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Carroll: Christine Michael has 'explosive talent'
Thursday, May 29, 2014, 12:15pm
With Marshawn Lynch skipping the first day of practice, Christine Michael got the first-team reps at running back and made the most of it. Michael had several impressive carries in the 11-on-11 scrimmage. There was no tackling, but he obviously would have broken into the secondary a couple of times and showed quite a burst at the line of scrimmage.
"We have very high expectations for him," Carroll said of Michael. "He's going to get a ton of work. He's just a million miles ahead of where he was in terms of understanding what we want scheme-wise, pass protection wise, route wise, and we know he's a natural runner. He's got explosive talent and we just want to get him to fit in."
Michael is the heir apparent to Marshawn Lynch, who is under contract for two more seasons. We're not expecting a timeshare after recent comments from RB coach Sherman Smith ("To me, there's a drop off. You take Marshawn out of the game, there's a drop off to the next guy. So why would we do that?").
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Calvin Johnson had to get knee drained weekly in 2013
Thursday, May 29, 2014, 12:01pm
Last year, Lions WR Calvin Johnson would miss practice -- something he's loath to do -- and he felt that affected his play in games. And now, in May, with his knees and finger healed, Johnson talked briefly about the problems his injuries caused him last season.
"It bothered me enough to where I had to get [the right knee] drained every week," Johnson said Wednesday. "The finger, it was stuck at 90 degrees. It's good to have those things freed up right now."
Johnson has been practicing during OTAs, attempting to learn the Detroit Lions' new offense along with his teammates. He is able to participate fully because he can move and catch better.
Johnson will turn 29 in September, so he should still have several productive years remaining, provided he can stay healthy. Even battling all of these injuries, he finished as the #3 WR, and will likely be the first wideout taken on draft day.
Thursday, May 29, 2014, 11:57am
After a strong finish to the season, where does Giants WR Jerrel Jernigan fit into the mix with Mario Manningham back in the fold? It could depend on the health of Manningham's knee. Jernigan, however, will still have to prove himself this spring if he intends on receiving a serious shot at significant playing time this season.
Jernigan racked up 19 catches for 237 yards and two TDs in the final three games, making him the #2 WR in fantasy in that span. He should get snaps ahead of the fading Manningham, but it sounds as if he's not a shoo-in to be the team's WR4.
Markus Wheaton in lead for Steelers' WR2 job
Thursday, May 29, 2014, 11:53am
The starting receiver opposite Antonio Brown for the first practice session was Markus Wheaton, the third-round draft pick last year. “There are a lot of us chasing that spot,” Wheaton said. “It’s not mine. There’s a lot of good competition.”… QB Ben Roethlisberger said the implementation of the no-huddle offense, which was so successful in the second half of last season, will be up to Wheaton and receiver Lance Moore because they willhave to be up to speed with the rest of the offense.
There was some discussion that rookie Martavis Bryant would compete for a starting job, but he wasn't even mentioned in the blurb. It's interesting that Roethlisberger discussed Wheaton and Moore as part of the no-huddle conversation -- it looks like Wheaton is in line to start at this point in the offseason. If that holds, he'll be fantasy relevant in 2014.
Marquess Wilson to get first crack at Bears' WR3 job
Thursday, May 29, 2014, 11:49am
it definitely appears Marquess Wilson will receive first stab at winning the job as this team's No. 3 receiver. He worked as the No.3 receiver with the first team on offense.
Wilson is a tall (6'3") second year receiver who may be fantasy relevant, especially if either Brandon Marshall or Alshon Jeffery miss time due to injury in 2014. The Bears pass it enough to support three fantasy receivers, but we're counting Martellus Bennett in that group. Wilson will hold flier value if he earns the WR3 job.
Thursday, May 29, 2014, 11:44am
It's apparent the Bears skill-position players -- especially the receivers -- spent plenty of time training this offseason. They all appear to be in excellent shape, as does tight end Martellus Bennett.
Jim Harbaugh expects 'breakout' season for Colin Kaepernick
Wednesday, May 28, 2014, 6:58pm
Jim Harbaugh on #49ers QB Colin Kaepernick: "I expect a breakout year for Colin."
In his last 18 games with Michael Crabtree in the lineup, Kaepernick has averaged 20.9 FP, which equate to #3 QB numbers. In 11 games without Crabtree, he averaged 16.1 FP. He averages 2.5 more pass attempts (i.e. the 49ers throw the ball more) and his YPA jumps from 7.4 to 8.4 with his top receiver in the lineup.
Vernon Davis not participating in OTAs
Wednesday, May 28, 2014, 6:56pm
We'll have to wait and see if the 49ers are more forthcoming about Davis's absence, but this is probably nothing to worry about.
Cam Newton (ankle) doing light throwing at OTAs
Wednesday, May 28, 2014, 6:53pm
But the fact that Newton was there at all was an encouraging sign.
A little more than two months following ankle surgery, Newton threw on the sideline and again after practice as the Panthers went through their second of 10 scheduled OTA (organized team activities) sessions. They will practice again Thursday before taking the weekend off.
Newton did not participate in team drills, but Panthers coach Ron Rivera said he wouldn't be surprised if the two-time Pro Bowler is more involved during the three-day minicamp next month.
Newton needs time to build a rapport with an almost completely new receiving corps. The sooner he can get back, the better his fantasy prospects in 2014.
Eli Manning (ankle) participating in OTAs
Wednesday, May 28, 2014, 6:51pm
After undergoing an arthroscopic procedure on his left ankle on April 10, quarterback Eli Manning wasn’t going to be rushed back. But his ironman gene put him on the fast track, and Manning took quite a few snaps on the first day of OTAs. In addition to individual drills, he took many of the first-team reps as he and his teammates continued to learn McAdoo’s new offense.
It doesn't look like the ankle will be much of an issue this offseason. It's a good thing -- Manning needs time to learn a new offense and build a rapport with rookie Odell Beckham.
Wednesday, May 28, 2014, 6:48pm
The ex-basketball player could have a shot rise up the depth chart if Travis Kelce (knee) can't get healthy.
Wednesday, May 28, 2014, 6:45pm
David Wilson took part in non-contact OTA
Wednesday, May 28, 2014, 6:43pm
The Giants are taking an optimistic wait-and-see approach with their former first-round draft choice David Wilson, who missed most of last season with a neck injury. However, the third-year running back was on the practice field for the first of 10 non-contact organized team activities (OTAs) on Wednesday at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center. Wilson worked on both special teams as a returner and in offensive drills, including taking this handoff from quarterback Josh Freeman.
It's a sign that Wilson is on track to return this season, though he still has to be fully cleared for contact. We would expect him to play behind Rashad Jennings.
Wednesday, May 28, 2014, 6:40pm
Josh Gordon faces a minimum ban of one-year
Wednesday, May 28, 2014, 10:27am
As explained by Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer during a Tuesday visit to PFT Live, Gordon was in Stage 3 of the substance-abuse program at the time of his most recent alleged violation.
The policy provides that a violation results in a banishment for a minimum of one year.
Gordon's camp is attempting to get the suspension reduced, but this doesn't bode well for his availability in 2014. Keeper league owners are anxiously awaiting the league's decision.