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.
Cleveland Browns QB Baker Mayfield completed 10 of his 26 passes for 72 yards and an interception in a 13-12 preseason loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Friday, Aug. 23.
Fantasy Spin: It was an ugly offensive performance for both teams, but it is worth noting that while all the pieces are in place for Mayfield to have a big season, he is still unproven compared to some other QB1 options.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers LB Deone Bucannon (knee) suffered a knee injury during a 13-12 preseason win over the Cleveland Browns Friday, Aug. 23.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers S Kentrell Brice (shoulder) suffered a shoulder injury during a 13-12 preseason win over the Cleveland Browns Friday, Aug. 23.
Cleveland Browns kicker Austin Seibert nailed all four of his field goal attempts in a 13-12 preseason loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Friday. His long field goal went for 54 yards in the loss. The rookie kicker has made headlines for the wrong reasons this preseason due to his struggles with accuracy after Cleveland made him a fifth-round pick in the past draft. Fortunately for Seibert, his main competitor Greg Joseph hasn't been any better in the kicking game. Joseph did not get a chance to play on Friday night, presumably he will get the entire fourth preseason game to show that he is the man for the job. Whoever wins the kicker job will have some fantasy value tied to what will be an exciting offense this season.
The Cleveland Browns defense was excellent in a 13-12 preseason loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Friday. Cleveland racked up seven sacks in the loss, with five of those sacks coming against Jameis Winston and Tampa Bay's first-string offense. The pass rush looked fierce in the contest, with offseason addition Olivier Vernon picking up two sacks on the evening. Cleveland's defense is expected to be a top-six unit in fantasy this season, making them a defense worth targeting toward the end of fantasy drafts.
Cleveland Browns tight end Demetrius Harris failed to catch any of his four targets in his team's third preseason game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Friday. With David Njoku not playing, Harris got the start and played into the second quarter with quarterback Baker Mayfield. The veteran tight end is expected to take a secondary role this season but Harris would have some standalone value if Njoku were to suffer an injury. Harris does not need to be drafted in fantasy leagues but he would presumably be a hot waiver add should he find his way into the starting job during the season.
Cleveland Browns running back D'Ernest Johnson turned in a solid game in his team's 13-12 preseason loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Friday. Johnson struggled on the ground, gaining just 10 yards on five carries, but he excelled in the passing game with three catches for 43 yards. The former Orlando Apollo is trying his best to make the final Cleveland roster, having gained 86 yards on 20 carries while adding six catches for 69 yards and a score. Johnson is on the radar as an extremely deep dynasty taxi squad stash going forward.
Cleveland Browns running back Kareem Hunt carried the ball five times for 11 yards in his team's third preseason game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Friday. He also added a three-yard reception in the game. With Nick Chubb sitting out to rest, Hunt got the start and played into the second quarter in the game. The third-year running back has now totaled 17 rushing yards on seven carries across two preseason games. Hunt has to serve an eight-game suspension to open the season but he's expected to fill the passing-down role behind Chubb once he is reinstated for the second half. He should not be drafted outside of deep leagues this year.
Detroit Lions tight end T.J. Hockenson had three catches on four targets for 52 yards during the first half of the Lions preseason Week 3 matchup against the Bills. Hockenson and Stafford already seem to be clicking, making it very exciting to see how well that translates into the regular season. For now, Hockenson remains an interesting late round TE depth option in most leagues and an excellent addition to dynasty teams.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Blaine Gabbert (wrist) injured his left wrist in the preseason game on Thursday night against the Browns. Gabbert was seen on the sidelines wearing a sling, so this injury is likely pretty serious. With the regular season opener coming up quickly, it looks like Ryan Griffin will be the primary backup to starter Jameis Winston in Week 1. Stay tuned for more updates on the exact nature of Gabbert's injury. Gabbert went 4-for-5 for 33 yards before his injury.
Cleveland Browns wide receiver Rashard Higgins caught three of his seven targets for 18 yards in his team's third preseason game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Friday. Higgins acted as the team's de facto No. 1 receiver with both Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry resting. He failed to break any big plays on an evening where Baker Mayfield struggled to move the ball down the field. Thanks to an Antonio Callaway four-game suspension to begin the year, Higgins has the No. 3 wide receiver role locked up to open the season. He has some low-end flex appeal in PPR leagues as he should have a few big games this season.
Detroit Lions running back Kerryon Johnson again saw a light workload during the Lions Week 3 preseason matchup against the Bills. The Lions, and Johnson, seem to be content with letting him see a few touches each preseason game to see some live action but not enough to really risk injury. Johnson had two carries for four yard and one catch for seven yards against the Bills; but ultimately, he remained healthy and looks ready for Week 1 of the regular season.
Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield struggled in his team's third preseason game on Friday. Mayfield completed 10-of-26 passes for 72 yards and an interception against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He played the entire first half, leading his team to just nine points on three field goals. While it was an uninspiring outing for Mayfield, it is worth noting that he was without Odell Beckham Jr, Jarvis Landry, Nick Chubb, and David Njoku. He won't play in the final preseason game next week, meaning the next time fantasy owners will see him will be the season opener against the Tennessee Titans. Mayfield can still be drafted as a QB1 in fantasy despite the poor showing on Friday.
Updating a previous report, Buffalo Bills CB Tre'Davious White (quadriceps) suffered a quadriceps contusion in the preseason game against the Detroit Lions Friday, Aug. 23.
Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford went 12/19 for 137 yards and a touchdown in his brief outing during the Lion's Week 3 preseason matchup. Even though it was a brief outing, Stafford was able to prove that he is regular season ready; he will likely remain sidelined for the Lion's final preseason game next week. Stafford is a solid QB2 option and a reasonable QB1 option in deeper leagues on weeks that present favorable matchups. Stafford has weapons to work with in 2019, it'll be interesting to see how he uses them.
Green Bay Packers RB Tra Carson is currently ahead of RB Dexter Williams for the No. 3 running back job because he has a better understanding of blitz pickup, according to head coach Matt LaFleur. 'I think just overall knowledge of knowing what to do, especially when it comes to pass protection,' LaFleur said.
Updating a previous report, Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Blaine Gabbert (shoulder) has been ruled out for the remainder of the preseason game against the Cleveland Browns with a shoulder injury Friday, Aug. 23.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Blaine Gabbert (wrist) exited the preseason game against the Cleveland Browns with a left wrist injury Friday, Aug. 23.
Green Bay Packers CB Kevin King (hamstring) was on the field running sprints prior to the preseason game against the Oakland Raiders Thursday, Aug. 22.
Buffalo Bills CB Tre'Davious White (leg) exited the preseason game against the Detroit Lions and had his right leg wrapped in ice Friday, Aug. 23.