Quandre Diggs

North Notes: Packers, Q. Diggs, Conner

We heard last month that the Packers would be going “back to Page 1” of their playbook, but as Jason Wilde of the Wisconsin State Journal writes, Green Bay is not going to be making any wholesale changes to its offense. In light of all of the new voices on the offensive side of the ball this year — Joe Philbin is back as OC, Frank Cignetti Jr. is in as quarterbacks coach, and there are several other staff changes besides — it made sense for all involved to thoroughly review the team’s play design and philosophy. But as Philbin said, “It’s been a process of refining, enhancing, tweaking, as opposed to, ‘Yeah we scrubbed it down.’ Yes, we went page by page. (But) we’re not starting from scratch here. These players in that locker room, they’ve done some great things.” 

Philbin, of course, is primarily referring to star quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers indicated that verbiage has changed — and Philbin acknowledged that such changes were made in order to streamline the playcalling — and that has created something of a learning curve. But passing game Jim Hostler said that the goal is for the offense to look the same as it always has with Rodgers under center, even if there are some refinements and enhancements here and there.

Now for more from the league’s north divisions:

  • Opposing defenses were already treating Packers WR Davante Adams as the team’s No. 1 wideout last season, so the departure of Jordy Nelson will not represent much of a change in that regard, as Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com writes. But Green Bay has not (yet) signed a veteran wideout to replace Nelson, so Adams will need to take on a more active role in terms of leadership. The Packers drafted three receivers this year — one each in the fourth, fifth, and sixth rounds — and return 24-year-old Geronimo Allison as the presumed No. 3 WR on the depth chart, so Adams is suddenly the second-oldest player in the wide receiver room. He was not present for the start of OTAs, which caused some concern in light of his concussion history, but neither player nor team seem concerned about his availability. Head coach Mike McCarthy simply said Adams is “battling a couple things,” presumably minor injuries.
  • Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com says Quandre Diggs has a real chance to permanently supplant Tavon Wilson as the Lions‘ starting strong safety in 2018. Diggs, a former sixth-round selection, played well in that role last season, and Rothstein suggests he may even be the favorite to start at this point. Miles Killebrew, a former fourth-round choice, appears to be on the outside looking in and may need to continue to stand out on special teams to retain his roster spot.
  • James Conner, a feel-good story and 2017 third-round choice, is featuring prominently in Steelers‘ OTAs due to Le’Veon Bell‘s continued absence, as Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com writes. Conner showed flashes in his rookie campaign, which ended with a Week 15 MCL tear, but if he can cement himself as the team’s No. 2 back behind Bell this season — and he will need to improve in pass protection in order to do so — that could be the first step towards a starting job in 2019, depending on Bell’s contract situation.
  • John Ross is once again a full participant in the Bengals‘ OTAs, as Jim Owczarski of the Cincinnati Enquirer observes. Although Ross dropped a few passes, he also made some difficult grabs and is seeing a lot of passes come his way. Tyler Eifert, meanwhile, is a limited participant, but having both players involved at the beginning of full team work is a beautiful thing for Cincinnati fans.
  • Neil Stratton of InsideTheLeague.com (via Twitter) details a few more changes to the Browns‘ scouting department that were not covered several days ago.

2018 Proven Performance Escalators

According to the NFL’s contractual bargaining agreement, players drafted in rounds three though seven are entitled to raises during the fourth year of their respective rookie contracts. The pay bumps are tied to playing time — a player must have played in 35% of his team’s offensive or defensive snaps in two of his first three seasons, or averaged 35% playing time cumulatively during that period.Jay Ajayi (Vertical)

If one of these thresholds is met, the player’s salary is elevated to the level of that year’s lowest restricted free agent tender — that figure should be around $1.908MM in 2018. Players selected in the first or second round, undrafted free agents, and kickers/punters are ineligible for the proven performance escalator.

Here are the players who will see their salary rise in 2018 courtesy of the proven performance escalator:

49ers: Trent Brown, T; Eli Harold, LB

Bears: Adrian Amos, S

Bengals: Tyler Kroft, TE; Josh Shaw, DB

Bills: John Miller, G

Broncos: Max Garcia, G; Trevor Siemian, QB

Browns: Duke Johnson, RB

Buccaneers: Kwon Alexander, LB

Cardinals: David Johnson, RB; J.J. Nelson, WR

Chargers: Kyle Emanuel, LB

Chiefs: Chris Conley, WR; Steven Nelson, CB

Colts: Henry Anderson, DE; Mark Glowinski, G; Denzelle Good, OL

Dolphins: Bobby McCain, CB

Eagles: Jay Ajayi, RB; Jordan Hicks, LB

Falcons: Grady Jarrett, DT

Jaguars: A.J. Cann, OL

Lions: Quandre Diggs, CB

Packers: Jake Ryan, LB

Panthers: Daryl Williams, T

Patriots: Trey Flowers, DE; Shaq Mason, G

Raiders: Clive Walford, TE

Rams: Jamon Brown, G

Ravens: Za’Darius Smith, LB

Redskins: T.J. Clemmings, OL; Jamison Crowder, WR

Saints: Tyeler Davison, DT

Seahawks: Tyler Lockett, WR

Steelers: Jesse James, TE

Vikings: Stefon Diggs, WR; Danielle Hunter, DE

OverTheCap.com was essential in the creation of this post. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images. 

Lions CB Quandre Diggs Likely Done For Year

Lions cornerback Quandre Diggs injured his pectoral in Sunday’s game against the Saints and will likely miss the remainder of the 2016 campaign, freelance reporter Rand Getlin tweets. Diggs will undergo more tests on Tuesday, according to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press (Twitter link), but Diggs’ outlook is “not looking good right now.”Quandre Diggs (Vertical)

[RELATED: Detroit Lions Depth Chart]

Detroit’s pass defense has been among the worst in the NFL this year, and in fact ranks dead last in passing DVOA, according to Football Outsiders. Specifically, the Lions rank 32nd against “other receivers,” per FO, which indicates that Detroit is particularly poor against pass-catchers that don’t rank among the top-two on an opponent’s roster — the exact players that Diggs had been covering as the club’s slot corner. Pro Football Focus, too, hasn’t been bullish on Diggs’ play, grading him as the league’s No. 105 CB among 122 qualifiers.

Still, Diggs has been available during his sophomore NFL season, as he’s appeared in all 12 games, posting 38 tackles, one pass defensed, and one fumble recovery while playing on 56.4% of Detroit’s defensive snaps. As Birkett writes in a full article, Diggs had been losing playing to safety Rafael Bush in recent weeks, while rookie defensive back Adairius Barnes figures to see more time going forward.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Jaguars, Titans, Lions, Garoppolo

Some assorted notes from around the league on this Tuesday evening…

  • The Jaguars have hired former Falcons executive DeJuan Polk as their new assistant director of pro personnel, the team announced today (Twitter link via John Oehser of Jaguars.com). Polk has spent the majority of the last decade working as the pro personnel coordinator in Atlanta.
  • ESPN’s Bill Barnwell goes in-depth to explain why it might make more sense for the Titans to trade down in the draft rather than using the No. 1 overall pick on offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil.
  • Meanwhile, ESPN.com’s Paul Kuharsky wonders if the Titans would gamble on Jalen Ramsey with the top pick. A defensive back has never been chosen with the first overall pick, but Titans general manager Jon Robinson didn’t necessarily rule out the idea. “I would say with the first overall pick, we’re looking to add an impact player,” he said. “There’s a handful of players that fit into that. A handful could be a couple or it could be 10 according to how big your hands are. But we want to come away with somebody that is going to impact our football team.”
  • The Lions expect 2015 draftee Quandre Diggs to be a regular contributor in nickel and dime defenses next season, but the team will still need to address the cornerback position in free agency or the draft, writes Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press.
  • Tom Brady‘s new contract extension has observers reassessing Jimmy Garoppolo‘s role with the Patriots. However, Mike Reiss of ESPN.com doesn’t think New England’s backup QB will become a potential trade chip until at least 2017, unless another team blows away the Pats with an offer.

Ben Levine contributed to this post.

Lions Sign Five Rookies

The Lions announced that they have signed draft picks Alex Carter, Gabe Wright, Michael Burton, Quandre Diggs, and Corey Robinson, Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com tweets.

Carter, a third round choice, was the highest draft pick of any of the players that signed today. The former Stanford standout was ranked as the third-best safety prospect of his class coming out of high school. Carter hit the ground running as a true frosh and after a solid 2014 season, he decided to enter his name in the draft early.

First-round choice Laken Tomlinson and second-round pick Ameer Abdullah remain unsigned.