Monday, November 24, 2014, 1:05pm
To say the third-round draft pick has been a bit player through his first nine NFL games would be an understatement.
The release of LeGarrette Blount has seemingly created an opening for Archer. But does he really have much more of an opportunity with Blount gone? The Steelers were already phasing Blount out of the offense before the temper tantrum last Monday night that led to his release. Getting rid of Blount only clarified that Le’Veon Bell is the Steelers’ starting running back, third-down back and goal-line back.
Mike Tomlin did not opt for subtlety last week when asked his opinion of Archer and what the Kent State product has shown through roughly the first three quarters of the season.
“Not much,” the eighth-year Steelers coach said. “He is a young guy. He has some talent. He has worked hard. We will see where he is.”
The story went on to say that the Steelers have not figured out a way to use Archer and his supreme speed. But one thing hasn’t fundamentally changed when it comes to the 5-8, 173-pounder: Archer still has to make the most of limited touches before he earns a bigger role in the offense.
Friday, November 21, 2014, 6:26pm
Patriots RB Jonas Gray (not injury related) missed practice Friday. Gray is healthy, but he was late to the facility, so he was not allowed to practice. The Patriots don’t tolerate tardiness, so Gray’s role in Week 12 is now up in the air, especially after the team signed LeGarrette Blount.
Gray is perfectly healthy, but he was late to the facility, so he was not allowed to practice. The Patriots don’t tolerate tardiness, so Gray’s role in Week 12 is now up in the air, especially after the team signed LeGarrette Blount. We'll update our projections later in the day, but given this latest development (and a tough matchup against the Lions), Gray is not a solid start in Week 12.
Bill Belichick addressed the re-signing of running back LeGarrette Blount this morning for the first time and said it was a simple matter of adding a player they wanted last offseason and made it right the second time around.
"We tried to sign LeGarrette in the offseason," Belichick said. "That didn't work out, which is the NFL. It's the business part of the NFL. He was released. He was available, and we were able to work it out for him to come back here, so we're glad to have him back."
Belichick detailed how Blount can carve out a role in the backfield.
"That will be up to him, just like everybody else," Belichick said. "When he gets an opportunity, how much he can take advantage of it, how much he can be productive, what he can do with those opportunities will determine how many more there are. That's totally up to him. He knows that. We've talked about that. He knows that's the way it is, and I think he's excited about it."
Free-agent running back LeGarrette Blount, who was released by the Pittsburgh Steelers on Tuesday, agreed Thursday to a two-year deal with the New England Patriots for the veteran minimum plus incentives, according to a source.
Blount was terrific for the Patriots last year, but it appears that the team will use Jonas Gray as its primary between-the-tackles thumper. Blount will provide depth and may get a handful of carries (or more) depending on how each player performs. This certainly puts a small dent in Gray's stock since the team is less likely to stick with him in a feature role if he has a bad game or turns the ball over.
The Steelers are rolling the dice that LeVeon Bell will remain injury free and able to keep up his heavy workload over the final month by not giving him much in the way of an experienced backup following the release of LeGarrette Blount.
It's a chance the Steelers are willing and, more appropriately, have to take because they don't have many choices.
The Steelers are going to ride Bell as much as they can.
“We will take all he can give,” offensive coordinator Todd Haley said. “We will give all he can take.”
Wednesday, November 19, 2014, 6:11pm
Titans WR Justin Hunter (knee) took limited practice reps Wednesday. Hunter wasn’t limited against the Steelers, so for now we’ll assume he’ll be out there against the Eagles. If he’s out, Nate Washington will be a Sneaky Start in a great matchup.
On Wednesday, head coach Chip Kelly was asked why TE Zach Ertz isn't seeing the same time he was when the season started.
"Brent Celek is doing a hell of a job," Kelly said. "It would be an injustice to tell Brent he has to sit because we want to put someone else in the game."
"He is an outstanding blocker," Kelly said of Celek. "He might be the best blocking tight end in the league. He is a sure handed receiver. You saw against Carolina he had over 100 yards receiving...It doesn't have to do with Zach, it has to do with how well Brent is playing."
The team announced the move on Tuesday.
Blount, who signed a two-year deal as a free agent after a strong playoff performance with the Patriots, reportedly left the playing area in Tennessee last night before the game against the Titans ended. Starter LeVeon Bell (who was the other half of the alleged preseason pot-smoking Pittsburgh duo) gained more than 200 yards on the night; Blount gained none.
Eight weeks ago, Blount had 113 yards in a prime-time win over the Panthers. Per Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Blount had been an “internal problem” over the past month, and Blount had been “dragging down” Bell.
Blount will now be eligible for waivers, just like Ben Tate with the Browns who was released just hours ago. The Steelers will likely have to make a move for another back as only Dri Archer and Will Johnson sit behind Bell on the depth chart. Like we said about Tate, perhaps take a wait and see approach on Blount, as it's possible he lands in a situation that could end up being better. Given the choice, teams in need of a RB would likely rather have Tate.
The Steelers won a game but have a new problem, a rare one for them. Backup halfback LeGarrette Blount, apparently upset because he did not have a carry against Tennessee, left the field before the game was over.
He dressed and left the locker room, apparently headed for the team bus that would take them to the airport. At least one player thought they should leave him in Nashville.
Blount has been an internal problem for at least a month for the Steelers and sources told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that he is dragging down star halfback Le’Veon Bell, even though that obviously was not the case Monday night when Bell ran 33 times for 204 yards.
The story went on to say there was no immediate indication what, if any, discipline coach Mike Tomlin might take against Blount but some players have been pushing for them to release him because of his poor attitude. The story added that several weeks ago, Blount had complained to a reporter from a local radio station about his lack of carries this season. The Steelers have Dri Archer and Will Johnson next up on the depth chart, but Archer, a rookie with great speed and skills, hasn't done much.
Monday, November 17, 2014, 7:18pm
Tuesday, November 11, 2014, 8:18pm
Tate in March signed a two-year contract with the Browns in free agency to be the featured running back and then beat out rookies Terrance West and Isaiah Crowell to win the starting job. He has since lost it to West, the third-round pick from Towson.
A knee injury in the opener sidelined Tate for the next two games, but he was back as the starter against the Titans on Oct. 5 and rushed for 124 yards on 22 carries. He got 25 carries for 78 yards the following week in the 31-10 demolition of the Steelers.
Tate led the team in rushing against Jacksonville and Oakland, such as it was, but in those games gained 36 yards on 16 carries and 26 yards on 15 carries as the Browns learned to play without Pro Bowl center Alex Mack. Tate started against Tampa Bay but his numbers were abysmal — 3 yards on 10 carries.
West started against Cincinnati and carried 26 times for 94 yards. Tate wasn’t even second; Crowell rushed for 41 yards on 12 tries. Tate gained 34 yards in 10 carries. Each player scored a rushing touchdown.
“I’d be lying if I said (it’s satisfying),” Tate said after practice on Nov. 11. “It’s not, but whatever the organization thinks is best for the team, then that’s what we’re going to do.
“I’m just a player, Man. I’m just a number to them. I couldn’t really tell you why things are happening or what’s going on. The only thing I can do is when it’s time to go to work, go to work.”
Monday, November 10, 2014, 7:52pm
The breakthrough season that Ravens running back Bernard Pierce was hoping for hasn't materialized. Pierce was initially projected as the starter once Ray Rice was indefinitely suspended and his $35 million contract was terminated.
However, a lost fumble against the Cincinnati Bengals in the season opener, a subsequent quadriceps injury and the emergence of Justin Forsett as the Ravens' featured running back has affected Pierce's status.
During a 21-7 win over the Tennessee Titans on Sunday, Pierce was more involved in the offense than usual when he rushed for 31 yards on eight carries. Pierce had just one carry for 2 yards in a 43-23 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers the previous week and was a healthy scratch against the Bengals the week before that.
Pierce hasn't complained about his status and said he's just trying to make the most out of his opportunities.
"It's definitely a confidence-booster," Pierce said after the win over the Titans. "I knew I still had it. Contributing to a win is definitely a good feeling."
Against Tennessee, Pierce had a long run of 10 yards. The Ravens wore down the Titans, rushing for 151 yards on 34 carries, but it was Forsett who led the way with 112 yards on 20 carries and two touchdowns. Pierce had more of a role Sunday than rookie Lorenzo Taliaferro, who had three carries for 10 yards one week after he lost a fumble against the Steelers. Forsett is the team's lead back and the RB2 spot is going to the guy who hasn't fumbled most recently.
Monday, November 10, 2014, 8:43am
Mike Wallace is a deep ball receiver on a team without a great deep ball quarterback.
He has been watching his own Dolphins team find life one week and then quickly allow it to disappear the next. He has also been watching a quarterback he left behind, Ben Roethlisberger, find a career renaissance with Todd Haley in Pittsburgh.
Needless to say, he was not happy after the Dolphins' 20-16 loss on Sunday. Wallace had five catches for 51 yards and a touchdown. He has yet to crack 100 yards this season.
"We can't keep doing this on offense," Wallace said, via ESPN.com. "We can't be up and down to be the team that we want to be. We have to be able to finish football games."
The team is just a week removed from a fantastic, 37-point performance against the Chargers and was coming off a three-game winning streak. The Lions were a tough opponent at home this week, ranking near the top in terms of not allowing fantasy production to several positions. But as the story pointed out, the frustration will linger as long as the Dolphins have talented players that aren't being used correctly, or to their full potential.
Friday, November 7, 2014, 6:15pm
Jets QB Michael Vick (foot, probable) took full practice reps all week and is probable for Week 10. Vick is a Sneaky Start against the Steelers, who have given up a lot of points to quarterbacks in the last few weeks.
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