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Volume 4 Issue 39 (June 22)



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INSIDE THIS ISSUE

1. RB Green Bigger, Faster, Staying In Cleveland
2. QB Collins' (NYG) Makeup -- Big Arm, Big Heart
3. More Productive Running A Must For 2003 Texans
4. Bucs, RB Jones Just Might Be Right Together
5. QB Brooks (NO) Groomed For Bigger Leadership Role
6. QB (Phi) McNabb Ready For Healthy Return
7. RB McGahee (Buf) May Start Season On PUP
8. Receivers who will make big gains in 2003

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1. RB Green Bigger, Faster, Staying In Cleveland 

Clipped from Mary Kay Cabot article in The Cleveland Plain Dealer:

Running back William Green will stay in Cleveland most of his month 
off before training camp and said he had benefited enormously from 
being around most of the off-season. He's bigger and faster from 
working with track star Roger Kingdom and catching the ball better 
out of the backfield. "But I have a lot of room for improvement," he 
said. "I don't think I walked off the field [after any game] last 
season being satisfied, expect for maybe the Atlanta game because I 
knew we were going to the playoffs. I think I'm my biggest critic, 
and I think I can get better."

[[[[[[[[[[ OUR VIEW ]]]]]]]]]]

As we've said before, be cautious with the summer tunes of 
overwhelmingly positive news. While it's great to hear that Green's 
faster and stronger, we heard similar news regarding Jamel White. In 
fact, just a week ago we heard that "White, who practically lives 
inside the Browns' weight room, is a no-brainer pick [for offseason 
workout warrior honors]"

(http://clevelandbrowns.com/news_room/news/arts/2027.0.html)

While it remains to be seen if Green will get enough carries to be a 
RB1, it seems he's doing everything right this year. Remember, he 
got off to a horrible start in 2002 with a holdout and injury 
problems. If there's such a thing as an undervalued RB starter this 
year, it might be Willie Green.

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2. QB Collins' (NYG) Makeup -- Big Arm, Big Heart

Clipped from Kimberly Jones article in The New Jersey Star-Ledger:

On the sideline, recently acquired veterans Brian Mitchell and 
Dorsey Levens -- Eagles teammates a season ago, now part of the 
reason the Giants believe they had a splendid off-season -- started 
to realize they should no longer be impressed by such throws from 
Collins. They should expect them. 

"Dorsey and I were just talking about how he throws the ball. He has 
a gun. He's very accurate," said Mitchell, the return 
specialist. "When you're on a team with (high expectations) you 
start looking at the quarterback. Kerry is someone who truly 
understands this offense." 

"His arm strength is a lot better than I thought it was," said 
Levens, a running back. "He's a lot bigger than I thought he was, 
too." 

"I mean this sincerely: There isn't anyone who can throw the ball 
around like Kerry," coach Jim Fassel said. "To me, Kerry can make 
all the throws in this league. I don't see anyone who can make all 
those types of throws all over the field better than him." 

"I want to create situations where Kerry ends up playing catch one-
on-one, where he goes back and can make a very quick, precise 
decision," Fassel said. "Quarterbacks want clarity in what you're 
asking them to see and do. When you give him the clarity, he's 
tremendous."

[[[[[[[[[[ OUR VIEW ]]]]]]]]]]

Collins has a top-12 RB, a top-12 WR, and a top-3 TE at his 
disposal. Despite throwing for over 4,000 yards last season, Collins 
wasn't able to reach 20 touchdowns. Collins has yet to put together 
back to back great seasons, but this year's Giants' offense figures 
to be the most talented one with which he's ever worked. Collins is 
a great guy to target after most of the bigger name quarterbacks 
have been drafted, and has a great shot to equal or surpass their 
stats. However, because he provides nothing in the ground game, he 
won't be an elite quarterback until he can hit the 25-touchdown 
plateau.

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3. More Productive Running A Must For 2003 Texans 

Clipped from ESPN.com:

``Out here (mini-camp) we actually have holes and we don't even have 
pads on,'' Carr said. ``We practically didn't have any holes last 
year when we had pads on, so it's going to be a lot different. 

``The play action is going to be open. Last year, we'd try to go 
with play action and teams would still drop eight players. Maybe a 
downhill running game will help.'' 

The running backs contend they ran hard last season. They just 
didn't go anywhere. 

Allen and rookie Jonathan Wells were the primary ball carriers last 
season. Wells added 529 rushing yards, third among NFL rookie 
runners, but not much help to the Texans' offense. Allen added 519 
yards. 

Neither rusher averaged more than 3.3 yards a carry. 

``It's very much a key,'' coach Dom Capers said. ``I just don't 
think you can be a good team in the NFL if you can't run the ball on 
offense and stop it on defense.'' 

After four seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars, running back 
Stacey Mack joined some of his former Jaguar teammates and signed 
with the Texans in the offseason to add some punch to the rushing 
game. 

A 6-foot-1, 241-pound bruiser, Mack has 372 career rushing attempts 
for 1,498 yards and 19 touchdowns. For much of his career, he's 
mostly served as a backup to the electrifying, but injury-prone Fred 
Taylor. 

``I'm going to bring some hard-nosed running,'' Mack said. ``They 
ran hard last year but I'm just going to add to a talented group.'' 

[[[[[[[[[[ OUR VIEW ]]]]]]]]]]

Despite being the worst rushing team in the league last season, 
Houston's lack of production wasn't due to a lack of effort: The 
Texans ran the ball 421 times, 21st in the league. The past two 
years, Stacey Mack has ran 311 times, for 1,313 yards (4.22 ypc) 
scoring a whopping 18 touchdowns. The Texans were a running team in 
the first half of games last year, and if Houston can be more 
competitive this season expect them to finish in the top fifteen in 
rush attempts. If Stacey Mack can win a bulk of those carries, he'll 
bring nice value to your fantasy team.

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4. Bucs, RB Jones Just Might Be Right Together 

Clipped from Vic Carucci article on NFL.com:

Obviously, I wasn't the seventh pick in the draft for nothing," 
Jones told reporters in Tampa this week. 

The Bucs' championship atmosphere could be exactly what Jones needs. 
Jones performing as well as the Cardinals and many other NFL teams 
thought he would three years ago could play a role in helping the 
Bucs repeat as Super Bowl kings. 

That's why this is a marriage with promise. But Jones has some 
significant hurdles to clear, both in terms of what he does on the 
field and what kind of impression he is able to make on his new 
teammates. 

He told reporters he was a "strong-minded person" and a "strong-
willed person." He will have a chance to put both qualities to the 
test during training camp and through an entire preseason in Tampa 
Bay -- if he can make it that far.

[[[[[[[[[[ OUR VIEW ]]]]]]]]]]

Jones will likely be tabbed a deep sleeper by some in your league 
this year, with some merit: Jones was a top ten pick, he leaves the 
hapless Cardinals to join the best team (with the best coach) in the 
league, and he now has a Super Bowl ring in his sights. Running 
against a tough Bucs D in practice, and being surrounded in a more 
positive atmosphere should help the surprisingly confident Jones.

However, remember three things: Firstly, expect nothing out of Jones 
in September (@Phi, Car, @Atl, BYE). Second, remember that the Bucs 
and Gruden employ a RBBC approach—and with several other role 
players at the position, Jones will not get a lion's share of the 
carries. Finally, the Bucs were 28th in the league in yards per rush 
last season, and no team ran for fewer touchdowns than your 2003 
Super Bowl Champions.

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5. QB Brooks (NO) Groomed For Bigger Leadership Role

Clipped from Nick Wishart article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

The club is doing everything it can to help quarterback Aaron Brooks 
further develop his leadership skills. Last week, Brooks and a few 
of his coaches and teammates attended a two-day leadership seminar 
at the team's facility. Brooks has also been drilled on the side 
with reminders placed in his locker. 

"Win each sprint drill." 

"Always be on time." 

"Be the first one to film study and the last one to leave." 

Next up for Brooks will be a few days being mentored by Hall of 
Famer Joe Montana in training camp. 

But when you hear Brooks talk it sounds like he thinks he's already 
there. 

"I know who I am and what I've got to offer," Brooks said. "People 
in this locker room, the team, the coaches, they know what's up. 

"They know it's my team, and it's going to be like that as long as 
I'm here. I've always been a leader in my own way."

[[[[[[[[[[ OUR VIEW ]]]]]]]]]]

Despite being a fantasy stud the past two years, Brooks has an 
Achilles heel—as the Saints have fallen off in December, so has 
Aaron Brooks. In 2001, he threw eleven (11!) interceptions the last 
three weeks. Last season, "AB" failed to total 210 combined yards in 
four of five December games. At the close of November, Brooks was in 
the top four both seasons—if the Saints don't collapse this year, 
Brooks could easily post top five numbers. 

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6. QB (Phi) McNabb Ready For Healthy Return

Clipped from Luke Sacks article on NFLPlayers.com:

Entering the 2003 season, McNabb is excited to be healthy and ready 
to go even earlier than usual. "I feel great," he offered at the 
team's recent mini-camp. "I started my workouts early, the earliest 
I've ever started in my career. I've also just been continuing 
through certain things and continuing to strengthen up different 
phases of my game." 

McNabb is a two-time Pro Bowler, but he still dedicates much of his 
off-season to working out and getting better as a 
quarterback. "Every year I try to focus on all aspects of my game," 
he offered. "Any time that you begin to just strengthen up your 
weaknesses then your strengths begin to go down. I think if you 
start all over and just focus on the little things and just try to 
elevate that as far as eliminating mistakes and following through 
with the throws and things of that nature then other things will 
follow."

[[[[[[[[[[ OUR VIEW ]]]]]]]]]]

McNabb should be focused and ready to deliver this season. Last 
year, McNabb rebounded from a bitter NFC Championship game defeat to 
the Rams with a sensational ten game season. Following an even worse 
performance in the NFC Championship game this year, expect McNabb to 
try and show the world that not only is he back, but he's the best 
QB in the league. McNabb will be one of the first three quarterbacks 
drafted in your league this year, and there's no reason to think 
he's overvalued.

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7. RB McGahee (Buf) May Start Season On PUP

Clipped from TheInsiders.com: 

It's a sight the Buffalo Bills have already gotten used to, rookie 
running back Willis McGahee - the team's first-round draft pick - 
dressed in shorts and a helmet and watching from the sidelines. The 
former University of Miami star, rehabilitating a major knee injury 
suffered in last January's national title game, wasn't able to 
partake in drills during offseason organized team activities that 
recently concluded. And as expected, he won't be partaking in any 
drills when training camp opens July 23 at St. John Fisher College 
in Rochester, N.Y. 

Team officials, in fact, are dropping hints that it's likely McGahee 
will open the season on the physically unable to perform list, 
making him unavailable for the 2003 season until Week 10 when there 
is a window of time he could be activated. McGahee, who tore three 
major ligaments, hasn't incurred any setbacks and can lightly jog, 
take handoffs and catch passes. But cutting hard on a dime and 
getting hit - in other words, playing football - is still a far ways 
off. "I'm taking it easy now, actually, not trying to push it," 
McGahee said. "We've slowed up a little bit, but everything is going 
well.

[[[[[[[[[[ OUR VIEW ]]]]]]]]]]

The Bills took a big risk drafting McGahee in April, but don't 
expect them to be risky with how they handle the former Hurricane 
star. McGahee shouldn't be drafted in redrafted leagues, and Travis 
Henry's stock certainly doesn't go down with the drafting of 
McGahee. If anything, Henry's now more motivated. If he fails to 
live up to expectations, he may not be the starting Bills RB in 2004.

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8. Receivers who will make big gains in 2003

Clipped from Pat Kirwan article on NFL.com: 

I spent a few days with a prominent NFL defensive coordinator and 
went through the receivers as we get ready for the 2003 season. We 
agreed on 10 players who have an excellent chance to significantly 
improve upon their 2002 performance. It doesn't take a rocket 
scientist to expect Randy Moss or Marvin Harrison to continue on 
their path to greatness, but identifying guys positioned to improve 
in '03 is more interesting to me at this time of year.

The ten receivers named were: Ike Hilliard (NYG), Marc Boerigter 
(KC), Corey Bradford (Hou), Josh Reed (Buf), Deion Branch (NE), 
Santana Moss (NYJ), Kelly Campbell (Min), Joe Jurevicius (TB), 
Freddie Jones (Ari), James Whalen or Dan Campbell (Dal)

The most important thing my defensive coordinator friend said to me 
was, "These guys are positioned to improve and we can't pay special 
attention to them, which means they have a great chance to succeed."

[[[[[[[[[[ OUR VIEW ]]]]]]]]]]

Not a bad read, and a few of these guys are true sleepers — about 
half aren't even being drafted in many leagues.

That's all folks…



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