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This is getting repetitive, but Lions RB Theo Riddick continues to be impressive. He seems a little faster than last season and might have improved more than anyone else on the roster from last season. He is putting himself in position to have a real role in this offense this season after being primarily a backup in 2013.
Joique Bell continues to miss time, and the positive reports about Riddick continue to roll in. We still feel Bell is a great middle round value, but he needs to eventually defend his spot in the depth chart.
Wednesday, June 11, 2014, 8:35pm
Player of Lions practice: For the second straight day, it is Calvin Johnson. Any question about Johnson’s health are now gone. He was once again the best player on the field and caught everything around him. He appears to be completely over his injuries and has his timing with Matthew Stafford down once again. He beat any cornerback the Lions lined up against him during 1-on-1 periods and on one play leapt over DeAndre Levy to catch a pass that he ended up running in for a touchdown.
Wednesday, June 11, 2014, 8:32pm
To help quarterback Matthew Stafford improve his future, the Detroit Lions are reaching back to the past. Kind of. In order to really focus on the mechanics of the sixth-year quarterback, new coach Jim Caldwell has started to use what he calls a ladder cam during practices. The purpose of the camera is simple. It is essentially Stafford's camera. It focuses on what he sees and the movements he makes. By doing this, the Lions are hoping they can drill into Stafford the footwork, throwing motion and mechanics they want him to use. It's an idea Caldwell started using back in 1982, when he had someone actually standing on a ladder to create the picture of what the quarterback was seeing down the middle of the field.
Browns HC Mike Pettine said that WR Andrew Hawkins has stood out at practice: “Short area of quickness, the ability to get in and out of breaks. There was a play today that the defense was called, the coverage was ‘51 double’, which meant double him, and he still got open. That’s when (Browns offensive coordinator) Kyle (Shanahan) got after (Browns defensive coordinator Jim) O’Neil a little bit and said, ‘You’re going to have to put three on him. He’s a guy that can win in the slot, and I think it’s important that if you have a guy that can win at tight end, and we think (Browns TE) Jordan (Cameron) can be that guy, and when you can win in the slot, that causes some issues defensively, when you have to now allocate maybe two defenders to the slot receiver as opposed to one."
Hawkins posted a solid 0.17 FP/snap for the Bengals, but he only played 20% of his team’s snaps in 2013. Now he joins a Browns team that will likely be without Josh Gordon, who is reportedly facing an 8-16 game suspension. Without Gordon in the lineup, Hawkins’ main competition for receiver targets may be Miles Austin and Nate Burleson. He could make a living in the slot and become a fantasy factor, especially in PPR formats.
Wednesday, June 11, 2014, 8:28pm
Saints QB Drew Brees on WR Nick Toon: "I think he has come along extremely well. I’ve been very impressed with some of the things I’ve seen from him out here. He’s another big target that can run well, he transitions very well for a big guy. You watch the way he catches the ball sometimes and it’s so confident, he goes and he goes after it and plucks it. He’s very natural and confident when he catches the ball which you like to see. I think he can have big contributions on this team. I know that it’s extremely competitive with the receiver position right now with a lot of guys fighting for spots but he’s certainly right in the mix.”
Toon is going to struggle to see snaps behind Marques Colston, Kenny Stills and (probably) Brandin Cooks, but he appears to be earning a roster spot with a strong offseason.
Wednesday, June 11, 2014, 8:24pm
Jets WR Eric Decker means a lot for the offense, of course, and he picked up where he left off with a strong showing today, especially during red zone work.
There’s no doubt that Decker is going to see a downgrade at QB going from Peyton Manning to a combination of Geno Smith and Michael Vick. But as the Jets’ clear WR1, he should see enough targets to become a fantasy starter even if his per target production is likely to drop. For more on his potential production, click here.
Saints WR Kenny Stills made a great effort to come back for a diving catch after Drew Brees chucked one to him from all the way across the field on the run in full-team drills. Stills also made a nifty one-handed catch in earlier passing drills, among other nice catches. Stills has looked good throughout offseason workouts this year. He certainly looks like he’s ready to keep rising after a breakout rookie year. And HC Sean Payton said after re-watching the film from last season, the Saints felt they needed to get Stills some more opportunities this year.
Stills figures to see a jump in snaps and targets after the Saints lost both Lance Moore and Darren Sproles, who saw a combined 143 targets last year. Stills should get at minimum the 5.5 T/G that Moore saw in the past three years, making him an intriguing WR3 with upside. The arrival of Brandin Cooks does take some of the wind out his sails, but that should only serve to keep his ADP at a reasonable level. Drew Brees had a QB rating of 139.3 when throwing to Stills, the highest in the league. He’s bound to improve as a second year receiver and is playing in one of the best pass offenses in the league. There’s a lot to like here.
Saints WR Marques Colston says, unlike last year, he has no foot issues. 'Feels completely different ... no restrictions.'
After four straight top 20 seasons, Colston finished #27 in 2013. He got off to a decent start (#27 WR through the first four weeks) before a midseason swoon where he caught a combined six catches for 44 yards against the Bears, Patriots and Bills. Then, over the final 10 games (including the postseason), he averaged 6.1 catches for 76 yards and 0.50 TD, which equate to fringe WR1-type numbers. The 31 year-old should benefit from the loss of Lance Moore and Darren Sproles, who saw a combined 143 targets last season. Health is a concern, but Colston has only missed four games in the last five seasons.
Wednesday, June 11, 2014, 8:15pm
Rookie wide receiver John Brown didn't have the best day of practice, missing a couple of passes but it was one of first bad days. "He was a rookie today," Arians said. "He dropped a ball, the first one he dropped, and he fell down wide open. He got to be a rookie. I think he's reading his press clippings." Arians said it all with a laugh.
Wednesday, June 11, 2014, 8:13pm
The Redskins still don’t know when wide receiver Leonard Hankerson will receive clearance to practice. The receiver, recovering from torn knee ligaments, continues to work on the side with trainers.
Wednesday, June 11, 2014, 8:13pm
Redskins QB Robert Griffin III looked sharp in Week 1 of OTAs, and was a little erratic last week. He looked sharper today, and in addition to Jackson, connected with tight end Jordan Reed and wide receiver Ryan Grant for long touchdown passes. HC Jay Gruden said he’s “very happy” with the chemistry that Griffin is developing with his receivers. Griffin meanwhile, said he feels “very comfortable” with Gruden’s offense, although he admits he still has much left to learn.
Wednesday, June 11, 2014, 8:12pm
Redskins WR DeSean Jackson, who this week returned to action after nursing a strained hamstring last week, was heavily involved in the offense during today’s drills. The receiver lined up in a variety of positions and was used in a number of ways, just as he had during the limited action that we saw from him two weeks ago before he pulled the hamstring. Jay Gruden said that Jackson still isn’t yet totally 100 percent healthy, but that he had recovered enough to practice fully. The coach said Jackson has to hold back while making a few different cuts, but that he is doing well. Jackson displayed his speed as he created separation on a couple of crossing routes. He also had enough of a burst to get a slight step on rookie cornerback Bashaud Breeland to catch a pass from Robert Griffin III.
Wednesday, June 11, 2014, 8:10pm
Eagles K Alex Henery has kicked very well this spring and wants to work on his consistency from last year. He knows what's going on, and he knows he has to be better.
Wednesday, June 11, 2014, 8:09pm
Eagles beat writer Dave Spadaro on the team's offense: "Not talking about depth chart or who is playing where, and instead I focus on the offense as a whole when practice is open for reporters and the unit looks tight. Very fast. Quarterback Nick Foles has a great command of the scheme and where to go with the football and the presence of Darren Sproles adds an entirely new dimension. What changes will fans see in the offense? Well, just guessing here, but the formations are going to largely be the same, but there are going to be more variables in the pass routes and the options. Foles has really looked sharp, and he remains as unflappable a young man as I've seen in these halls for many, many years."
Running back Ben Tate has been participating in individual drills during the first two days of minicamp, but when it comes to 11-on-11 drills, Terrance West has been getting reps with the first team. Last season, Tate battled through four cracked ribs much of the season to rush for 771 yards and four TDs in 14 games, including seven starts. West has shown power through the first level and quickness when eluding defenders. The Townson product is expected to play a major role for the Browns offensively. Chris Ogbonnaya has also taken reps with the first team.
We'll see how much first team work West gets once Tate returns, but he's one reason why we're not all that crazy about Tate's upside heading into 2014. Tate should be a decent RB2, but he's going to play for a mediocre offense, he's been injury prone, and he has a talented third round pick breathing down his neck.