Fantasy News Home
Friday, July 25, 2014, 8:51pm
The big news of the day was Falcons WR Julio Jones returning to practice for the first time since suffering a right foot fracture in Week 5 of last season. Coach Mike Smith said Jones will be limited during camp with one day on, one day off. Jones showed no ill effects while planting and cutting. His reps were limited during full-team drills and one-on-one coverage drills. "I thought it was very good," Smith said of Jones' first day. "You guys saw it. He was running routes very well. I thought the timing between he and [quarterback] Matt [Ryan] was good. We have a plan, a prescription that we're going to try to stay by for the first couple of weeks, and then we'll make an evaluation after that. It was great to see Julio back on the field."
Wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson missed practice with a foot injury, but is only expected to miss a couple of days. Patterson didn't take the team's conditioning test on Thursday because of the injury, and stood near the Vikings' receivers in a bucket hat on during Friday's practice. The injury isn't though to be serious, but the start of Patterson's highly-anticipated second season will have to wait a few days.
Hopefully Patterson returns to practice soon. He's missing valuable practice while he's sidelined. As an up-and-coming player he needs as many reps as he can get.
Friday, July 25, 2014, 8:42pm
It's just the first day with no pads, but Seahawks running backs Christine Michael and Robert Turbin took full advantage of Marshawn Lynch's absence and had several impressive runs. Michael really shows off his speed on outside runs around the edge, usually out running linebackers to the sideline before the defensive back can catch him.
Friday, July 25, 2014, 8:42pm
One clear standout at Seahawks camp was rookie receiver Kevin Norwood. He made one sensational leaping catch on a cross pattern while two defenders were closely covering him. Norwood also made a tough catch on a deep out, then turned and juked his way past linebacker Horace Miller to race down the sideline. Paul Richardson is the rookie speedster who wows people with his speed, but Norwood has been a pleasant surprise with his sure hands, consistent route running and polished skills every time he's on the field.
Montee Ball had just 59 receptions in his four seasons combined at Wisconsin and many in the league said working in the passing game would be the most difficult part of his transition to a potential No. 1 back. Last August he did miss a blitz pick-up in Seattle when Manning took a huge hit from Bobby Wagner, a hit that paved the way for Knowshon Moreno to work his way back up the depth chart last fall. But Ball has looked steady catching the ball thus far, including a nice back-shoulder grab in team drills Friday.
Ball had a higher YPC (4.7) than Moreno (4.3), but wasn’t quite the weapon in the passing game. Still, his catch percentage (receptions/targets = 74.1%) wasn’t bad for a running back. His play down the stretch (8.5 FP/game in final eight games) is encouraging. He’s locked in as the RB1 in a great offense, so 10+ touchdowns seems likely.
Friday, July 25, 2014, 8:39pm
The Broncos are approaching a crossroads with tight end Julius Thomas, who is in the last season of his rookie deal. They’d like to sign him long term, but could also use the franchise player tag next season if they do not get a deal done. Either way, Thomas has done his part so far to build on his 65-catch, 12-touchdown season in 2013. Thomas has shown a comfort level in the offense, working on the line, out wide and in the slot. He also spent some time with Tony Gonzalez this past offseason for a little guidance as well. "For me, it was understanding how you continue to play at a high level," Thomas said. "What do you do to prepare for games? What do you do to get the most out of practice? Just some things that only a future Hall of Famer and a 17-year veteran would know."
It's great to hear that Thomas spent time picking the brain of Gonzalez, a sure-fire first ballot Hall of Famer. Thomas is a favorite target in the league’s most productive passing attack, and with Eric Decker no longer with the team, the fourth-year tight end could see an increase in targets as well. He scored 12 TDs in 14 games, but wasn’t simply a redzone threat — he also averaged 4.6 receptions per game, which was 6th among tight ends.
Friday, July 25, 2014, 8:34pm
Browns QB Johnny Manziel carried himself with the aura of a guy who had been dressed down after arriving for training camp. The team that had publicly supported him through so much evidently hit its limit when Manziel continued to post and pose for party photos throughout the offseason. Manziel admitted to rookie mistakes and said he had to do better when it came to acting like a professional. He'll still get a chance to earn the starting job; if he's the better player it would hurt the team not to play him. But the Browns sure seemed to convey the message that they truly believe in Brian Hoyer, and they did grow weary of constant questions about floating swans and spraying champagne bottles.
Friday, July 25, 2014, 7:52pm
San Francisco 49ers running back Kendall Hunter went down early in practice on Friday with an apparent right knee injury during a 7-on-7 drill. After he was checked by medical staff for a number of minutes, Hunter walked back to the locker room under his own power.
Colts RB Vick Ballard tore his Achilles, sources say. He was carted off the field earlier.
Ballard was set to compete with Trent Richardson and Ahmad Bradshaw for carries out of the Colts backfield, but if the reports are true, he's going to be on the shelf for another year. He tore his ACL early last season.
Friday, July 25, 2014, 5:43pm
On Friday, Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill and No. 1 receiver Mike Wallace connected on a deep ball in what was easily the play of the day. Wallace beat second-year cornerback Jamar Taylor by a couple steps and Tannehill hit Wallace in stride for an approximately 40-yard gain. Tannehill and Wallace struggled with deep-ball connections last season.
Friday, July 25, 2014, 5:39pm
Jets TE Jeff Cumberland arrived at camp a day later than his teammates due to personal reasons but stepped right into the fray with several nice cuts and catches in "skelly" and team drills. He, too, gives the Marty Mornhinweg system kudos for allowing him to pick up where he left off last year and in the offseason. "Like today, I hadn't been able to look at my playbook for a couple of weeks," he said. "But since I've been in the system, I was able to just come out here and, every play he called, I knew exactly what to do."
Jaguars WR Cecil Shorts left the team's first training camp practice with a tight hamstring. The injury isn't expected to be serious and coach Gus Bradley said the Jaguars pulled Shorts as a precautionary measure. Shorts said he expects to be back on the field this weekend. "Things are going to pop up," he said. "It's football. Things happen. I'll continue to take care of my body. If I'm able to practice [on Saturday], I'm practicing." Shorts missed most of OTAs and minicamp with tightness in his calf.
Shorts gutted through a sports hernia on his way to a 66-777-3 season. The 55-979-7 line he posted in 2012 (his second season) is a better indication of what he’s capable of. The addition of Marqise Lee and Allen Robinson should actually help Shorts avoid double coverage. Hopefully the hamstring injury isn't a big deal.
Friday, July 25, 2014, 5:35pm
For all the unsolicited advice the Kansas City Chiefs receive about how to best preserve running back Jamaal Charles for the long term, they don’t seem inclined to listen. Days after they fortified Charles’ contract, the Chiefs appear prepared to utilize their best offensive player as much if not more than in seasons past. "I think he's got a lot in the tank," coach Andy Reid said. “We're going to keep using him. He's a good football player and he enjoys playing the game, so we'll keep getting him the football."
It sounds as if the team will continue to give Charles a heavy dose of touches. He was 5th in that category at 21.9 per game.
Friday, July 25, 2014, 5:20pm
Vikings RB Adrian Peterson said he expects to take on an expanded role in first-year offensive coordinator Norv Turner's system, one that seems designed for elusiveness over brawn. "It's definitely different," Peterson said. "I had an opportunity to sit down and talk to Coach Turner, and I knew when they hired him I was going to be more involved in the spread (offense), running routes out of the backfield. "It's something I've been waiting for my whole career, and now I have the opportunity to be a part of that style of offense." As he begins his last season under 30, the age often associated with decline among NFL running backs, Peterson said he sees himself as an every-down player.
He’s coming off of a #6 finish (and groin surgery); it’s the second time in three seasons that he has finished outside of the top 5. He turns 29 in March and while he should continue to be very productive when healthy, one wonders if his 2,241 touches are starting to catch up to him. Along with his sheer talent, there is another reason to be excited about AP’s upside in 2014 — the arrival of OC Norv Turner, who knows what he’s doing on that side of the ball. Turner emphasized that he wants to get Peterson the ball in space, and that means more receptions. Peterson has only averaged 2.0 catches in his career, and has been curiously underutilized in the passing game since day one. He's not quite the natural receiver as LaDainian Tomlinson was, but as a Turner-RB comparison, Tomlinson averaged 2.9 catches in three seasons under Norv Turner.
Friday, July 25, 2014, 3:18pm
Titans RB Shonn Greene (knee) has been cleared for camp.