Saturday, August 22, 2015, 1:18pm
Perhaps Derek Carrier won’t be the Redskins’ savior at the tight end position. But he does have some NFL experience under his belt, something that all but two members of the injury-ravaged tight end corps of the Redskins lack.
General manager Scot McCloughan said that he likes tough football players and based on this one, very small sample size of work, a 22-yard catch over the middle against the Bears on Sunday night football last year, it looks like he fits the bill there.
In terms of snap counts, Carrier was the 49ers No. 2 tight end last year. He played 356 snaps at tight end, second to Vernon Davis’ 830. It should also be noted that Carrier played 168 snaps on special teams. With special teams stalwarts Niles Paul, Logan Paulsen and Adam Hayward all out for the year with injuries, the Redskins need some experienced special teams help. It is likely that Carrier will provide that.
Saturday, August 22, 2015, 1:17pm
Now, coach Mike Pettine says, Pryor is going to struggle to make the team if he can’t soon get himself healthy enough to practice.
“That window narrows every day that he’s not out there,” Pettine said today, via Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com.
Realistically, Pryor may be running out of NFL chances. He bounced around from the Raiders to the Seahawks to the Chiefs to the Bengals and failed to make it as a quarterback, and now he’s having a hard time proving himself as a wide receiver. If Pryor doesn’t make it on the Browns this year, he may not make it in the NFL at all, the story concluded.
Saturday, August 22, 2015, 1:15pm
Rex Ryan isn't sold on any of his quarterbacks in Buffalo.
The first-year Bills coach has once again been tasked with picking a respectable starter from a mediocre litter of gunslingers. Despite some flashy and consistent play from Tyrod Taylor in the first two preseason games, Ryan remains unswayed.
Ryan told the Buffalo media Saturday that there is a "high possibility" of keeping the Bills' top three quarterbacks -- Taylor, Matt Cassel, EJ Manuel -- on the roster for the season. He also reiterated that the Bills will give each of the Three Amigos a shot in the team's next preseason game.
"We haven't decided yet who's starting at QB next week," Ryan said. "We'll rotate all three in this week."
On first down from the Washington 20, he took a handoff from Colt McCoy and headed up the middle. In the hole he planted, made a slight change of direction and quickly rolled into the second level. About 12 yards downfield a defensive back flew in to try to make the tackle but Jones made a move and dodged him. He kept heading north until he was brought down after a gain of 24 yards.
Jones finished the game leading the team in rushing with 52 yards on 10 carries. He blasted his way into the end zone from a yard out. His head coach was impressed.
“Matt Jones continues to hit the hole the way we want him to—hard,” Jay Gruden said after the game. “He gets through the second level, he’s a problem.”
At 6-2, 231 Jones can be a big problem. He is doing what Scot McCloughan hoped he would do when he drafted Jones out of Florida in the third round. There were plenty of skeptics among draft analysts when they turned in the card with his name on it as the 95th overall pick last May. The instant conventional wisdom was that the third round was way too high to take Jones, who wasn’t even the Gators’ full-time running back. After Thursday, many of them are singing a different tune, the story said. Jones has the ability to take over for Roy Helu as the team's third down back, but reports all summer say Jones is also a hard, physical runner. For now, Alfred Morris is expected to get a bulk of the work, but Jones is certainly getting noticed so far in camp.
Wagoner: I suppose the answer to that question starts with what your perspective is on what type of impact you believe Todd Gurley is supposed to have. For me, I don't think we can expect him to come in and instantly become the game-breaker that he was drafted to be. Some of that is a function of his rehab from the knee injury and some of it is from the likelihood that his offensive line is going to take some time to develop.
I expect Gurley to have a very limited role or potentially even sit the first game or two before he slowly starts working his way into the mix. He probably won't take on a full workload until a bit later in the season. If he comes in at that pace, then I suppose the answer for this year is no. We all know he brings a lot of talent to the table but as with any rookie -- let alone ones coming off major knee injuries -- there's always the possibility he won't pan out and play to his draft status. Gurley is no exception.
It doesn't sound very positive for potential Gurley owners who are expecting him to come in and be an instant RB1. It sounds like the Rams are going to bring him along slowly, perhaps very slowly. He's not going to play in preseason which means which means his chances of having an early impact don't seem very good. Later on this season could be a different story, but Wagoner didn't seem all that optimistic he's going to have the impact everyone might expect of a RB taken early in the first round of the NFL Draft. Tre Mason looks like he'll at least have early season fantasy value and may even continue to be productive further into the season than most thought.
The bulky black brace Cards QB Carson Palmer wears on his left knee is about the only sign he is less than nine months removed from his second torn anterior cruciate ligament.
That and, well, the way head coach Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians still sometimes shakes his head in disbelief that three weeks into training camp, Palmer isn’t just healthy, he’s better.
And maybe better than he’s been at any point since he made back-to-back Pro Bowls in 2005 and 2006 while playing for the Cincinnati Bengals.
“Carson is in great shape, mentally and physically,” Arians told USA TODAY Sports.
Plenty of coaches gush these sorts of platitudes about their quarterback this time of year. But it means something coming from a quarterback guru like Arians, who has tutored passers like Peyton Manning, Ben Roethlisberger and Andrew Luck.
The story said that through three weeks of training camp, Palmer has been among the Cardinals’ most consistent players, something that backs up numerous reports we've had here at 4for4. In a recent fully-padded practice, he zipped pass after pass across the middle of the field to Larry Fitzgerald, and nailed several deep touchdown passes to second-year receiver John Brown — all while playing against a secondary that includes stars Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu. Then, in his first live action since suffering the knee injury on Nov. 9, Palmer went 4-for-4 for 77 yards to lead the Cardinals to a touchdown in his one series of work in the preseason opener against Kansas City last week. All signs are pointing to Palmer having very nice, later-round value at the QB position, definitely something to note if you're waiting to draft at the position.
Saturday, August 22, 2015, 9:57am
The Jets’ concussions, as well as the concussion suffered by Robert Griffin III on Thursday, bring back into focus a common concern in the NFL: Players are putting their health at risk in meaningless preseason games. Owners and players alike have shown interest in the possibility of shortening the preseason, but they can’t come to an agreement on how to go about doing that, and whether the regular season should be lengthened to compensate for the lost preseason games.
Jets wide receiver Shaquelle Evans also suffered a back injury, while offensive tackle Ben Ijalana suffered a knee injury and defensive back Dashaun Phillips suffered a rib injury.
Early in practice, Titans tight end Delanie Walker bobbled and dropped a Mariota pass, the kind that he usually hauls in with ease. I asked him if his injured thumb — he needed 12 stitches to close a cut earlier this month — was causing him any problems. He said the thumb is still tender but improving. Walker said he’ll test the thumb Sunday before a decision is made on whether he plays against the Rams.
Last year, Walker finished #9 in standard formats and #8 in PPR leagues even though he missed a game and a half in the middle of the season due to a concussion. He was #12 and #11, respectively, in 2013. In his last 22 games with the Titans, he has averaged 11.9 PPG in PPR formats, which would have been enough for a #6 finish last season. In Marcus Mariota, he should get an upgrade at quarterback and figures to remain a big part of the team’s passing attack. We're not too worried about the thumb injury, but it's something to monitor as the offseason draws to a close.
Falcons WR Roddy White will be on the sideline for the game. The team announced that White, who practiced all week, has an elbow injury and said that there will be more information about his status after the game.
Once known as an iron man, White missed a couple of 2014 games due to injury, but 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 solid WR2/WR3. Hopefully this elbow injury isn't too serious.
Safety Rashad Johnson: “The timing, the zip, the placement of the ball. He’s just been on fire. I’m surprised to see how well he’s come back from the (knee) injury. I think it took us a week and half to get an interception off of him. With the secondary we have, that’s very impressive. He’s playing at a very, very high level. You can tell he understands the offense way better than he did a couple years ago. I’m excited, man. I’ve never seen a quarterback play this well in person, besides Kurt Warner.”
Safety Tyrann Mathieu: “His arm has gotten so much stronger. And just his confidence. He’s throwing the ball into double coverage and against our best cornerback. That confidence he has and the trust in his receivers, that’s what stands out to us the most. We practice against him but we don’t play against him. He’s on our team so we’re pretty excited for the season to get here.”
Cornerback Patrick Peterson: “The way he’s going through his progressions, as far as one, two, three reads. You can tell he’s much more comfortable within the offense and Coach Arians’ play calling. And his arm looks so much stronger than the years past. Just look at him, his demeanor, his confidence is different. I wish we could just wrap him up in a whole bunch of bubble wrap and keep him safe leading up to the season.”
In the 15 games since his team’s 2013 bye, Palmer is averaging 277 yards 1.8 touchdowns and 0.8 interceptions. Those are fringe QB1 numbers, and he has a nice receiving corps (including Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd and John Brown) to throw to. Everything is going smoothly with his recovery from ACL surgery, so he's our favorite late-round sleeper at the QB position. For more on Palmer, be sure to read the Cardinals-qb-carson-palmer">Sleeper Alert that Senior Editor John Paulsen issued back in June.
Andrew Mason of the Broncos website:
I was asked recently on a radio appearance about Cody Latimer's fantasy value, and I think he's worth a late-round flyer based on his potential, and if there's an injury to one of the top two receivers, he's going to be targeted frequently. But with the Broncos making use of "12" and "21" personnel more often than in past years, I don't know that Latimer will see enough targets to be an every-week fantasy starter, even though his performance, skill set and improved command of the scheme screams, "quality NFL starter."
Latimer had a disappointing rookie season and wasn't even able to beat out Andre Caldwell. As Mason stated, new HC Gary Kubiak favors two-TE sets, so Latimer’s snaps may be limited. The third receiver in Baltimore didn’t even play half the snaps under Kubiak. However, Latimer’s talent may force him into a larger role, but that remains to be seen.
Ravens beat writer Jeff Zrebiec:
He's caught balls underneath, he's caught deep passes, he's drawn pass interference penalties. Nobody on the Ravens has been able to match up. If Matthews stays healthy, I'd be shocked if he didn't have a big year.
The offseason buzz has been strong. With Jeremy Maclin gone, Matthews will have to play more than the 65% of the snaps that he played as a rookie. He was the #24 WR in standard formats, so increased playing time should lead to a better finish. He won't be limited to the slot in 2015.
Ravens beat writer Jeff Zrebiec:
I’ve been saying for months that Marlon Brown is a lock for one of the wide receiver spots in what has been the most-scrutinized position competition of training camp. But now, I’m not so sure.
Brown, to no fault of his own, missed most of the first couple of weeks of training camp with back and hamstring injuries. But since his return, he hasn’t looked right.
He isn’t getting a ton of reps and he’s been extremely tentative, failing to get much separation on defensive backs. I’m sure the injuries have a lot to do with it, but Brown may be playing himself onto the roster bubble, especially if Michael Campanaro stays healthy and Jeremy Butler and Darren Waller have good preseasons.
Two weeks ago, I would have predicted with some confidence that the Ravens’ regular-season roster would include seven receivers: Steve Smith, Kamar Aiken, Brown, Campanaro, Breshad Perriman, Waller and Jeremy Butler. Now, I’m not so sure.
Campanaro is making a push to be the team's slot receiver, and if Perriman returns and takes over as the WR2, then Brown will be vying with Aiken for snaps as the team's WR4. If Perriman remains sidelined, then Aiken/Brown could be battling for a starting job.
“Absolutely, that should help a lot. He is really a solid young man,” Rivera said. “He knows two positions, and obviously he’ll concentrate on Kelvin’s and work to handle that spot for us.”
“We drafted Devin Funchess for a reason and this is one of them,” Rivera said. “You want to have a big, quality receiver, and Devin gives us that still.”
With Kelvin Benjamin out for the year, Funchess likely becomes the de facto WR1 for the Panthers. Provided he has a good camp, we would expect his ADP to climb into the 8th-10th range after Benjamin went in the 7th/8th as a rookie. It's unlikely that Funchess has the same type of year, but he and TE Greg Olsen will likely lead the team in targets.
“He’s added a new dimension to our offense,” offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell told Peter King. “He’s been amazing. Awesome. He’ll help on third down, help in the red zone. In some of those areas you feel like he will be able to be a big factor. I think he will have the effect that you imagine a tight end would, pulling some coverage, and maybe changing some stuff for guys outside and guys other places as well.”
Graham finished with 85 catches for 889 yards and 10 touchdowns, but his season was somewhat disappointing, especially down the stretch. He averaged 4.0 catches for 44 yards and 0.2 TD in his final five games, including a weird zero-target goose egg in Week 13 against Pittsburgh. Now he heads to Seattle, where the Seahawks have been looking to upgrade at tight end for a while. Graham's value takes a minor hit as he heads to the run-oriented Seahawks, though he'll continue to be a target hog given the current state of the Seattle receiving corps.