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Volume 14, Issue #39, June 6th


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Hi Folks,

Welcome to Friday. Hope you've got a nice weekend planned as we dive into Summer. We've got the NFL News and Notes you need so let's get to it.

But before we get to that - fun picture of the day. The Packers wrapped up this session of their OTAs with a Dodgeball tourney. I'd try to make sure I was on Rodgers' side. He was pretty funny after the game.

“I’ve watched ‘DodgeBall’ many times, and I’ve followed the five D’s in dodgeball – dodge, duck, dip, dive and, of course, dodge,” he said. “Patches O’Houlihan and I are good buddies.”

OK, now let's get to it.

J

SITE NEWS

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INSIDE THIS ISSUE

1. IND - Working on deal with RB Ahmad Bradshaw
2. WAS - Robert Griffin thinks he'll be ready for training camp
3. PHI - QB Michael Vick doesn’t like splitting reps
4. NYG - Coach expects WR Hakeem Nicks at minicamp
5. TEN - QB Jake Locker impressing
6. STL - Jeff Fisher reacts to Isaiah Pead suspension
7. CLE - Coach impressed with QB Brandon Weeden's work
8. JAX - RB Maurice Jones-Drew misses practice
9. WAS - WR Pierre Garcon will be ready
10. NO - TE Jimmy Graham determined to improve
11. ATL - RB Steven Jackson having fun as new guy
12. NO - WR Joe Morgan could be No. 3 WR
13. DET - RB Mikel Leshoure trying to manage hamstring
14. CIN - Jay Gruden eyes big improvements
15. NYJ - Re-boot with QB Mark Sanchez
16. NYG - QB Eli Manning praises WR Rueben Randle
17. NE - Bill Belichick comments on feelings about QB Tim Tebow
18. NYJ - Three WRs expected to take part in minicamp
19. STL - TE Lance Kendricks misses practice
20. WAS - TE Fred Davis won’t participate in minicamp
21. GB - RB Eddie Lacy has added some weight
22. JAX - Beanie Wells to visit
23. KC - QB Alex Smith encouraged to make big plays
24. PHI - Jason Peters healthy
25. IND - WR Reggie Wayne reports to OTAs
26. WAS - RB Roy Helu participating
27. NYJ - QB Geno Smith receives praise from coach
28. BAL - Coach says OLB Courtney Upshaw needs to lose weight
29. SD - OLB Dwight Freeney comfortable in new defense

IND - Working on deal with RB Ahmad Bradshaw

Source: Kim Jones - NFL Network

The Indianapolis Colts are talking with free-agent RB Ahmad Bradshaw (Giants) about a contract.

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A good fit for the Colts if they can come to an agreement. Bradshaw could end up winning the starting job over Vick Ballard or Donald Brown. He's a versatile runner who can work well as a receiver out of the backfield.

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WAS - Robert Griffin thinks he'll be ready for training camp

Source: NFL.com - Marc Sessler

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III (knee) thinks that he'll be ready well before the regular season, possibly even for training camp. 'One: It's a month (away). And then, two, it's just how I feel, and how it's progressed,' Griffin said. 'Over the last three weeks, I've had a lot of progress and I feel a lot better. ... While training camp's a month, month and a half away ... I feel really good about that. And then the start of the season is even farther than that. ... That's why I say 'without a doubt.'' Griffin did some throwing during minicamp Thursday, June 6, and also ran close to full speed during conditioning drills.

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More positive news about Griffin's availability here. All reports have him on track to be under center for week one. We should see him limited during training camp and the preseason. This will give more reps for second-year QB Kirk Cousins.

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PHI - QB Michael Vick doesn’t like splitting reps

Source: Philadelphia Daily News - Les Bowen

Philadelphia Eagles QB Michael Vick does not like splitting first team reps with QB Nick Foles. 'It's tough,' Vick said, when asked about splitting the reps Thursday. 'I have to continue to be a professional and put my feelings and emotions to the side, and just continue to compete. But it's hard. I would be lying if I said it wasn't, but that's just what I have to deal with, and I'm going to keep dealing with it until I see otherwise.'

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It's difficult to get into a rhythm as a passer when splitting reps. Vick's battle with Foles could last through training camp. Both are somewhat odd fits in the Chip Kelly system.

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NYG - Coach expects WR Hakeem Nicks at minicamp

Source: ESPNNewYork.com - Ohm Youngmisuk

New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin said he expects WR Hakeem Nicks to attend mandatory minicamp with the team next week. Nicks has previously missed voluntary organized team activities. 'We have a mandatory camp,' Coughlin explained. 'I would expect that [Nicks] would be here.'

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Some expect a long-term deal between Nicks and the Giants to be done in the near future. There is a June 17th deadline where the team can reduce his RFA tender from $2.8MM to $630,000. We'll see if the two sides can work out an agreement before then.

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TEN - QB Jake Locker impressing

Source: The Tennessean - Jim Wyatt

Tennessee Titans QB Jake Locker has been impressive in organized team activities. Locker has thrown 14 touchdowns and three interceptions in team drills. Locker also rushed for a touchdown.

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Good news for Locker and Titans fans here. It's a make or break year for the 2011 first-round pick. The team needs to find out whether or not Locker can be the franchise QB they envisioned when he came out of Washington. Locker needs to stay healthy and play up to his potential if he wants to keep his grip on the starting job.

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STL - Jeff Fisher reacts to Isaiah Pead suspension

Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch - Jim Thomas

St. Louis Rams head coach Jeff Fisher said he is pleased with how RB Isaiah Pead has reacted to a one-game suspension. 'He obviously has to suffer the consequences and miss the game. But I'm pleased with how he's bounced back and his professional approach to being a member of this team.' Fisher said Pead missing Week 1 will not complicate sorting out the depth chart at running back.

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We'll see how Pead reacts to the added competition at the RB position in training camp. The team has a three-way competition between Pead, Daryl Richardson, and rookie Zac Stacy (Vanderbilt). This is a battle that should last through training camp. Richardson is the most explosive, but may lack a starter's build. Stacy is tough and durable but also an underrated receiver out of the backfield. Pead is the most well rounded of the three but did little to impress as a rookie in 2012.

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CLE - Coach impressed with QB Brandon Weeden's work

Source: Akron Beacon Journal - Nate Ulrich

Cleveland Browns head coach Rob Chudzinski said he has been impressed with how QB Brandon Weeden has performed during organized team activities. 'I think Brandon has done a nice job to this point -- everything we’ve asked him to do,' Chudzinski said. 'Certainly it hasn’t been perfect. But learning, being able to apply it on the field, to be able to listen to [offensive coordinator Norv Turner] hollering at him and to be able to make those adjustments and those corrections, you see progress. All of you probably have seen it out here. Not only from a technical standpoint in what he’s doing, he’s getting the ball out quicker, he’s speeded up his delivery. But also from a mental standpoint, his understanding and comfort level, you can see it when he’s out there.'

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Great news for Weeden here. The new regime needs to be impressed by Weeden this season so he can keep his job as the starting QB. He's looked good this offseason and is the favorite over Jason Campbell to be the week one starter. His arm talent will make for a nice fit in the new Norv Turner offense.

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JAX - RB Maurice Jones-Drew misses practice

Source: The Florida Times-Union - Ryan O'Halloran

Jacksonville Jaguars RB Maurice Jones-Drew (foot) did not participate in practice Thursday, June 6, and was not present at the team’s workout.

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Jones-Drew still isn't 100 percent healthy as he comes back from last year's Lisfranc injury. His status as a fantasy RB1 is on shaky ground right now. We'll see if he can look like the MJD of old in the preseason.

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WAS - WR Pierre Garcon will be ready

Source: NFL.com - Kevin Patra

Washington Redskins WR Pierre Garcon (shoulder, foot) said he will be ready for Week 1. 'If there was a game tomorrow, I would be able to play,' Garcon said about his recovery from shoulder surgery. 'We are just taking precautions to make sure it heals properly.' He also said the torn ligament in his right foot is improving. He will be wearing special shoes to help him out in that area.

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Having a healthy Garcon is a big deal for the Redskins. His speed stretches the field and takes the top off the defense. That helps open up things underneath for the ground game and short passing game.

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NO - TE Jimmy Graham determined to improve

Source: The Associated Press

New Orleans Saints TE Jimmy Graham (wrist, ankle) said he's hungry to improve after catching 85 passes for 982 yards and nine touchdowns a season ago. 'This is probably the hungriest I've ever been to kind of right the wrongs of last year and to prove what this team can do and maybe hush up some of the naysayers,' Graham said. 'So for me it's all work and doing as much as I can to be the best player I can.' Graham was bothered by a left wrist injury and an ankle sprain for much of last year. He isn't fully recovered from offseason wrist surgery, but he's been making catches during minicamp practices this week. Graham said he's almost back to 100 percent health. He's also more confident from working with QB Drew Brees all offseason and having head coach Sean Payton back in the fold.

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With the injury concerns for both Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez (Patriots) Graham becomes a slam dunk number one fantasy TE for your draft. With head coach Sean Payton returning to the sidelines we should see the Saints look more like themselves in 2013.

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ATL - RB Steven Jackson having fun as new guy

Source: AtlantaFalcons.com - Jay Adams

Atlanta Falcons RB Steven Jackson is enjoying the experience of learning new teammates, coaches and a playbook, and he is still growing accustomed to his new surroundings. 'It's been a great time. As of right now, you can only imagine learning a new playbook,' Jackson said Wednesday, June 5. 'I'm trying to dump what I've learned over the years and learn the way that they do things around here, but it's a lot of fun, a lot of excitement and quite a bit of competition, so that's only going to make everyone better.'

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The Falcons are hoping that adding Jackson will help put them over the top in 2013. Jackson will be their featured back this season and still has what it takes to be a RB1 in fantasy leagues. His current ADP is RB12 and he's coming off the board at 2.02 in most 12 team leagues.

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NO - WR Joe Morgan could be No. 3 WR

Source: New Orleans Times-Picayune - Larry Holder

New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton said he believes WR Joe Morgan could be the team's No. 3 wide receiver and deep threat this season. Morgan's roster spot seems secure even though he was arrested for driving while intoxicated last month.

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Morgan has good downfield speed and can take the top off the defense. He could be the team's third WR but could be fourth or fifth in targets behind Marques Colston, Jimmy Graham, Lance Moore, and Darren Sproles.

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DET - RB Mikel Leshoure trying to manage hamstring

Source: Detroit Free Press - Dave Birkett

Detroit Lions RB Mikel Leshoure (hamstring) was able to have limited participation during organized team activities Monday, June 4. He said he is trying to manage his lingering hamstring injury in hopes of being 100 percent once training camp begins.

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Leshoure needs to be careful with this hamstring injury. He's already lost the starting job to free agent addition Reggie Bush. If he misses time in training camp he could lose his backup job to Joique Bell.

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CIN - Jay Gruden eyes big improvements

Source: The Cincinnati Enquirer - Joe Reedy

Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden thinks the offense is due to make big improvements in the right direction this year after the team drafted TE Tyler Eifert and RB Giovani Bernard. Gruden has been pleased with the way the players have adjusted and adapted to his installation of a new offense during organized team activities. He's also happy with increased repetitions for QB Andy Dalton and the improvements of the skill players. 'The thing about our offense is they came back and are willing to work hard, they are all unselfish and have a great understanding of what it is going to take for us to get to the next level,' Gruden said. The offense has run some no-huddle plays this week and Dalton likes the look it gives the team.

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The offense should be more explosive in 2013. It's an important note for fantasy owners looking for sleepers in their fantasy draft. Some think Bernard could be more than a change of pace back behind BenJarvus Green-Ellis. His current ADP is RB31 (only two spots behind Green-Ellis) and he's coming off the board near the end of round six in 12 team leagues. Eifert is TE2 value in fantasy leagues with the upside to be a flexible option in your lineup. His current ADP is TE16 and he's coming off the board at 13.07.

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NYJ - Re-boot with QB Mark Sanchez

Source: ProFootballTalk.com - Mike Florio

New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan is not in any hurry to name a starting quarterback. While he fawned over the ability of QB Geno Smith Wednesday, June 5, he was less effusive about QB Mark Sanchez. However, he did say the struggles by Sanchez last year were beyond him. 'I think when you come back you have to erase the computer,' Ryan said. 'You start all over again and I think Mark's done that and I think a bunch of us have done that.'

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Sanchez lost his confidence and that's caused a decline in his play over the last two years. He'll have to prove that he can beat out rookie Geno Smith (West Virginia) in order to win the starting job in training camp.

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NYG - QB Eli Manning praises WR Rueben Randle

Source: New York Daily News - Ralph Vacchiano

New York Giants QB Eli Manning praised WR Rueben Randle. 'A lot of times that second year you have a better feel for what’s going on, what his assignments are and the ins and outs of the offense,' Manning said as the Giants wrapped up OTAs. 'He’s confident out there. He’s got a great skill set. I think he’s had a great spring. I think he’s done a lot of good things, made a lot of plays for us and I think he can be a great playmaker for us this year.'

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Randle is a talented player with big upside. He's been getting more reps in minicamp because Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks are both missing voluntary workouts. Randle is competing with veteran Louis Murphy to be the team's WR3 in 2013.

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NE - Bill Belichick comments on feelings about QB Tim Tebow

Source: ESPNBoston.com - Field Yates

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick denied a report that stated he hated free-agent QB Tim Tebow (Jets) as a football player. 'Every single player has strengths and weaknesses but regardless of that, for anyone to have represented that is the way I feel about Tim Tebow is completely untrue, baseless and irresponsible,' Belichick said. 'It is unfortunate that something so inaccurate was reported.'

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Some felt the Patriots would make a run at Tebow because OC Josh McDaniels (former Broncos head coach) selected the controversial QB in the first-round of the 2010 NFL draft. Tebow has gotten zero NFL interest after being released by the Jets last month. That could change as we get closer to training camp but there are many who feel his days in the NFL are done.

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NYJ - Three WRs expected to take part in minicamp

Source: New York Post - Brian Costello

New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan said he believes WRs Stephen Hill (knee), Jeremy Kerley (heel) and WR Clyde Gates (hamstring) will be able to participate the team's minicamp next week.

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The team's WR corps is incredibly thin right now because of all the injuries at the position. Getting this trio back next week will help. The team is also looking forward to the return of Santonio Holmes (foot) as well. Holmes should be back at some point before the regular season but may begin training camp on the PUP list.

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STL - TE Lance Kendricks misses practice

Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch - Jim Thomas

St. Louis Rams TE Lance Kendricks (knee) did not participate in practice Thursday, June 6.

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No surprise here. Kendricks had his knee scoped earlier this year to manage some swelling he had experienced. He's on track to be ready for training camp.

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WAS - TE Fred Davis won’t participate in minicamp

Source: The Washington Times

Washington Redskins TE Fred Davis (Achilles’) will not participate in the team’s mandatory minicamp as a precaution. “He might be able to go next week, but I’m going to keep him away even if he wants to go,” Shanahan said. “I like what I see on a day-to-day basis. You can see the explosion. I just don’t want him to push against anybody right now. I just don’t want to take that chance when he has an extra month-and-a-half recovery time. And so we won’t push it. But if we were playing next week, I think he might be able to go.”

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The Redskins are just being safe here. Davis could play in a game if he had to but it's best for his recovery to give him as much time off as possible. Rushing him back right now could only aggravate his injury. We should see Davis in action at the start of training camp.

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GB - RB Eddie Lacy has added some weight

Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - Tyler Dunne

Green Bay Packers RB Eddie Lacy said he currently weighs 238 pounds, which is more than he weighed when he played for Alabama. Lacy usually weighed between 225 pounds and 230 pounds during college.

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We'll see if Lacy loses some of that weight during his rookie season. It's not uncommon for rookie RBs to drop weight during the rigors of their first NFL season. Lacy is competing to be the Packers starting RB for the 2013 season. He's big, fast, and has good footwork in the hole and the open field. His biggest concern is durability.

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JAX - Beanie Wells to visit

Source: The Florida Times-Union - Ryan O'Halloran

The Jacksonville Jaguars are set to work out free-agent RB Beanie Wells (Cardinals) Thursday, June 6.

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The Jaguars have question marks at the RB position behind Maurice Jones-Drew. Wells was a bust with the Cardinals and is looking for a fresh start. We'll see if his knee and toe issues are behind him enough to entice a team to take a chance on him. Currently the Jaguars have Justin Forsett and rookie Denard Robinson (Michigan) as the primary backups behind Jones-Drew.

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KC - QB Alex Smith encouraged to make big plays

Source: The Kansas City Star - Adam Teicher

Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid isn't afraid to have QB Alex Smith throw the ball downfield often, something he wasn't accustomed to doing during his time as a starter for the San Francisco 49ers. Reid is challenging Smith to be more aggressive without being careless with the football and causing turnovers. 'It's a new offense. I would tell any quarterback that comes in new that that's what you need to do. I've told them all that. Go ahead and take your shots and see what you can get away with, within reason. But if it's a close throw, there are going to be a few of those in the National Football League on game day so you need to know what you can get away with on each route,' Reid said.

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The team has a group of weapons that can get open downfield. Players like Dwayne Bowe and Jonathan Baldwin can get by defenders in a hurry and they need a QB to challenge the defense deep. Even rookie Travis Kelce (Cincinnati) can attack the deep middle seam. We'll have to wait and see if Smith plays with the necessary boldness in the regular season.

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PHI - Jason Peters healthy

Source: Delaware County Times - Jack McCaffery

Philadelphia Eagles OT Jason Peters (Achilles') said he may decide to retire if he doesn't play up to his standards this year. Peters stated at minicamp Wednesday, June 5, that he's completely healthy after injuring his Achilles' last year. Peters said he's currently 10 pounds overweight, but he plans to burn that off during offseason practices. 'It looks like he has never been through an Achilles injury to me,' OG Evan Mathis said. 'He was at his true form. If you know football at all, you would see that yourself. He looks great. He looks phenomenal. He was a tremendous athlete before and after the injury.'

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Great news for the Eagles here. Peters at left tackle gives them above average protection for the QB. The selected Lane Johnson (Oklahoma) in the first-round of the 2013 NFL draft to be push for the starting job at right tackle this year.

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IND - WR Reggie Wayne reports to OTAs

Source: The Associated Press

Indianapolis Colts WR Reggie Wayne reported to organized team activities Wednesday, June 5, to learn the team's new offensive with a brand new offensive coordinator, Pep Hamilton. 'It has been a challenge, but I'm getting it done. It's a little new to me still, but it's cool,' Wayne said. Wayne plans to attend the team's mandatory minicamp next week and then head back to Miami where he'll work out until training camp in July.

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Wayne should still be the most trusted WR for second-year QB Andrew Luck but the design of the offense is much different. Hamilton will use the short passing game whereas last year Bruce Arians featured a heavy downfield attack. Wayne's current ADP is WR18 and he's coming off the board at 5.02 in non-PPR leagues.

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WAS - RB Roy Helu participating

Source: CSNWashington.com - Rich Tandler

Washington Redskins RB Roy Helu (toe) is participating in camp for the first time Thursday, June 6.

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Good news for Helu. He's going to compete with rookie Chris Thompson (Florida State) to be the primary backup behind Alfred Morris. Helu has a good skill set but durability problems have held him back during his pro career.

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NYJ - QB Geno Smith receives praise from coach

Source: ProFootballTalk.com - Mike Florio

Updating a previous report, while New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan isn't ready to name a starting quarterback, QB Geno Smith has come in and made favorable impression on Ryan. 'I think he's doing a great job. He's on top of that. I think the way he throws the ball, obviously you notice his physical skills,' Ryan said. 'He can throw it with anybody and I think that's been impressive as well.'

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Smith is competing with Mark Sanchez to be the starting QB for the Jets this year. He fell to the second-round of the 2013 NFL draft and that is likely to make him more focused to prove himself at the NFL level. It would be a surprise to us if Smith isn't the starter at the beginning of the year.

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BAL - Coach says OLB Courtney Upshaw needs to lose weight

Source: The Baltimore Sun - Aaron Wilson

Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said LB Courtney Upshaw needs to lose some weight. “He doesn't eat right. Courtney eats too much and he doesn't eat all the right foods. He knows that. It's something he needs to get a handle on or he's not going to be the best he can be.”

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Upshaw weighed around 270 pounds coming out of college. He needs to get his weight down before the start of the regular season. A lighter weight will help him play quicker and get after the quarterback. Upshaw is set to work in as a rotational player during his second season in the pros.

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SD - OLB Dwight Freeney comfortable in new defense

Source: ESPN.com

San Diego Chargers DE Dwight Freeney said he's comfortable in the team's new defense under coordinator Chuck Pagano. Freeney didn't seem comfortable with the Indianapolis Colts in a 3-4 defensive scheme last year, but the Chargers also run a 3-4. 'I think the biggest thing was that, he was going to allow me to do a little bit of what I do,' said Freeney, who will be used as an edge rusher on the right side. 'It wasn't, 'Dwight, here, we're going to take you and put you in this thing and do things that you're not used to doing.' He said, 'You know what, we're going to put you in place to make plays, in familiar places, so that you're comfortable and you can just ball out.''

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The Chargers need Freeney to bounce back after a poor performance in 2012. Their pass rush took a big hit when OLB Melvin Ingram was lost for the year with a knee injury in minicamp. We'll see if Freeney can look better in a 3-4 this year with one year experience in a similar system.

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

Peace,

J