Saturday, August 16, 2014, 11:30am
Garoppolo took over for Tom Brady after two series in the first quarter of last night’s preseason matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles at Gillette Stadium and continued his sizzling summer run. He completed 6-of-12 passes for 72 yards and two touchdowns in the first half, a week after going 9-for-13 for 157 yards and a touchdown in the opener against the Redskins.
Garoppolo got the early snaps for two reasons. First, he earned them by backing up his game performance with a sterling week in practice. Second, Ryan Mallett has dealt with a bothersome left knee injury that required a lot of maintenance just to get him into the joint workouts.
Redskins RB Alfred Morris dropped two passes, the second of which came while being covered by Adam Hayward. Morris had position on Hayward, but couldn’t hold onto the ball. Hayward called out, “You don’t even have to cover this guy. He can’t catch!” Morris got in extra pass-catching work later in practice while the special teams segments were going on.
Clearly, Morris's hands are still a work in progress. He has been climbing in our rankings since he looks like one of the safer running backs available in the 3rd round, but his upside is limited in PPR formats due to his to-this-point non-existent role in the passing game.
Friday, August 15, 2014, 7:18pm
It still wouldn’t be surprising to see Redskins WR Leonard Hankerson (ACL) open the regular season on the PUP list. This is a crucial year for the receiver. He will be a free agent after this season. He understands the importance of not rushing back prematurely, because there’s so much at stake for both his immediate and long-term future.
Hankerson is doing some work at practice but isn't there yet.
Even with a hitch in his gait, Gronk can be one of the league's most productive tight ends. But is it worth the risk to rush back before his body is ready?
Breer still believes Gronkowski will play in Week 1 but concedes the decision will likely go "down to the wire."
Gronkowski has been hugely productive when healthy, but his health is still a concern heading into the 2014 season. He reportedly had surgery on Jan. 9 to reconstruct a torn ACL. It typically takes a full year to recover, though Adrian Peterson and Robert Griffin III have made quicker returns (with varying success). Given the news that he avoided preseason PUP, Gronkowski is tentatively expected to be ready for the start of the season, but this report of a 'decent' limp is not encouraging.
The Redskins’ passing game has run hot and cold since training camp opened July 23. The defense looks winded one day and roars back the next. But throughout the highs and lows, third-year running back Alfred Morris has motored along like a reliable, low-maintenance truck.
The 5-foot-11, 224-pound Morris isn’t just churning up yardage on the ground at his customary clip; he’s also proving a sure-handed asset in the passing game — shining in one-on-one drills against linebackers.
With the first-team defense upstaging the offense in Thursday’s practice, the Redskins’ first since breaking camp Tuesday in Richmond, quarterback Robert Griffin III availed himself of the sure-handed Morris several times.
“Steady Eddie” is how Coach Jay Gruden referred to Morris after practice.
“He just comes to work every day, he makes his reads, he makes his cuts, does what he’s supposed to do,” Gruden said. “Just about everything about him is an impressive to me — the way he prepares, the way he works, the way he practices.”
Morris’s stock has taken a bit of a hit after the coaching regime change in Washington, but new HC Jay Gruden intends to keep the same running game (one reason they retained O-line coach Chris Foerster), so Morris’s outlook doesn’t change too much. He still isn’t much of a player in the passing game, so his PPR value is on the low side, though he’s a fairly safe start in any format given his steady workload. If he starts to get involved in the passing game, watch out.
Most of the tight end’s work came against the second team defense. But when the Eagles went with two or three tight-end sets against New England’s starters, Ertz got open nearly as much.
His play through all of training camp -- which ended with Thursday’s light practice -- and the first preseason game has suggested that Ertz needs to see more time with the first team.
But whether Eagles coach Chip Kelly needs to see improvement in the second-year tight end’s blocking, or he doesn’t yet want to promote him over veteran Brent Celek, or he’s waiting to unveil an offense that is heavy with two tight ends, Ertz will have to wait.
This is our primary concern with Ertz -- playing time. He averaged 2.8-32-.56 over the final nine games of the season (including the Eagles' sole playoff game) and that included two goose eggs in Week 10 and Week 14. That equates to 6.6 fantasy points per game, which is what Martellus Bennett averaged as the #10 TE in fantasy football. With Jason Avant and DeSean Jackson gone, Ertz could play a lot in the slot, though the arrival of WR Jordan Matthews may limit Ertz’s snaps there. If he can take a step forward in the blocking department, it will help his overall fantasy outlook.
Thursday, August 14, 2014, 4:08pm
Passes were off target, not just by Griffin but by all the quarterbacks. The first two offenses couldn’t maneuver down the field in the two-minute drill. And, for Griffin, it was a sporadic day at best.
Just a reminder that it's not all puppy dogs and ice cream in Washington. The team is learning a new offense and there have been growing pains.
The Eagles saw wide receiver Jeremy Maclin leave Wednesday’s practice early with a hamstring injury, although Maclin said after the session that he didn’t feel it was serious and still hoped to play in Friday’s preseason game.
It doesn’t look like that is going to happen. Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports that Maclin is a spectator at Thursday’s joint practice with the Patriots and that he is “unlikely” to be in the lineup when the two teams play on Friday night.
Maclin was the #13 WR in 2010, #31 in 2011 and #27 in 2012 before tearing his ACL last summer. The Eagles don't throw as much under Kelly as they did under Andy Reid, but Maclin has the talent and opportunity -- DeSean Jackson is gone -- to be a fantasy starter in 2014, provided his knee (and hamstring) is good to go.
Eagles TE Zach Ertz had a very good day, as the Patriots defense struggled sticking with him. Want to cover Ertz with a linebacker? Good luck. Want to go nickel when Ertz is in there? Prepare to get pounded with the run. The Eagles have three players who can be mismatch nightmares for opposing defensive coordinators: LeSean McCoy, Darren Sproles, and Ertz.
Ertz averaged 2.8-32-.56 over the final nine games of the season (including the Eagles' sole playoff game) and that included two goose eggs in Week 10 and Week 14. That equates to 6.6 fantasy points per game, which is what Martellus Bennett averaged as the #10 TE in fantasy football. With Jason Avant and DeSean Jackson gone, Ertz could play a lot in the slot, though the arrival of WR Jordan Matthews may limit Ertz’s snaps there. For Ertz to break out in 2014, he needs to play more snaps.
The Redskins rookie running backs have some flash, but none are ready to be a third-down back. Lache Seastrunk is a fast back, but loves bouncing it outside a little too much. His hands are questionable and he needs work in protection. But that speed is dynamite. Silas Redd, an undrafted free agent, ran with power in the opener. But he, too, is not a third-down back.
So that means Roy Helu should be the third-down back for a second consecutive year. He’s not bad here at all, but they will try to groom someone, perhaps Seastrunk, for this job over the next year.
Alfred Morris is still good. There’s a big gap between Morris and the other runners. But 20-25 catches? Not sure about that one.
Morris’s outlook doesn’t change too much. He still isn’t much of a player in the pass game, so his PPR value is on the low side, though he’s a fairly safe start in any format given his steady workload. We are currently projecting 20 catches for Morris, which is just over one per game.
Quarterback Robert Griffin III remains a work in progress as he transitions to being a pocket passer. The Redskins would be wise to still incorporate his legs, but he does not have to be defined by them. Griffin needs more experience in this situation and coach Jay Gruden understands it will take some time. Griffin has not had a bad camp; he has not had a phenomenal camp. He’s better than he was last summer.
Griffin owned the #3 PPG in his rookie season, but that fell to #17 last season due to the inefficiency of the team’s offense and his ability to run on his surgically repaired knee. The knee should be close to 100 percent entering the season, but there is a new coaching staff in town, led by HC Jay Gruden. The team added DeSean Jackson and Andre Roberts in free agency, so RG3 has a great receiving corps at his disposal. We like RG3, but feel he is being overdrafted relative to other passers in the same tier.
Gronkowski has been hugely productive when healthy, but his health is still a concern heading into the 2014 season. He reportedly had surgery on Jan. 9 to reconstruct a torn ACL. It typically takes a full year to recover, though Adrian Peterson and Robert Griffin III have made quicker returns (with varying success). He will be eight months into his recovery when Week 1 rolls around. Given the news that he avoided preseason PUP, Gronkowski is tentatively expected to be ready for the start of the season, and his return would be a big boost to Tom Brady and the entire New England offense. Another report pegged Gronk's chances of playing Week 1 at 50/50. When we add in replacement level value from a backup TE, Gronkowski holds 2nd round value in fantasy drafts.
That test seemed to go well for Maclin. Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports that Maclin drew three holding penalties on Revis during Tuesday’s practice and added that Maclin continued “to toast” Revis during Wednesday’s session. Even with the caveat that Revis is not be giving every ounce of himself during the workouts, that’s a positive sign for a player coming off a serious injury.
Less positive is the fact that Maclin pulled himself out of practice early on Wednesday. He said after the session was over that it was a left hamstring tweak that caused him to sit out the remainder of practice, but that he still hopes to play in Friday’s preseason game.
Maclin was the #13 WR in 2010, #31 in 2011 and #27 in 2012 before tearing his ACL last summer. The Eagles don't throw as much under Kelly as they did under Andy Reid, but Maclin has the talent and opportunity -- DeSean Jackson is gone -- to be a fantasy starter in 2014, provided his body holds up.
Tuesday, August 12, 2014, 2:42pm
Redskins coach Jay Gruden may have tipped his hand on how many running backs the Redskins will carry. Here is what he said when asked about the status of Evan Royster, who has been with the team as a reserve running back since they drafted him in 2011.
"He's in competition with the rest of them. Right now, we have obviously Alfred [Morris] as the slam dunk and then we have Roy [Helu] who's had a good camp and then we're looking for the other two to step up.”
The emphasis is added. Gruden has said previously that he is looking forward to what fullback Darrel Young can do in his offense so Young, Morris, Helu are locks. Gruden said that they are looking for two more so it looks like the plan is to carry five total running backs.
While nothing is etched in stone, it looks like Helu's job is safe and he should be the third down back with a chance to catch some passes in this offense. Some believed that he would lose out to Thompson, who now looks like he's in a battle to make the team. Young has been a target in the red zone in the past from time to time but never enough to make him fantasy worthy but it sounds like he could have some sort of role again.
Reed is expected to be a full participant when the team practices in Ashburn on Thursday, according to Coach Jay Gruden. The Redskins are off Wednesday.
“Jordan Reed is doing much better and we expect him to be full go Thursday,” Gruden said.
Gruden said Reed’s ailment was a stomach virus or food poisoning. Sounds like he'll be ready to go Thursday and continue to be one of the better TE options in the later rounds after the top-three go off the board.