Archive for category Jacksonville

Wednesday Stampede

The first round of cuts have happened and teams have begun figuring out who will be able to contribute this year – as well as who they will try to sneak onto the practice squad.

A couple of straggling cuts:
Chiefs: waived OT Ken Shackleford and placed WR Kevin Robinson (knee) on the PUP list.
Lions: K Dave Rayner and DE Claude Harriott were released.
Redskins:re-signed LB Danny Verdun-Wheeler and waived WR Burl Toler.
Texans: placed OL Scott Jackson (foot) on injured reserve, ending his season.

Here’s this mornings round-up of news.

Jacksonville Jaguars
Rookie defensive lineman Derrick Harvey has finally signed and will report to camp. His 33 day holdout will probably kill any IDP value he had this year and while he will have a shot to start, probably will be rotated in and out of the game too much and have too steep a learning curve to contribute in a big way. Missing the whole of camp will set him back this year, though he will become an impact player down the road.

Baltimore Ravens
Let’s check the damage out at QB – Troy Smith has been out with tonsillitis. Joe Flacco is raw, with a big arm but much to learn. And now, according to the Carroll County Times , there is a fear that Kyle Boller could be done for the year with a fairly serious shoulder injury. The first set of MRIs taken don’t look good and if Boller goes down, some lucky journeyman QB may get a phone call. Vinny Testeverde anyone? Best bet is that if Troy Smith can get back on his feet, he’s the guy, but I don’t love this group of QBs and wouldn’t even want them as parts of a QBBC. Not thrilled with the WRs or Todd Heap either, in part because of this sort of stuff. Ray Rice may be the only fantasy option here and you can expect him to wear down towards he end of the season – assuming McGahee doesn’t just show up and take his job back.

Tennesse Titans
Everyone is talking about rookie Chris Johnson and the immediate impact he can have here this year and consequently, everyone is also talking a lot of gloom and doom regarding LenDale White. As we spoke about on last week’s Drive Block (and if you missed it, check it out on ITunes, or to the right of this column), it may not be a bad thing for White to split carries. I don’t think it will happen week 1 and furthermore, I don’t think Johnson’s strength is running between the tackles. White will get a lot more of those carries – Johnson will see a lot of his work on the outside and in the receiving game. Plenty of value for both. In fact, with that core of WRs, Johnson may end up splitting out wide more than the Titans are thinking right now.

Both are good fantasy options – Johnson as a marginal #2 or a #3 with huge upside and White as a #2 who may taper off later this season. And of course, if you’re looking to clear a buffet, well, White’s your #1 pick. (That was for Cecil.)

Indianapolis Colts
Is it time to get nervous? Had you been nervous already about Manning? No? Well then, suck on this: According to a report on the Associated Press, Manning won’t begin fully practicing until next Wednesday. While he’s been doing limited work the past week, he hasn’t been running them fully and certainly hasn’t had any contact.

It’s not as bad as it sounds. First of all, we’re talking Peyton freaking Manning – he could miss OTAs, minicamps, Preseason and most regular season practices and be just fine (excuse the hyperbole). Secondly, this is The Franchise here – they will handle him like a China Doll until they have to throw him into a game and be cautious with him. Now, will he miss Week 1? Maybe. And that’s why if you got Manning in your draft, it better be no earlier than the second and you’d better get a quality back-up – something you never had to worry about before. Don’t bother with Sorgi – he’s a mess. I think you need to be looking at someone at least in the Garrard area and I would be tempted to reach for a guy in the Roethlisberger range instead. Worst comes to worst, he’s quality trade bait. But if Manning takes an extra week or two, you will be happy you have him. Problem is, he’s goign to cause you to go too early for your backup.

And for that reason, this may be the year to let Manning pass you in the 2nd and go another direction.

Cleveland Browns
Derek Anderson’s concussion is still affecting him, according to Profootballtalk.com . Apparently he is still sensitive to light and feelign some other after effects. Not uncommon after getting your bell rung – I’ve had a few concussions and it can take a little while to get your head back together. He’ll sit this week – I’d say for sure, though the team is hedging – and could miss week 1. Watch Brady Quinn closely – if Anderson sits for Week 1, it could be a rough week for all the growing team of studs the Browns have: Edwards, Winslow, Lewis and even potential impact players like Donte Stallworth. We can only hope that Quinn is ready for Prime Time and that the O-line plays like I hope it will. I think the studs in Cleveland will play well with Quinn, but until I see more of him, he makes me extremely nervous. Completing 14 passes for 106 yards is ok, but he only put together one scoring drive and started out slow. He’s got work to do and as much as I was not sold on Anderson as joining the Elite Fantasy QBs, I know Quinn isn’t there yet. Still, he has the weapons and the tools. I wouldn’t play him – but I will gamble that he keeps Edwards & Co. valuable.

Carolina Panthers
We have a DJ Hackett sighting! Yes folks, the high-upside but oft-injured WR is running on the sidelines! Huzzah! He may even be ready for week 1! In all seriousness, the Panthers need him to be if they are going through with the Steve Smith suspension. He’ll start opposite Muhsin Muhammad during the two game sit-down and would have a great deal of value to start the season off. But once again, his health has been his downfall. Hackett is very talented but he just can’t stay on the field. I have loved his upside for several years but am now far too concerned with his injury history to rely on him, nor grab him as an overall #3 or 4 WR – if not just use him for bench depth. One day he may show us what he is capable of. But I have to say, I am dubious whether he will be able to sieze the opportunity before him early this season.

Grab him late – he has the upside – but be prepared to have him on the bench more often than your lineup.

That’s it for now – remember tonight at 9pm EST/6pm PST The Thundering Blurb Fantasy Football Podcast will be coming at you on BlogTalkRadio.com and we’ll catch you up on the news and notes going int othe final preseason games.

Back more later with news and some straggling cuts….

Tuesday Morning Stampede

Hey folks – just a short week away from the return of actual NFL football. College gets us started this weekend, then kickoff on Thursday between Washington and the NY Giants.

Here’s the morning look at the news -

Baltimore Ravens
Troy Smith has been vying for the starting QB job and looked like he might get it – until Tonsilitis derailed him. He didn’t start game three and hasn’t been practicing. The QB situation in Baltimore is bad and if there is any value at the WR position, this is making it hard to find. Mark Clayton is probably the guy to own here but who will throw him the ball. Smith is unproven, Flacco needs work and we all know Boller isn’t the clear answer, despite good play last year. If you have to take someone, Clayton is it.

We still don’t know what is going on with McGahee’s knee, by the way. Ray Rice is an exciting prospect but 1) what if McGahee comes back and 2) he could wear down late in the season. Don’t reach for Rice, but if he falls to you as your #3 back somewhere in the 5th – 8th, take him in smile.

Jacksonville Jaguars
MJD owners can breathe a sigh of relief (or sleep soundly at night or relax – whatever trite saying floats yoru boat) as HC Jack Del Rio says Jones-Drew’s ankle is only mildly sprained. Don’t expect to see him in the preseason finale at Washington, but then again, that’s standard procedure for most studs on most teams. I still like Fred Taylor as a guy to shoot for in the 5th-8th rounds. Taylor has something left in the tank and while you can never count on him for TDs, he’s great for yardage.

The WR core is still a shambles, though. Garrard will put up respectible numbers but who knows who is catching the ball. Porter has been hurt, Williams -despite last year- is unreliable, Troy Williamson still has hands of cement and most of the guys behind them havne’t stepped up. Matt Jones has played well and probably saved his job after the cocaine fiasco a month ago, but he’s burned us before, hasn’t he? I wouldn’t draft him.

San Diego Chargers
The Darren Sproles/Jacob Hester battle continues. After excelling at the goal line this preseason, Hester was stuffed 4 times last night, though he scored on a 5th attempt. Sproles had a huge night, carrying thw ball 13 times for 102 yards and a TD which was – you guessed it – short yardage. As we have said, if LT goes down (ok, I just got a chill typing that) these guys will likely split carries. One bad preseason game does not kille Hester after several very good games. Neither does it puff Sproles up too much. Sproles isn’t an every down back, his size and skill set don’t quite fit it. Could he step up? Sure. But Hester has played well enough to get a piece of the action. I like Hester as a late back-up for LT or a high upside pick. You know I hate handcuffing, but if you must, go Hester.

Seattle Seahawks
After 3 games, we still don’t know who is playing around Nate Burleson (who looked pretty darn good last night. This week, it was Jordan Kent who stepped up on the stat sheet, with 4 catches for 47 yards and a TD. Kent has been very productive, though he fits into the split end position Burleson occupies and is a bit raw. Courtney Taylor only had 3 catches for24 yards, but threw a gorgeous block during Burleson’s 68 yard TD. That’s the sort of thing coaches love to see, as it proves you can help the run game as well as catch balls. Burleson did some nice work after the catch there as well, but Taylor just annihilated a defender.

Maurice Morris looks to have crept ahead of Julius Jones on the depth chart here in Seattle – but expect a full blown RBBC, though both backs may have some value anyway. They may not be consistent, but then again, one may break out during the season. The run game has to get going here, so the issue will get forced during the early part of the season.

Speaking of RBs -

Quick RB Notes
Mike Bush (OAK) may be getting some work at fullback – that’s usually a sign he will be left out in the carries deptartmen and is not going to have much value as a RB for you….. rookie Jamall Charles (KC) is back at practice but will not overtake Kolby Smith as Larry Johnson’s back-up. LJ is a guy who has been beat up the last few seasons, but his back-up is not really someone i will go out of my way to draft…. Seattle rookie full back and Blurb fave Justin Forsett fell back to earth after a good preseason. Last night he only got 9 yards on 4 carries, caught on pass and lost a fumble. He’s #3 here, though I still think down the road a few seasons, he may prove to be a guy who can start… I don’t buy the Rudi Johnson trade rumors out of ESPN. First off, Chris Mortenson (who I have all the respect in the world for) seems to have been off his game this year. Aside from the Favre story, we’ve seen him throw out some real hum-dingers (Miami trading Ronnie Brown anyone?). But beyond that, who is going to take Johnson and for what? He’s been hurt since the jump last season and we’ve yet to see him in preseason. And with Chris Perry being a walking injury time bomb, Kenny Irons gone and very little behind them (Kenny Watson and………?) can they afford to dump hinm? And for a ‘quality wide receiver’? They could use some shoring up at WR, but I don’t know who will be a guy they can get when Rudi is a big question mark and Shaun Alexander, Cedric Benson and others sit out there who might be cheaper and healthier. Of course, who really wants Benson? As I have said, between the injuries and the O-line questions, I have avoided the running backs here all Draft season and will continue to look elsewhere for my #2,s 3 or bench depth…. Speaking of Ronnie Brown, he and Ricky Williams are splitting reps in practice – exactly what we said would happen. Williams hasn’t proved he can still carry a whole season and Brown is still coming along from his injury. Both are good RB3s.

OK, folks – that’s it for now – will be back with more later!

Keep sending those draft questions to thunderingblurb@gmail.com – been responding to them since I got back Sunday night and will turn them around ASAP for you guys drafting up to the start of the season.

Thursday Morning Stampede

You can tell we’re getting to the end of camp and towards proper football when the news deluge becomes a trickle as it has the last few days.

Answers we are still waiting on:

  • Will Steven Jackson report? Owners in many drafts are banking on him not holding out but with conflicting reports about whether the sides are even talking, it makes me nervous. The longer this goes on without significant movement, the riskier a top 5 (maybe even 10) pick becomes.
  • Will Jason Peters report? I will say it again – an offensive tackle is just as integral to a good running game as anyone else involved. Peters is the best o-lineman in Buffalo and it’s bad enough he was holding out, but now the team is racked by injury. The value of Marshawn Lynch and that whole offense could hinge on Peters coming back to the fold but like Jackson, no real progress has been made.
  • How bad is the 49r QB situation? It looks pretty grim and what does that mean for Gore? Keep in mind that Gore has put up good numbers in awful offenses before. How much will Martz control the overall offense vs HC Mike Nolan? Does it matter who wins the job with that group?
  • Can Tarvaris Jackson progress? It probably won’t matter to Peterson that much, but should to the rest of the team. The Vikes are very close to Super Bowl status. If Jackson can take a significant leap forward, utilize Berrian and Rice to their potential and give Peterson even more room than the O-line does on a play-by-play basis – I would tap them as heading to Tampa Bay.
  • Will McFadden live up to the hype? People are still kicking themselves for undervaluing Peterson last year and so McFadden has occasionally gone way too early in drafts this year. Peterson was/is a freak and was in a much better situation O-line-wise than McFadden is. we;ve seen soem good play but what does it mean so early? It’d be nice to have been blown away but I am not yet. I still want to know what he can do, an answer I will only get during the season.
  • What effect will Favre have on the Jets? Here’s an answer we’ll get a glimpse at this weekend when he makes his preseason debut, but from a fantasy perspective there are some questions that will take a few regular season games to answer. Will he open up the offense give Thomas Jones room to run? Will Cotchery and Coles see their numbers go up? Will he be Favre from 2007 or 20006? A lot of owners – myself included – are betting heavy that he has increased the value of this team.
  • Who is catching balls in Seattle/Jacksonville/Carolina? You could throw in a few other teams but these three will have more value than most of the others you could name. Steve Smith is suspended for two games – will it affect his season overall? Can DJ Hackett stay healthy or is it already too late? Who will fill in as the #2 across from Burleson in the injury decimated Seattle WR corp? Or Jacksonville? As we find these things out, some Hail Mary picks at the end of drafts could have huge value.

I’ll be back later with any news that shows up plus a few things that we definitely know coming to the end of Training Camp.

Favre Leaves Camp and other tidbits

Continuing our last story on this, Brett Favre has now left Packers camp and will be meeting – along with his family – with GM Ted Thompson later. Some earlier reports via The Sports Network have pegged him as once again asking for his outright release, something that likely won’t happen and would – as I have said – would be akin to assisted career suicide for Thompson. Adam Shefter over at NFLN reported yesterday that the Bucs were still talking with the Packers about a possible trade, so perhaps the meeting will involve something along those lines. Shefter feels that the Bucs trade or retirement are the only choices. As rumors have said the discussions yesterday with Favre and McCarthy centered on team unity and avoiding an ugly lockerroom situation, he may be right.

I say Favre should take the trade, if he really wants to play. I also think the Packers should try to make a deal as best they can and be flexible in what they want for Favre so he has a selection of choices.

The sad thing is, something tells me that this brouhaha has probably so sapped Favre of energy and desire that he migth just walk away. And as much as I think a lot of his actions here in this have been badly executed and thought out, I think that would be too bad. Favre wants to play – somehow that shouldn’t be THIS hard to make happen.

In other news –
Jacksonville Jaguars
The wide receiver situation in Jacksonville is no clearer despite the current depth chart. With Porter and Williams out, Troy Williamson and Dennis Northcutt are the first team, while Mike Walker and Matt Jones are second team. I still have hopes for Walker, though not as high – being on Jones’ squad isn’t a ringing endorsement. However, HC Jack Del Rio has spoken well of Jones’ effort in camp. So you never know.

I’ve said this before but this is like the Pats prior to last year, only with less yards. It’s going to be hard to know who will get yards consistently and while Garrard will be an effective starter (though not a dynamic one) for fantasy teams, no receiver here will be good enough, often enough to be better than a #3, at best. But the offense overall should be pretty effective, regardless of who catches the ball when.

New Orleans Saints
Reggie Bush is going to get some opportunity to return punts again, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune . Still, he won’t do it that often, though he might make for a few really impressive run backs. Meanwhile, Pierre Thomas is “competing for a lot of touches” according to Head Coach Sean Payton, via the Baton Rouge Advocate . Thomas is a guy I have been touting all off season and with Deuce returning from another knee injury and Thomas impressing last season, expect the guy to get a good amount of touches.

More from the article:

“He has good vision and good balance,” Payton said. “He’s a guy that has proven that you can hand him the ball more than 15 or 20 times in a game and he can carry the load.”

That’s a good sign if you happened to have snagged him when I told you to for your Dynasty Teams. I think he will compliment Bush very well and he certainly looks to take over for McAllister, who is nearing the end of being a useful full time back.

New York Giants
I don’t normally want to call out other Fantasy Guys, especially those I don’t know. And in all fairness I can’t recall who said it. But I did a little reading in Alaska and out of curiosity, I read some Fantasy Football magazines. I don’t do magazines. At the Journal last year, we did an online one that updated weekly. I read Footballguys, in part because I know so many people involved and I like what they do. I read Pro Football Weekly’s for the excellent team breakdowns. This year, I picked up ESPN’s as well.

I won’t critique it much here, but will point out once again my frustration with some of the content there. So late in their mock draft (which was allegedly done in 45 minutes – thanks guys, good job being thorough – and with little explanation of any picks), in the final round in fact, one guy picks up Mario Manningham. He touts the pick, how clever he is. Manningham is great!

Manningham is also the only rookie WR taken. You know, over James Hardy, Devin Thomas, Limas Sweed – or what I like to call ‘Guys who can contribute maybe this year’. Manningham – behind the likes of Plaxico Burress, Amani Toomer and Steve Smith.

The same Manningham who today, according to the New York Post , has bleeding in his strained quad. Thats’ bad and it could put him on the PUP, if not IR if it’s bad enough.

Which just goes to show you that you ALWAYS need to use your own judgement and use the mags and everyone’s opinions online and everywhere else to help form your own. Anyone reading this column is unlikely to have made that pick – because you probably know the upside of the other rookies and you pay attention. It ain’t that hard.

But I look back at that mock and shake my head even harder at the $7 or whatever that I spent. Thank God I get to write it off next year.

More later….

Tuesday Wrap Up

A few notes to end the Tuesday Camps – and remember – The Thundering Blurb goes live at 6pmPST/9pm EST tomorrow!

Jacksonville Jaguars
Reggie Williams hurt himself again today, re-injuring his knee (recently sprained) and being carted off the field. Did I mention enough lately that I dislike Williams and think Mike Walker, John Broussard and almost anyone else in the core. Again, Marcedes Lewis looks good to me as well.

New Orleans Saints
Sedrick Ellis has finally signed and should be in camp. If he can catch up, he can still make an impact off and on during the season and might work as a bye week filler guy on your IDP squad.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Cowboys are still interested in Chris Simms but the Bucs are still asking for too much. Would that change if they acquired Favre. we may soon find out. The Cowboys certainly would be happy to upgrade the #2 slot from Brad Johnson.

Buffalo Bills
JP Losman jammed his right thumb – for those of you who thought he might sneak in and be a fantasy force…. all two of you in the Buffalo/Canada area….

Thats all for now – see you tomorrow!

Morning Stampede

A few early notes -

Jacksonville Jaguars
I’ve said a few times that tight end Marcedes Lewis will probably get more looks this year than the last few. That was before wideouts started dropping like flies with Porter, Williams and Northcutt hampered by injury. Northcutt is back but now Garrard is giving me cause to continue my Lewis hopes:

“Tight ends are usually my favorite targets,” Garrard said. “They are reliable and always around the middle. I definitely want to get (Lewis’) receptions up and get his play to where he’s one of the elite tight ends in the league.”
(Florida Times Union)

He’s not on my list of possible #1 Fantasy tight ends, but he could be on his way to becoming a rock solid #2, which hasn’t been the case since he entered the league.

Green Bay Packers
Ryan Grant is still holding out and with the Favre-flap (darn, I thought I would get through one of these without that name popping up) who knows when he’ll get what he wants if ever. In the meantime, Brandon Jackson is getting a lot of reps and he’s been looking good. If Grant keeps holding out and Jackson performs well in the preseason, it will cloud the running back position and make it very hard to recommend one of the two in Fantasy drafts. The Packer running back position will have value, no doubt – but choosing one right now could be tough.

By the way, according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel the Packers are looking for a 3rd rounder and a body (preferebly a defensive tackle), not the 1st and 4th or 6th that was bandied about last week. This will get done – if Brett will talk to the teams interested.

St Loius Rams
With Steven Jackson holding out, Antonio Pittman and Brian Leonard are splitting reps, which is about what you’d expect if Jackson was out for an extended amount of time. Like with Jackson/Grant in Green Bay, it is unclear if either back will be a significant Fantasy value long term unless one stood out.

More later

Non-Favre news (and some Favre news)

I think I’ve vented my spleen here and on The Audible enough to keep the Favre stuff brief and move on.

So here is the Thundering Blurb Favre Take for the Day (patent pending)

He’s NOT getting an unconditional release. Not a chance. I posted in the Footballguys.com Shark Pool that the only thing worse (PR-wise) that the Packers could do in this situation is to allow him to go within the division. To not only allow him to play elsewhere, but see him TWICE next season. Heck no.

He’ll be activated, he’ll be traded. I am leaning towards Baltimore as it’s out of the division and conference, but Tampa makes sense too. Would love to see him as a Jet, but that’s not likely.

But no way in Football Hell he is being released to go where he pleases. If GB does that, then GM Ted Thompson is insane.

/Favre rant

FORMER BRONCOS RB TRAVIS HENRY REPORTEDLY TESTED POSITIVE FOR DRUG USE
Well, now we know why he was released. According to a report by the Denver Sports Insider (producer/reporter Josina Anderson from Fox31) Henry tested positive again for the dope just prior to his release from the Broncos. Shanny said ‘lack of committment’ in terms of the why when Henry was let go – but I disagree. Sounds like TOO MUCH committment to me. It’s a real shame, frankly, as Henry seems to have tremendous talent but can’t keep his head straight.

Starts to make you worry a little when Shanny is now defending Brandon Marshall, huh? Hopefully BMarshall can get HIS head on straight before he gets further into trouble.

Speaking of Drugs -

MATT JONES BUSTED FOR COCAINE POSSESSION
I won’t be shocked if Jones – who insiders have said already was on the bubble – is released by the end of the weekend. He was already a bust as a wide reciever, wasn’t playing consistently well and was just taking up space in Jacksonville. But according to the Orlando Sentinel now he compounded it by being pulled over while in possession of cocaine which, by the way, he reportedly tried to hide from the cops IN HIS HANDS. Nice.

KEVIN JONES DEPORTED TO TAMPA BAY – SAYS HE’S NOT FROM THERE
Apologies for the old Johnny Dangerously quote. But while Kevin Jones was reported to have a visit scheduled with the Tampa Bay Bucs earlier this week, Jones has now come out and said despite what was posted on the ESPN Blog Hashmarks that no, he is not going to Tampa yet. He says in an article with the Tampa Tribune that they haven’t called him, though he is still interested in playing there.

Remember a week or so ago how I said it was interesting that reports were focused on how much Jones wanted to play in Tampa but how telling it might be that Tampa wasn’t commenting? I’m not saying he won’t go to Tampa (he went to Pittsburgh earlier this week) but the fact that they haven’t responded yet. Tough market for the Free Agent running backs this off-season, no? Jones will find a home – I’m just dubious it will be Tampa.

—————————————————————————————————
Finally, I wanted to send you guys over to an article my fellow Draftnick and friend Josh Buchanan wrote – an interview with Ramses Barden, WR from Cal Poly. It’s posted on NFLDraftbible.com and they do some excellent work there. They are very high on Barden, so take a look. I’ll have my own interview with him in another week or so, but Josh is a great source. He knows his stuff. Check it out.

More later or tomorrow.

Quick warning – I will be traveling to Alaska on Monday – either I will have some guest posting or thes posts will be few and far between next week. But I will be back in full force on the 22nd and it’ll be postapalooza from there on out including some stuff from Cowboys Camp in Oxnard, California, which I will be covering for Denver radio station FM 104.3 The Fan. Or at least that’s my story and I am sticking to it.