Bears WR Kevin White at least is back to full speed after spending part of the winter in Phoenix at the Fischer Institute of Physical Therapy and Performance, where he retaught his body to run with the proper alignment and technique. That has allowed him to resume his developmental process as a receiver this spring.
Azzanni attested that White still has to answer questions about his route-running, given that he didn't run the full route tree at West Virginia.
"We've been working on that hard, some of his breaking-point stuff," Azzanni said. "A lot of times when you're a big guy like that, stopping and change of direction is hard."
During offense-only drills earlier in May, White ran a curl on which he sank his body and exploded back to the ball.
"A bunch of mouths dropped," Azzanni recalled. "Like the wideouts (said), 'Wow, we have not seen Kevin do that in a long time.' I think that got him excited."
This is good news since the last update on May 24 said that White was "working to align his stride." If healthy, White will likely get the chance to start opposite Cameron Meredith, who is the better fantasy option at this point. White came out of college with sub-4.40 speed and has a top 10 pedigree, so the Bears are still optimistic that he'll get his career back on track.
Bears WR Cameron Meredith suffered thumb ligament injury today, will miss off-season program, but expects to be ready for camp, per sources.
Meredith began to play starter’s snaps in Week 5, and from that point on, he averaged 5.0 catches for 70 yards and 0.33 TD, or 14.0 PPR fantasy points per game. That’s what Demaryius Thomas scored as the #16 receiver in that scoring format. The numbers are especially impressive considering Meredith had a three-week stretch from Week 7 to Week 10 where he only saw two targets per game. Meredith figures to be the top fantasy receiver in Chicago, but it won’t help that he’s missing crucial reps with new QB Mike Glennon.
A season spent rumbling for 1,313 yards and six touchdowns didn’t do much damage to Howard’s strong frame. He said four or five massages during the practice week helped last season.
But taking the next step meant some changes were needed. His long runs need to be longer. His breaks during games need to be shorter.
“I don’t want to come off the field as much,” Howard said.
Howard’s offseason plan calls for weight loss but he also needs to maintain his strength and power, which make him imposing at the point of contact.
“I want to be like 225 [pounds] during the season, so I’m still trying to cut weight,” said Howard, who officially weighed 230 pounds at the NFL Scouting Combine in 2015.
Howard took over the lead back duties in Week 3. From that point on, he was the #7 fantasy back in the league, averaging 16.1 fantasy points per game. In terms of likely workload, he’s one of the safest plays on the board since he averaged 20.5 touches per game in the second half of the season. He averaged 116 total yards and 0.5 TD in that span.
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.
Serious leg injuries in each of his first two NFL seasons have forced Kevin White to miss 28 of 32 games. But the Bears are confident that the young receiver possesses the drive and determination to relaunch his career.
"Knowing his work ethic and his approach and his support system, I know he's going to come back ready to go," said general manager Ryan Pace. "He has just got to shake off some of that bad luck. Kevin is going to have to step up and stay healthy."
White has been anything but since being selected by the Bears with the seventh overall pick in the 2015 draft out of West Virginia. He missed his entire rookie season with a stress fracture in his left leg and then broke his fibula in the same leg in the fourth game last year, eventually undergoing surgery for the second straight season.
White has shown promise when healthy; his 19 receptions last year were the most ever by a Bears player through the first four games of a season, the story said. The key moving forward, of course, is for the 6-3, 216-pounder to stay on the field and out of the training room.
Dolphins coach Adam Gase expects TE Julius Thomas to cause similar matchup problems with Miami like he did in Denver in 2013 and 2014.
According to Gase, the Dolphins were seeing a lot of base defenses when they went with three wide receivers and one tight end. Essentially, opponents didn't fear Miami's tight ends enough and were willing to cover them with linebackers, and the statistics bear that out.
The Dolphins did not get nearly enough production out of the tight end position last season due to injuries and inconsistency. Last year’s starters -- Jordan Cameron and Dion Sims -- combined for just 34 receptions for 316 yards and five touchdowns.
Thomas knows the system well and shouldn’t have a big learning curve, the story said. Gase also knows how to get the best out of Thomas and will put together a productive route tree and efficient ways to use the tight end.
Tuesday, March 21, 2017, 9:07pm
Wright had 94 catches for 1079 yards and two touchdowns on 139 targets in his second season, but it’s been pretty downhill since then. He gained 715 yards in 2014, 408 yards in 2015 and finally 416 yards last year. He’ll provide depth behind presumed starters Cameron Meredith and Kevin White.
Thursday, March 9, 2017, 11:05pm
Wheaton showed promise in 2014-15 with a total of 97 catches for 1393 yards and seven touchdowns. He struggled with injury last year and the Steelers gave up on him. He'll provide depth in the Chicago receiving corps.
It's reportedly a one-year deal worth $14 million. In 53 games since his sophomore season, Jeffery has averaged 5.3 receptions for 79 yards and 0.43 touchdowns, or 16.0 PPG (PPR). That’s about what Doug Baldwin averaged last year as the league’s #8 fantasy receiver. Jeffery’s numbers are down a bit over the last two years (5.1-78-0.29 in just 21 games), but he still has plenty of potential. The signing is a clear upgrade for Carson Wentz, who now has a receiving corps of Jeffery, Torrey Smith, Jordan Matthews and Zach Ertz. Matthews' stock certainly takes a hit with the acquisition of Jeffery, who is likely to be ranked as a fantasy WR2 in our preseason projections.
With Glennon in tow, this is the definition of unsurprising. The Jets are rumored to be interested in Smokin' Jay.
The Bears and Mike Glennon appear to be on the verge of a deal that will make Glennon the team’s starting quarterback, at a salary that sounds like a lot but is lower than most starting quarterbacks make.
Glennon is expected to get a three-year deal with an annual average of $14.5 million, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports. That puts Glennon’s total deal at $43.5 million, although there’s no word on how much of that is guaranteed and no other details about the structure of the contract.
In 18 starts, Glennon has averaged 217 passing yards, 1.6 touchdowns and 0.8 interceptions per game en route to a 6.56 YPA (not good) and 13.6 fantasy points per game, which is what Trevor Siemian posted last season. In his defense, 13 of those starts were during his rookie year, and rookie quarterbacks are generally not very good. Still, his 19-to-9 touchdown-to-interception ratio as a rookie, and his improved YPA (6.98) as a sophomore has put him in the mix as a starting NFL quarterback in 2017. The Bears are probably not done at the position, though Glennon is now the odds-on favorite to be the starter.
This is a good landing spot for Hoyer, who is a fringe starter in the league at this point in his career. He's playing for a sharp offensive mind (HC Kyle Shanahan) and the 49ers figure to throw a lot as they try to stay competitive during a rebuilding year. In 25 career games where Hoyer has started and attempted at least 25 passes, he has a 12-13 record while averaging 268 yards passing (59.6 Cmp %), 1.48 TD and 0.84 interceptions (or 15.1 fantasy points per game). That's a bit more than what Sam Bradford and Alex Smith averaged last year. If he's the starter, he'll be in the streaming conversation in 2017.
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.
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