Welcome to the 2014 NFL Training Camp Report!! Loyal readers of Fantasy Alarm know that every summer I like to keep a finger on the pulse of NFL training camps. I am so excited this year as for the first time I will have a lot of help. The Fantasy Alarm news department who are always on top of every breaking and developing story will be aiding the cause of keeping our readers informed.
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We are only a few days into NFL training camp and already there are some fantasy worthy players who are hobbled. Here are a few that went down in practice today:
Jacksonville Jaguars WR Cecil Shorts left practice this morning with tightness in his hamstring. It doesn’t sound like this is anything major but the Jags said that they would take it slowly with Shorts over the next couple of days.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers finally parted ways with oft-injured LG Carl Nicks who is dealing with a significant toe injury that may wind up ending his career. The Bucs will hope that one of their fifth round picks in Kadeem Edwards or Kevin Pamphile steps up to fill the giant hole that Nicks leaves in the interior.
Colts RB Vick Ballard is hoping to fill the hole created by the departure of Donald Brown this offseason but he just can’t seem to stay healthy. Ballard was carted off the Colts practice field this afternoon after rolling his ankle pretty bad. An MRI showed Ballard suffered a torn Achilles tendon and thus he will once again miss the entire season. Just another lesson to learn for all of you who play Dynasty and always are thinking two or three years down the road when tomorrow is promised to no one.
Not that anybody cares but Patriots WR Greg Orton was carted off the field this morning with what appears to be a significant knee injury. Orton was signed as a rookie free agent out of Purdue this spring and was competing for a spot on special teams for the Pats.
How About Some Good News?
The Texans opened their arms real wide today for the arrival of WR Andre Johnson who officially reported for duty. I’ve said all offseason that Johnson really is in a great spot with this Texans club the way it is constructed. Bill O’Brien’s offense will feature a lot of TE formations but Andre will be playing the “Randy Moss” role which he may be better at then…Randy Moss. I am moving him up a couple of spots in my 2014 Rankings as a result of this news.
Unlike the 22nd pick in the NFL Draft (Johnny Manziel) the third overall pick in this year’s draft (Blake Bortles) has kept a fairly low profile. The first day of Bortles first NFL training camp started with a broken water main that forced the Jaguars facility to be temporarily without water. So much for the glitz and glamour of NFL life, kid. But Bortles did some real nice things in his first practice though. After throwing a real bad interception he came back strong to split two defenders on a seam route before finishing the drive with a beautiful back shoulder throw to Damian Copeland for a touchdown. Bortles is already far ahead of Manziel in learning his teams playbook and adapting to being a professional.
Sammy Watkins is proving that the Bills made a wise decision in moving up to the fourth spot to take him. Watkins has been making some spectacular grabs early on and has already shown good chemistry with E.J. Manuel. Watkins will turn out to be the best player taken in the 2014 NFL Draft.
The St. Louis Rams have a bevy of rookies to keep tabs on this summer including DT Aaron Donald and OT Greg Robinson. The two matched up against one another in several pass rushing drills to which Donald got the best of Robinson more often than not. In fact, Donald has been a beast since camp opened playing at a significantly higher speed than just about everybody around him. This Rams defense is going to be REAL special assuming they all stay healthy this season.
Fellow Rams rookie RB Tre Mason hasn’t been the threat to Zac Stacy that many thought he would be. Mason is running as a change of pace back in passing setups and hasn’t been the lead in either of the first three team offenses. It’s fair to say that Mason will have little fantasy value this season even if Stacy gets hurt.