Tuesday, August 26, 2014, 5:59pm
A nagging hamstring injury has kept Browns WR Nate Burleson out the entire preseason and off the practice field for nearly three weeks. Browns head coach Mike Pettine said the team remains optimistic the veteran receiver can suit up and prove himself Thursday against the Bears.
Burleson has been itching to play, and was practically begging for the trainers to let him suit up against the Redskins and the Rams. The veteran has played through injuries for a large portion of his career. Even if Burleson isn’t exactly close to 100 percent, he still thinks he can make plays against Chicago.
Burleson thinks he can light a fire under what's been an unimpressive offense in the preseason that's perhaps caught up in a quarterback controversy. Burleson will have to make the team first which isn't a given with all the time he's missed.
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, 1:06pm
Josh Gordon's DWI hearing has been pushed back to November 18, his attorney Trey Fitzhugh told the Associated Press today. The hearing was originally scheduled for today in Raleigh, N.C., but Gordon was granted a waiver.
Still awaiting word on the appeal of his indefinite drug ban, Gordon was on the practice field Tuesday and participating in individual drills during the 20 minutes or so open to the media.
He was dressed for Saturday night's 33-14 loss to the Rams at FirstEnergy Stadium, but didn't play, in part because of an abdominal strain and in part because the Browns know they're going to have to be without him for awhile.
Monday, August 25, 2014, 8:01pm
As it is, he'll play up to a quarter and then give way to Johnny Manziel, who will finish out the half and possibly play into the third quarter. Rex Grossman and Connor Shaw will likely split the second half, coach Mike Pettine said.
But Hoyer said after the 33-14 loss to the Rams Saturday that he welcomes a chance to play. Hoyer and the first-team offense have produced only one touchdown in 14 possessions and Hoyer has earned a 63.7 rating.
Monday, August 25, 2014, 6:37pm
Rams rookie Tre Mason continues get carries, but hasn't been very productive with them. He played 20 snaps on offense and posted 29 yards on 10 carries. He had 18 of those yards on one run, meaning he gained 11 yards on the other nine carries. He simply hasn't been able to get it going in extended looks during the first three preseason games.
Mason doesn't look like he's going to have an impact, at least to start the season. With no Sam Bradford, the Rams may need to run a little more. Right now Zac Stacy and Benny Cunningham are leading the way in the rushing game.
Sunday, August 24, 2014, 8:10pm
With news coming from ESPN NFL analyst Chris Mortensen that Bradford will miss the 2014 season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, the Rams will almost certainly turn to veteran Shaun Hill to replace him. In Hill, they have an in-house replacement they believe to be an upgrade over Kellen Clemens, the quarterback who replaced Bradford last year.
But Hill is 34 and what was already an uncertain picture at the game's most important position just became a lot fuzzier. Bradford is scheduled to count $17,610,000 against this year's salary cap. His number for next year is a daunting $16,580,000. And he's headed for his second left knee surgery in less than a year.
Forgetting the Rams' inability to reach the playoffs or even post a winning record under Bradford's guidance for a moment, the harsh reality is that there's no longer any debate about whether Bradford should be the team's quarterback of the future. Once this season ends, Bradford will have missed 25 consecutive games over two seasons.
It looks like the Rams are going to have to alter their future at QB. It's easy to say now, but the Rams could have addressed the position with the second and 13th picks this past draft. It will be interesting to see their plan considering they are a very young and upcoming team.
Sunday, August 24, 2014, 7:39pm
Rams coach Jeff Fisher has confirmed that, indeed, quarterback Sam Bradford has been lost for the year, re-tearing the ACL that he first tore in October 2013. Now, with Bradford done, the Rams will hand the ball to backup Shaun Hill.
“Shaun’s our guy,” Fisher told reporters. “We brought him here. He’s got experience. We’ve got all the confidence in the world in him.”
Hill, 34, enters his 13th season in the NFL. His most extensive work came in 2010, starting 10 games for the Lions. For his career, Hill has a 61.9-percent completion percentage, 41, 6,381 passing yards, 41 touchdowns, and 23 interceptions.
It remains to be seen how much of a drop the Ram WRs take from Bradford to Hill. It's possible the Rams lean on the run a little more this year with Zac Stacy and Benny Cunningham leading the way. Hill's fantasy value should be considered very limited at this point, with perhaps a chance to be a spot starter in favorable committee matchups as his upside until we see a little more.
Bradford was making his second start of the preseason after returning from a season-ending torn left ACL suffered against Carolina on Oct. 20, 2013. It's a big blow for the Rams, but they apparently have been happy with backup Shaun Hill's performance as well. Hill will likely take over the starting role and hasn't started since 2010. It remains to be seen just how much of a drop, if any, the Rams' wideouts will see with Hill under center. Hill's career numbers (Y/A, Cmp%, TD%) are actually better than Bradford's, so we're not expecting much of a drop in our projections. Bradford's injury may be good news for Stacy owners, however, as the Rams could elect to go more run-heavy. Benny Cunningham may also get a few extra carries.
Cunningham churned out 32 yards on five carries with the first team and showed burst on a 21-yard volt through Mike Pettine's defense. His handiwork, though, doesn't suggest a change in the pecking order.
"We just gave (Cunningham) a chance to run behind the first offensive line. We know what Zac can do," coach Jeff Fisher told reporters after the game, per ESPN.com's Nick Wagoner.
Hopefully for fantasy owners, this is exactly what Fisher said it is. There hasn't been much of a push for the RB1 job from Cunningham or rookie Tre Mason, who some thought would cut into Stacy's work. Mason hasn't picked up pass-protection as of yet and it's keeping him off the field.
It was the same (left) leg that was operated on last year. He walked off under his own power, which is a good sign. He should be avoided in drafts until we know he's in the clear.
Friday, August 22, 2014, 9:50am
After what WR Jeff Janis put on film in St. Louis, there's no way the Packers can cut him and hope to slide him through to the practice squad. He'd get snatched up on waivers in a heartbeat. The one thing you can't teach is speed, and the rookie seventh-round pick has it. He's a lock for the roster after that 34-yard touchdown catch and run against the Rams.
Wednesday, August 20, 2014, 10:52pm
Tom Pelissero of USA Today reports that the Rams have waived-injured Isaiah Pead on Wednesday. Should Pead clear waivers, he can revert to the Rams and go on injured reserve for the entire season or reach an injury settlement that makes him a free agent.
Halfway through the exhibition season, Green Bay Packers running back Eddie Lacy has the freshest legs of his NFL career and there's a pretty good chance they'll remain that way until the first snap in Seattle Sept. 4.
After a concentrated dose of work to start training camp, Lacy's load has lessened to the point where 12 snaps was all he got in the 21-7 victory over the St. Louis Rams at the Edwards Jones Dome Saturday night.
Lacy carried five times for 25 yards and caught two passes for 22 yards in his exhibition season debut, taking all his snaps during the Packers' no-huddle touchdown drive to open the game.
When quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the rest of the offense returned to the field for 12 more snaps, Lacy turned in his helmet and called it a night. He said he did not lobby to return.
"To me, it's whatever is given," Lacy said after the game. "It's a blessing to be able to go out and play this game and be injury free. I'm not a guy who whenever they take me out complains or asks to go back in. I just take everything that's given to me."
It's a good sign that he's going to get a ton of work this regular season, which is what we expected all along. Lacy is of course a mid-to-late first round target in fantasy drafts and is easily a top-5 or -6 RB.
Sunday, August 17, 2014, 4:39pm
Chris Givens was once thought to be the one receiver on the Rams roster who would play and play a lot this year, but Givens has been surpassed by Kenny Britt, Brian Quick, Stedman Bailey and Tavon Austin.
He's playing in the preseason with the second-and third-team offenses and isn't doing much to stand out when he does play.
Against the Saints, Givens was targeted twice and was unable to come up with a catch for the second week in a row. He had a chance to make a play on one jump ball against a defender but couldn't come down with it. Givens isn't getting many opportunities, and when they come, they're with backup quarterbacks. That's going to make it tough for him to move up the depth chart.
What was more of a red flag were his struggles with helping in pass protection. Mason whiffed on blitz pickup a couple of times, including once against safety Haha Clinton-Dix that led to a sack. Mason actually had a nice pickup against the Saints last week, but that memory was quickly erased with a rough outing against the Packers.
An interesting bit of information as many have Mason stealing carries from Stacy this season, but it looks like it won't be on third down right now. Cunningham appears to be behind Stacy at this point as the RB2, but we'll have to see if Mason can correct this and move back up charts.
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