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Volume 6, Issue 125 (Sunday, August 21st)

Tonight's update brought to you by:
RT Sports - King of the Mountain Contest

WANTED: One King
REWARD: $25,000 Cash

Play in RealTime Fantasy Sports' King Of The Mountain contest, be the last survivor, become the KING and take home $25,000. Playing is simple:

  • Pick one NFL team to win each week (without the spread.)
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  • Once you pick a team you may not use that team again, INCLUDING THE PLAYOFFS (should the contest extend that far), so choose wisely!

    Only $9.95 for one entry or $14.95 for two! For more information or to sign up, go to http://register.rtsports.com/php/get-kotm.php?REF=FBG2. Hurry, the signup period ends soon!

    Web Address: http://register.rtsports.com/php/get-kotm.php?REF=FBG2


  • Hi Folks,

    If the Fantasy Football Season were a football game, this third week of the preseason games is without question, the Red Zone. You're gearing up and so are we. Many leagues are drafting this week and we'll continue to ramp up our coverage to bring you everything you need to Dominate Your League. From Training Camp Updates, to Player Spotlights, to Fantasy Articles to the latest in Cheatsheets and up to the minute Stat Projections. We'll keep you covered. Thanks to our Footballguy Mike Brown for the help rounding up these stories tonight. Let's get to it.

    Joe Bryant

    SITE NEWS

    A. Footballguys is Hiring Game Recap Writers
    One of the best in season features we offer are our Game Recaps. You can check out a sample Game Recap here http://apps.footballguys.com/04gamerecapsplayoffs4.cfm For every game we have writers watching every play and bringing you all that you need to know. Several of our current Staff Writers got their start as Game Recap writers and we're hiring a few more. If you're interested, pick a game this week and submit a sample game recap to our Cathy Fazio at Fazio@footballguys.com. We of course pay for the in season work you do. Good luck!

    B. Send us your Breaking News Scoops
    I've long said that our Footballguys readers are the smartest group of Football fans on the planet. And the most plugged into what's happening. Checkout the link above if you come across some breaking news that you want to share. Thanks

    C. Average Magazine Rankings
    Sometimes knowing what the fish are doing in the league can help you draft a player later than expected. We average 11 of the leading magazines for you here.

    D. Offensive Line Analysis
    Chris Smith has updated his wonderful piece from May. Since both RB and QB can be seriously affected by line play, this is a must read.

    E. The Big Picture
    Sometimes it makes sense to see it all in one place. Mike Herman's big picture attempts to do all that graphically.

    F. Vernand Morency Interview
    Our own Cecil Lammey has a Question and answer session with rookie running back Vernand Morency. Good stuff here.

    G. Dark Phoenix - Issue 1
    Cecil Lammey debuts the first issue of the Dark Phoenix. In this series he takes a look at some deep sleepers that could someday make an impact in the NFL.

    H. The Antidote to Head Games: Confidence
    Mark Wimer talks about the one thing you must have to have a great draft: Confidence.


    INSIDE THIS ISSUE

    1. SF - OL Herrion Dies Following Game
    2. NYG - QB E. Manning Suffers Sprained Elbow, X-Rays Negative
    3. MIA - No QB Seizing Opportunity
    4. CLE - RB Suggs To Miss At Least Two Weeks
    5. BUF - WR Moulds Leaves Game With Rib Injury, Says He's Ok
    6. WAS - Redskins Will Look To RB Betts To Spell RB Portis More Often
    7. CAR - RB S. Davis Could Return To Practice Monday
    8. DET - QB Harrington Efficient Again; QB Garcia Struggles Again
    9. KC - PK Tynes In Trouble On the Field, Too
    10. CAR - WR Colbert Dazzles In Exhibition Debut
    11. CHI - QB Hutchinson Looked 'Bad'
    12. IDP: CAR - S Branch Suffers Potentially Serious Knee Injury
    13. IDP: NYG - CB Peterson Sprains Knee
    14. IDP: DAL - DT Ferguson Re-Injures Ankle, To Miss Game
    15. IDP: BAL - CB Rolle Leaves Game With Minor Knee Sprain

    1. SF - OL Herrion Dies Following Game

    Clipped from: 49ersWebzone.com article 8/20/05

    CBS News in Los Angeles has just reported that San Francisco 49ers guard Thomas Herrion has died after collapsing in the locker room after the game in Denver.

    Herrion was put on a stretcher and rushed to a nearby hospital. Paramedics attempted CPR on the way.

    Herrion collapsed after 49ers head coach Mike Nolan addressed the team.

    A first-year player with the team, Herrion played college ball at Utah and spent part of last season on the San Francisco and Dallas practice squads and also played this season with the Hamburg Sea Dogs of NFL Europe. He was signed on January 5, 2005.

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

    Sometimes "real" news takes precedence over fantasy football-related news, and this is one of those times. Herrion was a popular player and he'll be greatly missed. Footballguys sends our thoughts and prayers to his family and friends.

    Back to Top


    2. NYG - QB E. Manning Suffers Sprained Elbow, X-Rays Negative

    Clipped from: Associated Press article by David Webster 8/20/05

    Eli Manning was 3-of-9 for 150 yards - 131 of which came on the two scoring plays - and looked hurried and out of rhythm on most of his pass attempts. The second-year quarterback connected on touchdown passes of 90 yards to David Tyree and 41 yards to Amani Toomer.

    Manning suffered an elbow sprain when Peppers sacked him on the play that led to the touchdown, but X-rays were negative.

    "He hit the ball out and when I tried to throw, it was like throwing air," Manning said. "It feels better now, and everything should be fine."

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

    Obviously, we'll watch this one for you over the next few days. Of more concern is the very top-heavy stats put up by Manning. Two long scoring plays are nice, but owners can't come to rely upon 40+ touchdown strikes on a weekly basis. Granted, Manning was up against a tough Panthers defense and has looked better than this for most of the off-season, but we don't recommend him as anything more than a marginal QB2 at this point.

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    3. MIA - No QB Seizing Opportunity

    Clipped from Miami Sun-Sentinel article by Harvey Fialkov 8/21/05

    Gus Frerotte and A.J. Feeley are just not cutting it. "I don't want to have a quarterback controversy, but I want every guy to know they have the opportunity to be the quarterback if they do a good job," coach Nick Saban said. "Somebody's got to take the bull by the horns and be the leader and make things happen for us offensively."

    Despite being handed the keys to Scott Linehan's offense this week, Frerotte and the first-team offense not only stalled, but seemed stuck in reverse throughout an ugly first half.

    At one point, Frerotte misfired on eight straight passes. He also had trouble holding onto the ball, fumbling away a snap from center Seth McKinney and coughing up another after getting sacked.

    Although Feeley was on the mark, completing 16 of 20 for 95 yards, including 6 for 6 in the second quarter, he never sniffed the end zone. In fact, quarterbacks Nos. 1 and 2 have combined to throw one touchdown pass in the first three exhibition games.

    Even that was a fluke, as Frerotte said he wasn't intending to throw to Bryan Gilmore, who made a sensational, twisting grab in the end zone in the 27-24 loss to the Bears.

    "You have to find a way to put points on the board," said Feeley, who had a decent 86.5-passer rating. "As a competitor, regardless of where you are on the depth chart you still got to compete."

    Feeley's longest connection was a 12-yard pass to Derrius Thompson.

    "The difficult thing about this whole exhibition season is that it seems whichever quarterback plays second plays best," Saban said. "But they're not playing against the same players either so that's a tough thing to evaluate.

    "You almost have to evaluate how they play when they start, but A.J. did play well in this game."

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

    Gus Frerotte was awarded the starting nod but doesn't seem intent on holding onto it. This is not a pretty scene right now. While the Dolphins have made strides this off-season towards improvement, we're not overly optimistic about them taking a very large step forward in HC Nick Saban's first year at the helm. We think they'll be better (there's not a lot of room for them to be worse), but we advise proceeding with caution if you're relying on any Dolphins for your starting lineup. And that includes RB Ronnie Brown, WR Chris Chambers, and TE Randy McMichael. Weak QB and offensive line play are fantasy killers, regardless of the talent of the players surrounding them. Both should be improved, but they still have a long ways to go.

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    4. CLE - RB Suggs To Miss At Least Two Weeks

    Clipped from Cleveland Plain Dealer article by Mary Kay Cabot 8/21/05

    Running back Lee Suggs sat out the game with a sprained ankle suffered last Wednesday during practice and is expected to be out at least two weeks. Suggs has a significant sprain and had his leg taped up high on Thursday, meaning it could be a high ankle sprain. Suggs is expected to miss at least the third preseason game Friday against Carolina.

    In his absence, William Green got the start and carried seven times for 29 yards and a 4.1 average. He had a long gain of 15 yards. Reuben Droughns, who missed last week with a pulled hamstring, carried eight times for 30 yards and had three receptions for 16 yards.

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

    Okay, how many of you thought Lee Suggs would remain injury-free? Really? Both of you thought that huh? Obviously, we're dealing with one of the more fragile players in the NFL in Suggs, who has proven time and again that he is far from reliable. While most observers felt that this was his opportunity to lose, getting injured and missing several weeks in the process are helping to do just that. William Green and Reuben Droughns have both had varying levels of success in the NFL, and either could stake a claim to the job within the next couple of weeks. We don't expect the Cleveland offense to be a bounty of points anyway, but a starting NFL back is still a starting NFL back. We'll keep you updated on any new developments.

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    5. BUF - WR Moulds Leaves Game With Rib Injury, Says He's Ok

    Clipped from: BillsDaily.com article 8/21/05

    Coach Mularkey said after the game that Eric Moulds is ok, he just took a shot to the ribs. He left the game, but he was about to come out anyway since he was at the end of his rotation. Moulds said it is nothing major and that he just got the wind knocked out of him.

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

    This one doesn't seem serious. In all likelihood, Moulds would have gone back into the game if this was the regular season. Don't adjust your cheatsheets any based on this news.

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    6. WAS - Redskins Will Look To Betts To Spell RB Portis More Often

    Clipped from: Washington Post article by Jason La Canfora 8/21/05

    The issue is not whether Ladell Betts deserves to be on the field, but rather how to ensure the team best maximizes his talents. Betts was a pleasant revelation on what was a horrendous offense last season, and while two-time Pro Bowler Clinton Portis will surely remain the featured back, it is also fair to expect Betts to carry the ball significantly more than the 90 times he did last season.

    Betts, selected 56th overall in the 2002 draft, received his lone start of the season in Week 17 against Minnesota because Portis was injured. His performance only punctuated what was a strong season. Betts, who turns 26 on Saturday, ran 26 times for 118 yards -- both career highs -- scored once and broke a 27-yard run, the team's longest since Portis took the season-opening carry 64 yards for a touchdown. Betts was adept at executing some of the power running plays Portis never quite took to -- counter trey and 40-Gap -- and melded his compact frame (5 feet 10, 222 pounds) with good acceleration.

    It capped off a season in which Betts handled his reserve status with aplomb, contributed on special teams and averaged 4.1 yards per carry (the Redskins averaged only 3.7 yards). With Portis injured for Friday's preseason game against Cincinnati, Betts stepped up with 30 yards on six carries and was impressive again.

    "I'll say this, he slammed that thing against Minnesota about as hard as I've seen anybody run," HC Joe Gibbs said. "I told Ladell after the season that it was more than that [game]. I said: 'Look at the whole year, what you did. You didn't say squat, you played special teams, you ran back kicks, you showed when you got an opportunity you rushed for over [100] yards.' Ladell, I sure like him as a football player. I think there's a lot of stuff to him."

    Because Portis has never rushed for fewer than 1,300 yards in a season and is in the second year of a massive contract, he is a linchpin in this organization. But at just 5-11 and 205 pounds, he readily admits he is not built to be a bruising back.

    To require Portis to carry the ball 343 times again -- 53 more than his top single-season total with Denver -- might be to his and the team's detriment, and it was not surprising that 63 of Betts's 90 rushes last season came in the final six games, with the relentless pounding of the long season draining on Portis.

    Betts believes he has the talent to be a starting back, and, after watching former understudies such as Priest Holmes and LaMont Jordan become well-paid starters after switching teams, he knows that performance begets opportunity, whether it be here or someplace else.

    "I just keep preparing myself like I'm the number one guy," Betts said, "because being number two, you're only one play away. If Clinton were to ever go down -- which I hope he doesn't for his sake -- it would be my own fault if I didn't prepare myself to be ready. So I look at myself as the number one guy, and I have to be ready if that situation does come.

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

    Astute fantasy owners have realized for months now that one of the most important RB handcuffs in the NFL is between Portis and Betts. The Portis owner can handcuff Betts late in their draft and sit back content, knowing they are protected in the case of an injury. That sort of peace of mind is invaluable to a fantasy owner, and despite the high opinion most people have of Portis, it's pretty likely that Betts would produce reasonably close stats to Portis if plugged into this offense.

    Back to Top


    7. CAR - RB S. Davis Could Return To Practice Monday

    Clipped from: Charlotte Observer article by Pat Yasinskas 8/21/05

    When the Carolina Panthers return to training camp practices Monday, Stephen Davis could be back at work.

    According to several team sources, there is a strong possibility Davis, who was on the active/physically-unable-to-perform list, will begin practicing early this week.

    As long as Davis isn't having problems with his surgically repaired knee, he's likely to be given a physical exam. If he passes, he's expected to begin practicing.

    Even if Davis practices early this week, it's unlikely he would play in Friday night's exhibition at Cleveland. A more realistic return would be the Sept. 1 preseason finale against Pittsburgh, according to the team sources.

    If Davis is healthy for the regular season, he and DeShaun Foster would likely split the feature back role. The Panthers also used a second-round draft pick on Eric Shelton, and have last year's leading rusher, Nick Goings.

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

    We're not so sure about the part about Davis sharing the feature back role. Besides his conditioning, we just don't think the Panthers want to utilize him so heavily, especially considering Davis hasn't even stepped onto a field since the middle of last season, and underwent a very complicated surgery on his knee. We think Shelton has a much better chance to eat into Foster's carries than does Davis. Either way, if Foster remains healthy then we don't see either player cutting into his playing time all that much. Of course, Foster's health is a huge issue in and of itself, and cannot simply be assumed. Davis' days as a feature back are, in all likelihood, over. Injuries have a way of changing all that, but we just don't see him progressing enough in the next 3 weeks to be able to stake a claim as even a part-time starter.

    Back to Top

    8. DET - QB Harrington Efficient Again; QB Garcia Struggles Again

    Clipped from: Detroit Free Press article by Nicholas J. Cotsonika 8/21/05

    For the second straight game, quarterback Joey Harrington played two series and led the Lions to only three points. But after going 9-for-9 for 100 yards last week at the New York Jets, he went 5-for-6 for 46 yards against the Browns.

    "I think Joey continued to play efficient football," coach Steve Mariucci said. "He's making some pretty good decisions, and he's hitting hands."

    Backup quarterback Jeff Garcia got two series with the first-team line and receivers, then a third series with the second team. He threw two interceptions. But he also scrambled for first downs and threw a 29-yard touchdown pass to Charles Rogers.

    "You almost try to force the issue sometimes trying to make a play because you know you have limited time," said Garcia, who was 9-for-15 for 99 yards. "I'm better than that, and I've got to be better than that."

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

    Round 2: Harrington. Jeff Garcia is doing very little to promote what was supposed to be an intense QB battle. At this point, Harrington would have to absolutely fall apart during the remainder of camp to lose his hold on the job. While we wouldn't suggest relying exclusively on Harrington, we love the strategy of pairing him with Garcia. The Lions have simply too many weapons for the QB not to put up solid numbers. We think that pair provides great value in the later rounds.

    Back to Top

    9. KC - PK Tynes In Trouble On the Field, Too

    Clipped from: Topeka Capital Journal article by Rick Dean 8/21/05

    The Chiefs will likely be looking for at least some kicking competition for Lawrence Tynes after their embattled kicker missed twice from 38 and 46 yards in Saturday's 27-17 loss to Arizona.

    "He's in the tank," Vermeil said of Tynes, who just last Tuesday was arrested for his role in a bar fight at the Chiefs' Wisconsin training camp. "You miss two field goals like that? Not in the National Football League.

    "He's thrown up the red flag the entire camp in regard to being an accurate kicker on our practice field. We have a real concern."

    Vermeil admitted the Chiefs had been looking for replacement kickers, but said the pickings were slim at the midpoint of the NFL preseason.

    "Don't think we haven't been evaluating who's out there," he said. "Superman isn't there right now."

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

    Well, it doesn't get much more clear-cut than that. Tynes is about as close to being cut as one can be, without actually being cut yet. It's fairly obvious that if the Chiefs had even a marginal option to sign, they'd go with it. But since the free agent kicker market isn't exactly a plethora of talent, they're sticking with Tynes for now. Of course, based on Vermeil's harsh words, one of two things is possible: A) He's trying to not only light a fire under Tynes, but possibly burn a hole through his feet, or B) He really means what he says, and Tynes will be the next free agent kicker this time next week. Tynes may have another opportunity to straighten himself out, but it's quite possible that the Chiefs have already made up their minds to cut him as soon as they get a chance. This is important in that the Chiefs are expected to once again boast one of the league's top offenses, and their kicker could provide excellent value. This is the kind of thing you subscribe for - we'll keep a close eye on this one for you. Whoever lands the job is likely to under the radar and should provide nice value.

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    10. CAR - WR Colbert Dazzles In Exhibition Debut

    Clipped from: Charlotte Observer article by Stan Olson 8/21/05

    Keary Colbert missed the first exhibition with a pulled hamstring, but started Saturday and responded with five receptions for 69 yards, a couple of spectacular variety.

    "Sometimes it's like that," he said. "You've got to be able to just answer the call when the opportunity presents itself. That's what I did for the most part today, although I left a couple plays out there.

    "I haven't played since January," he said. "The offseason is for getting ready for that. Finally, just playing a game, it felt good to be back."

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

    And the battle continues. Rod Gardner is definitely in the mix for the WR2 job alongside Steve Smith, but more performances like this one from Colbert will definitely make for an intriguing in-season battle regardless of who wins the preseason fight. Gardner is the big physical receiver more in the mold of former Panther Muhsin Muhammad. Colbert is quicker and faster but smaller. It's very possible both players make solid contributions as they bring very different styles to the table.

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    11. CHI - QB Hutchinson Looked 'Bad'

    Clipped from: Chicago Sun-Times article by Mike Mulligan 8/21/05

    The sad truth about the 2005 Bears is that the defense is ready to win. All the Bears need to stay in a game is a quarterback who can limit mistakes and manage a game. If they had one who could score some points, the team might be dangerous. What they can't afford is a quarterback who makes mistakes, and that's just what Hutchinson looked like in a miserable performance that included 5-of-8 passing for 40 yards, two interceptions, three sacks, a fumble that the Bears recovered and a 35.4 rating.

    Hutchinson never looked the part on this night. There's no efficiency in his throwing motion. He sets too wide, fires the ball with too much shoulder and simply doesn't get rid of it fast enough.

    The first interception came off the outstretched fingers of receiver Muhsin Muhammad, who made a play for a ball thrown far too high. The second was a wretched pass into the middle of the field intended for tight end Desmond Clark. Both throws were into coverage.

    Hutchinson did direct one scoring drive after a fumble by Edgerrin James at the Colts' 32. It was the Bears' sixth possession, and Hutchinson's contribution was five handoffs to Adrian Peterson on a five-play drive. His biggest play was a completion to Marc Edwards for no gain that wound up as a first down because Colts defensive tackle Larry Tripplett was called for roughing the passer.

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

    This was about as bad a performance as a quarterback can have. The last paragraph, "Hutchinson's contribution was five handoffs to Adrian Peterson on a five-play drive" pretty much says it all. We wouldn't even recommend Hutchinson as a QB3 at this point, as the Bear offense is expected to be one of the league's worst. And having Hutchinson at the helm does nothing to change that opinion. If anything, it confirms it.

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    12. IDP: CAR - S Branch Suffers Potentially Serious Knee Injury

    Clipped from: Charlotte Observer article by Pat Yasinskas 8/21/05

    Safety Colin Branch, who had used training camp to work himself into the good graces of the coaching staff, suffered what could be a serious right knee injury during the first quarter of a 27-21 loss to the New York Giants.

    It also clouded what seemed recently to have become a clear picture in the secondary.

    If Branch is lost for an extended period -- and team officials weren't ruling out that possibility -- there could be major changes in the secondary. Branch was on crutches after the game and said early indications are he injured the medial collateral ligament. But the extent of the injury is not known. He will have more tests today in Charlotte.

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

    Until we find out more, it's tough to speculate on what Branch's injury could mean to the Panthers. They had pretty much locked down all of the starting spots back in minicamp, so a major shakeup in the secondary could be a big blow to a team that had hoped to seamlessly transition into the regular season. The Panthers turned their season around in a big way last season, and the defense was of course a big part of that. Hopefully, this injury turns out to be less serious than it seems, but it's not looking too promising at the moment.

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    13. IDP: NYG - CB Peterson Sprains Knee

    Clipped from: NewYorkGiants.com article by Michael Eisen 8/21/05

    Cornerback William Peterson left the game in the first quarter with a sprained left knee and did not return. He will have an MRI on Sunday. "Right now I'm going to be positive and say nothing's wrong," said Peterson, who was hurt on a cut block.

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

    Again, until we hear more about the extent of Peterson's injury, it's difficult to gauge what it could mean. Peterson is one of the Giants' starters at the cornerback position, so losing him for any period of time could hurt. If the injury turns out to be serious, it could prove huge to a team that had difficulty defending the pass the last few seasons.

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    14. IDP: DAL - DT Ferguson Re-Injures Ankle, To Miss Game

    Clipped from: ESPN.com article 8/21/05

    Nose tackle Jason Ferguson has reinjured his right ankle and will miss another preseason game.

    Ferguson missed the opener with a sprain, but returned to practice this week and was expected to play Monday night in Seattle.

    "I think he kind of tweaked it a little bit," coach Bill Parcells said Saturday. "He's just not getting around. I'm getting a little worried about him to tell you the truth."

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

    Not a good sign when coach Parcells confides in the media and expresses concern. Ferguson was expected to help solidify the middle of the Dallas run defense, but he'll obviously be unable to do so from the sidelines. His loss wouldn't be devastating to the Cowboys, but it's still never good to lose a contributor for any amount of time, especially when most of the off-season focus has gone on rebuilding the defense. We'll let you know if we hear anything else about Ferguson in the coming weeks.

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    15. IDP: BAL - CB Rolle Leaves Game With Minor Knee Sprain

    Clipped from: Associated Press article by David Ginsburg 8/21/05

    Baltimore cornerback Samari Rolle left the game in the first half with a mild right knee sprain. Before the injury, he intercepted a McNabb pass at the Baltimore 30 to end a scoring threat.

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

    This was likely a situation where the team simply wanted to protect one of its starters from further injury, so they got Rolle out of there. Unless something major happens in the next few days, he'll likely return to practice within the week, and this shouldn't impact him for any part of the regular season.

    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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