We are now just days away from the first pre-season game, as the Cowboys and Cardinals will face off in the annual Hall of Fame game on Thursday. With every NFL training camp now open, the positional battles, and unfortunately the injuries, are ramping up. Let’s check in on the news of the past couple of days in the latest Training Camp Daily Dose.
Still No Zeke News
Many expected the NFL to make an announcement regarding the possible suspension for Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott late last week, but that didn’t happen. Now, reports suggest there will be no announcement at all this week as NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is awaiting more information from his advisors. As this story lingers on, it obviously makes things even more difficult for fantasy players with upcoming drafts. Until we know more, Elliott is a risky pick in the first round of fantasy drafts.
Conley Avoids Indictment
Oakland DB Gareon Conley, the Raiders first round pick in April’s NFL Draft, will not be indicted after facing a sexual assault allegation immediately before the April NFL Draft. Conley was once viewed as a top ten NFL Draft pick, but his stock fell after the allegation was made and an investigation was launched. Conley and his camp maintained his innocence in the situation from the beginning and the Raiders clearly felt confident enough to tab him as their first pick. Now free of this off-field distraction, Conley can focus on camp and he is already projected to man the slot corner role in his first season.
Tampa Bay Running Back Update
The Tampa Bay running back position is becoming a difficult one to project. The Bucs know they’ll be without veteran Doug Martin through the first three games as he faces a league-imposed suspension and over the weekend, a team beat writer suggested Martin was not guaranteed the starting role when he returns and that Jacquizz Rodgers could claim the job moving forward. This report sent fantasy players on a mission to add Rodgers to their teams and surely spiked his ADP for a brief period of time.
Tampa Bay GM Jason Licht splashed some cold water on the Quizz hype on Monday, saying the team is leaning toward using a committee approach to replace Martin through the season’s first three games against Miami, Chicago and Minnesota. This would include a role for Rodgers, as well as Charles Sims and rookie Jeremy McNichols. This could be a version of “coach speak” as Rodgers seems to have a firm grasp on the starting job, at least until Martin returns…any maybe even beyond.
Albert Announces Surprise Retirement
A disappointing off-season took a surprising turn for OL Branden Albert Monday as he announced his retirement for the NFL, leaving a hole in the Jaguars offensive line as the pre-season nears. After being traded from Miami to Jacksonville in the spring, Albert made it clear he wanted a new contract from his new team. Albert did not report to voluntary workouts or OTAs, though he did show up to training camp just days ago, and was quickly inserted as the first-team left tackle. There is already some speculation though that Albert could change his mind or that this could be a stunt related to his desire for a new deal. If he does indeed hang it up, he will have to repay the Jags the $3.4 million signing bonus. This surprise obviously affects the Jaguars’ offensive plans, specifically related to their rushing offense and rookie RB Leonard Fournette.
Montgomery Tabbed as a “Full Threat”
Even after a full off-season to continue to learn the running back position, it seems that no one is sure what to expect from Packers Ty Montgomery. Green Bay drafted three rookie backs and there has been some speculation that the Pack would have a quick hook if Montgomery struggles. HC Mike McCarthy shared a vote of confidence for Montgomery Monday, calling the back a “full threat.” Obviously, Montgomery excels as a pass-catcher out of the backfield and showed above-average skills as a runner in his surprise role last year. It’s the dirty work of pass protection that Montgomery must improve on, but McCarthy said his starter has a “high ability for pass protection.”
Much has been said this off-season about 49ers RB Carlos Hyde and in Monday’s practice, it was veteran Tim Hightower earning the first team snaps. We don’t want to read too much into one practice session, but it is further evidence the Niners will move on from Hyde sooner or later…Second-year RB Wendell Smallwood continues to fall behind in Eagles’ camp. He is receiving fewer snaps than rookie Donnel Pumphrey, which was also the case through OTAs and mini-camp. Smallwood is likely battling rookie RB Corey Clement for a spot on the final 53-man roster…In a bit of a surprise, WR Chester Rogers has taken the lead in the competition for the Colts’ WR3 spot behind T.Y. Hilton and Donte Moncrief. Rogers is battling former Raven Kamar Aiken and former first-rounder Phillip Dorsett…In Chicago, while QB Mike Glennon is singing the praises of WR Cameron Meredith, projecting the wideout to have a “big year,” WR Kevin White is reportedly struggling with a lack of confidence and has failed to stand out…
Injury News and Notes
Vikings RB Latavius Murray (ankle) says there is no timetable for his return to the field. The former Raiders back is still expected to be ready to return by the start of the regular season, but he may have already lost the job to rookie Dalvin Cook by that point…Dolphins RB Jay Ajayi took a hard hit during Monday’s practice and HC Adam Gase later said his starting back was being evaluated for a concussion. With Ajayi’s fantasy stock soaring, this will be a story to follow closely in the coming days. Damien Williams is the next back in line…Rookie RB James Conner of the Steelers was seen wearing a sling on his left arm after suffering a shoulder injury over the weekend. Making matter worse, the team sent Conner back to Pittsburgh for further evaluation, suggesting the injury could be of a serious nature. With starter Le’Veon Bell opting not to report to camp at this time, that leaves Fitzgerald Toussaint as the team’s top healthy back in camp…The Seattle Seahawks placed WR Tyler Lockett (leg) on the active/PUP list, but the third-year wideout suggests he won’t be out long…Lions TE Eric Ebron suffered a tweaked hamstring injury Sunday. The injury seems minor, but staying on the field has always been a concern for Ebron…Rams RB Lance Dunbar (knee) is out indefinitely and HC Sean McVay recently said RB Malcolm Brown has established himself as the Rams’ backup behind Todd Gurley…A pair of young WRs for Miami are dealing with injuries and falling even further behind a strong receiving corps. Isaiah Ford (knee) and Rashawn Scott (foot) are both missing time. Both players are competing for one of the Dolphins’ final WR spots…
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