in the draft, either, which means it’s up to Seferian-Jenkins to produce in 2015 and live up to his potential after an injury-riddled rookie campaign that ended with him on injured reserve due to an ailing back.
Seferian-Jenkins will be a featured weapon in Koetter’s offense and he should return to the form he showed in Washington when he hauled in 146 catches for 1,840 yards and 21 touchdowns in three seasons for the Huskies. While Koetter has the reputation for developing pocket passers everywhere he’s gone, he has also made stars out of tight ends.
Koetter has a history of featuring the tight end, coaxing a 58-700-10 season out of Marcedes Lewis in 2010 to go along with the 176 catches for 1,965 yards and 16 touchdowns in two seasons with Tony Gonzalez in 2012-2013. Seferian-Jenkins had an injury-riddled rookie season, but is a breakout candidate in his second season with a new quarterback and offensive coordinator.
Thursday, March 19, 2015, 10:09pm
In PPR formats, Shorts finished #25 in 2012 and #38 in 2013, so he has been fantasy relevant in his career. At this point, we're penciling him in as the starter opposite DeAndre Hopkins, but the team is likely to shore up the receiver position in the draft. Shorts isn't a threat to Hopkins up-and-coming status, and he's capable of turning in a fantasy starter-type season if he stays healthy and gets good quarterback play.
Thomas was the #3 TE in 2013, but struggled to a #10 finish last season after dealing with torn ligaments in his ankle. He has considerable talent as a pass-catcher, but this is a huge system downgrade from Denver to Jacksonville. He'll no longer enjoy the benefits of playing in a Peyton Manning-led offense and will instead be relying on Blake Bortles to deliver the ball. If the Jaguars feature him in the passing game -- and why wouldn't they? -- he has the potential to finish as a solid fantasy TE1 provided he can stay healthy. It's certainly an upgrade for Bortles and a downgrade for Manning.
The Denver Post, which first reported the news Monday night, said the multiyear contract is worth around $9 million a season.
Thomas was the #3 TE in 2013, but struggled to a #10 finish last season after dealing with torn ligaments in his ankle. He has considerable talent as a pass-catcher, but this is a huge system downgrade from Denver to Jacksonville. He'll no longer enjoy the benefits of playing in a Peyton Manning-led offense and will instead be relying on Blake Bortles to deliver the ball. If the Jaguars feature him in the passing game -- and why wouldn't they? -- he has the potential to finish as a fantasy TE1 provided he can stay healthy. It's certainly an upgrade for Bortles and a downgrade for Manning, though whomever wins the starting tight end job in Denver will be on the fantasy radar.
"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.
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