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Ear to the Ground

"The cosmos speaks in patterns" - Roger von Oech (paraphrase of Heraclitus)

"Winning is our business" - Bill Parcells (motto for Cowboys 2005 season)

The subject matter of ETTG is IDP with an emphasis on Dynasty leagues. Ear To The Ground was chosen for this column's title to convey a sense of detecting rumblings in the distance... an ability essential to project a prospect from college to pro and rookie to veteran. It will consist of four sections : Team Reports, a Defensive Rookie of the Year Meter, an In-Depth Profile and a strategy section called Cracking the Code. The team reports will be covered on a rotation (ARI - KC, MIA - WAS) every other week. The events that wash over the IDP Dynasty world and alter its landscape move at a slower rhythm and tempo and according to longer cycles than redraft leagues, making weekly coverage superfluous. IDP focus will be on the impact positions of LB, DE and S... exceptional DTs and CBs will be noted for leagues that differentiate DE/DT and S/CB. Dynasty content is geared towards youth. Like most successful working rosters that employ a blend of production and potential, there will be a balance of rookie and veteran coverage in the mix. FBG IDP content is complementary and interlocking. Upgrades/Downgrades and Strong/Weak Plays articles will by their nature see new names bubble up to the surface from week to week. Ear to the Ground will identify key players early on and can be thought of as a watch list for the whole season as it unfolds.

TEAM REPORTS

MIAMI - DE Jason Taylor is playing on a painful plantar fascitis injury and it could affect him to some degree for the rest of the season. He is #6 among DL... despite getting a sack in only two of six games so far this season, he has been making plays with two FFs, a FR (and 85 yard TD) and is averaging over five combined tackles per game. Though he looks like he is about 25, Taylor turned 31 in September. ILB Channing Crowder (3.6 '05) had his most productive game of the season. After putting up a modest five tackles in the first four games combined, he has busted out in the past two weeks (12-6). While his numbers will be muted on occasion as long as fellow ILB Zach Thomas is in the saddle, he was only narrowly edged out for the team lead in tackles in the rare, hurricane-prompted Friday game. The two red flags commonly cited for Crowder dropping to the third round were off-the-field issues that led to questions about his character and maturity, as well as multiple knee injuries. In the former set of questions, going to a disciplinarian like HC Saban could be good for him in the long run. In the latter case, he had the renowned Birmingham-based orthopedic surgeon, Dr. James Andrews send out a letter to all 32 teams stating that he was fit for duty and no more likely to suffer a catastrophic knee injury than a player without his injury history. Positives are excellent size for the inside (6'2" 245), the speed, athleticism and range to play outside, NFL bloodlines (his father Randy was a DL for the Dolphins and Bucs) and the physical nature to finish plays and run THROUGH ball carriers. Crowder has the physical traits, measurables and skill set to emerge as one of the top LBs from the class of 2005, in what is increasingly looking like a stacked class (and one of the best for that position in the past decade)... MLB Odell Thurman (CIN), SLB Derrick Johnson (KC), MLB Lofa Tatupu (SEA), ILB/OLB Kirk Morrison (OAK) and OLB DeMarcus Ware (DAL) have all had a big impact on their respective teams (Barrett Ruud is the future at MLB in TB after incumbent Shelton Quarles hangs it up) and look like they are not only among the best defensive players in this draft... but at any position. The tireless tackle machine Thomas has now put in a decade with the Dolphins (a rarity in the free agency era), and is currently neck-'n-neck with Donnie Edwards and Jonathan Vilma atop the FBG LB leader board. He just turned 32... not only does he share the same birthday with Taylor (9-1)... they are also brother-in-laws (Taylor married Thomas' sister). While not as impressive in the seniority department as Clay Matthews, he is displaying some impressive longevity. Older players can be ticking time bombs in a dynasty context... but Thomas just doesn't have the look of a player about to hit the wall any time soon. In addition to a "low" game of 11 combo tackles (between 13-16 in other five games), he has 2 sacks and 3 FFs. Conservative IDP players who thought serial Pro Bowler Rodney Harrison was too old his last season in SD missed out on several years of elite production in recent seasons. FS Lance Schulters has quietly snuck into the top 10 among DBs. The former 49er and Titan has boosted his stats with big plays (2 sacks, 1 FF & 2 INTs).

MINNESOTA - The recent ill conceived and aborted "Love Boat" stripper cruise has probably gotten more attention of any Viking cruise since Leif Eriksson established an encampment in North America... and not for being historic or pioneering (at least, not in the conventional sense). It seems there may have been a misinterpretation of the old maritime and nautical rule about the captain going down WITH the ship (not ON). The marauders from the frozen wastelands of the North have been a wasteland for IDP owners. The top MIN DL is DT Pat Williams at #44 (2004 first round DE Kenechi Udeze has already been placed on IR, and 2005 first round DE counterpart Erasmus "Father of the Humanities" James has underwhelmed to date), the top LBs are ILBs E. J. Henderson (the subject of ETTGs profile this week) and Sam Cowart at #70 and #72, and the top DB is SS Corey Chavous at #52. Enough has been said in this space already about how disappointing Pro Bowl DT Kevin Williams' third season has been unfolding that we can just reiterate that he might be the single biggest IDP disappointment in 2005 (3 assists but not a single tackle against GB)... though far more was expected out of top gun DEs Julius Peppers (CAR) and Charles Grant (NO), as well. Coveted 2004 FA CB and former Bill Antoine Winfield (#76) has also taken a big tumble down the IDP leader board. Pro Bowl FS and long time Packer Darren Sharper (who jumped from the fire into the frying pan) has practically fallen off the IDP map altogether at #128 among DBs, into the part of the map Eriksson might have read (circa 760 AD)... Thar be Dragons! DC Ted Cottrell as recently as last year was mentioned at times as a potential future HC candidate, but that prospect is looking distant and grim at the moment. The ex-Bills and Jets DC responded to the rash of DL injuries lately with a 3-4 scheme... with Cowart and Henderson manning the middle, flanked by OLBs Keith Newman and Raonall Smith. Newman has already beaten out former Raider first round MLB/SLB Napoleon Harris on the strong side. It is left to the seventh overall selection in the 2005 draft, the scorching fast South Carolina WR Troy Williamson, to help try and balance the scales of what could become one of the more lopsided NFL trades in recent memory. Smith has impressive measurables in track shorts but once the pads come on is quick to the infirmary and makes Dan Morgan a durable Iron Man in comparison. He is probably just keeping the weak side OLB position warm for a more talented former second rounder named Smith... Dontarrious. He might miss his second game in a row, but the talented and athletic former Auburn teammate of Karlos Dansby is already in the nickle package and could be a future star. Once he becomes comfortable with pro schemes and coverages (and he has made progress from his rookie season), D. Thomas can begin to unleash similar measurables to consensus top LBs from the 2004 class... Jonathan Vilma and D.J. Williams.

NEW ENGLAND - BYE

NEW ORLEANS - PENALTY BOX (for the refs, too... the Saints have not gotten any orphan status good will from the officials, having been snake bit in consecutive weeks by some highly questionalble calls in crunch time)

PHILADELPHIA - MLB Jeremiah Trotter won a well deserved Defensive Player of the Week award for almost single-handedly keeping the Eagles within striking range of a last minute blocked field goal/return TD that lifted them to an improbable victory and fueled suspicions that the Chargers are one of the best but hardest luck teams in the league. Trotter had a monster game with 9 combined tackles, 1 sack, 1 FF, 1 INT and several passes defensed. Because he didn't begin the 2004 season as the starting MLB (inexplicably held for a half season by the pedestrian Marc Simoneau), his final YTD stats were not impressive... see this weeks ETTG installment of Cracking the Code. On an adjusted, prorated basis looking only at his second half starts, though, once ensconced at MLB he produced at close to a top 10 clip. As of today, he is at #11... where it would appear he belongs. Trotter is one of the most dominant "downhill" LBs in the NFL, with uncanny run/pass read and recognition ability, the cat-quick reactions and reflexes to get to the hole ahead of the ball carrier and the rare combination of agility to elude blockers and dispatch them when necessary.

PITTSBURGH - Defensive Player of the Year candidate from last season, Pro Bowl ILB James Farrior has come back to Earth somewhat (though not burnt to a cinder in atmospheric re-entry like Ravens SS Ed Reed, the 2004 winner). After racking up 3 sacks, 3 FFs, 4 INTs and 1 TD in last year's stellar campaign, he has a more modest 1 sack and 1 FF through six games... though compensating with robust tackle numbers. The ex-Jet first rounder is pacing for close to 90 tackles and over 50 assists, which would put him in striking range of a career high in combined tackles (142 in 2001 & 141 in 2003). He is currently at #20 in FBG LB scoring. The Steelers employ a 3-4 scheme in which the DL are cannon fodder so the rush backers can make plays and to funnell the action into the middle for Farrior, so they are of course an afterthought in most IDP scoring systems. SS Troy Polamalu reversed the sophomore curse by making it to the Pro Bowl in his second season. It won't be the last time he books post-season reservations to Hawaii... he looks like a perennial Pro Bowler. The former USC All American rocketed up the DB leader board after an INT week one and a jaw dropping 3 sack performance week two, and is currently situated at #23. He has Willie Mays-like versatility and is a football athlete equivalent of a five tool player (not the same as a board posting tool)... in baseball, this denotes or signifies the versatility to hit for average and with power, run, catch and throw. Polamalu has few discernible weaknesses or chinks in his armor... he can run (legit 4.3 in college), hit (punishing tackler), cover (David Thompson and Dominique Wilkins-like 43"+ "sky walker" hops augmented by a skill position player's hands) and blitz (the instincts, timing and burst to locate, close on the QB and finish). Ike Taylor was raw as a former RB who made the switch to the secondary late in his collegiate career, but the light appears to have come on for the third year CB from small school LA-Lafayette. He has the physical traits, athleticism and skills to be a comparable pro to his more heralded teammate, Charles "Peanut" Tillman. Taylor got off to a blazing start with 29 combo tackles in the first three games, with 13 in the next three... he currently resides at #32. He looks vastly improved in coverage.

ST. LOUIS - The Bulger-less Rams needed improved play from the defense to have a chance even against the hapless Saints. Scheme-wise, the seemingly passive DC Larry Marmie had allowed opposing offenses to dictate their defensive personnel. By employing a lot of three WR sets, OCs noticed they could keep MLB Chris Claiborne off the field... he only saw about a dozen snaps in the disastrous, ill-fated MNF contest against the undefeated Colts. In an adjustment by interim HC and former Chiefs LB coach Joe Vitt (and in an effort to get their best 11 defensive playmakers on the field), Marmie and the Rams defensive "brain-trust" decided not to outsmart themselves with so many situational substitutions, enabling free agent acquisitions Dexter Coakley (7-1 with a sack and FF) and Claiborne (3-1) to see the field more. They were brought in to stanch the bleeding in run defense... STL gave up three yards shy of 400 yards rushing (not to mention an NFL record 152 punt return yards to Alan Rossum) in one of the most abominable defensive and ST efforts in league playoff history. After getting just 10 combined tackles in the first three games, Pisa Tinoisamoa has been rounding into form with 34 in the last four. That would equate to a robust 136 tackle pace... a pace 5-0 is capable of sustaining on a prorated basis in the second half of the season. He is the only prep athlete in San Diego county history to be awarded All CIF on BOTH sides of the ball... this includes HOF-caliber athletes that were local products such as RB Marcus Allen and LB Junior Seau. Tino looks recovered from a chronic shoulder separation that plagued him in 2004. He is a warrior, but was never 100% after basically the first game during the entire campaign. Some scouts have suggested that his superior former-RB foot quickness and elite change-of-direction ability (his cone drill, shuttle and 40 split times were better than many DBs at the 2003 combine) could destine him to become a future Pro Bowl LB. When his shoulder is right, he is a heat-seeking missile and an explosive open field tackler. After leaving early from WAC conference Hawaii, he still overpursues and struggles at times when he gets wired onto blockers. If kept clean, however, and allowed to chase sideline-to-sideline and fly to the ball, he will blow a lot of plays up and can be highly disruptive if utilized correctly within the scheme. SS Adam Archuleta will probably always be somewhat of a liability in coverage, but he appears to have come back strong from his herniated disc injury. Big plays (3 1/2 sacks, 1 FF, 1 assist and 1 TD) have propelled Arch to #2 among DBs, behind only DeAngelo Hall. If his back doesn't stop him, he has a shot to put up some of the best sack numbers for a DB in NFL history before his career is over. Pro Bowl DE Leonard Little may miss a second game in a row in the wake of the murder of his younger brother... he was in the midst of a rebound season and is still situated at #13 among DL in FBG scoring. DE Anthony Hargrove started slow with 7 combined tackles and no sacks in the first three games, but has begun to heat up with 17 combo tackles and 2 sacks in the past four games. The former prep QB only played two seasons at Georgia Tech and is extremely raw, but has the measurables, work ethic and intensity to become dominant if he can marshall a commensurate level of focus, concentration and attention to detail. Keep your spidey sense activated on sleeper alert with this guy (see 2005 Pre-Season FBG IDP Sleeper report) so you aren't snoozing when he inevitably breaks out. With all the commotion over the handling of (former?) HC Mike Martz, former first round DT Jimmy Kennedy is quietly having his best season (already has 3 sacks and 1 FF).

SAN DIEGO - Keep an eye on OLB/DE Shawne Merriman... he was one of the top non-CBs selected at a high impact IDP position, right after the brilliant DeMarcus Ware (DAL) and ahead of future star Thomas Davis (CAR) and DROY prospect, SLB Derrick Johnson (KC). He earned the moniker "Lights Out" for his signature devestating, punishing hits on ball carriers. After one of the most contentious and protracted contract holdouts in his class (and during which HC Marty Schottenheimer alluded to the liklihood that this would almost insure a "redshirt"-type year due to the extensive time, coaching and reps lost), he is beginning to get up to speed. In the heartbreaker Sunday against the Eagles in a meeting of two of the best teams in the NFL from their respective conferences, Merriman had 5 tackles (as many as he had in the previous month of games) and got his second sack in the past three weeks. The venerable MLB Donnie Edwards defies Father Time. The ageless wonder is #2 among LBs... in addition to averaging over 10 combined tackles, he has added 2 sacks, 1 FF and 1 INT. SS Terrance Kiel has quietly racked up 40 tackles (the most among DBs) and surged all the way to #6 on the FBG leader board. He very nearly didn't get to play in the NFL after being shot multiple times shortly after his draft in an aborted car-jacking in which he drove himself to the hospital.

SAN FRANCISCO - PENALTY BOX

SEATTLE - Former Ram bookend DEs Bryce Fisher and Grant Wistrom had an impressive 16 combined tackles and 3 sacks between them. Michael Boulware has not put up massive tackle numbers, but the fastest LB in the 2004 draft (a legit 4.4) has flashed his athleticism and playmaking skills with 2 sacks, 1 INT and 1 FF. He has future top 5-10 talent and is a natural... making a seamless transition from collegiate WLB to NFL SS. He will be relied on more heavily with the tragic beating outside of a bar of FS Ken Hamlin that left him with a fractured skull and prematurely ended his 2005 season. MLB Lofa Tatupu continues to impress, and speaheaded a defensive resurgence that has helped catapult the Seahawks to a 5-2 record and an early decisive lead in the sketchy NFC West. Having a high impact is an integral component in Defensive Rookie of the Year voting... by that criteria, the former leader of the USC National Championship is as worthy of consideration as anybody. His off-the-charts football smarts have been as good as advertised, and his mature-beyond-his-years field generalship have deeply impressed the club's veterans and earned the confidence and trust of the coaching staff.

TAMPA BAY - BYE

WASHINGTON - It seems like the Redskins haven't had a formidable edge rushing presence on the DL since the days of Dexter Manley and Charles Mann. But they do have DT Cornelius Griffin going for them... he is tied at #15 among DL with "Hendo", and for the second most productive interior DL after Rod Coleman. WLB LaVar Arrington had his coming out (of the dog house) party nearly halfway into the season. He is one of the highest drafted LBs in the history of the draft (second overall pick from the class of 2000), yet couldn't find the field amidst swirling rumors that he was (variously)... being punished for his contract dispute, insubordinate in following assignments and erratic and undisciplined in carrying out his gap control responsibilities. At his best, he could be one of the better blitzing LBs in league history and a terror in backside pursuit (he made some amazing plays Sunday in which he came all the way across the field to run down the RB). The problem is he is so aggressive in pursuit that he can be vulnerable on occasion to cutbacks to the backside. In general, though, he tends to make more positive plays than the kind that hurt, creating a net positive for the overall defense. MLB Lemar Marshall has helped ease the unexpected free agent loss of Antonio Pierce to the division rival Giants. While not putting up monster tackle numbers, he has flashed his former collegiate safety athleticism and coverage chops with two sacks and an INT already in the early going. In legal news, the attorney of Sean Taylor received a continuance for his client's trial until next January... it remains to be seen how that will play out if they make the playoffs, which appears doable even in the brutal NFC East given their blistering start. Of greater long range concern in dynasty circles is the looming possibility of a conviction, which would automatically trigger a multi-year prison sentence for brandishing a gun in the state of Florida.

Defensive Rookie of the Year Meter

  1. Odell Thurman, MLB, CIN, 2.16, Georgia (6'1" 230)
  2. Derrick Johnson, SLB, KC, 1.15, Texas (6'4" 235)
  3. Lofa Tatupu, MLB, SEA, 2.13, USC (6'0" 240)
  4. Kirk Morrison, OLB/ILB, OAK, 3.14, San Diego State (6'2" 240)
  5. DeMarcus Ware, OLB/DE, DAL, 1.11, Troy State (6'4" 232)
  6. Kerry Rhodes, SS, NYJ, 4.22, Louisville (6'3" 210)
  7. Darrent Williams, CB, DEN, 2.24, Oklahoma State (5'8" 188)
  8. Marlin Jackson, CB, IND, 1.29, Michigan (6'1" 200)
  9. C.C. Brown, SS, HOU, 6.14, LA-Lafayette, (6'0" 200)
  10. Mike Patterson, DT, PHI, 1.31, USC (6'0" 285)

    Standin On The Verge Of Gettin It...

  • Channing Crowder, ILB/OLB, MIA, 3.6, Florida (6'2" 240)
  • Shawne Merriman, OLB/DE, SD, 1.12, Maryland (6'4" 245)
  • Josh Bullocks, SS/FS, NO, 2.8, Nebraska (6'0" 205)
  • Dominique Foxworth, CB, DEN, 3.33, Maryland (5'11" 180)
  • Adam "Pacman" Jones, CB, TEN, 1.6, West Virginia (5'11" 185)
  • Thomas Davis, SS/OLB, CAR, 1.14, Georgia (6'3" 230)
  • Carlos Rogers, CB, WAS, 1.9, Auburn (6'1" 194)
  • Nick Collins, FS, GB, 2.19, Bethune Cookman (5'11" 193)
  • Chris Canty, DE, DAL, 4.31, Virginia (6'7" 290)
  • Erasmus James, DE, MIN, 1.18, Wisconsin (6'4" 270)
  • Alfred Fincher, MLB, NO, 3.18, Connecticut (6'1" 240)
  • David Pollack, SLB, CIN, 1.17, Georgia (6'2" 260)
  • Marcus Spears, DE, DAL, 1.20, LSU (6.4 295)
  • Kevin Burnett, OLB, DAL, 2.10, Tennessee (6'3" 235)
  • Leroy Hill, WLB, 3.35, Clemson (6'1" 225)
  • Shaun Cody, DT/DE, DET, 2.5, USC (6'3" 290)
  • Corey Webster, CB, NYG, 2.11, LSU (6'0" 197)
  • Brodney Pool, FS/SS, CLE, 2.2, Oklahoma (6'3" 208)
  • Oshiomogho Atogwe, FS, STL, 3.2, Stanford (5'11" 220)
  • Barrett Ruud, MLB, TB, 2.4, Nebraska (6'2" 240)
  • Jonathan Babineaux, DT, ATL, 2.27, Iowa (6'2" 280)
  • Matt Roth, DE, MIA, 2.14, Iowa (6'4" 270)
  • Bryant McFadden, CB, PIT, 2.30, Florida State (6'0" 180)
  • Chris Harris, FS, CHI, 6.7, Louisiana-Monroe (6'0" 205)
  • Fabian Washington, CB, OAK, 1.23, Nebraska (5'11 180)
  • Stanford Routt, CB, OAK, 2.6, Houston (6'1" 195)
  • Jerome Carter, SS, STL, 4.16, Florida State (5'11" 220)
  • Lance Mitchell, MLB, 5.32, Oklahoma (6'3" 245)
  • Luis Castillo, NT, SD, 1.28, Northwestern (6'5" 305)
  • Justin Tuck, DE, NYG, 3.10, Notre Dame (6'5" 261)
  • Travis Johnson, DE, HOU, 1.16, Florida State (6'5" 285)
  • Donte Nicholson, SS, TB, 5.5, Oklahoma (6'2" 216)
  • Justin Miller, CB, NYJ, 2.25, Clemson (5'11" 200)
  • Eric Green, CB, ARI, 3.11, Virginia Tech (6'0" 197)
  • Daryl Blackstock, SLB, ARI, 3.32, Virginia, (6'4" 240)
  • Ron Bartell, CB/FS, STL, 2.18, Howard (6'1" 213)
  • Travis Daniels, CB, MIA, 4.3, LSU (6'1" 184)
  • Kelvin Hayden, CB, IND, 2.28, Illinois (6'0" 198)
  • Stanley Wilson, CB, DET, 3.8, Stanford (6'0" 190)
  • James Butler, S, NYG, UFA (only undrafted free agent on this list), Georgia Tech (6'3" 210)

    * Injured Reserve

  • Jordan Beck, MLB, ATL, 3.26, Cal Poly (6'2" 230)
  • Dan Cody, OLB/DE, BAL, 2.21, Oklahoma (6'5" 265)
  • Antrel Rolle, CB, ARI, 1.8, Miami (6'1" 202)

In-Depth Profile

This section will draw from and point back to pre-season work, such as the IDP Rookie and Sleepers articles, as well as include new profiles in-season as events dictate.

E.J. Henderson, ILB, Minnesota Vikings (from the Pre-Season 2005 IDP Sleepers article)...

The offseason has been a rollercoaster ride for the Hendo-nator and his owners. After the Vikings conducted among the biggest defensive dismantlings and overhaulings league-wide, instead of entering the 2005 season as the incumbent MLB, the former Maryland All American found himself on the bench behind Sam Cowart (who had played both ILB and WLB for DC Ted Cotrell... first for the Bills, and later with the Jets). Rather than pout, he sucked it up and decided to treat it as an opportunity to learn from a mentor and get better. Henderson was getting rave reviews from the coaching staff, so they decided to reward him (and lets face it, get the best three LBs on the field together, which they vowed to do) by experimenting with him as the first string WLB, bumping promising 2004 second rounder Dontarrious Thomas from the starting lineup. Some reports have surfaced stating he has been the best LB on the team during the Summer. While he struggled with the mental demands of the MLB position last season and blew assignments, let alone having a handle on how to get others lined up, he can now lean on the veteran presence of Cowart to handle those responsibilities (who knows the defense cold), and devote himself to learning his new WLB role. He has answered coaches' questions about his understanding of the game with a resounding and emphatic affirmative. As a Terrapin sophomore, he routinely terrorized defenses and was a one man wrecking crew, easily looking like one of the most dominant defensive playmakers in the nation at any position. Great things were predicted for him. Even after medical setbacks including back surgery and a dreaded diagnosis of spinal stenosis, he was still thought by most as the consensus top MLB in his class (and one of top two LBs overall with OLB Boss Bailey, who it turned out had medical red flags of his own), before MLB Nick Barnett surged up the draft board leading up to the draft in the wake of some stellar workouts and became the sole first rounder from the class of 2003. Somewhat of a forgotten man due to being stuck behind Greg Biekert his rookie season and the rough transition to starting last year, don't make the same mistake as some of your leaguemates... Henderson is the genuine article... a BEAST. The bonus plan is that he could slide back to MLB as soon as 2006, representing a potential big uptick in stats... has the pedigree, physical ability and talent to be one of the ten best MLBs in the game with development and maturation.

Cracking the Code - On When To Use YTD and PPG Stats

See the PHI team report above on MLB Jeremiah Trotter in this context. YTD stats would be deceptive and severely underestimate Trotter's potential for THIS season, based on a half a year of stats in 2004. Even there, you need to be careful of what to do with games played that may not be reflective of a "start". Another case in point on offense would be Marc Bulger. He missed a few games in 2004, so his YTD stats may not reflect what he is capable of in a full season... though he is injured for a few games AGAIN, so if such a pattern becomes established, perhaps YTD stats are an accurate barometer of what to expect. Bulger was good in 2004 on a PPG basis, but even better than he looked. He was knocked out after about four passes in one game. If not for that, instead of his 283 passing yards per game, he would have led the NFL with closer to 300 YPG. The relevance of the above distinction between YTD and PPG stats when comparing and evaluating the relative merits and prospects of players in the height of bye season (with in many cases staggered and disparate games off... some in-season extrapolations and projections will by necessity be based on six or seven games to date, based on whether a player has had a bye or not) is too obvious to require further elaboration.

* dedicated to K

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