Expect Darren Sproles to be featured in the passing game this season. Offensive coordinator Frank Reich said that every week during game planning meetings, they will ask, "How can we get this guy the football?"
"Sproles is the original, right?" Reich said. "He's the original guy. He's the prototype. Right from the start, I remember coming in some of the immediate talk was the excitement of how we get to use a guy like Darren Sproles. . . . In Doug's offense, they've done that in the past. We'll continue to mix in some other things that we've all done, that our staff has done to kind of isolate backs and get good matchups."
As the article mentioned, Reich's history with Danny Woodhead shows that he knows how to get a pass-catching back the football. After Jordan Matthews and Zach Ertz, the Eagles are looking for playmakers in the passing game, and Sproles can certainly help in that area. He has finished in the top 30 in seven straight seasons in PPR formats.
Saturday, August 20, 2016, 5:46pm
The Chargers have a great tight end, and drafted one for the future. But they’re not as deep at the position as they were a day ago.
According to Michael Gehlken of the San Diego Union-Tribune, Cumberland suffered a torn Achilles in last night’s game against the Cardinals, which will knock him out for the season.
Cumberland also suffered a torn Achilles in 2011 when he was with the Jets.
Steelers tight end Ladarius Green on Saturday denied rumors that he's dealing with recurring headaches and reiterated it is his surgically repaired ankle is what is keeping him on the physically unable to perform list.
Speaking for the first time since a NFL Network report Aug. 11 said he was suffering headaches possibly stemming from a pair of concussions during a two-week span last year while playing for the Chargers, Green said he was surprised when he heard about having recurring headaches.
“I don't know what reports those are,” Green said. “I am still on PUP because of my ankle.”
Follow-up reports claimed the Steelers could ultimately release Green, and even Green was contemplating retirement. Hopefully the headache reports are indeed false. Still, Green has missed a big part of camp. He could be a big weapon in the middle of the field for Ben Roethlisberger if he can get healthy.
Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald has a minor MCL issue, coach Bruce Arians told reporters after Friday’s preseason game against the Chargers. Fitzgerald played in the Week 1 preseason game against the Raiders.
The story went on to say the injury is not serious, although there were no other details. Fitzgerald has 22 days until the regular-season opener against the Patriots. But he should be good to go come Week 1, at least according to the story.
If the Eagles get the Ryan Mathews who gained 1,255 yards for the Chargers in 2013, there won't be any worries, but that is the only one of Mathews' six seasons in which he played a full 16 games. No, the likelihood is that offensive coordinator Frank Reich will be looking around for other answers, and he just might find one in rookie Wendell Smallwood, who is expected to make his preseason debut on Thursday in Pittsburgh.
Smallwood, who missed the first exhibition game because of a slight quadriceps strain, has been back on the practice field this week, hoping to show why the Eagles selected him in the fifth round of the draft.
Smallwood was the Big 12's leading rusher, gaining 1,519 yards with a 6.4 average, and he did very well at the combine, setting the lowest times among running backs in the three-cone drill and 60-yard shuttle run, the story said. Darren Sproles is effective in small doses, but at 33 years old can't be used that much; and that Kenjon Barner is a career special-teams player. That all means if Smallwood can show anything he may end up behind Mathews on the depth chart and be in line for a lot of carries if Mathews gets hurt.
Creating a tough-guy mentality on offense was one of the goals for Ken Whisenhunt when he rejoined the San Diego Chargers as the team’s offensive coordinator.
Whisenhunt sought a more physical attitude running the football after San Diego averaged a league-worst 3.5 yards per carry last season. It’s one of the reasons the Chargers signed center Matt Slauson in free agency, who has added toughness to the group up front.
Chargers head coach Mike McCoy made running the football a point of emphasis in his team’s first preseason game against the Tennessee Titans.
Mission accomplished, as the Chargers finished with 115 rushing yards on 26 carries, averaging 4.4 yards per carry.
The story said all five starters on the O-line have been together for a good part of the offseason, which is a big help. Whisenhunt said he’s liked what he’s seen so far from Melvin Gordon. When Whisenhunt served as the offensive coordinator in 2013, Ryan Mathews had his best year as a pro, finishing with 1,255 rushing yards and six touchdowns. Whisenhunt believes that Gordon could have a similar season for the Chargers this year, according to the story. Obviously this is good news for potential Gordon owners who should be able to grab the back around the seventh round.
"He is doing well. He should practice (Monday)," Titans coach Mike Mularkey said Sunday afternoon. "We did a full evaluation of him and he had no symptoms today and should practice (Monday) night."
Sharpe had two catches for 35 yards, including a 31-yard reception from Marcus Mariota deep down the left sideline on the second play of the game. He was removed shortly thereafter and evaluated for a concussion. He has a chance to be an outside WR on the Titans according to reports we've seen through camp. Rishard Matthews would be the other outside WR with Kendall Wright in the slot.
There was little doubt about Derrick Henry's power coming out of Alabama, as the 6-foot-3, 247-pound running back repeatedly barreled through defenders last season en route to piling up 2,219 yards and winning the Heisman Trophy.
But was he elusive?
That was one of the few questions asked about Henry after the Titans selected him in the second round of the draft.
In the Titans’ 27-10 preseason win over the Chargers on Saturday night, Henry showed that he wasn’t only about running North-South, but that he also had the ability — and the footwork — necessary to elude defenders.
“He made a lot of those — a lot of those runs,” Titans coach Mike Mularkey said. “It was nice to see he had the ability to jump-cut and make things happen outside and really outrun defenders.
Henry wound up rushing 10 times for 74 yards and a touchdown. Much of that yardage — perhaps all of it — came against San Diego’s second-team defense, but that didn’t concern Mularkey, the story said. Henry seems like the option to own behind DeMarco Murray, but Henry currently has an ADP of the ninth round which isn't a cheap price to pay.
I’m not looking for a 100-yard effort and two touchdowns here. But I what I do expect is for Chargers RB Melvin Gordon to take the next step and be the decisive, explosive runner we’ve seen so far in training camp. I expect Gordon to be in there for at least a couple series, so some hard running, being assignment-correct in pass protection and an explosive play or two would be nice.
We had a report the team tried out Gordon as a kick returner, something the author found alarming, and something that may indicate Gordon won't be the team's RB1. However, the team also tried Brendan Oliver back there as well as Danny Woodhead so maybe it's nothing to read into. But, Gordon struggled his rookie year so any positive preseason work is a key chance for him to show signs he can take the next step.
The Steelers made just one splashy -- and much-needed -- free agent signing this past offseason, tight end Ladarius Green. They have yet to see him in their offense, though, and a member of the organization, informed of the player's health, said it has nothing to do with the tight end's surgically-repaired ankle -- but is instead an issue with recurring headaches.
Green's agent, Adisi Bakara, however, immediately said, "His ankle is fine," when reached Wednesday night. Bakara would not comment on what is ultimately keeping Green sidelined, and his client has reportedly been seen running sprints at St. Vincent's College, while his teammates practice.
Green, then a member of the Chargers, complained of headaches after suffering two concussions in two weeks last September, according to a report in the San Diego Union-Tribune. Those were his second and third concussions in less than one calendar year. Green sat out one game last season due to a concussion, while ankle issues sidelined him for two others. A concussion also caused Green to miss one game during the 2014 season.
Green landed in a great situation, but it sounds like he continues to have symptoms from previous concussions. There's no telling how this is going to play out, so we're moving Green down our draft board until he's able to return to practice. In redraft formats, given his upside, Green is a good late-round pick as a TE2 but for now he can't be counted on as a fantasy starter.
Chargers WR Tyrell Williams has made a sizable leap in his second season. The former undrafted rookie from Oregon is considered one of the most improved Chargers from 2015, better route-running among his strides. He also projects to be a gunner in special teams coverage opposite safety Darrell Stuckey.
Johnson was shaping up as a nice late-round sleeper after an efficient first season with the Chargers. The team signed James Jones for depth, but Dontrelle Inman is/was Johnson's direct backup. Tyrell Williams (6'3") could potentially push Keenan Allen to the slot. Johnson's absence probably makes Travis Benjamin a solid pick in the double-digit rounds, though he has missed several practices with an unknown ailment.
The Chargers gave Melvin Gordon reps as a kick returner during a couple special-teams periods, alongside fellow running backs Branden Oliver and Danny Woodhead, and receivers Isaiah Burse and DeAndre Reaves.
"He's a talented player," Chargers head coach Mike McCoy said of Gordon, via ESPN. "He can do that."
Consider this: In 2014, Oliver rushed for 582 yards on 160 attempts (3.6 yards per carry) and three touchdowns. The following offseason, the Chargers draft Gordon in the first round, and get nearly identical numbers. Now, the backfield that Gordon was supposed to take over as the bell cow is suddenly considered crowded, with Gordon, Oliver and the small-but-mighty Woodhead. My, how things have changed.
The story really made this out to be alarming and it can be taken very seriously as a team trying to get the most value out of a player who they might suddenly deem as highly overpriced. It may also indicate Gordon will not be the team's RB1 when the season starts. But keep in mind, nothing is set in stone as far as the Chargers backfield is concerned and the battle is still going on according to McCoy.
San Diego Fanfest spectators wondered why speedy newcomer Travis Benjamin sat out all drills, and why Keenan Allen, the No. 1 receiver, sat on the bench with a shoe off as trainer James Collins checked on both players.
HC Mike McCoy said Allen was limited to solo drills, due to having his foot stepped on Friday. “He’s fine,” the coach said.
McCoy didn’t specify Benjamin’s situation but said generally that he’ll rest players on certain days.
So once again, it was Tyrell Williams getting to take advantage. Williams had a 28-yard catch which QB Philip Rivers described as the top highlight for the first team offense. Williams is having a good camp and could be in line for more playing time with Stevie Johnson's injury. The story said Williams is of the Michael Floyd mold.
They worked so well together the first time that Ken Whisenhunt returning to the San Diego Chargers was a no-brainer for head coach Mike McCoy.
One of the reasons McCoy brought him back is how well Philip Rivers performed during Whisenhunt's one-year stint as San Diego's offensive coordinator in 2013.
After an uneven stretch of his career in which he threw a combined 48 interceptions from 2010 to 2012, Rivers experienced a rebirth under Whisenhunt, finishing in the top five in completion percentage (69.5 percent), yards per pass (8.23), passing yards (4,478), passing touchdowns (32) and passer rating (105.5) during the 2013 season. Rivers comes into this season ranked ninth on our list and should be a nice, ninth-round option. Stevie Johnson will be lost for a while but the team signed Travis Benjamin in the offseason to pair with Keenan Allen. The team signed James Jones today and TE Antonio Gates is back so Rivers has plenty of weapons.
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