Posted: 6/18/2013 3:35am et
New York Jets quarterbacks coach David Lee said QB Geno Smith has had some trouble adjusting to the West Coast offense during offseason workouts because it is nothing like what he did at West Virginia. Head coach Rex Ryan said he believes Smith will show improvement once training camp starts. "His steps - dropbacks - his mechanics footwork wise weren't dialed in the way they'll have to be at this level. I think some of that is your five and seven step drops, it's all new to him. But sometimes you can't even notice it. Because when he's on, the guy is absolutely terrific. We knew that it's not an easy process but it's one that I have confidence that when we get to Cortland, I think when the thing goes I think you're going to see the guy keep improving and improving and improving," Ryan said.
Huddle Up: Smith's accuracy in college suggests he has the skills to adapt to the West Coast offense, but it will be an adjustment. Should be an interesting competition between Smith and Mark Sanchez, though neither projects to offer much of a fantasy payoff this season.
Posted: 6/14/2013 10:38pm et
New England Patriots WR Aaron Dobson could be a candidate for the Patriots' No. 2 wide receiver job if he can be more consistent during training camp.
Huddle Up: Tom Brady will be without Wes Welker and may be missing Rob Gronkowski for at least a portion of the upcoming season, so any and all candidates are welcome to help New England flesh out their receiving corps. Given the opportunity in front of him, Dobson is an intriguing fantasy sleeper heading into 2013.
Posted: 6/14/2013 4:13pm et
Buffalo Bills QB EJ Manuel, the No. 16 overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, has signed a contract, according to an announcement from the team. Terms were not disclosed, but the deal is expected to be worth about $8.9 million over four years. The deal brings all eight of the Bills' 2013 draft picks under contract.
Huddle Up: With Manuel officially under contract there are no worries about missed OTAs or training camp, so Manuel can get on the same page with Steve Johnson and the other Buffalo receivers and compete with Kevin Kolb for the starting gig.
Posted: 6/14/2013 10:45am et
Houston Texans WR DeAndre Hopkins impressed head coach Gary Kubiak in minicamp. "I've been impressed. He struggled early - which we knew he would - but I think it helps when you throw a guy in with the ones right away because he gets coached by (Matt) Schaub," Kubiak said. "But the last three days he's impressed me because he hasn't had Matt and he hasn't had Andre (Johnson) out here and he's been on top of what he's doing. He's obviously very gifted. We've just got to make sure we've got him doing what he does best."
Huddle Up: Hopkins was considered one of the most NFL-ready receivers in this year's draft class, and he'll be given every opportunity to step in immediately alongside Johnson in the Houston passing game. It's a role that has yielded mostly fantasy frustration, but then again the Texans haven't populated it with someone as talented as Hopkins.
Posted: 6/14/2013 10:45am et
San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh said WR Quinton Patton really elevated himself at minicamp.
Huddle Up: With Michael Crabtree out and Mario Manningham still recovering the Niners have a need at wide receiver. Games that count are still a long way out, but it's nice to see Patton capitalizing on his opportunity; file his name among the deep sleepers to keep an eye on in training camp.
Posted: 6/12/2013 4:48pm et
Pittsburgh Steelers RB Le'Veon Bell and Isaac Redman appear to be the only two running backs that are guaranteed a roster spot this season. RBs Jonathan Dwyer, Baron Batch and LaRod Stephens-Howling could compete for two roster spots during camp.
Huddle Up: Bell is one of the more popular rookie fantasy options this year precisely because he's expected to take the lead role in the Pittsburgh backfield. LSH is a special teams stud, leaving Dwyer and Batch to duke it out for the right to be the Steelers' RB3.
Posted: 6/12/2013 1:08pm et
New York Jets QB Geno Smith will take the majority of first-team reps Wednesday, June 12.
Huddle Up: And the battle to unseat Mark Sanchez begins. Too bad there's not more fantasy value hanging in the balance, because we're bound to hear every minute detail of this quarterback competition each (mis)step of the way.
Posted: 6/10/2013 3:09pm et
Tampa Bay Buccaneers general manager Mark Dominik said RB Jeff Demps has been excused the team's mandatory minicamp.
Huddle Up: Demps is a track guy first and football player second, which is why he's a Buc and not a Patriot. Once he does show up, his primary role will likely be as a return man, adding fantasy value to the Bucs' team defense/special teams unit.
Posted: 6/8/2013 8:25pm et
The Cincinnati Bengals would like to get the ball into RB Giovani Bernard's hands this season so he can make big plays. The team has been working on screen passes with Bernard during organized team activities.
Huddle Up: Bernard will be at minimum the change-of-pace/third down component of Cincinnati's backfield committee, with BenJarvus Green-Ellis handling between the tackles and short yardage duties. But Bernard's explosiveness give him a decent shot of turning his role into something bigger, and certainly something more lucrative in PPR and yardage-based fantasy leagues.
Posted: 6/8/2013 8:25pm et
Buffalo Bills WR Robert Woods may enter training camp as the favorite for the No. 2 wide receiver job. He has shown solid route running skills and good hands during organized team activities.
Huddle Up: Little surprise here as Woods was widely considered one of the most polished receivers in this draft class and the Bills have a large vacancy opposite Steve Johnson in their passing game. It will be interesting to see where Da'Rick Rodgers fits into the mix as well, as the Bills have some exciting young offensive talent on their roster heading into new coach Doug Marrone's first season.
Posted: 6/8/2013 2:53pm et
Seattle Seahawks RB Christine Michael worked with the first-team offense this week during organized team activities (OTAs), and he showed off his pass-catching skills during the sessions.
Huddle Up: Don't read too much into Michael working with the first team; Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said the plan was to reduce the preseason wear and tear on Marshawn Lynch. Plus, this provides Michael with the opportunity to run with the ones and get up to speed more quickly on the offense.
Posted: 2/20/2013 9:24am et
California WR Keenan Allen is nursing a sprained posterior cruciate ligament that will prevent him from working out at the NFL Scouting Combine.
Huddle Up: It's a competitive wide receiver class this season, and Allen is expected to be among the top picks at his position. Missing out at the Combine could ding his draft stock if some of the other elite wideouts show well in Indy.
Posted: 2/18/2013 11:53am et
Southern California QB Matt Barkley will not throw at the NFL Scouting Combine. He might run, but will not throw until his Pro Day March 27. Doctors who have examined and worked with Barkley are convinced he has made outstanding progress from a separated shoulder. He already has been cleared to throw at his Pro Day. Barkley's shoulder is said to be 85 to 90 percent recovered. NFL teams will receive medical information from Dr. James Andrews to back up Barkley's decision not to throw at the Combine. According to a source with knowledge of the situation, it's indeed a medical decision as to why Barkley is not throwing.
Huddle Up: Barkley can use the shoulder injury as a reason for not throwing at the Combine, but the fact of the matter is most top-end quarterbacks prefer to throw at their Pro Day--to their own receivers, following their own script of throws.
Posted: 2/2/2013 12:03am et
Southern California QB Matt Barkley said he is not sure if he will be throwing at the NFL Scouting Combine. "It seems to be the trend not to (throw at the combine), and I don't feel that I have to," Barkley said. "We'll see when that time gets closer. It will be more of a game-day decision as to whether I'm going to. I want to do as much as I can. ... I don't feel I have to necessarily prove anything," Barkley said. He is expected to throw at a pro day after the combine.
Huddle Up: More and more college QBs are opting to skip the throwing portion of the combine, choosing instead to throw to receivers they are familiar with and using a script of throws they develop themselves; Barkley seems to be following that same plan. He's also coming back from a shoulder injury and may want to take as much time as possible to heal before auditioning for an NFL job.
Posted: 2/1/2013 3:53pm et
Baltimore Ravens C Matt Birk said he's willing to donate his brain post-mortem for research on chronic traumatic encephalopathy.
Huddle Up: Birk is using the Super Bowl pulpit to encourage other active NFL players to donate their brains as well to further the research being done on the connection between football and brain injuries. Plus, he went to Harvard so his brain must be really, really big.
Posted: 1/30/2013 11:33am et
San Francisco 49ers defensive line coach Jim Tomsula and secondary coach Ed Donatell have strong 3-4 defensive scheme credentials and might be on the radar of the New Orleans Saints for their defensive coordinator vacancy.
Huddle Up: Several 49ers assistants have had to put their job search on hold during their Super Bowl run, but in the case of the Saints that may wind up being a blessing in disguise.
Posted: 1/25/2013 3:14pm et
Detroit Lions general manager Martin Mayhew said the team is searching for a running back in this year's draft. "We need that shifty back that can come in and be that change-of-pace guy who can catch passes out of the backfield, a guy that can run routes and get one-on-one with a linebacker," Mayhew said. "That's what Jahvid [Best] gave us, a guy with some juice, some elusiveness." Oregon RB Kenjon Barner, Stanford RB Stepfan Taylor and Florida RB Mike Gillislee were the most impressive at the Senior Bowl this week, and Taylor is the most complete back of the three.
Huddle Up: The Lions cobbled together a backfield last season but it was primarily plodders; if they're looking to replace Best's speed and shiftiness, Barner would be an obvious candidate.
Posted: 1/25/2013 3:14pm et
Pat Dye, agent for South Carolina RB Marcus Lattimore, said Lattimore is scheduled to begin jogging next week. Lattimore recently met with Dr. James Andrews and was told that his torn lateral collateral ligament and posterior cruciate ligament have healed. Dye also said Lattimore is on a rehab from his torn anterior cruciate ligament that will allow him to be ready for the 2013 season.
Huddle Up: Lattimore has tons of potential, and after what Adrian Peterson accomplished in his first year following knee surgery teams may be more willing to take a chance on a player coming off such an injury. It's still aggressive to expect much from him as a rookie, but it's at least worth tracking where he lands and how his rehab goes heading into the season.