Fiedorowicz signed a three-year deal with Houston after a 54-catch season in 2016, but three concussions limited him to five games in 2017 and led to his decision to retire once the year came to an end.
“I think they all have different strengths and weaknesses that they have to work on,” tight ends coach Tim Kelly said, via Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. “As far as replacing anybody, I don’t know if one person is going to do it. I think it will be more of a collective effort. But again, if you look at the tight ends and how they played last year, it’s more of a collective group, even when C.J. was in the room.”
The Texans have seven tight ends on the roster right now and tight ends coach Tim Kelly said several of them will be tasked with filling the role come the regular season. The story said Griffin will likely be at the top of the group, but the team drafted Akins and Thomas, so they are likely the future. It's a situation to watch, as it would be hard to believe anyone who emerges offensively wouldn't get more snaps and opportunities as the season goes on.
The Bucs' running back competition is just heating up, and a virtual unknown in rookie Shaun Wilson could push veteran Charles Sims out the door. Wilson, an undrafted free agent out of Duke, showed during minicamp that he has some solid hands and special-teams ability. Considering the team re-signed Sims late this offseason and it's only a one-year deal, his roster spot is far from guaranteed as the Bucs' third-down back, a spot that Jacquizz Rodgers could also hold.
If Sims were cut, this would raise the projected volume for rookie Ronald Jones. There's a lot that needs to shake out in this backfield, but one fewer option on the roster could clear up the mystery surrounding touches in this backfield between Sims, rookie Ronald Jones, Peyton Barber, and Jacquizz Rodgers.
Updating a previous item, Adam Schefter has confirmed that the NFL is planning to suspend Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston three games for violating the league's personal conduct policy. Ian Rapoport also reported that in addition to the suspension, Winston must meet certain criteria related to his conduct in order to return to the field. This suspension could come as early as tomorrow, or next week.
This will not be an ideal start to the 2018 season for Winston, who is now entering year four of his NFL career. Ryan Fitzpatrick figures to start the first three games of the season for the Bucs. In 2017, Fitzpatrick completed just 14-of-33 passes sent the way of top wideout Mike Evans, meaning this suspension could prove to be a huge blow to Evans' early-season value. DeSean Jackson, meanwhile, could stand to benefit from the quarterback swap. He caught 60 percent of his 30 targets from Fitzpatrick in 2017, scoring two touchdowns.
Fitzpatrick also completed 7-of-10 passes to O.J. Howard for 110 yards and a touchdown, while completing 7-of-15 passes to Cameron Brate for 74 yards and a score. The three-game suspension effectively kills Winston’s draft value, which was already lingering in the double-digit rounds.
“The Winston camp is prepared for the NFL to levy a suspension of some kind,” Cameron said. “The thought from the Winston camp is that would be a maximum of three games. I do not know at this time whether or not they plan to appeal, and I do not know that three games is an accurate number. I’ve been told that would seem to be the maximum number of games that the suspension could be. It’s also likely that it’s less than that and it’s one game.”
This would be a huge blow to the young quarterback entering his fourth NFL season, who made major strides in 2017 when he wasn't dealing with an injury. In the 11 games Winston threw at least 15 passes, he averaged over 300 passing yards—20 more yards than NFL-leader Tom Brady. Ryan Fitzpatrick figures to get the start in any games Winston is forced to miss.
"Peyton Barber is our starting running back right now," said Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter, adding that his confidence level in him is "high." But he also indicated that it could change. They did target a free agent running back and that it's a talented draft class.
In the seven games in which Barber carried the ball at least 10 times, he averaged 14.1 carries for 59 yards (4.20 YPC). In those games, he also added 2.0 catches for 15 yards. The Bucs are likely to draft a running back, but depending on the draft capital that they spend, Barber may have the inside track to start this year.
The New York Giants have traded Jason Pierre-Paul to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for a 2018 third-round pick, and the two teams will also swap fourth-round picks. Pierre-Paul recorded 47 tackles and eight sacks last season, which would have led the Bucs' defensive linemen in both categories.
Brate was the eighth-highest scoring fantasy tight end last season, and led the team in targets (77), receptions (48), and yards (591) at the tight end position. He and OJ Howard each scored six touchdowns.
Godwin played 70%+ of the snaps three times last season and averaged 5.0 catches for 92 yards and 0.33 touchdowns. He'll probably need an injury to Mike Evans or DeSean Jackson to become a fantasy starter, but he's definitely a player who should be on the draft radar in the later rounds.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have released running back Doug Martin, the team announced Tuesday. The two-time Pro Bowler was due to make nearly $7 million in 2018 but averaged just 2.9 yards per carry over the past two seasons.
Martin, 29, was benched in favor of second-year back Peyton Barber for the final three games of the 2017 season and was a healthy scratch for the Monday Night Football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 15 for violating a team rule.
The move was hardly a surprise. When asked by ESPN about Martin's struggles in 2017 and whether he had a future with the team, general manager Jason Licht said, "Without going into much detail, it's safe to say that we need more out of our running game in general. We need to get better run-blocking, we need more explosive plays out of the running back position. I was really happy [and] we were really happy with Peyton [Barber] with the way he came on at the end of the season, so that was positive. Obviously Doug had a down season by his standards and by our standards."
As the article notes, this is not a big surprise. But where do the Bucs go from here? With Martin cut and Charles Sims entering free agency, the Tampa backfield could look very different in 2018. In the seven games in which Peyton Barber carried the ball at least 10 times, he averaged 14.1 carries for 59 yards (4.20 YPC). In those games, he also added 2.0 catches for 15 yards. The Bucs are likely to draft a running back, but depending on the draft capital that they spend, Barber may have the inside track to start in 2018.
The Bears are expected to hire former Oregon Ducks coach Mark Helfrich as offensive coordinator. Helfrich has not worked in the NFL previously but he has spent time as an assistant under Chip Kelly and Buccaneers coach Dirk Koetter.
Nagy said he will call the plays and the offense will be his design but Helfrich will obviously have plenty of influence.
Related players: Chris Godwin
Godwin will get the start opposite of Mike Evans for Week 17.
Friday, December 29, 2017, 6:01pm
Buccaneers WR DeSean Jackson (ankle, questionable) took limited practice reps all week and is questionable for Week 17. If he’s out, Chris Godwin would be a good start again this week, but it looks like Jackson will play in a meaningless game (for the Bucs).
Friday, December 29, 2017, 6:01pm
Buccaneers WR Chris Godwin (ankle, questionable) returned to take limited reps Friday after missing practice earlier in the week and is questionable for Week 17. DeSean Jackson is questionable, so Godwin’s Sneaky Start status depends on Jackson’s availability.
Friday, December 29, 2017, 6:01pm
Buccaneers TE Cameron Brate (hip, knee, questionable) took full practice reps on Friday after being limited earlier in the week and is questionable for Week 17. It looks like Brate will play against the Saints. He’s typically been very productive as the starter with Jameis Winston at quarterback.
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