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Despite rumors, Jamaal Charles expected to report
Tuesday, July 22, 2014, 7:37pm
Amid rumors of a holdout, Chiefs beat writer Terez A. Paylor (of the Kansas City Star) says that Jamaal Charles is expected to "report to camp tomorrow, whether there's an extension in place or not." He "can also confirm reports that talks have been had between the two sides."
This is probably a minor issue, but it's something to monitor as the Chiefs report to camp tomorrow.
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Jaguars WR Ace Sanders facing four-game suspension
Tuesday, July 22, 2014, 7:29pm
Sanders held a conference call with reporters Tuesday evening to disclose his looming punishment.
He declined to discuss the reason for the pending suspension, but says "personal reasons" will prevent him from attending the start of training camp Friday.
Sanders was expected to compete for snaps in the slot, though this setback may threaten his spot on the roster.
Tuesday, July 22, 2014, 7:26pm
Running back David Wilson, who was cleared on Monday for full participation in camp after undergoing a fusion of the vertebrae to repair the herniated disc in his neck in January, took reps with the second-team offense. He was making cuts like his old self and still looks like one of the most athletic players on the field.
Chargers, Danny Woodhead agree to two-year extension
Tuesday, July 22, 2014, 7:25pm
The San Diego Chargers agreed on a two-year contract extension with running back Danny Woodhead, the team announced today. Woodhead originally signed a two-year contract when he joined the Chargers as an unrestricted free agent from New England in March 2013. His new contract runs through the 2016 season.
Woodhead finished #19 in standard formats and #12 in PPR, but the arrival of Donald Brown has seemingly put a dent in Woody’s stock heading into the 2014 season. It’s fair to think that he’s a stretch to finish in the top 20 again, but that doesn’t explain why he’s the #41 RB off the board in early drafts. He’s a capable RB3, especially in PPR formats.
Julio Jones (foot) cleared for practice
Tuesday, July 22, 2014, 7:22pm
Julio Jones, the Falcons’ dynamic young wide receiver, has been cleared for training camp practice, which starts on Friday, head coach Mike Smith told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Tuesday.
Jones was on pace for 131-1856-6.4 prior to his foot injury in Week 5. He has the potential to be the most productive receiver in the league, but the foot injury is a bit concerning, especially since it’s a broken bone in the same location as his pre-Draft injury. If he plays a full season, he’ll very likely finish in the top 5.
Tuesday, July 22, 2014, 6:09pm
The organization announced on Tuesday that tight end Joel Dreessen has been cut with a released/failed physical designation, per the team's official website.
Tuesday, July 22, 2014, 5:08pm
The addition of Colts WR Hakeem Nicks not only will be a plus for quarterback Andrew Luck, but his presence on the field will have a significant impact for T.Y. Hilton, Reggie Wayne and the team’s tight ends. Hilton and Nicks can stretch the field on the outside, which in turn will open up the middle of the field for Wayne and the tight ends. What also can’t be discounted is that Nicks’ presence helps ease things for Wayne, who is coming off a torn ACL. Wayne doesn’t have to feel like he needs to dominate a game because he has Nicks, Hilton and the tight ends to help him out.
We're not crazy about the 35-year-old Wayne coming off of ACL surgery, and the arrival of Nicks will allow the team to ease Wayne in if he shows signs that he's not 100 percent ready to go.
Bengals WR Marvin Jones suffers minor ankle injury
Tuesday, July 22, 2014, 12:27pm
The Bengals’ list of players on the non-football injury list surprisingly included receiver Marvin Jones, with an ankle injury.
Per a league source, Jones is day-to-day due to a tweaking of the ankle that happened at the post-OTA passing camp arranged by quarterback Andy Dalton. Jones had an issue with the ankle in 2013.
He finished as the #21 WR in 2013, racking up 51 catches for 712 yards and 10 touchdowns on just 80 targets. What gives Jones upside is the fact that he played just 48% of the snaps, sharing time with the far-less-effective Mohamed Sanu. In that limited playing time, he posted the #4 FP/snap (.25) of all wideouts who played at least 20% of their team’s snaps. All indications are that Jones is going to start opposite A.J. Green, and even though new OC Hue Jackson likes to run it more than Jay Gruden did, Jones’ new role should ensure that he has plenty of opportunity to make plays in his third year.
Browns to decide QB competition by Aug. 23
Tuesday, July 22, 2014, 12:24pm
According to coach Mike Pettine, we’ll have a winner of the Browns’ QB derby in about a month.
In a Q&A published Monday, Pettine told the Akron Beacon Journal the club will pick a starting quarterback by Cleveland’s August 23 preseason game vs. St. Louis.
“I don’t know if I’ll set a date and kind of paint ourselves into a date, but it will be sooner than the third preseason game,” Pettine told Nate Ulrich of the Beacon Journal.
If Manziel wins the starting job this summer, he'll be an intriguing QB2 who should be available in the 9th-11th rounds given all the depth at quarterback. He has a good situation brewing with Josh Gordon and Jordan Cameron in his receiving corps, and the newly-signed Ben Tate as a threat in the running game. (Gordon’s looming suspension is an obvious concern.) Manziel’s durability is a question mark given his propensity for taking chances by leaving the pocket.
Tuesday, July 22, 2014, 12:23pm
49ers beat write Cam Inman previews the team's RB corps: This is Frank Gore's 10th camp but his first with so many viable candidates to share the load. Marcus Lattimore's comeback attempt is of utmost interest, and aside from running, can he pass protect? Kendall Hunter remains the No. 2 back, though he's coming off a career-low 358 rushing yards and is in a contract year. Carlos Hyde could be a rookie gem with his deft hands and power legs. If that quartet proves strong, LaMichael James finally might get traded.
The 31-year-old Frank Gore has defied reduced preseason expectations in recent years, finishing in the top 13 in three straight seasons. Including the playoffs, he posted just 8.5 fantasy points per game after the 49ers’ Week 9 bye in 2013, so the writing is on the wall. The team has a capable backup in Kendall Hunter and also drafted the talented Carlos Hyde in the second round. Along with the return of redshirt rookie Marcus Lattimore, Gore’s touches are very much under pressure in 2014. One thing to note here -- Inman believes that Hunter is still the RB2 in San Francisco.
Sammy Watkins off to a 'great start' at camp
Tuesday, July 22, 2014, 12:05pm
WR Sammy Watkins picked a great day to have his best practice as a member of the Buffalo Bills. With the bigwigs at ESPN, NFL Network, FoxSports1 and the MMQB all in attendance on Monday afternoon, Watkins put on a show for all to see. The crowd 'oohed,' 'aahed,' and cheered anytime the first-round selection touched the ball... and it happened quite a lot. He burned Leodis McKelvin very early on in the practice deep, he caught a pass tight in coverage with a defender on his way to him and then he jumped up on a tipped pass to bring it in over three defenders, all while getting poked in the eye. It's been a great start for Watkins to say the least.
He’s not landing in a good situation, since the Bills are run-heavy and E.J. Manuel is his quarterback. But with Stevie Johnson out of the way, the potential is there for solid production. By all accounts he has shown a great work ethic, so if he’s a target-hog, he should be a fantasy starter (top 36) in 2014.
Tuesday, July 22, 2014, 12:03pm
Head coach Mike Pettine told the Akron Beacon Journal the club doesn’t intend to release Gordon, who was arrested on a DWI charge in early July. The 23-year-old Pro Bowl wide receiver, under contract for two more seasons, was already facing a potential suspension under the NFL’s substance abuse policy.
“Josh is a Cleveland Brown. We want to do what’s best for him,” Pettine told the Beacon Journal‘s Nate Ulrich in a story published Monday. “We have a player that potentially needs help. Whether it’s him or whether it’s anybody else that wears the uniform, if we can help, we’ll help. We want to make our decisions always, what’s best for the player, and you try to marry it with what’s best for the team.
“So that’s why I don’t think that cutting him, while it may have worked for some other people, I don’t know if that’s necessarily the best option here. It might be the worst option for both — for us and for him. We’re going to wait and see what happens and then act accordingly.”
49ers looking to improve passing game
Tuesday, July 22, 2014, 12:01pm
The 49ers tout the deepest receiving corps of Harbaugh's four-year tenure, and they have arguably the league's best offensive line.
The 49ers clearly realized he couldn't improve the passing attack without better targets.
"We're a lot deeper at receiver," starter Anquan Boldin said.
First, the 49ers acquired San Francisco native Stevie Johnson in a draft-day trade with Buffalo. They lured Brandon Lloyd out of a one-year hiatus (as they did with Randy Moss in 2012). And they drafted speedster Bruce Ellington in the fourth round out of South Carolina.
"It gives us an opportunity as an offense to do a lot more," Kaepernick said. "You have a lot of weapons that you can put in a lot of different places. ... They all have the capability of getting open and making plays."
In his last 18 games with Crabtree in the lineup, Kaepernick has averaged 20.9 FP, which equate to #3 QB numbers. In 11 games without Crabtree, he averaged 16.1 FP. He averages 2.5 more pass attempts (i.e. the 49ers throw the ball more) and his YPA jumps from 7.4 to 8.4 with his top receiver in the lineup. The potential Vernon Davis holdout is a concern, but with Johnson in the fold, the 49ers are deep at receiver.
Beat: Roddy White 'can't really play' under current contract
Tuesday, July 22, 2014, 11:53am
Falcons WR Roddy White, 32, is set to enter the final year of his contract. He wants to play three more years and wants a contract extension. The situation was put on hold after the shooting death of his brother Tyrone Moore Jr. over the offseason.
Both sides have been rather quiet and the “Holdout” word has been placed on the back burner. White held out of the 2009 training camp, while his six-year, $48 million deal was being hammered out.
As things stand, White can’t really play for the $5 million base salary that he’s set to make when there are 10 receivers ahead of him with higher average per year salaries.
Under general manager Thomas Dimitroff, the team has done a good job of taking care of productive players. But Jones’ mega-contract is also on the horizon.
After five straight top 10 finishes, White battled injuries during the 2013 season to finish #52 in standard scoring formats. He’s over the hill, right? Not so fast. Once he finally gave his ankle some rest, he returned in Week 10 and averaged 6.1-73-0.38 over his final eight games, and 8.6-100-0.40 in his final five. If Julio Jones comes back strong, the defensive focus will turn to him, and White should benefit. But don’t be worried about targets – Matt Ryan will continue to throw Roddy's way with Tony Gonzalez out of the picture. The contract situation probably won't be a major factor, but it's something to monitor as the preseason wears on.
Tuesday, July 22, 2014, 11:48am
Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski said Friday that he plans to play the entire season as he recovers from a torn ACL. He hasn't been placed on the PUP list at this point, but that's still an option prior to the first practice of training camp Thursday.
Gronkowski has been hugely productive when healthy, but his health is a major concern heading into 2014. He reportedly had surgery on Jan. 9 to reconstruct a torn ACL. It typically takes a full year to recover, though Adrian Peterson and Robert Griffin III have made quicker returns (with varying success). The fact that he hasn't yet been placed on preseason PUP is a positive sign, but as the article states -- the Pats still have time to do so.