Cowboys QB Tony Romo hasn’t practiced more than two consecutive days since training camp began.
That’s about to change. Romo practiced Monday. The players are off Tuesday. But head coach Jason Garrett said he anticipates the quarterback will practice Wednesday, Thursday and Friday as the Cowboys prepare for their regular season opener with San Francisco.
“We anticipate a full week of practice,’’ Garrett said. “But again, we’ll monitor how he does with the work we give him.’’
Garrett reiterated that he believes Romo has looked more like himself over the last two weeks as he puts more distance between himself and offseason back surgery. Romo ranks 13th on our QB list and also has a tough fantasy matchup against the 49ers. If you have a better play it may be best to go that direction.
Alex Smith was prepared to pull the plug on contract talks if they ever became a distraction. It never got to that point.
After an intense and largely secretive day of negotiations, the Chiefs and Smith have worked out a four-year, $68 million extension.
Per a league source, Smith gets $30 million guaranteed at signing. Another $15 million in injury-only guarantee vests in March 2015.
Smith, who is still only 30 years old, was traded to the Chiefs last year for what ultimately became two second-round picks. He performed very well in his first season with Kansas City, leading the team to the playoffs and having one of the best days of his career, which has become overlooked via the second-half defensive collapse that blew a 38-10 lead in Indianapolis.
Smith was the first overall pick in the 2005 draft, and was regarded as a borderline bust until Jim Harbaugh arrived as head coach of the 49ers, the story points out. But a concussion gave Colin Kaepernick a chance to play, and he played well enough to send Smith to the bench — and ultimately to KC, the story continued. With the Chiefs, he doesn't have a ton of talent to work with. WR Dwayne Bowe dropped off last year as the team relied on RB Jamaal Charles - and that appears to be a similar situation this year. Smith has low-end QB2 value and is ranked 18th coming into the season.
San Francisco 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith has been suspended for nine games by the NFL after a series of off-field legal issues.
A statement Friday from the league said Smith had violated the NFL's substance abuse and personal conduct policies.
Smith had 8.5 sacks last season, so his suspension is a blow to the team's pass rush, but they've had plenty of time to prepare for his absence.
Thursday, August 28, 2014, 1:20pm
The 49ers brought back Brandon Lloyd this offseason. They also acquired Stevie Johnson and drafted Bruce Ellington. And Quinton Patton has flashed this offseason. So who is in line to be the 49ers' No. 3 receiver, behind starters Anquan Boldin and Michael Crabtree? The position seemed earmarked for Johnson but he did not get much run in the third preseason game. The 49ers may use this game to get a better feel on their third receiver, even if Kaepernick is long gone from the game and Blaine Gabbert and Josh Johnson are the ones throwing the ball. In any event, coach Jim Harbaugh said he felt "very good" about Stevie Johnson being on the 49ers' 53-man roster.
Griffin's transition from gimmick offense to pocket passer was fully expected to feature a few bumps in the road. What has had us concerned since the preseason opener, though, is that the bad habits in his footwork and throwing motion seem to have carried over from last season's return from ACL surgery.
Appearing on The Herd with Colin Cowherd this week, ESPN analyst Ron Jaworski confirmed, after watching hours of preseason film, that Griffin's mechanics have regressed.
"They have regressed in the fundamental way of throwing the football," Jaworski said, via The Washington Post. "His throwing slot, his footwork, his inability to remain consistent in that."
We've been on the low side on Griffin for the entire offseason due to minor concerns about the knee and moderate concerns about the installation of a new offense. He has a very good receiving corps, and may very well work out his preseason issues during the regular season, but it's tough to draft him over (seemingly) more reliable options like Russell Wilson, Jay Cutler and Colin Kaepernick.
Wednesday, August 27, 2014, 5:35pm
The San Francisco 49ers' first-team offense has looked off-kilter all preseason.
The issues are one part offensive line struggles and another part chemistry with receivers.
The most notable disconnect is between Colin Kaepernick and new No. 3 receiver Stevie Johnson. The wideout admitted this week part of the chemistry troubles stems from his "unorthodox" style requiring time to build rapport with a quarterback.
Kaepernick concurred with that assessment.
"There are times that he's going to make a move on a DB, and you have to be ready because he's also making a move that you have to see," Kaepernick said, per The Sacramento Bee. "So I think that's something where it took a little bit longer just to get used to his body language because he had some unorthodox things that he does. But ultimately his separation is there, he's getting open."
Tuesday, August 26, 2014, 8:50pm
“I’d like to see him out there Thursday,” Jim Harbaugh said on KNBR Tuesday morning. “That’s the way we’ve always done it, where the quarterback plays some in each game, not necessarily more in any one game than in any of the four other games.”
Kaepernick has yet to lead San Francisco’s offense to a touchdown through three preseason games. Harbaugh didn’t sound alarmed by the first unit’s failure to produce a touchdown.
Tuesday, August 26, 2014, 6:39pm
On Monday's edition of the Around The League Podcast, we highlighted speedy Arizona Cardinals rookie John Brown as one of the few "hype bunnies" to successfully translate offseason praise to preseason production.
After Brown's impressive preseason debut, general manager Steve Keim raised expectations, suggesting the third-round wide receiver is capable of an impact on par with Anquan Boldin's stellar rookie season a decade ago.
After Sunday's game versus the Bengals, coach Bruce Arians estimated to TheMMQB.com's Peter King that Brown will be used on "60 percent" of offensive snaps this season.
Brown is obviously a name to keep an eye on once the season starts. He's not getting a lot of draft day action, but playing 60% of the snaps could get him noticed at least in deeper fantasy leagues. He's also drawn comparisons to former Colt Marvin Harrison.
Manziel will replace Brian Hoyer in the second quarter against the Bears Thursday night, and finish out the half. He might even play into the third quarter. And if he can provide the same kind of spark in the preseason finale that he did in the dress rehearsal game at FirstEnergy Stadium, he'll make it tempting for coach Mike Pettine and offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan to install something for him right away -- especially if the first-team offense continues to struggle.
There are headlines all over the news today that the Browns could use a two-QB system similar to the 49ers with Alex Smith and Colin Kaepernick. Hoyer has little fantasy value right now so as it is, the potential loss of WR Josh Gordon coupled with losing time to Manziel certainly isn't going to help. Unless Hoyer is lights-out to start the season, it seems like only a matter of time before Manziel is the starter.
Tuesday, August 26, 2014, 5:53pm
When Detroit WR Golden Tate says he believes he can better his 64 receptions and 898 yards from last season, it is a plausible thought even though he moved from being the No. 1 receiver in Seattle to the No. 2 receiver in Detroit.
"I think my numbers can be way better in this offense naturally how it's set up," Tate said. "I was coming from, you gotta think I was in the toughest division with the 49ers, Rams and Cardinals, defensively, with a run-heavy offense and now I'm going to a pass-happy offense where I'm on the same team as the best player in the league, one of the best players in the league who is going to draw a lot of attention, a lot of double coverage, which is going to leave me with a lot of single coverage with a lot of No. 2 and No. 3 cornerbacks.
"So mentally I think I should be able to excel and do very well here."
All of Tate's reasons are likely exactly what fantasy owners are planning when they take Tate - that teammate Calvin Johnson is likely to draw most of the attention leaving Tate in single coverage against lesser cornerbacks. We have Tate ranked 32nd on our list which puts him as a low-end WR3.
Tuesday, August 26, 2014, 12:12pm
Romo went through individual drills during the portion of practice open to the media.
Romo will not play Thursday against the Denver Broncos, and the Cowboys won't have a full practice again until Saturday as they up their preparation for the Sept. 7 opener against the San Francisco 49ers.
Sunday, August 24, 2014, 2:10pm
The third-year pro, who began training camp 18 pounds heavier than he was during his rookie campaign, made a speedy recovery in hopes of building momentum heading into the regular season.
He plans on carrying the ball and being active in the return game Sunday.
“I’ll do it all,” James said.
James initially went down in a 1-on-1 blitz pickup drill on July 26 while trying to block inside linebacker Michael Wilhoite. He’ll wear a brace to protect his elbow for now, but he hopes to “ditch it” after the preseason.
Broncos WR Emmanuel Sanders returned to practice. He has been dealing with a quad injury, and the club wanted him back to get more snaps with Peyton Manning. As did Manning. Sanders hasn't caught a pass in the preseason. His snaps were limited against the Seahawks and he sat out the 49ers game.
The likelihood Sanders will start Saturday increased with Thursday's workout. A Friday evaluation will be the determining factor.
"I didn't have any problem with that so I am extremely happy about that. It's looking good right now," Sanders said. "(Manning) has been talking to me about (playing this week) because the starters usually don't play in the fourth preseason game. This is important. We don't want to go into the regular season with me not having caught a pass from him in the game. So this game is extremely pivotal."
Sanders was the #35 WR in 2013, when he saw WR2 targets (112) for the Steelers. Eric Decker (138) and Wes Welker (111) saw a combined 249 targets as Denver's WR2 and WR3. With Decker gone, Welker (and TE Julius Thomas) could see a bit more work, but Sanders should be stepping into a big role. As OC Adam Gase said, Sanders is a good fit for his system and is versatile to play both inside and outside. He is very quick and is adept at making people miss, so he should thrive in Denver’s screen game.
OC Greg Roman said Lattimore is improving each day.
"He’s looking good," the coordinator said. "Our training staff are the people to ask on that if you want to get specifics... They’re putting him through a lot of change of direction stuff, hard-type cutting. He’s looking good."
Carlos Hyde should be safe as Frank Gore's primary backup. Lattimore has not progressed as quickly as the fantasy community had anticipated.
Boldin continues to be a good value in the 10th round. He finished #15 in 2013, and actually posted better numbers with Michael Crabtree in the lineup. Boldin averaged 4.7-66-.45 without Crabtree and 5.7-83-.43 with Crabtree, so the potential is there for another top 20 season, though we're expecting him to be more of a WR3-type in the 49ers run-heavy attack.
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