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.
Monday, April 4, 2016, 9:07pm
That means the Lions are looking for the supporting cast at WR to step up. Golden Tate will be featured prominently alongside Marvin Jones, and Detroit has acquired former Jet Jeremy Kerley to man the slot.
"We really expect him to come forward and be a little bit more of a prominent threat," coach Jim Caldwell said.
Jones was a sixth-round pick of the club in 2014, but experienced nerve pain following shoulder surgery that offseason and never played a down. He caught passes in four of the final five games including a 29-yard touchdown in a Week 16 win against San Francisco. Caldwell went on to say Jones return ability and scat-back ability, where he can catch screens and take off and go.
Sunday, April 3, 2016, 12:57pm
Bob Quinn worked for the Patriots before being hired in Detroit, so he was on hand when the Patriots used relatively early picks on Kevin O’Connell, Ryan Mallett and Jimmy Garoppolo to back up Tom Brady. He was also hired in 2000, which was the same year that the Patriots drafted Brady in the sixth round and a year before Brady took over for an injured Drew Bledsoe in a franchise-shifting move.
Quinn suggested the same might be in store for the Lions in this year’s draft.
“I think it’s really good football business to acquire a young quarterback every year or every other year,” Quinn said, via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. “There’s such a value in the position and nowadays in college football there’s a lot of spread offenses, which means it’s a lot different than pro football. So it takes these young quarterbacks time to develop. So if you can add a young quarterback every year or every other year to your roster, it’s good football business in my mind. So you have time to develop them, either on the practice squad or as a backup, before eventually them having to play in a game.”
The story mentioned the Lions would look in the mid-to-late rounds for a possible QB selection.
Wednesday, March 9, 2016, 7:28pm
Journeyman Thad Lewis is joining the 49ers’ ever-curious quarterback corps, agreeing to a one-year contract, the NFL Network reported.
Still in that quarterback unit, for now, is Colin Kaepernick, the 49ers’ deposed starter who’s requested a trade through his agents last month. Blaine Gabbert is the presumed incumbent starter, while their other quarterback is Dylan Thompson, an undrafted rookie last year who got called up from the practice squad Nov. 21, upon Kaepernick getting placed on injured reserve.
Lewis, 28, has been with six teams and played sparingly since entering the league in 2010 as an undrafted free agent with the St. Louis Rams. He’s 2-4 all-time as a starter, including a 2-3 mark in 2013 with the Buffalo Bills. He’s also been with the Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions and Houston Texans.
Lewis spent time with the Eagles last year as well when Chip Kelly was the coach.
The most prolific wide receiver in franchise history and one of the most talented at the position in NFL history is retiring after nine professional seasons in which he accumulated over 11,000 receiving yards, seven 1,000-yard seasons and six Pro Bowl invitations.
With Johnson’s retirement, Golden Tate steps into the WR1 role assuming the Lions don’t target a receiver in the 1st round of the draft (or acquire a bona fide WR1 via trade). Over the last two seasons, in 11 games in which Johnson was questionable, doubtful or out, Tate averaged 6.6 receptions for 77 yards and 0.73 TD. That’s about what Allen Robinson scored as the #6 WR in PPR formats in 2015. It’s also solid WR1 production in standard formats. Tate averaged 5.5 catches for 62 yards and 0.10 TD (high-end WR3 numbers in PPR) in the other 21 games. The defense will be more focused on Tate, so we’re expecting WR2 numbers in 2016. Eric Ebron also stands to benefit greatly from Johnson's departure.
Bell, 29, struggled with injuries throughout the 2015 season and was passed on the depth chart by rookie Ameer Abdullah and Theo Riddick. He gained a career-low 311 yards on 90 carries with four touchdowns.
That leaves the Lions with Ameer Abdullah, Theo Riddick and Zach Zenner at the position. Riddick should continue to produce in PPR formats while Abdullah and Zenner will compete for carries. The Lions may decide to address the position in the draft, but they have more pressing needs with Calvin Johnson's pending retirement.
Detroit Lions star receiver Calvin Johnson told his family and a close circle of friends before last season that 2015 would be his final year in the NFL, and he delivered the same message to coach Jim Caldwell the day after the regular season ended, sources told ESPN.
Caldwell told Johnson not to rush his decision -- to take his time, sources told ESPN. Out of respect to Caldwell, Johnson agreed to do just that, according to sources.
The Lions have not given up hope that Johnson could change his mind, but one person who knows Johnson well said, "He's pretty content with his decision."
Johnson's production has dropped a bit over the last couple of seasons as he has struggled to stay healthy. If Johnson stays retired, it's a big blow to Matthew Stafford's 2016 outlook.
Modkins previously served as OC under Chan Gailey for the 2010-12 Bills. Chip Kelly is going to call the plays in San Francisco.
His fingers are gnarled. He spends as much time in the training room as anyone on the team. And a lingering ankle injury forced him to miss large amounts of practice time this year, for the second straight season.
All that wear and tear has caused Johnson to contemplate his future. He has mentioned the subject of retirement to at least one former teammate.
And today, Johnson released a joint statement with the Lions, saying he is evaluating his future and should have an answer soon.
“Like many players at this stage of their career, I am currently evaluating options for my future," Johnson said in the statement. I would expect to have a decision regarding this matter in the not-too-distant future.”
The Lions said in the statement: "We obviously have profound respect for Calvin and certainly understand and appreciate his decision to give proper thought and consideration to his football future."
Johnson had four Top 3 finishes in the six years from 2008 to 2013. He finished 15th in 2014 and 9th last season, though he was 16th on a per game basis. If he retires, it's obviously a big blow to Matthew Stafford, whose splits with Johnson in the lineup are significantly higher than when Johnson is sidelined.
Friday, January 1, 2016, 6:26pm
Lions RB Ameer Abdullah (shoulder, questionable) took limited practice reps all week and is questionable for Week 17. Abdullah should play against the Bears, per the team’s website. He has been splitting the work with Joique Bell and Theo Roddick. The Lions play early on Sunday.
Friday, January 1, 2016, 6:26pm
Lions WR Calvin Johnson (ankle, questionable) missed practice Friday after taking limited reps Thursday and is questionable for Week 17. Johnson said that he will play against the Bears on Sunday and has played through the ankle injury (and a questionable tag) in each of the last five weeks. In his last four games against Chicago, he has averaged 7.3 receptions for 125 yards and 1.3 TD.
Wednesday, December 30, 2015, 6:13pm
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