Thursday, September 11, 2014, 6:24pm
Tuesday, September 9, 2014, 9:37am
Chargers WR Malcom Floyd turned 33 on Monday, and there was plenty to celebrate before a single pass flew his way.
There was fear that his NFL career was over — that he’d be forced out unceremoniously after nine years. But in the season opener against the Cardinals, Floyd showed that he was far from done.
The veteran had four receptions for 50 yards in the Chargers’ 18-17 loss, but shined brightest in the first series of the third quarter, when he a caught 7-yard pass on second down and 11, a 32-yard pass on third and 4, and a six-yard touchdown pass on second down to put the Chargers ahead 10-6.
When Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said Saturday that he saw what he needed from his starting running back, who injured his left foot late last week, he meant it.
It was after Saturday's practice that Arians believed Andre Ellington could play Monday night against the San Diego Chargers. After a brief pregame workout, Ellington suited up and carried 13 times for 53 yards and caught all five of his intended passes for 27 yards in the Cardinals' 18-17 win.
Even with 18 touches, however, Ellington wasn't himself and he could tell he wasn't 100 percent.
"I wasn't full speed," he said. "My quickness, I had some quickness going from right to left, but it was a little harder going from left to right."
All things considered, Ellington still had 18 touches and performed pretty well. The concerning news is will the foot heal this season or will it be something that plagues him every time he takes the field. Defenses will eventually adjust to the discomfort he apparently has going from left to right. What once looked like a potential monster season may need to be toned down a bit.
DOUBTFUL S James Ihedigbo (neck, knee)
PROBABLE DT Caraun Reid (shoulder)
OUT CB Chris Davis (ankle)
QUESTIONABLE S Jahleel Addae (hamstring), TE Antonio Gates (hamstring)
PROBABLE WR Keenan Allen (ribs), DE Lawrence Guy (shoulder), DT Sean Lissemore (ankle), LB Manti Te'o (foot), CB Jason Verrett (shoulder)
OUT LB Alex Okafor (thigh)
QUESTIONABLE RB Andre Ellington (foot), S Tyrann Mathieu (knee), P Dave Zastudil (left groin)
PROBABLE G Jonathan Cooper (toe), WR Larry Fitzgerald (knee), LB Kevin Minter (chest), DT Frostee Rucker (back)
The two big notes are Cardinals RB Andre Ellington and Chargers TE Antonio Gates. Gates doesn't officially appear on the NFL media injury report but was listed as limited in practice on Saturday with a hamstring injury. On the San Diego Chargers injury report, he is listed as questionable. If he doesn't go, Lardarius Green would be a significant upgrade in terms of workload potential.
Ellington is a game-time call on Monday night. Reports have been all over the place about the extent of his foot injury, but he's officially listed as questionable.
Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said Ellington was limited in practice today and will be a game-time decision on Monday night against the Chargers.
Ellington has been dealing with a foot injury, and there have been conflicting reports about the severity of that injury. Some reports have said Ellington could miss significant time, while others have said the injury is relatively minor. The fact that Arians expressed some optimism about Ellington playing on Monday suggests that the injury isn’t as severe as previously feared.
No surprise that after all the reports, good and bad, Ellington will be the dreaded game-time call on Monday night. Even if he plays, there's a chance he won't get a full workload to open the season. If you have no choice but to play Ellington, Jonathan Dwyer is someone to pick up and plug in if we find out Ellington is inactive leading up to the game.
Friday, September 5, 2014, 5:45pm
Friday, September 5, 2014, 5:45pm
While Keenan Allen likely will garner the majority of attention from Arizona's secondary on Sunday, receiver Malcom Floyd will be a likely target on backside routes for Philip Rivers. In San Diego's last four regular-season openers, Floyd has averaged seven targets with an explosive play of at least 16 yards in all four contests. Allen is San Diego's No. 1 receiver, but Floyd has been Rivers' most consistent target during training camp and in preseason play.
We've been recommending Floyd as a late-round option all summer. From 2010 to 2012, Floyd finished #36, #32 and #36 as the second or third option in San Diego.
Thursday, September 4, 2014, 6:23pm
Tuesday, September 2, 2014, 1:34pm
Fortunately for the Vikings' receiver depth, their offense has two things working in its favor. First, OC Norv Turner makes frequent use of two-tight end sets; the San Diego Chargers used more of them than all but one team while Turner was the head coach from 2007-12, and used the fewest three-receiver formations during that time. And second, the Vikings have another versatile wideout in third-year man Jarius Wright.
The 5-foot-11 Wright, who'd been cast as a slot receiver early in his rookie year, actually ran 192 of his 252 routes lined up wide last season, as Jennings and Patterson got more of the slot work. He caught 23 of his 26 passes lined up out wide, and clicked with quarterback Matt Cassel late in the season, catching 14 of his 26 passes from Cassel for 252 yards. Wright saw 30.7 percent of his routes from the slot during the preseason, and he's got plenty to prove in Year 3 as he tries to carve out a niche in the offense, so he should be ready and eager to fit into the Vikings' scheme while Simpson is out.
The story breaks it down in depth on how the team will move its WRs around this year based on the preseason: During their third preseason game in Kansas City, when the Vikings' starters played almost all of the first three quarters, they ran 18 plays out of three-receiver sets, displaying impressive variety in how they lined up their three wideouts. Cordarrelle Patterson, Greg Jennings and Simpson all saw time on both sides and in the slot. It's perhaps especially good news for Patterson owners that the team is trying to create mismatches for the talented WR.
Tuesday, September 2, 2014, 9:18am
Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer threw 22 interceptions last season. When Bruce Arians was hired in January 2013, he talked about having six "bullets" on his play sheet, meaning he wanted to take six downfield shots every game.
As the season wore on, he didn't call as many long passes as he intended, but Palmer still led the NFL with 145 passes of 15 or more yards. He also led the league with 13 interceptions on such throws. While 13 seems like a lot -- especially when they account for 59 percent of his total picks -- they only amounted to about 9 percent of his passes of 15 yards or longer being intercepted. Still not a bad rate.
He also finished 17th in yards per attempt and 29th in touchdown-to-interception ration on deep passes.
Palmer can be a decent QB2 option in the right matchups and this week could be one of them. He's ranked 15th on our list with a pretty nice contest against the Chargers who were 23rd in allowing fantasy points to QBs last season. Palmer certainly has some playmakers to throw to in WRs Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd, so don't be surprised if he again throws a lot of 15-plus yard passes.
And that should bode well for both them and Mathews, 26.
In the months since a game but gimpy Mathews sat out most of the Division Playoff loss at Denver, Tom Telesco and Mike McCoy have added three running backs to the 53-man roster while also retaining third-down specialist Danny Woodhead and subtracting Ronnie Brown. Giving the run game another dimension, Telesco signed David Johnson, a fullback-tight end noted for his blocking.
We'll see how long rookie backs Marion Grice and Branden Oliver will stay on the active roster behind another Telesco addition, Donald Brown, the ex-Colt who averaged 5.3 yards per carry last year. The kids look they could help in a pinch, but other roster moves this week could affect one of them.
At any rate, it made sense to give Mathews more cushion. As terrific as he was last year, overcoming a concussion and ankle sprain, powering the team's late run into the playoffs and never missing a start, it would’ve been foolish to be as dependent on him this year.
The plan seems to be to ride Mathews on occasion but it really seems like the team wants to ease his workload to keep him healthy down the stretch for a possible playoff run. It's not the first time we heard this, as similar reports were out even before camp. That likely means more work for Brown and Woodhead. Mathews had just two, 20-plus carry games through Dec. 1 last year, but the final four weeks of the season went 29-29-25-24 and wasn't able to get over a high ankle sprain. Look for the Bolts to keep Mathews in the 13-19 range, which is where he was for most of the September-November.
Saturday, August 30, 2014, 2:52pm
The veteran wide receiver was waived/injured by the team on Saturday as the Bolts whittled their roster down to the 53-man limit, NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport was told by a source informed of the move.
"I think that it was obvious that he’s a talented young man. He ran the ball very well last night, very decisive, made good cuts. We’ve seen growth from him, as well. I think, just like with Zach (Mettenberger), we’ve seen growth with Bishop (Sankey). He’s gotten better, obviously, at his exchanges with the quarterbacks. His course on his footwork has improved. His vision is good. He’s seeing the holes well. His protection, he’s done a nicer job with that as he’s gone through it, so from a young guy that you’re trying to get prepared to contribute during the season, you’ve seen growth, you’ve seen him moving along with that, and that’s what you needed to see. I’m happy with him."
We’re projecting Sankey to eventually win the RB1 job 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, though the team may elect to bring him along slowly since Shonn Greene and Dexter McCluster are on the roster. 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.