Ever since moving to receiver two years ago, Terrelle Pryor continues to seek help and advice from those who played the position. That’s why the Washington Redskins wideout is working out this summer with one of the NFL’s top wideouts -- Pittsburgh’s Antonio Brown -- in Pennsylvania.
It’s not surprising; Pryor and Brown have been in contact in the past, and Pryor has heeded Brown's advice and incorporated his drills. Pryor will work out with Brown at various points in the summer, and also will head to Charlotte at some point in July to work with former NFL standout Randy Moss, a likely future Hall of Famer. Pryor lives near Pittsburgh.
“The good ones, they ask questions,” Pryor said, “and never think they’ve got it. They always want to learn. I’m not calling myself a great one, but I think I can get there. I’m always pinpoint in meetings, always answering questions. I jump on a question before anyone else can. I enjoy it. Once you stop learning and think you’ve got it, that’s when you lose. I never want to get to that point. I’m always curious, how to get better and how to be a dominant player and how to make people look at me and say, ‘I want to be like that.’ That’s what drives me.”
Pryor finished the season as the #21 receiver, though his numbers dipped over the final month of the season. Still, his output in the first 12 games -- 5.2 catches for 71 yards and 0.33 TD, #11 WR -- is very encouraging, as is his thirst for knowledge. Working out with Brown and Moss allows Pryor to learn from two of the all-time greats. He’ll certainly benefit from an upgrade at quarterback in Washington. The quality of his targets may offset the reduction in workload.
Redskins offensive coordinator Mat Cavanaugh indicated that they will play (the running game) by ear.
“(Rob Kelley) obviously has earned the starting job, and I think really it’s a game-to-game evaluation, an in-game evaluation of how well he’s doing and how winded he is – ‘Does he need a blow?’ said Cavanaugh. “We just feel like we’ve got depth at that position now with a lot of similar-type players: stocky, quick-footed, strong, smart guys that can sub in for each other. I wouldn’t put a pitch count on any of them, but obviously if a guy’s got a hot hand and he’s feeling good and he’s not gassed, we’ll keep him on the field. Ideally, maybe have some third-down reps too.”
That last part means that they could play Kelley or Samaje Perine on third downs. They could also expand Thompson out of his usual third-down role.
“Historically here, Chris has been our third-down back, but there’s no reason why can’t play him on first and second down,” said Cavanaugh. “But just rotating the backs, keeping them fresh, we’ve got confidence in all of them.”
Kelley won the RB1 job in Week 8, and from that point on, he was the #13 RB in standard (#15 in PPR) down the stretch. He averaged 4.19 YPC, which was the 14th highest per carry average of the 27 running backs who saw at least 150 carries last year. Rookie Samaje Perine will make a hard push for the job, but it's clear that Kelley is taking his job seriously by getting leaner in the offseason. He is currently very cheap (10th/11th round) in early drafts.
After last season, Redskins RB Rob Kelley knew he could do more. So among this offseason tasks: trim the body fat. He cut out processed foods and sugar and snacks such as potato chips and granola bars, replacing them with bananas, cut-up apples and watermelon. Now Kelley said he has around 13 percent body fat, down from 18 percent at its peak last season.
He's not necessarily a new man, but he and the Redskins hope he's an improved one.
"I feel more explosive, faster, getting in and out of cuts a little better," Kelley said.
Kelley won the RB1 job in Week 8, and from that point on, he was the #13 RB in standard (#15 in PPR) down the stretch. He averaged 4.19 YPC, which was the 14th highest per carry average of the 27 running backs who saw at least 150 carries last year. Samaje Perine will make a hard push for the job, but it's clear that Kelley is taking his job seriously by getting leaner in the offseason.
In the Redskins' second organized team activity session, Doctson showed how he might be able to help the offense during the season. All offseason, teammates and coaches have singled him out. Nobody doubted his ability last year -- he was the 22nd pick in the 2016 draft after all. But the Achilles' problems limited him to two games. He's now healthy.
"He's been impressive," Redskins coach Jay Gruden said. "The big thing for him is the confidence in his Achilles, and I think he's got that right now. The past two days he's looked better and better. It looks like he can run down the field. He made a good catch down the sideline today and [he has] strong hands, we know that about him."
The problem last season was that Doctson twice returned after a layoff only to have the issue resurface. That's why, for now, there's some finger-crossing going on at Redskins Park.
"Now we've just got to continue to put one day after another after another," Gruden said. "If he does have soreness, we have got to taper off for him, but right now, so far, so good. I like the way he looks, like the way he runs and love the way he catches."
With Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson gone via free agency, there are a ton of targets up for grabs in Washington. A good portion will go to free agent signee Terrelle Pryor, but it appears that the team is counting on Doctson picking up the rest of the slack. Time will tell if his Achilles is good to go.
Redskins RB Samaje Perine makes his strength and downhill running ability immediately obvious, but he can turn a corner remarkably well for someone 5-foot-11 and 234 pounds. If he can prove himself as an asset in the passing game, Perine could challenge Rob Kelley for the top running back job in the fall.
“You see him out there running around – were you impressed?” Jay Gruden asked after practice Saturday. “Yeah, so was I. I like guys who come in here and love football and he does. He’s a very smart guy. You can tell that he’s going to be a very hard worker and, of course, he runs hard.
“You can’t see that in shorts, obviously, but you could see that his pad level is always down, he’s got good vision, he’s got good feet in the hole and he caught the ball well.”
ESPN beat writer John Keim predicted that Perine would usurp Rob Kelley and be the RB1 by Week 1. If so, he'll be a terrific value at his current draft position in the 9th round.
ESPN beat writer John Keim projects that Samaji Perine will start Week 1:
Samaji Perine: Rob Kelley ended last season as the starter, but he’ll be a complementary piece to Perine, a fourth-round power back who averaged 6.0 yards per carry at Oklahoma.
Perine is a bulldozer when he gets a head of steam going and is one of the strongest running backs in the draft. He put up 30 reps on the bench press at the combine and punishes would-be tacklers. He’s had some issues with his ankles that could be concerning for him, but he flashes the ability to be a three-down back with advanced pass-blocking skills for a young player and soft hands. Perine isn’t going to be a downfield threat and won’t ever be a guy who threatens teams with his speed, but his size and natural running instincts should make him a starter in the league, and it looks like he'll have a chance to usurp Kelley this summer.
After he signed with the Redskins, Terrelle Pryor had said Kirk Cousins’ presence was among the reasons he was excited for 2017. Now, after working with him ahead of Monday’s first offseason voluntary workout, Pryor is even more excited.
During their time together in Florida, they only misfired on one or two passes -- out of 200, he said.
“It was about him getting my timing down,” Pryor said. “There were a couple routes I had to run a couple times because he’s a timing thrower, and he throws it to spots. But we’ll get there. When we get there Monday, we’ll go two or three times a week and work on that as well. I was eager. It was great to work with him and get to know him.”
On the surface, this is a puff piece, but it's so important for free agent receivers to build chemistry with their new quarterbacks as soon as possible. It also indicates that Cousins, who has had a tumultuous relationship with the team, is preparing as if he'll be playing for the Redskins in 2017.
Eifert doesn’t know when he’ll be cleared to resume regular workouts or work in the May and June camps, but he says he’ll ready for training camp. He isn’t running full steam yet, but he’s been running enough that he feels he’s close to being in tip-top shape.
“I’ll be ready and healthy and strong and be ready to go by the time it’s go time,” Eifert said. “I’m close.”
“It will be nice to have somewhat of an offseason to get ready for the year,” Eifert said. “Instead of coming into camp straight off of injury.”
When Eifert is healthy, well, the numbers say it.
There is that .650 winning percentage and those .54 TDs per game. That’s what eight-time Pro Bowler Antonio Gates has in 204 games. No one is near Rob Gronkowksi’s .77 TDs per game, but consider that Jimmy Graham is at .56, Jordan Reed at .43, one-time Pro Bowl MVP Kyle Rudolph at .36, Greg Olsen at .34, Travis Kelce at .29, 10-time Pro Bowler Jason Witten at .28, and Delanie Walker at .19, and you’re looking at a guy that scores with the best of them.
In 21 games over the last two seasons, Eifert has averaged 3.9 catches for 48 yards and 0.86 TD per game (on 5.8 T/G). That equates to 13.8 PPG (PPR), which is what Travis Kelce averaged last season as fantasy’s #1 tight end. It will be tough for Eifert to maintain that touchdown rate, though he did manage 0.82 TD per game in the 17 games over the last two seasons that A.J. Green also played, which underlines Eifert’s red zone role in the passing game. If his touchdowns regress, he’ll be hard-pressed to make up the difference in receptions or yards, since his targets are low, relatively speaking.
The Redskins will expect more out of WR Josh Doctson this season, especially with the departures of DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon to other NFC teams in free agency while Terrelle Pryor Sr. and Brian Quick need time to acclimate to a new offense.
“I’m happy,” Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said last week at the NFL’s annual League Meetings in Phoenix when asked about the tweet. “That’s a big thing with him. We took it really slow. I think Larry Hess and the training room did a great job with him. We sent him to a lot of doctors to try and figure out what was wrong with him. We took it slow and I think he’s in a good place mentally and that’s half the battle. We’ll continue to gradually build him through OTAs and the mandatory camp so hopefully we’ll get him to full speed in training camp and go from there. I’m excited as heck to watch him play.”
Related players: Jamison Crowder
Mine [expectations for a Kirk Cousins deal] are rather low. Some people I know think it should be even lower. Maybe it changes, but that's the feeling now. I know the Redskins say they'll get a deal done, but I also think they've waited too long to make an offer that tempts Cousins. That said, they've still been willing to pay him $44 million over two years. It's not as if he's been done wrong financially thanks to the franchise tag. Still, at some point it won't be about the money for him; if free, he can get a similar deal elsewhere.
The story said their is really no update on the contract. Word surfaced the team offered Cousins around $20 million per year for five years on top of the 2017 franchise tag but the guarantees were low. The story went on to say at this point, there's more incentive for Cousins to wait and see how things play out in Washington -- the direction of the franchise, how he meshes with coach Jay Gruden as a playcaller, etc. Cousins can become a free agent next offseason (unless the Redskins tag him for a third and final time).
Quick is still only 27 and has been playing in the league's worst passing offense of the last few years. Still, he has had his moments. Over the last four seasons, in the 17 games where he was targeted at least five times, he averaged 3.4 catches for 51 yards and 0.24 TD per game (9.9 PPG in PPR formats). When the threshold is bumped up to six-plus targets (11 games), his averages are 3.6-62-0.36 (12.0 PPG). In 2014, he averaged 54 yards per game (on 5.6 targets) in seven games with Austin Davis at quarterback. Given the number of targets available in Washington after the departure of both Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson, it's not inconceivable that Quick carves out a significant role in a much better passing game than the one he's been a part of over the last few seasons.
Terrelle Pryor found a new home.
NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reports the receiver signed a one-year deal with the Washington Redskins for $8 million.
Pryor finished the season as the #21 receiver, though his numbers dipped over the final month of the season. Still, his output in the first 12 games -- 5.2 catches for 71 yards and 0.33 TD, #11 WR -- is very encouraging. He’d certainly benefit from an upgrade at quarterback, and should get one if Kirk Cousins remains in Washington.
Former Washington WR DeSean Jackson expects to sign with Tampa assuming no breakdown in final negotiations, sources tell ESPN.
If Jackson has lost a step, it’s hard to tell. He averaged 17.9 yards per catch last year, which was his second highest average of his last six seasons. In 24 games over the last two seasons, he has averaged 3.6 catches for 64 yards and 0.33 TD, or 12.0 PPG in PPR formats. He’s been a little hit or miss fantasy-wise, but should see consistent targets as the complement to Mike Evans in Tampa. This is an upgrade for Jameis Winston, Evans (who won't see quite as much defensive attention) and Cameron Brate. In Washington, Kirk Cousins has lost his top two receivers.
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.
Garcon turns 31 in August, but is coming off a season where he caught 79 passes for 1,041 yards and three touchdowns. In fact, he has at least 68 catches in four straight seasons. In San Francisco, he’ll be reunited with his former offensive coordinator, Kyle Shanahan. In Shanahan’s last year in Washington, Garcon caught 113 passes for 1,346 yards and five scores. He’s four years older now, but should still see heavy volume playing for Shanahan.
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