Rodgers to get more touches: With Dirk Koetter taking over for the departed Mike Mularkey as Atlanta’s offensive coordinator, it appears changes to the offense are already afoot. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that the team plans to get running back Jacquizz Rodgers more involved in the screen passing game next season, likely taking snaps away from Michael Turner. With the NFL becoming a QB-driven league, feature RBs are being de-emphasized — especially in favor of backs who can catch the ball. Look no further than the effectiveness of Ray Rice, Arian Foster and Darren Sproles for proof. Turner has never been much of a pass-catcher (he hauled in a career-high 17 receptions this season) so the integration of Rodgers into the Falcons’ offense would reinforce Michael Fabiano’s fear that the veteran back is headed for a disappointing 2012 season.
Holmes will be back in 2012: Despite the Jets’ crash landing at the end of the season, at least one key member of the crew appears to be returning. Owner Woody Johnson told reporters WR Santonio Holmes will return to Gang Green next year. Holmes caught only 51 passes for 654 yards this season — the yardage total was a career low, while the receptions were the least since his rookie season. In fact, his production has steadily declined since he posted career highs in 2009 with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He was also the center of controversy this season when he was accused of quitting on the team. Any hard feelings among teammates will likely be sorted out by training camp, but unless Mark Sanchez can become more consistent and Holmes decides to give a full effort next season, it’s hard to recommend taking a chance on the mercurial receiver until the later rounds.
Patriots want Welker back: This season hasn’t ended yet for the Patriots, but they’re already looking ahead, with owner Robert Kraft saying that the team wants to re-sign WR Wes Welker. And why wouldn’t it? Since joining New England in 2007, Welker’s been one of the league’s most productive pass-catchers, registering 111 or more receptions in four out of five seasons; even while recovering from ACL surgery in 2010, he caught 86 balls for 848 yards. The veteran from Texas Tech will turn 31 in the offseason, but age doesn’t have the same effect on receivers as it does on running backs. As long as he continues to catch passes from Tom Brady, Welker will remain in the top tier of fantasy receivers.
– Marcas Grant