Panthers FB Mike Tolbert promises the team will take a more run-heavy approach under new offensive playcaller Mike Shula.
The Panthers ran a "deception" offense for the first half of 2012, basing their entire formula on shotgun plays and read-option. The offense took off in the second half when more base runs were incorporated, and Carolina won four of its final six games including a 30-20 victory over Atlanta in Week 14. "I can't wait," said Tolbert. "In the running back room, we rejoiced when (Shula) said we're going to run the ball. That's one thing we're gonna do."
Seahawks TE Anthony McCoy underwent surgery for a partially torn Achilles' tendon Thursday, and will be sidelined a minimum of six months.
He went down with what was originally believed to be an ankle injury in Monday's practice. McCoy has served as Zach Miller's backup the past two seasons, catching 31 passes for 437 yards. It's an extremely ill-timed injury for McCoy, as the Seahawks used the No. 158 pick on freak-athlete TE Luke Willson. Willson generated buzz in both rookie minicamp and OTAs. While the partial tear -- as opposed to a complete tear like Michael Crabtree's -- could give McCoy a chance to return at midseason, it's unlikely that the Seahawks would go out of their way to save his spot. He could even be waived/injured in camp.
NFL.com's Ian Rapoport reports the Patriots "(don't) know" how serious Rob Gronkowski's back injury is.
"I wish I knew as much as you'd like me to know," were the words of owner Robert Kraft. Rapoport believes the Pats should consider placing Gronk on the reserve/PUP list, which would hold him out for the first six games of the season. Depending on how Gronk's expected back operation goes, they may not have a choice.
After increased tape study, ESPN's Ron Jaworski predicts Eagles coach Chip Kelly's offense will not translate to the NFL.
Jaws is perhaps the most respected game-tape watcher in pro sports, so his opinion is notable. "I just don't see NFL passing concepts in this offense," Jaworski said. "It's a movement offense by the quarterback, off the run-action, off the read-action. A lot of short, quick passes, dart routes, bubble screens. Very few plays down the field with NFL passing concepts." Jaws said he "hopes" he's wrong, but this was his conclusion after extensive tape study. "It's easy to say, 'Yeah, it worked in college,'" added Jaws. "But then I looked at a game like Stanford. Stanford, a good defensive football team, shut them down. I hope it works. I like the innovation, but I think it's going to be very difficult."
The Steelers plan to "supplement" their power-rushing attack with zone-blocking concepts in 2013.
It's one of the changes Ben Roethlisberger was hinting at. Per reporter Mark Kaboly, the Steelers are trying to take advantage of their "all-of-a-sudden big, nimble and young offensive line." The Steelers' rushing attack was ineffective under power plodders Jonathan Dwyer and Isaac Redman last season, wheezing to 3.7 yards per carry and 96.1 yards per game. Pittsburgh has made no secret of its efforts to get more athletic up front, but new feature runner Le'Veon Bell is a better fit for a power offense on paper. That being said, Bell sometimes struggled to get more than what was blocked in college, so perhaps the ZBS will be an asset an outside runs.
Fox Sports South reports the Falcons and free agent DT Richard Seymour are engaged in contract talks.
The Falcons are in win-now mode, and Seymour, at the age of 33, is likely only interested in playing for a contender. The four-time Pro Bowler has also been training in the Atlanta area this offseason, and he went to Georgia. Seymour, at 6-foot-6, 310, would bring some much needed beef to the interior of the Falcons' defensive line. The Falcons are up against the cap, but some money will be freed up in June due to Tyson Clabo's post-June 1 release designation.
BuffaloBills.com reports that TE Scott Chandler (ACL surgery) is likely to be a participant in practice right from the start of training camp.
Chandler tore his ACL in Week 16 last season, and it's five months to the day since he underwent surgery. On Thursday, following the team's OTA practice, Chandler was on the field running routes and catching passes. The soon-to-be 29-year-old says he "feels good," and thinks it's "realistic" to be ready for camp. We're skeptical, but it certainly sounds like Chandler might be ready for Week 1.
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