Training Camp Notes: September 1st
September 2, 2016 | Justin Edwards
Derrick Henry Playing with the Second(ish) String
The former Heisman winner continued to tear apart opposing defenses last night against the Miami Dolphins, gaining 62 yards on 7 carries, including a 22 and 26-yarder on the same drive. It was made a little less impressive by the fact that it was against a Week 4 defense that obviously doesn’t have a lot of depth, but you can’t deny him the ability to take what’s been given to him. You also can’t deny the fact that the Titans’ first-team offense were all on the sideline – including DeMarco Murray, who will be splitting snaps in that backfield in a yet unknown carry-share. A quick look around the games that have been played this week will give good insight that teams simply aren’t playing the guys set up for a starting role in their respective offenses. While the situation is probably more of a 70/30 split than a 50/50 split, keep your mind open to the possibility that Henry’s superior talent will push Tennessee to get him on the field more as the season progresses. They’ll want to see what they have in him going forward, especially after they start the season 3-8.
Arian Foster’s Clear Road
Foster earned himself the role of Miami’s starting running back without even taking the field. Ajayi began the game with a fumble, added a drop and ended up finishing his preseason with 49 yards on 18 carries. While Miami’s decision to keep Arian out of the game altogether could partially have to do with his very long injury history, it’s telling that they had Jay Ajayi getting some snaps, even though Zac Dysert (who?) was slinging the ball around. They simply haven’t seen what they’ve wanted to out of him since the beginning of Spring, which is exactly why they signed the ol’ Houston Texan in the first place.
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Another Foster’s Roster Spot
You liked that rhyme, don’t act like you didn’t. A player with much less prestige and more than a decade less experience as a running back who could still garner some fantasy intrigue is converted wide receiver D.J. Foster. With LeGarrette Blount, James White and Brandon Bolden relative locks on the New England Patriot depth chart it would seem as if the aforementioned Foster and Tyler Gaffney are battling it out to keep their collective heads’ above water on a prominent offense; at least from Week 5 on. Dion Lewis is beginning the season on the PUP list and Gaffney sadly left the game last night with a minor ankle injury, it now looks as though Foster may have locked up that roster spot with a Dion Lewis-like usage that racked him up 110 yards on 9 catches (10 targets). James White will hold the 3rd down role but it cannot be ignored that DJ accumulated a good amount of that with Tom Brady, including this nice little wheel route. A running back fumbling really sends a ripple down Belichick’s icy veins and Patriots’ RB usage is one of the more difficult to predict in the league but make sure we’re keeping this UDFA on our radar.
Intriguing Week 4 Usage Thus Far
As we’ve seen there aren’t concrete answers to roster spots based solely on last night’s snap counts but here are a few more that could help us lean a little closer to an answer to regular season usage.
Latavius Murray didn’t receive a single snap as the Raiders got some more looks at DeAndre Washington. The incumbent’s job remains safe for now.
Christine Michael and Thomas Rawls received two carries apiece. I’m still not on board with the thought that CMike will be pushing Tommy off the field if he is indeed completely healthy but It’s obvious Seattle didn’t want to put either in harm’s way for any unnecessary amount of time. The limited play for Rawls was assuredly just to make sure he could move at game speed.
John Brown played but was not targeted. It’s very closely related to Rawls above; Arizona just wanted to make sure he was up to speed after dealing with concussion symptoms for the last month. For the sake of the man’s health, the excitement of his top-end speed and our fantasy teams, let’s hope his head is right again.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins questionably played the majority of the snaps Wednesday night, adding fuel to the fire that Cameron Brate may have taken over the no. 1 tight end spot for Tampa Bay. If this is still the Bucs “teaching him a lesson” this sure is a long lesson.