The 2012 second-round pick sat and watched as Victor Cruz wrecked his knee in Week 6 and Randle's own former college teammate, Odell Beckham Jr., raced past him into stratospheric stardom. Along the way, Randle struggled to produce consistently on the field and clashed with his New York Giants coaches, getting benched twice late in the season for issues that came up in practices and meetings during the week.
But Randle closed the year strong, catching 12 passes for 290 yards combined in the final two games. And as the Giants get to work in training camp, they expect big things to continue into Randle's fourth season.
"Rube has been working hard, has done everything we've asked of him, so I feel good moving forward," Giants receivers coach Sean Ryan said Monday ."To me, the past is the past and we're looking at 2015 and what's in front of us. Lessons have been learned, and I expect nothing but the best of him this year."
The story went on to say Randle doesn't like to talk about what went on between him and the coaching staff last season, but a lot of the issues had to do with Randle's ability to be on time consistently for meetings and his handling of some assignments in practice. But it was clear by the end of the season that he and the coaches believed the hurdles had been cleared and they were all ready to put the trouble behind them. Randle could be a forgotten man for defenses this year with Beckham and Cruz also roaming the field, but we note that could also hurt his targets, especially when you factor in RB Shane Vereen as another option. Cruz finished 32nd in PPR formats last year, making him a solid WR3, but we rank him in the 50s heading into this season.
"If you don't score 28 points, it's hard to win," Reese said, via Newsday.
It's true in theory. The Giants have only lost two games since the beginning of the 2012 season when they've scored 28 or more.
But can it really happen?
The points per game benchmark was one of the minor tidbits that might get buried in a Reese press conference that dealt with bigger picture issues like Eli Manning and Jason Pierre-Paul.
The team really started to come together toward the end of the season in the new offense, even though in Ben McAdoo's first season as offensive coordinator, the team only scored 28 points or more in six games. But a healthy WR Victor Cruz along with WR James Jones and pass-catching RB Shane Vereen give Manning a host of weapons to through to. The key, the story said, is the Giants will also go only as far as their offensive line will carry them. Right now, New York has a rookie -- albeit a potentially dominant one -- starting at left tackle. They're also in a near-constant shuffle elsewhere with former first-round pick Justin Pugh, now a guard.
Saturday, August 1, 2015, 6:48pm
“I think we have some talented guys on offense,” Manning said. “Talented running backs, guys that are very multiple at running back, catch the ball out of the backfield, move them around.”
Jennings and Vereen aren’t sure yet how the roles will shake out in Ben McAdoo’s offense. On Saturday, Williams saw some reps with the first team.
“I guess we’ll see,” Vereen said when asked what his role might be with his new team. “It’s still a waiting game. … I guess the role is kind of going to play itself out. The more we get on the field, the more practice we get, the more repetitions, I think it’ll kind of speak for itself, and the role will be cut out in some shape or form.”
Jennings wants all the running backs to prepare as if they will start and get the majority of the workload.
Most seem to think Jennings will get a bulk of the early down work with Vereen a pass-catching, third down back. Williams could see goal line and short yardage situations but did serve as the team's RB1 when Jennings was hurt last year.
Coaches, teammates and fans were glad to see Giants WR Victor Cruz back on the field for the start of training camp as Victor Cruz hit another major milestone in his return from a torn right patellar tendon.
“He actually went on the ground one time and actually felt good about doing that,” coach Tom Coughlin said at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center after the first practice. “That’s one hurdle. He was out there and working and enjoying himself. So there’s more to come.”
All the offseason reports lately about Cruz have been encouraging and of course he didn't start camp on the PUP list. The story said Cruz wasn’t only back, but he also participated in team drills for the first time this year. Cruz ranks 49th on our list. While looking good in practice is one thing, don't be surprised if he gets off to a slow start getting back to game speed and recovering from his injury. Cruz is maybe a guy to stash away and hope he progresses nicely through camp and the early season.
Offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo should know a little something about his soon-to-be newest receiver. McAdoo coached Jones in Green Bay.
The Giants already have a lot of depth at receiver, so this is a curious signing despite McAdoo's familiarity with Jones from their days together in Green Bay.
Giants receivers Victor Cruz and Odell Beckham are not on PUP. Cruz passed the conditioning test less than 10 months after tearing the patellar tendon in his right knee. Beckham, who missed time with a hamstring injury this spring, did as well. Neither are going to start training camp on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list. That's good news. Both are expected to be on the practice field with their teammates on Friday. They may have their snaps limited, but at least they're cleared.
Cruz tore his patellar tendon in mid-October, though recent reports have been unanimously 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. Hopefully the injury doesn’t rob him of the speed and quickness that makes him such a dangerous slot receiver.
The Boston Herald broke down the Patriots RBs:
LeGarrette Blount will miss the opener on the suspended list, but should be viewed as a lock because the Patriots made no obvious attempt to replace him in the draft or free agency. Brandon Bolden signed a contract extension last season and is one of their most trusted special teamers. The Patriots believe James Develin is the best fullback in the league, so he is safe as long as the Pats continue to value the position.
We still don’t know for sure much about Travis Cadet, Tyler Gaffney, Jonas Gray and James White really. Cadet has an intriguing set of skills, but could he provide more than Bolden or White? And White just had his second strong spring of OTAs, but can he do it wearing pads? Is Gray the bulldozer we saw against the Colts or the guy Bill Belichick preferred to keep in the doghouse? And the thinking here is that Gaffney’s best work must come in pads, which is why he had a somewhat quiet spring.
The story went on to say that White, a 2014 fourth-round pick, dazzled at the start of training camp last season before falling off the map with 16 healthy scratches in 19 games. He was strong again during the nine-week OTAs program and appeared to be the Pats’ best back in passing situations. White could monopolize that role if he keeps it up and earns more trust, the story went on to say. But if he disappears again midway through camp, he might even get cut. We had news articles last year that stated White could be a potential Shane Vereen replacement, but the team signed Cadet in the offseason and right now is a bit more proven after filling in for Pierre Thomas at times last year in New Orleans. With Blount seemingly the early down back, the winner of the third down, passing situation job could potentially have PPR value in fantasy leagues.
Giants beat writer Jordan Raanan:
The good news is that Larry Donnell is out of the walking boot and has been training down in Alabama. My understanding is he's expected to participate in training camp practices this week. It doesn't mean he's completely in the clear. I'm still somewhat concerned about the Achilles problem he had in the spring. It's an old college injury that resurfaced. That means it has never really gone away, and may pop up again.
Donnell averaged 82% of the snaps through the first 11 weeks, but played just 69% over the final six games, due to run-blocking and ball-security concerns. He finished the season as the #11 TE in both standard and PPR formats, but did not crack 60 yards or find the endzone in the final six games. He had the 17th-most targets (5.2 T/G) over that span, after seeing the 7th-most (6.1 T/G) in the first 11 weeks. If he improves his blocking, his snaps should rise and that should result in an increase in production. Hopefully that Achilles holds up.
The understanding is he's expected to participate in training camp practices this week. It doesn't mean he's completely in the clear. There's reason to be concerned about the Achilles problem he had in the spring. It's an old college injury that resurfaced. That means it has never really gone away, and may pop up again. Hopefully (fingers crossed) it doesn't finally reach the point where it gives out.
The Giants have Daniel Fells, Adrien Robinson and a whole bunch of youngsters at the TE position. Jerome Cunningham, Matt LaCosse and Will Tye fare better as blockers and will be a factor in who makes the team and gets playing time if Donnell were to miss time. Donnell showed flashes last year but comes in ranked just 21st on our TE list and is a later-round flier in 12 team leagues. We don't always recommend drafting a second TE, but Donnell could at least be a guy to start in streaming situations.
One of the main Giants storylines to watch heading into training camp is the status of Odell Beckham Jr.'s hamstring injury, which kept him off the practice field for a good portion of the team's offseason program. The good news is that Beckham seems to be on the mend.
In a sit-down interview with the NFL Network's Kim Jones, Beckham was asked about his health status, one year after he missed all of training camp, preseason, and the first four regular season games with a strained hamstring.
"It feels a lot better actually," Beckham said. "I would rather be healthy than anything else. I just don't want to go through that, what I had to go through again last year, and not just for myself – just for this team."
Not exactly the most revealing answer, but Beckham added that the plan is for him to be 100 percent by the season opener against the Dallas Cowboys. The guess here is that he will have his practice reps monitored throughout camp.
Beckham said that the Pro Bowl that he actually had two tears in his hamstring which didn’t fully heal during the season. If true, then perhaps he has just scratched the surface on his full potential. Once his season started in Week 5, he averaged 17.2 FP (standard) and 24.8 FP (PPR), which was the best in the league in both scoring systems. The only (minor) concerns are his current hamstring injury, and a potential sophomore slump if teams are able to find a way to slow him down.
Perhaps most notable about the Patriots' running back position is that James White, Travaris Cadet and Dion Lewis look to be closely bunched for the pass-catching role vacated by Shane Vereen at this juncture.
If any single back wins the pass-catching role outright, he'll suddenly be a factor in PPR formats. Shane Vereen averaged 4.3 catches per game over the past two years (including the postseason). That projects to 68.8 receptions over a full 16-game season.
Wednesday, July 15, 2015, 12:27pm
The Kansas City Chiefs have signed linebacker Justin Houston to a six-year, $101 million deal, including $52.5 million guaranteed, sources said Wednesday.
The deal is the richest in Chiefs history and the richest linebacker contract in NFL history.
Houston, 26, led the NFL in sacks last season with 22. He was a half-sack short of the single-season record set by Michael Strahan of the New York Giants in 2001.
The sides were nowhere close to agreement on a long-term contract in March, when the Chiefs designated Houston as their franchise player. In doing so, the Chiefs were obligated to offer Houston a one-year contract worth about $13.2 million.
The coaches lauded the work of Terrance Williams in Bryant's absence during the offseason program. Williams became the de facto leader of the wide receiver room. He and QB Tony Romo were much more in-tune with each other.
"He's not only taken a tremendous leadership role in the group, really setting the example of how you do things, he's expanded his route inventory," wide receivers coach Derek Dooley said at the conclusion of last month's minicamp. "He's played X. He's played Z. He's played in the slot and every day he went out there and was the same player. Every route, every opportunity he had he took advantage of it. So he's made a big jump this offseason."
Devin Street worked with the starters with Bryant absent. He had just two catches as a rookie in 2014 but the coaches liked his development through the year. Getting the extra work with Romo in the spring will help his development this year. Coaches say players make the biggest jumps between their rookie and second seasons. While any work would have been good work for Street, having that work come with Romo is an added bonus.
While there's still time before the July 15 deadline, it doesn't hurt fantasy owners to at least think about life without Bryant on the fantasy radar and what it could mean for other players' value. The story went on to say WR Cole Beasley would continue to serve as the No. 3 receiver in the slot, so his role would essentially be the same, but it could change how much the Cowboys use three wide receiver formations. The article added that tight end Gavin Escobar could be used more in a receiver role, which would likely eat more into Street's snaps than Beasley's.
While most NFL players are vacationing this month, Dolphins receiver Jarvis Landry and his buddy and former LSU teammate, Odell Beckham Jr. (the NFL offensive Rookie of the Year) are pushing themselves through grueling morning workout at well-regarded trainer Pete Bommarito’s Performance Systems facility in Davie.
Landry is determined to improve his speed to prove he’s more than a slot receiver.
Is his speed better? “Absolutely,” Landry said this week. “I can’t wait to show it.”
Landry flashed that explosiveness when he caught a deep ball from Ryan Tannehill during the Dolphins’ minicamp last month.
“You can see the difference with Jarvis,” Bommarito said. “There’s a difference between straight line speed and football speed. He’s excelled at both.”
Landry was the #42 WR in standard formats and #30 in PPR, so as a high-volume slot receiver, he's going to have more value in PPR formats. The Dolphins lost four of their top six most-targeted players: Mike Wallace, Charles Clay, Brian Hartline and Brandon Gibson. They have been replaced by Kenny Stills, Greg Jennings, DeVante Parker and Jordan Cameron, but Landry's role should expand as well. He only played 62% of the snaps on the season, and didn't start playing consistent starter's snaps until Week 9. Over the final nine weeks, Landry was the #15 WR in PPR formats (and #23 in standard). He is currently the 24th WR off the board in early PPR drafts.