Training Camp Notebook: Foster Wounded, Andre Williams, and Darren Sproles’ Workload

arianfoster

Philadelphia Eagles

The tidbit about Matthews is interesting, and intuitively makes sense. I’m not really sure what to do with it though. I mean, we know he was more dominant in college than Demaryius Thomas, and that he’s much more similar to Sammy Watkins than you might think. But what can he do as a rookie? Not sure.

What stuck out to me more was the “no pitch count for Shady” comment. Perhaps it’s just me, but that sounds like “Sproles isn’t taking any work away from McCoy.” I think that makes sense. Take a look at Sproles career graphs.

sprolesrush

Sproles’ percentage of team rushing attempts (ruATTMS) has declined for three straight years, as has his rushing yards per game. His yards per carry is in decline, although still good, and his rushing touchdown rate is nothing special. The Philadelphia backfield might be less crowded than New Orleans’, but in part that’s due to the fact that McCoy is arguably one of the top backs in the game. It’s much more likely that Chris Polk gets rushing work.

In fact, if Sproles makes an impact anywhere it will likely be as a receiver.

sprolesrec

There’s a lot of green at the top of that career graph; Sproles appears to be maintaining his effectiveness as a pass catcher. I’m not certain that he’ll carve out enough work as a third down back/occasional slot receiver to have fantasy relevance.

Arian Foster

Foster is breaking in the trainer’s cart: He left practice with an unspecified injury Sunday and didn’t practice Monday. I’m shocked, shocked I tell you. Davis Mattek explains why you should get familiar with Andre Brown.

Andre Williams

The New York Times ran a great profile of the Giant’s rookie running back this weekend. It’s worth reading to get some insight into his personal life and mental make up: He sure seems to pass all the intangibles screens. But the interesting stuff from a football perspective has to do with pass catching.

…during the first week of training camp, Williams has assumed a prominent, versatile role in the Giants’ backfield, working regularly with the first-string offense. He is not the featured back — that distinction belongs to the former Oakland Raider Rashad Jennings — but Williams has been a steady presence in the goal-line offense and has been a target for short passes. [emphasis added.]

What’s that you say? Catching passes?

Williams spent part of the spring being schooled by Bill Thierfelder, a North Carolina sports psychologist who had done specialist training with other professional athletes. Among other exercises, Thierfelder had Williams catch racquetballs and table tennis balls using two fingers, and juggle. The focus on small, finite movements made catching a football seem easier.

“I could catch 9 out of 10 passes; he taught me what it took to catch the 10th pass,” Williams said.

Put this on your list of things to watch during the preseason. If Williams shows any aptitude for catching the ball, it will be harder to keep him off the field. David Wilson isn’t going to be the lead back, and if Williams can catch, then what keeps Rashad Jennings on the field ahead of him? Pass protection probably. Experience too. But there would no longer be a major deficit in Williams’ game.

Although he played in 15 games last year, Jennings is no stranger to the injury report. Williams is already one of the most underrated players in dynasty, especially since he could be, you know, the next Adrian Peterson.

Shonn Greene

Apparently Greene needs to cut some weight. Perhaps another small clue that the Titans aren’t sold on keeping him on their roster. That’s good news for Bishop Sankey. And don’t fret: if Greene is cut, Sankey is capable of being a workhorse.

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