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Volume 6, Issue 116 (Friday, August 12th)

Tonight's update brought to you by:
The World Championship of Fantasy Football WCOFF)

A quick head's up that the WCOFF is down to a handful of spots for their 2005 event in Las Vegas (September 10). If you want to compete in the 2005 WCOFF, please pre-register right now on the WCOFF.com web site -- and FedEx an application AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. At the current rate, it looks pretty certain that the WCOFF will be sold out by Monday morning. It's four days of non-stop fantasy football fun... if you're going to be at the WCOFF in September, please stop by the FBGs booth and say hi. We're raffling off an Joe Montana/Jerry Rice AUTOGRAPHED Forty-Niners helmet!!

Joe's Note: I was at the WCOFF last year, and can tell you it was a good time. They do a great job.

Web Address: http://www.wcoff.com

Hi Folks,

Hope your day was better than Rex Grossman's. Yikes. Training camps are rolling and we're here for you to plow through the mountain of news and bring you the key things you need to know. And thanks to our Footballguy Chris Smith for the help rounding up these stories tonight. Let's get to it.

Joe Bryant

SITE NEWS

A. (Premium Subscription) 35 Page Training Camp Update Issue #2 Ready For Download
We showed everyone what we're doing with the Training Camp Updates last week as we gave away Issue #1. Subscribers to the Premium Subscription can download Issue #2 here. Since camp had just opened last week, Issue #1 was mainly an off season summary. Issue #2 is focused on just the last seven days with detailed reports on camp battles and practice reports. It's chock full of coaches comments, player quotes, depth chart battles and much more.

B. (Premium Subscription) The Perfect Draft
By David Dodds

C. (Premium Subscription) 158 Cheatsheets
Covering just about every league situation, we have a cheat sheet close to what you want


INSIDE THIS ISSUE

1. CHI - QB Grossman Out 3-4 Months With Broken Ankle
2. PHI - QB McNabb, WR Owens Relationship Getting Worse
3. CIN - RB Perry Finally Healthy; To Share Backfield With RB Johnson
4. ATL - Rookie WR White To Be Tried As Kickoff Returner; Not Ready To Start At Receiver Yet
5. PHI - With Limited Depth At Receiver The Eagles May Be Ready To Deal
6. NOS - Preseason Games Very Important To Both WR Gardner and WR Henderson
7. MIN- TE Wiggins Plans On Carrying Over Success From Last Season
8. MIA - Club Is Feeling Pressure To Get Rookie RB Brown Signed
9. OAK - Team Counting On RB Jordan To Carry The Load
10. CIN - Team Insists WR Warrick Hasn't Been Asked To Accept A Pay Cut
11. IND - Three Way Battle At Tight End To Replace Marcus Pollard In Rotation
12. IDP: STL - CB J. Butler May Have Torn PCL; Could Miss Season
13. IDP: TEN - The Titans And Rookie CB Pacman Jones Still Far Apart On Deal
14. IDP: KC - Rookie LB Johnson Looks Like The Real Deal
15. IDP: DAL - CB Henry Living Up To Expectations

1. CHI - QB Grossman Out 3-4 Months With Broken Ankle

Clipped from the AP article:

Chicago Bears quarterback Rex Grossman broke his left ankle early in the second quarter of Friday night's preseason game against the St. Louis Rams and will be sidelined three to four months.

Grossman, who played in only three games last season before being sidelined by a right knee injury, was hurt with 11:08 to go in the half as he threw a pass. After being flushed out of the pocket and being spun around by Trev Faulk, he got back to his feet. While limping, Grossman signaled for a trainer.

He then sat down and grabbed his left knee. He slammed his helmet on the cart before he left the game.

The Bears used four quarterbacks last year and have used at least three in six of seven seasons.

Grossman was 6-for-11 for 52 yards before leaving the scoreless game. He was replaced by Chad Hutchinson.

The Bears used four quarterbacks last year and have used at least three in six of seven seasons. They could be stuck in a similar predicament this year given that backup Chad Hutchinson is unproven.

General manager Jerry Angelo said in the offseason that he was committed to having a veteran backup on board, but the team passed on Kurt Warner, Brad Johnson and Jay Fiedler.

Grossman was 6-for-11 for 52 yards before leaving the scoreless game. He was replaced by Hutchinson, who led the Bears to their only first-half score on the same drive.

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

Bad news for the Bears. Chicago did not go after a veteran QB this summer to back up Grossman and have a pretty bare cupboard behind him. Chad Hutchison has never done much as a pro and Kyle Orton is a rookie.This is a huge blow as well to WR Muhsin Muhammad who had been looking great. We'll watch this situation for you closely but this looks like a bad break for Chicago.

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2. PHI - QB McNabb, WR Owens Relationship Getting Worse

Clipped from: AP article by Dan Gelston

Quarterback Donovan McNabb insisted he wasn't stung by criticism from Terrell Owens, laughing off the banished wide receiver's remarks before turning serious and telling him to "keep my name out of your mouth."

While Owens left his home for the Bahamas, McNabb joked with reporters, tapped the mikes and rubbed his hands together before taking his seat inside a jammed media tent shortly after Philadelphia's Friday practice.

"Yeah! C'mon, bring it!" McNabb said to laughter.

Owens again blasted McNabb on two separate interviews with ESPN on Thursday, calling the quarterback a "hypocrite" and saying the two of them could not be successful together. Owens also said he had no desire to speak with McNabb.

"It's so funny to me how my name keeps getting thrown out there," McNabb said. "You've just got to have fun with it and that's exactly what we're doing."

Owens was told to go home Wednesday after a heated dispute with coach Andy Reid - and to stay there for a week. He's since lifted weights and shot hoops in front of the reporters camped outside his house and had harsh words for Reid and McNabb in TV interviews.

On Friday morning, Owens left his Moorestown, N.J., home with two suitcases and went to Philadelphia International Airport, where he told KYW-TV as he headed to a security gate: "I'm going to the Bahamas. I'm going to get a tan."

McNabb, light and smiling throughout his interview, agreed with Owens the two didn't necessarily have to speak to win.

"I still to this day see no reason for us to talk," McNabb said. "When we step on this field, it's all about business. We're professionals that line up and do the right thing."

This was the second time this year McNabb has warned Owens to stop talking about him.

After Owens complained that McNabb was tired in the Super Bowl, McNabb said "Just keep my name out of your mouth," during a mandatory minicamp.

McNabb, who made a recruiting pitch to get Owens to Philadelphia before last season, was tired of hearing Owens complain.

"Now for my name to be thrown out again, this is the second time. Keep my name out of your mouth," he said. "Keep my family's name out of your mouth."

Owens called McNabb a "hypocrite" on Thursday because the quarterback said publicly that he did not want to meet with Owens, while T.O said McNabb did try to arrange a meeting. McNabb said he didn't learn until Thursday that his brother did reach out to someone close to Owens to arrange a meeting where the two Eagles could possibly work out their differences. McNabb was bothered that Owens brought his family into his televised rants.

"My family doesn't need to be involved in any of this. I don't need to be involved in any of this," he said. "Now when you bring my family into it, I have a problem."

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

Well, at the very least the Eagles offseason has proven interesting this season to follow. However it may be time to begin downgrading both Donovan McNabb and Terrell Owens on your Cheatsheets. Sure if exceptional value exists for either player in your draft you can roll the dice on this situation getting straightened out. Owens is not a lock to return to the team and if he doesn't return, does anybody really believe McNabb will be a top three quarterback with Owens, Todd Pinkston and Freddie Mitchell all not in the picture? If coach Andy Reid can return this team to the Super Bowl in 2005, he should be considered up there with the Vince Lombardi's of the football world.

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3. CIN - RB Perry Finally Healthy; To Share Backfield With RB Johnson

Clipped from the Bengals.com article by Geoff Hobson

Chris Perry, a James Brooksish-type running back whose downfield catching skills the Bengals hope can be used to exploit Carson Palmer's long ball, finally gets on the field Friday in the fittest shape of his pro career to join an offense suddenly heralded and feared.

"I'm excited, but I just hope I can make it through the whole season," Perry said. "When that happens, then I'll be excited."

But the guy in Bengals history that Perry gets compared to showed up on the sidelines at last Friday's intrasquad scrimmage. James Brooks, who at 5-9, 200 pounds played about three inches shorter and 20 pounds lighter than Perry, checked out the '05 club. One of the guys he wanted to see was Perry and if he could run pass patterns downfield like he could.

During training camp, Perry has been doing a lot of what Brooks did in offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski's multi-receiver sets. Many times he has been lined up wide or sent in motion, and sent down the field on long receiver-type routes not known since the days the Bengals tinkered with Dillon and Ki-Jana Carter in the same backfield.

The Bengals not only see Perry as a threat on third down when Rudi Johnson is off the field, but also on first and second down paired with Johnson. Jim Anderson, the Bengals running backs coach since Brooks arrived in 1984, still shows his players his masterpiece from the AFC title season of '88, when Brooks bobbed and weaved for eight rushing touchdowns and six receiving touchdowns while Ickey Woods hammered away for a Dillon- and Rudi-like 1,066 yards.

"I can do different things. Hopefully I'll be able to get in there and make an impact," Perry said.

He has certainly made an impact in practice. His acceleration, speed, and hands catch your attention. But the word "practice" has to be underlined.

"It would be a nice addition if it looks like he can do what he's done so far," Bratkowski said. "It'd be another piece to the puzzle. He opens up avenues that we haven't been able to use before."

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

This likely doesn't impact running back Rudi Johnson too much as he'll still be the primary guy rushing the ball. However if Chris Perry can stay healthy and on the field this season, his presence will help open up the passing game even more, giving receivers such as Chad Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh even more space to work their magic. Perry is an important player to watch during preseason to gauge his potential for the upcoming season. One thing is for sure though; these Bengals aren't the perennial losers from yesteryear.

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4. ATL - Rookie WR White To Be Tried As Kickoff Returner; Not Ready To Start At Receiver Yet

Clipped from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution article by Steve Wyche

Falcons coach Jim Mora said he's got to find a way to get the football into the hands of first-round draft pick Roddy White. However, the rookie wide receiver is so far behind after a six-day holdout over contract terms, he can't be forced into the offense any time soon.

So White will be tried as a kickoff returner. It's a position in flux because the team wants incumbent Allen Rossum to concentrate on punt returns, the specialty that earned him a berth in the Pro Bowl last season.

"I'm cool with it," White said. "I've got to try to make some plays however they want me to. Whatever they want me to do, I'll go out there and do it."

"You want to find the ball in his hands in some way because he makes plays," Mora said of White.

But, "That first week of training camp is so critical and when you miss it, you're going to be behind. He has the potential to be a kick returner. He's big, physical, fast and he's pretty fearless and he has some elusive running ability.

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

The real news here isn't that rookie receiver Roddy White is being tried as a kick returner during the preseason. The news to be aware of is that White is quite far behind where he needs to be due to the six-day holdout. More importantly, he may find it difficult to see action as a receiver to start the season. White has great athleticism but needs to work on fine-tuning his receiving skills at this level and even with a full training camp may not have been ready to have an impact out of the gate. If you're going to take a Falcons receiver in 2005, target Michael Jenkins as he'll likely be their most productive WR.

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5. PHI - With Limited Depth At Receiver The Eagles May Be Ready To Deal

Clipped from: The Times article by Mark Eckel

Terrell Owens' future with the Eagles is in jeopardy. Todd Pinkston's season is over.

So what are the Eagles going to do at wide receiver?

Sources told The Times, the Eagles are looking into what receivers could be available through trade and what it would take to acquire any of those receivers.

At this time it appears the top three receivers are Greg Lewis, rookie Reggie Brown who suffered a groin injury yesterday and Billy McMullen, hardly a lineup that will intimidate NFL defenses.

The Eagles have ammunition, with at least two extra draft picks next year (both in the fourth round) and some depth on defense.

On that list could be Cincinnati's Peter Warrick, the fourth pick of the 2000 draft, who never quite lived up to that selection in his five years with the Bengals.

Warrick is currently the Bengals' No. 3 wide receiver and has expressed displeasure with the situation. He is in camp with the team, but he is not practicing. According to reports in the Cincinnati newspapers, Warrick was cleared medically to play but the team has not put him on the field.

The Bengals could waive Warrick to save the $2.28 million he is scheduled to earn this season, but they are somewhat concerned that AFC North rival Pittsburgh would sign him.

It may not take much to acquire Warrick, although his agent is none other than Drew Rosenhaus.

Other possibilities on the trade market include Peerless Price, who the Atlanta Falcons may try to move. Price will earn $2 million this year and then $5 million each of the next three years. He has been a disappointment for the Falcons after they traded a first-round pick to Buffalo to acquire him.

Detroit, with a glut of wide receivers, may look to move oft-injured Charles Rogers, but would like a good return for their No. 1 pick in the 2003 draft.

Green Bay, always a willing trade partner for the Eagles, also has depth at the receiver position and needs all over its defense. Robert Ferguson could be attractive to the Eagles, and might cost a draft pick and/or a defensive player.

Finally, Cleveland has been reportedly looking to move Andre Davis, their second-round pick in 2002, who missed nine games last year with injury, but averaged over 20 yards per catch.

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

If the Terrell Owens saga continues to unfold in a negative way, the Eagles will likely have no choice but to attempt to bring another receiver in. The question has to be 'who is the best player for them to attempt to get on the roster?' Obviously the best talent of the players listed is Charles Rogers but the price tag to land him will likely be too high. Peerless Price has proven he doesn't have # 1 receiver skill as has Robert Ferguson and both would be best served as the # 2 or # 3 guy on an offense. Andre Davis has potential and it could be worth it to get him on the team but would the Browns be willing to trade him for a fourth? Plus other teams such as Seattle may be interested in him as well. Finally Peter Warrick can be had for peanuts in all likelihood but he also doesn't slot well into the # 1 receiver role. Of course the other strategy going forward for the Eagles may be to try and make amends with Owens as a trade may not work out.

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6. NOS - Preseason Games Very Important To Both WR Gardner and WR Henderson

Clipped from: Advocate article by Les East

Tonight's preseason opener against Seattle in the Superdome gives the New Orleans Saints their first in-game look at some of the candidates to replace wide receiver Jerome Pathon. The competition to find his successor as the third receiver -- behind starters Joe Horn and Donte Stallworth -- is one of the most closely watched ones in the preseason.

Tonight's game could be the biggest single event yet in the young careers of Devery Henderson, a second-round draft choice from LSU a year ago, and Talman Gardner, a third-year pro and native of New Orleans.

With Az-Zahir Hakim, a veteran who appears to have the early lead in the battle, sidelined by a hamstring injury, Henderson, who has zero NFL catches, and Gardner, who has exactly three more, have an opportunity to establish themselves.

"I know when I go out there I need to be on my 'A' game and prove that if I want to be part of this offense that I'm up to the job," Henderson said. "I know I have to compete for a spot. You practice, practice, practice to get an opportunity in a game. You want to play."

Henderson hasn't played in a game in 313 days, since he played briefly against Arizona in his only regular-season action as a rookie. He was inactive for 14 games.

Henderson got off to an early and effective start in the offseason, but was slowed in the coaching sessions by a slight hamstring pull. He has been 100 percent, but inconsistent, in training camp.

"He has some real good days. He has some real good plays," receivers coach Jimmy Robinson said. "I think Devery knows what he has to do. I think it's important to him. I think he's trying hard. He had a real good offseason.

"He worked extremely hard, especially in the weight room. But he's got to continue to develop that toughness and consistency out there to show that he deserves to be on the field. We still have high hopes for Devery. We're expecting him to be a good player for us. We're not in the least bit disappointed. We just want to see that consistency that we're looking for."

Consistency was lacking from Gardner last season, when he played primarily on special teams. But Robinson has noticed improvement from him.

"A year ago we said that consistency was an issue with him," Robinson said of Gardner. "I think this year he has been consistent. Talman has had an outstanding camp. He's a tough, hard-nosed guy who has made a lot of improvement. He may be our most improved guy from a year ago. He's always been a good, tough physical blocker. He continues to be that, but I think his route-running, his releases, and his catching the ball have improved."

"From the start I'm always the underdog and I always feel like I'm the underdog in everything I do," Gardner said. "If that's the way it is, that's the way it is. I understand money is involved in the situation, but that's a business. Me being overlooked, I just go out there every day to prove I deserve the position too."

The Saints will probably keep six wide receivers, and coach Jim Haslett said last week that Gardner was having the best camp of all the receivers.

"He has been outstanding in this camp," Haslett said. "He might be our best receiver out there right now as far as catching the ball. He's running great routes, and he's tough as nails. There are going to be some tough decisions there, because right now he is probably our best receiver."

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

The Saints are happy to have the veteran receiver Az-Zahir Hakim around in case either young receiver doesn't develop but I am sure all things being equal, coach Haslett and company would be delighted if either Talman Gardner or Devery Henderson were able to emerge as legitimate # 3 receivers. At this point you have to believe that Gardner is in the lead due to his ability to block well and his tremendous camp so far. However a big preseason game or two by either player could swing the pendulum in his favor and both will be out to make a statement during the preseason action. We'll keep you informed in regards to this battle throughout the offseason.

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7. MIN- TE Wiggins Plans On Carrying Over Success From Last Season

Clipped from: St. Paul Pioneer Press article by Don Seeholzer

Jermaine Wiggins played in two Super Bowls, won one and is coming off a season in which he caught the second-most passes of any tight end in Vikings history. But the body of his work sometimes gets lost in all the talk about his body.

To put it kindly, the 6-foot-2, 260-pound Wiggins doesn't look like a prototypical NFL tight end. To put it unkindly... well, let's just say some of his teammates can be a little rough.

"They say he looks like the Krusty the Clown character from 'The Simpsons,' " running back Michael Bennett said. "Another one is the 'Family Guy.' He definitely does take people by surprise. Everybody says, 'He's a tight end? He looks like an old man in football pads.' But when he gets out on the field, he's another person."

Last season, that person was good enough to catch a team-high 71 passes, despite missing two games because of a broken hand. This season, on a Vikings offense looking to replace Randy Moss' 82 catches a season, Wiggins believes he can do even more.

"I don't see why not," he said. "We lost a great weapon, but I was able to go out there when Randy wasn't there and make plays. I feel I can have an even bigger role. I accept that challenge. With Randy not being here, I want to carry more of the load."

The coaches have said no one receiver can replace Moss' production but that by spreading the ball among two or three players, they can achieve the same results. That means the offense could be leaning even more this season on Wiggins, who might not look like much but has a knack for getting open and catches everything.

"I love Wiggins, man," quarterback Daunte Culpepper said. "He's the type of player you need to win a championship. He is a guy that basically, whenever his number is called, he's ready to make a play. He is not afraid to talk about it, obviously, and the thing is he's ready to back it up."

Tell him he doesn't have a prototypical tight end body, and he'll rattle off the names of Todd Christensen and Keith Byars, smaller players who enjoyed many productive seasons at the position.

Tell him he can't do something, and Wiggins will bust his hump to prove you wrong.

"That's the way I was brought up," he said. "I'm not going to let anybody tell me what I can't do. I guess that's the way a lot of people are from my neighborhood in Boston. We don't care what people think."

Vikings coach Mike Tice, who played 14 seasons as an NFL tight end, knows a little bit about the position and he sees a lot to like in Wiggins, bad body and all.

"He's worked tremendously hard," Tice said. "His attitude is fantastic. He's got tremendous leadership. He brings a lot to the table."

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

TE Jermaine Wiggins is an interesting player this season. He had a great year in 2004 but he still doesn't rank very high on most people's lists. Still he will likely see a lot of passes go his way in 2005 and he should have a solid season for the Vikings. Bad body and all, Wiggins has a knack for getting open and making plays.

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8. MIA - Club Is Feeling Pressure To Get Rookie RB Brown Signed

Clipped from: Sun-Sentinel article by Harvey Kialkov

With No. 3 overall draft pick Braylon Edwards ending his holdout with the Browns on Thursday, the hope is that Dolphins rookie running back Ronnie Brown, the No. 2 overall pick, will follow suit.

Dolphins coach Nick Saban said Edwards' deal, which ESPN.com reported was for $40 million over five years with an $18.5 million signing bonus, has nothing to do with the team's negotiation with Brown.

The Dolphins and Brown's agent, Todd France, have been trying to finalize a deal that could include $20 million in guaranteed money for Brown.

"I wish it was done a long time ago, and it's not contingent on what anybody else does," Saban said after Thursday's practice. "It's strictly between our organization and them, what we feel is fair and what they feel is fair, and hopefully we'll be able to do something to get this resolved so we could get the guy here and get him ready to go."

Dolphins backup tight end Lorenzo Diamond, who played with Brown at Auburn, spoke with the absent running back on Wednesday.

"He's just trying to get the business side of it," Diamond said. "He's ready to get into camp and take care of his end."

Diamond, who had a big game Monday with four catches for 50 yards, said that when Brown arrives, Dolphins fans will have cause to celebrate.

"When he shows up, they're going to see a real big-time player that is committed to winning, to hard work, and he's going to be committed to being a Miami Dolphin," Diamond said. "He's just working out right now trying to stay in shape, trying to stay mentally focused."

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

It's fine and dandy for a teammate to say rookie RB Ronnie Brown is ready to make an impact but the longer this holdout drags on, the tougher it will be for Ronnie Brown to make a difference right out of the gate. He certainly has the ability to do so but will he have all the intangibles down in time to emerge as the go-to running back right out of the gate? Only time will tell but at this point the wise move is to drop him down your rankings somewhat until he both (a) signs and (b) shows us something on the field. He is currently ranked 32nd in our FBG projections.

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9. OAK - Team Counting On RB Jordan To Carry The Load

Clipped from: Inside Bay Area article by Jerry McDonald

The deal bringing Randy Moss aboard was officially announced on March 2 and included a police escort to the Raiders facility. The following day, with much less fanfare, the Raiders made an even more significant move by signing LaMont Jordan to a five-year contract that could be worth as much as $27.5 million. Jordan has been a Raider for a little more than five months.

For a variety of reasons, he is already their most indispensable player, the one man the Raiders simply cannot do without. Any chance the Raiders have of returning to .500 and beyond rests on Jordan's shoulders.

He is the central figure of Oakland's offense and might be the one player capable of rescuing its suspect defense by keeping it safely on the sideline.

Accept no replacements, because there aren't any. As well as Zack Crockett is running, at age 32 he is best utilized as a situational runner and special-teams player. The drop-off after Jordan resembles one of those old Acapulco cliff diving competitions on "Wide World of Sports," a free fall into the shallow waters of Justin Fargas, Omar Easy and DeJuan Green.

"I have to realize that my life is changing now," Jordan said. "I'm in a totally different tax bracket, that's for sure. I think the biggest thing I'm going to have to handle is people just recognizing me, coming up to me, wanting to talk. Everything else, I think I'm prepared for."

Fullback Chris Hetherington, who blocked for Marshall Faulk with the St. Louis Rams, sees Jordan as a "1,300- to 1,400-yard" rusher. "He looks good, man. He's tough, he's durable, he runs hard, he's thick," Hetherington said. "He is going to run for a lot of yards for us. If they put seven in the box, we're going to run it down their throats."

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

LaMont Jordan is in a good position to put up a lot of rushing yardage this season. With Randy Moss, Jerry Porter and Ronald Curry at the receiver positions and veteran quarterback Kerry Collins tossing the football, defensive will likely key on the passing attack allowing the Raiders to find some success running the football. Time will tell if Jordan is capable of a 1,400 yard rushing season but without question there is a strong possibility it could occur. He is currently 20th on our FBG projections with 1,195 rushing yards and 7 touchdowns.

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10. CIN - Team Insists WR Warrick Hasn't Been Asked To Accept A Pay Cut

Clipped from: Cincinnati Post article by Kevin Goheen

The Bengals Wednesday disputed an Internet report that stated the team has asked wide receiver Peter Warrick to take a pay cut or face being released.

ESPN.com's report, which revealed no sources for its information, stated Warrick went to see Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham this week, was given a clean bill of health and received the ultimatum from the team. Troy Blackburn, the Bengals director of business development, confirmed that Warrick did visit Andrews but said the club has not asked Warrick to take a cut in pay.

While all of the speculation went on, Warrick went through his normal individual workout with strength and conditioning coach Chip Morton. He finished the workout midway through Wednesday evening's team practice and returned to watch practice, sweaty T-shirt and all. Warrick said on Tuesday and reiterated on Wednesday morning that he feels he is ready to play and practice every day.

Warrick caught a career high 79 passes for 819 yards and seven touchdowns in 2003 but was limited to just 11 receptions for 127 yards last season due to knee and leg injuries. Head coach Marvin Lewis has said that a spot on the roster is available for a healthy Warrick, but that in the end the meaning of the term "healthy" will be left up to the team.

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

Despite the Bengals insistence that they haven't put an ultimatum on the table for veteran receiver Peter Warrick, it is looking less likely all the time that Warrick will remain a Bengal this season. From rumors of a trade with the Eagles to speculation of an outright release, it will be surprising to see Warrick step on the field as a Cincinnati Bengal in 2005. The Bengals certainly have enough depth to carry on without him in Chad Johnson, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Kelly Washington, rookie Chris Henry and company.

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11. IND - Three Way Battle At Tight End To Replace Marcus Pollard In Rotation

Clipped from: Indy Star article by Phillip Wilson

The Colts have 2003 first-round pick Dallas Clark at one tight end slot, but the NFL's highest-scoring offense in 2004 often relied on two tight ends. Departed tight end Marcus Pollard's athleticism caused matchup problems for most linebackers. Quarterback Peyton Manning threw 34 touchdown passes to Pollard in seven seasons.

Now there is a three way battle for playing time as the # 2 tight end in this offense between Bryan Fletcher, Ben Utecht and Ben Hartsock all pushing hard for playing time.

"There's playing time to be had, and that's what we're all shooting for," Hartsock said. "The funny thing is we all do something a little bit different than the other guy. We all bring something a little bit different to the table."

Hartsock was the highest draft pick, going in the third round last year. His four catches last season are the only ones among the potential replacements. Highly regarded as a blocker, he's trying to prove he can be counted upon as a pass catcher.

"To be completely honest, I don't think I did nearly as well as I should have as far as what my draft status was," said Hartsock, who didn't miss a game last season and started for an injured Pollard three times. "I know the rookie year is kind of an overwhelming thing, but I placed a lot more pressure on myself than anyone else can. I don't think I've lived up to the expectations I should have for myself."

"I've really been wanting to break away from the 'potential' phrase because that's what it's been with me for a year and a half," said Utecht, a four-year starter with 15 career touchdown catches at the University of Minnesota.

"I was supposed to go real high (in the draft) and I didn't because of the injury. It's always been that I could be one of the 'secret' guys. That was good in the beginning, but now I want to show that I really do have what it takes to play."

Colts coach Tony Dungy likes Utecht's size -- 6-6 and 251 pounds -- his physical play and how well he runs after a catch.

"And he's a Gopher," said Dungy, who played at Minnesota. "I could go on and on about that."

Fletcher, at 6-5 and 230, looks like a lanky receiver, and that's the label he's had since Chicago chose him in the sixth round out of UCLA in 2002.

"My whole career, I was typecast that way," he said. "I try to go out and work on my run blocking even more. I try to show that I am a more well-rounded tight end than just a fast receiver.

Dungy would prefer one player win the job as opposed to relying upon the sum of the parts.

"Usually one guy steps forward," the coach said, "but we've got some guys who are good players. It's going to be interesting to see who does."

Whether they put up Pollard numbers or not, Hartsock says there's no replacing Pollard's presence in the locker room.

"He related to every person," Hartsock said. "He was the identity of the Colts last year. . . . Marcus Pollard was the pulse of the team."

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If he is 100% healthy again and can find his skills that made him such a hot commodity with the Golden Gophers then Ben Utecht could be a pleasant surprise in 2005. He was considered one of the finest tight ends in America before suffering his injury and he has a great blend of speed and athleticism that could help him develop into an Alge Crumpler type of player. If he isn't capable of stepping into the job, it will likely be Ben Hartsock's job to lose this season due to his run blocking ability. If Utecht can develop into a pass receiving threat the Colts will be able to run the two tight end system to perfection and Peyton Manning is a quarterback who likes to spread the ball around.

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12. IDP: STL - CB J. Butler May Have Torn PCL; Could Miss Season

Clipped from: St. Louis Post-Dispatch article by Jim Thomas

What originally was diagnosed as a bruised knee could be a season-ending injury for Rams cornerback Jerametrius Butler.

Further examination has revealed that Butler has a torn posterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. According to coach Mike Martz, Butler is facing two options:

* Try to strengthen the knee and play through the injury.

* Undergo season-ending surgery.

"He's leaning toward playing right now," Martz said Thursday. "The doctors have told him he can - he's just going to have to really rehab it. Or he can have surgery and repair it. So he's got a choice. He and I have talked a great deal about it."

With encouragement from Martz, Butler is seeking other medical opinions before making a final decision.

"The first thing you do on something like that, you go and get several opinions - just like anybody would," Martz said. "If you're diagnosed with anything, that's what you do. And this is serious."

Losing Butler for any length of time, much less the entire season, would be a blow for the St. Louis defense. A two-year starter in the secondary, Butler has developed into an above-average cover corner, with good instincts and good ball skills.

Last season, he led the turnover-impaired Rams defense with five interceptions. (The Rams had only six interceptions total.) In 2003, he tied for the team lead with four interceptions.

Butler feels no discomfort running forward. But backpedaling has been a problem.

"At that position, a little bit of looseness in the knee is going to bother you more than it would a receiver, just because of the backpedaling," Martz said. "There's a lot of players playing in the league right now with this (injury). A lot of them. We've got a lot of them on this team playing with it. But they're not DBs, and that's the issue. Obviously, he's very concerned."

If Butler decides against surgery, Martz isn't ready to rule him out of the regular-season opener Sept. 11 in San Francisco.

"Not necessarily," Martz said. "It just kind of depends on what these other doctors says, too. Our doctors felt that he could rehab it and play on it. He's going to have to understand, it's going to feel real loose. ... That's why he's got to spend a lot of time really strengthening that leg and tightening it up."

Butler suffered the injury on the first day of camp, July 28, and hasn't practiced since July 29. Butler's injury, coupled with Tuesday's release of Dwight Anderson, leaves DeJuan Groce and rookie Ron Bartell as the leading candidates for the starting cornerback job opposite Travis Fisher.

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This is bad news for the Rams whether Jerametrius Butler opts for surgery or not. If he opts for rehab and comes back too early it could be a bad move. Backpedaling is obviously one of the most important skills for a defensive back and if he is having discomfort as a result of the PCL injury, it will effect his play on the field. And of course if he misses the entire season with the injury that spells trouble for the Rams defense as well as there are lots of question marks in behind him. He will follow this situation and update you when we hear anything new.

13. IDP: TEN - The Titans And Rookie CB Pacman Jones Still Far Apart On Deal

Clipped from: Nashville City Paper article:

Adam "Pacman" Jones' agent, Michael Huyghue, has announced an impasse regarding contract negotiations for Jones with the Tennessee Titans. Huyghue plans to return to Jacksonville but will continue to seek opportunities for Jones.

Below follows a press release made public Friday afternoon:

Statement of Michael Huyghue regarding contract negotiations for Adam "Pacman" Jones with the Tennessee Titans:faster.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (August 12, 2005) - "I arrived in Nashville yesterday with the full intent of reaching an agreement with the Titans. Adam was expecting to arrive in Nashville today. Regrettably, The Titans and I have reached an impasse and so I am returning to Jacksonville. While we made some initial progress in our negotiations, ultimately, the Titans have refused to offer a fair market deal to Adam.

Specifically, there are essentially six basic components that make up an NFL Player's contract. They are: (1) Signing Bonus (the initial up front guaranteed money that is paid to the player for executing the contract); (2) Option Bonus (the second "signing bonus" that is also guaranteed money paid to the player in the second year of the contract); (3) Total Signing Bonus (a compilation of Signing Bonus, Option Bonus and first year Roster Bonus money paid to the player); (4) Total Guaranteed Compensation (a compilation of Total Signing Bonus plus any additional guaranteed base salaries paid to the player over the term of his agreement); (5) Incentives (additional compensation paid to the player for fulfilling certain minimum playtime and performance requirements); and (6) Total Package (the total amount of money a player is expected to be paid over the term of the contract).

We have not been able to reach accord with the Titans on ANY of these components for the following reasons:

1. Signing Bonus - The club has offered us the same amount of compensation as picks number 7 and 8.
2. Option Bonus - The club has offered us LESS money than picks 7 and 8.
3. Total Signing Bonus - The club has offered us LESS money than picks 7 and 8.
4. Total Guaranteed Compensation - The club has offered us LESS money than picks 7 and 8.
5. Incentives - The club has offered us LESS money than pick
6. Total Package - The club has offered us LESS money than pick 8.

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This situation will get resolved at some point but the likelihood of Pacman Jones stepping into the starting lineup this season is becoming smaller by the day. It is very tough to jump in and start at the cornerback position and his long absence from the club will likely delegate him to the nickel or even dime position at the start of the season. It may take him quite a while to get a sniff of the starting job. One has to wonder if the Titans are wishing they'd gone a different direction during the draft.

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14. IDP: KC - Rookie LB Johnson Looks Like The Real Deal

Clipped from: Associated Press

Twenty-six teams regretted passing up Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino in the 1983 draft, and it's starting to look like 14 are going to regret passing up Texas linebacker Derrick Johnson.

No player has garnered more attention at Chiefs camp than Johnson, who likely will be in Kansas City's starting lineup for Friday night's preseason opener against Minnesota and will be in the starting lineup for the Sept. 11 regular-season opener.

Chiefs coach Dick Vermeil said he could have waited to move Johnson into the starting lineup, let the rookie pay his dues, but really, who would he have been fooling? Johnson is ready now.

He has looked so good that Vermeil, who has been at this a long time, already is proclaiming Johnson the most talented linebacker he has been on a field with. Ever.

And it's not hard to see why. At 6-foot-3, 248 pounds, Johnson might be the fastest player on the entire Chiefs team.

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Derrick Johnson was a highly-regarded linebacker while at the University of Texas but for some reason his stock slipped when the draft arrived. He certainly had top five potential and he could be the spark the Chiefs' defense needed to go from a weak unit to an explosive one. Keep your eye on this guy as he should be fun to watch as a rookie.

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15. IDP: DAL - CB Henry Living Up To Expectations

Clipped from: DallasCowboys.com article by Nick Eatman

In today's pass-happy NFL, a new premium is being put on cornerbacks. Finding adequate corners is tough enough, but finding great ones is another thing.

It's too early to tell if Anthony Henry will fall under the latter category, but the Cowboys are definitely paying him to be great, shelling out a five-year, $25 million contract that included a $10 million signing bonus. And while Henry says he puts enough pressure on himself already, he understands that big contract has created great expectations.

"I always strive to be excellent and do well," said Henry, who played four years in Cleveland before signing with the Cowboys this spring. "So I always have that kind of pressure. With the contract situation, definitely the fans and the organization want to see me do well and live up to the contract that I have."

And don't forget about Cowboys head coach Bill Parcells. He wouldn't mind Henry living up to those high expectations, either. But it appears the cornerback has already impressed his new head coach to some degree.

"Well, Anthony Henry is better than anybody we've had since I've been here," said Parcells, who took over before the 2003 season. "He's big, strong and is a very smart player. He's going to help us this year."

If he does, Henry would stabilize a position that has been in turmoil for at least the last six seasons. The addition of Henry, who joins third-year corner Terence Newman, gives the Cowboys a chance to trot out their best cornerback duo since 1998, when Sanders and Kevin Smith manned the position.

And if Henry and Newman isn't the best Cowboys tandem in some time, the team definitely has the best cornerback trio in many years with the addition of Aaron Glenn. According to Henry, if the first two weeks of training camp means anything, get ready for a big season from the Cowboys secondary.

"I think the thing that sticks out to me the most is all the plays we're making back there in the secondary," said Henry, who had 10 interceptions as a rookie in 2001. "My first and second years in the league in Cleveland, we made a whole bunch of plays in the secondary and it carried over to the games. So I can see us doing the same thing here this year."

Whether they're big wideouts or small, speedy possession receivers, Henry said he doesn't care what type of receiver he faces Saturday night in Arizona. He's simply happy it'll be someone in another uniform, for a change.

"I'm really excited about it," Henry said of his unofficial Cowboys debut against the Cardinals. "Actually going up against another opponent is really exciting. I think everyone is going to go hard. It's like getting your feet wet. This is the first challenge of the season.

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The Cowboys defense appears to be much stronger, at least on paper than the 2004 version was and even stronger than the 2003 defense. Anthony Henry brings both experience and enthusiasm to the mix and he will certainly help the Cowboys improve when it comes to pass coverage. The Cowboys will have an excellent chance at competing for the division title in 2005 thanks to an improved defensive unit.

That'll do it for today, Folks. Have a great day and we'll see you tomorrow with the update.

J

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