Thu Nov 8 12:46 am
Wide receiver Golden Tate, who was acquired by the Philadelphia Eagles at the trade deadline, has an idea of what is he walking into when he plays his first game with his new team on Sunday night at Lincoln Financial Field.
The Super Bowl champions are facing the Dallas Cowboys and Tate already knows what that means even though he will be experiencing it for the first time.
"I've heard about it on social media," Tate said this week. "Our fans have expressed their passionate dislike for the Cowboys. It's going to be a great game. I'm happy that my first game gets to be at home against such an intense opponent.
"I can't wait to get to Lincoln Financial Field for my first game and play a division opponent. Coach said (earlier in week) we're right where we want to be, and this is the most important game not just because it's the next game, but because it's a division opponent."
The Eagles are only 4-4 coming off their bye week and trail the Washington Redskins (5-3) in the NFC East, but can take control with three of their next four games in the division.
Tate, who leads the NFL in yards after catch since entering the league out of Notre Dame in 2010, is expected to give quarterback Carson Wentz added help to go with tight ends Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert and wideouts Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor.
"He's a veteran player, he's been in a couple different systems, so he's got familiarity with different systems in the league and he can relate it to things that he's done in the past," offensive coordinator Mike Groh said when asked about Tate. "We're trying to look back at things that he's had a lot of success with and start there."
The Eagles and Cowboys have split their head-to-head matches in each of the last five seasons, with Wentz leading a 37-9 rout in Dallas before the Cowboys won, 6-0, in Philadelphia later in the season. The teams play again in Dallas on Dec. 9.
Tate already has seen the Cowboys this season with the Lions, when he made eight catches for 132 yards and two touchdowns, as Dallas prevailed, 26-24.
"I think that's to my advantage," said Tate, who probably is licking his chops at the thought of facing a Dallas secondary that couldn't handle him the first time. "They run the same defense, and I'm on a different team with different concepts, so I think that's to my advantage."
The Cowboys (3-5) have their own new wide receiver, Amari Cooper, who was acquired from the Oakland Raiders before the trade deadline for a first-round draft choice.
Cooper got off to a good start with the Cowboys, catching five passes for 58 yards and a touchdown from quarterback Dak Prescott in a loss to the Tennessee Titans on Monday night.
However, that seemed to take away from Cole Beasley, the team's leading receiver, who had only three receptions for 16 yards.
That's only one problem the Cowboys have to figure out with their offense this week, as the Titans held Ezekiel Elliott to 61 yards rushing, which usually opens things up for Prescott to run the ball, but he had only 11 yards on two carries.
Head coach Jason Garrett indicated that might change if the Eagles stack their defense against Elliott this week.
"If they want to put a lot of guys up in the box and take (Elliott) away, that's typically when the quarterback runs have come alive," Garrett said.
With Tennessee slowing down Elliott, Prescott passed for 243 yards and two touchdowns against the Titans, but he also threw an interception and lost a fumble deep in Titans territory, which proved very costly in the 28-14 setback.
And then there's the Dallas defense, which allowed the Titans to gain 340 yards, 60 more than their average entering the game. Tennessee also converted 78.6 percent of their third downs into first downs.
Part of the problem was that defensive linemen David Irving and Randy Gregory were out because of injuries and the Cowboys didn't get enough pressure on quarterback Marcus Mariota on third down.
But Dallas goes from facing the 30th-ranked Titans offense at home to playing at Philly against the Eagles, who average 366.9 yards per game.
Unless the Cowboys pick it up on offense, they might not be able to keep up.
Miami Dolphins wide receiver Albert Wilson (hip) has progressed in his rehab without setbacks since suffering a hip injury in October, according to a league source. Doctors have ruled out surgery once and for all for Wilson and has raised hope that he will be able to get back on the field this spring. The belief is that Wilson will be ready for the start of the offseason program in April. Wilson ranked third on the team in touchdowns (four receiving and one passing) despite missing nine games, and his yards-per-catch average (15.0) led the team. Although Miami's quarterback situation is up in the air, Wilson should have a prominent place in the team's offense next year regardless.
The New York Jets officially hired Dowell Loggains as their next offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach on Wednesday. Loggains has worked under head coach Adam Gase in both Chicago and Miami. With Gase likely running the show on offense, Loggains' main task will be to continue the development of quarterback Sam Darnold, who was very up and down in his rookie season. The Jets ranked 29th in yards per game (299.2), 25th in passing yards (197.8), 26th in rushing yards (101.4) and 23rd in the league in points per game (20.8) in 2018.
The Arizona Cardinals signed veteran wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald to a one-year deal on Wednesday so that he can return for a 16th season. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed. Fitzgerald will turn 36 at the end of August but will remain the No. 1 wideout on the team because of his experience. His numbers took a hit in one of the worst offenses in the NFL in 2018, but he still led the team in receptions (69), receiving yards (734) and touchdowns (six). While Fitz can still make an impact on the field, he'll be returning to his third head coach in three years, but the addition of Kliff Kingsbury could improve the offense moving forward. We won't say for sure that Fitzgerald will return to the 1,000-yard mark, but he should be a serviceable WR3 at the very least.
Former Ohio State defensive coordinator Greg Schiano is expected to land with the New England Patriots in a top defensive role when linebackers coach Brian Flores heading to the Miami Dolphins.
Former New York Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo has emerged as the favorite to be hired as Kansas City Chiefs defensive coordinator, according to sources.
Arizona Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald announced Wednesday, Jan. 23, that he'll return for the 2019 season.
Fantasy Spin: Fitz had a 69-734-6 season, which was well below the 100-catch, 1,000-yard seasons the three years previously. The rookie quarterback was part of the problem, but he doesn't have much more upside next season. He's still a PPR asset, but he'll be a mid-round option as a WR3.
Updating an earlier report, Arizona Cardinals impending free-agent WR Larry Fitzgerald re-signed with the Cardinals on a one-year deal. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
Miami Dolphins WR Albert Wilson (hip) is on schedule with his recovery from an October hip injury that landed him on IR and could be at full speed when the team's offseason workout program begins in April.
Fantasy Spin: After four largely nondescript seasons in Kansas City, Wilson flashed some playmaking ability before getting injured against the Lions. There are far too many variables in Miami for an accurate read on Wilson's fantasy prospects for 2019, but he did enough last year to warrant your attention.
Philadelphia Eagles QB Nick Foles would be eligible to be franchise or transition tagged and then traded if the team decides not to pick up his option, which ESPN's Chris Mortensen believes is a possibility as doing so would allow the Eagles to influence Foles' destination.
Fantasy Spin: Mortensen indicates such a move would prevent Foles from going to a division rival, but it's all speculation at this point. While it's far from a sure thing, Foles could have some fantasy value in the right situation.
Oakland Raiders CB Daryl Worley (shoulder) had successful surgery on his ailing shoulder last week, according to head coach Jon Gruden.
Baltimore Ravens WR Michael Crabtree is likely to be released in the offseason, according to The Athletic's Jeff Zrebiec.
Dallas Cowboys impending free-agent WR Cole Beasley claimed Tuesday, Jan. 22, that the Dallas front office encourages the coaching staff to get the football to certain players. 'I haven't been a huge priority in that regard. Maybe that will change but I'm not sure,' Beasley said.
Fantasy Spin: Beasley's frustrations are evident and understandable, although Amari Cooper, Ezekiel Elliott and Michael Gallup are all bigger, more talented threats with the ball. Beasley does have a role to play and put together his second best season from a statistical standpoint. That being said, he's only a mid- to late-round PPR flier if he stays in Dallas.
Washington Redskins general manager Bruce Allen said the team is "optimistic" that quarterback Alex Smith (leg) will be ready for the start of the 2019 season, but he also said "we'll see." In his first year with Washington, Smith was a disappointment, throwing for 2,108 yards, 10 touchdowns and five interceptions with an 85.7 QB rating in 10 games before his gruesome leg injury. He'll be heading into his age-35 season and is unlikely to be ready for training camp or the regular season, so he's one to avoid for fantasy purposes. The 'Skins are in dire need of a long-term quarterback.
The Kansas City Chiefs relieved defensive coordinator Bob Sutton of his duties on Tuesday. Sutton was head coach Andy Reid's defensive coordinator for all six of his years in KC, but the Chiefs defense continued to trend downward in 2018 and was their Achilles heel in the AFC Championship loss to the Patriots last weekend. Defensive end Chris Jones -- third in the NFL with 15.5 sacks in 2018 -- and linebacker Dee Ford are the linchpins of this defense, but they must improve their talent in the secondary. The Chiefs ranked 31st in yards allowed per game (405.5), 31st in passing yards allowed (273.4), 27th in rushing yards allowed (132.1), 24th in points allowed (26.3) and tied for eighth in takeaways (27) in 2018.
Oakland Raiders impending free-agent TE Jared Cook will be re-signed if head coach Jon Gruden has his way, but Gruden admitted that Cook will be a popular name on the free-agent market.
Fantasy Spin: Cook was one of the few bright spots for the Raiders this season, and maybe the lone bright spot. He's a top-five fantasy tight end candidate now after finishing 2018 as the TE5.
Atlanta Falcons WR Julio Jones led all receivers with 24 receptions for first downs on 30 third-down targets this past season.
Fantasy Spin: Despite a slow start in the TD department (none in his first seven games) Jones also wound up leading the league in receiving yards (1,677) for the second time in the last four seasons. And even with Jones turning 30 this offseason (on Super Bowl Sunday), he remains an elite WR1 in all fantasy formats.
Oakland Raiders head coach Jon Gruden said the team is unsure if impending free-agent running back Marshawn Lynch plans to play in 2019. Gruden said "we'd love to have him back" if he decides to play another season. Beast Mode will turn 33 in April and is coming off a season in which he played in just six games due to injury. Lynch ran 90 times for 376 yards (4.2 yards per carry) and three scores. Even if Lynch returns, he'd be more of a low-upside, injury-risk RB2 for Oakland that is more attractive in standard-scoring leagues.
Oakland Raiders head coach Jon Gruden said the team would like to re-sign impending free-agent tight end Jared Cook, but he knows the market for his services will be competitive. He'll be in high demand after he set career highs across the board in catches (68), targets (101), yards (896) and touchdowns (six) for the Raiders. Given the sad state of the tight end position in fantasy, Cook was a strong TE1 this year and will likely be drafted as one again this year, depending on where he lands. Staying in Oakland might be the best for his value.
The Cincinnati Bengals are hiring former Oakland Raiders quarterbacks coach Brian Callahan as their next offensive coordinator. Callahan has never been an offensive coordinator in the NFL but has been a QBs coach since 2015. He'll oversee an offense that could easily bounce back after serious injuries to quarterback Andy Dalton and wide receiver A.J. Green derailed them in 2018. Cincinnati finished 26th in yards per game (310.8), 24th in passing yards per game (205.6), 21st in rushing yards per game (105.1) and 17th in points per game (23.0) in 2018.
Oakland Raiders RB Marshawn Lynch, an impending free agent this offseason, hasn't announced whether he plans on playing in 2019, but if he does, Raiders head coach Jon Gruden said Tuesday, Jan. 22, that 'we'd love to have him back.'
Fantasy Spin: Lynch will be 33 by the time next season rolls around, but he'd still be a fantasy RB2 consideration if were to be projected to be the primary RB in Oakland.