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Rob Gronkowski (ACL) on track in his recovery
Friday, April 11, 2014, 9:09pm
Gronkowski has been hugely productive when healthy, but his health is a major concern heading into 2014. He reportedly had surgery on Jan. 9 to reconstruct a torn ACL. He was injured on Dec. 8, and we’re not sure why he waited a month to have the surgery. Regardless, it typically takes a full year to recover, though Adrian Peterson and Robert Griffin III have made quicker returns (with varying success). Gronkowski is tentatively expected to be ready for the start of the season, but don’t be surprised we don’t know his status until deep into August or even early September. This makes him a major risk in 2014 fantasy drafts. The ACL surgery was the eighth (known) surgery of his career.
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Friday, April 11, 2014, 9:08pm
Robert Griffin III's mechanics are back on point after his footwork lapsed during a miserable 2013 season that ended with the Washington Redskins star quarterback's benching the final five games by fired coach Mike Shanahan.
Quarterback guru Terry Shea, who tutored Griffin prior to the 2012 scouting combine and during the run-up to the draft, spent six days recalibrating RG3's footwork and release point the last week of March in Arizona.
It isn't coincidence that without his bothersome knee brace, Griffin again looks the gifted player who took the league by 2012 offensive rookie of the year storm.
Andre Roberts resigned to WR3 role
Friday, April 11, 2014, 10:43am
When he signed with Washington, Andre Roberts envisioned a role in which he’d play inside and outside, being a second option after Pierre Garcon. Of course, that was before the Redskins signed receiver DeSean Jackson.
“Well, I envisioned one thing and then we signed DeSean Jackson,” Roberts said on ESPN 980's "Inside the Locker Room" Thursday. “So I haven’t really thought too much.”
“That’s how the league is, that’s how the league works,” Roberts said. “Going into my situation, I wanted to be the No. 2 receiver. But I still don’t how it’s going to work out. Obviously, when you look at how much money is being made each guy, you’d think that’s going to be [the] No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3.”
Before the Jackson signing, Roberts was looking like a nice sleeper candidate as the Redskins' WR2, but now he'll be relegated to WR3 snaps and targets. He's basically in the same situation as Arizona, though at least he's getting paid.
Eli Manning to have scope on ankle
Thursday, April 10, 2014, 3:05pm
The procedure, a debridement of the ankle, will be performed by foot and ankle specialist Dr. Robert Anderson in Charlotte, N.C.
Manning suffered a high left ankle sprain in the Giants’ 2013 season finale against Washington and had been rehabbing the injury since.
“I went through the recovery and rehab after suffering the sprain,” said Manning. “I was still experiencing some discomfort as I began my normal offseason preparation, and after consultation, we felt the right thing was to have Dr. Anderson clean out the ankle. The doc tells me I should be running in about six weeks. I’m looking forward to the start of the offseason program on the 21st. I will be in the weight room and in the meeting rooms so we can all learn the new offense. I got some good work in this week at Duke, and I think it’s smart to get this procedure done now so the ankle isn’t an ongoing issue. I’m eager to get to work with our new offensive coaches and system.”
Six weeks puts Manning's return in late May. He should have plenty of time to recover before the start of training camp.
Thursday, April 10, 2014, 3:02pm
Dickson will back up Greg Olsen.
Lack of receiving threat could hinder Carolina rushing game
Thursday, April 10, 2014, 12:00pm
When asked if the lack of receiving weapons puts more pressure on the running game, Williams pointed to general manager Dave Gettleman's office.
"It puts more pressure on the front office because you make these moves, getting rid of our four receivers, but you got to bring in guys," he said. "No slight to Cotchery and Avant that we just signed. I don't know many receivers on other teams, so I'm not saying they're no-name guys, but our guys made their names all by themselves ... I mean, I don't know where we go from there."
Williams also noted that Cam Newton's recent ankle surgery makes the turnover at receiver more troubling because the quarterback won't be able to get his timing down with the new pass-catchers.
"I don't have any concerns so to speak," he said about the offense in the regular season. "I just don't want to see eight, nine guys in the box week in and week out because we're working on our timing."
Newton's stock has taken a hit given the current state of the Carolina receiving corps. The team will need to find 1-2 talented rookies who are ready to contribute immediately.
Reggie Bush is expecting a reduced workload in 2014
Thursday, April 10, 2014, 11:56am
“We had a pretty good rotation going last (season), so, you know, we did some pretty special things with that,” Bush said. “It can only go up from there, even if the workload is less for both of us, that’s only going to help us toward the end of the season, help us to stay healthy and probably play a little bit stronger and better toward the end of the season.”
Last season, both Bush and Joique Bell topped 500 yards in rushing and receiving -- the first time two running backs on the same team accomplished that in the same season. Considering the way the New Orleans offense is run, it could happen again in 2014.
Some of that speculation comes from the New Orleans Saints history. Under Sean Payton -- and this is the offense Lombardi said his attack will be based on -- the Saints used more running backs in varying rushing and route-running situations than the Lions did last season, when the team primarily used Bush and Bell with small doses of then-rookie Theo Riddick.
Last season, no New Orleans running back had more than 150 carries, although four had at least 60. Two, Pierre Thomas and Darren Sproles, had more than 70 catches. That type of breakdown has been typical of a Saints' offense in recent years.
Bush may be overdrafted this year based on last year's numbers. The team re-signed Bell to a long-term deal and intend to use him. Bell may end up being the better value on draft day.
Thursday, April 10, 2014, 11:47am
Gil Brandt of NFL.com sees 49ers RB Marcus Lattimore getting a big role in the team's offense this season: "Lattimore missed the entire 2013 campaign while recovering from a serious knee injury that cut his final college season short -- something the Niners surely expected when they picked him in the fourth round last year. I think San Francisco is about to rewarded for its patience. Lattimore is a tough, one-cut runner with great instincts, exactly the type of power back the 49ers like to run with, in the mold of incumbent starter Frank Gore. I wouldn't be surprised to see Lattimore get some crunch-time carries this season and become the starter by 2015, when Gore is set to hit free agency. Lattimore -- who is a great person, by the way -- has plenty of promise; I think he's an even better running back than Eddie Lacy."
He was considered the most talented RB in the Class of ’13 prior to the dislocated knee he suffered in October of 2012. He’ll be nearly two years removed from the injury at the start of the 2014 season and is expected to push Kendall Hunter (and perhaps a declining Frank Gore) for playing time.
Kenny Stills has 'great speed' and 'lots of upside'
Thursday, April 10, 2014, 11:42am
Gil Brandt of NFL.com thinks that Saints WR Kenny Stills could break out in 2014: "Stills' debut season was one of the biggest surprises for me in 2013. The fifth-round pick made a fine impression as a rookie, averaging 20 yards per catch and playing in all 16 games (making 10 starts). The former Oklahoma standout has great speed -- he really jumps off the line -- and is very smooth, with lots of upside. Stills also has an NFL pedigree, as his father, Ken, and uncle, Gary, both played in the league for five-plus years."
Stills was not dependable enough to start with confidence in 2013, but with Lance Moore out of the way, Stills’s snap rate will likely jump from the 61% he played in his rookie season. He’s bound to improve as a second year receiver and is playing in one of the best pass offenses in the league. There’s a lot to like here.
Jordan Reed could be 'matchup nightmare' for defenses
Thursday, April 10, 2014, 11:40am
Gil Brandt of NFL.com likes what Redskins TE Jordan Reed brings to the table: "Reed burst onto the scene relatively late in 2013, catching nine passes for 134 yards and a touchdown against the Bears in Week 7, and he started just four games before a concussion ended his debut season six games early. But in that brief window, he showed he could be a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses, what with his speed and hands. The former third-round pick looks like a receiver, someone who can catch balls and move the chains -- he reminds me of a young Antonio Gates, though not quite as big. The Florida product is pretty slick and has definite Pro Bowl potential. He had three plays of 20 yards or more, which is pretty good for a tight end, and just three drops in 59 targets."
Reed was on pace for 80-887-5.3 (#7 TE-type numbers) prior to his injury, but didn't even crack the 50% snaps played mark until Week 6. In the five games where he played at least 50% of his team's snaps, he averaged 6.2-76-.40 or #3 TE-type numbers. The main concern with Reed is his injury history, specifically with concussions. According to NBC Washington, Reed suffered two concussions while at Florida. If he can stay healthy, he's a likely top 5 fantasy TE, but that's no sure thing.
Aaron Dobson has some 'special stuff' about him
Thursday, April 10, 2014, 10:55am
WR Aaron Dobson, who led a host of Patriots rookie receivers with 519 yards in 2013, improved greatly before a foot injury put a damper on the end of his season, ultimately leading to surgery in March. The former second-round pick has the quickness to beat press coverage and an ability to make some spectacular catches, despite having relatively small hands. He can make adjustments on the ball and is a good blocker for a receiver. He's got some special stuff about him.
Dobson had some moments in his rookie season — namely the 4-60-1 and 5-130-2 he posted in back to back games against the Dolphins and Steelers — but was hobbled by a foot injury over the second half of the season. If he stays healthy, he'll likely see a lot of playing time and should produce in the Patriots' potent offense. He's currently going at the end of the 11th round and is a nice upside pick at that point in the draft.
Thursday, April 10, 2014, 10:50am
Cardinals OC Harold Goodwin says that the Ted Ginn signing is going to help Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd: "Ted Ginn, speed. Great addition, and it's going to help the overall passing game a lot from a play-action standpoint and a drop-back standpoint. It's going to help Larry (Fitzgerald) and Michael (Floyd)."
Wednesday, April 9, 2014, 6:58pm
Five months later, he was cleared by doctors to rejoin the Detroit Lions for the start of voluntary conditioning this week. And that's huge news for him.
The receiver has missed 16 games through his first two seasons in the league, and the Lions, who once thought Broyles would be a complement to Calvin Johnson, could be looking to revamp their starting lineup.
Broyles figures to serve as the Lions WR3 or WR4 depending on how the depth chart shakes out after the draft.
Bengals want to run the ball more
Wednesday, April 9, 2014, 1:26pm
Hue Jackson is taking over as offensive coordinator after spending the 2013 season coaching Bengals running backs. In 2010, he was the offensive coordinator in Oakland before getting promoted to head coach in '11. The Bengals signed his quarterback from those two teams, Jason Campbell, last month in part to give Andy Dalton a veteran voice at the position that he hasn't really had throughout his career.
"You have to have the threat of running the ball and the threat of being a physical unit in order to last for the duration of the season," Jackson said on the radio interview.
Wednesday, April 9, 2014, 11:21am
Redskins WR DeSean Jackson won't work out with his new team until next week, a team source said. He told coaches before signing that he had a vacation scheduled for this week based on Eagles players not needing to report until April 21.
Wide receivers changing teams usually take a hit in production and that's likely with Jackson given his outstanding season in 2013 and his new role in Washington. We'd like to see him in town building a rapport with Robert Griffin III and new HC Jay Gruden, but it's still early in the offseason.