Jacksonville Jaguars coach Gus Bradley said during the preseason that rookie Storm Johnson had the best instincts of all the team’s running backs. That seemed to be on display in Sunday’s 17-9 loss to Pittsburgh.
In his first action of the season, Johnson ran four times for 27 yards, an average of 6.8 per carry. That doesn’t include a 9-yard run called back because of a holding penalty. Johnson also had a 20-yard run, which is the longest by a Jaguars running back this season. Next longest is a 13-yard gain by Toby Gerhart, who has 48 carries.
"I thought he did a good job," Bradley said of Johnson. "I know he came out with his ankle [slightly hurt] but I think they re-taped it, but we got him some more reps in there [after getting the ankle re-taped]. His objective is we’ve got to gain trust in him. He had a couple of good weeks of practice. We gave him an opportunity and we’ll evaluate it from here on."
The 6-foot, 216-pound Johnson, the team’s seventh-round pick, is still a liability when it comes to blocking and pass protection, but he might be the team’s best option to kick-start the running game. Gerhart had 9 yards on four carries, though he did tweak an ankle early in the game, and Denard Robinson had 6 yards on three carries.
The team seems to be making Robinson a work-in-progress RB, but Johnson seems to have the best natural ability. Given the state of the Jags, Johnson would be a risky fantasy play, because he may not see a lot of time if the team falls behind due to his lack of pass blocking abilities at the moment. But if you're hurting at the position or looking for a stash or a sleeper guy to take up a roster spot, Johnson probably fits the mold. Any kind of emergence of Johnson certainly seems to hurt what little value Gerhart has right now.
Monday, October 6, 2014, 3:56pm
For the second time this season, Kansas City Chiefs coach Andy Reid said he was guilty of not getting the ball enough to running back Jamaal Charles. The Chiefs failed to get the ball to Charles on any of their final 10 plays of Sunday's 22-17 loss to the San Francisco 49ers.
At his Monday news conference, Reid said he particularly regretted the failure to utilize Charles on a possession late in the third quarter, when the Chiefs led 17-16. The Chiefs ran five plays on that drive, four passes and a scramble by quarterback Alex Smith, before punting.
"If we had that to do over again, and this is hindsight, but I'd probably come back and hand it to him and give him an opportunity to make that play," Reid said.
This is nothing new for Reid if you've followed his coaching career. He often said the same about Brian Westbrook in Philadelphia after games the Eagles gave up on running the ball. While there is a good chance the Chiefs come out in Week 6 and run more, there will be future games when Reid probably says something similar after abandoning the run.
Soon, they might actually have some running backs back whom you’ve heard of.
Panthers coach Ron Rivera told reporters Monday that Jonathan Stewart wasn’t 100 percent certain to be ready to practice Wednesday after missing time with a knee injury, but that he’s closer than DeAngelo Williams coming off an ankle injury.
As the story pointed out, Rivera indicated some degree of optimism about Stewart, while saying Williams was out of a full cast and into a walking boot. Getting Stewart back this week would be a boost, as the Panthers head to play a Bengals team that was susceptible to inside running last night against the Patriots. Reaves and Ogbonnaya combined for a pedestrian 19 carries for 59 yards against the Bears, but they didn’t fumble. Ogbonnaya even scored a touchdown.
Dolphins RB Knowshon Moreno either made a miraculous comeback during the bye week or he has a really strange sense of humor, but he returned to practice on Monday after saying he’d be out four more weeks.
Before leaving for the bye week, Moreno said matter-of-factly he had about four more weeks to go in his recovery. He was asked twice if he serious, and he said yes.
Regardless, it’s looking like Moreno could be back in time for Sunday’s home game against Green Bay. His arm was wrapped but he participated in team drills — a good sign this early in the week.
Moreno hasn’t played since injuring his elbow on his first drive of a Week 2 loss to Buffalo.
Surprising news as Moreno said he had about a month to go in his recovery. Moreno emerged as the lead back for the Dolphins before getting hurt early in Week 2. Lamar Miller filled in nicely, but had a couple of favorable matchups. Given what seems to be some kind of misunderstanding between Moreno and the press in his recovery time, it's possible the Dolphins ease Moreno back into action, and he at least splits carries with Miller. Either way, this hurt's Miller's value a bit going forward, especially for owners who thought he had the lead role for several more weeks.
Henery was just 1-of-4 in his two games with the Lions, including an 0-of-3 performance Sunday in a 17-14 loss against the Buffalo Bills. That includes missing a would-be game-winner from 50 yards in the final seconds.
Caldwell said the process has already begun to find Henery's replacement. He'll value experience in the process, but won't rule out any options.
The Lions are expected to hold tryouts this week in Allen Park.
Monday, October 6, 2014, 12:37pm
Jackson's production, however, has far exceeded that of Spiller. Is the offensive line partly to blame for that? Sure, but it's the same group of blockers for each back.
The true variables are Spiller's running style and the plays the Bills call for him. More often than not, it doesn't work out.
Jackson got 46 snaps to Spiller's 25 in Week 5. Spiller has 18 more carries to Jackson but only has 12 more yards to show for it (Jackson' 43-202 vs. Spiller's 61-214). Jackson has seen more work in the passing game with 26 catches for 228 yards on 33 targets while Spiller has 13 catches for 106 yards on 14 targets. Both backs have a receiving TD. Jackson suffered a bit of an ankle injury but said he was OK after Week 5's game, however it's something to keep an eye on.
Monday, October 6, 2014, 12:28pm
The most intriguing part of Sunday's game, from a playing-time perspective, was Bills WR Mike Williams not being the exclusive third option at receiver. Until this point, we've seen little of Goodwin in the offense and even less of Hogan. But the Bills shuffled all three of those players through as their third receiver against the Lions.
Lions WR Calvin Johnson aggravated an ankle injury against Buffalo, and I’m hearing he could miss a week or two because of it.
That would probably be a smart move by Detroit coach Jim Caldwell, because in 37 snaps last week against the Jets and 28 snaps Sunday against the Bills, Johnson was invisible. Totals: three targets, three catches, 19 yards, no touchdowns.
The Lions have essentially been without Johnson the last two weeks anyway. As the story points out, it makes a lot of sense to make sure he's healthy before getting back out on the field again, even if it means missing time. Golden Tate becomes the team's WR1 and could draw tougher coverage as a result, but has excelled the past two weeks with a combined line of 15-250-1 on 19 targets. Jeremy Ross, Corey Fuller and Ryan Broyles could all be more involved with Johnson out.
An investigation by the Minneapolis Star Tribune details some of the unseemly stories of Vikings RB Adrian Peterson’s past, including allegations of money raised by his charity foundation never making it to the suggested recipients.
It detailed the way his All Day Foundation has filed some contradictory financial reports.
Their 2011 financial report showed $247,064 in total revenue, with just three organizations listed as receiving money. A fourth outlay, entitled simply “clothing for needy families,” said “unknown” for the number of recipients.
Their 2009 report said its largest gift of $70,000 went to Straight From the Heart Ministries in Laurel, Md. But Donna Farley, president of the organization, said it never received any money from Peterson’s foundation. “There have been no outside [contributions] other than people in my own circle,” Farley said. “Adrian Peterson — definitely not.”
According to Pro Football Talk, the story spends a great deal of time on the fact Peterson fathered at least six children with six different women. While unfortunate, it’s also not criminal. There was also the salacious bit about one of his relatives paying for hotel rooms for a sex party which involved Peterson and a group of women was paid for with a foundation credit card. The story makes note that this could likely be another hurdle for Peterson returning to the NFL, whether it be with the Vikings or another team.
Monday, October 6, 2014, 10:54am
Stevie Johnson saw just five snaps on offense in the entire game but still managed to catch a touchdown pass.
Rookie Bruce Ellington was on the field for eight plays, which included one rush attempt for no yards and his first NFL reception for just 1 yard.
Through five games, Johnson is the 49ers’ third-leading receiver with 15 receptions for 183 yards and two touchdowns, while Lloyd has six catches for 109 yards. It could have just been part of the plan this week, or it could be a trend that sees Lloyd get more time. Both Johnson and Lloyd would be risky plays regardless, but it's worth monitoring in deeper leagues.
Monday, October 6, 2014, 10:50am
Ravens running back Bernard Pierce ran hard through the middle for a pair of first downs in the third quarter Sunday, displaying no effects of a quadriceps injury that had hampered him for the past few weeks.
Despite Pierce gaining 13 yards and 12 yards on his first two carries, the drive stalled and he would see limited playing time overall in his first game back. Pierce finished with 30 yards on four carries in the Ravens' 20-13 loss to the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium. It was his first action since getting hurt prior to the Ravens’ win last month over the Cleveland Browns.
“I felt good, like I was able to contribute to the best of my ability,” Pierce said. “Hopefully, that’s a start of more to come. Once I got in the game, it was starting to get away from us a little bit. We had to switch it up and go back to the air game.”
The Ravens ran the ball a season-low 15 times for 90 yards, but averaged six yards per carry, led by Justin Forsett’s 42 yards and a touchdown on six carries. Rookie Lorenzo Taliaferro carried just five times for 18 yards. Forsett did add seven catches for 55 yards, and with the return of Pierce, seems to be the go-to guy in this crowded backfield right now.
Donald Brown had been anything but impressive in his time filling in for Mathews, then suffered a concussion giving way to Branden Oliver's monster game against what was supposed to be a stout Jets run defense. Oliver could be looking at another big game in Week 6 as the Chargers take on the Raiders. In Week 7, the Bolts play the Chiefs (another decent matchup at KC is 14th in allowing fantasy points to RBs) which means Mathews could be on track to return in Week 8 against the Broncos. Oliver is shaping up to be a nice pickup at least the next two weeks.
Broncos running back Montee Ball suffered a groin injury on Sunday that could keep him off the field for weeks.
A source told Mike Klis of the Denver Post that the Broncos think Ball will be “out for a while,” although they won’t know for sure until he has an MRI today.
The injury, which Ball suffered while blocking, limited Ball to just six carries for seven yards on Sunday. Ball has disappointed as the Broncos’ starting running back this year, averaging just 3.1 yards a carry through four games.
It hasn't been a good year for fantasy owners who took Ball. Although the schedule was going to ease up, the next couple weeks did figure to be difficult at least on paper (Jets Week 6 and 49ers Week 7). As the story pointed out, the good news is that the Broncos’ backup running backs played well after Ball went down: Ronnie Hillman had 15 carries for 64 yards, and Juwan Thompson had three carries for 15 yards and a touchdown. Hillman figures to be a solid pickup this week. The Jets rush defense was among the tops in the league, but was torched by San Diego's Branden Oliver in Week 5 which bodes well for Hillman in Week 6.
Monday, October 6, 2014, 8:51am
Carolina trailed 21-7 when it went to the no-huddle offense on its final drive of the first half and first drive of the second half of Sunday’s 31-24 victory against the Chicago Bears.
The Panthers scored touchdowns on each drive, tying the game at 21-21. Cam Newton completed 8 of 11 for 124 yards and a TD during two no-huddle drives against Chicago. Newton was particularly efficient during those drives, completing 8 of 11 passes for 124 yards and a touchdown. He was 8-for-24 for 131 yards and a touchdown the rest of the game.
The story pointed out that Newton's numbers would have been better if not for some dropped TD passes from Kelvin Benjamin. It's a bit of good news for owners of Newton who have battled through his struggles for most of the season. The team has yet to unleash him to run due to his ankle and ribs, and the hope is that happens sooner than later. But the team's success in the no huddle seems to be a way to keep Newton productive.
Monday, October 6, 2014, 8:45am
Whenever he touches the ball these days, Antone Smith is expected to score.
The diminutive Atlanta Falcons running back entered Sunday's game against the Giants with three touchdowns in just 13 touches. His 48-yard touchdown run against the Minnesota Vikings in Week 4 was highlighted on the weekly media guide going into the Giants game.
So what did Smith do? He simply scored his fourth explosive touchdown on a 74-yard, catch-and-run during the third quarter of Sunday's 30-20 loss. Smith's four touchdowns this season -- a 48-yard rush, and 38-yard rush, a 54-yard catch-and-run, and the 74-yarder Sunday --- have averaged 53.5 yards. And he has been battling a right hamstring issue since the start of the season, too.
Smith had four touches total against the Giants.
So far Smith as been getting about 2-4 touches a game. He's worth a stash if you have the room, but until we see more he's going to be a risky play despite his big-play capability.