Andy Dalton is back to zipping the ball. He’s got no restrictions with his throwing thumb; he’s got one visit under his belt to passing specialist Dr. Tom House last month, and after watching two of his most established targets leave via free agency he got one back with a Super Bowl ring and knows Pro Bowlers A.J. Green and Tyler Eifert are already here.
“It would be tougher if it was my first or second year, but this is year six,” Dalton says Monday from Dallas of his revamped receiving corps. “It’s easier for me now than early on in my career. That is going to be fun. We’ve got these guys from the start; we’ve got to get them exactly where we want them to be.
The two guys who lockered next to him and meant so much to the passing game won’t be here two weeks from Monday when the Bengals gather for offseason workouts. Wide receiver Marvin Jones turned down at least the same $40 million to go to Detroit and Mohamed Sanu got No. 2 money in Atlanta when a No. 4 role loomed in Cincinnati.
In two seasons with the Patriots, LaFell caught 111 passes and scored seven touchdowns. However, his role diminished greatly in 2015 and he was released March 2.
LaFell had a career year with the Patriots in 2014, his first season with the club, totaling 74 receptions for 953 yards and seven touchdowns. He started 13 of 16 games during the regular season and then all three playoff contests, adding 13 catches for 119 yards and two touchdowns in the playoffs.
An injury to his left foot, however, affected his offseason, and he opened 2015 on the physically unable to perform list. LaFell never seemed to find his groove upon his return, finishing this past season with 37 catches for 515 yards and no touchdowns.
Last season, LaFell was never able to recapture the magic from the year before, when he finished as the #22 fantasy receiver in standard formats. The Bengals lost both Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu this offseason, so LaFell will have the opportunity to start if the team doesn't use an early draft pick on a receiver.
Sanu averaged 5.5 catches for 96 yards and 0.50 TD in the four games that A.J. Green missed in 2014, but keep in mind that Marvin Jones also missed all of that season with a foot injury. Regardless, Sanu looks like a pretty good fit opposite Julio Jones and will be getting a promotion from the WR3 in Cincinnati to the WR2 in Atlanta.
Marvin Jones signing in Detroit per sources.
Jones has averaged 3.6 receptions for 48 yards and 0.44 TD in his last 32 games. He's been especially good at catching touchdowns, so he'll try to pick up the slack after Calvin Johnson's retirement. Used inconsistently in Cincinnati, he should see plenty of work with the Lions, though we expect he'll play second-fiddle to Golden Tate in terms of total targets. This is a good landing spot for Jones. Consider him a fantasy WR4 with some upside heading into 2016.
The knee injury that caused LeVeon Bell to miss the final eight games of the 2015 regular season could also end up costing him a game or two in 2016.
Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert revealed on Wednesday that there's currently no timetable for Bell's return, which means the All-Pro running back could miss the beginning of the upcoming season.
"There is no timetable coming from us when he needs to be ready for this. We can't even say he'll be ready for the regular season because we won't know that until he goes through the whole process," Colbert said at the NFL combine, via the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. "His health and his ability to return at 100 percent is the most important."
Bell suffered a torn MCL and PCL in a Nov. 1 loss to the Bengals. The Steelers running back then underwent surgery five days later, which means 10 months will have passed once the 2016 season kicks off.
Related players: DeAngelo Williams
The Pro Bowl was full of fun and games, but one unfortunate moment occurred in the fourth quarter when Tyler Eifert attempted to haul in a deep pass from Jameis Winston. As he went to the ground, the ball popped out and he got up gingerly, holding his left leg. Eifert was seen soon after being tended to by trainers on the sideline. The update of his injury on the scene given on the television broadcast was that Eifert came down hard on his ankle and needed to get it wrapped, but the true extent of the injury wasn’t known.
Hopefully, the injury isn't serious, but we'll keep an eye on Eifert's status over the next few weeks.
The Browns’ coaching search is over, and Hue Jackson is their man.
Jackson will be hired today as the Browns’ next head coach, according to multiple reports.
That’s a coup for Cleveland, as Jackson had become a very attractive candidate after doing good work as the offensive coordinator of the Bengals.
Jackson has been the OC in five NFL seasons and his offenses have finished in the top half of the league in yards and points in his last four years as a coordinator/head coach. This looks like a good hire for the Browns.
The word out of Miami over the weekend was that the Dolphins wanted to hire Bengals defensive backs coach Vance Joseph as their defensive coordinator and they followed through with that intention on Tuesday.
Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that the Dolphins have struck a deal with Joseph to be a key part of head coach Adam Gase’s first staff.
Joseph has been coaching at the collegiate level or higher since 1999 and has been an assistant coach in the NFL since 2005. This will be his first job as defensive coordinator.
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger returned to the AFC wild-card playoff game against the Cincinnati Bengals after exiting earlier with a right shoulder injury and helped Pittsburgh to a last-minute, game-winning drive in an 18-16 victory Saturday night.
Roethlisberger was hurt on a sack by linebacker Vontaze Burfict in the closing seconds of the third quarter but re-entered the game with 1:23 remaining in the fourth, after the Bengals had fumbled.
Roethlisberger did not want to address the extent of the injury in his postgame news conference, saying "we won the game" when asked what news he received from trainers in the locker room. He's scheduled to have additional exams on Sunday.
Roethlisberger said he was in "a lot" of pain on that final drive. He told coaches he couldn't take any deep shots to the end zone because he couldn't throw the ball that far.
"I'm going to give everything I can," said Roethlisberger about playing in the AFC divisional round on Sunday at Denver.
Roethlisberger's status will be one of the biggest storylines of the week heading into the divisional round of the playoffs. If he can't play, Landry Jones would get the start.
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin announced after the Steelers' wild-card victory over Cincinnati that Antonio Brown was concussed on a late hit by Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict. Burfict was called for a 15-yard penalty for unnecessary roughness with 22 seconds left after taking a late shot to Brown's head. The ball had clearly gone by Brown before the hit.
Saturday, January 9, 2016, 7:34pm
Friday, January 8, 2016, 6:38pm
Friday, January 8, 2016, 6:38pm
Friday, January 8, 2016, 6:38pm
- Page 1