Alshon Jeffery makes strong impression vs Redskins

Chicago Bears 2nd-round pick Alshon Jeffery made his case for a starting job on Saturday with three catches for 62 yards in the Bears second preseason game.

Jeffery should be one of Cutler's favorite targets

Jeffery caught a 16-yard pass from Jay Cutler in the 1st quarter. He then caught passes from Jason Campbell on consecutive plays – a 12-yard reception (despite defensive pass interference) followed up by a 42-yard play.

I was skeptical of Jeffery during the draft process primarily because of his poor conditioning and occasional lack of effort, but he’s made a strong impression so far with the Bears. He will definitely crack the 53-man roster, but the only question remaining is how much action he will see. Physically, he’s similar to Brandon Marshall, which could limit his role in the Bears offense.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Bears, Rookie Notes Leave a comment

“Highly unlikely” A.J. Jenkins makes 49ers roster

In an effort to upgrade their weak receiving corps, the San Francisco 49ers spent a 1st-round pick on A.J. Jenkins – a pick many (myself included) believed to be a reach.

Now, at least according to Matt Maiocco of, Jenkins may be in jeopardy of starting the season on the inactive list. Maiocco believes it is “highly unlikely” that Jenkins will make the cut, with the five receiver spots going to Michael Crabtree, Randy Moss, Ted Ginn Jr., Mario Manningham and Kyle Williams.

Jenkins will likely see significant playing time in the 49ers second preseason game on Saturday night, and his performance could be critical to his standing on the season-opening depth chart.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 49ers, Rookie Notes Leave a comment

Kellen Moore improves, sort of

The Detroit Lions already have a backup quarterback (Shaun Hill) so the interest in Kellen Moore is purely based on his impressive college career. But, nonetheless, people are interested, so here’s the update.

After a dismal showing against the Cleveland Browns, Moore completed 10 of 15 passes against the Ravens on Friday night. At first glance the stats seem to be encouraging, but Moore ran a very conservative version of the Lions offense, rarely throwing the ball more than few yards downfield. He netted just 96 yards through the air, good for a 6.4 yards per attempt rate.

Through his two preseason games, Moore is averaging just 4.69 yards per attempt, a rate which would have ranked dead last in the NFL in 2011 (even Blaine Gabbert averaged 5.36).

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Lions, Rookie Notes 6 Comments

Bernard Pierce makes debut for Ravens

When the Baltimore Ravens selected Bernard Pierce in the 3rd round many assumed he would enter the season as Ray Rice’s backup. But after missing the Ravens first preseason game and a sub-par showing in his debut on Friday, suddenly the job is up for grabs.

Pierce carried the ball four times for just one yard, however he did a lot more running than his stats indicate. Piece initially ripped of runs of six and seven yards, but later managed to lose 14 yards when he tried to turn the corner and ended up deep in the backfield in an effort to escape the collapsing defense.

Fellow rookie Bobby Rainey and second-year back Anthony Allen are Pierce’s closest competition. John Harbaugh acknowledged that he has yet to decide on a backup for Rice.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Ravens, Rookie Notes Leave a comment

Case Keenum impressing Texans coaches

Undrafted free agent Case Keenum is making a strong impression in Houston Texans camp.

The undersized quarterback may be a long shot to make the roster but, according to the Houston Chronicle, head coach Gary Kubiak has been impressed with his performance thus far. Kubiak told reporters, “Guys kind of gravitate to him. We’ve got guys from all over this country trying to make this team, and he can take his group and get them going in the right direction.”

T.J. Yates already has the backup job locked up in Houston, but there is a chance the team decides to carry three quarterbacks, especially considering Matt Schaub’s recent injury history. And even if Houston elects to stick with just two signal callers, it sounds as though they would be happy to stash Keenum on the practice squad.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Rookie Notes, Texans Leave a comment