The tight ends have returned to Denver — even if they never left.
“Peyton always knew where he wanted to go, based on coverage,” said Virgil Green, a sixth-year tight end who became so dispensable last season, the Broncos made him a fullback. “This a tight end-friendly offense,” Green said Thursday at Dove Valley. “This year, the quarterbacks we have, they’re expected to read coverage more and go to the open guy. I think tight ends should be a little more successful than years past.”
If that's the case, you might find some late-round gold at the position in Denver. Virgil Green is ranked just 32nd on our TE list and only getting late round attention. Garrett Graham is next up on the depth chart. While there are plenty of more proven options out there right now, this is certainly something to keep an eye on if you're looking for value, especially in deeper leagues.
QB Jay Cutler and White spent time together in the offseason, away from football, and one result is the receiver understanding what his quarterback needs and demands.
White was practicing late last season before the Bears opted to leave him shut down after their season. The lost season set him behind on his learning curve, particularly given his relative inexperience playing at the highest level at West Virginia. But the Bears also gave White’s injury time to heal rather than rush their No. 7-overall draft choice onto the field. The time off allowed more than just the stress-fracture surgery to mend. It's a good sign for the Bears offense that White is looking impressive early on.
The official launch of the Ladarius Era has been delayed. Via multiple reports, Green has been placed on the Steelers Physically Unable to Perform list, with an ankle injury. He had offseason surgery on that ankle.
With Heath Miller retired, the Steelers need a competent tight end to enhance their offense. They signed Ladarius Green to be that guy, the story pointed out. Of course, Green will miss at least some valuable time trying to find some chemistry in the Steelers offense. We see him as having TE1 potential and rank him eighth at the position.
Bell told the media Thursday he plans to appeal the suspension "sometime in August" and that he was notified of a missed test and his suspension in March, according to Chris Adamski of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Steelers coach Mike Tomlin confirmed that Bell's appeal will not be heard until the second week of August.
"I don't want to be a distraction to my teammates or to Steelers Nation," Bell added. "So I'm just going to keep moving forward and let everything handle itself."
The appeals process is bound to interrupt Bell's rehab from his season-ending knee injury, but the running back added he was confident that he'd be ready for the start of the season, whether or not he's suspended. There have been lots of reports about why Bell missed the test, one of which he changed his cell number.
"We’re going to be very, very careful with those guys," Schneider said. "Quite honestly, right now we’re still trying to decide if we’re going to place them on PUP. If we’re not, we’re just going to be very careful with them. We’re still working through that with our medical staff, our sports science staff."
Schneider added that both players are on track to be ready for the regular season.
Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reports there's "a strong sense" the LeVeon Bell suspension will stand, adding that "none in the know believes Bell has a strong chance to win the appeal."
Per Stan Savran of Pittsburgh's 970 ESPN radio, Bell claims he changed his cell phone number and thus wasn't notified of when he was to be tested. However, it's unclear if that defense would be sufficient. Florio suggests Bell might be required to notify the league of any change in contact info, which would put the responsibility back on him.
ESPN's John Clayton noted Bell has a chance to get out of the suspension if the drug tester can't "show he made good effort to contact" Bell, but added that it will still be hard to win the appeal. From a fantasy standpoint, Bell owners will want to make sure they have DeAngelo Williams.
The Colts have talent at their skill positions, but they also have depth concerns.
“We have three guys at wide receiver [who] we know about and then we have a bunch of guys [who] have talent, can run, have height, weight and speed and can catch and do all those things, but they have to go do it now,” coach Chuck Pagano said. “Those guys are all going to compete for that spot, and that’s what training camp is all about. We’ve got talent, we’ve got guys that are capable, they are just unproven.”
The Colts have nine receivers on their roster not with the last name T.Y. Hilton, Phillip Dorsett or Donte Moncrief. Brian Tyms and Josh Boyce are the only receivers who have a reception in the NFL. The Colts have routinely kept around five receivers during the regular season.
There's no clear-cut favorite on who Frank Gore's backup is even though the team is high on undrafted free agent Josh Ferguson out of Illinois. Gore had 227 more carries than his next closest teammate last season.
The Colts are just fine with their starting skill spots, but any kind of injury the team will need to sort out who is up next. Whomever wins the jobs could certainly have fantasy potential if there is an injury at some point. The story also mentioned TE, where it's just Jack Doyle and Chase Coffman behind Dwayne Allen.
Jones rested for most of practice Thursday after getting banged up during a drill in the earlier portion of practice. He motioned to the sideline to be replaced and appeared to stretch both legs to overcome the pain. It was not considered cramps, Quinn said.
"We just held him out," Quinn said. "He had a little tweak, so we just decided to hold (him). He'll likely be back in there for tomorrow. He could have gone back in today and was asking me to, but I decided not to."
Quinn would not specify what Jones tweaked but said he'll be back on Friday. Jones spent extensive time talking to the athletic performance staff while on the sideline. Late in practice, he put his helmet back on and caught passes from the other receivers, with a member of the performance staff providing resistance as Jones pushed off.
But Cruz isn't out of the woods yet. McAdoo said he wouldn't make a determination on Cruz' status until after Thursday afternoon's conditioning tests.
"We'll find out here in a little bit," McAdoo said during his first press conference of camp on Thursday. "We have the conditioning evaluation. We're going to get a bunch of guys out there, move them around, do football specific movements and see how they recover from that. He looked good today when I saw him."
Cruz is trying to make a comeback after missing most of the past two seasons. The former Pro Bowl receiver missed the entire 2015 season with a torn calf muscle and he was sidelined for the final 10 games of the 2014 season with a torn patella tendon.
The biggest note was a scare late in practice when rookie running back Kenneth Dixon came up gimpy with a knee issue. He caught a pass in the flat and then collided with undrafted rookie linebacker Patrick Onwuasor along the sideline. Dixon got attention from the trainers after the play and then limped off the field into the locker room.
Harbaugh calmed any concerns with Dixon’s knee issue after practice when he said the rookie “has just a slight, slight thing with the knee,” and he could return to practice as early as Friday.
Third-year running back Lorenzo Taliaferro, however, might be sidelined for longer. After having his first two seasons ended by Lisfranc foot issues, the Ravens put him on the physically unable to perform list because Harbaugh said, “he’s not quite there yet as far as coming out and practicing.”
An update on Dixon says he's day-to-day with a MCL strain. Ironically, we had a news story just today about Justin Forsett wanting a bulk of the work but some think Dixon is a candidate to get a lot of touches as the Ravens like his skill set. Fortunately his knee issue seems to be a minor one.
Thursday, July 28, 2016, 2:22pm
The Bengals reported to Paul Brown Stadium Thursday and as five-time Pro Bowl wide receiver A.J. Green began his sixth training camp without offseason workout partner Calvin Johnson in the league, he says he’s one of a group of about five vying to replace Johnson as the NFL’s best wide receiver.
Green says he’s not surprised Johnson retired after just nine seasons in the league at age 30. After all, he told Green a couple of offseasons ago that he only had about two or three years left in him.
And there are other concerns. Green and wife Miranda are expecting their first child Sept. 30, a son named Easton Ace Green.
Green, who turns 28 Sunday, said he’d like to play anywhere between 11-15 seasons if he’s still performing at a top level, the story said.
Thursday, July 28, 2016, 1:26pm
Last season, the Vikings celebrated their first NFC North title since 2009. Now, Minny is rewarding the head coach responsible for the team accomplishing the feat.
The Vikings announced Thursday that they have extended the contract of Mike Zimmer.
Zimmer has racked up an 18-14 record in his first two years coaching in Minnesota, including a playoff appearance last season.
"Mike has instilled a very positive atmosphere over the past three years and our players have thrived under his tutelage and leadership," Vikings owner Zygi Wolf said in a statement. "His focus on helping our players develop and maximize potential, individually and collectively, is critical for our current and future success. We believe the continuity established with Mike leading our football team is a very positive step for our organization."
The Browns haven’t named their starting quarterback for the 2016 season, but it doesn’t sound like coach Hue Jackson plans to extend the competition too deep into August.
During a press conference on Thursday, Jackson said that “whoever earns the job is going to earn it on the field” and suggested that they’ll do it pretty soon.
“It’s going to show itself really quickly and it would definitely be before we play our first preseason game,” Jackson said.
Every indication is it will be Robert Griffin III who starts, and those on the Browns beat feel the same. We had a recent news story that Griffin will take 4-of-5 snaps with the first team in practice. The addition of Josh Gordon will help RGIII, but Gordon will miss a few weeks with an injury as well as the first four games of the season.
The public message from Browns coach Hue Jackson and executive vice president of football operations Sashi Brown was that RB Isaiah Crowell is taking necessary steps to make up for his Twitter mistake.
“It starts with grave disappointment in the action in the first place,” Brown said. “But to his credit, [after it happened] he called both Hue and I on his own to be accountable. Obviously, it was a huge mistake but he has taken steps at least at the outset that he should.”
Crowell quickly issued a formal apology, and attended the funeral of one of the police officers killed in Dallas earlier this month and pledged his first game check to the Dallas fallen officers’ fund, the story said. He'll likely feel some backlash, but still looks poised for a Jeremy Hill-like role in what could be a run-heavy Browns offense.
"What's that?" Forsett said, per ESPN's Jamison Hensley.
Forsett's comedy bit oozed with sarcasm, but it underscores the idea that the career journeyman wants to carry the load.
One thing Forsett has in his favor is that the running game did struggle last season, especially when he was out of the lineup. On the balance, the Ravens fell to 1,478 total rushing yards in 2015, down from 2,019 in 2015.
But the 30-year-old back himself doesn't exactly have a history of consistent success. His first season in Baltimore in 2014 was a Pro Bowl year, but it was also his first with more than 120 carries and more than 650 yards.
Forsett may want to carry the load, but early indications are this will be a committee. The story mentioned NFL Media's Mike Garafolo noted rookie Kenneth Dixon has a "legitimate shot" to earn snaps early in the season. Dixon is said to have shiftiness and one-cut explosiveness and is a reliable pass-catching out of the backfield.