Friday, November 21, 2014, 6:26pm
Titans TE Delanie Walker (concussion, probable) took full practice reps all week and is probable for Week 12. He’s on track to play. The Eagles have been surprisingly good against tight ends, though Walker is a solid start whenever he’s active.
Friday, November 21, 2014, 6:26pm
Gray is perfectly healthy, but he was late to the facility, so he was not allowed to practice. The Patriots don’t tolerate tardiness, so Gray’s role in Week 12 is now up in the air, especially after the team signed LeGarrette Blount. We'll update our projections later in the day, but given this latest development (and a tough matchup against the Lions), Gray is not a solid start in Week 12.
Cameron may not be able to make it back for Week 12, but his return to practice is a sign of hope that he'll be able to return this season. Owners with issues at tight end should consider a late-week pickup and stash.
Saints beat writer Mike Triplett on the team's offensive game plan against the Ravens:
Based on this matchup, I don't expect the Saints to be too stubborn with the run -- especially after their run game was surprisingly shut down by Cincinnati last week. But in general, the Saints have relied on the run game more this season than ever in the Sean Payton-Drew Brees era. They are eighth in the NFL in rushing yards per game, and Mark Ingram had three straight 100-yard games before last week.
But the offense is really stuck in a sort of identity crisis that we haven't seen before. The efficiency stats are up: Brees leads the NFL in completion percentage and the Saints lead the NFL in third-down success. But Brees also has turned the ball over too much (10 interceptions, two fumbles). And the deep ball has been hit or miss -- even before they lost their best deep threat, Brandin Cooks, to a broken thumb. I'm guessing we will see the Saints get pretty aggressive to try to get out of their rut Monday night.
This could mean a big day for Kenny Stills, who was the team's primary deep threat as a rookie. He should see at least 6-7 targets with Cooks out the remainder of the year.
Friday, November 21, 2014, 12:05pm
It certainly would follow Ravens QB Joe Flacco's trend of exploiting bad secondaries this season. In four games against pass defenses ranked in the bottom 10, Flacco has completed 65.9 percent of his throws and has averaged 281.5 yards passing. He has thrown 10 touchdowns and three interceptions for a 112.0 passer rating. The Saints are the NFL's ninth-worst pass defense, and they looked even worse in allowing Andy Dalton to regain his confidence.
The biggest concern with Flacco's inconsistency is he typically has his "down" games on the road. Since the start of the 2013 season, Flacco's passer rating on the road is 73.1, the fifth worst in the NFL over that span.
Chargers QB Philip Rivers clarified his injury status this week, saying he suffered a chest injury falling onto the ball during the fourth quarter of Sunday's game on a sack by Khalil Mack. Rivers said he's been dealing with general soreness, like all players, this time of year, and clarified that Antonio Gates' comments were an attempt to protect his quarterback from criticism for his uneven play the past four weeks. Inconsistent pass protection and a lack of a running game have been more of a contributing factor to Rivers' struggling performance of late.
We're not sure who to believe here. Gates said that Rivers has been dealing with a "very severe rib injury," which makes it sound like it was an ongoing issue, not the chest injury that Rivers is describing from Week 11. Rivers' matchup with the Rams looks good on paper, but St. Louis just shut down the Broncos' passing game, so it's tough to be too optimistic about Rivers this week.
In my opinion, this Sunday you will see about at 65-35 split between the two, with Hill receiving the majority. As far as being a starter goes, I asked Hue specifically about that this week and he offered the "whoever goes out there first doesn't matter." He's right in that regard. He's acknowledged Hill deserves more work and that's the far more important point then who trots out there first.
The question for me will not be how the breakdown ends up, but the method in getting there. Will they alternate series? Will Bernard be the third-down back? Those are the questions we won't have answered until we see Sunday.
Dehner doesn't specify if he's predicting carries or touches, but we would guess he's talking about the former. The Bengals RBs are getting 24.2 carries per game this season, so if only Hill and Bernard tote the ball, a 65/35 split would represent 15.7 carries for Hill and 8.5 carries for Bernard. Hill caught 13 passes in the seven games in which Bernard also played, so that is a projected workload of around 17-18 touches for Hill. In his recent stint as the starter, he has seen 22.0 touches per game. Due to the report that Bernard got the first reps with the starts in practice on Thursday, we currently have it as more of a 55/45 split between the two players, with Hill in a "lead" role. We feel that Hill is usable as a RB2, though his workload isn't as stable as it has been in the last few weeks. As for Bernard, he's shaping up as more of a RB3/flex. Common sense tells us that he will be limited in his first game back, but common sense doesn't always prevail in the NFL.
“I told Coby numerous times during the game, ‘Great play. Great play.’ And even after the game I said, ‘You grew up tonight, man. You grew up. You had a great game.’ It was the Coby Fleener that we all see in practice show up in the game. A lot of people don’t understand his speed and his size and his height. He can be a mismatch. There’s no way he shouldn’t be listed in the elite group of tight ends,” Wayne said on his weekly radio show.
“There’s no going back from here. He’s growing up,” Wayne says of Fleener.
“We’ve seen this in Coby in spurts. But like I told him, ‘There’s no going back. There’s no going backwards. From here on out, you just set the standard. You just set the table so now everybody is going to expect you to perform this way every week. Coby is to the point now where everything should be going and we believe it is. He showed that the other night.”
Chuck Pagano took notice of what Fleener gave the Colts offense last Sunday.
“(Fleener) played big (Sunday). He played physical,” Pagano said on his weekly radio show. “He made two of the finest catches that I’ve seen a tight end make. We had another tight end that we were defending on the other side of the field that was pretty damn good but Coby went up and made some great plays, great catches. It’s good to see his production coming through. He’s more than capable and now he’s just got to keep it there.”
Dwayne Allen's injury was initially described as a high-ankle sprain, and although he has indicated that it's not serious, he has been unable to practice this week, so Fleener is a Sneaky Start in a solid matchup with the Jaguars. Fleener posted #13 TE numbers last season after Allen was lost for the year. We currently have him ranked at #4 in standard formats for Week 12.
Bill Belichick addressed the re-signing of running back LeGarrette Blount this morning for the first time and said it was a simple matter of adding a player they wanted last offseason and made it right the second time around.
"We tried to sign LeGarrette in the offseason," Belichick said. "That didn't work out, which is the NFL. It's the business part of the NFL. He was released. He was available, and we were able to work it out for him to come back here, so we're glad to have him back."
Belichick detailed how Blount can carve out a role in the backfield.
"That will be up to him, just like everybody else," Belichick said. "When he gets an opportunity, how much he can take advantage of it, how much he can be productive, what he can do with those opportunities will determine how many more there are. That's totally up to him. He knows that. We've talked about that. He knows that's the way it is, and I think he's excited about it."
Thursday, November 20, 2014, 7:19pm
Thursday, November 20, 2014, 7:17pm
TE Anthony Fanaso returns to the active list. Travis Kelce should drop back down to his regular 55-65% of snaps played.
Minnesota picked Tate up on waivers Wednesday and he practiced Thursday, two days after he was released by the Cleveland Browns. Offensive coordinator Norv Turner said Tate was signed for insurance because McKinnon was the only regular running back able to practice at all this week.
"We're in a situation where (Wednesday) we had one back that could practice, so the timing of (Tate) being released and the opportunity for us to add a back ... was good timing," Turner said. "We're excited about Jerick and what he's done, and I see him as our running back. He's been limited in practice last week and couldn't practice (Wednesday), so you've got to protect yourself."
We know the game won't be in Buffalo on Sunday. The rumor is that it will be in Detroit on Monday, but Washington is also a possibility.