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Volume 14, Issue #22, May 20th

Hi Folks,

Good Tuesday to you. NBA and NHL Playoffs are going hot and heavy but we'll keep you up to date on the NFL News and Notes you need to know.

Two off topic note here as believe it or not, Football isn't the ONLY thing we think about. First off, our friend Ladd Davies has a unique family situation / challenge where his three year old daughter is Type 1 Diabetic and in need of a Diabetic Alert Dog to help monitor her blood sugar levels. (These dogs are amazing - more info here. ) The dogs are expensive though and the family has started a fundraiser. If you'd like to contribute and hear more about Ladd's daughter, check it out here. I'd appreciate it and I know the Davies family will.

Secondly, thoughts and prayers for our folks affected by the Oklahoma Tornado. Monday night, the death toll was 37 including 7 that were reportedly elementary school students. I know we've got lots of readers in that area, and many more with family or connections. Hang tough.

Now let's get to the News and Notes.

J

SITE NEWS

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Over $1.2 Million dollars in prizes will be awarded after the 2013 season including the $250,000 Grand Prize. At only a $350 entry fee, can you afford not to play in this tournament? Daily online drafts start July 27th. Register and choose your draft date today. You'll get your draft slot as soon as your league fills, which won't take long. Don't sleep on this one, Folks.

INSIDE THIS ISSUE

1. NE - Doctors believe TE Rob Gronkowski's infection cleared
2. DET - WR Calvin Johnson played with broken fingers
3. NE - QB Tom Brady confident
4. CLE - Coach praises Brandon Weeden
5. DEN - WR Wes Welker making an impact
6. TB - QB Josh Freeman is the starter
7. BUF - EJ Manuel likes new offense
8. PIT - WR Emmanuel Sanders projected to start
9. DEN - QB Peyton Manning's arm looks stronger
10. NYJ - RB Mike Goodson meets with team officials
11. DET - WR Calvin Johnson excited RB Reggie Bush is on team
12. DEN - QB Peyton Manning praises S Charles Woodson
13. DEN - Dysert needs work, Osweiler stands out
14. DEN - Hillman a bigger role in 2013?
15. SEA - RB Marshawn Lynch not at workout
16. SEA - Christine Michael expected to compete for backup role
17. PHI - RB LeSean McCoy leaves workout
18. KC - Alex Smith working in pistol offense
19. DEN - RB Willis McGahee to skip OTAs
20. HOU - S Ed Reed may be ready for training camp
21. SD - Manti Te'o working with starters
22. TB - CB Darrelle Revis on schedule
23. PIT - Uncertain if S Troy Polamalu will attend

NE - Doctors believe TE Rob Gronkowski's infection cleared

Source: ESPN - Adam Schefter

New England Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski (forearm, back) underwent surgery Monday, May 20, to replace the plate in his forearm. The doctors believe the infection in his forearm has cleared.

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Good news for Gronkowski here. The big worry had been that if the doctors did find infection, he would have required a fifth procedure on his forearm and his availability for the start of training camp would have been in doubt. With this surgery today however, he's expected to be working with a ten week recovery. There is another issue though as we've told you in that he's dealing with a back issue. Gronkowski is scheduled to meet with specialist Dr. Robert Watkins in California in three to four weeks to determine if he would need a surgery on his back according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. The word we're hearing is that Gronkowski's back issue is not nearly as worrisome to the team as the infection had been. Still though, if he does have to have even minor back surgery, that's something to keep a close eye on. We'll be doing that for you. But bottom line, Monday was a very good day for Gronkowski to get over the infection issue.

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DET - WR Calvin Johnson played with broken fingers

Source: The Detroit News - Chris McCosky

Detroit Lions WR Calvin Johnson (fingers) confirmed he played with broken fingers last season. He has been trying to straighten them out this offseason, but didn't have surgery.

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Johnson overcame the Madden curse and broken fingers last year. He's simply the best receiver in the game today and should be the first WR off the board in your fantasy draft. His current ADP is WR1 and he's coming off the board at 1.09.

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NE - QB Tom Brady confident

Source: SI.com - Peter King

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady said he is more confident with his arm and throwing mechanics than ever before.

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A confident Brady is a dangerous Brady. We'll see if the new additions at WR will help Brady become a more effective passer downfield. We'll also see how Danny Amendola does filling in for Wes Welker (Broncos) in 2013.

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CLE - Coach praises Brandon Weeden

Source: The Cleveland Plain Dealer - Mary Kay Cabot

Cleveland Browns offensive coordinator Norv Turner praised QB Brandon Weeden, calling him the hardest-working player on the team.

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Weeden needs to work hard to impress the new regime in Cleveland. He's got a good skill set to fit in the Turner offense. We should see more of Weeden's big arm in Turner's downfield scheme.

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DEN - WR Wes Welker making an impact

Source: CSNNE.com

Denver Broncos WR Wes Welker is already making an impression on the Denver Broncos as he is trying to get on the same page with QB Peyton Manning. “Wes and I will continue to work and try to get on the same page,” Manning told reporters on Monday. “I thought we had excellent production last year at the slot out of [WR] Brandon Stokley and adding Wes as a new player—we’re looking forward to getting on the same page.”

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Welker looked good at OTAs today according to our very own Cecil Lammey. We'll see the Broncos use 11 personnel (3WR) as their base set in order to get Welker, Demaryius Thomas, and Eric Decker on the field at the same time. He may not catch over 110 passes this year but we wouldn't be surprised to see him catch around 90 on the season.

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TB - QB Josh Freeman is the starter

Source: NFL.com - Gregg Rosenthal

Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Greg Schiano cleared things up by saying that QB Josh Freeman is the team's starting quarterback Monday, May 20. Schiano said that QB Mike Glennon could 'play quickly' if necessary Sunday, May 19.

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Of course Freeman is the starter. Glennon has a strong arm but needs serious work on his mechanics, accuracy, and footwork. It would take a huge collapse from Freeman in order for Glennon to play in 2013.

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BUF - EJ Manuel likes new offense

Source: ESPN.com

Buffalo Bills QB EJ Manuel said it has been easy to pick up the team's offense, which he said is less complicated than the system he learned at Florida State. 'The funny thing is it's easier to learn than the offense I had at Florida State,' he said. 'It's a true West Coast-type progression offense. That's really what I wanted when I was coming through the pre-draft process. I wanted something that I could just go in and say 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, check it down and run it. That's it, it's that simple. I love it.' Manuel has spent extensive time working with offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett.

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Manuel fits the design of the Marrone offense perfectly. It's an aggressive design featuring downfield passing and some option plays for an athletic quarterback. Manuel is competing with Kevin Kolb to be the team's starter this year.

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PIT - WR Emmanuel Sanders projected to start

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - Ed Bouchette

Pittsburgh Steelers WR Emmanuel Sanders is projected to take over the spot of departed WR Mike Wallace (Dolphins) at split end, at least for one year.

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No surprise here. Sanders has to stay healthy this year as durability has been a problem with him in the past. He should be able to hold off rookie Markus Wheaton for the starting job.

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DEN - QB Peyton Manning's arm looks stronger

Source: Cecil Lammey - ESPN Denver, Footballguys.com

Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning was impressive during the first day of OTAs out at Dove Valley. In fact, those media members in attendance believed his arm looked stronger than it did last year.

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Good news for Manning and the Broncos here. Fantasy owners need to take note here and realize he could put up even better numbers than he did in 2012. Adam Gase is the new Offensive Coordinator for the Broncos and will feature 11 personnel (3 WR) as the base set. Adding Wes Welker to the mix with Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker has the potential to be a fantasy gold mine.

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NYJ - RB Mike Goodson meets with team officials

Source: ESPNNewYork.com - Rich Cimini

New York Jets RB Mike Goodson was in attendance at the team's first OTA practice Monday, May 20, but only to meet with team officials following his arrest on drug and weapons charges last week. Goodson didn't participate or watch the team's workouts, and his future with the team is uncertain. If Goodson pleads guilty or is convicted of unlawful possession of a handgun, he'll be subject to the Graves Act, which is a New Jersey law that carries a minimum of three years in jail.

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His spot on the team is a serious question mark right now. We'll see if the team wants to keep him around in 2013 as the legal process could drag out a while to find a conclusion. If he stays with the team Goodson will compete with Chris Ivory and Bilal Powell to be the Jets starting RB.

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DET - WR Calvin Johnson excited RB Reggie Bush is on team

Source: The Oakland Press - Paula Pasche

Detroit Lions WR Calvin Johnson is excited RB Reggie Bush signed with the Lions, because it means teams will have to defend the Lions offense differently. “It’s going to force them to bring another man down, more than we had last year,” Johnson said on Monday. “You know, if you don’t, Reggie can make you look foolish in the open field.”

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Fantasy owners should be excited about the addition as well. Bush is the big play back and a perfect fit for this high powered offense. He'll be used in space as a runner and receiver out of the backfield. His current ADP is RB17 and he's coming off the board at the end of round two. The last two years Bush as the 13th and 14th best RB in fantasy football.

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DEN - QB Peyton Manning praises S Charles Woodson

Source: DenverBroncos.com

Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning praised free-agent CB Charles Woodson, saying he would like to have him join the team. “We’re always looking to add great players,” Manning said. “That has been pretty evident since the time I’ve been here that management is always looking to add excellent football players through the draft or via free agency. I had a chance to visit with Charles when he was here last week and certainly, that’d be a great addition to our team. I know there is the business side of it that comes into play, but there’s no question that any time you can add good football players at any position, I think that’s always a good thing.”

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The Broncos brought Woodson out to Dove Valley last week for a tryout. The team offered him a contract but Woodson has not decided yet on his future. He's also drawn interest from teams like the Raiders, Giants, and Panthers.

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DEN - Dysert needs work, Osweiler stands out

Source: Cecil Lammey - ESPN Denver, Footballguys.com

Denver Broncos QB Brock Osweiler stood out today at the first day of OTAs. He showed plenty of zip on his passes and threw with proper footwork and good touch. By contrast rookie Zac Dysert struggled with accuracy and was seen overthrowing several passes at Dove Valley.

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Some painted this as a backup QB controversy where Osweiler would be pushed by the rookie. Nothing could be further from the truth. Osweiler is essentially entrenched as the backup behind Peyton Manning and is considered the QB of the future. Dynasty owners need to take note here. Dysert is a nice developmental QB but has a lot of work to do in order to make the most of his potential.

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DEN - Hillman a bigger role in 2013?

Source: Cecil Lammey - ESPN Denver, Footballguys.com

Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning was asked about second-year RB Ronnie Hillman after practice today. Manning said Hillman is expected to take on a bigger role in Adam Gase's system and not be limited to subpackage roles like he was in 2012. "We’re really counting on him this year to have more of a role in the offense. Last year they kind of had a rotation and he had a certain amount of snaps that he was going to get. I definitely see that role increasing and Adam [Gase] giving him more responsibility in this offense. It’s not just kind of a limited package like we did last year. We are really expecting him to make that next-level jump." Manning said.

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Hillman is seen as a change of pace back, but in the Broncos fast paced offense he could be in for more playing time than some people think. The team would like to feature Hillman as the 'Lightning' to rookie Montee Ball's 'Thunder' in 2013. We'll see if that shakes out during training camp.

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SEA - RB Marshawn Lynch not at workout

Source: Everett Herald - John Boyle

Seattle Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch was not present during organized team activities Monday, May 20.

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These OTAs are considered voluntary. Lynch is likely working out on his own and should be in attendance when voluntary camp begins.

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SEA - Christine Michael expected to compete for backup role

Source: NFL.com - Marc Sessler

Seattle Seahawks RB Christine Michael is expected to battle with RB Robert Turbin for the backup duties to RB Marshawn Lynch this year. Michael is expected to see plenty of action. 'He's our kind of runner,' general manager John Schneider said this month. 'He's a tough, intense, up-field, one-cut guy. A very good football player.'

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Michael is one of the more intriguing rookie RBs from this draft class. Multiple leg injuries held him back during his college career at Texas A&M. If healthy Michael is a high energy runner with good burst and short area quickness. He may never get his long speed back and was getting caught from behind at the Shrine Game earlier this year.

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PHI - RB LeSean McCoy leaves workout

Source: Philadelphia Inquirer - Jeff McLane

Philadelphia Eagles RB LeSean McCoy (knee) left organized team activities Monday, May 20, after suffering a knee injury. He did not look to be limping or in any pain after the workout.

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It sounds like a minor injury at this time. The Eagles will monitor him closely and get him back on the practice field when he's ready. McCoy is set for a big workload this year. The Chip Kelly offense is designed off the inside zone read run. Last year's Oregon team ran 685 times under Kelly.

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KC - Alex Smith working in pistol offense

Source: The Kansas City Star - Adam Teicher

The Kansas City Chiefs have practiced some plays from the pistol formation during organized team activities. QB Alex Smith likely would have to use his legs and arm in the formation since it includes the option in the plays.

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The Chiefs recently hired Chris Ault to help the team learn the intricacies of the pistol offense. Ault is considered the godfather of the pistol for what he did with the offense during his time as the head coach at Nevada.

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DEN - RB Willis McGahee to skip OTAs

Source: NFL.com - Gregg Rosenthal

Denver Broncos RB Willis McGahee (leg, knee) will not take part in the team's organized team activities Monday, May 20, but it's the same approach he's had in the past for offseason workouts. 'He's following the same routine he's done his whole career. He'll be there,' agent Chafie Fields told said. 'He's ready to compete. No messages.' McGahee is coming off a torn medial collateral ligament in his knee and a broken leg.

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McGahee is competing for a roster spot this year after the Broncos added potential starter Montee Ball in the second-round of the 2013 NFL draft. Some feel he could be released by the team as the Denver Post reported McGahee and Knowshon Moreno may be competing for one roster spot.

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HOU - S Ed Reed may be ready for training camp

Source: Houston Chronicle - Tania Ganguli

Updating a previous report, Houston Texans FS Ed Reed (hip) is expected to be ready for the start of training camp, or midway through it.

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Texans head coach Gary Kubiak said Reed is doing very well in his recovery from offseason hip surgery. The team will monitor his progress closely so they don't aggravate the injury.

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SD - Manti Te'o working with starters

Source: The San Diego Union-Tribune - Kevin Acee

San Diego Chargers LB Manti Te'o is working with the first-team defensive during organized team activities Monday, May 20.

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No surprise here. Te'o has to prove he can be a three down player in the NFL. He had seven interceptions last year, but four of them were off tipped passes. Questions still abound about his ability to cover NFL caliber TEs.

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TB - CB Darrelle Revis on schedule

Source: NFL Network - Andrea Kremer

Tampa Bay Buccaneers CB Darrelle Revis (knee) is on schedule in his rehab and has been able to cut and change direction in drills. The Buccaneers will continue to build Revis' strength and conditioning though June.

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Revis should be on the field when the team gets together for training camp in late July. The team will be careful with the veteran and monitor his progress closely as he comes back from this injury.

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PIT - Uncertain if S Troy Polamalu will attend

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - Ed Bouchette

Pittsburgh Steelers SS Troy Polamalu has a history of blowing off the voluntary portion of spring drills to train with his guru, Marv Marinovich, in the Los Angeles area. Last season, Polamalu went through most of the spring practice with his teammates - and then missed nine games with injuries. It's uncertain if Polamalu will attend organized team activities (OTAs), which begin Tuesday, May 21.

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The team needs Polamalu to stay healthy this year. They're simply a different (worse) team without him on the field.

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That'll do it for today, Folks. Thanks for reading and thanks for being a part of the Footballguys Family. Have a great Tuesday and we'll see you tomorrow with the update.

Peace,

J