Monday, July 27, 2015, 1:52pm
Jaguars rookie receiver Rashad Greene was impressive during the offseason program.
The fifth-round pick out of Florida State continued the momentum during the six-week break. Greene joined quarterback Blake Bortles and other receivers at Bishop Kenny to throw during the time off.
Greene spoke about the sessions Monday as the Jaguars' quarterbacks and rookies reported to training camp. The team's first practice is at 9:55 a.m. Friday after the veteran's report on Thursday.
"The majority of the time I was here, working with Blake and some of the receivers," Greene said. "[Our chemistry] has grown a good amount. We're getting comfortable with each other. He's understanding how I get in and out of my breaks and I'm getting used to how he throws the ball."
Greene has a lot of competition at the WR spot with a boatload of young talent at the position on the Jags roster. He ranks way down our list at 133.
Monday, July 27, 2015, 1:47pm
Back with the coaches for the first time in six weeks, Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles said he spent most of his short vacation trying to further his knowledge of new offensive coordinator Greg Olson’s scheme.
Aside from a week in Lake Tahoe, Calif., for a celebrity golf tournament, Bortles was in Jacksonville. He threw to teammates during several sessions at Bishop Kenny High School, but did not make a return trip to southern California to work with Tom House.
Asked what his camp goals, Bortles said: “To come out of camp with a clear ownership of the offense. I got a brief overview of it going through the spring and had an opportunity this month to stay on top of it by continuing to review things.”
When the offseason program was completed, Olson and quarterbacks coach Nathaniel Hackett gave Bortles plenty of homework, chiefly on pass protection. Bortles’ leadership developed last year when he started the final 12 games. He feels comfortable being in that role from the hop this year, the story went on to say. Bortles enters 2015 with Julius Thomas as his new TE and a young group of WRs looking to take the next step in the Jags offense. Despite that, Bortles is still buried on our QB list at 25th. There's some potential there, but he likely won't see a lot of draft day action in typical leagues. If he shows improvement, he could at least be a streaming option at some point this season.
Jags WR Allen Robinson spent the first several months of 2015 rehabbing his foot and began the offseason conditioning program cleared only for some individual work. It wasn’t until the next-to-last week of OTAs that he was cleared to participate in individual drills.
He was immediately noticeable. Though rules prohibit the media from describing exactly what happened during OTAs and minicamp, Robinson was the most impressive offensive player on the field -- even more so than tight end Julius Thomas, the prize of the Jaguars’ free-agency class.
"He’s been unbelievable," quarterback Blake Bortles said on the next-to-last day of a three-day minicamp. "I know he worked really hard in the training room to rehab and trying to get back as quickly as he could, and he’s done that. You guys have been able to see him go and make plays and he’s definitely a threat now in the red zone. ... He’s physical; he can run and do everything out in the open field, so he’s been fun to throw to."
Robinson said he feels comfortable with his knowledge of coordinator Greg Olson’s new offense so far despite not having a lot of reps, but that’s not a surprise since he did miss all that time last year during OTAs, minicamp and the preseason and still was the Jaguars’ best receiver through the first 10 games of 2014. He caught at least four passes in all but one game. The Jaguars made addressing the offensive line a priority in free agency and the draft. That should mean the passing game will be significantly better, which will give Robinson a chance to have a breakout season. The Jaguars haven’t had a 1,000-yard receiver since 2005. Robinson may have a chance to break that streak, the story said. Robinson is 33rd on our list and could presents a nice value in the middle rounds. Before his injury, he put up fringe WR2 numbers.
Allen Hurns was last year’s breakout offensive player, going from undrafted free agent to Week 1 starter (two touchdowns in the opening quarter).
Hurns’ playing time will be positively impacted by WR coach Jerry Sullivan’s trust in him to play inside and outside.
“He can do a lot of things and do them well,” Sullivan said. “I trust he’ll know different aspects of the offense, and he’s versatile enough to play them all. He’s a kid that is a grand guy to coach because he loves football.”
Hurns reportedly has a lead on Marqise Lee to be the team's WR2 heading into camp. He led the team in receiving yards (677) and touchdowns (6) as an undrafted rookie. If he plays starter's snaps he's likely to be fantasy relevant this season.
Marqise Lee missed the entire OTA/mini-camp schedule because of a knee injury sustained during a Phase 2 workout.
Jaguars receivers coach Jerry Sullivan gave an update on Lee’s status earlier today.
“My understanding is that he’ll be ready to go [next week],” Sullivan said. “But we have to manage him a little bit to make sure he’s OK in term so his health.”
To me, that means Lee will be given the occasional day off from practice or have his snaps curtailed early in camp so he won’t be over-taxed.
Lee has reportedly been passed on the depth chart by Allen Hurns, but given his draft status, the team will likely give him every chance to win those snaps back.
“The impressive thing about T.J. is that he picked up the offense quickly,” RB coach Kelly Skipper said. “For the most part, when he gets something, he has it [down] and we can move onto the next thing.”
Said coach Gus Bradley: “He’s all football. This kid is internally driven. Every rep he gets, he’s going to take advantage of. I really like him.”
Yeldon has the tools — runner, receiver, pass protector — to be a three-down back. But how soon?
“That’s what we have to find out and find out fast,” Skipper said.
It will be surprising if Yeldon isn’t the tailback for Play 1 in Week 1 — the Jaguars drafted him No. 36 overall to be The Guy. But what kind of work load he gets is unclear.
Yeldon should see plenty of touches, but the Jaguars' offense has been poor for some time, so he may not see the same number of scoring opportunities as some of the other running backs being drafted in the middle rounds. Denard Robinson had a very nice stretch for four weeks, but otherwise the Jacksonville running backs weren't much of a fantasy factor in 2014. The team did make an effort to improve the offensive line via free agency and the draft, so Yeldon has top 20 potential provided QB Blake Bortles shows progress from his disappointing rookie season.
Friday, July 17, 2015, 10:15pm
Sanders caught 51 passes as a rookie, but was less of a factor last season with only six catches. He also was suspended the first four games of 2014 for violating the league's substance-abuse policy.
There are plenty of ways to break down just how bad the Jaguars' offense has been the past several seasons, but the best way to illustrate the ineptness is by looking at how the unit has performed in the red zone.
According to ESPN Stats & Information, the Jaguars scored an NFL-low 13 touchdowns and completed an NFL-worst 39.1 percent of passes on an NFL-low 85 snaps in 32 red zone possessions in 2014. They were still last in TDs and completion percentage if you include the 2013 season, too.
The blame is spread between the quarterbacks, offensive line, backs and receivers, and play calling. Not much the Jaguars have tried the past two seasons has worked consistently and as a result the team has averaged just 15.5 points per game the past two seasons.
Things could be significantly better in 2015, though, thanks to the addition of tight end Julius Thomas. The 6-foot-5, 250-pounder was not only one of the league's better tight ends the past two seasons – catching 108 passes, including 24 for touchdowns – he was one of the NFL's most effective players in the red zone.
Thomas had 13 catches in the red zone in 2014, including nine for touchdowns. Only Green Bay receiver Randall Cobb had more (10) and Thomas had the same number as New England's Rob Gronkowski, Miami's Mike Wallace, New Orleans' Jimmy Graham, and San Diego's Antonio Gates, the story said. Obviously potential owners of Thomas need to keep in mind the situation is now a little bit different. The Jags don't have the same weapons Denver had a year ago that also needed to be accounted for in the red zone, and don't forget about Peyton Manning as the QB. Still, Thomas will be looked at as a big red zone option, and if the Jag WRs can step up as threats, that should also help Thomas' chances to continue his success. Thomas is ranked eighth among our TEs and is available in the middle of drafts.
Saturday, July 11, 2015, 11:44am
Texans QB Brian Hoyer offers HC Bill O'Brien the more known quantity after starting 14 games for the Cleveland Browns last season, but he finished the year with a 1-to-8 touchdown-to-interception ratio in his last four games.
Ryan Mallett offers more upside, but he remains a relative unknown with just 79 career passing attempts. Even if Hoyer begins the season as starter, he could at some point give way to Mallett, much like he did late last season with Johnny Manziel.
Tom Savage remains a developmental project who can bide his time behind the other two.
Hoyer showed flashes, especially two years ago with the Browns before getting hurt, but last year struggled. If Hoyer wins the job he'll have a better running game to work with compared to Cleveland as Arian Foster is one of the top backs in the league. DeAndre Hopkins will be the featured target of the aerial attack. Cecil Shorts was limited by injuries and reduced opportunities in the Jacksonville Jaguars' offensive youth movement, but he arrives as a versatile starting option. Third-round pick Jaelen Strong could carve out an early role as a possession receiver. Right now, the Texans QB starter only has streaming potential until we see more stability.
“The more he gets around our terminology and understands it and learns it and can see it against different coverages, the better he is going to be,” Gruden said on SiriusXM NFL Radio. “And he has shown improvement in the OTAs, which is exciting.”
“All three quarterbacks have [shown improvement],” Gruden continued, referring to backups Colt McCoy and Kirk Cousins. “Colt’s done a good job. So has Kirk. But Robert, especially, has taken over the leadership role and done some good things. He’s just got to continue improve. And we’ve got to be patient with him. There are going to be some bumps and bruises along the way, but I think we’ll be okay as long as we stay patient.”
RG3 averaged 12.0 fantasy points in the six games that he started and finished in 2014. That's what Blake Bortles averaged as the league's #24 fantasy quarterback. We know Griffin is capable of more, but he hasn't been the same player since his rookie season. Specifically, he's not running the ball as often or as effectively. The team has a nice receiving corps and a strong running game, so there is upside here.
“(Green) still has huge upside and possibilities,” said Chargers TE coach Pete Metzelaars. “Last year he had to fight through a number of different injuries at different times, so I am excited for him this year. He is an asset in the passing game, and has deceptive speed. So I’m looking forward to putting him into situations to take advantage of that, but also challenge him to put more tools into his toolbox.”
“He seems faster than he’s ever been,” quarterback Philip Rivers acknowledged. “He certainly seems that way with the way he’s moving. Some of that comes with (having) more and more confidence. You just naturally gain that the more you play and the more comfortable you are in an offense. When you don’t have to think or do as much, you do play a little bit faster.”
“He’s looked really good and he needs to be a bigger part…” Rivers said. “We need to have him be a weapon for us because he could be a heck of a matchup for us against some defenses.”
Gates will miss the first four games due to a suspension for PED use. Green figures to see starter's snaps with Gates sidelined. In the five career games in which Green has seen more than three targets, he has averaged 3.4 catches for 66 yards and 0.40 TD. Thats 12.4 FP in PPR formats, or about what Julius Thomas averaged last season. Keep in mind that Green only averaged 5.4 T/G in those games, while Gates averaged 6.1 T/G last season, so Green has the potential to post top 5 numbers for the first month of the season.
Owen Daniels and Virgil Green appear locked in on the top two spots, and depending on the frequency at which the Broncos use certain personnel groups, could both end up with play counts that reflect being starters. It was appropriate that their contracts were finalized within 24 hours of each other in free agency, because the two are best viewed as a collective as the Broncos work to build a deep tight end complement after Julius Thomas left for the Jaguars and Jacob Tamme joined the Falcons in free agency.
If both Daniels and Green play starter's snaps, then it's not going to leave much playing time for Cody Latimer as the team's WR3. Marlon Brown (40%) and Kamar Aiken (26%) didn't play enough to be fantasy relevant under Kubiak last year. However, things could change if Latimer makes a leap in training camp.
Daniels and Green appear locked in on the top two spots, and depending on the frequency at which the Broncos use certain personnel groups, could both end up with play counts that reflect being starters.
Julius Thomas, who scored 24 touchdowns the last two years, left for Jacksonville. We rank Daniels 16th on our TE list, but project him for only about 5 TDs this season. While Daniels has the experience in Gary Kubiak's offense, and Green the experience with QB Peyton Manning the last four years, the story points out the job description for the tight ends is a bit different than it was the last three seasons - there'll be a bit more blocking involved. Daniels ADP is the 12th round, however. Compared to those around him, that's about three rounds earlier than Kyle Rudolph and Tyler Eifert who are ranked ahead of Daniels on our list.
Even before the suspension, Green was due a bigger role in the offense. If the Chargers utilize his natural abilities and he shows he’s ready for primetime, Gates will have to settle for a reduced role when he returns.
Given how effective Gates was last year, it's hard to see the team benching him for Green even if Green lights it up in the first month of the season. One thing's for sure -- Gates's suspension has thrown a pretty settled situation up in the air. In the five career games in which Green has seen more than three targets, he has averaged 3.4 catches for 66 yards and 0.40 TD. Thats 12.4 FP in PPR formats, or about what Julius Thomas averaged last season. Keep in mind that Green only averaged 5.4 T/G in those games, while Gates averaged 6.1 T/G last season, so Green has the potential to post top 5 numbers for the first month of the season.
Chargers tight end Antonio Gates will be suspended for the first four games of the 2015 regular season for violating the NFL’s policy on performance enhancing substances, the league informed the Chargers on Thursday.
Gates's statement included the following:
“In an effort to recover from a long season and although I was unaware at the time, I regret to confirm that I tested positive for a substance that is currently on the NFL banned substance list. As an NFL veteran and team leader, I should have done my due diligence to ensure that what I was taking for recovery was within the NFL guidelines. I have always believed that ignorance is no excuse when it comes to these issues, and I take full responsibility for my actions."
Gates will be eligible to return in Week 5. Ladarius Green figures to see starter's snaps with Gates sidelined. In the five games in which Green has seen more than three targets, he has averaged 3.4 catches for 66 yards and 0.40 TD. Thats 12.4 FP in PPR formats, or about what Julius Thomas averaged last season. Keep in mind that Green only averaged 5.4 T/G in those games, while Gates averaged 6.1 T/G last season, so Green has the potential to post top 5 numbers for the first month of the season.
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