Raymond Summerlin

Football Daily Dose

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Dose: Uncertainty in St. Louis

Thursday, October 23, 2014


Despite the fantasy football hype surrounding Tre Mason, the Rams’ coaching staff has been consistent about how the running back carries will be divvied up the rest of the season. On Sunday coach Jeff Fisher said the plan was to “play all three backs,” and on Monday he confirmed “it’ll be a week-to-week thing," even claiming Zac Stacy “could get 25 carries this week.” Those comments echo the sentiments of OC Brian Schottenheimer, who last week said the team plans to employ a “hot hand” approach.

 

On Sunday the hot hand clearly belonged to Tre Mason, but that will not necessarily be the case every week. Benny Cunningham started against the Seahawks, and rotated fairly evenly with Mason early on. Stacy has been banged up recently, so it is conceivable he is given a bigger role when he is healthy or in a matchup that is better suited to his skill set. We simply do not know.

 

The Rams’ backfield has the makings of a quagmire. Mason is clearly the best runner, but, as I discussed earlier in the week, Mason’s inability to pass protect will likely lead to games in which he is wholly uninvolved. He has to be owned, but Mason will be a risky week-to-week start until his role in the offense becomes clearer.

 

Editor's Note: Rotoworld's partner FanDuel is hosting a one-week $2.5 Million Fantasy Football league for Week 8's games. It's only $25 to join and first prize is $500,000. Starts Sunday, October 26th at 1pm ET. Here's the link.

 

In Other News…

 

Anthony Dixon believes the Bills will use a running back by committee approach while Fred Jackson is sidelined, saying he expects to “kinda do it together, as a combination” with Bryce Brown. Dixon ran with the "1s" in practice on Wednesday and will likely get the start on Sunday, but Buffalo should utilize a hot-hand approach. A much more talented runner, Brown is the better bet to develop that hot hand on Sunday. He is still the better long-term option of the two.  

 

ESPN Jaguars reporter Michael DiRocco believes Jacksonville could have “found their running back of the future” in Denard Robinson. Robinson handled 22 touches against the Browns last week, and gained more yards in the first quarter than any Jaguars’ back had managed in a full game up to that point. He will at least be given the opportunity to seize the starting job. Robinson has a tough matchup against the Dolphins this week, but gets the Bengals and the Cowboys after that.

 

Coach Rex Ryan said it is “unrealistic” to expect newly-acquired Percy Harvin to play 50 offensive snaps Week 8 against the Bills. Harvin simply does not know OC Marty Mornhinweg’s offense, and will likely be limited to the kick return game and a few package plays on offense. It will be a few weeks before Harvin is fully integrated into the Jets’ offense if it even happens at all this season.

 

Dianna Marie Russini of NBC Washington reports there is “NO chance” Robert Griffin III (ankle) plays against the Cowboys on Monday night. Griffin took the first rep in Washington’s Wednesday practice, but it appears Colt McCoy will take the majority of snaps this week in practice and start against Dallas. Dallas DST is a very interesting streaming option.  

 

The Titans will start sixth-round rookie Zach Mettenberger at quarterback in Week 8 against the Texans. Jake Locker (thumb) was limited in practice Wednesday and likely would have been ready to start this weekend, but with the season already lost the Titans want to see what they have in Mettenberger. In the final year of his rookie contract, this move likely signals the end of Locker’s time in Tennessee. Mettenberger has a cannon for an arm and played well this preseason, but is as immobile as quarterbacks come. J.J. Watt will be drooling.

 

Charles Sims (ankle, short-term I.R.) practiced on Wednesday and could return to the lineup when he first becomes eligible Week 9. Drafted in the third-round this May, Sims drew comparisons to Matt Forte from Bucs RBs coach Tim Spencer this preseason. The current Tampa Bay regime has no loyalty to either Doug Martin or Bobby Rainey, and could be interested in seeing what they have in Sims down the stretch. He is a nice speculative add in 12-team leagues.

 

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News and Notes

 

A.J. Green (toe) did not practice on Wednesday, but did do some light jogging and high-stepping on a side field. Green was overheard telling a teammate he would play this week, but we would need to see at least a limited practice from Green on Friday to feel comfortable with his playing status. … Calvin Johnson (ankle) was officially limited in Wednesday’s practice, though he did nothing in the portion of practice open to the media. He is still a long-shot to play against Atlanta Week 8. … Giants WR coach Sean Ryan said the team plans to use Rueben Randle in the slot more often with Victor Cruz (knee) done for the year. Randle is averaging nearly 10 targets a game over the last five contests, and has turned into extremely reliable play in PPR formats. … Keenan Allen is seeing more press coverage this season, and believes that is at least partly to blame for his slow start. Allen’s yards after catch average is down from 6 last season to 2.9 this year. … Trent Richardson (hamstring) did not practice Wednesday. Richardson has brushed off the injury, and the Colts plan for Richardson to get in some work on Thursday. Ahmad Bradshaw would become the feature back if Richardson cannot play. … Khiry Robinson (forearm) did not practice on Wednesday, but says he is fine. Mark Ingram would get a bump in value if Robinson cannot go. … Reggie Wayne (elbow) sat out practice on Wednesday. Coach Chuck Pagano said he is day to day. … Darren Sproles (knee) “appears likely” to play Week 8 against the Cardinals. Seeing only 5.5 touches a game over the last four, Sproles is not a recommended play in a tough matchup. … Brandon Gibson confirmed he has fallen behind rookie Jarvis Landry on the Dolphins’ WR depth chart. Landry has been targeted eight more times than No. 2 receiver Brian Hartline the last two weeks. … Brian Cushing will miss at least one week with a knee injury. Houston’s defense was already struggling to stop the run. … Jon Beason (toe) confirmed he is considering season-ending surgery and gave himself a 50-50 chance to play again this season. He initially hurt his foot over the summer, and has been in and out of the lineup ever since. … Donald Brown (concussion) has been ruled out for Thursday night’s game against the Broncos. Branden Oliver will make his third-straight start. … Marcus Lattimore (knee, NFI) has been cleared to practice when the 49ers return from their bye next week. He is unlikely to have a role this season, but he could serve in a committee with Carlos Hyde next year if free-agent-to-be Frank Gore does not return to the team. … Raiders DE LaMarr Woodley is likely done for the season with a torn biceps.

 

Injury Quick Slants

 

Pierre Thomas (ribs, shoulder), James Starks (ankle), Martellus Bennett (hamstring), Owen Daniels (knee), Eric Ebron (hamstring), Harry Douglas (foot), Kenny Britt (ankle), Fozzy Whittaker (quad), Brandon Pettigrew (foot), Joseph Fauria (ankle), Marquise Goodwin (hamstring) and Philly Brown (concussion) did not practice on Wednesday.

 

Jimmy Graham (shoulder), Julio Jones (ankle), Giovani Bernard (ribs), Arian Foster (ankle), Vincent Jackson (ribs), Andre Ellington (ribs, foot), Reggie Bush (ankle), Eric Decker (hamstring), Travis Kelce (ribs), Darren Sproles (knee), Charles Clay (knee), Toby Gerhart (foot), John Brown (ankle), Josh McCown (thumb) and Shonn Greene (hamstring) were limited in practice on Wednesday.  

 

Sammy Watkins (groin) and Luke Willson (groin) were full participants in practice on Wednesday. 



Raymond Summerlin is a football writer for Rotoworld.com. He can be found on Twitter at @RMSummerlin.
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