Back on the field as the Cardinals begin preparing for the 2017 season, John Brown is out to prove he's the same receiver who had 1,003 yards and seven touchdowns in 2015. It hasn't taken long to convince coach Bruce Arians, who said Brown was running routes Tuesday that he never ran last year because of his health issues.
"He doesn't look like he looked last year," quarterback Carson Palmer said. "He just has a different energy about him. He's heavier. He's stronger. He looks more explosive than he did last year, I think, with all the health issues he had last year.
"He's got that smile to him. He's having fun. He's enjoying it. It's not a grind just getting through routes on air. I'm looking forward to having him back healthy and the way he is right now because he's a special player for us. Dealing with all the things he did last year was tough emotionally, obviously physically, but he just seems emotionally just in a better place."
Heading into the 2016 season, Brown was one of the best up-and-coming receivers in the league. He was 25 years old and coming off of a 65-1003-7 season. If he’s fully healthy again, he’s going to be a great value in the middle rounds. He’s currently going in the 9th round after having an ADP in the 5th round at this time last year.
Michael Floyd's short foray into unemployment has ended.
The maligned former first-round pick is signing with the Minnesota Vikings after a quiet free agency, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Wednesday, citing sources familiar with the situation. Floyd, 27, most recently played with the New England Patriots. He was dismissed from the Arizona Cardinals on Dec. 14 -- two days after he was arrested on drunken driving charges in Scottsdale, Arizona.
At one point, Floyd was a 24-year-old receiver with good size (6'3") and speed (4.47 40-yard dash) who was coming off of a 65-catch, 1,041-yard sophomore season with the Cardinals. Since then, his targets dropped for four consecutive seasons and the Cardinals ultimately cut him. He'll get a fresh start in Minnesota, though he'll have to compete with another first round pick (Laquon Treadwell) for playing time.
John Brown’s health issues in 2016 plagued him beyond the football field. That’s where it was noticeable to the world, with his yardage falling in half from his breakout 2015 campaign and eight games where he had one or zero catches. But his problems wouldn’t even let him take walks with his daughter, which drove him crazy, and he wasn’t the happy guy his family knew him to be.
It wasn’t just exhaustion but pain that was bothering him. The long-talked about sickle cell issues figured into the equation. But then, Brown said, they found a cyst on his spine after the final game of the season. Once the cyst was taken care of, “I was back to normal,” he said.
“I most definitely feel confident,” Brown said of the upcoming season. “Since they found out the situation, my body has been feeling better. I am doing the usual, which I couldn’t do when I was going through this process.”
Heading into the 2016 season, Brown was one of the best up-and-coming receivers in the league. He was 25 years old and coming off of a 65-1003-7 season. If he’s fully healthy again, he’s going to be a great value in the middle rounds. He’s currently going in the 9th round after having an ADP in the 5th round this time last year.
Bruce Arians is content with his wide receivers, for now at least.
If a top-tier wide receiver is available when it’s the Cardinals' turn to pick at No. 13 in this month’s NFL draft, there's no guarantee he’ll be heading to Arizona.
“A top-round pick isn’t necessary,” Arians said. “Again, if the right guy falls and you say, ‘OK, where does he fit this year?’ And everyone says he’s a bust because he’s fighting his ass off to get on the field.’
“We don’t need a plug-and-play player right now at that position.”
It’s Cardinals RB David Johnson's drive which made him happy to hear the comments from Bruce Arians last week, when the Cardinals coach broached the idea of getting Johnson the ball 30 times per game in 2017.
The number is lofty and could be hard to hit. Furthermore, there are cautionary tales about running backs that declined after getting a heavy workload early in their careers. Johnson, though, has no qualms about high usage.
“I’m still young,” Johnson said. “I’m still on my first contract. So I feel I can definitely handle 30 touches. I did it last year, basically, with running the ball and catching it out of the backfield.”
Johnson said he didn’t feel worn down near the end of games last season, even as he became the clear focal point of the offense. He led the NFL in touches, averaging more than 23 per game. 30 touches a game seems a bit out of reach, and obviously depends on how the game is going, but it's clear Johnson is again going to be a major part of the offense which will have him going at, or near, the top of a lot of fantasy drafts.
HC Bruce Arians said Andre Ellington is coming back as a wide receiver. Will meet in the wide receivers room.
This could result in a significant boost to his stock, especially in PPR formats. This leaves Kerwynn Williams as the primary backup to David Johnson, though it's conceivable that Ellington could fill in if something were to happen to Johnson. Ellington will fight for targets behind Larry Fitzgerald.
With David Johnson’s emergence as one of the best backs in the NFL, Ellington’s work dwindled to career-lows in all categories. He finished with 96 yards rushing on 34 carries last season, along with 12 receptions for 85 yards.
He'll serve as Johnson's primary backup. He's a wise handcuff for Johnson owners since he's a proven commodity.
Gresham began to see starter's snaps in Week 5, and while he never made a major fantasy impact, he gained at least 32 yards in eight straight games and even caught a couple of touchdowns in that stretch.
Palmer finished as the #19 QB (#18 in PPG) after a #5 finish the year before. He threw nine fewer touchdowns and three additional interceptions. It appears that Palmer's best fantasy days are behind him.
Just spoke to Larry Fitzgerald, who said he's definitely returning in 2017 to play the final year on his contract.
Fitzgerald finished #10 in PPR formats, but averaged just 13.0 FP over the final eight games after averaging 17.9 in the first half of the season. Early ADP has him going in the 5th round, so he should continue to be a good value at that point in fantasy drafts, especially in PPR formats.
The Washington Redskins have promoted Matt Cavanaugh to offensive coordinator, the team announced on Monday. Additionally, the Redskins have hired Kevin O'Connell to be the team's next quarterbacks coach.
Prior to joining the Redskins’ coaching staff in 2015, Cavanaugh was previously quarterbacks coach for the Arizona Cardinals (1994-95), quarterbacks coach for the San Francisco 49ers (1996), offensive coordinator for the Chicago Bears (1997-98), offensive coordinator for the Baltimore Ravens (1999-04), quarterbacks coach for the New York Jets (2009-12) and quarterbacks coach for the Chicago Bears (2013-14).
In eight seasons as an offensive coordinator, Cavanaugh's offenses have never finished higher than 14th in yards gained, with an average ranking of 21.3.
David Johnson is OK.
The Pro Bowl running back will not need surgery after suffering a scary-looking left knee injury during Sunday’s finale against the Rams in Los Angeles.
Johnson sprained his MCL, an injury similar to the one suffered by safety Tony Jefferson the week before in Seattle. He will not play in the Pro Bowl while rehabbing the injury. But he will be fine long-term after about six to eight weeks.
“Great news,” Johnson said.
He did watch the replay, and admitted there was a “tremendous amount of relief” once he knew for sure he didn’t have significant damage. The injury cost Johnson a chance at a couple of records he sought: Gaining 100 yards from scrimmage in all 16 games in a season, and reaching 1,000 yards receiving. Johnson had 44 total yards before his first quarter injury, including 38 receiving. He had needed 159 yards receiving to reach 1,000.
Johnson will have an MRI on Monday but this is potentially very good news for owners.
By all reports it wasn't a pretty injury. Based on those reports, it could be a lengthy recovery for Johnson which should have the attention of those in keeper and dynasty leagues. We'll continue to monitor.
Sunday, January 1, 2017, 3:04pm
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