Friday, May 26, 2017, 10:14pm
Signed to a five-year, $36 million contract last offseason, Coby Fleener was supposed to serve as another dynamic playmaker in an offense full of them. At times he was. Mostly, he was just solid, catching 50 passes for 631 yards with three touchdowns.
Could it have been better?
“I think it absolutely could have been better,” he said. “I would have loved it to be better.”
And he thinks it will. Instead of trying to conquer a new playbook and new verbiage, he’s instead relearning what he already knows and feels comfortable with his role. Fleener believes that should make a big difference heading into his second season with the team.
“I think anytime you’re trying to learn a new offense, trying to learn a language, trying to learn something of that nature, going through it under pressure, going through it for a year really helps,” he said.
Fleener was the #12 TE in standard formats and #15 in PPR, so he doesn't have to improve too much to get into the TE1 conversation. He's currently going in the 13th round of early PPR drafts after going in the 6th round last season. He looks like a post-hype sleeper.
Laquon Treadwell was in the team's top three-receiver sets during the Vikings' first open OTA on Wednesday, working with Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs. And after practice, Shurmur sounded impressed with what he's seen from Treadwell since the Vikings welcomed players back into their building last month.
"He’s had a great, in my opinion, five-and-a-half weeks," Shurmur said. "He came back and he was really on point with what he’s supposed to be doing mentally. He’s been out here competing and doing a nice job running routes and catching the ball. Understanding where he fits in the running game and who to block. To this point, we’ve been really pleased with his progress based on a year ago."
Treadwell caught just one pass as a rookie, though it sounds as if he has made a lot of progress as he heads into his sophomore season. Given his disastrous rookie year, we wouldn't expect him to outproduce either Diggs or Thielen, but he'll have a chance to contribute as the team's WR3 if he can beat out Jarius Wright and Michael Floyd.
The problem has persisted during the team's current offseason workouts, and it is something that coach Sean McDermott is worried about.
"We are concerned with Charles' knee situation," McDermott told reporters Thursday before the Bills took the field for an OTA workout. "It's something we have to manage moving forward in order to have him on the field for us, which is important moving forward. He's a weapon for us."
McDermott did say that Clay has taken part in drills, but the team is being cautious about how much work he receives.
Hobbled by injuries most of the year, Clay finished strong, catching 21 passes for 229 yards and three touchdowns in his final four games. He was the #12 TE in the second half of the season and averaged the 9th-most targets in that span. His ADP is unlikely to rise given this report.
In the Redskins' second organized team activity session, Doctson showed how he might be able to help the offense during the season. All offseason, teammates and coaches have singled him out. Nobody doubted his ability last year -- he was the 22nd pick in the 2016 draft after all. But the Achilles' problems limited him to two games. He's now healthy.
"He's been impressive," Redskins coach Jay Gruden said. "The big thing for him is the confidence in his Achilles, and I think he's got that right now. The past two days he's looked better and better. It looks like he can run down the field. He made a good catch down the sideline today and [he has] strong hands, we know that about him."
The problem last season was that Doctson twice returned after a layoff only to have the issue resurface. That's why, for now, there's some finger-crossing going on at Redskins Park.
"Now we've just got to continue to put one day after another after another," Gruden said. "If he does have soreness, we have got to taper off for him, but right now, so far, so good. I like the way he looks, like the way he runs and love the way he catches."
With Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson gone via free agency, there are a ton of targets up for grabs in Washington. A good portion will go to free agent signee Terrelle Pryor, but it appears that the team is counting on Doctson picking up the rest of the slack. Time will tell if his Achilles is good to go.
Marcus Mariota, who suffered a fractured fibula on December 24 at Jacksonville, was on the field for the first of 10 organized team activities on Tuesday. Mariota did everything in the walk-through, and in individual drills. He also worked in the 7-on-7 period.
“It felt great,” Mariota said after practice. “Four months ago I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to participate in OTAs, and being able to do some of the drills … I was very happy and very grateful. It was fun to be out there with the guys, and I enjoyed it.”
Titans coach Mike Mularkey said he’s getting closer to full speed, but he’s not there yet.
“We’ll take it day by day with Marcus,” Mularkey said. “He’d like to do more. He looks like he can do more, but it’s May, so we have time.”
In his first 27 NFL games, Mariota has averaged 17.7 fantasy points per game, which would have extrapolated to about what Dak Prescott scored last year as the league’s #6 fantasy quarterback. When his six-attempt game against the Patriots (from his rookie year) is removed, his average jumps to 18.3 FP. With the addition of Corey Davis, the #5 overall pick and an instant upgrade over Tajae Sharpe, Mariota now has Davis, Rishard Matthews, Delanie Walker and another draft pick, likely slot receiver Taywan Taylor, to throw to. Mariota looks like a very good value in the 9th round.
Fast forward to the start of Baltimore’s Organized Team Activities (OTAs), and Woodhead took the field for the team’s first practice.
“Yes, I’m back. No restrictions,” Woodhead said. “I’m just playing football now. I haven’t been thinking about needing to do stuff to rehab it because I’m healthy now. It’s exciting to get football going.”
Woodhead’s knee injury came on Sept. 18 last year in a home game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Jay Ajayi is entering 2017 as a full-time starter for the first time in his NFL career. Dolphins head coach Adam Gase recently said Ajayi could get as many as 350 rushing attempts if the running back stays healthy and plays all 16 games, which is 90 more attempts than last season.
"I'm ready for it," Ajayi said Tuesday during the opening of Miami's organized team activities. "I prepare myself every season to take a huge workload and be able to carry the team, and I think I'm ready for that."
Since 2010, 20 running backs have surpassed the 300-carry mark, and they all played at least 15 games, so staying healthy will be key for Ajayi. Those 20 backs averaged 284.3 fantasy points (PPR), or 17.8 FP per game. That's about what Devonta Freeman scored and averaged as last year's #6 fantasy back. From Week 5 on, Ajayi averaged 16.1 FP and 20.2 carries per game. That puts him at a 258-point, 323-carry pace over a full, 16-game season.
Kevin White's status will continue to trigger public consternation until he proves himself durable and, beyond that, capable of being a difference-maker worthy of the seventh overall pick in 2015.
After a stress fracture in his left tibia ruined his rookie season and a left fibular spiral fracture and severe ankle ligament damage cost him 12 games last season, White spent the last few months working to align his stride.
Following two leg surgeries, is he the same downfield threat the Bears expected when he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.35 seconds more than two years ago? The Bears don't know. Tuesday offered no reasons for optimism, and although quarterback Mike Glennon indicated White practiced Monday, Fox declined to say whether White will return to the field during OTAs.
Related players: Cameron Meredith
We already have Cameron Meredith ranked ahead of White, and that will continue, especially if White's injury woes spill into the summer. He needs to be a full go at this point if he hopes to overtake Meredith.
Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn told reporters on Tuesday that he's hopeful the rookie receiver can return to the field next week, but with less than a month left in the team's offseason program, the Clemson product's development is taking a hit.
"I'd like to see him out there next week because he's getting behind right now, and we've got to get him back out on the field," Lynn said. "If he wasn't a rookie it would be different. But he has so much to learn, and some of this you can only learn on the field."
Ezekiel Elliott will be held out of practice again today after suffering a head injury as a passenger in a minor car accident Sunday night.
This is probably nothing to worry about with regard to Elliot's Week 1 availability, but head trauma is always worth monitoring.
Decker is coming off of hip and shoulder surgeries so it's a great sign that he's participating in OTAs. He should be fine for camp and Week 1, though the Jets have serious issues at quarterback.
Martin is suspended for the first three games of the season, but has drawn rave reviews from the Bucs coaching staff and front office, and it doesn't appear that he's lost his spot on the depth chart.
Dolphins beat writer Armando Salguero:
Today, on the eve of the Dolphins beginning their Organized Team Activities (OTAs), there is one player coaches believe has taken a significant jump from what they saw last year. He has become one of, if not the most improved player, in the early part of the team’s offseason conditioning program and coaches are hopeful that will continue and carry over to the OTAs ...
Then to training camp.
And the preseason.
And the 2017 regular season.
DeVante Parker is that player.
I am told by multiple sources Parker has been so impressive this offseason he has coaches hopeful he can finally develop into the dominant threat the Dolphins were expecting when they drafted him in the first round in 2015.
In 15 games, Parker was the #50 WR last season, catching 56 passes for 744 yards and four touchdowns on 88 targets. He was on the injury report for six of those games (3.3-39-0.33, 9.2 PPG in PPR formats) and healthy for nine (4.0-57-0.20, 11.0 PPG). Those "healthy" PPG numbers are about what Anquan Boldin scored as 2016's #41 fantasy receiver. The article discusses how Parker is more mature this offseason and seems to be taking care of his body. If this translates to a healthier season, he should produce at a higher level in 2017.
The Steelers announced on Thursday that they have released Green. The move, which will clear just over $2.6 million in cap room, came with the failed physical designation, which isn’t a great surprise given how Green’s one season with the team played out.
Green had ankle surgery last March and did not play his first game with the Steelers until Week 10 of the regular season. He then suffered a concussion in Week 15 and missed the rest of the year. That concussion came after concerns were raised during the offseason about how long it took Green to recover from a previous head injury.
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