Blaine Gabbert led the 49ers’ first-team offense through the entire offseason program and has continued to build a case to win the starting job at the start of the regular season.
But the 49ers will not name the starter for the 49ers’ first game, Sept. 12 against the Los Angeles Rams, until the time is right, offensive coordinator Curtis Modkins said on Tuesday. That’s because Colin Kaepernick has not had a fair chance, he said.
“It’s not time,” Modkins said. “It’s a competition and Kap hasn’t had a chance to perform, yet. So, when that happens and when coach feels like it’s time, we’ll do that. But right now it’s not time. We’ve still got a ways to go before we play.”
Kaepernick returned to practice Monday after being out with arm fatigue. The team expects him to play Friday night against the Packers. This can be taken a couple of ways - the team is trying to be fair and give Kaepernick a chance, or, it hasn't been impressed with Gabbert to this point and really wants Kaepernick to seize the job.
Terrelle Pryor and Josh Gordon lined up at wide receiver for the Browns on a steamy, muggy Florida morning. They have the ability and potential to turn one of pro football’s least productive units into one that can at least find the end zone without using Google maps. Rookie Corey Coleman will eventually make it a threesome.
“They provide us with some opportunities to do some things that we like to do,” Jackson told reporters after practice. “Pryor, (Gordon), Corey, Hawk (WR Andrew Hawkins), we have a lot of good guys, a lot of different pieces that we can use. Those guys are just part of it. We have some other guys and we just have to keep getting better.”
Pryor and Gordon split wide with Coleman in the slot could be on the field at the same time on Aug. 26 when the Browns and Buccaneers meet in a preseason game, the story said. They can’t be together in the regular season until Oct. 9 when the Browns host New England because Gordon is suspended by the NFL for the first four games of the regular season. Pryor has been impressive this camp, making the transition from QB to WR, he seems to be overshadowing Coleman even. QB Robert Griffin III could benefit the most if this trio continues to shine once the regular season starts.
Tuesday, August 23, 2016, 6:09pm
Titans tight end Craig Stevens has decided to retire, a source confirmed to The Tennessean on Tuesday, less than three weeks before the start of the regular season.
Stevens, considered one of the NFL’s top blocking tight ends, was excused from the team’s last two practices for personal reasons. His decision took the Titans and his former teammates by surprise. The team has not yet confirmed the retirement.
Vikings QB Teddy Bridgewater threw during team drills, although reports from the team’s session indicated that he was mostly throwing shorter passes during the workout.
Shaun Hill, who started in Bridgewater’s place, also returned to action after a day off and a day off from throwing to further return things to normal for the Vikes.
The Vikings opted not to play quarterback Teddy Bridgewater against the Seahawks last Thursday and a report emerged in the following days that Bridgewater was bothered by shoulder soreness leading up to the game. That wasn’t confirmed by the team, but the fact that Bridgewater didn’t throw in practice on either Saturday or Sunday seemed to offer further evidence that all wasn’t 100 percent with his arm. Tuesday’s practice provided reason to believe things are headed back that way, the story said.
Doctson has slowly been increasing his rehab work in an effort to get back to the field prior to Washington’s regular season opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sept. 12.
“He did the route tree today, which is very positive – not 100 percent yet obviously – he’s not running full-speed but he’s doing a lot more now than he did a week ago, which the progress that we see is a very, very good sign for us,” Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said on Tuesday. “I have total expectation that he’s going to be ready Week 1, possibly the fourth preseason game, but we’ll still see. Like I said, it’s a new injury to me.”
Doctson has been dealing with an Achilles injury for a few months now that forced him to watch the entirety of his first professional training camp from the sidelines. While he was only able to do some catching and light calisthenics, Gruden believes Doctson is “in good shape right now mentally,” the story said. Fantasy potential is certainly there for Doctson, especially of the run game continues to struggle for the Redskins, and also considering DeSean Jackson has had his share of injuries recently. The concern right now is chemistry with Kirk Cousins and trying to catch up.
The Detroit Lions are halfway through the preseason, which means there’s less than two weeks remaining before the roster has to be trimmed to its initial 53 on Sept. 3.
There are plenty of tough decisions on the horizon for general manager Bob Quinn and head coach Jim Caldwell, which was one of Quinn’s main objectives when taking over in January. Who makes the cut at running back is one of those tough decisions.
Caldwell has entered the regular season with four running backs and a fullback on the roster in each of the last two seasons. That means four players – Zach Zenner, Dwayne Washington, George Winn and Stevan Ridley – are fighting for what will likely be two roster spots. Zenner and Washington have played more consistently and made more plays throughout training camp and the first two preseason games. The story added Washington has made the most splash plays, with a combo of power and speed. The team's RB3 would have some fantasy potential should something happen to Abdullah or Riddick.
Ebron was not spotted doing much during the limited viewing period of individual drills at the team's practice facility, but it is another step in the right direction for the tight end. He was spotted jogging to the Jugs machine and then catching passes on it last week.
A source told ESPN Insider Adam Caplan on Tuesday morning that Ebron will play Week 1 against Indianapolis. His return to practice Tuesday would be another strong indicator of that, the story said. Ebron is slated to be Detroit's top tight end this fall. He had been having a strong camp leading up to the injury. Now entering his third season, he called this year a "make it or break it" year for him. He caught 47 passes for 537 yards and five touchdowns in 14 games last season.
Tuesday, August 23, 2016, 4:18pm
Miami Dolphins rookie running back Kenyan Drake was asked if he might land on the short-term injured reserve list, which would sideline him until at least Week 8 and he said: “It’s not a possibility. Period.”
It’s a decision the Dolphins management will make, but Drake’s mindset is clear.
Drake is recovering from his second hamstring injury of the preseason and though he won’t play Thursday night against the Falcons in Atlanta, Drake said, “Yeah, of course,” when asked if he expects to be available for the season-opener at Seattle.
Running back Ezekiel Elliott has participated in three full practices the last three days and coach Jason Garrett said he anticipates the Dallas Cowboys' first-round pick will play Thursday against the Seattle Seahawks.
Elliott suffered a hamstring injury on Aug. 2 while the Cowboys practiced in Oxnard, California. He missed eight straight practices and the first two preseason games, but he was able to participate in two workouts before the team returned to Texas last week.
"I'm excited to finally get some full-go action," Elliott said Tuesday. "It's been a long time."
Garrett wasn't sure how much Elliott would play against the Seahawks. The third game of the preseason is most like the regular season for the starters, but since this is Elliott's first game some accommodations will be made, the story said.
It doesn't look like the back injury that caused him to miss a preseason game will pose any threat to his streak.
"If it had been the regular season, I think I could have made it happen last weekend," Olsen said. "But there was no need to do that, and there's no real concern going forward."
Olsen spoke about the injury Tuesday, when he returned to limited participation in practice after missing more than a week with a back injury. There's no guarantee that Olsen will suit up when the Panthers host the New England Patriots on Friday in the all-important third preseason game, but there's no noteworthy concern, either. Looks like he'll be ready to go Week 1.
Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz didn’t play in last Saturday’s game against the Bills, but he dressed for warmups to move closer to playing in a game than he’s been since tearing his patella tendon in the 2014 season.
The plan for this week is to take the next step and get Cruz on the field against the Jets. On Tuesday, Cruz was a participant in his first full practice since hurting his groin two weeks ago and coach Ben McAdoo said that the team will have him in the lineup if all goes well the next couple of days.
“We’ll find out more today and tomorrow, but I’m looking forward to seeing him,” McAdoo said, via the New York Daily News. “It was nice to see him in the uniform in pre-game the other day.”
The goal is to see how he plays and how his body handles playing to get a better idea of what to expect from him. This remains a big week for Cruz in his comeback attempt.
“It feels good to be back out there competing,” the third-year pro said. “I love competing. Going against those guys, I know they love to compete, too. Everyone is getting better. Iron sharpens iron.”
The 5-foot-9, 197-pound receiver has 19 receptions for 215 receiving yards and two touchdowns in 26 career games. Ellington has an opportunity to surpass those numbers in the upcoming season. His role in Chip Kelly’s offense makes him one of the most critical play-makers to watch this season.
The story said Ellington has learned a lot from Anquan Boldin and feels he's ready to play the position when the season starts. Kelly's slot position receiver on the Eagles last year was Jordan Matthews, who was a main target (due to lack of quality on the outside) so Ellington has a chance to put up some solid fantasy numbers.
The Bengals lined up rookie wide receiver Tyler Boyd in a variety of ways during practice and while he has yet to catch an NFL regular-season pass the Bengals can celebrate Boyd’s ascension into the derby to start opposite A.J. Green in New Jersey on Sept. 11.
“A lot of guys are in that category,” said wide receivers coach James Urban as the staff continues to respond to the off-season departures of the nearly combined 1,000 yards and 100 catches accumulated by Sanu and Marvin Jones last season.
But with seven-year veteran Brandon LaFell returning to practice this week with a damaged ligament in his hand after a 10-day absence, Boyd is the unquestioned leader in the clubhouse as they get set to gauge LaFell in Sunday’s dress rehearsal in Jacksonville.
“We have to see how he transitions through,” said offensive coordinator Ken Zampese.
Also making a push is one of the best stories of the year in James Wright. Wright, the 2014 seventh-rounder from LSU, is coming back from a 21-month layoff as he tries to rebound from the most dangerous of procedures, a micro fracture knee surgery.
One wild card in the Patriots running back situation remains undrafted D.J. Foster of Arizona State, who hasn't played in the preseason because of an undisclosed injury but appeared to increase his practice workload on Monday.
Foster was a priority free-agent signing whose $30,000 in guaranteed money was second highest among the team's undrafted players. He fits into the "passing back" mold of Lewis and top replacement, James White.
The story mentioned Fred Jackson and Roy Helu but they fall more into the passing back category. The story also said the Titans could be a trade partner as they are deep with RBs DeMarco Murray, Derrick Henry and Bishop Shankey. We had a story Monday that said Ronnie Hillman may not make the Broncos. The Pats could just be waiting for the next round of cuts, but they appear likely to add to the position and that player could have some fantasy relevance.
Add Dez Bryant to the list of absences from Thursday’s preseason game in Seattle.
The Cowboys revealed on Tuesday morning that Bryant suffered a concussion during the team’s Monday morning practice. Neither Bryant nor Tyrone Crawford will play against the Seahawks, as both players have been evaluated for concussions within the last two days.
This setback will likely end Bryant’s preseason, given that starters typically don’t play in the final preseason game. But with 19 days until the Cowboys open the regular season, the All-Pro receiver will have ample time to recover. Bryant had been on a fantastic run of play during the Cowboys’ first two preseason games. During limited action against the Rams and Dolphins, he caught four passes for 74 yards and two touchdowns, the story all said. Bryant tweeted he'd be OK, but it's still worth monitoring.