News and Notes: The Jackson and Freeman Plan
May 25, 2014 | Chet
The Falcons signed fourth-round running back Devonta Freeman and now we can all start our speculation on if he will unseat Steven Jackson from the lead back role at some point this year. All reports point toward him having the ability to be a lead back, but Jackson isn’t quite dead yet. There are two extenuating circumstances that really killed his value last year, his early season hamstring injury and the loss of Julio Jones which completely shut down the Falcons offense. If SJax hadn’t gotten hurt and Jones had been there to spread out the defense and get them to the goal line more often, there is a chance all those touchdowns we had envisioned would have materialized. Now I’m not saying Jackson isn’t old as dirt and doesn’t need a walker to get around, but we saw what Michael Turner could do as he declined in ability in that offense and I could easily see the same happening with Jackson. You can have him at value right now and if you handcuff him with Freeman, your odds of getting a top running back between the two are pretty good.
Chris Mortenson is reporting that Ray Rice most likely will face a suspension of some type from the league for his assault on his then girlfriend Jenay Rice. The fact that the Ravens helped Rice control the “situation” and allowed his now wife to take some part in the blame for the incident is sickening to say the least. Who knows what his suspension will be, but it won’t be enough in my and most people’s eyes and the juxtaposition of however many days he gets compared to how many days Josh Gordon gets will be stark in just about any circumstances. Public opinion could get ugly if Gordon gets suspended for a year for smoking weed while Rice gets a couple game checks docked for knocking his girlfriend unconscious. I have a feeling Rice may get 4 games which would open a door for Bernard Pierce or our very own Lorenzo Taliaferro (yeah, he’s ours!) Go LoTa! Either could end up taking over the lead back role as Rice had a horrid 2013. Anyway you look at it, I’d try to dump Rice like the Ravens should have.
Kyle Orton has told the Cowboys he plans on retiring. This comes as quite a surprise because he’d be giving up around five million dollars, he’s just 31. Of course we don’t know the whole story, so it’s hard to tell if he really will retire, but it would be a pretty big loss, as he is one of the better backups in the league. Even though we don’t point it out, it is nice to know that he’s there to keep the offense at least somewhat on track for players like Dez Bryant, DeMarco Murray and friends.
The Jaguars want Chad Henne to be their quarterback all season while Blake Bortles learns from the sidelines. Seems like a good idea to me. The Jags aren’t winning anything this season and being thrown into the fire isn’t always the best for a young quarterback. This should be good news for Cecil Shorts as there will be plenty of games with Henne and Shorts trying to come back from 20 points down and they have had good chemistry in the past.
Jake Locker looks like he’ll be ready to go for OTAs, which should have him fully set to be the main man during training camp. He was showing signs of progress when he went down last season, so there is a glimmer of hope for a breakout season. I’m not banking on it, but I’d rather have Locker there for Kendall Wright and Bishop Sankey than some of the dregs they could have.
The Cleveland Browns quarterback competition should be a fun one this season. Brian Hoyer is healed up and throwing the ball at minicamp and Johnny Manziel will be Johnny Footballing all over the place. Hoyer showed great fantasy potential last season, but Manziel will have more upside with his rushing ability and is the no doubt starter of the future. Either should be able to get the ball to Jordan Cameron who will easily be targeted as a top-5 tight end. Also, the Browns hired Kyle Shanahan as offensive coordinator and he has experience with a running quarterback and a strong running game. That sets up well for Manziel and Ben Tate this year in what should be a conservative, but often effective offense.
Marcus Lattimore won’t take part in rookie camp, which is really pretty disheartening. Coach Harbaugh says he’s working through something not related to his injured knee, but wouldn’t elaborate. I’m guessing it has something to do with the NSA and or Harbaugh’s Khakis, or both, but who knows. Carlos Hyde looks like he’ll have less competition for a place in the pecking order to start off and he has the ability, especially in that offense, to make noise if he ever gets a chance. He’s very much worth a pick in dynasty drafts this season.
Marvin Jones looks to have the #2 receiver role in Cincinnati, at least going into the 2014 season. That’s good news. Jones has ability and showed it in flashes last season. If he can get the bulk of the snaps he could easily be a fantasy contributor this year. I don’t love the offense he’s in, but ability and opportunity should come together for him this year.