Sunday, August 3, 2014, 8:59am
"I really looked in the mirror at myself," Rivera said Saturday after the Raiders completed a controlled scrimmage. "I knew I could do a lot better than I did last year, even though people were surprised at what I did. I have high expectations of myself."
In his second year out of Tennessee, Rivera has his sights on a won-loss record far better than 4-12, and significantly better statistics than 38 catches for 407 yards and four touchdowns.
One of the highlights Saturday was the sight of Rivera splitting a seam between veteran cornerbacks Tarell Brown and Carlos Rogers and hauling in a pass inside the 5-yard line from second-string quarterback Derek Carr.
Rivera later caught a pass from Matt Schaub in the end zone.
Rivera is ranked just 35th on our list, we we think there are much better options in drafts, even in deeper leagues.
Sunday, August 3, 2014, 8:55am
The Vikings have two interception-prone quarterbacks with two different viewpoints.
Matt Cassel, in line to be the starter, is following the lead of Alfred E. Neuman, the Mad magazine cover boy known for saying, "What, me worry?'' Cassel shrugged after throwing two interceptions Saturday night, giving him three in the past two days of practice.
"Not at all,'' Cassel said about whether he's concerned.
As for the other guy who has been throwing balls to guys wearing different-colored jerseys, he feels the opposite. Rookie Teddy Bridgewater has been picked off four times in the past three days of practice, the one he had Saturday being an ugly misfire to linebacker Chad Greenway in a goal-line drill.
"It's a huge concern,'' Bridgewater said. "Playing quarterback, you always want to take care of the football, and that's the way that you have success playing quarterback, and the guys believe in you when you're taking care of the football.''
Obviously Cassel is a veteran while Bridgewater is in his first NFL camp. Signs point to Cassel coming away with the job, but the Vikings indicated they really wanted Bridgewater to win the battle. If the Vikes struggle to put up victories at any point this season, we wouldn't be shocked to see Bridgewater. We think Bridgewater can put up low-end QB2 numbers this year, but his struggles early on could indicate he has a way to go...
Sunday, August 3, 2014, 8:48am
Decker did not sound overly concerned about his hamstring. He was limited in practice on Friday, too.
“I had a little bit of a hamstring thing,” Decker said. “I just wanted to make sure I was smart and got good reps in. I’m looking forward to Thursday night [when the Jets face the Colts in the preseason].”
Sunday, August 3, 2014, 8:46am
What could Zac Dysert, a seventh-round draft pick in his second pro year, possibly do when it was his turn as the third man in in Saturday's scrimmage? He went 3-of-3 for 57 yards in leading the No. 3 offense to an opening-drive touchdown against the No. 3 defense. Dysert nearly engineered a second touchdown, driving to the 2-yard line.
He was 7-of-7 for 112 yards at that point before throwing away a pass in the end zone on his final play of the day.
Dysert performs as if he is ready to be a starter for other NFL teams.
"I don't know if I'm there yet," Dysert said. "My plan from Day One of the offseason was to keep working to get better and take in what Peyton was doing."
Manning was impressed with his young understudies.
"Brock has continued to get better every year and Zac has made tremendous strides since last year," Manning said. "We've got a really good (quarterbacks meeting) room. We try to help each other. We all get along.
Saturday, August 2, 2014, 9:34pm
Broncos QB Peyton Manning took the first snap at the 35-yard-line on the sun-bleached turf, and it was as if 2013 never ended. The Broncos' record-breaking offense mowed through the defense in all combinations in Saturday's scrimmage. Twos vs. Ones. Ones vs. Twos. Threes vs. Threes.
"I think we saw some good things. It's always nice to get a game-like operation," said Manning, who threw for an NFL-record 55 touchdowns last season. "We will see some good things on film."
Saturday, August 2, 2014, 9:32pm
The Lions scrimmage Saturday featured four eight-minute quarters and just one touchdown, by Reggie Bush — set up on a long pass play from Matt Stafford to rookie tight end Eric Ebron along the sideline.
Caldwell noted some of the mistakes made in the scrimmage but didn’t put too much emphasis on the morning practice, which included only shoulder pads and shorts.
It's a tough assignment considering how far the run game has fallen, dropping from 17th in 2011 to 29th in 2012 to worst in the NFL last season.
Jackson, the NFL's active career leading rusher, missed four games with a left hamstring injury and finished his first year as a Falcon with 543 yards rushing and 3.5 per carry — the lowest numbers of his 10-season tenure.
For the past several days, Jackson has been nursing a right hamstring injury, putting his three backups in competition for snaps.
There's really no timetable for Jackson's return other than the team said originally he'll be ready Week 1. Rodgers and Freeman are splitting work with the starters while Smith is working with the second and third teams. Rodgers had chances last year but proved to be more of a third-down option, which is why there is a buzz around Freeman. This is a situation to watch for potential Jackson owners. With hammy injuries creeping up again, having Jackson's handcuff could prove to be key.
In the last two training camps Dallas Cowboys HC Jason Garrett and others spoke about the need to run the ball more in the upcoming season.
Why is this season any different?
A rapidly improving offensive line that now sports three first round picks. A rushing attack that gained traction in the second half of last season. A 34-year-old quarterback coming off two back surgeries and a battered defense trying to recover from a season in which it sunk to historic depths.
Evidence mounts to suggest this season will be different. Stephen Jones, the Cowboys chief operating officer, took it one step further with this declaration early in camp.
“We will be running the ball more," Jones said.
Not many people believe this because it's something the Cowboys have said for a few years now. But Murray has proved to be a pretty quality back if given the chance. We had a news story earlier this offseason that said everyone in the Dallas organization wants to pass the ball, except for Murray, and that started at the top with owner Jerry Jones. Murray is ranked 8th on our list and has an ADP of the second round. He seems to be gaining a lot of traction in mock drafts, though. But another issue is Murray hasn't started a full 16 games in his three-year career - missing 6 games in 2012 and 2 last season. But if you're plan is to take a WR in the first round and get a back in the second, Murray is becoming a popular option.
The Titans, betting that he is on the downside of his career, released him, but Johnson -- who turns 29 in September and had arthroscopic surgery in January -- believes he still has some pretty big years left. And that, more than anything else, motivates him as he gets ready for his first season as a Jet.
"Almost all of last year, I was hurt," Johnson said. "Now I feel good, really good. I just want to get back on the field, help the team and continue making plays like I have my whole career and not worry about anybody else."
Johnson seems like he has a lot to prove and it's good news early on that he says he feels good. He's poised to be the Jets RB1, but we've already heard reports Chris Ivory could get goal line work and Bilal Powell was very good at times last year and could also be in the mix. Still, Johnson is the running back to own on the Jets. He's ranked 19th among our backs but we feel he's trending up in what is a run-first Jets offense. He has the highest ADP (6th round, 10-team leagues) of any of our top-20 running backs.
Saturday, August 2, 2014, 9:00pm
Pryor seemed more erratic — a few really good plays but also some not-so-good.
Jackson was dependable. That may be Seattle’s choice at that spot and whether they want to keep two or three QBs — the consistency and dependability of Jackson versus the upside of Pryor. I think the preseason games will tell a lot there.
Saturday, August 2, 2014, 8:59pm
Seahawks WR Percy Harvin might have been the player of the day, making an 18-yard catch on an early third-and-15 and later catching a 38-yard pass on a third-and-five. He also had a nice gain on a fly sweep. Had it been a real game, you figure he would have been featured more. But he did enough to reiterate how much he figures to mean to the team this season. Both receptions came from QB Russell Wilson.
Saturday, August 2, 2014, 8:54pm
“He's a big guy (6-foot-4), and we expect him to make big guy plays,” HC Mike Tomlin said. “We're interested in him developing a complete game.”
Saturday, August 2, 2014, 8:48pm
Raiders offensive coordinator Greg Olson touched on a wide range of subjects, but one of the things that stood out was his excitement over the performance of running back Maurice Jones-Drew, who could be a feature component of the Raiders offense in 2014.
Olson spent the 2012 season as the quarterbacks coach and assistant head coach for the Jacksonville Jaguars. Jones-Drew played in only six games before injuring his foot against the Raiders in Oakland and was done for the season. Jones-Drew averaged only 3.4 yards per carry in 2013, looking nothing like the back who had a career-best 1,606 yards in 2011.
When asked about the shelf life of a running back and the amount of carries Jones-Drew has had at age 29, Olson said he didn’t know if the wear and tear was a factor.
“But I know this. When I was with the kid two years ago, and I’ve told him so I’m not saying anything I haven’t said to him, he held out through training camp. I didn’t even meet the kid. I didn’t meet him until the week before the first game,” Olson said. “His body (now is completely different. He was running the ball well that year, he got hurt after six games, but he was heavy and a little lethargic looking. He looks like a different player.”
When it was suggested the Raiders didn’t have a true big back other than second-year player Latavius Murray, Olson referenced Jones-Drew, the story said. And Olson went on to say the MJD plays like a big back because of his low center of gravity, and is difficult to tackle. It remains to be seen how MJD will be used with Darren McFadden. It's shaping up to be a committee but these comments would lead one to think MJD could get a little boost in value if his size is used at the goal line.
A little over-dramatic?
Not if you've seen Dalton practice and handle himself around his teammates and reporters the past 10 days.
Passes that Dalton struggled to deliver last season, he's hitting. Progressions he might have missed or didn't get to before, he's spotting. Personality traits that some thought he lacked, he's suddenly got those, too.
It's like a case of the body snatchers.
So far is the key word. However fantasy-wise, Dalton has finished #17, #12 and #4 his first three seasons. Of course in the real-life playoffs, it's another story. This year, we rank Dalton 17th, putting him in good shape to be a decent QB2 for your team yet again. Given the depth at QB this year, Dalton is a guy you can eye in the 14th round according to ADPs.
Saturday, August 2, 2014, 7:11pm
"You can see those balls were humming," coach Jeff Fisher said after Saturday's practice.
Bradford seems to benefiting from improved upper-body strength.
To keep the arm strong, coaches are monitoring Bradford's pitch count, so to speak, the story said. Both sides said there's no set limit, but that the information would help factor progress and performance in training camp. Once again, this seems like a make-or-break year for Bradford, who was having a decent season last year before getting hurt. Bradford is just 23rd on our list and isn't getting a lot of draft-day love in typical 10 or 12 team leagues.