NFC Field Goal: Fleener, Morris, Grimes

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Saints TE Coby Fleener

New Orleans is pretty excited about tight end Coby Fleener. After years of success with Jimmy Graham, the Saints traded him for some much needed blocking up front. Now, they believe that void in the passing game has been filled by signing Fleener away from Indianapolis.

A couple of seasons ago, Fleener’s 8 touchdowns made history, as he and tight end Dwayne Allen both grabbed the same amount in the same season. Allen suffered a setback with a knee injury, but he’s back at full strength and the Colts were able to keep him around.

Fleener is expected to be heavily targeted down the field. When Graham was around, he was the most targeted tight end in the game, and the most targeted player in the league on third downs. The Saints moved on from Graham due to injuries and how much he counted against the salary cap. Fleener has had a durable start to his career.

Cowboys RB Alfred Morris

All indications point towards some form of a timeshare between Darren McFadden and Alfred Morris. After all, even after a positive season from McFadden, his injury history suggests that getting another starting caliber back was a smart move for the Boys. Morris achieved a pair of Pro Bowl seasons for the rival Redskins under Bill Callahan, who has been the O-line coach in Dallas. I expect a good season out of Morris, and McFadden for that matter, especially with a healthy Tony Romo orchestrating the offense.

Both running backs do need a fair amount of touches to get going. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Morris surpass McFadden for the majority of touches, but based off of last season, Run DMC looked revitalized. The strength of their ground game has maximized their overall offensive performance, by keeping pressure off of Romo and keeping their defense off the field.

Buccaneers CB Brent Grimes

Everybody is going to have their good days and rough days, and Grimes is no different. We’re talking about one of my favorite corners in the league for quite some time now. I don’t want to hear about the Lions game that Megatron balled out because he did that to nearly every individual defender. It is extremely weird to think about Calvin Johnson retiring.

Grimes has made the Pro Bowl, before and after his knee injury a couple of years ago. It’s no secret that his wife’s loud mouth and social media rants have intervened in his career, but the good news here, is that they should have come to realize that this may be his last opportunity in the league. Not only for his wife’s way of expressing her displeasure, but Grimes is 32 years old, which is the wrong side of 30 to be on in the NFL.

As for this upcoming season on the field, I love the pairing of Grimes and Alterraun Verner, who was once a big offseason signing out of Tennessee. Tampa Bay was competitive during Jameis Winston’s rookie campaign, and with Gerald McCoy in the middle of the defense, the corners are going to be part of a possible run at the NFC South title. Not to overlook the NFC Champion Panthers, improved Falcons, nor the Saints who hope to rebound, but the Buccaneers are in the thick of things and those corners will certainly have an impact. When you think about it, the only dominant pass-catcher in the division is Julio Jones in Atlanta.