Eric Ebron TE DET 3 Days2 Comments
Coach Jim Caldwell is optimistic that Ebron is poised to improve significantly in his second season with the Lions, the Detroit Free Press reports. "His off-season, to this point, has been pretty impressive," Caldwell said of Ebron on Wednesday. "Now, I'm anticipating, just because I know kind of what he's been doing, working at it, I'm anticipating to see a pretty significant rise in his performance."
While Caldwell didn't get overly specific about Ebron's offseason activities, it's not hard to imagine the No. 10 overall pick in the 2014 NFL draft improving on his first-season numbers; 25 catches for 248 yards in 13 games. Per the report, as a rookie, Ebron was slow to pick up the Lions' playbook out of training camp. Moreover, Ebron had issues with drops early on, eventually missing three games with a hamstring injury. When the Lions selected Ebron last year, they envisioned him as a big, athletic pass catcher to provide a red-zone receiving threat opposite WR Calvin Johnson. In his second year as a pro, Ebron should have more opportunities on that front, thus making him a candidate to enter the fantasy lineup equation in 2015.
Pat Sims DL CIN 3 Days
The Bengals have signed Sims, the team's official site reports.
Sims, who spent the last two seasons with the Raiders, returns to the Bengals for a second stint. The 6-2, 310-pound defensive tackle, who was a third-round pick of Cincinnati in 2008, is coming off a 2014 season in which he recorded just 25 tackles in 16 games for Oakland. "Pat was a good player for us here and we think he can fill a role for us this year," Bengals defensive line coach Jay Hayes noted of the signing. "He lends a physical dimension. He's a very aggressive run player, and we're happy to have him back."
Darrius Heyward-Bey WR PIT 3 Days
The Steelers have signed Heyward-Bey to a one-year contract, the Carroll County Times reports.
Heyward-Bey, who caught just three passes for 33 yards for the Steelers last season in 16 games, returns to reprise his depth wideout role for the team. Despite the name recognition, the 2009 first-rounder figures to remain a break or two from fantasy relevance, though he has emerged as a key special-teamer for the Steelers.
David Hawthorne LB NO 3 Days
According to head coach Sean Payton, Hawthorne will replace the departed Curtis Lofton as one of the Saints' starting inside linebackers, reports the New Orleans Times-Picayune.
Hawthorne was considered to be a potential salary-cap casualty this offseason, but was retained by the Saints after agreeing to a pay cut. Now, Hawthorne's new role could be a productive one, as Lofton topped 120 tackles in each of his last three seasons in New Orleans. Hawthorne has a history of injuries but if he can stay healthy, he makes for a very viable IDP option in fantasy leagues.
E. J. Gaines DB STL 3 Days
Gaines is fully recovered from his late-season concussion, Nick Wagoner of ESPN NFL Nation reports.
Gaines had a surprisingly productive rookie year with 70 tackles, and is primed for another excellent season in 2014. The fact he is symptom-free is a good sign for upcoming training camp.
Brian Quick WR STL 3 Days
Quick (shoulder) has not been ruled out for being ready for training camp, Nick Wagoner of ESPN NFL Nation reports.
Quick appears to be healing up nicely, but he did have major shoulder surgery just a few months ago. He should be ready to go for the preseason at the least, but it is a situation worth monitoring. Quick had a breakout season in 2014 despite playing with a carousel of quarterbacks.
Bryce Brown RB BUF 4 Days4 Comments
New coach Rex Ryan failed to mention Brown's name when discussing the Bills' running back situation at the NFL owners meeting in Phoenix this week until prompted, ESPN.com reports. Said Ryan, "With us, when we made the LeSean McCoy trade, with Fred Jackson and Boobie Dixon and, uh, the fast dude. Brown is it? I'm not gonna learn his name until he holds on to the football."
While many of Ryan's comments can be taking at a grain of salt outside of comedic purposes, fumbling issues have cropped up in Brown's brief NFL career, and he lost one last season that really cost the Bills in the playoff chase. With Fred Jackson being brought back and LeSean McCoy serving as the bell cow back, at best Brown will win the No. 3 running back job, and from the sound of things he may enter camp sitting fourth behind Dixon, who offers more versatility.
Victor Cruz WR NYG 4 Days17 Comments
Coach Tom Coughlin relayed Wednesday that he saw Cruz (knee) do some running recently, noting that the wideout looks lighter and in shape, Newsday reports.
While Coughlin remains optimistic that Cruz will bounce back well from his torn patellar tendon, a firm timetable for the wideout's return to game action has yet to be solidified. "I'd be careful of what I would say there," Coughlin said. "Hopefully it's the first game, but, you know what, if it isn't, we've done that one before. We just went through it." Coughlin was, of course, referring to how Odell Beckham Jr. was sidelined for the first few weeks of the 2014 season, before returning to make a significant impact as the season progressed. Either way, the report suggests that the hope continues to be that Cruz will participate in training camp this summer, in some capacity.
LaMarr Woodley DL ARI 4 Days
Coach Bruce Arians said Wednesday at the NFL Annual Meeting that Woodley (biceps) will be an every-down linebacker in 2015, Mike Jurecki of FOX Sports 910 Phoenix reports.
Woodley's 2014 campaign ended prematurely due to a torn biceps, so there's no guarantee that he'll uphold such an expectation. More likely, his varied skill set indicates that he holds the ability to play in all scenarios, especially in pass-specific situations. Even if he doesn't land a starting gig, the Cardinals' current lack of linebacker depth could afford Woodley a significant workload this coming season.
Larry Foote LB ARI 4 Days
Foote underwent offseason knee surgery, and while he's currently fulfilling a coaching gig for the Cardinals, he may decide to play in 2015, Josh Weinfuss of ESPN.com reports.
Coach Bruce Arians would like Foote to make a decision prior to training camp. If Foote returns, he could hold down a starting spot at inside linebacker after playing all but one snap in the first 15 games of last year, with a DNP logged in the season finale. He responded with 83 tackles (61 solo), six tackles for loss, two sacks, one interception, and one fumble recovery. The call could be easier to make if Daryl Washington's suspension for a domestic violence-related charge is lengthy.