Fri Jul 19 3:23pm ET
By ARNIE STAPLETON
AP Pro Football Writer
Denver Broncos running back Phillip Lindsay (30) takes a hand off from quarterback Joe Flacco during drills at the team's NFL football training camp Thursday, July 18, 2019, in Englewood, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Denver Broncos quarterback Joe Flacco throws a pass during drills at the team's NFL football training camp Friday, July 19, 2019, in Englewood, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Denver Broncos wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders runs a route during drills at the team's NFL football training camp Friday, July 19, 2019, in Englewood, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello directs tight end Troy Fumagalli (84) during drills at the team's NFL football training camp Friday, July 19, 2019, in Englewood, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) The Denver Broncos' revamped offense features a half-dozen key players coming back from injuries that ended their 2018 seasons prematurely.
Right guard Ronald Leary thinks so.
Like receiver Emmanuel Sanders, Leary is coming off a torn Achilles tendon.
Tight ends Troy Fumagalli (sports hernia) and Jake Butt (ACL) are also embarking on comebacks, as are Pro Bowl running back Phillip Lindsay (wrist) and new quarterback Joe Flacco , whose hip injury cost him his starting job last year in Baltimore when the Ravens turned over things to rookie Lamar Jackson.
All six players say their injuries forced them to reflect during rehab and gave them a newfound appreciation for football.
Collectively, Leary suggested that will prove a benefit as the Broncos embark on another new scheme under new offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello.
''All the guys you named coming back from injury are big parts of this offense,'' Leary said Friday. ''And especially when the game's taken away from you with a significant injury, you appreciate everything more. Not saying we didn't appreciate it already, but when it's just like anything in life, when something's taken away from you, you appreciate it even more.
''I think we got a lot to bring the offense, a lot of juice. We've got the right mentality coming into camp. I mean, all of our teammates are happy to see us coming back.''
Leary said he realized during his recovery that he has more resilience and patience than he thought, and he's sure he's not alone in that discovery.
''With the type of injury I had there was so much down time in the beginning where you can't do anything,'' Leary said. ''You're just sitting around. So, I started reading more, just talking to my wife more, just learning more about myself and just realizing how much I appreciate the game, how much harder I wanted to work in rehab to get back out on that field.''
Leary was cleared near the end of OTAs, but Sanders and Lindsay missed the Broncos' entire offseason program. Both were back on the field this week, however, when the Broncos became the first NFL team to open training camp.
''Moving around, feeling no pain, feeling good and feeling like myself,'' Sanders declared. ''I know a lot of people didn't expect that, so it's just a testament of all the hard work I put in, all the pain that I went through to be standing here.''
Although Sanders is limited, he's building a rapport with Flacco by being on the field during camp instead of the sideline .
''Flacco is a baller,'' Sanders said. ''I think things are going to be OK. I think we're going to be OK. I like the way he spins the ball. I think we will have a lot of success this year. ... I call him `Pretty Boy' Flacco. That's his name. He's just smooth.''
Much like Peyton Manning did in 2012 after missing an entire season in Indianapolis following a series of neck fusion surgeries, Flacco is coming to Denver with a shot at resurrecting his career following an injury.
''There is an energy about coming here and an excitement that I feel about coming to this new team and getting another chance to be a starting quarterback in this league,'' Flacco said.
General manager John Elway said, ''Any time you get traded midway in your career or two-thirds of the way through your career, you've got something to prove.''
''Yeah, there's no doubt,'' Flacco agreed. ''Listen, I think I've got a lot left in the tank. And I feel like I can do a lot more than I've shown in my 11-year career. I'm excited about that.''
And starting his first training camp outside Baltimore, Flacco said, ''I feel like a little kid.''
So does Lindsay, who hated having to watch fellow running backs Devontae Booker and Royce Freeman get carries while he continued his rehab during OTAs.
''I like the grind. I like being tired. I like the sweat, the blood, the tears,'' Lindsay said. ''That's what I'm here for.''
NOTES: Alexander Johnson was the first of many ILBs who filled in for Todd Davis, the team's leading tackler last season, who is expected to miss 3-4 weeks with a partial tear of his right calf.
August 5th: ADP Value
Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford has been cleared to play football after a COVID-19 test resulted in a false positive. Stafford commented, "I want to play football. I want to be out there", in addressing a situation he referred to as "scary". The veteran quarterback was on his way to one of the best seasons of his professional career last year, passing for 2,499 yards and 19 touchdowns in only eight games. But a fractured back ended his season Stafford and his fantasy value will be weighed down by the specter of that injury heading into fantasy drafts.
For the second day in a row, the Green Bay Packers have added a wide receiver. This time, it's former Seahawks wideout Malik Turner, who had 15 catches for 245 yards last season. Turner's much more likely to play a role on this team than the other addition, Travis Fulgham, but he still faces an uphill battle to be a fantasy-relevant part of this roster in 2020. Still, Green Bay is fairly shallow at receiver, so Turner could end up as the team's No. 3 wide receiver by the time the regular season rolls around.
Tennessee Titans LB Vic Beasley (undisclosed) was placed on the Non-Football Injury list Tuesday, Aug. 11. LB Reggie Gilbert was waived.
Free-agent DB Marqui Christian (Rams) reportedly signed an undisclosed contract with the Chicago Bears on Tuesday, Aug. 11.
Miami Dolphins RB Matt Breida is expected to receive 35 percent of the touches in the backfield, according to beat writer Cameron Wolfe.
Fantasy Spin: That seems a bit low. Wolfe expects Howard to receive 50 percent, Breida 35 percent and the remaining 15 percent goes to the field. That may be true for rushes, but Howard doesn't catch the ball often, and Breida specializes there. Breida is still a low-end RB3 in PPR.
Miami Dolphins RB Jordan Howard is expected to carry the rushing load in 2020, in the opinion of beat writer Cameron Wolfe. Wolfe expects Howard to receive 50 percent of the backfield touches.
Fantasy Spin: That would make Howard a low-end RB2 option, but he has very minimal PPR luster. Due to this, that projection seems high. He'll slip to an RB3 in PPR.
Free-agent S Tavon Wilson (Lions) signed an undisclosed deal with the Indianapolis Colts Tuesday, Aug. 11.
Jacksonville Jaguars DE Yannick Ngakoue has been in contact with general manager David Caldwell, but it's unknown whether he'll report to camp.
Cincinnati Bengals CB Trae Waynes (pectoral) is seeking a second opinion on a pectoral injury that has the initial fear of a two-month absence.
The Green Bay Packers have claimed wide receiver Travis Fulgham off waivers from the Detroit Lions. A sixth-round pick out of Old Dominion last season, Fulgham appeared in three games for Detroit, playing 42 offensive snaps against Green Bay in December but not recording a target. With Devin Funchess opting out and a top-heavy receiving corps, it makes sense for Green Bay to add someone at the position, but Fulgham's a longshot to make any kind of impact on this team in 2020.
Indianapolis Colts WR T.Y. Hilton is entering the final season of a five-year, $65 million contract. 'If this is my last year (in Indianapolis), I will give it all I've got,' Hilton said recently in an interview with an Indianapolis TV station.
Fantasy Spin: Hilton will turn 31 in November, has missed a total of eight games over the last two seasons due to injuries and is no longer a sure-fire WR/WR2 consideration. Value him as a low-end WR2 with new QB Philip Rivers at the helm.
Cincinnati Bengals WR A.J. Green has dedicated much of his offseason training to injury avoidance, including working with a former acquaintance, Reza Hesam, who co-founded Adapt Physical Therapy, which focuses on injury prevention in addition to working on performance.
Fantasy Spin: Green just turned 32 and if he's able to finish the Bengals' Week 1 game, it'll be his first full contest in nearly two calendar years (October of 2018). With all of the current concerns, Green enters 2020 as a high-end WR3 with upside.
Las Vegas Raiders QB Derek Carr is poised to have the best season of his career as he'll be playing with the best supporting cast of his career, including RB Josh Jacobs, TE Darren Waller and rookie WR Henry Ruggs III, in the opinion of NFl.com analyst Adam Rank.
Fantasy Spin: Carr has ranked as a QB1 is only one (2016) of his first six seasons and while we expect to see his numbers improve after a poor 2019, he still figures to be a mid-level QB2 at best in 2020.
At one point, it looked like Washington quarterback Alex Smith would never step onto a football field again after a devastating leg injury in 2018, but head coach Ron Rivera says that if Smith is healthy, he'll have a chance to compete for the starting job. That's bad news for second-year passer Dwayne Haskins, who struggled as a rookie. Haskins not winning the starting job this year would signal bad news for his future in Washington and could suggest that the team will be looking for a new quarterback in 2021, as Smith's not the long term answer at this point in his career. This is a quarterback room to avoid in re-draft leagues this season.
The New England Patriots have signed former Houston Texans running back Lamar Miller to a one-year deal. Miller missed all of 2019 after tearing his ACL and MCL in preseason, but the veteran back has shown some explosiveness in the past and adds important insurance to this backfield, especially with Sony Michel (foot) not a lock to be healthy Week 1. Miller's been good before, but he's likely just keeping the seat warm for Michel and even if Michel does miss time, Miller's likely to be part of a committee approach in New England. There's not a ton of reason to be excited about this signing for fantasy purposes, but Miller could be worth a late-round dart throw in deeper formats.
New England Patriots running back Sony Michel (foot) isn't a lock to be recovered by Week 1, putting a major question mark beside the back who most expected to lead this New England backfield in rushing attempts. The team signed veteran Lamar Miller as insurance on Monday, further complicating things and suggesting that Michel's injury issues will bleed over to the regular season. You almost have to be more wary of drafting Michel than you already were with this news, and you already should have been fairly low on him. He's not undraftable, but he's become a huge risk without a lot of upside.
Jacksonville Jaguars TE James O'Shaughnessy (undisclosed) may be activated from the Active/Physically Unable to Perform list this week, according to head coach Doug Marrone.
San Francisco 49ers TE George Kittle has not made much progress in contract extension talks with the 49ers at this point, according to his agent.
Fantasy Spin: Kittle has been one of the top tight ends in the NFL over the last few seasons and will continue to be a focal point in the passing game for the 49ers. He should be selected early in fantasy drafts and will be a weekly starting option.
Free-agent DT Mike Daniels (Lions) likely will be the No. 3 defensive tackle for the Cincinnati Bengals if he signs with them.