This is great news but we'd like to see him get through a few consecutive practices before considering him a full go for Week 1. In his second season, Brown finished in the top 25 in both formats, though HC Bruce Arians said that the receiver was pressing at the end of the season (which led to a few drops) and he should have finished with 1400 yards instead of 1003. His upside is somewhat capped due to the presence of Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd in the offense.
Cardinals wide receiver John Brown went into the league’s concussion protocol early in training camp and wound up missing three weeks of work before getting cleared to return to practice last weekend.
Brown’s return to action has hit a snag, however. Coach Bruce Arians said, via Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic, that Brown has a headache and won’t practice on Wednesday.
Brown's departure is a bit alarming given that he already missed three weeks with the concussion. We've bumped him down our rankings a bit due to the chances that he might miss a game or two early in the season. When Brown missed Week 8 of last season, Jaron Brown played 47% of the snaps, catching one pass for 39 yards on four targets. J.J. Nelson played 25% of the snaps and caught three passes for 70 yards on four targets.
Saturday, August 20, 2016, 5:46pm
The Chargers have a great tight end, and drafted one for the future. But they’re not as deep at the position as they were a day ago.
According to Michael Gehlken of the San Diego Union-Tribune, Cumberland suffered a torn Achilles in last night’s game against the Cardinals, which will knock him out for the season.
Cumberland also suffered a torn Achilles in 2011 when he was with the Jets.
Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald has a minor MCL issue, coach Bruce Arians told reporters after Friday’s preseason game against the Chargers. Fitzgerald played in the Week 1 preseason game against the Raiders.
The story went on to say the injury is not serious, although there were no other details. Fitzgerald has 22 days until the regular-season opener against the Patriots. But he should be good to go come Week 1, at least according to the story.
"Man ... people don't know," tight end Darren Fells said. "But they're going to know."
"I'm afraid to say it," coach Bruce Arians said," because then he'll get hurt."
"I don't even want to talk about what I've seen from David Johnson, because I don't want to jinx it," general manager Steve Keim said. "It's scary."
The story said the team is trying to keep Johnson humble because his camp has been that good. One example was Arians screaming at him for missing a blitz pickup, but the story added Johnson does seem to get the message when Arians sends it. Chris Johnson will likely steal some work and Andre Ellington is a pass-catching threat, but Johnson is looking like he'll live up to being our third-ranked running back.
So where does that leave the third-year pro who was hoping to parlay his playoff performance last year against the Arizona Cardinals into a larger role in the offense?
“I haven’t even thought about that really,” Janis said Monday. “I’m just going to focus on healing up and being ready when I’m ready. I haven’t really thought that far into the future. I’m just going to try to get better.
“They say four to six weeks, but it could be sooner than that, it could be longer. It all depends on how it heals.”
In addition to Janis’ injury, the Packers still don’t have Jordy Nelson (knee) on the field; he remains on the physically unable to perform list. It’s still a relatively deep group that includes Randall Cobb, Davante Adams, Jared Abbrederis, Ty Montgomery, Ed Williams plus impressive rookies Trevor Davis and Geronimo Allison. The story also said if the Packers still want to play Janis this season, they could carry him on the 53-man roster and declare him as one of the game-day inactives until he’s ready to play. Or they could put him on injured reserve and use their one IR exemption to bring him back at some point.
It's not as if the Packers' running game was deficient last season; they ranked 12th overall in the league in rushing yards per game (115.6). But McCarthy wants to start this season the way they finished last year. They averaged 131.0 yards rushing per game over the final six games, including playoffs. In the two playoff games, they rushed for 141 yards against the Redskins and 132 yards against the Cardinals.
"We wanted to run the ball,” McCarthy said. “Eddie Lacy and James Starks is our 1-2 punch. That's been an excellent combination now going into our third year with those two guys. It's important to establish that and make sure those guys touch the football."
Instead he will be a change-of-pace complement, an elusive athlete with home run capability. That was on display in Friday night’s 31-10 loss to the Raiders, as Ellington had three carries for 41 yards and a touchdown, including a 35-yard scamper in the second quarter.
Although it seems like a lifetime ago, Ellington was the projected starter heading into the 2015 season. A knee sprain and other ailments took their toll, but now he feels healthy and looks explosive.
Ellington admitted he was never fully healthy at the end of last season, but he has been impressive in training camp and the first preseason game, the story said. As the story also pointed out, he's set to be the change of pace back with Chris Johnson serving as the backup to David Johnson. Ellington just needs to stay healthy, but we're only projecting him for 19 catches this season and he's just 59th on our RB rankings.
“Jaron always makes plays,” coach Bruce Arians said. “He’s very physical for a wideout. Great special teams player. Put in the right system he could be a solid ‘3’ or ‘2’. We never hesitate throwing him the ball in a clutch situation.”
And really, therein lies the problem for Brown. As productive as he is and perhaps could be, he will have a hard time taking snaps away from Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd, John Brown or even speedster J.J. Nelson.
So while he may very well be a solid starter on any other team, for the Cardinals, he is luxurious depth.
“I was talking to somebody about him today, he has a great camp every year because he gets so many reps, and then those reps kind of dwindle because you’re not going to put him in front of Larry (Fitzgerald), you’re not going to put him in front of Mike,” Palmer said. “But it’s so nice, it’s such a security blanket that if a guy goes down, he can come in. He’s just one of those guys that makes plays. He’s one of those guys that you don’t realize how fast he is until he runs past you. He makes tough, contested catches. He’s physical enough to do what Larry does in the blocking stuff.
“He’s been a security blanket. I can visualize different plays, the third down conversion he made at the end of the game in Seattle. You go on and on and on, he’s one of those guys that’s a gamer. He gets in games and makes plays, just like he does in practice.”
Brown is a player that owners should have on speed dial if there are any injuries in the Cardinals' receiving corps. Due to his speed, Nelson would probably see more snaps if Michael Floyd went down, but Jaron Brown's snaps increased the most in Week 8 when John Brown was sidelined. He'd also likely step in for Larry Fitzgerald if anything happened to the vet.
Monday, August 8, 2016, 7:53am
Now that Johnson is to become an integral part of the Cardinals' offensive scheme, Arians has been on the lookout for a new kick returner. He might have found it in one of the running backs Johnson replaced.
Andre Ellington has spent training camp, essentially, trying out to be the Cardinals' kick returner. But showing Arians that he’s capable of being the Cardinals' primary returner has been difficult: He doesn’t return live kicks in practice.
Jesse James would start and serve the No. 1 role. Xavier Grimble has been taking practice reps commensurate with a player who’s expected to have a not-insignificant role in the offense. David Johnson will handle duties of a hybrid Matt Spaeth/Will Johnson 2015 version, meaning mostly as a blocker. It appears Nix is being prepped for some traditional tight end-style work, and maybe someone such Mt. Lebanon native Paul Lang steals a roster spot (in lieu of a still-PUP’d Green).
As the story said, the unsettled situation bares watching over the next four weeks through the preseason games and up until the final cutdown day. That's especially true if Green's injury continues to keep him out.
Chris Johnson was nervous during the Arizona Cardinals’ Red and White practice on Saturday about getting tackled for the first time since fracturing his tibia in Week 12 last season.
He was, in particular, concerned how his knee would hold up, but once he took his first hit, those nerves disappeared.
“Once I got hit the first time, it was like, ‘OK, it feels normal,’” Johnson said.
The 30-year-old running back had 814 yards before his injury, which was fourth most in the NFL through the first 12 weeks. Getting reacquainted to hits was another step for Johnson in his return back from the first major injury of his career, which ended his season. When Johnson went down, David Johnson took over and is expected to get a majority of carries with Chris Johnson backing him up. Chris Johnson could be a serviceable fantasy player if David Johnson ever goes down with an injury.
Yes, Fitz could still decide to walk away after the season and retire. But I don’t think that’s likely now that he’s agreed to another year. No longer will he be a free agent, and I just don’t see him choosing to walk away. I could be wrong — and if the Cardinals were to win a Super Bowl, I’d guess the temptation would be there — but if Fitz comes anywhere close to posting similar numbers as last year while the team can win, I’d guess he fulfills the 2017 portion of his deal.
— As for Palmer, Bruce Arians was blunt: “I don’t think anything changes other than he’s got another year.” Palmer was going to be around.
— Kent Somers reported the move doesn’t have an impact on the salary cap. Which again would revert back to the roster certainty the Cards get out of these moves as a reason to do them.
As we stated yesterday, what it does do with both is create a roster certainty for next season, important on a team that still has a number of key free agents-to-be and seems to be at its peak in terms of challenging for a Super Bowl. Michael Floyd will be a free agent and figures to command big dollars. If the Cardinals lose him, at least they know they (probably) still have Fitz to anchor the receiving corps.
Fitz and Palmer had a great connection last year and Fitz had a rebirth of sorts after a couple of down years over the last three seasons with lesser QB play. The team obviously sees a window of opportunity here to make a run at a Super Bowl.
David Johnson is a dream for those who play fantasy football -- a big, fast, agile running back and an outstanding receiver who scores a lot of touchdowns.
They expect big things from the 24-year-old second-year pro. So do the Arizona Cardinals. And those expectations are enormous.
"David has all the tools," Cardinals running backs coach Stump Mitchell said, "to be -- given longevity -- one of the best backs ever to play that game."
The story said six running backs were drafted in 2015 before the Cardinals selected Johnson. And as anyone who has watched the "All or Nothing" video series chronicling last season knows, Johnson was not Arizona's first choice as a running back. A scene shows the Cardinals about to select Nebraska's Ameer Abdullah in the second round when Detroit snatched him away one pick ahead of them. Johnson is a low-end first round selection this year. Chris Johnson and Andre Ellington could also factor in, but injuries have affected both of those backs in recent years.
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