Tuesday, August 4, 2015, 11:25am
The good news for Rams RB Tre Mason is that he's now in his second season and doesn't have nearly as much to learn before he can make an impact. When Mason arrived in St. Louis, he was ready as a runner but not much else. He had little experience picking up the blitz and hadn't had many opportunities to run pass routes.
Rams coach Jeff Fisher consistently talks about the need for young running backs to handle those details before being tossed into the mix. That's why Mason didn't really become a factor until after the first quarter of the season.
"As we’ve talked about before, Tre was somewhat of a slow starter last year," Fisher said. "He got going. Playing without the ball is really important. Once we felt comfortable with where he was, we cut him loose and he was really productive for us."
The story added in each of the past two seasons, the Rams have had a rookie lead the team in rushing in Zac Stacy and Mason. Both players took about four weeks to get up to speed before entering the lineup. The same could be true of Todd Gurley, who not only has to get caught up from the mental side but is still recovering from his knee injury. That's why Mason wants to be sure to make an impact early on, however, even the author said the job will likely eventually go to Gurley. Mason's pass blocking may get him on the field as a third down back which means he could end up with some value in PPR leagues.
Quick was posting solid WR3 numbers in both standard and PPR formats before his shoulder injury in Week 8. He's currently the 50th WR off the board at the end of the 10th round. The arrival of Nick Foles should be good for his prospects in 2015. The sooner he's practicing fully, the better, though he'll likely be eased in at the start of camp.
Even with Todd Gurley on the active roster, and potentially being available for opening day, the last thing the Rams want to do is rush him back. With that in mind Tre Mason, impressive as a rookie a year ago, is still expected to get the lion’s share of the carries early in the season. Benny Cunningham has proven to be a capable rotation player and third-down back.
Mason was the #15 RB in PPR formats from Week 7 on, once he started to see heavy touches. Unfortunately for his fantasy value, the Rams drafted Gurley with the #10 overall pick, so Mason is not likely to hold onto the starting job for long. His fantasy stock will drop on the news that Gurley avoided PUP, so a Gurley/Mason combo looks like a good option on draft day for those not afraid for some uncertainty early in the season.
Even if Gurley is full go come Week 1, Mason will likely still play a significant role within the offense. The Auburn product led the Rams with 765 yards rushing in 2014 -- a total that was second among all NFL rookies.
With the news breaking today that Gurley will be on the active roster for the start of camp, and considering the pick the team spent on him, one would think Gurley gets the starting nod unless he loses the battle in camp. But the Rams site isn't ruling out the possibility the team brings Gurley slowly along and perhaps sticks with Mason at least to start to season. Either way, we see the eventual value in Gurley over Mason. The Rams do want to be a run-first team so there still could be some value in owning Mason in deeper formats.
Apparently, there will be no need.
According to Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Gurley passed his conditioning test Tuesday — “impressively” — and will begin camp on the active roster.
As recently as last week, there were reports that the Rams were content to ease Gurley into things after he tore his ACL last November, which allowed them to get him with the 10th pick in the draft, the story said, especially being fairly deep with Tre Mason, Benny Cunningham and Isaiah Pead. But this is a good sign for potential owners that he may not miss time in camp and should start the season at full speed. The Rams want to be a run-first offense and it looks like Gurley is going to be a huge part of that.
Tuesday, July 28, 2015, 11:56am
When it comes to Rams receivers, Kenny Britt isn't the only one with something to prove. Brian Quick, who flashed some promise in the first half of 2014, is recovering from shoulder surgery that prevented him from enjoying a potential breakout season. Quick figures to be the other starter opposite Britt on the outside if and when he returns to full strength.
Beyond that duo, the Rams have a pair of former West Virginia Mountaineers still looking to break out in Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey. That pair will likely battle for playing time in the slot. Chris Givens, who might be in his final go-around with the team if he's unable to offer more in 2015, projects as the fifth wideout.
While it's not an impressive group in terms of potential fantasy numbers and rankings, the team hopes having stability at QB with Nick Foles will help the passing game. There were also heavy investments made in the offensive line - and at running back with draft pick Todd Gurley. As a result, the story said, the Rams believe this is the year for at least one or two of the wideouts they've been so patient with to emerge. The offense figures to be run-first, so the Rams don't need a wideout to post stud numbers, the team instead needs receivers to make big plays when presented with an opportunity.
There are a couple schools of thought on how a year off might affect a 30-year-old running back.
Some people believe that the Vikings Adrian Peterson - held out of game action since Week 2 of last year - could be fresher this season because he didn't have the normal wear and tear associated with the NFL's 16-game schedule.
Others, who believe Peterson has some catching up to do after missing most of the first year in a new offensive system, would find themselves at odds with second-year offensive coordinator Norv Turner.
Peterson, Turner contends, has only minor adjustments to get up to speed with Turner's offensive playbook. If that's true, it shouldn't be terribly surprising, considering Peterson was there for the preseason last year as the team installed plays and concepts, and he also carried a big load in the team's Week 1 win in St. Louis against the Rams.
The Vikings don't put the pads on until Tuesday, but if walk-throughs and practices in shorts are any indication, Turner says Peterson is reintegrating just fine.
"When he comes out here and I watch him he's way ahead of everybody else," Turner said.
"This scheme thing is, to me, it's overrated," he added, in response to a question about whether Peterson has any catching up to do with the playbook. "I know it's different for Adrian, so there are some things that caught him off guard, but he is very comfortable with what we're doing. He and [running backs coach] Kirby Wilson spent a lot of extra time getting him back caught up on what things are different."
The story pointed out that one of the great mysteries about the Vikings entering this year's training camp would be Peterson's readiness to once again be featured in the offense. Many have wondered how the superstar running back will be used, considering the Vikings now have a quarterback they know they can trust in a pass-happy league, the story said. But it sounds like Peterson is doing just fine in learning the system and will be ready to take on a full load. Peterson, of course, is our top-rated RB and our thinking is he bounces back just fine. So far, he's being selected atop of many fantasy drafts this season.
Rams RB Todd Gurley is expected to begin training camp on the non-football injury list.
That's not a surprise for anyone who has been paying attention, and it's not at all a sign of a setback in his recovery from a torn left ACL. Landing on the NFI list means the Rams can activate him whenever they see fit with no real restrictions. In other words, when they deem Gurley healthy, he can return to the field.
Gurley said at the end of organized team activities that he hopes to do some individual drills in the early parts of camp and ease his way into full team drills after that. Those still seem like possible goals, and if he stays on that track he could still theoretically be ready for the start of the season. The Rams don't intend to rush him back, but predictions of holding him out until after the bye week are too far flung.
Barring a setback, Gurley will likely return sooner than later. When he does, it's safe to assume Gurley will quickly become a focal point of the offense.
Gurley ranks 25th on our RB list putting him as a low-end RB2 already. He could climb the list a bit, assuming he shows signs of getting healthier as camp progresses. The story assumes he will be a big part of the team's rushing attack, and considering where he was drafted, we agree. That spells bad news for Tre Mason owners of a year ago who thought they found a pretty good RB option. We project Gurley for just over 200 rushes with Mason getting about 100.
Monday, July 27, 2015, 9:50am
When Eagles QB Sam Bradford returns in training camp and preseason, pay attention to his accuracy. Of the skills that HC Chip Kelly most values in a quarterback, he has made clear that accuracy is atop the list.
“I think in this league, getting someone who can throw it,” Kelly said. “You’d better have repetitive accuracy, you’d better have someone that can win a game throwing the football. And that’s what we’re looking for.”
It’s difficult to believe there’s truly a quarterback competition if Bradford is healthy, especially because the Eagles sacrificed Nick Foles and a second-round pick to acquire Bradford. Plus, they are paying Bradford almost $13 million. Yet Kelly stuck to his decree about competition.
“You’ve still have to go out and earn your jobs,” Kelly said. “If Sam throws 14 interceptions and Mark throws 14 touchdowns I can’t sit there and tell the team that Sam’s going to start and Mark’s not going to start. It doesn’t work that way."
“We’d like to get a quarterback in here that we can hang our hat on and build the rest of the team around,” Kelly said.
The story said it’s not lost on Kelly that the Eagles will have their third opening-day starting quarterback this season, and that Kelly has yet to find the franchise quarterback that the best teams have. The story also said that Kelly believes Bradford can be that franchise QB, and said there's a high percentage shot he'll bounce back from his ACL injury. Those who cover the team aren't buying there's a QB competition, and the only way we'll see Mark Sanchez is if Bradford isn't ready. Bradford is looking like a possible low-risk, high-reward QB option this year. Given the high number of plays the offense likes to run, and the QBs who have succeeded in the offense (Mike Vick, Nick Foles and Sanchez) thus far under Kelly, Bradford certainly has a chance to produce solid, fantasy numbers.
NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Tuesday that Rams RB Todd Gurley is expected to be on Non-Football Injury list to start training camp, according to sources informed of his situation. Rapoport notes that this was the team's plan when the drafted him, and they can take him off the list whenever he is fully ready.
There have been no reports about a setback with Gurley's knee throughout the offseason. The team was noncommittal about Gurley being ready for camp, but coach Jeff Fisher did say in "you could probably assume" Gurley will play sooner than you think.
Gurley is widely considered to be the best running back in the 2015 draft class, but he’s recovering from a November ACL tear. He’ll be nine months into his recovery in August, so his early season availability is unknown. Typically, an athlete can return to their sport six months after surgery, but that doesn’t mean they’ll be game-ready. Prospective owners should draft Tre Mason if possible as insurance. When Gurley returns, he should provide high end RB2 numbers once he begins to get starter’s touches.
Tuesday, July 7, 2015, 12:31pm
Heading toward training camp at the end of this month, there is no shortage of questions about the St. Louis Rams' offensive line. At least outside the building.
But within the walls of Rams Park, there seems to be plenty of confidence that a group with only one established and experienced starter (left guard Rodger Saffold) will be just fine by the time the real games start in September.
“They’re going to be ready to go, so that’s not going to be an issue," Rams head coach Jeff Fisher said.
It's a lot of belief for a unit that currently figures to have two rookies starting on the right side and a center with somewhere between zero and four NFL starts to his name. The story pointed out it's faith based solely on what took place in organized team activities, so projected rookie starters Jamon Brown and Rob Havenstein have never so much as put pads on in the NFL. There was a noticeable difference in Nick Foles last year with the Eagles when his line became banged up, so it's something to keep an eye on.
Monday, July 6, 2015, 9:35am
It's fair to say that Eagles head coach Chip Kelly pulled the rip cord on the entire quarterback position this offseason.
Not only did Kelly trade Nick Foles and a second-round draft pick to the St. Louis Rams in exchange for Sam Bradford and a draft choice, but Kelly also installed Ryan Day as the third quarterback's coach the third-year head coach will work with in the NFL.
Day quarterbacked Kelly's offense when he was the signal caller at the University of New Hampshire and Kelly called the plays as the Wildcats' offensive coordinator. He knows how to thrive in the uptempo scheme.
Throughout the spring, QB Sam Bradford shined, albeit in a limited role while still recovering from his twice-torn ACL. Bradford has yet to throw 11 on 11 in practice, but the target for that next step appears to have been training camp, all along.
Bradford ran a similar offense at Oklahoma so there are some high hopes for Bradford as an Eagles this year. Staying on the field, however, will obviously be the key. Right now Bradford has QB2 value, but that could climb if he stays healthy heading into and through camp. We've seen Nick Foles and Mark Sanchez put up solid fantasy numbers in this offense and a healthy Bradford should be able to do the same.
"That is definitely a goal that I'm shooting for," Gurley told NFL Media's Tiffany Blackmon from the NFL Rookie Symposium Wednesday night. "Just to be able to get out there and do at least some individual stuff. It's looking pretty realistic. This month I'll be in St. Louis rehabbing, so hopefully I can aim for (training camp)."
The Rams will bring the No. 10 overall pick along slowly. But if he's healthy come the start of September, Gurley could be a huge part of an offense that has deep question marks in the passing game. Teaming Gurley's power with the likes of Tre Mason in the Rams backfield could provide a potent combo for a run-heavy team that relies on its defense to win games.
Gurley is widely considered to be the best running back in the 2015 draft class, but he’s recovering from a November ACL tear. He’ll be nine months into his recovery in August, so his early season availability is unknown. Typically, an athlete can return to their sport six months after surgery, but that doesn’t mean they’ll be game-ready. Prospective owners should draft Tre Mason if possible as insurance. When Gurley returns, he should provide high end RB2 numbers if he begins to get starter’s touches.
"Tavon Austin's had a great offseason," new Rams OC Frank Cignetti said, via the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "It starts in the classroom. He's learning. He's paying attention. He's bringing it to the practice field.
"You just see it from his route running. What a difference. His effort, his attention to details. Every day out there, the guy's made plays."
Whether it's because paint-by-numbers former offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer couldn't maximize the receiver/running back hybrid's talents or because Austin lacks any semblance of tackle-breaking power, the development simply hasn't been there.
It's difficult to see Austin making much of a fantasy impact unless Cignetti's able to figure out a way to maximize his skill set.
“It’s hard to say right now. I can’t predict that,” Fisher said Tuesday. “I know he’s doing well. He had a day off today because he’s doing so well. He’ll rehab with us during the break. ... We’re just going to see how he progresses. ... If he’s not PUP-ed (physically unable to perform), then I think you could probably assume that he’s going to play sooner than you think.”
Gurley is widely considered to be the best running back in the 2015 draft class, but he’s recovering from a November ACL tear. He’ll be nine months into his recovery in August, so his early season availability is unknown. Prospective owners should draft Tre Mason if possible as insurance. When Gurley returns, he should provide high end RB2 numbers if he begins to get starter’s touches.
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