We scour the news around the NFL to bring you what matters most for you and your dynasty team: the most current news on players, both superstars and the relative unknowns, and analysis to decipher the respective situations.
While Nick Foles outplayed Michael Vick early in training camp, the Philadelphia Eagle beat writers have repeatedly stated that Vick has out-shined the youngster by a good margin since the team has begun practicing in pads. Vick gives the Eagles a better chance to win in the short term, especially with the loss of wide receiver Jeremy Maclin.
Peter King made a point last week to predict a less than positive outcome for Cleveland Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden this season. The new coaching staff has been trying to get the second-year pro up to speed as quickly as possible, but most expect Weeden to struggle some. Even Offensive Coordinator Norv Turner recently admitted the passing offense has looked "ragged at times," according to an article in the Cleveland Plain Dealer. The upside for Browns fans is that a poor season by the quarterback should put the team in a prime spot to draft one of the stud passers available in the 2014 NFL Draft.
While running onto the practice field Saturday morning, Buffalo Bills quarterback Kevin Kolb hurt his knee and will miss some practice time. He was already being thoroughly outplayed by rookie E.J. Manuel so this adds insult to injury …. or is it the other way around?
According to a recent Union-Tribune San Diego article, the San Diego Chargers are "more than hinting" at moving to a "multi-back system" that relies less on Ryan Mathews and gets Danny Woodhead on the field more. The Chargers have been pleased with Woodhead and are looking for ways to utilize his unique skill set.
According to beat writer Darren Urban via Twitter, Arizona Cardinals running back Ryan Williams is still dealing with soreness in his right knee. For those who do not remember, Williams ruptured his patellar tendon before the 2011 season. The dynamic runner was said to be having an outstanding camp before needing to rest his knee. This is definitely a situation to watch as Rashard Mendenhall will see an ample number of carries while rookies Stephan Taylor and Andre Ellington battle for snaps.
The Washington Post reported rookie tailback Chris Thompson has developed "soreness and tightness" in his left knee. This is the same knee which was injured last October. The strong play of Roy Helu (now healthy) should allow Thomson to watch and learn this season.
According to the Associated Press, the Jacksonville Jaguars have limited rookie Denard Robinson's touches due to fumbling and mental mistakes. He was heavily involved in most parts of the offense and special teams, but may have been overwhelmed. Per coach Gus Bradley, "We did take less off of him … We've got him more toward kickoff returns, some of the things he's doing offensively. We're taking some things off of his plate to see if that just frees up his mind a little bit." Expect Robinson to catch up quickly but this article shows the varying roles the team hopes to use the talented rookie eventually.
Steve Johnson pulled his hamstring and is now out for a few weeks. Coach Doug Marrone said that the Bills will not rush their star receiver back to the field. This will allow rookies Da'Rick Rogers and Robert Woods to see more practice repetitions. Both are talented and could make a splash in year one. A few days prior, there was a report in the Buffalo News that Johnson was working primarily out of the slot. This is something to consider when watching the youngsters and their utilization in the preseason.
Seattle wide receiver Sidney Rice created a buzz late last week when he went to Switzerland to have a "non-surgical" procedure. Later, Rice explained that it was a platelet-rich plasma therapy to help his patellar tendinitis. Rice has acknowledged his knee pain. This is not good news for dynasty owners. The situation could deteriorate quickly with lingering knee injuries and chronic pain.
New England receiver Julian Edelman is now healthy and seeing time on the first team offense, according to a recent Boston Globe article. He, and the three rookies (Thompkins, Boyce, and Dobson), are battling to start in the slot and opposite Danny Amendola. For a player available on many dynasty waiver wires, Edelman has big upside in the Patriots offense. He knows the offense and Josh McDaniels reportedly loves him.
The Cincinnati Bengals named Mohamed Sanu as the starter across from superstar A.J. Green on their initial preseason depth chart, according to beat writer Geoff Hobson on Twitter. This is great news for Sanu - after he fractured his left foot last year – and he has outplayed Marvin Jones.
New Orleans Saints receiver Joseph Morgan was considered a a sleeper by many coming into the 2013 season. He was taken off the field during last Saturday's practice. It was interesting that rookie Kenny Stills replaced Morgan. Beat Report Larry Holder stated on Twitter that Stills seeing time with the starters on the first series "should tell you how much the Saints like him already." Also, Chris Givens is seeing increased practice snaps. He is a very deep sleeper to watch during the preseason games.
After the Michael Crabtree injury, the San Francisco 49ers have been looking for one of the young receivers to step up into the starting job opposite Anquan Boldin. Neither A.J. Jenkins nor Quinton Patton have stepped up, and each has been nicked up. The team even signed Austin Collie and Lavelle Hawkins off the street out of desperation. But, it is doubtful either will make the final roster. Kyle Williams is now healthy and was listed as a starter on the initial preseason depth chart. Williams is more of a slot receiver than a WR2 so the way is now paved for Mario Manningham to emerge when he is recovered from the knee surgeries.
Terrance Williams was tested for a concussion on Friday. He was gaining momentum after a slow start so the missed practice time will hurt some. The Cowboys like how Williams has progressed and he is poised to see extended action early in the season.
The signings of Early Doucet (Seattle), Austin Collie (San Francisco), and Lavelle Hawkins (San Francisco) should tell dynasty owners how teams view Brandon Lloyd and Laurent Robinson. Even the receiver-needy teams (Philadelphia, San Francisco, Baltimore, and Seattle) are not interested in these veterans. Footballguys staffer Jeff Haseley made this point over the weekend on Twitter. As the days go by, the odds of the veterans signing diminish rapidly. The same can be said for running backs Cedric Benson, Michael Turner, and Beanie Wells. All are waiting and hoping to be signed after an injury. Retirement is closer than any would have predicted just a few months ago.
Undrafted rookie Zach Sudfeld is seeing time with the first string New England offense as the team looks for ways to replace Aaron Hernandez. Sudfeld is athletic and his 6'7" height helps in the red zone. While it is still way too early, he is a player to watch. None of the other tight ends (Ballard, Fells, etc) have done much to earn more playing time so New England is looking to the young tight end to see what he has to offer.
With Seattle Seahawks tight end Zach Miller still sidelined with a foot injury, rookie Luke Wilson is a player to watch. Wilson is very athletic but has big upside. Right now, the first-year pro is learning the blocking side of the position. He is an adept receiver who was overshadowed in college (Rice) by Vance McDonald.
If you have questions of any variety, please feel free to reach out to me on Twitter (Twitter.com/JeffTefertiller) or in the Wannabee thread in the Assistant Coach Forum.
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