Zach Hocker may have won the New Orleans Saints kicking job coming out of training camp, but the Saints may not be completely comfortable with their place kicker as of yet. According to Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com, the Saints are bringing in former San Diego Chargers kicker Nick Novak for a visit.
A report also came out today the team is trying out former Dolphins K Caleb Sturgis, so the Saints are building a list - just in case. Hocker converted both field goal attempts this preseason with a long of 53 yards against Houston. But Novak has seven years of NFL experience with the last four years spent in San Diego. It's something for Hocker owners to watch through the early season.
Novak was cut today, Michael Gehlken of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.
That means undrafted rookie Josh Lambo has won the kicking competition.
Lambo had a good college career at Texas A&M, and the Chargers liked what they saw of him in training camp and the preseason. Novak was 13th on our list so he had fringe K1 value depending on the size of your league.
"As Coach has always said -- I'm not saying anything out of the blue -- it's a running back by committee crew," Rivers explained, via The San Diego Union-Tribune. "It's going to be a team effort in that bunch. We're going to need all of them to carry the load in the run game and to catch the ball out of the backfield."
The Bolts might have been planning all along to use Danny Woodhead as their primary passing-down back, but NFL teams don't spend first-round draft picks on running backs with the idea of installing a committee attack.
Gordon has disappointed this summer, acknowledging after his preseason debut that he must be a more decisive runner.
The Chargers traded up to get Gordon, so we’d expect they’ll use him often in 2015, though his preseason hasn't gone well. He doesn’t have a lot of experience as a receiver, so we'd expect that Woodhead still gets a lot of work on third down and in the two minute offense.
The reasoning behind the Seattle Seahawks’ decision to bring in former Buffalo Bills running back Fred Jackson for a visit seemingly became clearer on Tuesday after head coach Pete Carroll revealed Robert Turbin suffered a serious ankle injury in the Hawks’ preseason matchup at San Diego on Saturday.
Speaking with reporters after Seattle’s practice in anticipation of their preseason finale Thursday, Carroll hinted that Turbin’s injury may keep him out of action for a while.
“Robert’s got a sprained ankle,” Carroll said. “It’s a significant ankle sprain. We have to see what that means. He feels pretty good about it, but it definitely showed up on the MRI and all that.”
Carroll said that Turbin got “whacked” and “rolled up on,” and that there was timetable for Turbin’s return. Carroll also said that the injury wasn’t the only reason they decided to bring in Jackson for a visit after he was released by the Bills on Monday. But now it at least makes a lot more sense.
The Chargers were determined to fix their woeful running game this offseason.
They climbed the draft board to secure standout Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon. They revamped their offensive line, which has just one returning starter at his same position for the season opener. But after three preseason games, their average rests at 3.4 yards per carry-- the same as it was last season.
What McCoy is certain of is Gordon's skills. Even if the Heisman Trophy finalist has only 45 yards on 20 carries for a 2.3-yard average.
"Without a doubt," McCoy said. "I have a ton of confidence in Melvin Gordon, a ton of confidence. He is a very good football player and has done everything we have asked. I look forward to him having a great year."
Gordon has struggled in pass protection so that could end up hurting his fantasy value especially with Danny Woodhead back in the mix after a broken leg ended his season last year. Woodhead is very good third down back who is sure to get his share of work in passing situations. The story mentioned backup Branden Oliver has averaged four yards a carry in the preseason.
Monday, August 31, 2015, 8:29pm
Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers was a limited participant in practice Monday, two days after heading into the locker room early after hitting his throwing hand on a defender late in the second quarter of the Chargers' preseason game against the Seahawks.
Rivers handed off a few times during the portion of the workout open to the media but didn't throw in positional drills. Kellen Clemens was at quarterback in Monday's practice.
Coach Mike McCoy said Rivers' limited participation wasn't because he hit his right hand Saturday.
Rivers had his hand X-rayed Saturday and said after the game that the X-rays came back negative.
In the third quarter, Rivers told Tracy Wolfson of CBS that the hand recently used to sign a gigantic contract is fine.
“It’s good,” he said of the right hand, adding that he’d still be playing if it were a regular-season game.
Rivers played at an extremely high level for the first half of the season, completing 68.3 percent of his passes for 277 yards, 2.5 TD and just 0.6 interceptions through Week 8. He posted #3 QB numbers in that span, but he was the #19 QB down the stretch after injuring his hand in Week 9 against the Dolphins. He then suffered back and rib injuries and threw for multiple touchdowns in just two of his final eight games (averaging 1.6 INT) as the Chargers fell out of playoff contention. If he's fully healthy entering the 2015 season, he will once again be a fine value pick in the later rounds, but owners should be prepared to stream if the injuries start to pile up. The four-game loss of Antonio Gates doesn’t help, but Ladarius Green and Stevie Johnson should be able to pick up the slack.
What we saw from Stevie Johnson in Saturday night's exhibition against the Seattle Seahawks, the connection with Rivers that the Chargers hope to see so much this season, was borne in May and June and rekindled in August.
On the Chargers’ first possession, Johnson suddenly darted left, pulling away from the safety covering him in the slot to make a 34-yard reception-and-run that converted a third down. Before leaving with the rest of the first-team offense at halftime, Johnson had two more third-down conversions and finished with four receptions for 64 yards.
That is what replacing Eddie Royal looks like.
There is great potential in the marrying of Johnson’s ability to separate combined with Rivers’ ability to throw receivers open. When Rivers develops a rapport with a target, he anticipates where that receiver will be and makes connections that seemingly should never happen.
From 2010 to 2012, Johnson was one of the most consistent receivers in football, posting at least 76 catches, 1,004 yards and six touchdowns in three straight seasons. In PPR formats, he was the #10, #16 and #18 receiver in those seasons. The Chargers lost Eddie Royal, so there are targets to be had, especially with TE Antonio Gates suspended for the first four games. Johnson is having a good camp, so it appears that he’ll play ahead of retiring wideout Malcom Floyd.
Chargers beat writer Eric D. Williams: Stevie Johnson signed with the Chargers in free agency to help fill the void left by Eddie Royal's departure, and so far has looked rejuvenated in San Diego’s offensive system. Johnson’s developed a good rapport with Philip Rivers and will be used both in the slot and on the perimeter. He has a shot at 50 receptions and at least four touchdowns.
We project Johnson for 54-755-5.2 as the Chargers' WR2. From 2010 to 2012, he was one of the most consistent receivers in football, posting at least 76 catches, 1,004 yards and six touchdowns in three straight seasons. In PPR formats, he was the #10, #16 and #18 receiver in those seasons. The Chargers lost Eddie Royal, so there are targets to be had, especially with TE Antonio Gates suspended for the first four games.
I would still lean toward CJ being on this roster heading into the regular season. But it’s not necessarily a lock, with what David Johnson has shown and Kerwynn Williams still lingering in the background and Stepfan Taylor so valuable on special teams. Can’t keep ’em all.
Johnson may be expendable with the way David Johnson is playing and how Williams played last season.
Cardinals General Manager Steve Keim was impressed by his team’s deep threats at receiver last Saturday night against the Chargers. But he’s also concerned that quarterback Carson Palmer won’t have enough time to pass the ball if the Cardinals don’t protect him better.
The Chargers had six sacks in the first half of the victory, including two on Palmer, who dropped back just nine times.
“If we can protect Carson, we have some guys who can not only create separation, but can be explosive,” Keim said Monday morning on his weekly appearance on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM.
The story said both tackles gave up sacks, even though Keim didn't blame the offensive line entirely. He also pointed to missed assignments by running backs, which also happens to be an area bit by the injury bug so far in camp for the Cards. Palmer is a potential late-round starting option at QB who has a lot of weapons to throw to . But as the story said, he needs to be protected to allow his talented WRs to get open - on top of staying healthy.
Green didn't have a bad year, but the Chargers want, and likely need, better from him now.
With Antonio Gates guaranteed to miss the first four games, Green will be asked to move the chains and make blocks.
The Chargers, to put it in culinary terms, need him to supply something hearty and reliable -- along with his rare long speed that is fine etoufee.
Green, 25, got that done Saturday against the Cardinals in a preseason game the story pointed out. It was a workmanlike, if limited, performance, and that was encouraging. He moved the chains on third down, with a Gates-type play we've seldom seen from him. As the story said, Green has a chance to open some eyes as he fills in for Gates for the first four games. The team will likely include Gates back in the offense upon his return, but this is a big chance for Green to prove he's at least in the conversation as future TE1 for the Bolts.
Tony Romo is expected to get his first action, albeit briefly, but this game will mean more for the running backs: Joseph Randle, Darren McFadden and Lance Dunbar. None played last week against the San Diego Chargers and all three will be available Sunday.
Nobody will run away with the job, but they can at least ease the fears some have about the position group with a positive showing, the story said. But, fantasy owners will hopefully be able to get a look into the future in terms of which one has the most value for their team. The odds-on favorite is Joseph Randle, of course, but all three are expected to have some role in the offense.
Chris Johnson wasn’t able to stay healthy for long in Arizona.
Johnson, the running back signed by the Cardinals last week, did not play in last night’s preseason game against the Chargers even though the Cardinals had initially planned to get him at least a few carries. Afterward, coach Bruce Arians explained that Johnson pulled a hamstring in Thursday’s practice and will be out for a week or two.
Johnson has been very healthy in his NFL career: The only game he’s ever missed was a meaningless Week 17 game. The Cardinals will try to get him healthy in time for Week One, when they hope he looks like the Chris Johnson of old.
If he’s out two weeks, that means he won’t play at all for the Cardinals, and his first live action in their offense wouldn’t come until the regular season. HC Bruce Arians said about rookie David Johnson that he wouldn't play in the season without the proper time in camp, so it remains to be seen how the team treats CJ2K. The Cards RBs have been banged up all camp and the hope was CJ2K would add some stability.
It’s the same injury that Randle suffered in practice last week, keeping him out of the preseason opening loss against the San Diego Chargers.
“It’s the same thing I had earlier,” Randle said. “It flared up on me again. We will will get it right. I always want to be out there with my teammates. I can only do what I can do. It’s just something we have to keep fighting through.”
We'd prefer he be at practice and getting reps as the team's lead back, but this injury on its own isn't too worrisome. He should be fine by Week 1, probably sooner.