Monday, August 18, 2014, 2:10pm
Some of that inexperience showed up in Saturday’s preseason loss to the Baltimore Ravens, according to coach Jason Garrett. Weeden completed 10 of 19 passes for 129 yards and an interception. He also could have had a second pass intercepted. He was sacked once and hit countless times.
It was a little different than Weeden’s start in the preseason opener against the San Diego Chargers.
“As much as anything else, it’s the mechanics of the game: handle himself at the line of scrimmage, making sure we’re in the right play,” Garrett said. “His decision-making at different times was only OK in this game, but he did some good things. Obviously we’ll highlight those and try to correct the other things. Like we talked about with him all along, he needs to play. He needs to play a lot of snaps, and I think he’ll get better and better the more chances we give him in game situations.”
If Tony Romo goes down, Weeden would be given the keys to a pretty nice offense filled with talent. Dustin Vaughan has got a ton of attention in preseason games but is still 4th on the team's depth chart and may not make the team. Caleb Hanie is the team's QB3 behind Weeden.
Locker confidently marched the first team on a seven-play, 62-yard scoring drive that saw him complete 4 of 5 passes for 30 yards with a pretty touchdown strike to "Making the Leap" candidate Justin Hunter.
After what Ken Whisenhunt did for Philip Rivers in San Diego last season, we're already seeing the coach's fingerprints on Tennessee's young passer.
Locker has averaged 15.1 FP in 16 career starts. That extrapolates to 241 points over a 16-game season, or about what Ryan Tannehill scored as the #16 QB in 2013. Health has been his biggest problem, but if he can stay upright, he could grow in Ken Whisenhunt’s offense.
It seemed tight end Kyle Rudolph was poised for a huge 2013 season after he scored nine touchdowns and was Pro Bowl MVP in 2012. But an injury cut short his season last year. That injury has suppressed expectations for Rudolph externally. But internally, Rudolph is looked at as a key cog in the offense. He signed a lucrative contract extension at the beginning of camp and can now put his entire focus into playing within Turner’s offense, which has been very tight end-friendly over the years.
Rudolph was the #13 TE through Week 9 prior to a season-ending fracture in his foot. He was 15th in targets per game during that span, so there’s some opportunity in the workload department, especially with new OC Norv Turner in town. Turner isn’t necessarily as TE-friendly as his old boss Rob Chudzinski, but he featured Antonio Gates and Jordan Cameron heavily while with the Chargers and Browns. Rudolph is just 24 and could make a nice leap if the Vikings can get good play out of the quarterback position. He should continue to be a force in the redzone.
Friday, August 15, 2014, 12:12pm
Titans beat writer Paul Kuharsky: While veteran Shonn Greene is at the head of the line for the Titans running back-by-committee approach, rookie Bishop Sankey is the team's most well-rounded back. Sankey is on a good growth curve, and I expect he will earn the most touches over the course of the season, with Greene and Dexter McCluster making their contributions as more situational players.
We’re projecting Sankey to be the clear RB1 in Tennessee after the Titans took him as the first running back in the draft. He’s a versatile runner who doesn’t have much competition for touches. The last 13 rookies who were the top drafted RB in their class and joined a backfield with a lackluster incumbent averaged 18.2 touches for 83.1 yards and 0.55 TD, or 11.6 fantasy points per game. That’s about what Ryan Mathews averaged as the #12 RB in 2013. He carries some risk since the backfield is unsettled, but the Titans didn't draft him so he could stand on the sideline.
Chargers head coach Mike McCoy said Ryan Mathews remains the every-down back for San Diego. However, with the addition of Donald Brown in free agency along with third-down back Danny Woodhead coming off a career 2013 campaign, Mathews likely will see a decrease in carries. Mathews is in a contract year, so he'll be properly motivated to do the best with whatever touches he receives.
We're currently projecting an 11 percent drop in carries for Mathews. He is currently our #20 RB in standard and #26 in PPR. Brown is a very cheap (and talented) backup playing behind the injury-prone Mathews for a team that likes to run the ball. He's an attractive attrition pick in the final rounds.
We’re projecting Sankey to be the clear RB1 in Tennessee after the Titans took him as the first back in the draft. He’s a versatile back who doesn’t have much competition for touches. The last 13 rookies who were the top drafted RB in their class and joined a backfield with a lackluster incumbent averaged 18.2 touches for 83.1 yards and 0.55 TD, or 11.6 fantasy points per game. That’s about what Ryan Mathews averaged as the #12 RB in 2013. Our only real concern is HC Ken Whisenhunt force-feeding Shonn Greene and/or Dexter McCluster to fill certain roles in his offense.
Titans WR Justin Hunter continued his run of strong training-camp catches. In seven-on-seven play, he hauled in a Locker pass at the left sideline despite strong coverage from Coty Sensabaugh. A few plays later, Hunter blew past rookie defensive back Marqueston Huff and caught a long pass from Charlie Whitehurst. Hunter also made two leaping receptions during team drills – once in the red zone and once down the left sideline, going up and over cornerback Ri'Shard Anderson.
As a rookie, Hunter checked in with the #18 FP/T (1.41), which is encouraging, especially if he’s able to beat out Nate Washington and get on the field as more than a just a passing-down specialist. He only played 36% of the team’s snaps, while Washington played 82%. The good news is that under then-OC Ken Whisenhunt, Keenan Allen, Vincent Brown and Eddie Royal all played at least 67% of the Chargers’ snaps. So with Whiz calling the plays in Tennessee, there may be room for both Washington and Hunter in the lineup.
Titans beat writer Paul Kuharsky:
He’s caught everything thrown to him, by whichever quarterback, over whichever defender, against whatever coverage.
But Wright is 1A, very much at the top of the list, his name absolutely in capital letters.
Make them bold, too.
Wright caught 94 passes for 1,079 yards, but only found the endzone twice. He’s not likely to become a major force in the redzone, though new HC Ken Whisenhunt had success around the goal line with a similar player (Eddie Royal) in San Diego. Royal scored six of his eight TDs from inside the 15-yard line (typically on quick screens), so Whisenhunt may elect to use Wright in the same way.
Ricky Henne of Chargers.com was asked who was impressing him the most at Chargers training camp: " I couldn’t be happier to write that the guy impressing me the most is Malcom Floyd. We all know the scary injury he suffered early last year, so no one really knew what to expect from M-80. What we’ve seen is a player who hasn’t lost a step and is routinely making his patented acrobatic catches and big plays. I asked Offensive Coordinator Frank Reich about Floyd last week, and he said the wideout looks like a 25-year old out there."
From 2010 to 2012, Floyd finished #36, #32 and #36 as the second or third option in San Diego. He returns from a neck injury at the age of 32 (turning 33 in September) and will likely start as the team’s WR2 opposite Keenan Allen. If he’s starting and can stay healthy (a rather big “if”), he should be fantasy-relevant once again in 2014.
Titans beat writer Jim Wyatt projected the stats for the team's running backs:
Bishop Sankey: 980 rushing yards, 5 touchdowns; 27 catches, 287 yards, 2 touchdowns.
Shonn Greene: 523 rushing yards, 4 touchdowns; 17 catches, 136 yards, 0 touchdowns.
Dexter McCluster: 329 rushing yards, 2 touchdowns; 51 catches, 496 yards, 5 touchdowns.
When these projections are applied to our rankings, Sankey's numbers work out to #16 and #25 in standard and PPR, respectively. Greene (#39 and #44) and McCluster (#34 and #28) are also very fantasy relevant. Specifically, the McCluster projection is eye-opening. Wyatt is expecting McCluster to assume the full Danny Woodhead role in Ken Whisenhunt's offense. For perspective, Woodhead rushed for 429 yards and posted 605 receiving yards, while scoring eight total touchdowns. Wyatt is projecting McCluster for 825 total yards, or roughly 80 percent of Woodhead's total production. He's also projecting a 21 percent increase in rushing yards (1,514 vs. 1,832) and a 119 percent increase in receiving yards (420 vs. 919) for the Tennessee running backs when compared to last season. We are more bullish on Sankey and bearish on McCluster mainly because we believe that Whisenhunt will realize that McCluster is not as good as Woodhead on passing downs, and will elect to use Sankey more in that role. McCluster does seem like a good late-round flier in PPR formats in the event that Whisenhunt stubbornly feeds him the ball.
Tuesday, August 12, 2014, 9:09am
Powell has played for the Arizona Cardinals. He rushed for 217 yards and caught 19 passes for 132 yards in 2012. He was cut and claimed off waivers by the Philadelphia Eagles before failing his physical.
Arian Foster is expected to be the RB1 if he can get back on the field. But now behind him are Jonathan Grimes and Alfred Blue, followed by Brown and Powell. The winner of the RB2 job is key to know here because Foster's injury woes could end up creeping up again this season...
Monday, August 11, 2014, 7:45pm
After setting two franchise rookie records by recording 1,046 yards and 71 catches in 2013, Chargers WR Keenan Allen is looking to take his game to the next level. A third-round draft pick last season, Allen made a name for himself as the Bolts’ primary receiver after the injury to Malcom Floyd. He finished his rookie season targeted 104 times for eight touchdowns.
With week four of training camp underway, Allen says his focus right now is not only on trying to improve individually, but also as a team.
“I’m just trying to keep building everyday and keep the chemistry strong,” Allen said. “Keep it going with the guys and just try to get better.”
Building chemistry is key to progress and avoid the dreaded sophomore slump; however, Allen is trying to improve his game physically as well. Averaging 6.2 yards after catch last season, the former Cal receiver said improving his speed is a main goal this camp. Allen also said he wants to be more of a leader. Ranked 11th on our WR list, we project him as a low-end WR1 and he's getting targeted in the early fourth round.
Monday, August 11, 2014, 5:28pm
The Texans turned to a group of young backs Saturday night, but looked at some old ones Monday.
The Texans have been without Arian Foster (hamstring), and they didn’t give free agent acquisition Andre Brown much work in the preseason opener, going with Jonathan Grimes, Alfred Blue and Dennis Johnson.
While the fans couldn’t withhold their excitement, M-80 also had a hard time keeping his emotions in check.
“It felt good coming out of the tunnel,” he said. “I was very excited out there. I just had to contain myself.”
Floyd was medically cleared this offseason after sustaining a serious neck injury in week two of the 2013 season. He hasn’t missed a beat all training camp, participating in practices day after day. Floyd finished as a consistent WR3 from 2010-12, so there is some potential there as long as he can stay healthy and win the WR2 job. He's starting to trend up our receiver list but so far isn't seeing a lot of draft day action.
Mike McCoy said right after Ryan Mathews fumbled on the goal line he told his RB he's going to keep feeding him the ball.
Mathews was so good last year, especially in the second half, but through his career has been victimized by injuries and costly fumbles. While it looks like he'll still get carries in deep, Donald Brown lurks as a potential candidate if fumbling becomes an issue again for Mathews.