The Green Bay Packers' offense put on a disastrous display before garbage time on Sunday night, failing to keep pace with Matt Ryan and the Falcons, and there's a chance things won't get much better this coming weekend. That's because the Packers might be without their best receiver.
According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, Jordy Nelson is 50-50 with a quad injury.
Cobb is also a bit banged up which could mean a bigger role for Allison. However it could also mean more targets for the more established receivers as well.
It must have been a comforting sight for the coaches to see star wide receiver Julio Jones catch passes in the red zone again.
On Monday, the last day of training camp, Jones was his old self, sprinting across the end zone to haul in a touchdown toss from reigning MVP Matt Ryan in 11-on-11 drills. In fact, Jones looked game-ready after having surgery on his left foot in March.
"I really practiced all day [Sunday]," Jones noted. "I feel great, though. No setbacks. Moved around today. I'm feeling good. But it's on [the coaches/medical staff] to make the decision. We communicate with each other and try to make the best decision as far as me moving forward, as far as reps; preseason. The ultimate goal is just to be ready, though."
Jones said he expects to be ready for the Sept. 10 opener. He added his timing with QB Matt Ryan is "great" since they've played together for so long and are familiar with one another.
The Falcons running back duo combined for 883 receiving yards on 85 catches with five touchdowns last season, so their dual-threat ability is not a new revelation. But again, watching them in practice reinforces how much talent QB Matt Ryan has to work with outside of All-Pro wide receiver Julio Jones.
"The two guys -- Tevin Coleman, Devonta Freeman -- they're so versatile for us," Ryan said. "When you watch those guys compete this offseason, the way that they've practiced the start of camp, catching the football out of the backfield, it's going to be critical for us. I think those guys are two of the most talented guys in the league and are three-down backs. They catch the ball really well for us. They run the ball in between the tackles, outside the tackles. And they pass protect for us really well. So we're lucky to have both those guys."
The story said Coleman will need to stay healthy, while Freeman is waiting for a contract extension. Both backs were excellent fantasy options last year, Coleman especially in PPR leagues. OC Steve Sarkisian said in the story he wants to find more ways to get the ball in both backs hands.
The chemistry between the two Atlanta Falcons continued through organized team activities and minicamp, as Ryan put the Super Bowl loss to the New England Patriots behind him and Hooper continued his maturation going into his second season in the offense.
Although Hooper's play stood out this offseason, he was far from content. So the Northern California native recently joined Ryan for three days of workouts in Southern California, a routine Ryan started last season while connecting with the experts at 3DQB training.
"That's what L.A. was about ... just another opportunity for me to work with the MVP and just understand exactly where he wants me to be," Hooper said, "and work routes that we both feel we can progress on."
Hooper had a quiet rookie season, but that's not unusual for a young tight end. He plays in a high-octane offense with one of the better quarterbacks in the league, so there is some upside here.
He was listed as questionable, but did not return to the game. We have another news story saying Julio Jones was battling a 'lower body injury' this week so this is something to monitor as we enter the fantasy playoffs.
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Matt Ryan was able to flash a thumb’s up last night, and said any issue with his thumb during the game was not a problem moving forward.
According to Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com, Ryan appeared to hurt his left (non-throwing) thumb during last night’s win over the Saints.
After being sacked by Nick Fairley in the fourth quarter, he went to the sideline and was getting checked by athletic trainers. When he returned to the game, he was wearing a glove on his left hand.
“I took a hit on it in the game, but I’m fine,” Ryan said. “Put a glove on just to make sure I’d get a good grip afterwards. But I’m fine. I feel pretty good.”
Whatever degree of issue it was, Falcons coach Dan Quinn wasn’t even aware of it after the game, so it’s reasonable to think it’s no big deal, the story said. Ryan’s been among the most durable quarterbacks in the league, not missing a game since 2009 when a turf toe injury sidelined him.
Teammate Julio Jones was the first to say Ryan's arm is much stronger than it was last year, and Ryan would be the first to agree. After eight NFL seasons, the 31-year-old Ryan decided to step out of his normal offseason routine, in part, to enhance his ability to throw deep.
Ryan visited Tom House and Adam Dedeaux of the acclaimed 3DQB training facility in Los Angeles after hearing recommendations, the story said. House, a former major league pitcher and pitching coach, and Dedeaux, a former pitcher at USC, developed a program aimed to improve the overall throwing performance of quarterbacks by focusing on four key areas: functional strength and conditioning, mechanics and motion analysis, mental and emotional management, and nutrition. They've worked with Tom Brady, Drew Brees and Carson Palmer, to name a few.
Coach Dan Quinn said Jones is unlikely to play in Thursday night's final exhibition against the Jacksonville Jaguars, a game where the starters typically rest. Jones and quarterback Matt Ryan played one snap in last year's final preseason game against Baltimore.
The news that quarterback Matt Ryan is throwing lots of interceptions early in training camp sent Falcons fans in a Twitter tizzy. It’s just practice, but any talk about Ryan interceptions carries weight after he had probably his worst season since his first two in the NFL.
Coach Dan Quinn said he’s not worried about Ryan’s interceptions because of context.
“This is the time to try everything, whether is a different route or a different look,” Quinn said Tuesday after Ryan threw a virtual pick-six during the team period. “It’s also an important part for the defense, too, to know how they get after the ball. For us, this is what this time is all about is getting the timing down and getting the routes right. Some of that happens in our training camp practice. But for us, it’s about the ball, we know that.”
Ryan’s interception on Tuesday came on a play he’s had trouble with at times: a pass to his left outside of the numbers. Ryan floated the pass intended for Julio Jones, leaving cornerback Robert Alford plenty of time to cut underneath and catch it. Ryan finished the 2015 season as the #19 QB after finishing in the top 8 in four of the previous five seasons. (The only miss was the year Julio Jones was injured.) The team replaced a fading Roddy White with Mohamed Sanu, who should serve as a solid if unspectacular second option.
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Ryan was hit on his left hip by Panthers safety Kurt Coleman on a third-and-2 scramble from the Carolina 11-yard line late in the first quarter. He picked up seven yards on the play while eluding an attempted tackle from Pro Bowl linebacker Thomas Davis. Ryan didn’t slide and absorbed the hit, which appeared to leave him wincing in pain throughout the game. The play set up a four-yard touchdown run by Devonta Freeman.
Ryan played the remainder of the game and should be good to go in Week 17 but it may be something you want to keep an eye on.
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