|Pats deny knowledge of deflated footballs|
Belichick, Brady answer questions from press Thursday
By: Doug Orth | Jan 22 2015, 5:20 pm
|New England Patriots QB Tom Brady said he was “as surprised as anybody,” echoing HC Bill Belichick, to learn of DeflateGate, the controversy over whether the team used underinflated footballs to advance to Super Bowl XLIX, on Monday morning and told a packed media room that “I didn’t alter the ball in any way.”
Brady made no prepared remarks, preferring to take questions for about 30 minutes instead in the late-afternoon press conference; Brady claimed to have no idea how or why the footballs failed to measure up to the 12.5-13.5 pounds per square inch specified in the rule book. “I think there’s a lot of people who have more information than me,” he said. “I have questions, too.” (The Washington Post)|
FFToday's Take: Brady detailed his game-day preparations, saying that he selects the balls he wants to be approved by game officials. Early reaction of Brady's comments has several former NFL players doubting his story; the notion that a longtime veteran player like Brady who stated he loves his footballs to be at 12.5 psi couldn't tell the ball was under-inflated does seem questionable at best. Don't expect this story to go away anytime soon and to be the topic du jour of Super Bowl week.
| S Eric Berry doing well in cancer recovery|
Missed final five games with Hodgkin lymphoma
By: Doug Orth | Jan 22 2015, 5:00 pm
|Chiefs GM John Dorsey and team chairman Clark Hunt flew into Atlanta to visit S Eric Berry, who is battling Hodgkin lymphoma.
"We spent two hours together over (at) his parents' house ... he was laughing, he was in good spirits," Dorsey said. "He looked great. He was E.B. He was talking about 'ball." (Kansas City Star)|
FFToday's Take: Obviously, Berry's recovery timeline is up in the air, but a return to the field at some point in the near future does sound promising. Berry finished at minus-1.7 overall in Pro Football Focus' grading this year after recording a plus-14.3 in 2013.
|Adam Gase rejoins Fox in Chicago|
Gase hired as Bears' offensive coordinator
By: Jake Gordon | Jan 21 2015, 8:00 pm
|Adam Gase has found a new job with a familiar boss.
Gase has been hired as the offensive coordinator of the Chicago Bears, the team announced Wednesday. The two sides have agreed on a three-year deal, NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported, per a source informed of the situation.
FFToday's Take: The Bears continue to overhaul their coaching staff with more proven NFL commodities with the hiring of Adam Gase. After interviewing for multiple head coaching vacancies, Gase will now take on the challenge of rebuilding an underachieving Bears offense. From a fantasy perspective this is about as good of a situation as Jay Cutler could hope for but fantasy owners will still have doubts until results are translated onto the field.
|Peyton Manning to return for 2015 if healthy?|
Physical examination to determine fate?
By: Jake Gordon | Jan 21 2015, 11:00 am
|According to three trustworthy sources, Manning wants to return to the Broncos, but won't and can't make a final decision until he takes an annual physical examination mandated by his contract. Last year, the test results were learned at the beginning of March. (Denver Post)|
FFToday's Take: The report also says that the Broncos have asked that Manning let them know his decision to return before March 9th. Everyone involved, including new head coach Gary Kubiak, appears to be in favor of having number eighteen back for his eighteenth season. Should test results on Peyton's neck and calf come back without setbacks, fantasy owners can expect another solid season from the future Hall of Fame quarterback.
|Browns hire John DeFilippo as OC|
Former Raiders QB coach headed to Cleveland
By: Mike Krueger | Jan 21 2015, 10:45 am
|The Cleveland Browns have decided on Oakland Raiders quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo to be their new offensive coordinator, Northeast Ohio Media Group has confirmed. DeFilippo, a rising young offensive star in the NFL at the age of 36, worked with Mike Pettine in 2009 when both were with the New York Jets. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)|
FFToday's Take: DeFilippo got an interview for the same position last season before Cleveland decided to go with Kyle Shanahan. This will be DeFilippo's first job as OC and will have a challenge on his hands dealing with the Johnny Manziel circus show and a wide receiver corps that could be minus Josh Gordon.
|Raiders OC to feature Latavius Murray|
Musgrave impressed with Raiders running back
By: Mike Krueger | Jan 21 2015, 8:00 am
|Asked Musgrave impression of Latavius Murray: "Very positive. Tremendous size & speed. Going to tailor run game so it's right up his alley." (Vic Tafur on Twitter)|
FFToday's Take: With defensive minded Jack Del Rio serving as head coach, Musgrave will be able to implement his plan for Murray who was buried behind Darren McFadden and Maurice Jones-Drew for most of 2014. Musgrave was the Eagles QB coach last season and worked with Del Rio in Jacksonville back in 2003. Murray will be on the RB2 radar in 2015.
|Lynch returning to Seattle in 2015 after all?|
"Beast Moda" remains heart and soul of offense
By: Doug Orth | Jan 19 2015, 4:30 pm
|Ian Rapoport reported on NFL Network's NFL GameDay Morning that the Seattle brass is now more than open to the possibility of bringing Marshawn Lynch back at a salary of $5 million a year.
"... Mainly because he actually has outperformed his contract and clearly established himself as the identity of this team," Rapoport said. "Basically, they don't have a choice based on the way he plays to bring him back. (NFL.com)|
FFToday's Take: It was a foregone conclusion that Lynch would be cut loose or allowed to retire at season's end a few months ago, but the combination of his tone-setting running ability and the lack of trust in Christine Michael might be contributing to the Seahawks' change of heart. With Seattle preparing to pay Russell Wilson like a franchise quarterback in the coming months, the Seahawks may need to get creative with their salary cap in order to sign up for another year of "Beast Mode".
|NFL investigating Pats for deflated footballs|
Tom Brady scoffs at allegation in Monday interview
By: Doug Orth | Jan 19 2015, 4:20 pm
|The NFL is investigating whether the New England Patriots intentionally deflated footballs during their victory over the Indianapolis Colts in Sunday's rain-soaked AFC Championship Game.
A league spokesman confirmed the investigation, which was first reported Sunday by television station WTHR in Indianapolis, to ESPN on Monday morning.
Patriots coach Bill Belichick said Monday afternoon that the organization will "cooperate fully with whatever questions they ask us and whatever they want us to do." He added that the first time he heard about the issue was Monday morning. (ESPN)|
FFToday's Take: An under-inflated football could be easier to grip and catch. NFL rules stipulate that footballs must be inflated between 12.5 and 13.5 pounds per square inch and weigh between 14 and 15 ounces. A team can be fined if it is found to be knowingly altering the weight of the football. It is extremely unlikely that anything comes from this and equally unlikely the Pats actually tried to pull it off, but it is yet another black mark against a team that has a reputation for pushing certain boundaries.
| DBs Sherman, Thomas dealing with injuries|
Will undergo MRIs on Monday
By: Doug Orth | Jan 19 2015, 3:45 pm
|Seattle Seahawks CB Richard Sherman and FS Earl Thomas both suffered injuries in the team's 28-22 overtime win against the Green Bay Packers in Sunday's NFC Championship Game.
Sherman suffered an elbow injury in the fourth quarter while Thomas injured his shoulder in the first half. The extent of the injuries is unknown and both players will have MRIs on Monday.
Both Sherman and Thomas said they will play in the Super Bowl. (ESPN)|
FFToday's Take: Stay tuned, as Monday's diagnosis of a "sprained left elbow" doesn't really tell us anything more than what most of us thought he had. The initial fear was that Sherman suffered ulnar nerve damage and he could be seen favoring his arm on multiple occasions late in the game. Thomas was diagnosed with a dislocated shoulder earlier on Monday, so Tom Brady & Co. could have a less challenging matchup than initially expected in a couple of weeks.
|GM Pace, HC Fox noncommittal on QB Cutler|
QB owed $15 next season
By: Mike Krueger | Jan 19 2015, 2:00 pm
|New Chicago Bears general manager Ryan Pace took a wait-and-see approach toward Jay Cutler in last week's introductory press conference.
Coach John Fox was equally noncommittal at his own meet-and-greet on Monday. "I'm looking forward to getting to know Jay," Fox said. "He did text me, welcomed me to Chicago. Was very excited that I was coming here which I thought was a nice move." (NFL.com)|
FFToday's Take: Fox is keeping his options open when it comes to his quarterback however Cutler is guaranteed $15 million next season so releasing him isn't likely. For now, Fox is working on assembling his offensive and defensive coordinators.
|Gary Kubiak, new head coach of Broncos|
By: Mike Krueger | Jan 19 2015, 9:30 am
|Gary Kubiak has agreed to become the head coach of the Denver Broncos, the team announced Monday.
Kubiak's deal is for four years, according to multiple reports. He spent the past season as the Baltimore Ravens' offensive coordinator. Before joining the Ravens' staff, Kubiak had served as head coach of the Houston Texans. The Broncos will introduce him at a Tuesday afternoon news conference.
FFToday's Take: Kubiak is a west coast offense guy so melding with QB Peyton Manning, assuming he returns, may be a challenge. Kubiak likes to run play-action fakes and rollouts which isn't what Manning is used to. It's quite possible that Kubiak will defer to Manning's style of offense for the upcoming season.
|Steve Spagnuolo to be named Giants' DC|
Returns after filling same role from 2007-08
By: Doug Orth | Jan 15 2015, 4:35 pm
|Almost six years to the day after Steve Spagnuolo left the Giants, he was re-hired as their defensive coordinator. Spagnuolo, who served as the Ravens assistant head caoch/secondary coach this past season, interviewed with the Giants on Wednesday. He replaces Perry Fewell, who was fired last week.
The Giants went with Spagnuolo over Bills DL coach (and former Giants linebacker) Pepper Johnson, former Raiders coach Dennis Allen and Redskins DB coach Raheem Morris. (Newark Star-Ledger)|
FFToday's Take: Spags was lauded for his work in shutting down the 18-0 New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII, but his zone-heavy schemes have been exposed in stops at St. Louis and New Orleans where his teams didn't feature Hall-of-Fame DE Michael Strahan or a couple of other pass-rushers in their prime like Osi Umenyiora or Justin Tuck. It is an uninspiring hire, especially if the Giants don't upgrade their pass rush in the offseason.
|Bill Callahan joins Redskins as OL coach|
Stripped of play-calling duties in Dallas in 2014
By: Doug Orth | Jan 15 2015, 4:30 pm
|The Washington Redskins have hired former Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Bill Callahan, according to league sources. Callahan's title is offensive line coach. He received a lucrative three-year contract, the sources said.
Callahan had offers from teams as both an offensive coordinator and offensive line coach before deciding to join the Redskins.
FFToday's Take: With HC Jay Gruden calling plays in Washington, there is no chance that Callahan will take that role on in his new job this season. What he should do, however, is boost the Redskins' inconsistent ground game. Alfred Morris is locked in as the early-down back while Silas Redd and Chris Thompson will likely vie for passing-down work with Roy Helu almost certain to leave via free agency.
|NFL planning first-ever Veteran Combine|
Will allow free agents to go through Rookie Combine drills
By: Doug Orth | Jan 15 2015, 4:20 pm
|With the emergence of regional combines which allow through-the-cracks rookies to get a chance before NFL scouts, the NFL has now decided to offer veterans the same chance. The league sent out a memo to teams, which outlines their plan for the first Veteran Combine on March 22.
The event will allow veteran free agents to go through the same kinds of drills and testing draft prospects go through in Indianapolis, with representatives of all 32 clubs on hand. (Pro Football Talk)|
FFToday's Take: While the NFL is undoubtedly doing everything it can to infiltrate every part of the calendar year as possible, this is a good idea for fringe players to show off their wares and give personnel departments an idea of how they stack up athletically with the incoming rookie class. About 100 players will be chosen to participate this year and it wouldn't be a surprise if several of them made teams this fall.
| Aaron Rodgers, Lacy limited on Thursday|
McCarthy being cautious with RB
By: Mike Krueger | Jan 15 2015, 12:15 pm
|(On Aaron Rodgers) Participated in the second half of practice. Passed under pressure and did two team periods. Just getting ready to play. (On Eddie Lacy) His knee is sore. I was just being conservative, so I pulled him in the middle of practice. He'll be ready to go. Coach was just nervous. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)|
FFToday's Take: Rodgers was officially listed as limited on Thursday and while he's in no danger of missing this week's game, his mobility is going to be limited. Lacy's knee isn't a great concern at the moment as it sounds like coach was being overly cautious by holding out the Packers starting running back on Thursday.
|Niners to name Jim Tomsula coach|
Vic Fangio not expected to return as DC
By: Jake Gordon | Jan 14 2015, 6:17 pm
|After eight known external interviews, including a second sitdown with one candidate, the San Francisco 49ers are prepared to stay in house. Jim Tomsula, who has been the Niners' defensive line coach since 2007, is set to be promoted to succeed Jim Harbaugh, according to ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.
FFToday's Take: When San Francisco was exploring a trade of Jim Harbaugh to Cleveland it was rumored that Jim Tomsula would have been the choice to replace Harbaugh so it isn't completely unexpected to see him get his chance with Harbaugh officially out of the picture. Known as a player friendly coach, Tomsula is not expected to bring back current DC Vic Fangio.
|Raiders sign Del Rio as new coach|
Mike Smith in the mix for new staff
By: Jake Gordon | Jan 14 2015, 6:00 pm
|The Raiders signed Broncos defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio to a four-year deal to be their new head coach on Wednesday afternoon, league sources said. (SFGate.com)|
FFToday's Take: Two former head coaches, Mike Smith and Marc Trestman, are the front runners to become Del Rio's defensive and offensive coordinators respectively. This suggests that former interim head coach Tony Sparano will not be a part of the team's coaching staff for the upcoming season.
|Cardinals to promote assistant to replace Bowles|
Arizona remains interested in Dick Lebeau
By: Jake Gordon | Jan 14 2015, 5:30 pm
|Cardinals coach Bruce Arians plans to promote a current assistant to replace Todd Bowles as defensive coordinator and would like to hire former Steelers coordinator Dick LeBeau for a senior position on staff, according to NFL sources. It's unknown which assistant will be tabbed to replace Bowles, who was hired as the New York Jets head coach on Tuesday. It's also not a certainty that LeBeau would join the staff, although he and Arians have discussed the possibility.
LeBeau's role would be similar to what assistant head coach Tom Moore does on the offensive side of the ball.
FFToday's Take: Defensive line coach Brentson Buckner, linebackers coach James Bettcher and defensive backs coach Nick Rapone are viewed as the most likely to replace Bowles. None of the aforementioned coaches have experience at the Coordinator level in the NFL. If Dick Lebeau is indeed hired he would likely be tasked with mentoring whichever coach is promoted.
|Peterson's uncertainty could alter Vikings' draft|
Running back remains suspended
By: Jake Gordon | Jan 14 2015, 5:00 pm
|With Adrian Peterson's future still up in the air after the running back's suspension was upheld in December, the Minnesota Vikings might need to consider other options at the position moving forward.
"I think a lot (of the offseason plan) will depend on Adrian's situation, but I also know initially, as I start putting a little bit of the draft stuff together, it's a pretty good running back class this year," general manager Rick Spielman said Wednesday.
FFToday's Take: The Vikings have little choice but look to add quality depth and competition in the backfield with Peterson's status still up in the air for next season. Currently suspended and carrying a $15.9 million price tag for 2015, Peterson could find himself cut by Minnesota if a resolution isn't reached this Spring.
|Jets expected to hire Chan Gailey as OC|
Jets also hire new GM and HC
By: Mike Krueger | Jan 14 2015, 7:00 am
|For his offensive coordinator, Bowles is targeting Chan Gailey, sources said. Gailey has been out of the NFL since 2012, when he was fired as the Buffalo Bills' coach. (ESPN)|
FFToday's Take: The Jets have completed an overhaul of their top management and coaches by hiring Mike Maccagnan as general manager, former Arizona DC Todd Bowles as head coach and Gailey as offensive coordinator. Gailey's timing offense with heavy doses of the screen game was a good fit for running back C.J. Spiller during the 2012 season in Buffalo. However, before the offense moves an inch, the quarterback position needs to be addressed.
|Cowboys sign HC Jason Garrett to 5-year deal|
$6 million annually
By: Mike Krueger | Jan 13 2015, 5:30 pm
|Jason Garrett’s has agreed to a new five-year deal with the Cowboys, a source said. The contract has yet to be signed, but that will come later this evening or Wednesday morning.
The deal will run through the 2019 season and will average slightly more than $6 million annually, according to the source. (Dallas Morning News)|
FFToday's Take: It's also being reported that Rod Marinelli will receive a three-year deal to remain as defensive coordinator. Garrett has been the head coach since the middle of the 2010 season when he took over for Wade Phillips. Offensive and defensive philosophies should remain intact heading into 2015.
|Broncos, HC John Fox part ways|
Four-year runs ends with a 46-18 record
By: Doug Orth | Jan 12 2015, 6:00 pm
|The Denver Broncos and coach John Fox have mutually agreed to part ways, team sources confirmed to ESPN.com.
The move comes a day after the Broncos were eliminated from the playoffs by the Indianapolis Colts, and a year after the team's first appearance in a Super Bowl since John Elway, now the team's general manager, retired as quarterback.
The separation ends Fox's four-year tenure with the Broncos that saw the coach miss part of last season as he recovered from a heart procedure. Fox led Denver to AFC West titles in each of his four seasons as coach. (ESPN)|
FFToday's Take: Jay Glazer was out in front of this yesterday, mentioning that Fox could be coaching for his job against the Colts. Elway's moves in free agency this past offseason suggested the Broncos expect to win a Super Bowl in the next 2-3 years, so the disappointment of coming up short again this weekend was enough for Denver to make the move. Expect OC Adam Gase to be one of the frontrunners for the job in an effort to entice Peyton Manning to return for at least one more year, although Elway might opt to go with someone with head-coaching experience.
| Peyton's been playing with torn quad|
Injury occured Week 13 against San Diego
By: Mike Krueger | Jan 12 2015, 10:03 am
|Peyton Manning initially tore his right quad Dec. 14 in win over Chargers, per sources. MRI back in Denver confirmed tear. (Adam Schefter on Twitter)|
FFToday's Take: Manning's statistical decline begin two weeks prior when he threw for 179 yards against Kansas City (Wk 11) and 173 yards against Buffalo (Wk 12). Manning was noncommittal on his future after yesterday's loss to the Colts voicing health and coach concerns as reasons for his hesitation.
| Eddie Lacy slowed by asthma|
Packers RB missed time in 2nd quarter
By: Mike Krueger | Jan 12 2015, 7:00 am
|The only thing that can put Eddie Lacy on pause is the sub-freezing temperature of the Wisconsin outdoors that inflames his lungs.
But while an asthma attack sidelined him for a portion of the second quarter, the Green Bay Packers running back roared back and ended up with 101 yards on 19 carries against the respected Dallas run defense ranked No. 8 in the NFL this season.
(Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)|
FFToday's Take: James Starks played exclusively on a Packers' drive in the 2nd quarter while Lacy was struggling with his breathing. Lacy returned for a few plays before halftime then carried a normal workload in the 2nd half. He should be fine for Sunday's championship matchup with the Seahawks.
|Bills expected to hire Rex Ryan as head coach|
49ers Greg Roman expected to be OC
By: Mike Krueger | Jan 11 2015, 10:00 am
|The Buffalo Bills are putting the finishing touches on a deal that will make Rex Ryan their next head coach, sources told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter. The hiring of Ryan would complete an extensive coaching search for the Bills, who have interviewed 12 candidates since Doug Marrone opted out of his contract on Dec. 31. (ESPN)|
FFToday's Take: ESPN goes on to say that 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman would be Ryan's OC. Roman would likely bring a run-first offense to Buffalo especially considering the Bills may have no other option but to ride out EJ Manuel at quarterback in 2015. Kyle Orton has retired and the Bills do not have a first-round pick in this year's draft.
|Chris Johnson arrested on weapons charge|
Open carrying of weapons/firearms, second degree misdemeanor
By: Mike Krueger | Jan 10 2015, 1:10 pm
|Jets running back Chris Johnson has been arrested in his hometown of Orlando, Florida.
PFT has confirmed a report that Johnson was arrested on Friday for open carrying of a firearm, a second degree misdemeanor. A league source tells PFT that Johnson does have a license to carry in Florida. But this arrest wasn’t just for carrying, it was for open carrying. (Pro Football Talk)|
FFToday's Take: The team is aware of the situation but isn't commenting. Johnson split time with Chris Ivory this past season and signed a 2-year deal prior to last season.
| Edelman, LaFell listed as Probable|
Pats receivers expected to play
By: Mike Krueger | Jan 9 2015, 6:10 pm
|RB Jonas Gray (ankle), QB Tom Brady (ankle); WRs Brandon LaFell (toe)/Julian Edelman (concussion) listed as probable on final injury report. (Mike Reiss on Twitter)|
FFToday's Take: LaFell was limited in practice this week but should be in the starting lineup along with Edelman who was also limited this week and hasn't played since suffering a concussion in Week 15. Edelman will be a nice daily league play as it's likley the Patriots will go with a pass-heavy approach against the Ravens who allowed the fewest fantasy points to running backs on the season.
| Philly Brown limited Friday, questionable|
By: Mike Krueger | Jan 9 2015, 6:00 pm
|On their final injury report, the Panthers listed wide receiver Philly Brown as questionable for their divisional round game against the Seahawks. Brown was limited in Friday’s work with a shoulder injury. He was hurt in last week’s win over the Cardinals. (ProFootballTalk)|
FFToday's Take: Joe Webb (QB) may be forced into wide receiver duty if Brown is made Inactive on Saturday. Newly signed Stephen Hill may be active as insurance.
| Rodgers has "slight tear" in calf muscle|
Packers QB expects to play Sunday in divisional round
By: Doug Orth | Jan 8 2015, 5:20 pm
|Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers' calf muscle has a slight tear in it in addition to being significantly strained, according to league sources.
The injury is not expected to prevent Rodgers from playing in Sunday's divisional round playoff game against the Dallas Cowboys, but it could affect how mobile and effective he is.
"There's no question he will play, but there's also no question he will not be 100 percent," said one doctor familiar with the injury. "The question is whether he'll be 95 percent or 50 percent." (ESPN)|
FFToday's Take: This should not come as much of a surprise to anyone that has been tracking this story for the last couple of weeks. Rodgers was limited to team drills on Thursday and Green Bay will not practice again until Saturday, making him a very questionable play in playoff leagues or daily-fantasy formats. Rodgers is more than capable of beating a lot of teams solely as a pocket quarterback, but his injury is one that could give out on him at any time, just like it did in Week 17. Matt Flynn is the next man up.
|Browns, OC Kyle Shanahan part ways|
Split reportedly due to disagreement over Manziel
By: Doug Orth | Jan 8 2015, 5:15 pm
|The Cleveland Browns' tradition of change continues, as a team source told ESPN.com Thursday that OC Kyle Shanahan and QBs coach Dowell Loggains will not return next season. Shanahan resigned and Loggains was fired, according to a league source.
Both spent one year with the Browns, and both were under contract for 2015. Sources familiar with the situation said the split was caused because the pair did not see eye to eye with the front office about QB Johnny Manziel. The front office wants Manziel to be the starter, and the source said the coaches do not believe they can win with him. (ESPN)|
FFToday's Take: Good luck to the Browns finding another offensive mind that did what Shanahan did for their offense in 2014. The Browns were without three Pro Bowlers on offense for large portions of the season: C Alex Mack, TE Jordan Cameron and WR Josh Gordon. Despite that, the Browns scored at least 21 points in nine of the first 11 games. Shanahan's departure figures to have a significant impact on the fantasy values of every Cleveland player, particularly Isaiah Crowell and Terrance West.
|Veteran Unger to return for Seahawks|
Seattle hoping to win line of scrimmage
By: Jake Gordon | Jan 7 2015, 8:30 pm
|RENTON, Wash. (AP) -- Of all the positions on the offensive line, center is the one most needing continuity. And it's been the one most like a revolving door for the Seattle Seahawks this season. Four different players have started at least three games at center this season. But just in time for Saturday's NFC divisional playoff game against Carolina, veteran Max Unger is expected to return after missing the final six games of the regular season because of an injury. (AP)|
FFToday's Take: Max Unger's expected return against the Panthers will be a big boost in a game featuring two of the NFL's top rated defenses during the regular season.
|Falcons announce front-office restructuring|
Assistant GM Pioli to see role expand
By: Jake Gordon | Jan 7 2015, 6:58 pm
|With their head-coaching search picking up steam, the Atlanta Falcons are making significant changes upstairs.
The team on Wednesday announced a front-office restructuring that hands more responsibility to assistant general manager Scott Pioli -- and essentially pulls some away from longtime Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff. Dimitroff has kept his job, but the leash is tight.
FFToday's Take: Under the new front office restructuring Thomas Demitroff will see his responsibilities narrowed to those most impacting the on-the-field product. The Falcons have begun second round interviews for the team's head coaching vacancy this week, a post that could ultimately decide Dimitroff's job status beyond 2015.
| Rodgers misses practice Wednesday, calf strain|
Packers QB may practice Thursday
By: Mike Krueger | Jan 7 2015, 5:49 pm
|Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy said Aaron Rodgers might practice on Thursday, but either way, his quarterback will play on Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys.
The better question might be how Rodgers' strained left calf might limit him in Sunday's NFC divisional playoff game at Lambeau Field. "I'm going on Sunday," Rodgers said Wednesday. "It's just a matter of how."
FFToday's Take: Hmmm, this doesn't inspire a lot confidence for those wanting to gamble on Rodgers in playoff or daily league formats. Rodgers was limited during the Lions victory after re-injuring his calf back in Week 17. He's going to suit up on Sunday and start unless there is a setback this week but the risk of re-injury will be significant.
| Edelman expected to be ready for Ravens|
Patriots wideout missed last two weeks with concussion
By: Mike Krueger | Jan 7 2015, 12:30 pm
|Wide receiver Julian Edelman said he is ready to put his concussion in the past as he gears his attention toward Saturday's playoff opener against the Ravens. (Boston Herald)|
FFToday's Take: Expect the Patriots to find a way of list Edleman as Questionable later in the week but all signs point to him returning for the Divisional game against the Ravens. Edelman missed Week 16 with a concussion then sat out the meaningless Week 17 game against the Bills. Edelman's return would mean Danny Amendola would once again take a back seat in the receiving rotation.
| Jameis Winston headed to the NFL|
Formal announcement coming Wednesday
By: Mike Krueger | Jan 7 2015, 9:43 am
|Jameis Winston won't be back in a Florida State uniform next season, his father said Wednesday, opting instead to enter the NFL draft. Initially, Antonor Winston said his son planned to wait until after the College Football Playoff National Championship Presented by AT&T to announce a decision, but instead, Jameis Winston came to a firm decision Tuesday night that he was ready to enter the NFL draft.
Antonor Winston said his son received a first-round grade from the NFL draft advisory committee. (ESPN)|
FFToday's Take: There had been rumblings in recent days that Winston was seriously considering staying in school another year but instead he will head for the NFL Draft in April. Winston and Marcus Mariota should be the top to quarterbacks drafted but both had question marks heading into the NFL. Winston's off-field concerns are real. Tampa Bay and Tennessee have the top two picks in this year's draft.
|Colts staying the course with Herron|
Likely in line for another heavy workload versus Denver
By: Doug Orth | Jan 5 2015, 4:40 pm
|The Colts (plan to) stay the course with Dan Herron in spite of the fumbles, HC Chuck Pagano says. Reducing touches might kill a guy’s confidence. (Stephen Holder on Twitter)|
FFToday's Take: Indianapolis knows its other options aren't all that appealing, which is likely the backbone for Pagano arriving at this decision. Most NFL coaches have quick hooks when it comes to backs that have ball-security issues, so another early fumble this week could easily lead to an unexpected workload for Zurlon Tipton. With that said, expect Herron to be a key part of the Colts' game plan against the Broncos coming off his 141-total yard, 10-catch, one-touchdown performance against the Bengals.
|Hill's rookie year comes to disappointng end|
Bengals' RB blames himself for playoff effort
By: Doug Orth | Jan 5 2015, 4:35 pm
|After ending the regular season with three straight games of at least 100 yards rushing, Jeremy Hill was comparatively punchless in the Cincinnati Bengals' wild-card round playoff game at Indianapolis on Sunday. The Bengals did have problems blocking all game as the Colts regularly loaded their defensive front with extra linebackers or defensive backs to minimize Hill's rushing lanes. Only two Bengals were credited with positive run-blocking grades by Pro Football Focus: LT Andrew Whitworth had a plus-0.2 while RG Kevin Zeitler had a plus-1.7.
Hill said the loaded fronts had no affect on his running.
FFToday's Take: In a game that Cincinnati had little choice but to feature its rookie running back (with A.J. Green and Jermaine Gresham sidelined), it didn't. Instead of turning to Giovani Bernard as a de facto slot receiver, the Bengals used Rex Burkhead in that spot, opting to play Hill on 21 snaps of their 62 offensive snaps. Hill is too versatile to be treated as an early-down back only, but that is exactly how he was deployed in the team's season-ending loss. It is something to keep in mind when ranking him in fantasy purposes in 2015.
|Cardinals likely to eye RB in free agency|
Had interest in C.J. Spiller before shoulder injury
By: Doug Orth | Jan 5 2015, 4:15 pm
|The Cardinals had interest (in C.J. Spiller) before the trade deadline, (but he) got hurt. They'll likely sign a RB in free agency. (Mike Jurecki on Twitter)|
FFToday's Take: News that Arizona might be looking for a running back in the draft or free agency isn't exactly earth-shattering, but it is notable the Cards entertained the possibility of adding Spiller, whose game is quite similar to Andre Ellington's. Either way, keep Arizona in mind for Spiller in the likely event that he hits free agency.
|Wade Phillips to become Redskins' new DC?|
Considered early favorite to replace Jim Haslett
By: Doug Orth | Jan 5 2015, 4:05 pm
|Strong sense within Washington Redskins headquarters that Wade Phillips is well-positioned to be their next defensive coordinator. Has ample support. (Jason La Canfora on Twitter)|
FFToday's Take: Haslett was overmatched as a defensive play-caller for most of his time in Washington, so just about any hire figures to be an upgrade. Phillips certainly qualifies as an upgrade and makes sense as a proponent of the 3-4 defense with a long history of sparking quick turnarounds with the defenses he inherits. His chances of landing the job are even stronger considering his ties with former Chargers GM A.J. Smith, who is a senior executive in Washington's front office.
|CFL star Duron Carter setting up visits|
Son of Hall of Fame WR free to sign with any team
By: Doug Orth | Jan 5 2015, 3:55 pm
|A source close to Duron Carter tells me he's working out for Colts (Tuesday), Chiefs Wednesday, Vikings soon after. (Matt Miller on Twitter)|
FFToday's Take: Carter, the son of Cris Carter who stands 6-5 and 205 pounds, has also visited with the Bucs. Duron went undrafted out of Ohio State in 2013 due to character concerns, but has largely rehabbed his image up north while amassing 124 catches for 1,939 yards and 12 touchdowns over the last two seasons in the CFL. If he lands in the right situation - Minnesota could certainly qualify as one - Carter could be a factor in redraft leagues in 2015. At the very least, dynasty owners should look to add him ASAP.