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Volume 6, Issue 118 (Sunday, August 14th)

Tonight's update brought to you by:
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Hi Folks,

Big News as the Footballguys $20,000 Subscriber Contest is ready to roll. Details are in the Site News below. Training camps are rolling as well and we're here for you to plow through the mountain of news and bring you the key things you need to know. Thanks to our Footballguy Mike Brown for the help rounding up these stories tonight. Let's get to it.

Joe Bryant

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INSIDE THIS ISSUE

1. KC - RB Holmes Tests Knee In Game
2. BUF - Bills Deny RB McGahee Injury
3. MIN - Don't Count On Predictability From Vikings' Offense
4. ATL - WR White Suffers Leg Injury
5. MIA - Dolphins Make New Offer To RB Brown; Hope He's In Camp By Next Week
6. GB - RB Green To Play More In Preseason
7. DET - QB Harrington Outplays Garcia
8. OAK - Modest Debut For WR Moss, But Excited About Offense
9. CHI - QB Grossman's Future With Bears Is Cloudy
10. CHI - WR Bradley Injures Shoulder
11. TEN - K Bironas Leading Kicker Competition

1. KC - RB Holmes Tests Knee In Game

Clipped from Kansas City Star article by Elizabeth Merrill 8/14/05:

The crowd gathered around his locker late Friday, wondering if the Chiefs exhaled after Holmes' four-carry, 42-yard night against the Vikings. Were they serious?

"I don't see why it would be that way," Holmes said. "I think with injuries, I've always bounced back. That's never been a doubt in my mind."

Two months shy of his 32nd birthday, Holmes apparently has no doubts about his body. He rated his health from the "75th to 80th percentile" and said he still has a few more weeks to go before he's fully recovered after missing the last half of 2004 because of a knee injury. Holmes also suffered a leg bruise last week in training camp, which hasn't helped his progress.

But on his first play Friday night, Holmes changed direction and raced 21 yards down the left sideline. It was his first game action since Nov. 7 at Tampa Bay.

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

Holmes' knee (and everything else, for that matter) will be under a constant state of scrutiny between now and, well, until Holmes retires. If you're the anxious type, steer clear of Holmes and save yourself the stress of weekly worries. But if you're more of a risk-taker, and have determined that the risk of an injury is outweighed by the potential reward of 20+ touchdowns, then this is the guy for you. And this is just the type of news you love to hear. We'll obviously keep you posted on Holmes' status every step of the way because he will likely be key to just about every fantasy league this year.

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2. BUF - Bills Deny RB McGahee Injury

Clipped from: BillsDaily.com article 8/14/05

The Bills seemed to get through their first preseason game injury free. Willis McGahee limped off during the first series with what appeared to be a knee injury. He returned for one more series and the team said he wasn't injured. There didn't appear to be any other serious injuries in the win.

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

That collective sound you heard was McGahee owners exhaling. Or throwing up. We aren't sure which. Seeing a player with an injury past limping off the field with an apparent knee injury couldn't have been too promising, but just be thankful it wasn't serious. We have to believe that if it was even remotely concerning, there's no way he'd have gone back out on the field. Obviously though, we'll keep a close eye on this one. Anytime Willis McGahee is limping, we take notice.

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3. MIN - Don't Count On Predictability From Vikings' Offense

Clipped from Star Tribune article by Kevin Seifert 8/14/05

For the debut of their 2005 offense Friday night, quarterback Daunte Culpepper targeted five different receivers in his six passes. Culpepper has made it his personal mission to spread the ball throughout the offense. Speaking passionately on the subject late Friday, he said: "I don't plan on being predictable."

"In the past," he said, "a lot of balls went to Randy. Now, I don't know how defenses are going to prepare for us because we're going to use everybody. The ball's going to get in everybody's hands.

"Look at my stats in college. I've always thrown the ball to different guys. It didn't matter. That's how football is played. That's how Joe Montana played. That's how Troy Aikman played. John Elway, those guys, they spread the ball around. It makes the defense cover everybody. That's what good quarterbacks do."

On Friday night, Culpepper completed passes to a running back (Bennett), tight end (Jermaine Wiggins) and three wide receivers (Nate Burleson, Marcus Robinson and Travis Taylor). Only Burleson saw multiple throws (two).

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

In other words, no Randy means no Randy Ratio. Thank goodness that idea is out the door. Now, Culpepper can focus on getting the ball to whichever receiver is open, rather than force-feeding it to Moss. Of course, many guys were open BECAUSE of Moss, so that could pose a problem. Likewise, no receiver currently on the roster possesses either Moss's speed or athleticism. Still, the loss off Moss (crazy as it sounds) could benefit Culpepper in that it allows him the freedom to utilize the best outlet and not necessarily the one who is supposed to get the ball on a given play. At least that's how the theory goes...

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4. ATL - WR White Suffers Leg Injury

Clipped from Atlanta Journal-Constitution article by Steve Wyche 8/14/05

Rookie wide receiver Roddy White suffered a mild, high right-ankle sprain in the fourth quarter of the Falcons 16-3 victory over the Baltimore Ravens Saturday night at the Georgia Dome.

With just more than 10 minutes remaining, White was tackled awkwardly following his game-high fourth catch.

A more formal diagnosis is expected Sunday following X-rays, coach Jim Mora said, but White, the team's first-round draft pick, could be out of action for at least a few practices - and that could be optimistic.

"They don't know when I'm going to be back," said White, who was wearing a removable walking boot on his right foot.

White said after catching a pass from Ty Detmer, "I kind of tried to move my leg and [cornerback Mark Estell] dove at my ankle and twisted it."

White remained in the game for another play, a decisive 18-yard touchdown pass from Detmer to tight end Mark Anelli, but limped off the field afterwards, where he was tended to by four members of the Falcons' medical staff.

"It was hurting pretty bad but I didn't want to come out of the game because I didn't know if they had to substitute for me so I just kind of stayed in and went through the motions out there," White said.

This setback for White, even for a few days, could prove substantial since he missed the first six days of training camp in a contract dispute, which Mora has said took him out of contention to start, a possibility after impressive showings during offseason drills.

White is making headway, Mora said, and this injury could knock more than his development off track.

"If he misses some time, it's going to hurt him and us," Mora said.

White did have his shortcomings. He dropped another ball and was called for a false start penalty at the end of the first half that took the Falcons out of field goal range.

Still, should White continue to progress, he could find himself back in the mix with the top for wideouts since none has stepped forward with just less than a month to go before the Sept. 12, regular season-opener against the Philadelphia Eagles.

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

Mora went on to say some very positive things about White, including his blocking ability and toughness. White has made very favorable impressions at the outset on coaches and teammates alike, but it's true that this injury could put him behind the proverbial eight ball as far as a starting role. We'll keep you updated on how the injury responds to treatment, but it seems like slightly more than a day-to-day thing. In any case, White seems like he's going to be a legit WR and will make an impact at some point this season.

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5. MIA - Dolphins Make New Offer To RB Brown; Hope He's In Camp By Next Week

Clipped from: Miami Herald article by Jason Cole and Armando Salguero 8/14/05

The Dolphins believe they have laid out a contract for running back and No. 2 overall pick Ronnie Brown that could have the player in camp next week.

According to a source familiar with the talks, the Dolphins have offered a deal that would allow Brown to make more than $30 million over the course of a five-year contract. That includes $19.5 million in guarantees over that time.

Those numbers would be better than what No. 3 overall pick Braylon Edwards received from Cleveland.

Edwards signed a five-year deal that included $18.2 million in guarantees, $28 million to $30 million in total money Edwards could likely earn and up to $40 million in total value if he reaches all his incentive clauses.

The key difference between the Edwards deal and what the Dolphins have proposed for Brown is that Brown needs to meet certain minimum criteria to get his bonuses.

Agent Todd France did not return two messages left by The Herald on Saturday.

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

If Brown doesn't sign this latest offer, then it may be time to bump Ricky Williams up your cheatsheets. Granted, Brown was the #2 overall pick but at some point it becomes about getting into camp and working with the offense. Williams, incredibly enough, is in camp on time and working with the first-team offense. If Brown doesn't sign soon, it's not like this is Thomas Jones holding down the fort - this is Ricky Williams who just a couple of years ago was considered one of the best RBs in the game. Of course, Williams will be out of action for some time due to his looming suspension, but Brown needs time to get in sync with the offense. Brown certainly has talent, but if he's not on the field it'll be tough to showcase it. This latest offer seems like a solid one though and I'd expect Brown to sign and get into camp soon.

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6. GB - RB Green To Play More In Preseason

Clipped from: Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel article by Bob McGinn 8/12/05

Ahman Green is headed for a much busier exhibition season as the Green Bay Packers seek to get his inevitable fumbles out of the way.

On Thursday night, Green was in the lineup for only about 15 plays in a 10-7 victory over the San Diego Chargers at Lambeau Field. On those 15 plays, however, Green carried eight times and caught one pass.

The fact that Green fumbled twice in rainy conditions disappointed the coaches, but not as much as one might think.

"The ball came out a couple times but he's got to get through that," offensive coordinator Tom Rossley said. "We haven't run him enough in pre-season in the past. We haven't hit him enough in years past."

In the last five exhibition campaigns Green has carried just 92 times to go with 15 receptions. That's an average of merely 21.4 touches per summer.

The relative lack of contact might be one reason Green has put together an amazing streak that the club wants to snap Sept. 11 in Detroit. Green has fumbled six times (losing four) in the last five openers, including one in every game.

"He's got to get through that," Rossley said. "Because once he gets (through) the beginning of the season he'll go stretches where he'll have 200 carries without a fumble. We need to get him banged a little bit. That was a good thing we did."

Counting playoffs, Green had five of his six fumbles in the first 10 games of 2001; three of his four fumbles in the first two games of '02; all seven of his fumbles in the first nine games of '03; and four of his seven fumbles in the first five games in '04.

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

From the strange but true department. Well, Green Bay obviously knows the risks of working Green extra in the preseason, and that is extra carries means extra chances to get hurt. Still, if there's anything to this strange early-season fumbling phenomenon, it's best to get it out of the way now.

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7. DET - QB Harrington Outplays QB Garcia

Clipped from: Detroit Free Press article 8/13/05

Joey Harrington played about a quarter and a half, Jeff Garcia about a quarter and rookie Dan Orlovsky the rest. Harrington was 9-9 for 100 yards, while Garcia went 7-11 for 52 yards and 1 interception. Neither QB threw a touchdown. Joey hit six different receivers, with Roy Williams (three catches) his favorite target. As for the offense as a whole: We saw some four-receiver sets. But the Lions didn't go crazy throwing downfield.

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

Some people think that it's just a matter of time before Garcia unseats Harrington. But we're thinking Harrington holds onto the starting job. Keep in mind that Harrington was a very high draft pick coming out of college who was supposed to be on his way to superstardom. Factor in that the offensive line play for him has been spotty, and his potential #1 receiver has been lost for large chunks of the past two seasons, and you can begin to understand why Harrington has struggled. With three stud receivers in town, a workhorse back, and some competition from Garcia, Harrington could well have the season the Lions have been expecting from him for a while.

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8. OAK - Modest Debut For WR Moss, But Excited About Offense

Clipped from: Mercury News article by Daniel Brown 8/14/05

In Minnesota, they once called it the Randy Ratio. The ill-conceived plan called for 40 percent of the Vikings' passes to go toward Randy Moss.

On Saturday night, the Raiders scaled the ratio back a bit. Try 8 percent.

Moss caught only one of Kerry Collins' 12 pass attempts against the 49ers. The lone ball thrown his direction resulted in an 11-yard gain.

But to say Moss made only a small contribution in his Raiders debut would be misleading. With the star receiver commanding his usual defensive attention, Collins and Co. dominated the action as long as the starters were on the field.

The Raiders ran 24 offensive plays to the 49ers' six, holding the ball for all but three minutes of the first quarter.

That only one of those offensive plays ended up in Moss' famous hands didn't seem to bother the receiver.

To the contrary, Moss loved it.

``This is probably the best offense I've been in, from high school all the way to the pros,'' he said after a 21-13 loss.

Moss ran uneventfully back to the huddle, even after Collins' passes near the goal line went in the direction of Alvis Whitted and Courtney Anderson.

``You could see at any given time our offense can move up and down the field,'' Moss said. ``We've got a hell of a workhouse in LaMont Jordan, a hellacious offensive line and a great quarterback in Kerry.''

Moss' paltry stats were still revealing. They indicated that the Raiders would try to retain a semblance of balance on offense. Collins never forced the ball to his star receiver, instead spreading his completed passes to running back Jordan (four catches), Whitted (two) and Doug Gabriel (one).

``We can give anyone the ball and move it up the field,'' Moss said.

The balance served as a reminder of what Moss' presence can do for his teammates. During his seven seasons with the Vikings, one of his fellow receivers reached at least 1,000 receiving yards four times.

Three of those seasons belonged to Cris Carter, who was an All-Pro receiver before Moss arrived in 1998. But Moss also helped youngsters such as Kelly Campbell (20.9 yards per catch in 2003) and D'Wayne Bates (50 catches in 2002).

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

This entire article must be music to Jerry Porter owners' ears. In recent years, Moss has made players like Marcus Robinson, Nate Burleson, and D'Wayne Bates better. But now we've got a player who is already a borderline fantasy star in Porter, and when you add Moss to that we like what we see. Much like what Marvin Harrison has done for Reggie Wayne in Indianapolis, Moss could do for Porter. More than anything, this article shows that Kerry Collins isn't going to be restrained by a commitment to feed Moss. It remains to be seen if the Raiders will win ball games, but you can be sure they'll put up some points. If nothing else, this article further reinforces our belief in Kerry Collins as a potential stud QB for the upcoming season, and the rest of the Raider offense as starter-worthy at just about every position. Lamont Jordan in particular looked great Saturday night.

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9. CHI - Bears Sign QB Jeff Blake, Grossman's Future Is Cloudy

Clipped from: Chicago Tribune article by K.C. Johnson 8/13/05

How the Bears react to Grossman's injury will speak volumes about his long-term future with the organization, and those decisions also could affect the futures of front-office personnel, namely general manager Jerry Angelo.

As team officials wrestle with questions-fair or not-about Grossman's durability, they must ask themselves: Can the franchise afford to wait through another rehabilitation to see what it has in Grossman? Or do they try a new plan for the future?

Those questions will be answered, in part, this week, when the Bears are expected to bring in a veteran free agent for a tryout, a departure from Angelo and coach Lovie Smith's assertions from late Friday that they are content with backups Chad Hutchinson and rookie Kyle Orton.

Shaun King, Jeff Blake, Vinny Testaverde and Brock Huard are some of the possibilities, as is Pittsburgh backup Tommy Maddox via trade.

Grossman, meanwhile, will undergo surgery Monday afternoon at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, the results of which will be closely monitored as Angelo considers whether to place the third-year quarterback on injured reserve.

As of Saturday, talk within the organization leaned toward not placing Grossman on injured reserve.

If Grossman returns in three months, he could play in eight games. If his recovery takes four, he likely would miss 13 games.

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

The Bears signed veteran QB Jeff Blake Sunday. http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/news?slug=ap-bearsblake&prov=ap&type=lgns Hutchison is still the starter, at least for now. Said coach Lovie Smith, ``We need three quarterbacks. Chad isn't looking over his shoulder. He's our guy.''

Perhaps unfairly, two isolated plays have put Rex Grossman's career in Chicago in doubt. While one can certainly understand the Bears wanting to establish a Plan B, perhaps Plan B should have been put in place for this season instead. More importantly, you can bet that Grossman knows he must do all he can to get back on the field this season and show that Bears that he is a capable QB and still the quarterback of the future. If he can't make it back in 2005, then expect the off-season and next year's training camp to be a tumultuous one as he tries to shake off the rust of having barely played any football in about 2.5 years.

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10. CHI - WR Bradley Injures Shoulder

Clipped from: Chicago Sun-Times article by Brad Biggs 8/14/05

Wide receiver Mark Bradley hurt his right shoulder Friday night, and the severity of the injury remains unknown. He leads the team with nine preseason receptions for 194 yards.

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

Bradley isn't expected to make a huge impact in the Bears offense, but if the team struggles (and how can they not?), expect Bradley to get a shot later in the year so they can see what they've got. Bradley has obviously had a solid preseason, and any time missed to injury will put his development behind. We'll keep you posted on the severity of the injury when we know more.

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11. TEN - K Bironas Leading Kicker Competition

Clipped from: Tennessean article by Paul Kuharsky 8/14/05

Rob Bironas is the clear leader in the Titans' place-kicker competition so far, though Coach Jeff Fisher is quick to point out that Ola Kimrin will still get his chances in three more preseason games.

Friday night at the Coliseum, Bironas drilled a 53-yard field goal at the end of regulation to force overtime in an eventual 20-17 loss to Tampa Bay.

"Man, he definitely made some points for himself," left tackle Brad Hopkins said. "That field goal right there, that's impressive.

"I don't think we've had a 53-yard field goal in a long time around here. It's looking good for him right now. The fight's not over yet, but he did himself a good job."

HC Jeff Fisher said he was pleased to have the pressure-packed situation available as an element in the kicking competition.

Bironas was in line for the first kickoff, the first PAT and the first field goal against the Buccaneers, with Kimrin set to take the second of each. The alternating pattern should continue Friday night in Atlanta, with Kimrin going first.

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

Okay, so no one's beating down the walls to run out and grab the Titans kicker, but it's still important to know who the starters are for each team. It's unlikely that Bironas will be anything more than a bye week filler, if that, but this is noteworthy moreso so that you aren't the guy who goes to your draft and selects Ola Kimrin, only to wake up and see he's been cut the next day.

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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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