If they can bring back Justin Forsett, the Ravens are expected to pair him with a young running back. They met with Melvin Gordon (Wisconsin), David Johnson (Northern Iowa) and Duke Johnson (Miami) at the NFL scouting combine.
"He doesn’t have the wear and tear, and Justin did a very good job of coming in, competing and then being our bell cow," GM Ozzie Newsome said. "We would like to retain Justin, but I’ve learned something since the end of the season about Justin that I didn’t really know. He has mentored some very good, young backs, starting with Arian Foster, Marshawn Lynch, Maurice Jones-Drew when he was in Jacksonville.
"Having Justin here, and with the opportunity also bringing in hopefully another young running back, to have Justin be around that guy would be an asset also. So, we will work to try to retain Justin.”
Under OC Marc Trestman, Matt Forte caught 176 passes in the last two seasons, including 102 catches in 2014. Forsett caught 44 passes last season, and could potentially see that number double if he's the RB1 for the Ravens in 2015. Depending on his asking price, re-signing the 29-year-old Forsett isn't a no-brainer for the Ravens, though he's not likely to garner a huge contract in free agency. As the #8 RB in both standard and PPR formats in 2014, he'll likely hold RB2-type draft value if he stays in Baltimore. If the Ravens draft a running back early, it would certainly damper Forsett's outlook in 2015.
By season's end, Anderson was a Pro Bowler. But Anderson started the final eight games with John Fox as head coach. Gary Kubiak is the Broncos' coach now.
"He's got to go earn that," Kubiak said. "When he walked off the field last year he was playing that way. He's a young player. I told him that when I talked to him. I said, "C.J. when you come back for the offseason you need to handle yourself like you're the starter. ... I think he's ready to do that."
This is a common motivational tactic that coaches use with young, less-established players, but Anderson should be the team's RB1 in 2015 provided he doesn't report to OTAs out of shape. He began to see starter-type touches in Week 10 with 17 touches for 163 yards and a touchdown against the Raiders. Over the final eight weeks, he averaged 24.0 touches for 132 yards and 1.3 TD, and was the #1 RB in that span. If the Broncos commit to Anderson, he should thrive under new Kubiak, who just coaxed a career year out of journeyman Justin Forsett. Provided QB Peyton Manning returns for another season, Anderson’s production should continue.
Raiders RB Latavius Murray will be given every chance to show he can be a feature back, but HC Jack Del Rio said it's far from a done deal. He'll give Maurice Jones-Drew a chance to rejuvenate his legs, but he's a question mark based on last season's 2.2 yards per carry average. Darren McFadden is an unrestricted free agent.
We don't think that Murray will need extra chances to prove he's a feature back. He rushed 82 times for 424 yards (a 5.2 YPC) and two touchdowns, including an incredible four-carry, 112-yard, two-TD performance against the Chiefs in Week 12. He still averaged a solid (if unspectacular) 4.0 YPC when that game is excluded. With good size (6'2", 223 lbs) and great speed (4.38 40-yard dash), Murray has all the physical tools to succeed at the position. He even showed solid hands with 17 receptions on 23 targets.
Cosell: Raiders QB Derek Carr has 'best combination of arm strength, pocket play and movement' of rookie QB classThursday, February 12, 2015, 1:34pm
I think Carr has the best combination of arm strength, pocket play and movement. He has a really good arm. There are times he snaps it off like Aaron Rodgers in the pocket.
Carr’s tendency to get rid of the ball short isn’t a bad thing. The Raiders’ sack numbers were way down. He didn’t stand there and hold the ball with a deer-in-the-headlights look. That tells me his processing was functioning. He didn’t always throw to the right guy, but he didn’t get stuck in the pocket. He struggled at times with lower body mechanics, but he had the instincts and feel of a pocket quarterback. And he showed progress with his lower body mechanics as the season went on.
Carr played well as a rookie, and as long as he progresses as he should in seeing things at the intermediate level, there’s a lot to like with him going forward.
Carr finished the season as the #20 QB in fantasy and averaged 12.5 FP per game. He'll be in the mix for QBBC and streaming strategies heading into the 2015 season.
With the Broncos' return to zone blocking in 2015 under Head Coach Gary Kubiak and Offensive Coordinator Rick Dennison, C.J. Anderson's rampage through opposing defenses could be just the beginning. Kubiak and Dennison's penchant for extracting career seasons from running backs continued last year in Baltimore, when they helped craft an offense that turned Justin Forsett loose.
"I just can't wait to get to work, to be honest," Anderson said.
Anderson began to see starter-type touches in Week 10 with 17 touches for 163 yards and a touchdown against the Raiders. Over the final eight weeks, he averaged 24.0 touches for 132 yards and 1.3 TD, and was the #1 RB in that span. If the Broncos commit to Anderson (and why wouldn’t they?), he should thrive under new Kubiak, who just coaxed a career year out of journeyman Justin Forsett. Provided QB Peyton Manning returns for another season, Anderson’s production should continue.
Asked OC Bill Musgrave impression of Latavius Murray: "Very positive. Tremendous size & speed. Going to tailor run game so it's right up his alley."
Murray's dynasty/keeper league owners can rejoice. It sounds as if the new regime is a fan of Murray, so at this point we can pencil him in as the starter in Week 1. We'll continue to monitor the Oakland backfield throughout the offseason. From Week 12 on, Murray was the #17 RB in fantasy football, racking up 478 total yards and two touchdowns in five games.
The Jaguars are hiring Greg Olson to be their offensive coordinator.
Musgrave was previously the offensive coordinator for Carolina (20th in yards; 21st in points), Jacksonville (12th and 21st in yards; 25th and 29th in points) and Minnesota (18th, 20th and 13th in yards; 19th, 14th and 14th in points) prior to serving as the QB coach for Chip Kelly and the Eagles. His offenses tend to perform better in the running game, but that probably has more to do with the personnel (Fred Taylor, Adrian Peterson) that he was working with. We see this as a decent hire for Derek Carr and Latavius Murray.
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.
Michigan has told its biggest boosters that a deal for Jim Harbaugh to become its next head coach is done and that a news conference is scheduled for Tuesday, a source close to Michigan told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.
Interim athletic director Jim Hackett and other officials from the school met with Harbaugh in California Sunday night after he officially parted ways with the San Francisco 49ers. The agreement reached ended a nearly month-long coaching search in which virtually any conclusion other than landing Harbaugh would have been deemed a disappointment in Ann Arbor.
Harbaugh came close to taking the Michigan job in 2011, but decided to jump to the NFL and the Wolverines hired Brady Hoke. Hoke's record went steadily downhill during his four seasons at Michigan. Hoke was fired after a Nov. 29 loss to Ohio State that guaranteed the program would not play in a bowl game. Harbaugh was reportedly high on the Raiders and Jets lists of head coaching candidates.
Sunday, December 28, 2014, 3:08pm
Saturday, December 27, 2014, 11:04am
This has not been a great season for Darren McFadden but he has had a significant impact in one category.
For the first time in his career, McFadden has been healthy for the entire season. McFadden is pace to play his 16th game Sunday at Denver in the season finale. He has not missed one game this season due to injury.
In McFadden’s first six NFL seasons, the most games he’d played in a season was 13, which he accomplished twice. He has missed 29 games due to injury since joining the Raiders in 2008 as the No. 4 overall draft pick.
It's good timing for McFadden as he'll enter free agency after this season. McFadden started this season as the backup but took over for an ineffective Maurice Jones-Drew. McFadden has since been replaced by Latavius Murray. McFadden did run well and contribute to the Raiders’ Week 16 win over Buffalo and has 521 yards on 151 carries this season. He'll likely have a reduced role somewhere next season and depending on the situation could at least be on the fantasy radar.
Friday, December 26, 2014, 6:53pm
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