Kenjon Barner

Extra Points: Kizer, Falcons, Broncos

Packers backup quarterback DeShone Kizer said he doesn’t view himself as a longtime backup quarterback, Packers News’ Jim Owczarski writes.

“I don’t see myself as Aaron Rodgers’ backup for the final era of his career. I see myself as a future Super Bowl MVP. That’s the goal that I want to head toward. That’s the level I want to play at. Therefore, if I’m competing and focused in on the backup competition, then once again, I’m limiting myself,” he said.

A second-round selection in 2017, Kizer was pegged as a high-upside but raw talent coming out of Notre Dame. Unfortunately, he was taken by the Browns, who proceeded to lose every game that season. At year’s end, he was shipped to Green Bay where he serves as a backup to Aaron Rodgers.

Though he is a long way from his goal, Kizer said he is playing the best football of his career and is learning the ropes of the NFL from Rodgers, one of the best in the business. That, along with working with quarterback instructor Adam Dedeaux, could help the Fighting Irish product salvage a career that has seemed to stall. If all goes well for Kizer, he could continue to grow under Rodgers in Green Bay before looking for a chance to compete to start in a new locale after his contract is up.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Broncos third-round pick Dre’Mont Jones could quickly assume a large role as a versatile defender on the team’s defensive line, Kyle Fredrickson of the Denver Post writes. A bit undersized for a defensive lineman, Jones has impressed with his pass-rushing ability both up the middle and as a defensive end.
  • The Falcons haven’t had a punt return touchdown since 2014 and a kickoff return for a score since 2010. Looking to end those streaks are Kenjon Barner and Marcus Green, who are the frontrunners to return kicks for the Falcons in 2019, D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes. Barner was an accomplished returner in college at Oregon and has served in the role in the NFL. Green is a sixth-round selection in 2019 from Louisiana-Monroe who has turned heads with his speed.

Falcons To Sign RB Kenjon Barner

The Falcons have agreed to terms with Kenjon Barner, according to Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com (on Twitter). McClure hears that it’ll be a one-year deal for the running back.

Barner, 28, has gotten to travel the country over the course of his pro career. He’s suited up for the Panthers (twice), Eagles, and Patriots and also signed a deal with the Chargers somewhere in between. Last year, he split time between the Panthers and Pats and finished out with 19 carries for 71 yards. He also offers kick return experience with a lifetime average of 23.2 yards per try.

After allowing Tevin Coleman to walk, the Falcons had a need for a running back behind Devonta Freeman and Ito Smith. Barner should have a chance to catch on in Atlanta and maybe even get some carries.

Minor NFL Transactions: 12/28/18

Here are Friday’s minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Carolina Panthers

  • Promoted from practice squad: G Dorian Johnson
  • Placed on IR: RB Kenjon Barner

Cleveland Browns

  • Promoted from practice squad: WR Blake Jackson
  • Placed on IR: LB Tanner Vallejo

Detroit Lions

Indianapolis Colts

  • Waived: S Rolan Milligan

Jacksonville Jaguars

Washington Redskins

Panthers Claim RB Kenjon Barner

The Panthers claimed former Patriot Kenjon Barner off waivers, according to a team announcement. To make room, the club waived cornerback Josh Hawkins.

This marks Barner’s third career stint with the Panthers. He’ll provide depth behind star running back Christian McCaffrey, filling a spot vacated by the recent release of veteran C.J. Anderson.

Barner came into the league as a sixth-round pick of the Panthers in 2013 and played eight games for them as a rookie. The Panthers traded him to the Eagles in 2014, but he circled back to Carolina in the offseason. When he failed to make the Panthers’ first cut, Barner hooked on with the Patriots where he cycled through the roster for a couple of months.

Barner, 28, has 19 carries for 71 yards on the season. His best offensive seasons came in 2015 and 2016 with the Eagles when he averaged 4.6 yards per carry in a limited sample of 55 total attempts.

Barner figures to serve as the fourth running back on the depth chart behind CMC, Cameron Artis-Payne, and Travaris Cadet.

Patriots Activate Duke Dawson From IR

The Patriots have officially activated second-round cornerback Duke Dawson from injured reserve to the 53-man roster, as Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. In corresponding moves, the team released running back Kenjon Barner and linebacker Nicholas Grigsby

The Patriots were forced to place the rookie on IR in September due to a hamstring injury. Now, after a few weeks of practice, the former Florida Gator is good to go.

Dawson was in the mix to become New England’s slot cornerback early in camp but will likely rejoin the team as depth piece behind Jonathan Jones. In time, Dawson may overtake Jones, who Pro Football Focus grades as the league’s No. 57 ranked corner this year.

If he’s on the gameday roster, Dawson will have a chance to make his debut against the Jets in New Jersey on Nov. 25.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC East Notes: McCoy, Bills, Wake, Pats

Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports says the odds of the Bills trading any veterans — like RB LeSean McCoy, whose name has recently surfaced in trade rumors — are very slim. La Canfora writes that it would take a “bounty” to pry McCoy or Jerry Hughes away from Buffalo, as the team considers both players, who are both signed beyond this season to club-friendly deals, to be vital veteran components of its rebuild. Ian Rapoport of NFL.com agrees, saying it could take as much as a second-round draft pick to land McCoy.

Now let’s round up a few more notes from the AFC East, starting with more from Orchard Park:

  • This doesn’t come as much of a surprise, but Rapoport tweets that the Bills have no intention of playing newly-acquired signal-caller Derek Anderson, barring injury. Anderson is with the club to tutor rookie QB Josh Allen, not to take any of his playing time.
  • From the “something to keep an eye on” department, Jenna Cottrell of 13 WHAM tweets that Allen asked wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin if he wanted to work on routes during pregame warm-ups today, and Benjamin told him no. The Bills acquired Benjamin at the trade deadline last year but have not gotten much production out of him, and he does not appear especially motivated to perform well in his platform year.
  • Dolphins DE Cameron Wake recently underwent arthroscopic knee surgery but could be back as soon as next week, per Adam Schefter of ESPN.com. Normally such a procedure would require a four-week recovery period, but Wake is such a quick healer that he may make it back in a fraction of that time.
  • Mike Reiss of ESPN.com observes that Patriots cornerback Jason McCourty is on pace to recoup the money that he lost when he agreed to a pay cut before the regular season. New England gave him the opportunity to make up the difference via incentives, and McCourty is well on his way to hitting those incentives. The same cannot be said for Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski, however.
  • Reiss also notes that Kenjon Barner, who has been shuttled on and off of the Patriots‘ roster several times since September 12, may have a little more job security right now. Barner’s former club, the Eagles, are very much in need of RB help, and the Pats know that if they cut Barner again, they may not get him back.
  • Darryl Slater of NJ.com tweets that Jets defensive coordinator Kacy Rodgers, who is dealing with a serious illness, is on the sidelines for the team’s game against the Colts today. It does not sound as if he has resumed his coordinator responsibilities yet, but it is a good sign nonetheless.

Patriots Bring Back RB Kenjon Barner

The Patriots agreed to sign Kenjon Barner for the third time in a month. The two-time Pats cut will again serve as the team’s No. 3 back behind James White and Sony Michel.

Barner initially signed with New England on Sept. 12 before being released a week later. He came back to join the team on Sept. 26 before being released Oct. 4, prior to the Pats’ Week 5 game against the Colts. Heading into the Patriots’ high-profile clash with the Chiefs, the nine-time reigning AFC East champions will have three running backs on their roster.

Although depth has been Barner’s primary purpose in New England, he did play in the Pats’ Week 4 win over the Dolphins, taking three handoffs. He has not been used as a return man, which has been his primary NFL responsibility. Barner, 28, played the past three seasons with the Eagles. He served as the Super Bowl champions’ primary kick and punt returner last season.

The Pats could have brought back Mike Gillislee, whom the Saints released over the weekend, but they’re going with their more recent employee in Barner.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Patriots Activate Edelman, Cut Barner

New England will venture into its Week 4 game thin at running back, though the Patriots’ wide receiver situation will be in as good of shape as it’s been all year.

Julian Edelman‘s return Thursday night forced the Patriots to make a roster move, and they’re opting to release running back Kenjon Barner, Mike Reiss of ESPN.com tweets. Barner’s bounced on and off the Pats’ roster this season, but his latest departure leaves them thin in the backfield.

With Rex Burkhead and Jeremy Hill on IR, the Patriots will go into their Week 5 Colts matchup with just James White and Sony Michel healthy. That’s a thin contingent of able backs, but both played well last week. Barring injury, the Patriots should be able to navigate this situation. However, either White or Michel going down would bring about some problems.

Barner saw action against the Dolphins, taking three handoffs for 11 yards. He has not, however, worked as a kick or punt returner this season. Those have been his primary responsibilities as an NFLer. That said, the Patriots will surely make a running back transaction in the near future — possibly bringing Barner back again — to round out their roster.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minor NFL Transactions: 9/25/18

Here are Tuesday’s minor moves:

Buffalo Bills

Dallas Cowboys

Houston Texans

Los Angeles Chargers

Miami Dolphins

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Patriots Sign CB Cyrus Jones

The Patriots signed cornerback Cyrus Jones off the Ravens practice squad, a source tells Jeff Howe of The Athletic (on Twitter). To make room for their 2016 second-round pick, the Pats released running back Kenjon Barner. It’s a two-year deal for Jones, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter), so the youngster can be controlled through the 2019 season.

Jones was released earlier this month during the Pats’ final roster cuts, but it wasn’t an easy call for New England. Now that he’s back in the fold, he figures to handle return punt returns while also seeing some reps at cornerback.

As a second-round pick of the Patriots in 2016, Jones saw time on special teams as a kick and punt returner. Last year, however, a torn ACL and partially torn meniscus cost him the season.

Barner, 28, was expected to handle some return work for the Pats when he was signed last week. The former Eagles running back will now look to hook on elsewhere.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.