ESPN's Adam Schefter suggested on NFL Live that Christian Ponder will be in danger of losing his job this season if the Vikings begin to struggle.
"There are enough people around the league that believe Matt Cassel is good enough to challenge Ponder," stated Schefter, adding that Cassel "could unseat Ponder at some point this season." Although Schefter confirmed Ponder won't lose his job before Week 1, he called it a "situation that bears watching." Ponder endured a brutal nine-game stretch last season (Weeks 7-16) where he completed 140-of-245 passes (57.1 percent) for just 1,267 yards (5.17 YPA), and a 7:8 TD-to-INT ratio with two lost fumbles. Ponder was serviceable to solid (67.2 percent, 7.01 YPA, 11:4) in his other seven starts.
ESPN's Adam Schefter confirmed on NFL Live that Rob Gronkowski (back surgery) will open training camp on the active/PUP list.
"I think the one thing that does seem certain at this time is, he is expected to open training camp on the Physically Unable to Perform list," stated Schefter. Schefter added that the Patriots anticipated Gronk needing back surgery all offseason, but the procedure was repeatedly delayed due to his four forearm procedures. Because Gronkowski will open camp on PUP, he'll be a candidate to open the regular season on the reserve/PUP list, costing him six games.
CBS' Jason La Canfora reports there is "some sense" the Broncos and unsigned franchise player LT Ryan Clady will hammer out a long-term deal before next month's deadline.
La Canfora expects talks to come down to the July 15 deadline, but believes the Broncos are "edging closer to reality on what the cost will be." Clady is believed to be seeking Joe Thomas or Jason Peters money, which would put him in the neighborhood of $35-$45 million guaranteed. The Broncos would be wise not to upset the man tasked with protecting Peyton Manning's blindside.
Free agent ILB Desmond Bishop is scheduled to visit with the Chiefs Thursday.
Bishop is meeting with the Vikings on Tuesday. By arranging a visit with another suitor, his agent exerts some leverage over Minnesota. If they want him to help fill their gaping need at inside linebacker, they better get a deal done before he leaves town. Bishop would provide the Chiefs with a significant upgrade over Akeem Jordan at the inside 'backer spot next to Derrick Johnson.
The Panthers are de-emphasizing the zone read play under new OC Mike Shula.
During OTAs and minicamps, the Panthers did not practice very many option plays. The franchise wants Cam Newton to make plays from the pocket first and use his legs to create opportunities in the scrambling game. Essentially, Shula is planning on running more of a conventional offense that features base runs to the backs. It's a good thing for Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams, but it could lead to deflated rushing stats for Newton. In his first two NFL seasons, he's rushed 253 times for a jaw-dropping 1,447 yards and 22 touchdowns.
GM Dave Gettleman admitted that he doesn't know if Jonathan Stewart (ankles) will be ready for training camp.
"We'll see. Time will tell," Gettleman said. Stewart is coming off surgery on both of his ankles and did not participate in any of the offseason program. DeAngelo Williams and Mike Tolbert split the first-team reps. If Stewart can't participate fully in camp, the likelihood of a full-blown committee to start the regular season will increase. The Carolina backfield is as cloudy as ever.
The Union-Tribune says Vincent Brown was "just plain spectacular" during OTAs and minicamp.
We can now safely say that the broken ankle that ruined Brown's 2012 season is water under the bridge. And since the Chargers are installing a more precise offense that de-emphasizes the deep ball, Brown has a realistic shot to beat out Malcom Floyd for the starting Z receiver spot. He's a far superior route-runner. Brown has plenty of sleeper appeal in upcoming fantasy drafts.
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(Jun 18) Lamar Miller was among the players who stood out at OTAs. Evan Silva provides spring news and notes on all 16 AFC teams.