One wild card in the Patriots running back situation remains undrafted D.J. Foster of Arizona State, who hasn't played in the preseason because of an undisclosed injury but appeared to increase his practice workload on Monday.
Foster was a priority free-agent signing whose $30,000 in guaranteed money was second highest among the team's undrafted players. He fits into the "passing back" mold of Lewis and top replacement, James White.
The story mentioned Fred Jackson and Roy Helu but they fall more into the passing back category. The story also said the Titans could be a trade partner as they are deep with RBs DeMarco Murray, Derrick Henry and Bishop Shankey. We had a story Monday that said Ronnie Hillman may not make the Broncos. The Pats could just be waiting for the next round of cuts, but they appear likely to add to the position and that player could have some fantasy relevance.
Add Dez Bryant to the list of absences from Thursday’s preseason game in Seattle.
The Cowboys revealed on Tuesday morning that Bryant suffered a concussion during the team’s Monday morning practice. Neither Bryant nor Tyrone Crawford will play against the Seahawks, as both players have been evaluated for concussions within the last two days.
This setback will likely end Bryant’s preseason, given that starters typically don’t play in the final preseason game. But with 19 days until the Cowboys open the regular season, the All-Pro receiver will have ample time to recover. Bryant had been on a fantastic run of play during the Cowboys’ first two preseason games. During limited action against the Rams and Dolphins, he caught four passes for 74 yards and two touchdowns, the story all said. Bryant tweeted he'd be OK, but it's still worth monitoring.
The New England Patriots released veteran running back Donald Brown on Tuesday, a source told ESPN NFL Insider Field Yates, as an early-camp injury ultimately doomed Brown's chances of sticking on the roster at a position where the club is thin.
Brown, who signed a one-year, $965,000 contract with the Patriots on March 17, was competing for a backup spot behind LeGarrette Blount and Dion Lewis, the latter of whom will open the season on the reserve/physically unable to perform list as he will undergo a second surgery on his left knee.
Brown had pulled up in the fifth practice of training camp -- members of the athletic training staff appeared to be checking his hamstring -- and hadn't been a full participant in practice since. He didn't play in the team's first two preseason games.
By releasing him, the Patriots thin their ranks at a position that was already short on depth. Blount is the top power option, while third-year man James White projects to step in for Lewis as the top "passing back" until his return. The team also has Brandon Bolden (5th year), Tyler Gaffney (3rd year), Joey Iosefa (2nd year) and undrafted rookie D.J. Foster at running back. Yesterday we reported White is getting more running reps. Brown, if healthy, was an option to both run the ball and receive to keep defenses guessing a little.
Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Breshad Perriman participated in his first practice in over two months on Tuesday, and it didn't take long for the 2015 first-round pick to take his first shot of the year.
"Who is the new guy," linebacker Terrell Suggs said when spotting Perriman. "Can he play?"
Perriman, the No. 26 overall player taken a year ago, was on the field for the first time since partially tearing the anterior cruciate ligament on June 9. Not wearing a brace on that left knee, he showed little effects from the knee injury in running routes and making cuts.
Though he wasn't running at full speed, he showed no hesitation in any of the drills. It did appear that Perriman had a slight limp when he was walking in between drills, the story said. He only took part in individual drills, the story said.
Those absences continued a run of unexpected absences for Brady this summer that also include missing the first preseason game to attend a memorial service and missing the second game after he reportedly cut his thumb with scissors while working on his cleats. Coach Bill Belichick declined to elaborate on the reason for this absence and he shouldn’t have to answer any other questions about it on Tuesday.
Mike Reiss of ESPN.com reports that Brady is back with the team for one of their last practices before Thursday’s game against the Panthers.
Belichick said Monday that he doesn’t view that game as a dress rehearsal for the start of the regular season, so we’ll see how they handle things in terms of getting Brady playing time or if Jimmy Garoppolo continues to do all of the work with the starters ahead of his four-game stint as the team’s starter in the regular season, the story said.
It was a game of 'Where's Waldo' the first 15 days of Jets training camp.
As soon as team drills began, reporters attempted to scope out rookie quarterback Christian Hackenberg. Usually, he was standing next to quarterbacks coach Kevin Patullo. Rarely was he on the field. Simply put, the Jets weren't giving Hackenberg more than a handful of reps during the team portion of practice.
This week, things have changed. On Sunday and Monday, Hackenberg received more reps than he had in any other camp practice.
"It's part of the progression," head coach Todd Bowles said. "You give him more reps in there as time goes by. That's just part of the progression."
Hackenberg's playing time has been one of the more talked-about storylines in camp this year. Despite being a second-round pick and the hopeful quarterback of the future, Hackenberg hasn't been playing. Quite literally — He didn't take one snap in either of the Jets' first two preseason games. Hackenberg's performance has been less than inspiring the story said, adding he went just 2 of 12 with nearly an INT. Monday he was 5 of 11 with two INTs.
Tuesday, August 23, 2016, 9:07am
Then he got to Brian Quick.
"Brian needs to catch the football," Fisher said. "Your receivers have to catch it, not drop it."
Catching is indeed is the fundamental skill required, and it is one Quick continues to struggle with. Quick's catch percentage last season, 31.3, was the eighth-lowest in the NFL. He had 32 targets and hauled in only 10 of those. And on Saturday, a 21-20 win over the Kansas City Chiefs, Quick played with the second-team offense and caught only two of the five passes thrown to him by rookie quarterback Jared Goff.
“He's taking coaching well and learning, because, I mean, he missed the whole year last year, so this year he's progressing right where we need him to be,” Jeffery said. “He listens to the coaches, and he's making plays and he's having fun.”
Jeffery, the Bears’ franchise-tag player, is passing along subtle tips to White, who has missed just one open training camp practice, which, if nothing else, constitutes some progress for player who developed a stress fracture in his shin overtraining for the NFL combine last year.
The best glimpse of White in the preseason could come Saturday versus the Kanas City Chiefs, where the Bears' first team is expected to play at least one full half. While it’s not a requirement, it would be beneficial for White to get more involved offensively, without compromising what Chicago’s offense truly intends to do Week 1 at Houston, the story said.
If Trevor Siemian holds serve and is named the regular-season starter and if, after Saturday's game, the Broncos think they've seen enough from Paxton Lynch to make him the No. 2 quarterback, it's unclear what it would mean for Mark Sanchez. If he was the No. 3 and remained on the roster he would be the team's highest paid quarterback and a game-day inactive.
Sanchez is the highest paid of the three, counting $4.5 million against the cap. If the Broncos were to decide to release Sanchez because they believe Lynch could be the team's backup, the Broncos would take a $1 million dead money hit against their salary cap and would have to pay the $1 million that is fully guaranteed in Sanchez's contract. If the Broncos decide on a Siemian-Lynch depth chart, they could also try to trade the 29-year-old Sanchez. He is set to be an unrestricted free agent at season's end, so teams would only be taking on the last year of his current contract.
Foster was in for nine snaps and got the ball on two of them without finding much running room. Foster lost five yards while getting little help from the blocking on his two carries, leaving coach Adam Gase to make plans to extend Foster’s time on the field against the Falcons on Thursday.
“We didn’t have much to evaluate,” Gase said, via the Miami Herald. “Whatever carries he had, there wasn’t much there to try to create. He did a couple of things on his own. Hopefully we can take a long look at him this week. I don’t want to overdo it with him. Obviously, his resume speaks for itself.”
The story went on to say the Dolphins are expected to keep the first team in the game into the second half on Thursday, so there will be more snaps for Foster as the team works on setting up the look of their backfield for the start of the regular season. With rookie Kenyan Drake still sidelined by a hamstring injury, that look will likely come down to how they balance playing time for Foster and Jay Ajayi.
It's easy to see the things Coby Fleener does well on a football field.
The 6-foot-6 tight end can get open, catch the ball and run downfield, and in a New Orleans Saints offense in which quarterback Drew Brees likes to throw to tight ends, Fleener should have plenty of chances to showcase those skills.
However, some of the finer points of the position could limit Fleener's opportunities as he adjusts to a new offense.
inRead invented by Teads
"I'd say it's an ongoing progression," coach Sean Payton said Monday of Fleener's adjustment process. "I think, man, there's some plays that are real good, and then there's some plays where we've got to be a little bit more detailed and that's something that I know he's got to work on."
As the story pointed out, he's clearly the top tight end for the passing game, both from his performance this summer and his five-year, $36 million contract. Josh Hill bobbling a pass from Brees that resulted in an interception by rookie cornerback De'Vante Harris only provided another reason to think Fleener will be the main target in the tight end group. However HC Sean Payton said there's a lot more to being a TE than catching passes and Fleener still has some work to do.
Kubiak’s decision is coming next week.
“We have three quarterbacks, two of which weren’t on this team last year and one that has one regular-season snap,” coach Gary Kubiak told reporters on Monday. “I knew this was going to take some time. I think it’s a credit to them and how well they’ve pushed each other. It’s down to the nitty-gritty here. I’m going to make a decision next week and we’re going to go to work. They’ve all put themselves in position to go out there and compete.”
Although Trevor Siemian will start the third preseason game, that doesn’t mean he has the inside track to the job over Mark Sanchez and rookie Paxton Lynch. As the story pointed out, there's no guarantee whoever is named the starter will be a lock for the remainder of the season. This is shaping up to be a potential messy, yet interesting, fantasy situation.
Markus Wheaton and Ben Roethlisberger share lockers next to each other inside the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex locker room, and it's there that a bulk of the communication between the quarterback and receiver takes place.
"He spent so much time in the training room that he couldn’t be next to me talking about things," Roethlisberger said on Monday.
Wheaton was out for most of training camp while dealing with an undisclosed injury, but returned to practice this week as the Steelers returned from St. Vincent to their team facility.
"I’m disappointed he was out of the practices because I felt like we had really grown a lot and the chemistry had grown a lot," Roethlisberger said. "Even if his locker is next to mine and just communicating to each other talking."
Despite having nine less receptions than he had in 2014, Wheaton totaled 105 more yards (749), and averaged 4.8 more yards-per-catch (17.0) with five more touchdowns last season. He's also in the final year of his $2.8 million rookie contract. There is a lot riding on Wheaton this season, but right now, he's still in the process of playing catch-up. Wheaton is slotted as the team's WR2 this year, a potential vital role with no Martavis Bryant and an ailing TE in Ladarius Green.
The closest thing Jordy Nelson did to real football during his first practice in 364 days came at the end of the session, when he ran some half-speed routes while fellow receivers Randall Cobb and Davante Adams acted as cornerbacks during a jog-through.
No wonder Nelson called it "hardly even a practice."
By unofficial count, earlier in Monday's practice Nelson caught 15 passes from Aaron Rodgers and the other quarterbacks at the far end of the field while the rest of the team went through a special-teams period.
Nelson appeared to run closer to full speed in that drill, although never against a defender.
Nelson said he felt good conditioning-wise and added he believes he's on track to play in the season opener on Sept. 11 against the Jags. The team only has one more full practice before Friday's preseason game, which means it's unlikely Nelson will suit up for that, according to the story.
James White carried the ball 22 times for 56 yards, appearing in 14 games. He is a running back who, clearly, did very little running.
Expect that to change in 2016 as White fills in for Dion Lewis, who reportedly will begin the year on PUP.
Patriots coach Bill Belichick said Monday that White has been "very dependable, very consistent" entering his third year.
"I think he has worked on his role in the running game, carrying the ball, which he did a lot of in college and hasn't done a lot of here," Belichick said. "(He) was mainly a passing game player last year and didn't play two years ago, his rookie year. He was mainly a passing game player last year, but he has taken a more active role in the running game this year. So he continues to develop, had a good run on the two-point play against New Orleans."
As Belichick pointed out, White ran the ball plenty in college, carrying 221 times for 1,444 yards as a senior at Wisconsin. Belichick added White ran between the tackles but his run skills need refinement for the NFL, however, he's taking more reps running the ball. The Pats likely want the threat of the run while White is on the field rather than giving away the play is a pass if White remains a one-dimensional back.