Thursday, April 9, 2015, 12:12pm
With the Redskins returning a majority of their weapons from the 2014 season, head coach Jay Gruden wants to see the ball spread around more in 2015.
As the Washington Redskins look to build off some of the offense’s successes from last season, head coach Jay Gruden wants to make sure the unit doesn’t become too predictable.
That starts with getting enough weapons involved to keep opposing defenses on their toes.
Yes, both DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon will still get plenty of touches, but some of the team’s role players may see an increase in looks as well during the 2015 season.
“The most important thing with an offense is being able to spread the ball around and get everybody involved,” Gruden said at the NFL Annual Meetings in Phoenix. “I think with Pierre, Andre and Ryan Grant coming back in a second year, Jordan Reed, Niles Paul coming back, good sound running game with Alfred [Morris], Silas [Redd Jr.] and Chris Thompson, I think it’ll benefit everybody.”
Garçon carried the majority of the aerial attack during the 2013 season, recording 68 more receptions than anyone else on the team en route to a single-season franchise record 113 receptions. But Garcon's receptions dipped to 68 last year and the story mentioned the Gruden thinks the team can “get his numbers back up a little bit.” Gruden added that would come with QB stability.
Thursday, April 9, 2015, 10:25am
According to Paul Dehner of the Cincinnati Enquirer, the Bengals are expected to re-sign the veteran running back later today.
The Bengals like Peerman’s ability on special teams, as he has just 64 carries in his five seasons there.
The Steelers will begin the 2015 season without their top running back. The NFL has suspended RB LeVeon Bell for three games without pay for violating its substance-abuse policy, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported.
Bell has appealed the ruling, ESPN reported. The tailback has also been docked a fourth game check by the league, per Schefter.
If the suspension holds, Bell can take part in preseason games and training camp before serving his ban away from the club.
Bell’s suspension stems from a DUI charge last summer. He was sentenced to probation, and the charge, along with a marijuana possession count, can be removed from his record if he completes 15 months of service. His former Steelers teammate, LeGarrette Blount, has garnered a one-game suspension for the incident.
Obviously losing Bell for any stretch is a major blow to the Steelers offense. Bell emerged as one of the game’s star dual threats at the position in 2014, racking up more than 2,000 rushing-receiving yards. Ex-Panthers running back DeAngelo Williams figures to have a bigger role with Bell out of the Pittsburgh lineup to begin next season. This could drop Bell a few slots come draft time, but given his workload and last year's success, he should still be a very desirable draft-day selection.
Thursday, April 9, 2015, 9:08am
The Colts have made it clear, for this offense to truly (consistently) thrive, a more than adequate run game is needed.
Gore can be the lead man in that running attack.
While the Colts won’t need Gore to rack up carrying the ball upwards of 250 times, just an average season from the 10-year pro (by Gore’s standards) would be the best from a Colts running back in a decade.
In the last four years, Gore’s season-high for receptions is just 28 so he could be primarily used on early downs.
The Colts have stated that Gore is capable of being a three-down back but at the age of 32, employing a couple of backs in an offensive game plan would be in the offense’s best interest.
Boom Herron warrants reps in the backfield this season and can definitely provide a change of pace from Gore’s skill set, the story said. It went on to say if Herron improves his pass blocking, he could be a guy the Colts use on third-downs after his torrid postseason catching the ball out of the backfield. Behind Herron is Vick Ballard coming off back-to-back season-ending injuries. Right now from a fantasy perspective, Gore looks like he has some RB2 value but you can probably expect him to give away some work to Herron, while Herron could have deeper-league PPR value.
Wednesday, April 8, 2015, 8:22pm
The emergence of Odell Beckham Jr. as a No. 1 wide receiver in his 2014 rookie season after Cruz went down is one of those reasons. The severity of the injury (torn patellar tendon) from which Cruz is recovering is another. And this recent study by NumberFire, which shows that Cruz's production was already in decline in the two years prior to 2014, offers yet another.
The story goes on to say a lot could still depend on what happens in 2015 - whether or when Cruz recovers, how productive he is in the second year of Ben McAdoo's offense, how he meshes with Beckham and Rueben Randle and Shane Vereen and Larry Donnell and Rashad Jennings and Andre Williams, all of the varied weapons available to the Giants on offense. This decision could be an easy one in either direction next February. But the potential is there for it to remain a tricky one, because of a lot of things that weren't yet factors when he signed that contract just two years ago. The Giants would save only $2.45 million against this year's cap if they cut Cruz now, and they have no reason to do so. But the cap savings jumps to $6.1 million if they cut him next offseason, the story adds.
NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Wednesday that the Jets are signing running back Stevan Ridley to a one-year deal, according to a source close to the situation. Ridley joins the Jets after spending his first four seasons in New England.
Ridley joins a Jets backfield that includes Chris Ivory and Bilal Powell. Ridley's final season with the Patriots ended in October after he tore his ACL and MCL. An opportunity to play in Chan Gailey's offense was a contributing reason to Ridley's decision to choose the Jets, the story said. As the story also points out, Ridley is an established power back who does his best work between the tackles. The same skill-set can be attributed to Ivory, who might find himself on shaky footing under a new regime in New York. The Jets could still use a home-run hitter type back -- if they grab one in the draft, Ivory might be the odd-man out. Of course, Ridley has had ball-security issues throughout his career but has proved to be an effective fantasy back, and certainly has some potential with the Jets, but will likely have his value capped by the other Jet backs.
Wednesday, April 8, 2015, 11:45am
Williams was partly victimized by an offensive line that lost way too many battles at the line of scrimmage, failing to open up holes long enough for Williams to exploit. Only one starting offensive lineman had a positive run blocking grade last season, per Pro Football Focus (left tackle Will Beatty at +6.1).
Williams also displayed poor vision in finding those holes and cutback lanes. At 5-11, 230 pounds, Williams is a bruising north-south runner with some giddy-up when he gets to the second level, but he had trouble grasping the patience aspect of being an every-down back. Instead of waiting a split-second after he was handed the ball for his blocks to materialize, Williams would often run straight ahead, knocking into the backside of his offensive linemen countless times.
That's not to say that Williams' rookie year was a complete lost cause, the story went on to say. He finally broke the 100-yard mark in Week 14 against the woeful Tennessee Titans, busting out for 131 yards on 24 carries and a touchdown. Two weeks later against a much better St. Louis Rams defense, Williams gashed them for 110 yards on 26 carries. Those performances give reason for optimism that Williams can develop into a nice complementary back in his sophomore season. But with Shane Vereen now in the fold as the likely third down running back behind Jennings, that leaves Williams' role this year up for question.
Williams feels Allen has short-area quickness and will be able to move around more to create miss-matches. The Chargers also signed Stevie Johnson who can play the slot, but Williams thinks Allen benefit the most. Allen started off his sophomore season slowly after being a second-tier fantasy WR last summer, but did show signs of his successful 2013 rookie year later in the 2014 season.
LeGarrette Blount will begin next season on the bench.
A league spokesperson informed NFL Media on Tuesday that the New England Patriots running back has been suspended without pay for the first game of the 2015 regular season for violating the NFL Policy and Program on Substances of Abuse.
The sixth-year back played a core role during New England's Super Bowl run after being released by the Pittsburgh Steelers in mid-November. After running for just 266 yards over 11 games with the Steelers, Blount hammered defenses for 281 yards over New England's final five games of the regular season. He blasted opponents for another 189 yards over three playoff tilts under coach Bill Belichick.
Blount is eligible to participate in all offseason and preseason practices. He'll be permitted to make his season debut Week 2, the story added. It's a brief suspension, but Blount's absence puts New England in a pinch out of the gate. Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen are gone, leaving Jonas Gray, James White, Brandon Bolden and James Develin next up to get work.
Tuesday, April 7, 2015, 6:14pm
The 6-foot-3, 215-pound Ajirotutu has played in 57 games for San Diego and Carolina over the past five years. He has caught a total of 24 passes for 420 yards and three touchdowns.
Monday, April 6, 2015, 8:06pm
During an interview with Rich Gannon on SiriusXM, Warner said he thought Kaepernick would be better served staying in the pocket, rather than allowing his incredible athleticism to become a crutch.
“He can’t do all the running,” Warner said, via Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com. “Now he’s got to become more of a pass-first guy and complement with his athleticism. And he’s never been asked to do that before. And so that’s the process that we kind of went through in the couple of months I was working with him."
Warner spent 10 sessions working with Kaepernick in Arizona this offseason, according to the story, and said he hoped the work helped keep Kaepernick focused on moving the ball downfield. Last year, Kaepernick averaged just 7.0 yards per pass attempt, and the 49ers went out and bought Torrey Smith in free agency in an attempt to stretch the field.
Monday, April 6, 2015, 8:03pm
The Jets quarterback has spent time in California this offseason working out with former major-league pitcher-turned-quarterback tutor Tom House, who also has worked with Drew Brees, Alex Smith, Matt Cassel and former Jet Tim Tebow.
"It wasn't a thing where I needed to change things," said Smith, who is 11-18 in two seasons. "It was basically just going out there to work out and get better, and that's what we accomplished."
"As of right now, I'm just focusing on getting better every single day and relishing every single opportunity that I have," Smith said on a conference call Monday after the team's first day of voluntary workouts. "Today's only Day 1, Phase 1."
Smith said he is "very pleased" with the progress he's made, but it remains to be seen what his new coaching staff thinks of him compared with the other quarterbacks on the roster, the story added. The Jets traded for veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick and the team has hinted they may want to add another quarterback.
Moore caught 33 passes for 618 yards and five touchdowns while also running for one score that season and he followed that up with seven more touchdown catches the next year. He continued to play a prominent role in the offense in 2013, but drifted into an insignificant role with Oakland last season.
Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson was the head coach in Oakland when Moore was a rookie during the 2011 season. The problem for Moore's fantasy potential is he'll be behind A.J. Green, Mohamed Sanu, Marvin Jones and the recently re-signed Brandon Tate, at least heading into OTAs and camp.
Monday, April 6, 2015, 1:07pm
The Cowboys certainly hope that's the case. McFadden averaged less than 3.4 yards a carry the past three seasons with Oakland. He rushed for a total of 1,620 yards, which is less than DeMarco Murray accumulated for the Cowboys last season.
So, what do the Cowboys see in McFadden?
"We liked him a lot coming out of college,'' head coach Jason Garrett said. "He came out in '08. That was the same year we drafted Felix Jones. We spent a lot of time with him and on him. I think he was the fourth player taken in that draft. There was a lot to like about him.
"We are confident in the environment we can create for our guys to bring the best out in him.''
McFadden played in 16 games for the first time in his career last season. He missed 19 games over the previous three seasons and has played in more than 13 games in a season only once in his career. There is no doubt McFadden will be behind a better offensive line this year, but the Cowboys could very well address the position in the draft. There is a lot to settle between now and fantasy draft day in terms of McFadden's possible value.
Monday, April 6, 2015, 10:39am
WR Ryan Broyles led the Lions with 11 catches for 144 yards during the preseason, but was a nonfactor in the regular season. He was active for just five games, when Calvin Johnson was dealing with a high ankle sprain, and caught two passes for 25 yards.
But HC Jim Caldwell says he saw growth from Broyles during practices, and is hopeful he'll play himself into the picture at receiver now that he's finally gone a year without suffering a major injury.
"I think he's a guy you have a lot of respect for because he's had three major injuries, and he's fought his way back from them, and I think that's hard to do," offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi said last week. "Listen, when the guy's been in there, he's been productive. And we're excited to see where he is now after a full season of not coming back from an injury. He's had a full year to be healthy, and we're excited to see what he does here in the offseason and heading into camp."
The story went on to say now that Broyles is healthy and freed from the perpetual rehab process, Detroit is hopeful he can turn his focus to improving his game. But it's not that simple for Broyles. Even when he was healthy last year, he was not a factor because he filled a virtually identical role in the offense as Golden Tate. And Tate is the much better player. So it stands to reason Broyles could be healthier this year, and better this year, and still not be a part of the offense's plans.