Sun Jul 21 4:23pm ET
By ARNIE STAPLETON
AP Pro Football Writer
Denver Broncos quarterback Drew Lock takes part in drills during the opening day of the team's NFL football training camp Thursday, July 18, 2019, in Englewood, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Denver Broncos quarterback Brett Rypien looks to pass the ball during drills at the team's NFL football training camp Friday, July 19, 2019, in Englewood, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Denver Broncos quarterback Kevin Hogan looks to pass the ball during drills at the team's NFL football training camp Friday, July 19, 2019, in Englewood, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Denver Broncos quarterback Joe Flacco takes part in drills during the opening day of the team's NFL football training camp Thursday, July 18, 2019, in Englewood, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) If Joe Flacco stays healthy, it won't matter that rookie quarterbacks Drew Lock and Brett Rypien are greenhorns and incumbent backup Kevin Hogan has gotten off to a rocky start in Denver this summer.
Hogan, who has started just one game in the NFL, back in 2017 for the Cleveland Browns, threaded an 11-yard TD pass to Noah Fant past two defenders Sunday that was easily his best throw of training camp.
Before that, the fourth-year pro had been misfiring with no pressure, repeatedly overshooting open receivers with either a clean pocket or in 7-on-7 periods where there was no pass rush at all.
That was an alarming development for a team that lacks experience behind Flacco, the 34-year-old QB the Broncos acquired from Baltimore in the offseason.
''I saw some good throws out there today'' from Hogan, coach Vic Fangio said. ''I'll see more when I go in and watch the tape. But I think Kevin has made a lot of improvements, and I'm talking from the spring to now ... and hopefully he'll keep doing that.''
Competing with Hogan for the No. 2 job is Lock, a second-round draft pick who's taking a crash course in the pro passing game after lining up under center at Missouri only a handful of times.
Rypien, who went undrafted after winning 37 games at Boise State, is hoping to stick around either as the third quarterback or on the practice squad.
''I like Brett,'' Fangio said. ''Brett, I think, maybe has got a future.''
Lock might very well be the future in Denver, but he's got a long way to go. He relied on his athleticism in college and was known for side-arming the ball, something Fangio only wants to see when his quarterback has a defender in his face.
''It's good that he can do that, but he needs to use it when he needs to, not when he doesn't need to,'' Fangio said. ''His college offense really had no carry-over to pro offenses and he was under duress a lot of times at his college, so a lot of his plays he was running around.''
Therefore, Fangio said, ''I don't think he's far along being a ready NFL quarterback as he could have been. ... He's not a quarterback yet. He's a hard-throwing pitcher that doesn't know how to pitch yet, so the faster he gets that, the better off he'll be - and we'll be.''
Fangio is hoping Lock proves a quick study.
''Every player is different, especially at that position,'' Fangio said. ''It could happen fast, like we've seen some rookies do. It could be a process to where it could be a couple of years. So, fast or a couple of years, somewhere in between. We'll see. I tell him that is on him. He's got to do it.''
For now, the Broncos are counting on Flacco, who's hoping to follow in Peyton Manning's footsteps and have a solid second chapter in Denver.
General manager John Elway said he finally feels good about his QB room after trading a fourth-round pick to the Ravens for Flacco and selecting Lock in the second round of the NFL draft.
''We just felt that with Joe coming in, getting him in a trade, and where he is in his career, we feel like he's in his prime. At least we hope he is,'' Elway said. ''To have a young guy like Drew learn under him and be able to kind of solidify that position for a while, obviously we've been looking for one since Peyton retired.''
Elway cycled through Trevor Siemian, Paxton Lynch, Brock Osweiler and Case Keenum following Manning's retirement in 2016.
''That's always a difficult position to fill,'' Elway said. ''But we finally feel pretty good about that position and where we are.''
Notes: TE Jack Butt took a scheduled day off, TE Troy Fumagalli is day-to-day with a sore hip and rookie LB Justin Hollins sat out Sunday with a sore hamstring. ... The Broncos hosted Alzheimer's Awareness D ay on Sunday, two months after team owner Pat Bowlen died at 75 following a long battle with the disease. Daughter Anabelle noted the sea of purple in the crowd replacing the usual orange. ''This day is hard,'' she said. ''But we are showing that we are strong and this is a way to raise money so things like this won't happen.''
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston was scrambling for his life most of the night in the preseason game against the Browns on Friday, but he managed to continue building chemistry with wide receiver Chris Godwin, hooking up with him four times for 52 yards. Winston finished 9-for-19 for 88 yards and a 60.9 passer rating. He scrambled well and didn't make bad decisions or risky throws, which is what he needs to cut out of his game in a contract year. Winston has all the things in place to have his best season to date in head coach Bruce Arians' offense, making him a low-end QB1/high-end backup for fantasy owners. Godwin should see heavy targets as well, making him a popular breakout candidate in 2019.
Indianapolis Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton is likely out until the start of the season. Head coach Frank Reich stated that it would be unlikely to see any starters during the team's Week 3 matchup against the Chicago Bears. Hilton has not played any snaps during the team's first two preseason games, and he doesn't appear slated to play any this week. The strategy of keeping your best player's healthy when you can is usually the right decision. As he's not battling any injuries, this isn't an issue to be worried about as he will play when the games count.
Indianapolis Colts RB D'Onta Foreman (biceps) was waived from the Reserve/Injured list Saturday, Aug. 24, after the two sides reached an injury settlement.
Houston Texans RB Lamar Miller (leg) was carted off the field after suffering an apparent leg injury during the preseason game Saturday, Aug. 24.
Fantasy Spin: Fantasy players will need to monitor the situation to determine the severity of Miller's injury. Duke Johnson likely would take over the starting job if Miller misses an extended period of time and could be a No. 2 running back in all fantasy leagues.
Houston Texans running back Lamar Miller was carted off the field after a first quarter hit in Saturday's preseason game against the Dallas Cowboys. Miller hadn't played in a preseason game before this one. A Pro Bowler last year, Miller is expected to see the bulk of Houston's offensive touches this year with Duke Johnson coming in on passing downs, but a potentially serious knee injury would lead to huge changes in this Houston offense. Monitor the situation over the next few days.
San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle (calf) will not play Saturday against the Kansas City Chiefs. Kittle suffered a calf injury a couple weeks ago but has been practicing and assured his fantasy enthusiasts hell be ready for Week 1. Kittle deserves top-3 tight end consideration in all leagues this season. Other notable inactives include Jerick McKinnon (knee), Trent Taylor (foot), and Nick Bosa (ankle). Both McKinnon and Taylor are at risk of starting the season on the PUP list while Bosa continues working his way back from an ankle sprain. None of the latter three players merit fantasy consideration until theres clarity on their health.
Updating previous reports, Detroit Lions LB Jarrad Davis (ankle) has been diagnosed with a high ankle sprain, according to a source. He is starting to feel better but probably will miss time early in the regular season.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers S Justin Evans (hamstring) passed his physical Saturday, Aug. 24, and was activated from the Active/Physically Unable to Perform list.
The Atlanta Falcons signed free-agent kicker Blair Walsh on Saturday. The 29-year-old is a former All-Pro that was taken by Minnesota in the sixth round in 2012. He hit 84.2 percent of his kicks in five years with the Vikings and was last with Seattle in 2017, where he made 72.4 percent of his kicks. Current kicker Giorgio Tavecchio has struggled this preseason, so Walsh will push him for the job as Week 1 approaches. Atlanta's kicker position could yield nice fantasy points in 2019, but this is a situation to avoid in fantasy until we have more clarity.
Minnesota Vikings RB Dalvin Cook rushed for 88 yards and one touchdown on two carries in the preseason game Saturday, Aug. 24.
Fantasy Spin: Cook is scheduled to receive a majority of the carries for the Vikings this season and can be a No. 2 running back in fantasy leagues if he is able to stay healthy.
Baltimore Ravens LB Paul Worrilow was officially released Saturday, Aug. 24.
Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins went 3-for-13 for 35 yards, no touchdowns and no interceptions Saturday in the third preseason game. He was sacked twice and was pressured often in the outing. Cousins had multiple passes batted down at the line of scrimmage. The stat line looks ugly, but it shouldn't serve as much of a deterrence for taking Cousins as a low-end QB1 or as a quality backup. The upside isn't where it once was, but he's a relatively safe option for your fantasy squad.
New England Patriots tight end Lance Kendricks has been suspended for the first game of the regular season for violating the league's policy on substances of abuse. Kendricks wasn't in line to see much work for the Pats and could be cut now, so this doesn't move the fantasy needle at all. The 31-year-old caught 19 passes for 170 yards and one score over a full season with Green Bay last year. With Benjamin Watson also suspended to begin the season, Matt LaCosse is likely to be the primary pass-catcher in Week 1, but he'll be a deep DFS sleeper, at best.
Minnesota Vikings QB Kirk Cousins went 3-for-13 for 35 yards, zero touchdowns and zero interceptions in the preseason game Saturday, Aug. 24.
Fantasy Spin: Cousins is coming off a very good 2018 season and will have a solid group of pass catchers to work with but probably should be considered a No. 2 fantasy quarterback.
Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook rushed twice for 88 yards and one touchdown in the third preseason game Saturday. On one of his rushes, he started left and cut back to the right, breaking tackles on his way to an 85-yard touchdown run. Cook is showing he's all the way back from his torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. He's a midrange RB1 that has the potential to be one of the best backs in the game.
Detroit Lions LB Jarrad Davis (ankle) is not dealing with a season-ending injury and likely will avoid the Reserve/Injured list, according to head coach Matt Patricia.
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray went 14-for-21 for 137 yards in the third preseason game Saturday. He didn't throw a touchdown or an interception, and he avoided taking a sack. He rushed four times for nine yards. The team has emphasized getting the ball out quickly with Murray, which hasn't led to many big gains. This dink-and-dunk approach limits his fantasy value in single-year formats. However, it could prove beneficial in the long run. Murray is an upside backup quarterback in fantasy, but he is a budding chip to have in dynasty formats.
New England Patriots TE Lance Kendricks has been suspended by the NFL for the first game of the 2019 regular season for violating the league's substance abuse policy.
Free-agent PK Blair Walsh (Seahawks), DT Stefan Charles (Chiefs) and TE Thomas Duarte (Panthers) signed with the Atlanta Falcons Saturday, Aug. 24. Terms of the contracts were not disclosed. The team also waived WR Shawn Bane, WR Kahlil Lewis and OG Tommy Doles.
Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Keesean Johnson caught all seven balls thrown to him in the third preseason game Saturday. He tallied 85 yards on the receptions for 12.1 yards per catch. He had five catches for 52 yards combined in the first two preseason games. This performance made a statement in his quest for the Cardinals' No. 3 receiver job. Johnson looks to be a value pick to target late in drafts, and his play could boost him into the WR4 category.