Evan Silva

Offseason Low Down

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NFC Team-by-Team Notes

Friday, June 21, 2013



Philadelphia Eagles

There remain more unknowns than knowns following Chip Kelly's first OTA schedule as an NFL coach. A seemingly growing pocket of Philly beat writers believes Nick Foles has a real shot to beat out Michael Vick. Foles and Vick essentially rotated evenly with the ones all spring, and Kelly promises to design his offense around the strengths of the prevailing competitor. My money is on Vick, but daily Eagles observers are more plugged-in than me. We may not know the starter until the first week of September. ... Rotoworld completed its annual Draft Guide magazine this week. One of the more compelling Eagles stats I found was 685:373. That was Kelly's astonishingly lopsided run-to-pass ratio with the 2012 Oregon Ducks. While his NFL offense is unlikely to be identical, it's more confirmation Kelly is a believer in the run game as his foundation. The number bodes well for LeSean McCoy and projected No. 2 back Bryce Brown. Last season, Kelly gave Ducks starting runner Kenjon Barner 23 touches a game, and "backup" De'Anthony Thomas 10.5.

San Francisco 49ers

Perhaps the most fascinating fantasy nugget to emerge the past few days was Vernon Davis practicing exclusively with the 49ers' wideout group at minicamp. Davis already knows how to play in-line and "move" tight end. He's now learning slot, X, and Z. Coming out of Maryland in 2006, Davis ran a 4.38 forty with a 42-inch vertical and 10-foot-8 broad jump. At the '11 Combine, Julio Jones ran 4.38 with a 38 1/2-inch vert and 11-foot-3 leap. Beat reporters had already made it clear they anticipate Davis picking up most of the slack following Michael Crabtree's Achilles' tear. Davis' expanded usage all but confirms that's indeed coach Jim Harbaugh's plan. ... 2012 first-rounder A.J. Jenkins, coming off a bust of a rookie year, apparently did little to distinguish himself in the spring. He wrapped minicamp running as the 49ers' second-team X receiver behind special teamer Kyle Williams. Expect San Francisco to continue to lean on two-tight end, two-back sets as their base offense. Their wideouts aren't good enough to morph into a three-receiver team.

Seattle Seahawks

The Seahawks do things differently than most teams in the spring and summer. Rather than defer to veterans, they open every position on the roster to competition. Despite second-year back Robert Turbin's solid rookie season, second-round pick Christine Michael handled "a lot" of first-team OTA reps during Marshawn Lynch's excused absences. An often viciously physical runner with burst and shake, Michael is a more talented pure ball carrier than Turbin, though the latter is more well-rounded. The camp battle will continue into August and is worth monitoring closely because Lynch's 2012 DUI case has lingered. Lynch will next be in court on July 5. If found guilty, a four-game suspension is likely. ... The Seahawks traded a 2013 first-round pick, 2013 seventh-rounder, and 2014 third-rounder for Percy Harvin, and inked him to a six-year, $67 million contract in mid-March. Despite the lofty compensation, coach Pete Carroll insists the Seahawks won't necessarily make Harvin a featured, go-to type player. "It's not going to change our football team in terms of what we want to do," Carroll stated. "We're just going to add him in and cut him loose, let him go." In a run-first attack, there is reason to be concerned about Harvin's 2013 targets.

St. Louis Rams

I believe it was Greg Cosell who first suggested the Rams are designing their offense to recreate Oklahoma's old speed-spread attack. Jared Cook is Sam Bradford's new Jermaine Gresham. Brian Quick, or Austin Pettis, is Malcolm Kelly. Tavon Austin is Juaquin Iglesias/DeMarco Murray. Chris Givens is Manuel Johnson. The Rams likely hope Bradford's comfort level will improve in the new wide-open system. Bradford to this point in his career has been thoroughly mediocre, but he did set personal bests in touchdown passes (21), yards (3,702), and YPA (6.7) last season. Surrounded by the best supporting cast of his NFL service time, Bradford will be an intriguing QB2. ... While St. Louis' backfield pecking order will not crystallize until practices are live and preseason games kick off, I thought it would be worthwhile to include the Average Draft Positions of Rams running backs in this column. Daryl Richardson is most often the first back chosen, with a mid-seventh-round ADP as the RB33. Zac Stacy (ninth round, RB41) is next. Isaiah Pead (tenth round, RB44) comes in third. Pead has the most talent of the bunch and is easily the best value.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Roles are all pretty much locked in across Tampa Bay's offense. Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams are the X and Z receivers, respectively. Despite coach Greg Schiano's allusions to the contrary, Josh Freeman isn't in danger of losing his job to rookie Mike Glennon. Doug Martin is the every-down back. The third-receiver, tight end, and No. 2 tailback jobs are worth tracking in camp, but none is particularly likely to be of fantasy consequence barring injury. ... On more than one occasion I've read that Martin faded down the stretch last season. Let's go ahead and debunk that notion. While it's true that Martin never repeated his 251-yard, four-touchdown November destruction of Oakland, over the final seven weeks he averaged 109.7 total yards per game and reached pay dirt four times. Martin did lay a nine-carry, 16-yard egg in Week 15 -- a critical fantasy week -- but that was because the Saints jumped out to a 24-0 first-half lead. A key note to remember: Stud guards Carl Nicks (toe) and Davin Joseph (knee) combined for just seven games played last year. With both coming off healthy, restriction-free springs, I'd be willing to draft Martin as the No. 2 running back off the board, behind only Adrian Peterson and ahead of Arian Foster.

Washington Redskins

In a June 12 media Q&A, Redskins offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan deemed Alfred Morris "as good a back as I've been around." That's nice praise from a coach who was Arian Foster's coordinator in Houston, in addition to a Bucs quality control coach during Cadillac Williams' NFL Rookie of the Year campaign. There's no need for fantasy owners to fret about "Shanahanigans" in the Redskins' 2013 backfield. Son Kyle -- not Father Mike -- calls the plays in Washington now, and the Shanahans have only shuttled back and forth between running backs when they didn't have a good one (Bells, Torain, etc.) The Shannies ride great ones (Davis, Portis), and they believe Morris falls into the latter category. ... Robert Griffin III's knee rehab continues to progress ahead of schedule to the point that he may well practice on the first day of training camp. RG3 performed bootlegs on the side at OTAs and should start creeping up fantasy cheatsheets. Drafters have been conservative to this point. Griffin's ADP is the early- to mid-seventh round.



Evan Silva is a senior football editor for Rotoworld.com. He can be found on Twitter .
Email :Evan Silva



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