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The arrival of Adrian Peterson did indeed change the landscape of the Cardinals offense. Coming into Week 6, the Cardinals led the NFL with a 69.9 passing play percentage, but fed Peterson 26 carries to just 22 pass attempts for Carson Palmer. One player it didn’t affect was Larry Fitzgerald, who inhaled a whopping 50 percent of the team’s targets. Fitzgerald is pacing for a 162-target finish this season. He annually dominates early in the season before slowing down in the months of November and December. It remains to be seen if he’s headed for another late-season slump, but it’s tough to imagine considering he’s been the one consistent threat in this offense through six weeks.
The impact of Peterson and the birth of a running game may well affect the ancillary players in Arizona. No. 2 receiver John Brown was second on the team with just four targets. Andre Ellington came in with 32 targets over his last three games but saw just one go his way against the Buccaneers.
The former Baylor star flamed out in Washington after four seasons, campaigns that grew progressively worse after Griffin, as a rookie, suffered a devastating knee injury in the team’s wild-card loss to the Seattle Seahawks.
Once an electric presence on the ground, Griffin has entirely failed to develop as a pocket passer over five seasons. In Los Angeles, the 27-year-old signal-caller would join a quarterback room led by Philip Rivers and backed by Kellen Clemens, Mike Bercovici and Eli Jenkins.
The Redskins aren’t worried on the surface, though, with coach Jay Gruden telling reporters Tuesday that Crowder’s lack of involvement was more because of game flow in a tilt that saw Kirk Cousins throw the ball just 24 times, per Mike Jones of The Washington Post.
Washington has spread the ball all over the place this season, with Cousins finding Crowder, Chris Thompson and Jordan Reed for 14 catches, Pryor for 13 and Ryan Grant for 10. On Monday night, tight end Vernon Davis also pulled down a pair of receptions to bring his season total to eight.
Kirk Cousins and the Redskins failed to agree to terms on a long-term deal ahead of Monday’s league-mandated deadline. Cousins will play under the franchise tag for the second consecutive year, a reality that certainly appears to stick in the craw of Washington management.
We know this thanks to the tone and language of Bruce Allen’s instantly infamous statement on the matter. (We can picture Kyle Shanahan checking out Bay Area real estate property on behalf of his future 49ers quarterback right now.)
Racing in a car that’s going 120 MPH is one way to get your blood pumping. Earlier this month, the Pro Bowl cornerback hung out with two-time Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt, Jr. at Richmond Raceway in Virginia. Norman was all smiles as he felt the G-forces while speeding around the track — at some tracks, stock cars can reach speeds over 200 MPH during races. “Ah, man. I’m jacked up ready for practice now,” said Norman as he climbed out of the car afterward.
Norman and quarterback Kirk Cousins returned the favor by bringing Earnhardt, who’s a lifelong Redskins fan, to their training camp. The NASCAR driver made an OBJ-esque one-handed grab while running routes against Norman.
NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported Minnesota Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (knee) will be on a pitch count in practice, though the QB is expected to have no physical limitations. Coach Mike Zimmer declined to give reporters the details of the plan in place for Bridgewater, though he said the QB will get “some plays” in practice.
In other Vikings injury news, quarterback Sam Bradford (knee), wide receiver Stefon Diggs (groin) and linebacker Anthony Barr (concussion/ankle) all missed practice. Veteran cornerback Xavier Rhodes (shoulder) was limited.
With a roster filled with talent on both sides of the ball, an exciting draft class, and an ascendant young quarterback in Blake Bortles, a saucy narrative took hold positioning the Jaguars as one of the AFC’s breakout teams in 2016. Even Jags Lady believed.
Then the season started. The Jaguars are still bad at football and no play better sums up the disappointment in Jacksonville better than this fourth-down play late in Sunday’s loss to the Raiders.
For everyone calling the Jaguars (2-4) a massive disappointment this season, I say look around. Should the Jaguars win on Thursday night against the Titans (a game airing exclusively on NFL Network) and should the Colts falter in a game this Sunday against the favored Kansas City Chiefs, Jacksonville is tied for second place behind a Texans team that spent more wayward cash this offseason than anyone.
Jacksonville was a trendy pick this year to make the playoffs thanks to the injection of promising young talent over the past few offseasons and a big summer in free agency. While the team is still below .500, it is safe to say that the foundation of talent on the roster is better than anything the Jaguars have had in roughly eight years. But it is also important to note that this was not going to be the type of turnaround where the team goes from 5-11 to 11-5 overnight.
In a role reversal early in the contest, it was the Jags getting to the quarterback more often than the Broncos. Jacksonville pressured Lynch plenty, which undoubtedly played a part in his skittishness for much of the game. Denver turned the tables later in the action, forcing Bortles to let it fly or run for his life. That added pressure was encouraging after the Broncos’ front seven didn’t look like itself early, and accounted for multiple Jaguars drives that stalled before they could become game-tying possessions.
A game that was low-scoring, largely unentertaining and filled with punts (19 combined) had its star, which was again Denver’s secondary. The defensive backs combined for two interceptions, locked down against Allen Robinson (even catching a Robinson juggle for an interception) and were mere inches from at least two more takeaways. Bortles’ stat line — 19 of 42, 181 yards, 2 interceptions — stunningly could have been much worse. It very well could be time to explore a future without Bortles for Jacksonville, while Denver rolls onward and keeps pace in the AFC West after Kansas City eked out a win over Atlanta.
The Miami Dolphins have officially shut down quarterback Ryan Tannehill. The team placed the injured quarterback on injured reserve Saturday. He is scheduled to undergo ACL surgery next week, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported.
Center Mike Pouncey (hip) moved past individual drills and took snaps with the first-team offense for the first time in camp. Coach Adam Gase said no decision has been made on whether Pouncey will play in preseason. Offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil returned to practice after missing several days because of a personal matter.
Bortles threw five interceptions during practice, one of which was returned by Telvin Smith for a touchdown. Veteran reporter Michael DiRocco of ESPN characterized Bortles’ performance as “one of the worst practices of his career.” Woof.
The signal-caller spent the offseason working on his mechanical issues, in hopes of streamlining his throwing motion. Saturday’s disaster is a reminder the 25-year-old still has a ways to go.
Not surprising because of the talent or the value — both of these were spot on. The pick was fascinating to me because it represents how all over the place evaluations were on first-round talent. What I mean: The Titans were an obvious trade-up destination for teams looking at the No. 1 quarterback in the draft, who ended up shocking a majority of the football world by going No. 2 to the Chicago Bears. After Mitchell Trubisky was off the board, all bets were off and teams were tasked with selecting the No. 1 guy on their boards. Davis was apparently that player for the Titans; a physical receiver who is still a bit of a mystery. As NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock noted, Davis did not have a combine performance or pro day workout due to a small ankle procedure.
Mack led my list of Day 3 immediate contributors for good reason. The Colts have been starving for a youth injection in their backfield. Nothing against the legendary Frank Gore, but Mack can add a different element to the club’s passing game and help wear down defenses. Placing the burden on Gore’s shoulders for the past two years was borderline irresponsible by the Colts’ personnel team, and they’re finally getting around to intensifying their backfield presence against a slew of good defenses in the division.
Since being released by the Giants in mid-February, Cruz had garnered interest from the Bears, Jaguars and Ravens, but only met with Chicago. His unceremonious departure from Big Blue continued to bother him as he went unsigned throughout the offseason, even up until this week when he told a radio show that his dip in production down the stretch in 2016 was due to the Giants’ front office intentionally sabotaging his season.
Cruz is the fourth notable wide receiver to join the Bears this offseason. Chicago has signed former Steelers wideout Markus Wheaton, former Titans receiver Kendall Wright and Cruz’s ex-teammate Rueben Randle to complement Kevin White and Cameron Meredith.
Oh, I didn’t. I kind of went on tilt when the pick happened. (So much so, I went on YouTube to vent my frustration.) I even missed the Titans taking Corey Davis.
But I liked the move once I had a chance to calm down. For starters, the Bears didn’t give up that much. After maneuvering with later picks, the Bears essentially gave up a fourth-round pick to grab the quarterback they coveted. Compare that to the price the Chiefs paid for Patrick Mahomes and the Texans for Deshaun Watson. It’s the cost of doing business. Like paying $12 for a Bud Light at O’Hare. It’s the law of supply and demand.
Sanchez tossed two interceptions on just 18 attempts with the Cowboys last season, appearing in just three games as Dak Prescott’s backup. The eighth-year veteran has started 72 career games, posting a 56.7 completion rate, 86:86 TD-to-INT ratio and 73.9 passer rating. He’s among the most turnover-prone quarterbacks of his era.
Glennon is due to earn $16 million this season, suggesting he’s locked in as John Fox’s Week 1 quarterback. That said, he’s an inconsistent passer and an unproven commodity as the starter.
It’s hard not to just end this post by saying The Bears will go as Mike Glennon goes even if that is the answer. They are the latest team making the Brock Osweiler gamble, which ended with the Texans trading Osweiler and his salary to the Browns along with a second-round pick just to get rid of him. Glennon is a different quarterback even if that will be difficult for fans to understand. But will the results be any better?
Quarterback situation aside, there is a lot to like about the way Fox and cheap jerseys and Pace are building the Bears. The fully healthy version of their offensive line might develop into a top-10 unit this year. They have one of the better young backfields in football for the next few years at a very reasonable price. Leonard Floyd, had he remained healthy, would have been squarely in the conversation for defensive rookie of the year. On paper, the secondary should be formidable with the addition of Quintin Demps alongside Adrian Amos.
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The former 2014 second-round pick appeared in 20 games over three seasons with Chicago. Sixteen of those contests, however, came in his rookie campaign, as he missed the entire 2016 season and 12 games in 2015 due to shoulder and knee injuries respectively.
Ferguson was also handed a four-game suspension in 2015 for violating the NFL‘s policy on performance-enhancing substances.
The 30-year-old veteran played in 30 of 32 games over the past two seasons, but dealt with knee injuries last season that contributed to his up-and-down campaign. In 2016, Porter compiled 48 tackles, nine passes defended and two interceptions.
This offseason, Bears general manager Ryan Pace added depth to the corner position — a big weakness on a poor defense last season. Chicago added Prince Amukamara and Marcus Cooper to take over starter roles, while also signing veteran B.W. Webb. With 2014 first-round pick Kyle Fuller missing all last season with a knee injury, Pace took a ‘toss numbers at the problem and see what sticks’ approach to the corner position in 2017.