“I think you’ve just liked what you’ve seen overall,” head coach Sean McVay said. “He’s got a great rapport already with Jared, and he feels really good with the receiver group. I think he’s done a nice job kinda fitting into that room and really endearing himself to his teammates. We sure like him as coaches, too.”
This could just be coach speak, but it certainly seems to be the complete opposite of what the Rams had last year with Sammy Watkins, who had just 70 targets in 15 games. Cooks figures to lead the Rams in targets in 2018. He is currently the No. 23 wide receiver off the board in fantasy drafts.
Austin was phased out of the Rams' offense last year, catching only 13 passes (on 22 targets) for 56 yards and zero touchdowns. The offseason acquisition of Brandin Cooks added to an already crowded Rams WRs corps, making Austin expendable. He now goes to a Cowboys team in need of pass-catchers, but he will likely be nothing more than the third or fourth option in the passing game.
Cooks' value takes a hit in Los Angeles, where he'll compete for targets with Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp. Jared Goff is no Tom Brady, and Sammy Watkins only saw 70 targets in 15 games (4.7 per game) in the role that Cooks is expected to fill. Woods and Kupp see slight downgrades as well. As for New England, this moves shows a lot of confidence in Chris Hogan and Julian Edelman, who will now vie for targets alongside Rob Gronkowski.
Watkins finished his one and only season with the Rams as the No. 40 fantasy receiver in PPR leagues—despite catching only 39 passes. It was his eight touchdowns that really made a dent. Now he'll join an offense with playmakers such as Travis Kelce and Kareem Hunt, while catching passes from first-time starter Patrick Mahomes.
LaFleur was also the quarterbacks coach for Kyle Shanahan in 2015 and 2016.
But Ravens coach John Harbaugh was noncommittal when asked whether Collins earned the right to be the starter for next season or if Baltimore will look to upgrade.
"I'm looking to upgrade everything. You know that's how I'm going to answer the question," Harbaugh said. "Alex Collins has proven the fact that he can be a very good back in this league."
Collins isn't seen as a workhorse back by Baltimore. The Ravens never gave him the ball more than 20 times in a game (compared to Todd Gurley and Leonard Fournette, who combined to do so 12 times) because they didn't want to wear down a smaller frame back like Collins. There are also other issues with ball security (four fumbles) and catching the ball (three drops).
The Ravens could just be keeping their options open at running back, especially in the draft. Baltimore hasn't selected a running back in the first three rounds since Bernard Pierce in 2012, and the team could be kicking itself after passing on Alvin Kamara and Kareem Hunt last year.
Collins averaged 4.59 YPC, which was No. 4 in the league among running backs with at least 200 carries. If the Ravens don't make a big move at running back, Collins will likely hold draft value in the fourth or fifth round.
Friday, January 5, 2018, 4:55pm
Falcons RB Devonta Freeman (knee) took limited practice reps again Thursday. Freeman should be out there against the Rams. His rushing numbers have dipped over the past two weeks—22 carries for 59 yards against the Saints and Panthers—but he has 16 catches for 173 yards and a touchdown in his last three games.
Jones, who had been dealing with ankle and thumb injuries, now is listed with ankle and rib injuries. He took a hard hit over the middle from safety Mike Adams in last week's win over Carolina but returned to the game.
Julio Jones still has sore ribs from the hit he took Sunday that left him on the turf. Meanwhile, Freeman showed up on the injury report with a knee injury. Freeman said he was banged up after last week's game but played through the pain.
Kupp, Woods, Watkins and Goff are all active but Goff may very well be used in an emergency-only role today. Meanwhile Kupp, Woods and Watkins could all see limited snaps. Reynolds was a Ram receiver we said to consider this week but this situation isn't as clear as perhaps expected.
Friday, December 29, 2017, 6:01pm
Rams WR Cooper Kupp (knee, questionable) returned to take limited reps Friday after missing practice earlier in the week and is questionable for Week 17. Kupp is expected to sit despite the return to practice on Friday.
Friday, December 29, 2017, 6:01pm
McVay hints that there will be Rams starters “who won’t play at all” on Sunday.
The Rams are locked into a No. 3 or a No. 4 seed, which means they won't have a first-round bye.
Friday, December 22, 2017, 5:37pm
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