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QB Tyler Wilson impresses at rookie camp
Monday, May 13, 2013, 9:42am
Wilson showed off a strong arm, placing balls right on target time and again, be it swing passes, throws over the middle or well downfield.
“Obviously, picking up a new system, there’s a little bit of rust there,” Raiders coach Dennis Allen said of Wilson. “But throwing the ball, he’s done a nice job. I don’t have any question about his arm strength and his accuracy.”
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Titans want to use Shonn Greene like LenDale White
Sunday, May 12, 2013, 10:41am
The Titans have tried to sell RB Chris Johnson on the fact that giving Shonn Greene some of his carries will make Johnson more effective because he will be fresher, and it will extend his career. They are planning on using Johnson and Greene they way they used Johnson and LenDale White together early in Johnson’s career.
It was a 56/44 split between Johnson and White back in 2008, when Johnson carried the ball 251 times for 1,228 yards and nine TDs and White toted it 200 times for 773 yards and 15 TDs. The Titans' rush TDs have fallen off considerably since then, so it sounds as if Greene could take a bite out of Johnson's fantasy value because CJ1K probably won't find the endzone nine times in 2013. He has only scored 10 rushing TDs in the last two seasons, so it's not like Johnson is TD-dependent. The Titans could offset this by using him more as a pass-catcher. He caught a career low 36 passes in 2012 after averaging 48.5 catches in his first four seasons. The Tennessee running game simply isn't as potent as it was in the days of Johnson/White -- the team has averaged 377 carries in the last two seasons after averaging 503.5 carries from 2008 to 2009.
Sunday, May 12, 2013, 10:32am
Last season, the Bengals’ most effective personnel package might have been one tight end, three wide receivers and one back with Mohamed Sanu and Andrew Hawkins complementing A.J. Green and Jermaine Gresham. OC Jay Gruden said the plan is still to feature that package quite a bit, probably in nickel.
“It’s just that our base package will probably feature more two tight ends (including rookie Tyler Eifert), two receivers rather than one tight end two backs,” he said. “We can get everything in our running game in that personnel group. It’s taking out a fullback and putting in a heck of a pass catcher and hopefully a good blocker. We like to mix up our personnel groupings and keep defenses off balance hopefully and be diverse in what we do. Our goal is to get our best players on the field.”
If the Bengals can force defenses to go nickel on first and second down with two tight ends on the field as the Patriots do, running backs BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Giovani Bernard are going to see a lot of daylight. The key is Eifert being multi-dimensional—not just a pass catcher.
“If Tyler is a good blocker, that puts us in a good advantage in the run game,” Gruden said. “That’s what New England does so well. They get teams to match up nickel with them and they can run the ball effectively out of that two tight end set. They have an extra big body blocking. Tyler has a long way to go to prove he’s a good blocker. Training camp will help him. Coach [Jonathan] Hayes has been around tight ends for a long time and is a great tutor for him.”
Eifert is going to have a tough time getting enough snaps to be fantasy relevant as a TE2.
Sunday, May 12, 2013, 10:28am
There are rather lofty expectations for Bills WR Robert Woods, who at one time in the pre-draft process was thought to be a first-round pick. The Bills have said publicly how NFL ready Woods is, which leads some to believe he factors firmly in to the conversation to be the starter opposite Stevie Johnson.
Woods stood out in his first day of work with his overall polish and route-running.
Saturday, May 11, 2013, 11:57am
The Bengals got started on their new tight end-heavy passing game yesterday at the start of a weekend rookie minicamp. A lot of the focus was on Eifert, chosen in the first round to give quarterback Andy Dalton another target.
Eifert lined up in a lot of different spots at Notre Dame. Judging by the first day of practice in Cincinnati, he’s going to be doing the same thing in the NFL.
“A lot of the things I’m learning are a lot of the same plays we had in with two tight ends — move me around in different positions,” Eifert said. “Today I was out in the slot quite a bit. I think I’m picking it up pretty fast.”
Saturday, May 11, 2013, 11:52am
Rookie running back Joseph Randle will be limited in workouts until training camp as he continues to rehab from thumb surgery. Randle, the rookie fifth-round pick who is supposed to come and share the load with starter DeMarco Murray, will be in a cast for six to eight weeks.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said the team knew Randle’s situation when they drafted him. However, he said Randle won’t be completely idle. Randle will do some individual drills and get plenty of mental reps in minicamp and on field team activities leading up to training camp.
“It’s certainly a restriction on his thumb, but I think candidly there are a lot of things we can do out here in OTAs and get that thumb clubbed up and he’ll get a lot of work in, a lot of valuable repetition,” Jones said. And we made that decision when we drafted him. Was he going to be able to be ready and that is mentally as well, prepared, to get out here to camp and not have to make up all the lost time in OTAs? I think he will be.”
Cosell: Montee Ball an "ideal fit" for Broncos
Saturday, May 11, 2013, 11:51am
NFL Films senior producer Greg Cosell believes second-round pick Montee Ball is an "ideal fit" for the Denver Broncos' offense, citing his burst, fluidity and ability to get skinny at point of attack. Although Cosell's one question was if Ball could be a true foundation running back at the NFL level, the former Wisconsin star has landed in the perfect offense. There's no feature back "in a strict sense" in Peyton Manning's offense. Cosell believes Ball already is the best runner on the Broncos' roster.
The main thing standing in the way of Ball and 250+ touches in 2013 is HC John Fox and his propensity to play veterans over rookies when given the option. Ball also needs to prove that he can pass protect, which is crucial when playing next to QB Peyton Manning. He'll be drafted as a fantasy RB2, but could be part of an ugly RBBC if he doesn't break away from the pack early on in training camp.
Eddie Lacy's toe is not fully fused
Friday, May 10, 2013, 9:48am
Two weeks ago, Packers RB Eddie Lacy tripped all the way to the 61st overall pick. One reason was leaked afterward. Before his final year at Alabama, Lacy underwent surgery on the big toe of his right foot. For a bigger, mashing running back whose job is to inflict and absorb punishment, this was a red flag.
Only longevity - or a lack thereof - will ultimately prove who was right on draft day. But this week, both Lacy and his team doctor at Alabama insisted that the toe is not a problem. True, a small piece of bone in Lacy's big toe on his right foot was "fused." He did undergo turf toe surgery before his final season at Alabama. But it wasn't "toe fusion surgery" in the classic sense, his doctor said.
Lacy had surgery on his toe to prevent potential problems. Alabama's team doctor, E. Lyle Cain Jr., believes the window of legitimate concern - immediately after the surgery - has passed. One of Cain's partners teamed with a doctor from the Steadman Hawkins Research Clinic in Vail, Colo., to perform the bone fusion. Unlike the typical toe fusion surgery - which hardens the toe completely, limiting mobility - only the bone on the tip of Lacy's big toe was fused.
"The joint underneath the toenail was fused to allow the ligament to work better basically," Cain said. "It's something you do to give you a better push-off. His big toe moves just like a normal big toe in terms of motion. . . . If you fused it completely, it'd give you a stiff big toe and you can't push off and that's a big problem. In Eddie's case, he does not have that. His fusion does not affect his big-toe motion.
"The bottom line is, the fusion he had does not affect his big-toe motion."
We're not experts in toe fusion, but Lacy played the entire 2012 season after this surgery and looked no worse for wear. Based on what his team doctor said about the nature of his surgery, he should have a long and productive career.
Friday, May 10, 2013, 9:29am
Not a "breakout" year, per se, since Ingram will still have to share the workload with standout tailbacks Darren Sproles and Pierre Thomas. But Ingram certainly should have his most productive year to date in his third NFL season.
For one thing, the Saints traded Chris Ivory, turning a four-way tailback logjam into a three-man rotation. For another thing, Saints Coach Sean Payton has made it clear that he intends to make an improved run game one of his top priorities this season.
And perhaps most noteworthy, Ingram is fully healthy this offseason for the first time since he left Alabama for the NFL in 2011.
"I've just been working hard this offseason, trying to get in the best shape of my life," said the 5-foot-9, 215-pounder, who spent last summer recovering from toe surgery and a minor knee surgery.
Michael Vick working with first team
Friday, May 10, 2013, 9:22am
Vick is an interesting player this season because as a fantasy QB2, he doesn't carry the risk he has in years past. We believe he'll be the starter in 2013, but expect him to miss a few games due to injury.
Thursday, May 9, 2013, 2:28pm
Thursday, May 9, 2013, 9:46am
Broncos likely to cut Willis McGahee or Knowshon Moreno
Thursday, May 9, 2013, 9:36am
Ideally, the Broncos would like Ball and Hillman to become their one-two running punch in 2013. As for the No. 3 back who can fill in as starter, Moreno is younger (26 in July) and less expensive ($1.7 million) than McGahee (32 in October, $2.5 million) and is a betteer third-down option because he’s a better receiver.
Then again, the 210-pound Moreno is similar in size to the 214-pound Ball. It’s the 235-pound McGahee who, size-wise, would be a complement to Ball and Hillman.
This RB situation is a little more cloudy than people think, given HC John Fox's tendency to pick veterans over rookies throughout his career. We're tentatively expecting Ball to win the job by midseason, but wouldn't be shocked if he is deemed "not quite ready" by Fox and Co.
Rob Gronkowski to have 4th surgery, 5th possible
Wednesday, May 8, 2013, 11:13am
While there has been some suggestion recently that this step might be avoided, the source indicated the fourth operation still has to happen. The plate has to be switched, no matter what, and the surrounding tissue tested. The real question is if Gronkowski, who has been taking part in the team’s offseason program, will need a fifth operation.
If tests show the infection has been completely flushed out, the plate will be replaced, and the recovery process begins. If there are still signs of infection, that won’t happen.
That’s a scenario no one wants to contemplate. Ultimately, Gronkowski would need more surgery and his participation for the start of the season and perhaps beyond would be in jeopardy.
So we are in wait and see mode. Hopefully Gronkowski's arm will be infection-free and he'll be ready for Week 1.
Julian Edelman in walking boot
Wednesday, May 8, 2013, 10:16am
WR Julian Edelman is in a walking boot after re-injuring right foot (the same foot that put him on IR). He could be ready for minicamp June 11-13.