The indications at this stage are "incredibly, incredible positive," offensive coordinator Frank Reich said. "You can see he has great vision. You can see he has great patience. And he's just got great physical ability. ... I don't want to say too much because he's got to do it. But I'm just very excited about him, like off-the-charts excited."
The Chargers traded up to get Gordon, so we’d expect they’ll use him early and often in 2015. In fact, GM Tom Telesco used the phrase "impact player" 11 times in Gordon's introductory press conference. He doesn’t have a lot of experience as a receiver, so we'd expect that Danny Woodhead still gets a lot of work on third down while Gordon establishes himself as a good weapon out of the backfield.
No reason was given for the move, but players who have been placed on NFI prior to the start of camp in year’s past have often found themselves there because they have failed the conditioning test and/or their physical.
Update: Ben Volin reported that Blount ended up on the NFI after failing his conditioning test.
This is probably nothing to worry about, but we'll monitor the situation throughout camp. It’s always dicey to buy into the New England running game, but Blount has been good while toting the ball for the Patriots. Since 2013, he has averaged 11.3 touches for 57 yards and 0.65 TD in 26 games. Those are solid RB2 numbers in standard (low-end RB2 in PPR). However, in his last 15 games with the Patriots (including the postseason), he has turned 14.2 touches into 73 yards and 1.0 TD; those are strong and low-end RB1 numbers in standard and PPR formats, respectively. Granted, he tends to score his points in bunches -- e.g. 30 carries, 148 yards and three touchdowns against the Colts in January -- but he’s been getting pretty consistent run since December of 2013, registering at least 10 carries in 11 of his last 15 games with the Patriots. Given his 6th round ADP, he should be a fine target as a RB3, or as a RB2 for the “wait on RB” crowd. For more on Blount, check out this article by Sr. Editor John Paulsen.
Then there’s Duke Johnson, who could steal the spotlight. He’s not as big as the other two (Isaiah Crowell and Terrance West) — 5-foot-9, 210 pounds — but is quick, agile and looks like a big play waiting to happen. Coordinator John DeFilippo will line up Johnson in the backfield, the slot and out wide, but if he carries the ball like he did at Miami — a school-record 3,519 yards — he could quickly become the featured back.
The Cleveland running game is murky at best. The team has two second-year players, Crowell and West, who both had fantasy-relevant moments last season, but they added Johnson to the mix in the draft. He’s the best receiver of the bunch, so he should have a role on third-down at the very least. But he’s capable of stealing carries as well. The Browns should have a good running game, but it’s going to be a headache trying to project these three on a week-to-week basis. In PPR formats, our money is on Johnson to hold the most value.
We'll keep an eye on his injury status during camp. With Jimmy Graham and Kenny Stills gone, someone has to catch the ball in New Orleans, and Colston is likely to finish second or third in targets on the team after Brandin Cooks and possibly C.J. Spiller. Health is the biggest concern here, but he has only missed one game in the last three years. As an 11th round pick, Colston isn’t going to cost much on draft day, so the relative risk is low.
With Jeremy Maclin now in Kansas City, many expected the Eagles to move Jordan Matthews to the outside, and line Josh Huff up in the slot. That is not, however, what the plan is. Huff has been lining up with the first team offense on the outside in Maclin's place, with Matthews remaining in the slot.
Huff could see some time inside, but the plan is for Huff to run many of the same routes Maclin did -- including going deep. Huff is the quickest receiver on the team, and the Eagles will be giving him a chance to stretch the field, much like DeSean Jackson did two seasons ago.
Ask Riley Cooper how much the Eagles like their receivers to be able to block, and he will respond by pointing out he played 980 snaps last season, second most on the team. That is a good sign for Huff, who is perhaps the second-best run-blocking receiver on the Eagles, behind only Cooper. Huff should be able to stay on the field, and keep rookie Nelson Agholor off of it, by being a strong run blocker.
When the team drafted Agholor, it was assumed that he would start. That could still end up being the case, and Agholor has the skills to be a star in the NFL. It will be Huff, however, that gets the first crack at the starting job, with Agholor on the bench.
Agholor could end up taking one of the starting spots, from Huff or Cooper, but he will have to do it in training camp, and won't be handed the job.
The prevailing assumption is that Agholor will start alongside Matthews, who could play outside or in the slot. If Matthews is in the slot, then there's an opening for Huff or Cooper on the other side. Then there's the matter of Zach Ertz, who is rumored to be in line for more snaps as he pushes Brent Celek for the starting job. Ertz could also play more in two-TE sets, but that will send two of the aforementioned receivers to the bench. Training camp will be key for all the Eagles' receivers -- the only player seemingly assured of a big role is Matthews.
Even though DeMarco Murray led the NFL in rushing last season (and carried the ball more times than any other player since 2006), Chip Kelly has said since the spring that he does not want the Eagles to rely on one running back as much as they did during the past two seasons. So expect Ryan Mathews to also have a big role in the offense.
“If you have multiple backs you don’t lose anything when you take one out, and I think we probably relied on one too much in the last couple of years,” Kelly said. “But I have great confidence in those other guys that when they go into the game you don’t have to change what you’re doing. Ryan and DeMarco are very similar in terms of how they run and what they’re doing so it’s almost like you think you catch your breath when you take DeMarco out of the game but then here comes Ryan, that’s going to be a real difficult task for people, I think.”
Murray had a career year in his fourth season, racking up 2,261 total yards and 13 touchdowns on 449 touches. He should get plenty of work in Philadelphia, though the signing of Ryan Mathews and the presence of Darren Sproles make it very unlikely that he’ll surpass 400 touches in 2015. LeSean McCoy averaged 353 touches over the past two seasons, so that’s probably Murray’s ceiling if everyone stays healthy. He should hold low-end RB1 value, though the presence of Mathews and Sproles may make even that a stretch.
Wednesday, July 29, 2015, 6:39pm
Parker, a wide receiver from Louisville, underwent surgery on his foot last month and has been in a boot since the procedure. He had foot surgery last year and missed the first seven games of Louisville's season.
"There was a set amount, a set weight limit for me coming into training camp, which is 215," Bridgewater said Wednesday at training camp. "I was able to put on some weight but most of it was muscle. I'm trying to make sure that I'm building myself up to withstand some hits that I'm going to take throughout the year and withstand the long season that's ahead of us."
It's good to hear that Bridgewater is packing muscle on his relatively slight frame. It can only help. The acquisition of Mike Wallace is good news for Bridgewater, who averaged a solid 15.0 FP after his Week 10 bye. Those are QB2-type numbers, so with a year under his belt and Wallace (and a healthy Kyle Rudolph?) in the mix, Bridgewater should be a good QB2 with QB1-type upside if everything breaks his way. The return of Adrian Peterson can only help the offense as a whole.
Flip the calendar three months forward and Perriman enters training camp as a drastically better player, and he’s put himself in position to contend for a starting position (or at least a lot of snaps) right away.
The aspect of Perriman’s game that critics have harped on most is his hands. Perriman showed solid hands throughout most of Organized Team Activities and minicamp, but he did have one practice with about four drops, which has continued the narrative.
Four months after Jones raved over Darren McFadden as still possessing the "kinds of skills that got him drafted with the fourth pick," the Cowboys owner and general manager spent Wednesday praising McFadden's competition, Joseph Randle.
"We have a player (in Randle) that has the potential -- and we based that on, not on what he did at Oklahoma State or how we drafted him, but by literally being a teammate around here for the last two years -- but he has the potential to be the kind of back that would step in there and be your No. 1 back," Jones told reporters. "If he were not here, then I wouldn't feel as good as we go into the season and what might happen."
He was highly effective (6.7 YPC) in 2014 and is reportedly showing more maturity after several off-the-field issues. He's not going to see a DeMarco Murray-type workload, but 225-250 carries is feasible if he wins the lead back job, and it appears he will.
Roddy White told ESPN.com that he had his left knee drained prior to minicamp, but the Atlanta Falcons receiver is not concerned about it being a major issue this season. White, who had the same knee drained last offseason, sat out the first two days of mandatory minicamp last month after the procedure. He returned for the third and final day of the camp.
"It's not a concern to me because it's just like a little irritation,'' the veteran said Wednesday. "My cartilage in my knee is not smooth. It's kind of rippled. You can elect to have surgery, but I just decided not to because I'm not a surgery guy. I just don't want to do it.
"They gave me the option two years ago to have surgery. They said they would have to slice off the top of my cartilage, and I was like, 'I don't want to do that.' I don't want them to keep shaving my cartilage off until there's no more cartilage. Then you start to get arthritis.''
White said there is a strong possibility he will have the knee drained again at some point before the conclusion of the season. He missed two games last season, but neither was due to the knee. "If I get my knee drained on a Monday, I can practice on Wednesday,'' White said. "It's not an issue where I'm going to miss a game, because it's such a small issue. I'm not worried about it -- not at all.''
Normally, we would shy away from a situation like this, but White dealt with the same issue last year and showed no ill effects in the knee. (His hamstring and ankle kept him out of one game apiece.) When he played, he was a solid WR2 in both PPR (#17 PPG) and standard (#20 PPG) formats. He’s 33, but as long as he stays healthy, he should be a very good WR3.
Bell had clean-up surgeries this off-season on his knee and Achilles tendon, and like Waddle missed all of spring workouts.
Bell is expected to start at running back, but split time with rookie second-round pick Ameer Abdullah when he returns.
This is not a huge deal, but it's noteworthy that Bell is not yet fully recovered from his offseason ailments. Bell was the #14 RB in standard formats (#13 in PPR), while racking up 257 touches in 15 games. That works out to a 17.1-touch average. While he certainly benefited from Reggie Bush's injury-plagued season, Bell dominated the touches even when Bush was active and playing. When healthy, he should continue to see RB1-type touches in 2015 with Bush out of the way, though the arrival of Abdullah is a concern.
No. 7 overall pick Kevin White spent the final few days of offseason practice off the field because of an undisclosed injury. He'll start his first training camp on the physically unable to perform list.
Bears coach John Fox announced Wednesday that White will start camp on the physically unable to perform list with a shin injury. They also want to improve his "cardio" before letting him on the field.
It’s hard to envision Eddie Royal starting over White this year, but given John Fox’s history of being anti-rookie and White’s absence from spring workouts due to a shin injury, it’s not unfathomable. He’s a player to monitor in August.
When healthy, Reed has averaged 10.5 fantasy points in PPR formats over the past two seasons. This extrapolates to low-end TE1 numbers and he's certainly a worthy start when he's healthy enough to play. His ADP is currently in the 14th round, so he's a low risk pick.
If Bengals QB Andy Dalton has the kind of year that OC Hue Jackson envisions, it’s because he’ll be a point guard executing some pretty exotic stuff. After his first season was marred by injuries to both starting wide receivers and a starting tight end, Jackson is itching to unload some Xs and Os.
“We're going to open Pandora's box more,” Jackson said. “We tickled it a little bit last year. We're going to open it up a little bit more this year and be who I think we can be…But I tell you what, the defenses are so good, the defensive players are so good and they disguise all the time, why can't we? It's a chess match, and whoever is not afraid to pull the trigger, pull the trigger. And I'm not afraid, so let's go.”
“I tell people all the time -- close, personal friends of mine -- that was probably my best coaching job. To not have A.J. Green. To not have Tyler Eifert. To not have a healthy Jermaine Gresham to start the season. You lose Kevin Zeitler for a couple games,” Jackson said. “We mixed and matched pretty well last year. Not to the best of what we could have been, but we did a decent job. Obviously a healthy Cincinnati Bengal offensive football team has a chance to be very dynamic….If we can stay healthy, some of those hardened times can turn into some good times.”
Jackson went run-heavy in 2014, which is typical of his style, but we shouldn't ignore the possibility that a healthy A.J. Green, Marvin Jones and Tyler Eifert could lead to the Bengals taking a more balanced approach in 2015. They were the 5th-most run-heavy team last season after finishing middle-of-the-pack in that category under then-OC Jay Gruden the year before. If Jackson does in fact call more pass plays, it can only help Dalton's fantasy prospects.