Ron Rivera said the Carolina Panthers plan to use their tight ends more in the passing game this season.
The Panthers added free agent Ed Dickson this offseason to go along with Greg Olsen, giving them a pair of receiving options at tight end similar to what they had in Rivera's first season in 2011 with Olsen and Jeremy Shockey.
"Absolutely," Rivera said when asked if the moved was designed to replicate three years ago. "You want that double threat."
Great news for Greg Olsen owners, but it's also not really a surprise since Carolina doesn't have a lot of big names at WR. On top of that, rookie WR Kelvin Benjamin just returned to camp but is likely a little behind. Olsen is ranked 6th on our TE list, but has an ADP of the 9th round, along with guys like Jordan Reed and Kyle Rudolph who also continue to get positive press in camp in terms of getting. They are turning into attractive targets at that point in drafts.
Saturday, August 2, 2014, 2:40pm
Since he reported to training camp on July 23, Browns QB Johnny Manziel has been all-football, all the time. And all eyes were on him today when he played with the second team in the team's first intrasquad scrimmage.
Manziel, who won the Heisman Trophy as a redshirt freshman at Texas A&M and electrified college football for two seasons before entering the draft as a third-year sophomore, had a couple of busted plays on his first possession.
He settled down on the second series. Overall, though, Manziel was inconsistent throwing the ball. He made three big-time passes, one that was dropped in the end zone, but was erratic on the rest.
Saturday, August 2, 2014, 12:52pm
After dazzling teammates and fans during the first two weeks of training camp, the rookie receiver is awaiting the chance to kick off the preseason before a national TV audience against the New York Giants in the annual Hall of Fame game on Sunday night.
It's not lost on Watkins that Andre Reed will be on hand at Fawcett Stadium, a day after the former Bills star receiver's induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
"I definitely want to go out there and put on a great show for him," Watkins said. "And I want to get a win. That would just start the team up and build confidence for everybody."
It should be fun to watch Watkins in his debut. Although he's a rookie, he has a chance to make an immediate impact on your fantasy team to at least provide some high-end depth and then potentially get some starts along the way as he continues to grow. He's ranked 36th among our WRs which makes him just a WR4 in a 10-tem league, and a low-end WR3 in a 12-team league. He'll probably go a little higher than those ranked around him (he's got an ADP of the 8th) by rookie-happy owners.
The injury was suffered during Friday morning's practice, and Brees is "day to day" as the Saints "monitor" the injury, Payton said.
The injury doesn't appear serious and the Saints have off Sunday so Brees has until Monday to get back on the field without missing much more time. Obviously something to monitor, but the Saints are likely just being cautious here. Backups Luke McCown and Ryan Griffin took reps with the first team in Brees' absence.
Saturday, August 2, 2014, 11:04am
Saints RB Mark Ingram doesn’t just want to be a good running back. He doesn’t just want to be a great running back. He doesn’t just want to be the best running back in the NFL.
He wants to be greater than any running back who has ever played the game of football.
“The sky’s the limit, man. I want to be the best back to ever play the freakin’ game of football,” Ingram said, via ESPN.
Through three NFL seasons since the Saints took him in the first round of the 2011 draft, Ingram has fallen slightly short of being the best ever. He has 356 carries for 1,462 yards and 11 touchdowns so far in his career. Those numbers wouldn’t even make him the best running back in the NFL if he had compiled them in one year, let alone three.
A key thing to note here is the Saints declined to pick up the fifth-year option on Ingram’s rookie deal, meaning he’s heading into a contract year - also meaning he's got some motivation. There’s a good chance that the Saints will move on from Ingram in 2015, with Pierre Thomas still in place as the starter and second-year running back Khiry Robinson showing promise as a backup to Thomas.
Benjamin, the team's first-round draft pick, eased back into practice Saturday at Wofford College. He wore a compression sleeve on his left leg but didn't appear to have any trouble moving and running routes.
Great news for the Panthers. Benjamin is poised to play a key role this season in the passing game with really not a lot of great options outside of maybe Greg Olsen at TE. Benjamin was missing key practice time, so it remains to be seen how quickly he can get back to full steam.
Saturday, August 2, 2014, 10:50am
His football team now resides in the heart of the Silicon Valley, so it's only natural that San Francisco 49ers Coach Jim Harbaugh would describe the maturation of his quarterback in terms a techie could appreciate.
"Colin Kaepernick is at the highest level, where he can auto-correct," Harbaugh said of his fourth-year quarterback at training camp this week. "You know, like auto-correcting in texting or whatever. Even if a coach makes a mistake, it's wrong in the script, the play is called into him wrong, he just auto-corrects it and doesn't ask, 'Hey, is that right or wrong?' "
Kaepernick is ranked 8th on our QB list but has a higher ADP (10th round) than some big names under him who are going earlier in drafts - Matt Ryan, Cam Newton and Robert Griffin III for example. The 49ers went out and signed Stevie Johnson to play in the slot and to go with Anquan Bolden and Michael Crabtree, so the weapons are certainly there. With our ranking and his lower ADP, Kaepernick is looking like a pretty good value.
Saturday, August 2, 2014, 10:44am
After his rookie season, he did an exhaustive film study of the top quarterbacks in the league.
One offseason, he focused on weight-lifting and getting stronger.
After going 4-12 and suffering through his first losing season, Ryan completed some cognitive work on his brain through a company called CogniSens, Inc.
The firm, which uses a NeuroTracker, which uses some 3-D cognitive training technology, to increase players' awareness and focus.
Ryan is another on a long list of QBs you can wait and get later in drafts. He's got some great receivers to throw to, of course, in Roddy White and Julio Jones. He's currently ranked 12th on our list with an ADP is the 9th round. There seems to be a very good chance he bounces back this season which makes him an attractive target.
Dolphins running back Knowshon Moreno hasn’t practiced since arthroscopic knee surgery in June, and he’s not sure when he’ll be able to go.
Asked if he’ll be able to play at some point in the preseason, Moreno told the Miami Herald, “I don’t know. I don’t know. I really don’t even know. I just want to take each day one at a time. They have a schedule for me and they’re just going to tell me every day what I have to do, and I just go out there and do it.”
Moreno signed a one-year, $3 million contract with the Dolphins in March, with $1.25 million guaranteed.
Lamar Miller has looked good in camp and he appears on track to be the starter. Moreno should still have a role when he comes back, but perhaps it's more of a third down back. He excels in pass-blocking and can catch the ball out of the backfield, which all helped him win the job in Denver last year. But as of now, Miller is the guy to target here.
Saturday, August 2, 2014, 8:38am
Browns WR Nate Burleson, who's played with the likes of Randy Moss and Calvin Johnson, knows there are no superstars in the bunch without Gordon, but says that coach Mike Pettine's "receiver-by-committee" plan is sound. It features 12th-year pro Burleson; two-time Pro Bowler Miles Austin; Anthony Armstrong, who played for offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan in Washington; and Andrew Hawkins, who's itching to break out of the shadows of A.J. Green and Co. in Cincinnati, where he played last season.
"I think we've got some pieces to the puzzle that can be really powerful,'' said Burleson. "We've got some guys that can go up and get it. Miles is a beast, man. He looks like a linebacker and he's fast, he's strong, he snatches everything. You've got guys at one point were top five. Miles was, man! He's come out here these last couple of days and shown why he was so good here in Dallas, and he wants to prove that he can stay healthy and make plays."
Browns receivers are confident they'll be ok without Gordon if it comes to that. But from a fantasy perspective, owners are just going to have to wait and see. They aren't seeing a lot of action in typical drafts so these guys will likely end up as waiver wire targets. The QB situation could also play a role. Brian Hoyer looked pretty good in limited action last year and Johnny Manziel is a wild card. In terms of receivers, TE Jordan Cameron looks to have the most value at this point.
Saturday, August 2, 2014, 8:22am
Chiefs beat writer Adam Teicher was asked about WR Donnie Avery's roster spot.
"At this point, I think the Chiefs will keep starting wide receiver Donnie Avery. He's fast and while he didn't have a big first season for the Chiefs in 2013, his production was more or less in line with what he'd done earlier in the season. Keep in mind that as far as proven players at wide receiver, the Chiefs have Avery and Dwayne Bowe and that's it. That said, let's see how Josh Wilson and Frankie Hammond Jr. do in the preseason. The Chiefs could make that move if either Wilson or Hammond proves capable."
It's not really a positive answer about Avery. It seems like the Chiefs are just buying some time until one of their younger guys develop, but Teicher doesn't seem optimistic that will happen this year. Avery is ranked just 77th on our list, and isn't getting drafted in typical leagues.
Saturday, August 2, 2014, 8:16am
Undrafted out of UCLA, the 6-foot-7 Fauria quickly emerged as one of Detroit's top threats in the red zone last season, catching seven touchdown passes. When the team hired Joe Lombardi to run the offense this offseason, Fauria had visions of developing into Detroit's version of Jimmy Graham, only to see that bubble burst by the selection of Eric Ebron in the first round of the NFL draft.
The coaching staff has insisted Fauria will continue to have a significant role this season. With the way he's performing in the early stages of his second training camp, they'll have a hard time justifying not finding snaps for the gregarious pass catcher.
Fauria could still be used in the red zone, but that would only make him useful in scoring-only leagues and even that's risky to play him above any of our other TEs ranked in the top-10.
On the topic of TE Richard Rodgers...
"He moves well," quarterback Aaron Rodgers said. "Catches everything."
The passing game has always been the easy part for Richard Rodgers. He played wide receiver in high school before moving to tight end at California, where he bulked up to 275 pounds as a freshman and sophomore.
Last year, he lost 30 pounds to play a split-receiver position at 245. He's back up in the 270-275 range now and blocking as well as any tight end in camp, according to TE coach Jerry Fontenot.
The team has been impressed with Rodgers' play this offseason and the starting job is there for the taking if he can beat out Andrew Quarless and Brandon Bostick.
Friday, August 1, 2014, 10:46pm
It's early in camp, but comments like this are worrisome. The back is a tricky place to get injured, so there's a chance that there is recurring soreness as the season wears on. Owners who draft Romo should have a backup plan in place.
Friday, August 1, 2014, 10:39pm
Vikings WR Cordarrelle Patterson was the best player on the field during the early part of practice. He made impressive catches on a sideline route after a tipped pass by Kendall James, then he secured a pass on a bubble screen that caused him to contort his body and he caught a quick slant that was behind him and turned it into a would-be 1st down.