Part of me wants to believe in Cody Kessler.
When it comes to Kessler, I have significant doubts. In minicamps, he had too many passes batted down at the line of scrimmage. He seldom completed deep balls. He was accurate on short throws.
He is an inexperienced quarterback who will be throwing to mostly inexperienced receivers. He should have more time, thanks to a revamped offensive line.
This may be the longest story you ever read on Kessler and the Cleveland QBs. Basically, this writer is higher on Osweiler than most others and not quite as high on Kizer ... and perhaps somewhere in the middle with Kessler. He seems to think Kizer has a lot to learn before he takes the field. There don't seem to be a lot of writers who are even considering Osweiler for the job so it very well may be Kessler's to win. He will have an improved O-line but also a lot seemingly working against him, according to this piece anyway.
As the Rams turn the page on a disastrous 2016 season, questions remain regarding whether they made the right move by trading up for quarterback Jared Goff. That question will be answered by the ability of new coach Sean McVay to get the most out of Goff.
Running back Todd Gurley likes what he’s seen in 2017, so far.
“He’s been getting better.” Gurley told SiriusXM NFL Radio, via NFL.com. “Obviously, he didn’t go No. 1 for no reason. He has the talent, and he’s just been getting better. He definitely had a great OTAs, great minicamp. Coaches have been doing a good job with him. Just his preparation, him being there all day, he’s been great so far, man, so I’m definitely looking forward to it.”
The story said, of course, Gurley is also looking for to improve this season after a drop off from 2015 to 2016. The hope is both can take advantage of what the other brings to the field. Gurley is ranked 13th on our list this season and can be had in the early-to-mid second round.
Jets beat writer Rich Cimini answered a question about the Jets quarterback situation:
You're assuming Josh McCown will be the opening-day starter, and I happen to agree with you even though it's not quite a done deal.
Presumably, coach Todd Bowles, who needs to win games to keep his job, won't bench McCown if the team is winning. Beyond job security, what kind of message would it send to the locker room if Bowles demotes a productive player?
General manager Mike Maccagnan is looking at the big picture, and he recognizes the importance of playing Christian Hackenberg. Personally, I think Hackenberg needs at least 10 starts to get a fair evaluation.
The question was mostly about the Jets getting off to a good start, and how it would make getting a look at Hackenberg more difficult because the team would have to bench a successful McCown. Cimini feels there will be an internal struggle between present and future at the position at some point this season. Cimini added Bowles and Maccagnan are both level-headed men and should be able to tell the difference between charade and reality should it get to that point.
With Jacquizz Rodgers re-signed early in free agency and Charles Sims returning from injury, this group is deep enough that it can easily field a full rotation of backs even while Doug Martin is out due to his suspension. It may not be until Martin's return that the overwhelming numbers lead to difficult decisions.
Martin has two Pro Bowl years in his five seasons in the league but was beset by injuries and other troubles last year. After using the first part of the year to attend to his personal issues, he has returned to the field looking as fit and ready as he did at this time in 2015 before a monster campaign. If Martin does indeed display his 2015 form, there's little question he'll be the lead back in 2017.
Related players: Jeremy McNichols
While it doesn't make for a good fantasy situation, the Bucs have other candidates for first and second-down snaps. Rodgers was very impressive in relief of both Martin and Sims last year. In addition, rookie Jeremy McNichols looks to be cut from the same cloth as Martin and could either be a lead back or a very useful third-down asset thanks to his reliable hands and well-developed pass-protection skills, the story went on to say.
When tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins came into the NFL as a 2014 second-round pick of the Buccaneers, there were no shortage of predictions of big things for a player with the kind of size and athleticism that has helped other tight ends find success.
It didn’t play out that way in Tampa as injuries limited him to 16 games in the two years before a DUI arrest led to the Bucs dumping him from the roster last year. Seferian-Jenkins landed with the Jets, but only caught 10 passes in seven games that showed little difference from what had come before.
“I feel like a different person on and off the field,” Seferian-Jenkins said, via the team’s website. “The weight loss has been tremendous and I’m just really happy I have the opportunity to show the Jets taking a chance on me is going to pay off. I’m just trying to work every single day on the team like everybody else.”
The story said Seferian-Jenkins stopped drinking and lost weight ahead of this year’s offseason program and drew good notices from beat reporters who took in Jets practices. Seferian-Jenkins believes that those off-field changes will help him on the field this fall.
After the Broncos offseason program came to an end, a report from Denver said that quarterback Paxton Lynch’s “switch was flipped” in the final weeks of their workouts and one of the team’s top receivers agrees with that assessment.
Wide receiver Demaryius Thomas was asked at his youth football camp on Friday about Lynch’s competition with Trevor Siemian for the team’s starting job and said that Lynch made his strongest argument as the team was wrapping up their work this spring.
“Trevor’s speaking up more than Paxton,” Thomas said, via Mike Klis of KUSA. “Paxton’s still young and Trevor played a lot more last year. They both had their up and down days. Trevor’s been pretty cool the whole time, everybody has their days. The first couple weeks, you see Paxton … people are talking about it, but the last couple of weeks where he was just out there lighting it up. It was like ‘Whoa, where did that come from?’”
The story went on to say Lynch said in June that he feels he got better “progressively” as his reps increased over the course of the offseason and more of the same when the team gets to camp later this month could make it hard for the Broncos to keep their 2016 first-round pick on the bench any longer.
The Baltimore Ravens didn't add any starting offensive linemen this offseason. They didn't sign someone to replace a Pro Bowl fullback, and their biggest acquisition in the backfield was pass-catching running back Danny Woodhead.
So how do the Ravens expect to improve one of the NFL's worst rushing attacks? It begins with the impressive track record of assistant coach Greg Roman.
From San Francisco to Buffalo, Roman has shown a knack for turning sputtering ground games into highly successful ones in his first season with a team.
Roman takes over a Ravens rushing attack that in 2015 and 2016 averaged 91.9 yards per game in those two seasons combined. Only the Chargers and Lions have averaged fewer yards the past two seasons. In 2011, in Roman's first season as San Francisco's offensive coordinator, the 49ers went from No. 19 in NFL rushing to No. 8. In 2015, the Bills' run offense jumped from No. 25 to No. 1 in Roman's first year as the playcaller, improving by a whopping 59.4 yards per game.
TE David Njoku, the youngest member of the Browns; youth-laden roster, will turn 21-years-old. But make no doubt the Browns rookie tight end and 29th overall NFL Draft pick looks and plays like a grown man, a dynamic that was plenty clear throughout OTAs and minicamp.
Njoku, the former Miami standout and national boys high jump champion, used a rare combination of size (6-foot-4, 246), speed, and instincts to emerge as one of the top players in this year’s Draft class.
Now, he’s poised to earn a key role on a new-look Cleveland offense that parted ways with veteran tight end Gary Barnidge in April.
The story said Njoku caught everything throw his way this spring, but did take reps with the second and third teams. Everyone seems excited about his potential and with Barnidge no longer with the team, and Njoku a first round pick, there's a good chance he'll eventually have the TE1 spot at some point sooner or later this season.
"It sucks whenever your team is competing and you're not," McCaffrey told reporters, per the team's website. "But you've got to follow the system, and I'm glad to be here now."
According to the Panthers' site, McCaffrey was thrown right into the fire, working out on kick coverage, participating as the fifth option in running back drills and even running plays out of the wildcat. The eighth overall pick said he was comfortable playing all over the field.
According to the story, Carolina's first-round pick had been restricted by an arcane rule from participating in organized team activities and the first two days of minicamp until his school year at Stanford, which operates on the quarter system, had ended. One day after the conclusion of classes Wednesday, McCaffrey made his debut.
After 850 yards last year, Jamison Crowder looks poised for his first 1,000 yard season for the Redskins. A healthy Jordan Reed can absolutely post four-figure yardage totals. On the outside, free agent addition Terrelle Pryor had a 1,000 yard season with the Browns last year, and playing with Cousins, should certainly be capable of that figure or more.
Don't forget 2016 first-round pick Josh Doctson, who appears to have his Achilles injuries that cost him his rookie season behind him.
Related players: Kirk Cousins
The story was about how the Skins are projected to once again be among the top passing teams this season, despite the loss of WRs Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson. The article feels Cousins is a safe bet for 4,500 passing yards. Under HC Jay Gruden, the Skins have thrown the ball at least 547 time each season it added. Part of that has to do with an inability to run the ball, even though they did well at times last year with Rob Kelley as the lead back.
Speaking Thursday on The Blitz with Bruce Murray and Kirk Morrison on SiriusXM NFL Radio, Cardinals running back David Johnson said his goal is to win a championship for Larry Fitzgerald and Carson Palmer.
"I don't know as far as the team, but for me, I feel like definitely [it's a goal to win for them]," Johnson said. "Because Carson, especially Carson and Larry, those two guys have taught me so much in these last two years that helped me so much with the playbook. Learning how to run a route effectively, it's not all about speed, it's also about technique and stuff. So I really want to do it for those guys. Especially since they're such -- not just great athletes, but great people off the field. So I feel like there's a little pressure on me to do as much as I can to get that ring for those two."
Palmer and Fitzgerald have reached the year-to-year portion of their NFL tenures -- seasons 15 and 14, respectively. Palmer reiterated last month that he'll decide his future after the season. The story added a deep playoff run, or even a Super Bowl win, could have a major influence on whether the two Cardinals stalwarts decide to return in 2018. For his part, Johnson said he wants to make sure he does everything in his power to buoy the offense and give Arizona the best chance to get that ring. Johnson said he's worked on his blitz pickups this offseason, which he admitted he struggled with at times in 2016. A motivated Johnson could be a nice piece for fantasy owners this season.
NFC North beat writers were asked about the Lions run game and the possibility of a balanced offense:
Rob Demovsky: In short, no, unless the return of Ameer Abdullah from the foot injury that ruined his 2016 season is a game-changer or Matt Asiata suddenly becomes something more than just the complementary piece he was in Minnesota. Otherwise, it looks a lot like the status quo for the Lions' offense, which will once again rely heavily on quarterback Matthew Stafford.
That's not a bad thing given his ability to get on a hot streak as he showed last season. The good news is he has an upgraded offensive line led by former Packers Pro Bowl guard T.J. Lang to protect him.
Related players: Theo Riddick
All three beat writers who write for opponents of the Lions in the NFC North seemed to agree the Lions will need to rely on Stafford again this season, and the run game's current status won't give the team balance on offense. No one thinks Abdullah is a sure thing, but if he can stay healthy he'll obviously give the run game a little boost.
This core group of skill Dolphin players is stocked with young players who are approaching their prime. That is a strong indication that the future is now for this group as it enters its second season together in head coach Adam Gase’s offense.
It's almost hard to fathom that Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill, 28, is entering his sixth year as a starter. On paper, this is the best offense he's had, and now the pressure is on him to match or surpass last year’s production that included going 8-5 as a starter, which was the first winning season of his career.
The same group ranked 24th in total offense and 17th in scoring last season, but there were signs something positive was building, the story said. Adding TE Thomas could be huge if he can come close to repeating what he did with Gase in Denver, when he scored 24 TDs in two seasons.