OTA roundup: Odd man out in Houston’s QB battle?
With four quarterbacks on the Texans roster, head coach Bill O’Brien described the challenge of divvying up reps for each player on Monday. While we noted last week veteran quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick could be gaining ground in the team’s QB battle, it still remains wide open.
Since the Texans added Fitzpatrick and drafted Tom Savage this offseason, T.J. Yates or Case Keenum could find themselves hitting the waiver wire sooner than once expected.
“Anytime you have four, I don’t think it’s easy to divide the reps,” O’Brien said, via the team’s transcript.” I think you can really only give three guys reps in a practice, which is basically what we’ve been doing. I know that’s probably not the easiest for those guys, but three out of four have been getting reps.”
While Keenum played in eight games last season, he was erratic and showed signs of being an undrafted free agent. The whole group has exceeded O’Brien’s expectations, though.
“These guys have worked extremely hard,” O’Brien said. “They’ve all had really good moments. They’re very competitive. They’ve been in this building seven days a week, studying on their own, studying with myself, studying with George mostly — George Godsey.
"They’ve gone out and really competed and really tried to help the team and have improved every week. It’s a very competitive situation.”
Finding employment for either Yates or Keenum shouldn’t be a challenge, as they have been highly regarded for their backup abilities.
Reggie Bush has high praise for second-year RB Theo Riddick
When Lions offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi was asked which players intrigued him since his arrival to Detroit, he named Kevin Ogletree, Jeremy Ross and Theo Riddick. The latter could carve out a nice role for himself, according to veteran running back Reggie Bush.
"He’s hard to guard one-on-one, so that is going to be good for us to have another piece of the puzzle," Bush said, per Paula Pasche of The Oakland Press.
Riddick, who is entering his second season, played just 49 snaps in 2013, totaling nine carries for 25 yards and four receptions for 26 yards. His workload could significantly increase if he keeps impressing the new regime in Detroit.
"He has a natural given ability to be able to make people miss in space," Bush said. "He’s far more advanced now compared to where I was as a rookie. I wasn’t as good of a natural runner. It took me a couple years to get to that point, and he already kind of has that. So, I’m sure you’ll see him used a lot in the passing game this year and the running game."
Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski ‘bursting, planting and cutting’
The Patriots had their Pro Bowl tight end Rob Gronkowski available for seven games in 2013 before he suffered a season-ending ACL injury.
Gronkowski has been participating in individual drills during the Patriots’ organized team activities and was reportedly “bursting, planting and cutting” during Thursday’s session, according to Ben Volin of the Boston Globe.
One of the team’s biggest offseason priorities is to get the 6-foot-6, 265-pound tight end healthy, so don’t expect the doctors and coaching staff to raise any such limitations.
Tyson Clabo, Cardinals visit
Looking to fortify the right side of their offensive line, the Cardinals hosted 10th-year lineman Tyson Clabo for a visit on Monday, a source told FOXSports.com.
Clabo, who played 15 games with the Dolphins last season, would compete with Bobby Massie, Nate Potter and Bradley Sowell for the starting right tackle position. After bolstering their offensive line by signing left tackle Jared Veldheer in free agency, Arizona has been waiting for one of the three right tackles to distance themselves from the pack. If the Cardinals opt to sign Clabo, it could indicate that none of the three has eased the coaching staff’s concern.
"We’re going to keep throwing those three guys out there and see who comes out on top," Arians said Thursday, according to Kent Somers of AZCentral.com. “Bobby has done very well, Bradley is inconsistent and Nate is probably the smartest of the three. It’s just a matter of physically holding up. Again, you wait for pads for all that stuff."
D.J. Hayden out until training camp?
Second-year cornerback D.J. Hayden reportedly wore a walking boot on his right foot at Raiders OTAs on Monday.
While head coach Dennis Allen was optimistic last week saying it wasn’t too serious, he noted this week that the injury could sideline Hayden longer than expected. When asked if he expects to have Hayden available before training camp, he was uncertain.
"It’s hard to tell," Allen said, via ESPN.com’s Paul Gutierrez. "Initially, I was hopeful of that. Again, we’re day-by-day with D.J. Hopefully we’ll have him out here because he needs the work."
Andrew Luck: Reggie Wayne is a ‘freak’ even after ACL injury
Doubters emerged when 35-year-old wide receiver Reggie Wayne went down last season with a torn ACL in Week 7.
Wayne, who isn’t participating in the team’s OTAs, has conducted some workouts privately, which the Colts’ third-year quarterback has witnessed. It’s safe to say Andrew Luck came away impressed.
"His attitude is awesome," Luck said, via ESPN.com’s Mike Wells. "He’s around, he’s coaching, he’s talking football. I feel like I know Reggie. He’s going to be back better than ever doing things that the 35-plus-year-olds shouldn’t be allowed to do on this Earth. He’s a freak."
While the Colts added free agent Hakeem Nicks and rookie Donte Moncrief via the draft this offseason, Wayne’s veteran presence would be a much-needed benefit to the offense.
Head coach Chuck Pagano has been very cautious when addressing Wayne’s knee, and the team will continue to bring him along slowly.
Steelers ink Martavis Bryant to four-year deal
Bryant’s four-year deal is expected to be in the $2.6 million range.
With a 6-foot-4, 200-pound frame, Bryant offers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger a big target who can make plays in the red zone.
Depending on how quickly Bryant can adapt and learn offensive coordinator Todd Haley’s system, he could challenge second-year wide receiver Markus Wheaton for the starting split end position opposite Antonio Brown.