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Volume 14, Issue #31, May 29th


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Hi Folks,

Good Thursday to you. Big news today with lots of talk about the injuries to Rob Gronkowski and Arian Foster. We've got two feature articles for you on those topics. And we've got the rest of the News and Notes you need so let's get to it.

J

SITE NEWS

A. Dr. Jene Bramel on Gronkowski and Foster
Few people on the planet have a more interesting intersection of knowledge in my opinion as our Footballguys MD, Dr. Jene Bramel takes a look at the Gronkowski and Foster injury situations.

B. How To Forecast A Player Who May Miss The Start Of The Season
In light of the Rob Gronkowski and Arian Foster injury situations, our Chase Stuart takes a look at how to project players who could miss the opening weeks of the season. Obviously, we're not saying Gronkowski or Foster will miss the opening of the season, but it's something to think about as we project stats for players.

INSIDE THIS ISSUE

1. HOU - RB Arian Foster out until camp
2. NE - TE Rob Gronkowski to have back surgery
3. CLE - Vertical offense earning praise
4. DEN - Decker says Manning's arm is stronger
5. MIN - RB Adrian Peterson near 100 percent
6. MIN - RB Adrian Peterson participates in OTAs
7. PIT - QB Ben Roethlisberger has input in offense
8. CAR - QB Cam Newton sheds weight
9. SF - WR Anquan Boldin feels comfortable in offense
10. DEN - Hillman and rookie Ball quick learners
11. OAK - QB Matt Flynn has support of S Charles Woodson
12. MIA - Jamar Taylor signed
13. CIN - TE Orson Charles seeing time at FB
14. NE - TE Jake Ballard looking healthy
15. SEA - TE Anthony McCoy placed on IR
16. TB - WR Steve Smith announces retirement
17. GB - RB Eddie Lacy signs
18. DET - Coach does not think RB Mikel Leshoure's injury is long term
19. MIN - WR Cordarrelle Patterson being used as returner
20. MIN - WR Greg Jennings sits out workout
21. KC - WR Dwayne Bowe leaves practice early
22. PIT - WR Markus Wheaton could be deep threat
23. DAL - WR Dez Bryant working on route running
24. CIN - OLB James Harrison says moving to 4-3 not a big deal

HOU - RB Arian Foster out until camp

Source: Houston Chronicle - Tania Ganguli

Houston Texans head coach Gary Kubiak said RB Arian Foster (calf) will not participate until training camp begins. Foster is currently using crutches but should be fine.

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Gary Kubiak called Foster's injury a "pretty good" strain. That's an indication that it's more than a low grade injury, but Foster will have eight weeks to recover before training camp begins. Keep your finger off the panic button for now. Should Foster's recovery drag into August, however, it will be time to rethink Foster's 2013 upside.

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NE - TE Rob Gronkowski to have back surgery

Source: NFL Network - Albert Breer

New England Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski (back, forearm) will need to undergo back surgery this offseason and is tentatively scheduled to undergo the procedure in mid-June.

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This surgery was expected, but now we know it's going to happen. This surgery means Gronkowski is likely to miss at least part of training camp. His recovery will determine whether or not this becomes an issue for him near the start of the regular season.

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CLE - Vertical offense earning praise

Source: ESPN.com - Jamison Hensley

Cleveland Browns offensive players have raved about their first impression of OC Norv Turner's scheme. 'Defenses will be shocked to say the least with how much we're running downfield,' WR Josh Gordon said. WR Greg Little said Turner 'calls more post and go routes than I've ever run before.' ESPN Stats and Information cites that the Browns threw the ball 10 yards or fewer downfield on 73.3 percent of their 2012 passes, and 20 yards or more on only 9 percent.

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Turner knows how to build a strong offense. The Browns have the pieces in place to produce more than some think in 2013. It will all come down to the QB competition and how the winner performs. Brandon Weeden and Jason Campbell are battling for the starting job in camp.

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DEN - Decker says Manning's arm is stronger

Source: Cecil Lammey - ESPN Denver, Footballguys.com

Denver Broncos WR Eric Decker said in a press conference today that Peyton Manning's arm is stronger this year. "I definitely felt like he had more zip on the ball. I think he's come back stronger, he's come back with the program that we've got—it's unbelievable the amount of muscle mass and endurance that guys have and the cut-down of injuries that we had last year. I think that's a compliment to the strength and conditioning staff here and I think Peyton is one of those that took advantage of it and really got himself in good shape and is stronger and healthier this year."

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This matches an earlier report from minicamp last week by our very own Cecil Lammey. Manning with a stronger arm, better weapons, and an improved ground game will only make him even more dangerous in 2013. This could be a career year for the future Hall of Fame QB.

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MIN - RB Adrian Peterson near 100 percent

Source: ESPN.com

Updating a previous report, Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson (hernia) said he is close to 100 percent after recovering from surgery to fix a sports hernia this offseason. He resumed lifting weights just over a month after his procedure in February. 'It was a cakewalk compared to recovering from the ACL and what I had to go through to bounce back from that,' he said.

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Peterson ran for over 2,000 yards last season and is looking to best that feat this year. It's hard to bet against one of the best RBs to ever play the game.

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MIN - RB Adrian Peterson participates in OTAs

Source: 1500ESPN.com - Tom Pelissero

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson (hernia) took part in drills during organized team activities Wednesday, May 29, just four months after undergoing surgery to fix a sports hernia.

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He's simply superhuman. Peterson is an incredible athlete on a level we may never see again in the NFL.

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PIT - QB Ben Roethlisberger has input in offense

Source: NFL Network - Aditi Kinkhabwala

Pittsburgh Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger met with offensive coordinator Todd Haley several times this offseason and had a lot of input into what worked and what did not last season. Wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders said Haley is giving Roethlisberger more control at the line of scrimmage in terms of check downs and hot reads.

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Good news for the Steelers here. The team was out of sync at times last year and is looking for improvement in year two of the Haley system. Having Roethlisberger more involved should help that.

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CAR - QB Cam Newton sheds weight

Source: ESPN.com

Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton said he lost 12 pounds in the offseason, bringing him down from 255 pounds to 243. 'It was just a personal goal that I set for myself. I'm not going to go into what it really meant because looking at my body from afar you really couldn't tell,' Newton said. 'Being that I lost the weight, nobody really could tell, either.'

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Newton could be a little more explosive with the lost weight. We'll see if he can continue to progress as a passer and get the Panthers back on the right track. Newton was the 6th best fantasy QB last year. His current ADP is QB5 and he's coming off the board at 5.03.

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SF - WR Anquan Boldin feels comfortable in offense

Source: ESPN.com

San Francisco 49ers WR Anquan Boldin said he already feels comfortable in the offense after participating in organized team activities Tuesday, May 28. Boldin said he's run many of the same routes and plays in the team's complicated version of the West Coast offense, and he's just working on the terminology now. QB Colin Kaepernick has already enjoyed throwing to Boldin and has made him his first read often. 'I guess I'm looked at as being able to step in right now and make plays,' Boldin said. 'And that's what I want to bring. I want Kaep to be comfortable. I want the other quarterbacks to be comfortable enough to, even if it doesn't look like I'm open, just give me a chance. I'll make a play for you.'

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Good news for the 49ers here. Boldin needs to feel comfortable with the scheme and QB Colin Kaepernick. The team needs him now more than ever after the loss of Michael Crabtree (Achilles'). Boldin should be the team's leading WR in 2013.

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DEN - Hillman and rookie Ball quick learners

Source: Cecil Lammey - ESPN Denver, Footballguys.com

Broncos WR Eric Decker was asked about the improved ground game featuring rookie Montee Ball (Wisconsin) and second-year RB Ronnie Hillman. Decker said, "Well, both guys have done a good job of really learning in the film room. It is translating onto the practice field. That is a big thing too, that learning curve of understanding for them how to play fast and know protections and understand 'Mike' calls and whatever else they have to understand. They are working hard, they are getting better and that's all you can ask for."

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The Broncos backfield is a bit of a mess right now for fantasy owners. The team would like Ball to be the lead back with Hillman serving as the change of pace back. However, in last week's OTAs it was Hillman getting the first-team reps. The team also has to decide the fates of both Knowshon Moreno and Willis McGahee. Ball's current ADP is RB22 (3.11) and that's a bit high given the uncertain nature of the depth chart right now.

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OAK - QB Matt Flynn has support of S Charles Woodson

Source: Raiders.com

Oakland Raiders QB Matt Flynn has the support of Raiders FS Charles Woodson. Both players spent time together with the Green Bay Packers.

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That's awesome but it won't matter if Flynn can't beat out Tyler Wilson for the starting job in training camp. Raiders beat writers have all reported that Wilson looks better than Flynn in OTAs. We'll see if that continues once the pads come on in training camp. Flynn may begin the year as the starter but many believe Wilson could take over before season's end.

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MIA - Jamar Taylor signed

Source: The Miami Herald - Armando Salguero

The Miami Dolphins have signed second-round draft choice CB Jamar Taylor (Boise State) to a four-year deal. Financial terms were not disclosed.

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Taylor is a talented corner with a good size/speed combination. He has the speed to turn and run with receivers downfield. Taylor also has the size to get physical and press opponents at the line of scrimmage. He'll compete for a starting job in training camp.

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CIN - TE Orson Charles seeing time at FB

Source: Bengals.com - Geoff Hobson

Cincinnati Bengals TE Orson Charles has received some reps at fullback during organized team activities this offseason.

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Charles is a versatile player who could line up at multiple positions for the Bengals. The addition of TE Tyler Eifert (Notre Dame) in first-round of the 2013 NFL draft will limit the number of snaps Charles sees at the TE position.

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NE - TE Jake Ballard looking healthy

Source: ESPN.com

New England Patriots TE Jake Ballard (knee) has looked sharp during organized team activities and hasn't been limited after having major knee surgery around 16 months ago. Ballard has shown nice hands and will be a nice blocking asset for the team this year. 'I'm doing my best I can to be 100 percent, and I'm doing as much as I can, as much as they're allowing me to do out here,' Ballard said. 'When I'm out here I feel like I'm putting in good work and getting better.'

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Ballard may be in for a bigger role than some people think. He missed all of 2012 due to this knee injury but is good to go this season. Ballard may be called upon if Rob Gronkowski (forearm, back) or Aaron Hernandez (shoulder) fail to stay healthy this year. Keep Ballard's name on your waiver wire speed dial.

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SEA - TE Anthony McCoy placed on IR

Source: Yahoo! Sports - Brian McIntyre

Seattle Seahawks TE Anthony McCoy (Achilles') has cleared waivers and has been placed on Injured Reserve.

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McCoy was a backup behind Zach Miller and known mostly as a sound blocker. His injury has opened the door for Luke Willson to have a bigger role. The rookie TE from Rice is extremely athletic and creates mismatches when he's on the field. He's an interesting prospect to add in deep dynasty leagues.

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TB - WR Steve Smith announces retirement

Source: PewterReport.com

Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Steve E. Smith has announced his retirement from professional football.

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Smith signed with the Bucs early last month but just isn't the same player he used to be since his microfracture knee surgery in 2010. The 'other' Steve Smith had his best seasons with the Giants but bounced around from the Eagles, Rams, and Buccaneers from 2010-2013.

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GB - RB Eddie Lacy signs

Source: ESPN - Adam Schefter

The Green Bay Packers signed RB Eddie Lacy to an undisclosed four-year deal Wednesday, May 29.

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Lacy is set to become the Packers' featured running back. The bruiser from Alabama gets stronger as the game goes on and has good footwork for a big man. Lacy does have durability issues that caused him to fall to the second-round of the 2013 NFL draft. He only started 14 games in college but was bothered by leg injuries including a toe problem that had to be surgically repaired. The Packers haven't had a 100-yard rusher in the last 43 regular-season games (more than twice as long as any other active streak in NFL). We'll see if Lacy can fix that problem this year.

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DET - Coach does not think RB Mikel Leshoure's injury is long term

Source: The Detroit News - Chris McCosky

Updating a previous report, Detroit Lions head coach Jim Schwartz said he does not think RB Mikel Leshoure (hamstring) is dealing with a long-term injury.

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Schwartz said the Lions are being cautious with Leshoure because they do not want him to rush him back before he's ready. Leshoure has durability issues in the past and is competing with Joique Bell for the backup job behind Reggie Bush.

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MIN - WR Cordarrelle Patterson being used as returner

Source: 1500ESPN.com - Tom Pelissero

The Minnesota Vikings WR Cordarrelle Patterson is being used as a kick returner during organized team activities.

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This move makes sense. Patterson is elite in the open field and has good run after the catch ability. We'll see if his role grows on offense how much that limits the number of returns he's in on in 2013.

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MIN - WR Greg Jennings sits out workout

Source: 1500ESPN.com - Tom Pelissero

Minnesota Vikings WR Greg Jennings (ankle) did not participate in organized team activities Wednesday, May 29, because of an ankle injury.

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Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said the injury is not serious. The team will monitor the veteran closely as he deals with this ankle issue.

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KC - WR Dwayne Bowe leaves practice early

Source: The Kansas City Star - Adam Teicher

Kansas City Chiefs WR Dwayne Bowe (leg) left organized team activities early Wednesday, May 29, because of a leg cramp.

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The team doesn't think the injury is serious but want to be cautious with their superstar WR. Bowe has lofty goals for this season and will be the featured target in the new Andy Reid system. His current ADP is WR15 and he's coming off the board at 4.09.

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PIT - WR Markus Wheaton could be deep threat

Source: ESPN.com

Pittsburgh Steelers WR Markus Wheaton, the team's third-round draft pick, might be the logical choice to replace WR Mike Wallace as the team's deep receiving threat this year. Wheaton ran a 4.5-second 40-yard dash before the draft, but he won't be able to work out with the team until he graduates from Oregon State. Fellow rookie WR Justin Brown will compete with Wheaton for playing time this year.

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Wheaton is a fantastic addition by the Steelers. When he gets up to speed with the pro game then he will be a dangerous weapon for Ben Roethlisberger. Wheaton has speed, concentration, and can track deep passes easily over his shoulder.

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DAL - WR Dez Bryant working on route running

Source: ESPNDallas.com - Jean-Jacques Taylor

Dallas Cowboys WR Dez Bryant has been working on improving his route running this season and wants to use the same footwork on every snap. He wants to use the same intensity pace and footwork on every snap so he can have an advantage over the defender. 'He's improved so much. You can tell,' CB Brandon Carr said. 'He's working on all the little things in practice. He's focused on the details and he's getting better and better. I'm glad I don't have to cover him in games this season.' Bryant has also altered his route running on deep passes in hopes of running past a defender.

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It's great to see Bryant's commitment to be the best pro he can be. Last season he finally played up to his enormous potential and this year should be a top 5 fantasy WR again. Bryant has the ability to finish the season as the best WR in fantasy football.

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CIN - OLB James Harrison says moving to 4-3 not a big deal

Source: Bengals.com - Geoff Hobson

Cincinnati Bengals LB James Harrison said he does not see moving to a 4-3 defensive alignment will be a big change because he will be doing basically the same thing he did in the 3-4 defensive alignment. 'I'm playing SAM, so I'm basically doing the same thing I do in a 3-4 defense. It's just that I'll switch where I'm lining up. I'll be in a 40 or 30, stacked behind a tackle or guard or whatever it may be. And I'll do my job from there,' Harrison said. He said he still needs to learn the terminology because some of it is similar to what he used with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

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Harrison was added to rush the passer and that's his primary job with the Bengals in 2013. His alignment may be different but the desired result is the same; get to the quarterback. We'll see if has anything left in the tank if he can stay healthy this season.

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

Peace,

J