At last check late last month, Giants WR Victor Cruz was doing straight-line running. He hadn't yet reached the point of cutting, even though he claimed to be close. There were "zero doubts" about whether he would be ready for the season opener in September.
Now into early May, Cruz has begun cutting. He's running routes against air (no defenders) and trying to rebuild strength and confidence in the right knee where his patellar tendon tore in an October game against the Eagles.
"We got [to cutting]," Cruz said Tuesday night prior to the 22nd annual United Way of New York City Gridiron Gala at the Hilton in Manhattan. "We started running some intermediate routes on air and stuff like that. It's feeling good. It's feeling tood so far. I think I'm 75-80 percent right now. It's just a matter of building it."
GM Jerry Reese, coach Tom Coughlin and Cruz's teammates all are confident he'll be back for the start of the season. There has been nothing to this point that has indicated otherwise.
Cruz tore his patellar tendon in mid-October, so it's no sure thing that he'll be back for the start of the season, though recent reports are positive. He's not going to get the same number of targets given Odell Beckham's emergence as a top-flight wideout. Cruz will likely play the Randall Cobb role in OC Ben McAdoo's offense, so there is some upside if he's fully healthy by Week 1.
Monday, April 13, 2015, 7:36pm
Abbrederis sustained a season-ending knee injury during training camp and was placed on injured reserve. The Wisconsin native and former Badgers star is an option as a punt returner as well as an additional receiver, provided he’s fully healthy come the start of training camp this summer.
Janis, making the jump from Division II Saginaw Valley State to the NFL, had a pair of impressive TD receptions in the preseason on which he showed off his speed, but he was active for only three regular-season games and got most of his work in practice on the scout team.
Head Coach Mike McCarthy said at the scouting combine he felt Janis was coming on strong late in the season, so he’ll be looking to pick up where he left off in his bid for a roster spot and additional playing time.
Monday, April 13, 2015, 1:27pm
Sunday, April 5, 2015, 8:30pm
Rex Ryan has stressed all offseason that the quarterback position will be an open competition in training camp for the Buffalo Bills. Should we believe him?
After all, it was just last August that Ryan and the Jets staged a faux competition between Geno Smith and Michael Vick. The Jets stacked the deck so far in Smith's favor that Vick wouldn't even play along, publicly disagreeing with the coaching staff's notion that he was competing for a starting job.
Fast forward to present day, and Ryan is facing a familiar problem with a new team. EJ Manuel, like Smith, is a high 2013 draft pick who's struggled in his first two seasons and was benched in his second season. Matt Cassel, like Vick, is a 30-something veteran with past success.
"You look at Matt Cassel, obviously he's won in this league," said Ryan, according to The Buffalo News. "He's been a Pro Bowl-quarterback, so there's that experience that you have.
Ryan went on to say that he won't throw out Manuel after just two years and pointed out that Aaron Rodgers never took a snap for three years. From a coaching standpoint, Manuel may not have a lot of motivation if Cassel is named the starter at this point in the year, but it sure seems like that's where the team is heading.
Friday, March 27, 2015, 2:48pm
Mike McCarthy says WR Jordy Nelson's hip surgery was a cleanup and took place after Pro Bowl. Said its 6-8 weeks and things went well.
Thursday, March 19, 2015, 10:08pm
The wild ride of subtraction and addition will apparently continue with the Philadelphia Eagles because receiver Jeremy Maclin plans to reunite with former coach Andy Reid on the Kansas City Chiefs once free agency officially begins on Tuesday, according to league sources.
The Chiefs will need to clear salary-cap space to sign Maclin, whose new contract would project in the range of what Randall Cobb received to stay with the Green Bay Packers at $10 million per year. It's possible Maclin could slightly exceed Cobb's salary when negotiations are finished. Unlike Cobb, who chose to remain with his team, the Green Bay Packers, Maclin is prepared to depart Philadelphia, coming off his best season, in which he had 85 catches for 1,318 yards and 10 touchdowns. Maclin played on a one-year, $5.25 million contract in 2014 after missing 2013 with an ACL injury.
Update: The deal is reportedly worth around $11 million per season.
Maclin was the #9 wide receiver in both standard and PPR formats last season. However, he did most of his damage in the first eight games (46-801-8, #2 WR) and faded from Week 10 on (40-528-2, #23 WR). His targets dropped from 10.5 per game in the first half of the season to just 7.5 T/G down the stretch, but this decrease basically coincided with Mark Sanchez taking over for Nick Foles at quarterback. If the report turns out to be true, he'll have Alex Smith as his quarterback and could hog targets alongside up-and-coming TE Travis Kelce. Reid is familiar with Maclin, so we would expect his transition to be a smooth one, though this appears to be a system downgrade.
Cobb reportedly had 6-7 other offers today, per Ian Rapoport, but "turned down considerably more money" to sign with Green Bay. It's certainly the best spot for his fantasy value, playing in a familiar system with a Hall of Fame caliber quarterback. Cobb finished #8 in PPR formats and #6 in standard and has finished in the top 11 in PPR points per game over the past two seasons. In early drafts, he's the 12th WR off the board and is going in the early 3rd round. Don't be surprised if his ADP settles in the late 2nd by the time draft season is in full swing. This is great news for Aaron Rodgers, Jordy Nelson and the entire Packer offense.
Mike McCarthy understands why a certain segment of the Green Bay Packers fan base loves wide receiver Jeff Janis so much. After all, the Packers head coach likes the 2014 seventh-round draft pick’s talent and potential as much as anyone.
But, McCarthy said Thursday at the annual NFL Scouting Combine, although Janis certainly made a splash in preseason, he needs to make a jump in the offseason and develop his raw football talent in order to be a contributor in 2015.
And McCarthy believes that’s going to happen.
“I think Jeff is going to take a big step,” McCarthy said during a nearly hour-long session at a hotel restaurant with reporters who regularly cover the team. “He’s got a big catching radius, and he needs to utilize it. Obviously, I think we all saw his vertical speed. He’s an extremely physical young man. He’s an Olympian in the weight room. He’s got a lot of raw skill, and I look for him to make that jump.”
“I thought probably after Thanksgiving, I thought Jeff really picked it up [in practice]. He was more comfortable, and so I look for him to take a step. He’s got to play with extension. That’s the one thing he has to do a better job of. But you can see it on the scout team, and at the end of the year he was running some really good routes. Really good routes.”
Thursday, February 19, 2015, 9:06pm
"The first time in a couple of years that he's been able to go through the offseason program, I think that will really help him," Garrett said. "He's worked very hard to come back from some injuries that he's had and handled himself really well once the season started to play as much football as he has coming of those injuries. But I think he's going to feel better having that foundation that everybody else gets by going through an offseason program."
Wednesday, February 18, 2015, 6:44pm
Bostick has talent but was never able to stay healthy and put it together in Green Bay.
At tight end, the Packers like what last year's third-round pick, Richard Rodgers, showed late in the season, when he became more involved in the offense, but it's still too early to say whether he'll be the playmaker that Jermichael Finley was before his neck injury. Behind Rodgers and Andrew Quarless, the Packers are thin. Once a promising prospect, Brandon Bostick was released on Monday, a month after he botched the onside kick recovery in the NFC Championship Game.
Neither Rodgers nor Quarless established themselves as a consistent threat as a fantasy tight end. The Packers may look to shore up the position this offseason.
Cosell: Raiders QB Derek Carr has 'best combination of arm strength, pocket play and movement' of rookie QB classThursday, February 12, 2015, 1:34pm
I think Carr has the best combination of arm strength, pocket play and movement. He has a really good arm. There are times he snaps it off like Aaron Rodgers in the pocket.
Carr’s tendency to get rid of the ball short isn’t a bad thing. The Raiders’ sack numbers were way down. He didn’t stand there and hold the ball with a deer-in-the-headlights look. That tells me his processing was functioning. He didn’t always throw to the right guy, but he didn’t get stuck in the pocket. He struggled at times with lower body mechanics, but he had the instincts and feel of a pocket quarterback. And he showed progress with his lower body mechanics as the season went on.
Carr played well as a rookie, and as long as he progresses as he should in seeing things at the intermediate level, there’s a lot to like with him going forward.
Carr finished the season as the #20 QB in fantasy and averaged 12.5 FP per game. He'll be in the mix for QBBC and streaming strategies heading into the 2015 season.
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