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FFL: Offseason | NFL: Offseason

Revamped Rams, reeling Falcons looking to stop losing skids

Thu Oct 17 5:45pm ET
By CHARLES ODUM
AP Sports Writer

Players: Matt Bryant, Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, Jared Goff

Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff (16) is sacked by San Francisco 49ers defensive end Solomon Thomas during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/John Locher)


In this Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019 file photo, Houston Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (10) runs around Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey (20) during the second half of an NFL football game in Houston. alen Ramsey was thrilled to land with the Los Angeles Rams, and the team is already optimistic about keeping the star cornerback around for a long time. Ramsey headed to the Rams training complex Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019 a day after Los Angeles traded two first-round picks to Jacksonville for the mercurial two-time Pro Bowl selection.(AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith, File)


In this Oct. 13, 2019, file photo, Atlanta Falcons NFL football head coach Dan Quinn speaks to the media after a 34-33 loss to the Arizona Cardinals, in Glendale, Ariz. The Falcons returned from their two-game road trip to find their losing streak at four games and the pressure mounting on coach Dan Quinn to quickly show signs he can stop the skid. The Falcons, who play the Rams on Sunday, rank last in the league in scoring defense and that only adds to Quinn's woes since he took over the defense this season. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)


Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) runs as Arizona Cardinals linebacker Chandler Jones (55) pursues during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)


ATLANTA (AP) There is no guarantee that a Super Bowl appearance will generate long-term momentum.

Just ask the Los Angeles Rams, who return to Atlanta as a .500 team with three straight losses only eight months after their Super Bowl appearance.

Or check in with the Atlanta Falcons, whose 2016 Super Bowl season seems a distant memory. The Falcons have lost four straight, leaving them on target for a second straight losing record.

The Rams (3-3), who play the Falcons (1-5) on Sunday, had a busy week while retooling their secondary. The big addition was cornerback Jalen Ramsey, one of the league's top players at his position, who was acquired from Jacksonville.

Also this week, the Rams placed cornerback Aqib Talib and safety John Johnson on injured reserve and traded cornerback Marcus Peters.

The Rams gave up three draft picks, including two first-rounders, for Ramsey in a dramatic attempt to generate renewed momentum for another playoff run following their Super Bowl loss to New England.

Coach Sean McVay said Ramsey provides ''all the traits that you look for in a corner.''

While Ramsey prepares to play, the Rams may have to rely on a bunch of relatively untested defensive backs against Matt Ryan and Julio Jones, including cornerbacks Troy Hill and Darious Williams and safety Marqui Christian.

The Falcons' frustrations may have peaked when usually reliable Matt Bryant missed a potential game-tying extra point in last week's 34-33 loss at Arizona. Only a dramatic turnaround would save the Falcons from their second straight losing season. The losing streak has increased the pressure on fifth-year coach Dan Quinn.

Quinn said his players ''want to get it right.''

''They're hurting, the fans are hurting, everybody is,'' he said. ''If you're around the team, you know how much they care and how much it means to them. More than anything, they want to get it right. When we haven't done that, it stings.''

Here are some more things to know about the Rams-Falcons matchup:

THEN THERE WAS ONE

Safety Eric Weddle is the only starter from last week's loss to San Francisco who will return in the Rams secondary. He has to lead the new mix of starters.

''That's why you have me, quite honestly,'' Weddle said. ''I've been through this many a time. Revolving door, whether it's safeties, corners, it's my job to get everyone on the same page and play at a high level.''

NO DEFENSE

Quinn fired all his coordinators after last season and named himself defensive coordinator. That hasn't produced the results he wanted. The Falcons rank last in the league in scoring defense and sacks. ''There's nothing where we can say we're hitting the mark in any way,'' Quinn said.

JUST VISITING, Y'ALL

The Rams will remain in Atlanta and will practice at Georgia Tech next week before flying to London for their Oct. 27 game against Cincinnati. Quarterback Jared Goff said he thinks the time away from home will be ''somewhat galvanizing.''

''When you're off on the road, and all you do have is each other, you have that us against the world type of deal,'' Goff said. ''It does tend to bring a team together and you hope you go out and get this win this weekend and build from there.''

RYAN ON A ROLL

Ryan, who leads the NFL with 15 touchdown passes, can become the first player in NFL history to pass for at least 300 yards in each of the first seven games of a season. Ryan also has cut down on mistakes. After throwing six interceptions in the first three games, he has only one in the last three.

LINE CONCERNS

David Edwards, a rookie fifth-round pick from Wisconsin, is expected to be the Rams' starting left guard after Joe Noteboom was lost for the season with a knee injury. Edwards has yet to take an offensive snap. He has played sparingly on special teams.

The Rams must trust Edwards because backup guard Jamil Demby apparently has not impressed the coaches. The line was the offense's strength last year, but it has been a liability this fall with Edwards the third new starter. The line has had less-than-dominant play by tackles Andrew Whitworth and Rob Havenstein.

Player Notes
Jarvis Landry Feb 20 8:43am ET

Cleveland Browns WR Jarvis Landry (hip) changed his mind and underwent hip surgery this week. He's expected to be back at some time in training camp.

Fantasy Spin: Landry's 83-1174-6 showing was one of the better showings of his career, and his 14.1 yards per catch was a career high. He's a low-end WR2 or a high-end WR3 in PPR leagues.

From TheHuddle

Feb 20 12:43am ET

Impending free-agent S Nate Ebner (Patriots) is one of 19 New England Patriots set to hit free agency this spring, but he is hopeful the two sides will be able to come together on a contract that will keep him with the team that drafted him in the sixth round of the 2012 draft.

From TheHuddle

Stefon Diggs Feb 19 9:43pm ET

Minnesota Vikings WR Stefon Diggs may be the subject of some trade calls this offseason, but he faces 'plenty long' odds of getting traded, according to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero. Diggs recently prompted discussion about potential unhappiness with his situation when he removed Vikings photos from his social media accounts.

From TheHuddle

Demetrius Harris Feb 19 9:00pm ET

The Chicago Bears agreed to terms on a one-year deal with tight end Demetrius Harris on Wednesday, according to sources. Harris was cut by the Browns recently and spent time with head coach Matt Nagy when they were both with the Chiefs. The 28-year-old caught just 15 passes for 149 yards and three touchdowns in 2019 despite David Njoku missing most of the year with an injury in Cleveland. Chicago was looking to upgrade their tight end room after both Trey Burton and Adam Shaheen missed large chunks of last season due to injuries. Harris will have an opportunity with his new team, but it's still unlikely he has a huge pass-catching role is Burton and Shaheen are on the field.

From RotoBaller

Demetrius Harris Feb 19 5:43pm ET

Free-agent TE Demetrius Harris (Browns) agreed to terms on a one-year contract with the Chicago Bears Wednesday, Feb. 19, according to sources. Financial terms were not disclosed.

From TheHuddle

Nigel Bradham Feb 19 4:53pm ET

Philadelphia Eagles LB Nigel Bradham was officially released Wednesday, Feb. 19.

From TheHuddle

Jihad Ward Feb 19 4:23pm ET

Baltimore Ravens impending free-agent DT Jihad Ward is one of the players the Ravens want to re-sign this offseason, and the two sides have had discussions this week.

From TheHuddle

Jordan Reed Feb 19 3:33pm ET

Washington Redskins TE Jordan Reed (concussion) has cleared the concussion protocol and plans to play in 2020, according to sources. The Redskins are expected to release Reed this offseason.

Fantasy Spin: Reed has dealt with multiple injuries during his career, so it is not known if he would receive a lot of interest in free agency. He has posted decent numbers when he has been healthy but probably can be considered a No. 2 fantasy tight end if he is able to find a starting job.

From TheHuddle

Michael Roberts Feb 19 3:23pm ET

Free-agent TE Michael Roberts (Packers) agreed to terms with the Miami Dolphins Wednesday, Feb. 19, according to a source. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

From TheHuddle

Jordan Reed Feb 19 3:10pm ET

Washington Redskins tight end Jordan Reed (concussion) has cleared the league's concussion protocol and intends to continue his playing career in 2020, according to sources. Reed suffered a reported seventh concussion of his career in the preseason and didn't play at all in 2019. He expects to be released by the Redskins in the coming days, but he wants to continue playing. Washington would save $8.5 million against the salary cap if they release Reed by June 1, and he would count $10.3 million toward the cap if he stays. Only 29 years old, it remains to be seen if he has anything left if he keeps playing after the 'Skins inevitably release him. It will depend on where he lands, but Reed probably won't even be touched as a TE2 in fall drafts.

From RotoBaller

Josh Rosen Feb 19 3:10pm ET

Miami Dolphins quarterback Josh Rosen is likely to remain with the team heading into the 2020 season. However, his future in Miami doesn't look bright with Ryan Fitzpatrick coming back for another year and the Dolphins widely expected to take a franchise signal-caller with the fifth overall pick in the first round of the draft. It's clear that the team doesn't view Rosen, 23, as the future under center at this point. The former 2018 first-round pick was acquired from the Cardinals before last season, but he couldn't beat out Fitzpatrick and will have to learn another new offense, one that Fitzpatrick is familiar with. Unless something unexpected happens this summer, Rosen will open up the 2020 season holding a clipboard again.

From RotoBaller

Will Dissly Feb 19 2:50pm ET

Seattle Seahawks tight end Will Dissly (Achilles), who is coming off a torn Achilles that ended his 2019 season prematurely, is expected to be ready for Week 1. Dissly was on the fantasy map as a TE1 with 23 catches for 262 yards and four touchdowns in six games before his injury, but he's played in just 10 games in his two seasons with Seattle because of injuries. On top of that, the Seahawks signed veteran Greg Olsen on Wednesday. Olsen and Dissly could form a strong one-two punch at tight end in 2020, but Dissly is unlikely to be a consistent fantasy performer unless Olsen misses time with an injury, which is entirely possible.

From RotoBaller

Stefon Diggs Feb 19 2:40pm ET

The Minnesota Vikings aren't releasing wide receiver Stefon Diggs, although they could get calls from other teams to see if they are interested in trading him. But the odds remain long that Diggs would be traded, as he's under contract through 2023 with reasonable salaries. This comes after Diggs removed Vikings photos from his social media. Minnesota is also in win-now mode, so they'll need Diggs to remain a contender going into the 2020 season and beyond. The 26-year-old can be a bit much at times, but he put up his second straight 1,000-yard season last year and added six touchdowns and a career-high 17.9 yards per catch. He produced for fantasy owners with Adam Thielen (hamstring) nursing an injury last year and should be a solid WR2 target going into fall drafts.

From RotoBaller

Baker Mayfield Feb 19 1:33pm ET

Cleveland Browns QB Baker Mayfield will work on his footwork with offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt. Van Pelt said he's going to have him put his left foot up (last year, had his right foot up) in the shotgun. Van Pelt thinks that will help Mayfield be more fluid in three-step drop out of the gun.

Fantasy Spin: Mayfield was 16th in fantasy points at the position last year in what was a colossal bust of a season. He'll be drafted highly anticipating a breakout again this season, but there are at least seven or eight quarterbacks that should go ahead of him.

From TheHuddle

Baker Mayfield Feb 19 1:20pm ET

Cleveland Browns offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt said the team will be changing some things in quarterback Baker Mayfield's footwork this offseason "to help him." One specific thing is that they will have Mayfield put his left foot in front instead of his right foot out of the shotgun when he takes the snap. Van Pelt thinks it will help Mayfield be more fluid in his three-stop drop out of the shotgun formation. High expectations were placed on Mayfield and the Browns in his second season, and he failed to live up to them, especially with Odell Beckham Jr. as his No. 1 receiver. There's still time for the 24-year-old to bounce back in a new offensive scheme, but fantasy owners will be drafting him as a QB2 this fall.

From RotoBaller

Adrian Peterson Feb 19 12:10pm ET

The Washington Redskins exercised the 2020 team option on running back Adrian Peterson on Wednesday. Peterson led the team in attempts (211), rushing yards (898) and rushing touchdowns (five) in 2019 and will enter the 2020 season having started in 154 of the 164 games he's appeared in. The veteran is ranked eighth in NFL history in rushing attempts (3,036) and sixth in yards per game (86.7). He needs 1,054 rushing yards to pass Barry Sanders for fourth on the all-time list and needs 13 rushing TDs to pass Marcus Allen for No. 3. Peterson is a seven-time Pro Bowler and four time first-team All-Pro, but he'll take a back seat to Derrius Guice next year if Guice can stay healthy.

From RotoBaller

Adrian Peterson Feb 19 11:33am ET

Washington Redskins RB Adrian Peterson's option was exercised by the team Wednesday, Feb. 19.

Fantasy Spin: Peterson will have a $2.25 million base salary and will count $3,109,375 against the salary cap. Peterson will serve as insurance as Derrius Guice must stay healthy. Peterson has RB5 appeal, but he has little upside.

From TheHuddle

Greg Olsen Feb 19 9:59am ET

The Seattle Seahawks are signing former Carolina Panthers tight end Greg Olsen to a one-year, $7 million deal on Tuesday, according to a source. The deal includes $5.5 million in guarantees. Olsen visited with the Bills and Redskins before making the decision to go to Seattle. Will Dissly ruptured his Achilles in 2019, Ed Dickson is a candidate to be released and Luke Willson (unrestricted) and Jacob Hollister (restricted) are free agents. Olsen, a three-time Pro Bowler in 13 NFL seasons, should be the team's primary pass-catching tight end and will have low-end TE1 value with quarterback Russell Wilson throwing him passes. He was the first tight end in history to have 1,000 yards receiving in three straight seasons from 2014-16, but the 34-year-old (35 in March) has dealt with injuries in recent seasons.

Jadeveon Clowney Feb 19 12:53am ET

Impending free-agent DE Jadeveon Clowney (Seahawks) once to be one of the highest-paid defensive players - if not the highest-paid - with a contract that will set the market for his position, according to Matt Miller of Bleacher Report.

From TheHuddle

Jason Witten Feb 18 11:33pm ET

Impending free-agent TE Jason Witten (Cowboys) made it clear to reporters Tuesday, Feb. 18, that he intends to play next season and hopes to do so with the Dallas Cowboys, although he is not opposed to finishing his career somewhere else. He is hoping to make a more concrete decision about his future following the NFL Scouting Combine next week.

From TheHuddle