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Browns very likely to draft a QB
Tuesday, January 21, 2014, 10:56am
Browns QB Brian Hoyer’s return from October ACL surgery is planned for April. He may enter the offseason as the starter. The odd men out will be Brandon Weeden and Jason Campbell. Weeden has a $920,000 guarantee for 2014, which makes a trade unlikely and a release probable. Campbell’s 45 percent play time triggered a $1 million escalator to his 2014 base salary. That brings his 2014 salary to $3.25 million – surely too high for a backup who complained about cold weather and admitted he pressed over the final four losses.
This underlines just how undependable the Browns QB situation was in 2013. It's amazing that Josh Gordon was able to do what he did given all the changes at the position. He and the entire Browns offense would benefit from some stability under center. Unfortunately, the organization let OC Norv Turner go after only one season. The Browns are a near shoo-in to pick a QB early in this year's draft.
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Monday, January 20, 2014, 7:32pm
HC Doug Marrone said today he would like to add a quarterbacks coach to his staff of offensive assistants.
The QB coach would be a new addition to the staff. Offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett doubled as the QB coach during the 2013 season. But Marrone said that was a lot to put on Hackett's plate, especially when injuries hit the QB position.
"We’re looking at quarterback coaches," Marrone said. "One of the things that happened when we had those injuries was trying to get three quarterbacks ready. And having just Nathaniel was a very difficult situation, one that we didn’t foresee, but it was the situation we were in. We have a young stable of quarterbacks right now. We want to make sure we add people."
"Not that Nathaniel can’t handle it," Marrone said. "But we want to make sure his role as a leader and coordinator is to make sure everything’s going right. When you put three quarterbacks that are playing only one game of experience between the three, that’s not a situation you would wish on even your enemies in this profession."
Tony Romo 'doing well' after back surgery
Monday, January 20, 2014, 7:29pm
Gruden: "I'm going to let [RG3] be himself."
Monday, January 20, 2014, 1:09pm
“I worked with Andy Dalton for three years in Cincinnati, and built a foundation of concepts and protections that I think worked well with him,” Gruden said. “With Robert, we’ll obviously use his skill set differently. When it comes to the quarterback position, my job is to make him comfortable and productive. I’m not going to try to turn RG3 into Andy Dalton or Drew Brees. He isn’t them. They’re not him. I would be foolish to try to turn RG3 into a pocket passer. It would be foolish. The way he is as a runner, we have to take advantage of that. He strikes fear into defensive coordinators when he runs outside. I’m going to let him be himself.”
Griffin's fantasy value will be a hotly debated topic heading into 2014 drafts. On a per game basis he was the #3 QB in his rookie season, but finished #17 in the same category in 2013. If he's healthy, he should be a fantasy QB1.
Lions to clean up Matthew Stafford's footwork
Monday, January 20, 2014, 1:01pm
QB Matthew Stafford reached his zenith in 2011, with a 41-touchdown, 5,038-yard season, but he’s been only a 59-percent passer in the two seasons since—with some great days, but also some inconsistent ones.
Said new HC Jim Caldwell: “I’ve watched every throw Matthew made last season, because when I came here and met with him, I wanted to have some familiarity with him. We didn’t go through film together, but we talked about I saw, and I listened to him, and it was very beneficial. We have used a set of drills in coaching over the years that I think has added some consistency to all the quarterbacks we’ve coached. The great majority of poor throws—people look at the arm, and that’s important obviously, but I think footwork is the key. I can pull up any gamefilm and show you how our footwork drills help you. In a nutshell, the feet and eyes work together. If I’m throwing in a particular direction, my footwork is pointing in the same direction—directly at the target. We’ll work on it with Matthew, and he will do them flawlessly.”
Stafford's various release points have been a point of comedy in football circles, but it sounds like Caldwell is intent on cleaning up his QB's footwork at the very least. It's safe to say that Stafford has regressed from his 5,038-yard, 40-TD season in 2011.
Knowshon Moreno, Percy Harvin expected to play
Monday, January 20, 2014, 12:53pm
The early word on Broncos running back Knowshon Moreno (ribs) and cornerback Tony Carter (arm/concussion) is that both should be back and ready to play. X-rays revealed no fractures for Moreno. There's always more to the story with rib injuries than just bone. Still, indications are he'll be suited up for the biggest game he's ever played in his home state — or anywhere, for that matter.
Seahawks wide receiver Percy Harvin never really had a shot to play in the NFC Championship Game after leaving twice in the divisional-round victory over the New Orleans Saints. The Seahawks were going to be careful with Harvin, even if his symptoms were mild. They expect him to play in the Super Bowl, sources have told FOX Sports. And while Seattle has gotten to this point without him, it certainly doesn't hurt to have that added dimension on offense.
It's two weeks until Super Bowl XLVII, so there should be plenty of time for Moreno's ribs to heal and for Harvin to navigate the NFL's concussion protocol.
Sunday, January 19, 2014, 5:20pm
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Adrian Peterson may need groin surgery
Sunday, January 19, 2014, 10:33am
Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson is scheduled to visit Philadelphia-based specialist Dr. William Meyers next week to evaluate his troublesome groin and decide if surgery is needed, a person with knowledge of the situation told USA TODAY Sports on Saturday.
This probably isn't a huge concern heading into the 2014 season, but it's a reminder that Peterson is turning 29 this March and is no spring chicken. He should excel in new OC Norv Turner's offense, but may only have 1-2 years of peak performance remaining.
Vikings hire Norv Turner as OC
Sunday, January 19, 2014, 7:31am
Norv Turner has agreed to become the Minnesota Vikings' next offensive coordinator, a league source confirmed to ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.
The move had been widely anticipated.
The well-traveled Turner served as offensive coordinator with Cleveland for one season, following six seasons as the San Diego Chargers' head coach.
This looks like a very good hire for the Vikings. Turner has had all sorts of success as an OC. The future looks bright for Kyle Rudolph and Cordarrelle Patterson, provided the team can get their QB situation figured out. Turner loves to feature the tight end position (i.e. Jordan Cameron) and last season Josh Gordon thrived under Turner's guidance.
Redskins running game will be 'very similar'
Saturday, January 18, 2014, 4:22pm
The Redskins obviously haven’t had enough time to put together their playbook -- they'll start going heavy on it after the coaching staff is finalized (the goal, HC Jay Gruden said, is to have that happen by early next week). But as they continue to discuss how the scheme will look, and the terminology that will be involved, it won’t just be a duplicate of what Gruden did as the offensive coordinator in Cincinnati.
“I don’t think it will change a lot,” new Redskins offensive coordinator Sean McVay said. “The foundation and base principles will remain the same. Jay does a great job of adjusting to his players. He doesn’t make the player adjust to his scheme.”
That means bootlegs, or keepers, and the outside-zone run game that benefited running back Alfred Morris. He rushed for 2,888 yards in his first two seasons under Shanahan – the Redskins ranked third in yards per carry this season and second in 2012. He’ll continue to be a big part of the offense.
“He’ll be the same guy,” McVay said. “The run game will be very similar.”
This bodes well for Alfred Morris, who needs a big workload in the running game to be a strong fantasy play since he doesn't do a lot in the passing game.
Chargers TE coach Jason Michael named Titans OC
Saturday, January 18, 2014, 4:17pm
New Titans coach Ken Whisenhunt has named Jason Michael offensive coordinator. Michael was previously the Chargers' tight ends coach, where Whisenhunt served as offensive coordinator during the 2013 season.
“Jason really impresses me with his knowledge of the run and pass game and he was a big part of putting together our plans last year in San Diego,” Whisenhunt said, according to the team's website. “He is very familiar with the offensive system that we want to implement here, which includes bits and pieces from a number of offensive systems. He is intelligent and a good communicator. He was responsible for presenting a couple of game-plan packages to our offense each week and he was impressive.”
The Chargers offense may take a hit with the loss of both Whisenhunt and Michael.
Titans hire Ray Horton as DC
Saturday, January 18, 2014, 4:15pm
Ray Horton is leaving Cleveland for Tennessee.
Horton has accepted the Titans’ defensive coordinator job, Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com reports. As we noted earlier this week, Horton was believed to be new Titans coach Ken Whisenhunt’s top choice. Horton was also Whisenhunt’s defensive coordinator in Arizona in 2011 and 2012.
The 53-year-old Horton has long been a well-regarded defensive coordinator, as well as a head-coaching candidate.
This is a good hire for the Titans, who were up and down defensively this season. They will be a streaming candidate next season given the right matchup.