Don't be surprised if Bears TE Daniel Brown pushes the 32-year-old Zach Miller for a job. Miller was sidelined during the offseason program making his way back from the broken right foot suffered in the Week 11 loss at the Giants last season. It's similar to the injury he suffered in the 2014 preseason that wiped out that entire year for him.
Miller had career-highs with 47 receptions for 486 yards in only 10 games last season a year after he broke out with 34 catches for 439 yards (12.9 average) and five touchdowns in 2015 when he played in 15 games but was involved in the passing game for really only the second half of the season.
Miller's contract has one year remaining with a base salary of $1.5 million and the issue the Bears have to tackle is if they can take a chance knowing Miller's durability issues. He has played in 25 games and missed 23 since joining the team in 2014. He has been given props by teammates, coaches and management for being a positive influence in the locker room but if Miller can't stay on the field, intangibles are more difficult to quantify.
Brown, the converted wide receiver who was claimed off waivers from the Ravens in November, profiles for the same type of role in the offense. He caught 16 passes for 124 yards and a touchdown in the final six games and was just learning the offense after the Ravens moved him from wide receiver at the start of last year. The Bears turned to him quickly after Miller was injured and Brown averaged 43.5 snaps per game.
Over the past two seasons, Miller has averaged 3.7 receptions (on 5.0 targets) for 42 yards and 0.41 TD in 22 games. Those numbers would have been good enough for a #11 TE finish in 2016. His issue has been staying healthy, and now he’s going to have to build a rapport with a new quarterback since he’s coming off of a foot injury and has been missing crucial practice reps.
Giants RB Paul Perkins appears to have the coaching staff sold based on what he did last season and this spring.
“Well, what he’s shown is … in our system you have to have three phases: You have to be able to run the ball. He was an effective runner last year,” running backs coach Craig Johnson said. “You have to be able to catch the ball. He did a good job in that. And you have to be able to block people, because they are going to try you out. He probably improved the most in that situation. Guys were going to test him out to see if they were going to get to the quarterback. He held up very good in protection and he’s continuing to do that.
“If you can do that, that allows you to be a guy that it’s possible to stay on the field all three downs.”
Vereen may change the situation slightly this year. He was subbed in on most passing downs for the Giants the previous season, when he caught 61 passes.
But this year could be different. Perkins may just be viewed as the feature back the Giants have lacked in recent years.
“I really like what Paul Perkins has been doing so far,” Johnson said. “He ended last season playing like a guy that is ready to take over the job. There is nothing so far in the offseason to show he’s not going to be able to handle that role.
“But that is today. It’s a long way from today to the opening game.”
We expect Vereen to get most of the passing down work since he excels in that area and has more experience than Perkins. If Vereen were to get injured, it sounds as if Perkins would take on his role on passing downs.
James White has won over Bill Belichick, quarterback Tom Brady and Co., with his steadiness and continued improvement, elevating from a player who was inactive in Super Bowl XLIX to becoming unquestionably the Patriots' go-to guy in the all-important "passing back" role. White played 30 snaps as a rookie in 2014; upped it to 290 in 2015; and played 425 last season.
As for 2017, White is one of three running backs who are considered locks to make the roster based on contract status, along with Mike Gillislee and Rex Burkhead. Lewis is also likely to be there, while second-year man D.J. Foster has also shown promise.
White has now seized the spot with authority.
Coming off of an injury, Lewis played in 10 games last year, including the playoffs, and averaged 11.1 touches (8.9 carries, 2.2 catches) for 49 yards and 0.2 touchdowns, or 8.3 PPR fantasy points per game. He averaged 17.5 PPG in seven games in 2015, so his role was clearly reduced last year. White's role in the running game is minimal -- what's important is his role in the passing game after Lewis returned. In nine games without Lewis, White averaged 3.7 catches for 32 yards and 0.33 TD per game. After Lewis returned, White averaged 3.4 catches for 32 yards and 0.33 TD in the nine games leading up to the Super Bowl, so it appears that his passing down role remained mostly unchanged after Lewis returned. Of course, White had a huge performance in the Super Bowl, turning 20 touches (14 catches) into 139 yards and three touchdowns, and it appears that he's now entrenched as the passing down back. The Patriots don't seem inclined to give him as many carries as they would Lewis, though his 4.3 YPC in 2016 was an improvement. White is currently the 50th RB off the board in early MFL10s (PPR drafts), and he's a fantastic value in that format if this report that he has "seized" the passing down role is true. There’s always the chance that the Patriots turn back to Lewis if White gets a case of fumble-itis, but White should have enough leash to overcome a turnover or two.
Perkins averaged 15.4 touches for 67 total yards over the final five games of the year, and with Rashad Jennings out of the way, Perkins will have the chance to be the starter heading into 2017.
Quarterback Eli Manning has organized workouts with his receivers at Duke University, which employs his coach at Ole Miss David Cutcliffe as their head coach, for the last few years. WR Odell Beckham told Newsday on Monday night that he won’t be there because he’s having oral surgery.
Beckham said that he expects to be good to go for the start of the Giants’ offseason program in a couple of weeks.
Tuesday, March 21, 2017, 3:20pm
Friday, March 17, 2017, 1:14pm
Thursday, March 9, 2017, 4:10pm
In his age-32 season, Marshall struggled with injury and inefficiency en route to 59 catches for 788 yards and three touchdowns. It wasn't all his fault, however, as the Jets struggled to throw the ball all year. One year removed from a 109-catch, 1500-yard and 14-touchdown season, he might benefit from a move to the slot, a la Larry Fitzgerald. Eli Manning is an upgrade for Marshall and vice versa. The Giants were 8th in the league in pass attempts, so Marshall should have an opportunity to bounce back. The signing is not great news for Sterling Shepard, who is unlikely to see 105 targets again with a healthy Marshall in the mix. As for Odell Beckham, he'll benefit from the defensive attention Marshall will draw, but may see a drop in targets as well.
The Giants’ salary cap cuts will include running back Rashad Jennings, ESPN.com’s Jordan Raanan reported Monday.
Related players: Paul Perkins
Jennings' release opens the door fully for Paul Perkins to become the RB1 in 2017. He averaged 15.4 touches for 67 total yards over the final five games of the year.
Washington Redskins running back Robert Kelley underwent a surgical procedure on his right knee shortly after the season-ending loss to the New York Giants, a source has confirmed with Breaking Burgundy.
Kelley suffered a sprained knee injury in the Week 16 win over the Chicago Bears, but played against the Giants with a brace. The procedure, considered relatively minor according to a source, lasted approximately 30-45 minutes and dealt with the meniscus. Kelley resumed walking per usual within a couple of days and physical therapy soon after.
This sounds like a minor repair, so Kelley should be fine by minicamp/OTAs.
Friday, January 13, 2017, 8:14pm
Packers WR Randall Cobb (ankle) took full practice reps all week. Cobb is coming off of a stellar 5-116-3 (7) effort against the Giants in the Wildcard Round. With Jordy Nelson out, he should see plenty of quality targets from Aaron Rodgers.
Friday, January 13, 2017, 8:14pm
Packers WR Jordy Nelson (ribs, out) missed practice all week and is out for Week 19. With Nelson out, Geronimo Allison will likely pick up most of his snaps. He played 58% of the snaps against the Giants, and had a quiet game, but that was with Nelson playing 23% of the snaps. In the two previous games, with Randall Cobb sidelined, Allison played 73% and 81% of the snaps, posting 4-66 (on seven targets) against the Vikings and 4-91-1 (on six targets) against the Lions.
The wide out suffered at least two fractured ribs in their wild-card win over the Giants, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported. Rapoport adds it will take a tremendous effort for Nelson to play.
Packers coach Mike McCarthy told reporters earlier Monday that his star wide receiver has a shot to suit up for this Sunday's NFC divisional-round tilt with the Cowboys.
While Packers coach Mike McCarthy did not say whether Nelson broke any ribs, there was concern after the game that the injury might keep Nelson out of next Sunday's divisional playoff game against the Cowboys.
"I obviously have concern for Jordy," McCarthy said. "I don't have the information yet."
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers said "it would be a huge loss for us" if Nelson were unable to play.
"But [Geronimo Allison] has been playing a lot for us and he's been playing effectively," Rodgers said. "Randall [Cobb] being back healthy -- you know I said this week in my press conference we're better with 18 [Cobb's jersey number] on the field. And he showed it tonight, made a ton of plays for us. He was excellent. And having him out there is going to help. But you know Geronimo is going to have to step up and play extended time if Jordy is going to be out."
If Nelson is out versus Dallas (which looks likely), Allison will pick up most of his snaps. The Jeff Janis truthers will have to hope for another injury or two.
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