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Volume 6, Issue 127 (Tuesday, August 23rd)

Tonight's update brought to you by:
Payday Sports

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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 Mark Wimer 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. (Premium Subscription) Opportunity Breeds Success Article
by Michael Brown

C. (Premium Subscription) The Upside of Danger Article
by Colin Dowling

D. (Premium Subscription) Getting Off the Bandwagon Article
by Mark Wimer

E. (Premium Subscription) Rookie Report - Defensive Lineman
by Aaron Rudnicki

F. (Premium Subscription) Rookie Report - Linebackers
by Aaron Rudnicki

G. (Premium Subscription) Breaking Down NFL Defenses
by John Norton

H. (Premium Subscription) Dynasty 101
by Mike Anderson

I. (Premium Subscription) A Study on Fantasy Draft Position II
by Chris Smith

J. (Premium Subscription) Player Spotlight - Michael Vick
by Jason Wood, Mark Wimer and Message Board Gurus

K. (Premium Subscription) Player Spotlight - Cedric Benson
by Jason Wood, Chase Stuart and Message Board Gurus

L. Player Spotlight - Corey Dillon
by Jason Wood, Cecil Lammey and Message Board Gurus

M. (Premium Subscription) Player Spotlight - Ahman Green
by Jason Wood, Bob Henry and Message Board Gurus

N. (Premium Subscription) Player Spotlight - Chris Chambers
by Jason Wood, Cecil Lammey and Message Board Gurus

O. (Premium Subscription) Player Spotlight - T.J. Houshmandzadeh
by Jason Wood, Chris Smith and Message Board Gurus

P. (Premium Subscription) Player Spotlight - Javon Walker
by Jason Wood, Mike Brown and Message Board Gurus


INSIDE THIS ISSUE

1. SF - QB Rattay Anointed Starter
2. SD - TE Gates Signs Long-Term Deal, But Will Miss 1st Game of Season
3. MIN - C Matt Birk Headed for Surgery?
4. NYG - QB Manning Targets Opener for Return
5. KC - Injury Plague Among Backup QB's
6. PHI - No New Deals for T.O., Westbrook - But PK Akers May Get One
7. MIA - OL in Chaos
8. BAL - TE Heap Off PUP, Won't Play This Week, Though
9. CHI - RB Jones to Carry the Load?
10. GB - TE Position a Question Mark
11. JAX - RB Taylor To Play in Nationally Televised Game Thursday
12. TEN - QB Redman Signs for Shot at #3
13. N.O. - Team Sings McAllister's Praises
14. ARI - Injuries Elevate C Conaty Into Starting Lineup
15. SEA - WR Engram Storms Into Vacant #2 Role
16. MIN - RB Bennett Out for Final Game, Maybe Opener; Door Open for Moore
17. CIN - D Vulnerable to the Big Play?
18. NYJ IDP - DE John Abraham to Sign 1-year Deal?
19. DAL IDP - LB Ware Struts His Stuff on MNF
20. Preseason Games a Waste of Time? (Commentary)

1. SF - QB Rattay Anointed Starter

Clipped from: ESPN.com article by Pedro Gomez, 8/23/05

San Francisco 49ers coach Mike Nolan announced Tuesday that Tim Rattay will be the Niners starting QB entering this season, ESPN's Pedro Gomez is reporting.

Alex Smith, drafted No. 1 overall by the 49ers in the 2005 NFL draft, is ranked second on the depth chart followed by Ken Dorsey.

Smith has struggled mightily this preseason, completing just 5 of 16 passes for 43 yards. He also has been sacked four times. Rattay, meanwhile, has completed 13 of 19 passes for 194 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions.

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

Rookie QBs often struggle to turn their game up to the pro level. Whoever takes the snaps in San Francisco this year will have a tough time making a fantasy splash, though - the team is in a rebuilding phase and isn't very impressive on either side of the ball. Smith has looked pretty bad so far. Rattay, on the other hand has looked solid. There will be plenty of talk about this being a 2005 version of San Diego with Rattay playing the Drew Brees role while Smith plays Phillip Rivers. I don't think it'll play out that way and you'll eventually see Smith. Probably sooner rather than later.

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2. SD - TE Gates Signs Long-Term Deal, But Will Miss 1st Game of Season

Clipped from: ESPN.com Sportsticker, 8/23/05

"I'm ecstatic that this was resolved," Gates said. "I love playing for the San Diego Chargers and I never wanted to leave."

"The agreement ends a bizarre series of events in which Gates was placed on the roster exempt list for not reporting to training camp before a team-imposed deadline. As a result, Gates will not be allowed to play in the Chargers' next three games, including their season opener against Dallas on Sept. 11.

"San Diego had said Gates would be suspended for three games if he did not agree to a new deal or accept their one-year tender offer of $380,000 -- the minimum for a third-year player -- by Saturday.

"Instead, Gates reported on Sunday and signed his tender on Monday. The two sides started negotiations on a multiyear deal after Gates signed his tender.

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

This is great news for Gates owners and for the Chargers. If you draft Gates in a redraft league this year you'll lose one game worth of production, but we expect him to be a fantasy force in the other 15 games assuming he can stay healthy - we project Gates to snag 75/860/10 this year (http://footballguys.com/currentproj-te.php).

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3. MIN - C Matt Birk Headed for Surgery?

Clipped from Star Tribune article by Kevin Seifert, 8/23/05

...center Matt Birk was contemplating whether to undergo a fifth surgery in his ongoing battle with chronic injuries to his midsection. Birk's decision, which might come as early as today, will impact his availability for the 2005 season.

Birk met privately with doctors in New York last week, and on Monday he said: "At some point I'm going to need surgery. I'm just trying to figure out when that time is going to be."

Birk would not specify his current ailment but it likely relates to the sports hernia and hip injuries that have plagued him since last summer. He apparently must decide whether to play with the injury or have immediate surgery. Coach Mike Tice has downplayed the severity of Birk's condition but has said he will not start the Sept. 11 season opener against Tampa Bay.

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

Birk has been struggling with this sports hernia injury all year long - it's not going to get better until it is surgically repaired. Quoting from a premium article on the Footballguys.com website (http://www.footballguys.com/05wimer_injuries.php): "Sports hernias are a chronically painful muscle tear in the area next to the pubic bone, and the buildup of scar tissue due to the injury can cause persistent pain if the player continues to practice/play in games. Rest can correct the condition, but as soon as heavy activity resumes, the pain usually returns. Treatment with medication or other procedures can help a player play despite the pain. Eventually, surgery will probably be required to repair the condition, with a recovery period measured in months."

The Viking's running game is starting to unravel as expected starter Michael Bennett is fighting a neck injury - now the team's long-time center could miss a big chunk of the season. Fantasy owners should think twice before investing in the Viking's backfield...

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4. NYG - QB Manning Targets Opener for Return

Clipped from Star Ledger article by Mike Garafolo, 8/23/05

Manning was ruled out for Friday's preseason game against the Jets and will be evaluated on a week-to-week basis, meaning he might also miss the Sept. 1 preseason finale at New England. And with the regular-season opener only 19 days away, "week-to-week" isn't a promising thought for the Giants.

"Right now I could probably go and throw the ball, but I might have to make adjustments to the way I throw," Manning said. "Not maybe consciously do it so (I) don't feel pain. It could end up being worse. It could (result in) bad mechanics or, all of a sudden, your shoulder might start hurting or something else might start hurting instead. So this is probably a smart thing."

Coach Tom Coughlin remains hopeful that Manning, who watched from the sidelines yesterday and didn't even participate in team running drills, will be ready to face the Cardinals on Sept. 11.

"I have no idea other than the fact that I liked what Dr. Warren had to say," Coughlin said. "I have a strong feeling that he will be ready."

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

The Giants will cross their fingers and hold their breath - meanwhile, bump Manning down your draft list a few spots as it is possible he'll miss a game or two depending on how his elbow progresses over the next few weeks. The Giants aren't going to risk further injury to their franchise QBs throwing-arm elbow - we expect them to proceed with caution regarding this particular injury.

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5. KC - Injury Plague Among Backup QBs

Clipped from: Topeka Captial-Journal article by Rick Dean, 8/23/05

...the Chiefs are expected to sign Jonathan Quinn for at least a couple of weeks, coach Dick Vermeil announced Monday.

Because of injuries to backup Todd Collins, who has a badly bruised hand, and third-teamer Damon Huard, who sustained a mild concussion last week, only rookie James Kilian will be able to back up starter Trent Green.

Though Green hopes to play into the third quarter this week, the Chiefs need a third quarterback should something go horribly wrong against the Seahawks.

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

As long as Green stays healthy, the injury epidemic among the backups won't matter to fantasy owners. However, if Green goes down, the Kansas City passing game could go in the tank really quick...

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6. PHI - No New Deals for T.O., Westbrook - But PK Akers May Get One

Clipped from: NJ.com article by Mark Eckel, 8/23/05

While wide receiver Terrell Owens waits for a new deal that never is going to come and running back Brian Westbrook still hopes for a better deal than the one currently offered, the Eagles are in talks with the player who deserves a new deal more than anyone else.

Sources have told The Times that there are negotiations going on to reward kicker David Akers, who still has three years remaining on his current contract, with a new deal. Gerald Colton, hired as Akers' agent this past offseason, has been in contact with the team's front office since training camp began at Lehigh on Aug. 1.

The Eagles are back in contact with Colton on what could lead to a new deal for the three-time Pro Bowl kicker. The Eagles do not comment on current contract negotiations.

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

Does anybody else wonder how T.O. will react if Akers gets an extension with 3 years left on his current deal? We do...

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7. MIA - OL in Chaos

Clipped from: Miami Herald article by Jason Cole, 8/23/05

The Dolphins began the process of fixing the offensive line Monday by putting former starter Damion McIntosh back at left tackle, switching Vernon Carey from left to right tackle and removing Stockar McDougle from the first unit.

That left the Dolphins almost back to where they ended last season, when they fielded one of the two or three worst offensive lines in the history of the franchise. From the line of McIntosh, left guard Jeno James, center Seth McKinney, right guard Rex Hadnot and Carey, only Carey was not in the starting lineup for the final five games of last season.

On Saturday, the Dolphins hope to have the situation settled when they play host to Tampa Bay in the second-to-last exhibition game. That game is usually considered the dress rehearsal for the season, with the starters usually playing into the third quarter.

Through the first three games, however, about all that can be said for the Dolphins offensive line is that it has been undressed by opponents.

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

The clip says it all. The Dolphins' OL is playing horribly right now, which will cause problems for Ronnie Brown, Ricky Williams (once he serves his suspension), and QB Gus Frerotte. It would be wise to temper your enthusiasm for Dolphin offensive players in general, as the Miami OL looks really, really sorry heading into the regular season.

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8. BAL - TE Heap Off PUP, Won't Play This Week, Though

Clipped from: Carroll County Times article by Aaron Wilson, 8/23/05

Baltimore Ravens tight end Todd Heap was activated from the physically unable to perform list, but won't play Friday against the New Orleans Saints.

The two-time Pro Bowl selection underwent surgery on his ankle and shoulder after the season and is likely to make his preseason debut Sept. 1 against the Washington Redskins.

"For Todd, it's time to go after it and we'll be prudent about it," Ravens coach Brian Billick. "I know he won't play this week."

Added Heap after his first practice since last season: "I was excited just to be out there with the guys, get a few reps in. I've been working my body really hard to get back healthy and it's about time."

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

Heap was a fantasy force a few years ago, but injuries and a faltering Kyle Boller limit his upside this year. He'll still be a major cog in the Ravens' offense (if he can get healthy), but be aware that the supporting cast around Heap is not very impressive.

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9. CHI - RB Jones to Carry the Load?

Clipped from: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article by Lori Nickel, 8/22/05

Granted, exhibition games are different than the real deal. But through three games, the Bears are averaging 128.3 rushing yards per game, 4.3 yards per carry and have rushed for five touchdowns.

That's half of last season's total from 16 games, when the Bears averaged 101.5 rushing yards per game and 3.8 yards per carry.

From the day of his hiring, offensive coordinator Ron Turner emphasized the need to establish an effective running game. That goal could become even more important if the Bears experience inconsistency at the quarterback position.

"Running the football is crucial," Turner said. "We've made it a priority from the start of [off-season workouts] and the guys understand how important it is."

Behind a more veteran and healthy line, Adrian Peterson has gained 150 yards and scored two touchdowns and Thomas Jones has rushed for 90 yards and one touchdown.

Jones will play at least the first half of Friday's home exhibition opener against Buffalo and possibly into the third quarter after being held out of Saturday's victory over Indianapolis.

The main reason why players continue to insist the Benson impasse hasn't become a distraction is because of their confidence in and respect for Jones, who hasn't missed a snap in practice or a set in the weight room. Many teammates have voiced that appreciation publicly in interviews and privately to Jones.

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

At this point, it's clear the Cedric Benson has shot himself in the foot as far as the Bears' lineup is concerned. He may well end up the starter by year's end, but he won't be the starter come opening day - if Jones excels once the games count, Benson could have a quiet 2005.

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10. GB - TE Position a Question Mark

Clipped Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article by Lori Nickel, 8/22/05:

Packers coach Mike Sherman said he has not talked to Franks recently.

"There's always the hope that Bubba will be in camp," Sherman said. "It certainly dictates certain things in the game as far as what you're able to do. Obviously we're a big tight-end type of team. We'll put three tight ends out there sometimes, two tight ends. "We're going to have to figure something out. We'll do a little bit more of the Kevin Barry attack more. We've talked about maybe doing some three-wides. We'll see. But hopefully we'll have a couple of guys back by the end of the week. Hopefully Ben Steele will be back. I don't know if David Martin will be or not, but I'm keeping hope out for that as well."

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

Sounds like an awful lot of "hope" going on here. Bubba Franks' holdout continues, and he's losing valuable reps with the first team offense at this point. As a veteran of the Packers' system, Franks could probably step back into the offense without too much trouble, but if the team moves to a more WR oriented scheme, his numbers may take a hit this year. We'll keep you posted when there is progress on this front.

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11. JAX - RB Taylor To Play in Nationally Televised Game Thursday

Clipped from: Jacksonville Times-Union article by Vito Stellino, 8/23/05

Barring a last-minute setback, Taylor will probably make his only appearance of the preseason against the Atlanta Falcons on the grass at Alltel Stadium.

It will be his first game appearance since he suffered a knee injury in Green Bay last Dec. 19 and underwent surgery in January.

"It's going to be a big confidence boost,'' Taylor said Saturday night after the Jaguars' 20-17 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Taylor put on his uniform and went through the pregame warm-ups for the game even though he didn't play.

"That was nice. I wouldn't want to get out there my first time and go directly into a game. The coaches were watching me and I went out there and I was able to handle it,'' Taylor said.

Both Taylor and coach Jack Del Rio indicated that Taylor isn't likely to risk his knee playing on the artificial turf in Dallas in the final preseason game on Sept. 1.

"I don't think so,'' Taylor said. "It's a turf game a week before the opener. I don't think that would be too smart. If I'm going to get any reps in the preseason, it's going to be [in the Atlanta game].''

"If everything goes well [against Atlanta], we don't plan on playing him next week [against Dallas], Del Rio said at a news conference Monday. "We'd like to give him a little look this week and then get him ready for Sept. 11 [when the Jaguars open the regular season against Seattle].''

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

Well, now we'll all get the chance to evaluate Taylor's progress after his knee surgery. Taylor owners and those interested in drafting him will want to clear time on Thursday night (the game will be televised at 8 P.M. ET on ESPN).

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12. TEN - QB Redman Signs for Shot at #3

Clipped from: Tennessean article by Jessica Hopp, 8/23/05

The Titans signed veteran quarterback Chris Redman yesterday to compete for the No. 3 quarterback job behind Steve McNair and Billy Volek.

Rookie free agent Gino Guidugli was released, leaving Redman and undrafted rookie Shane Boyd in the No. 3 battle for now. Former Heisman Trophy winner Jason White announced his retirement last week.

Redman practiced yesterday and could see action in Friday night's preseason game at San Francisco.

"We brought Chris in and worked him out and felt pretty good about the workout," Coach Jeff Fisher said. "We are going to give Chris an opportunity here the next couple weeks to let him compete for that third spot."

Redman spent 2004 out of football while rehabbing a tear in his throwing shoulder. The New England Patriots signed him in January but released him in June. He worked out for the Titans on Sunday.

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

Unless McNair and Volek go down to injury, the #3 QB in Tennessee won't be an item of fantasy interest. However, injuries are part of the game (just ask the Bears' front office), so we note Redman's addition to the lineup.

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13. N.O. - Team Sings McAllister's Praises

Clipped from: Advocate article by Sheldon Mickles, 8/23/05

There's no substitute, both Sheppard and Roland say, for the comfort that comes from working with an experienced and accomplished ball carrier like McAllister, who needs 74 yards to become the club's all-time rushing leader.

"It's huge," said Sheppard, who worked as the team's quarterbacks coach from 2002-04 and was an offensive coordinator with the San Diego Chargers and Buffalo Bills before coming to New Orleans. "As smart as quarterbacks are, Deuce is as smart as any player I have ever been around. He's unique because he knows almost everybody's assignment on any given play.

"He doesn't make mistakes," Sheppard added. "You can count on him and you can trust him. Deuce just has a different kind of confidence level. He's not only going to be there for you, he's going to make the play."

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

McAllister is a fantasy favorite, a player that many observers expect to be in the top 5 among all NFL RBs this year. We currently rank him as the 5th best fantasy RB on the consensus expert rankings (http://www.footballguys.com/viewrankings.php?viewpos=rb&howrecent=7)

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14. ARI - Injuries Elevate C Conaty Into Starting Lineup

Clipped from: Arizona Republic article by Kent Somers, 8/23/05

Bill Conaty has been with the Cardinals for less than a week, yet he will likely start at center in the final two games of the preseason and perhaps in the regular-season opener against the New York Giants on Sept. 11.

Alex Stepanovich, the usual starter, is out with a broken right hand. Backup Nick Leckey has a sprained ankle that could keep him out the next two weeks.

It's also possible, coach Dennis Green said, that Stepanovich and Leckey could miss the season opener.

"We're going to take an optimistic view of it because that's the way we coach," Green said. "Fortunately for us, we got Billy Conaty, who showed up last Wednesday, and now he's going to have to start for two games in the preseason and, who knows, might have to start the first game of the regular season, too."

Conaty, in his ninth year, played part of last season in Minnesota and was a free agent when the Cardinals signed him. According to the 2005 Pro Football Register, Conaty has been cut six times, including twice by the Vikings last year.

"We'd be really hurting without him," Green said.

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

The Cardinals have a very promising offensive squad this year, but be aware that they have OL issues at the moment. Hopefully Conaty can hold down the fort until the other players are healthy. For a complete update on all 32 NFL teams' offensive lines, Footballguys.com subscribers can go here (http://www.footballguys.com/05smith_offensivelines.php) and read our Chris Smith's freshly updated overview.

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15. SEA - WR Engram Storms Into Vacant #2 Role

Clipped from: Seattle Post-Intelligencer article by Clare Farnsworth, 8/23/05

For the record, Engram is 5 feet 10, probably runs 40 yards in 4.5 seconds and is 32 and in his 10th NFL season.

The sum of these numbers does not add up to a player that would be his coach's choice to replace the jettisoned Koren Robinson in the starting lineup. But that's exactly where Engram has been since the team's final minicamp in June.

Monday night, he gave the latest indication why -- and also why other incumbent receivers are sweating the upcoming roster cuts, while Engram is a lock.

"I'm just playing football," Engram said. "I'm not going to get caught up in starter, or slot, or whatever. The more they give me, the more I'm going to try and do."

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

The Seahawks have a potent offense, and QB Matt Hasslebeck is thoroughly comfortable in this offense at this point, and has looked sharp in his brief preseason appearances. Engram could be a huge steal on draft day as he isn't a high-profile receiver (yet). Someone has to catch passes besides Darrell Jackson, and Engram isn't likely to see a lot of double-teams with Jackson demanding attention from the secondaries opposing the Seahawks this year.

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16. MIN - RB Bennett Out for Final Game, Maybe Opener; Door Open for Moore

Clipped from: ESPN.com News Services, 8/23/05

Mike Tice says running back Michael Bennett's sore neck most likely will keep him out of the Minnesota Vikings' season opener against Tampa Bay on Sept. 11.

Bennett, however, said he should be ready to go by next weekend's preseason finale. On Monday, Tice said Bennett most likely would sit out Friday night's exhibition against the San Diego Chargers. Then, on Tuesday, he said Bennett was "definitely not going to play" and could miss the season opener against the Bucs.

Backup Mewelde Moore will start in Bennett's place Friday.

"Right now, Mike's out, so I'm moving forward, even for Tampa without Mike," Tice said after Tuesday morning's practice. "I don't see Mike being anything but an outside shot for Tampa. I'm not a doctor, but I know anytime you sprain your neck or tweak your neck or have neck spasms or whatever he has, it's hard to put a guy back in there, especially a guy who has taken a lot of hits, unless he is confident in that neck."

In the locker room after practice, Bennett seemed brimming with confidence that his neck was improving. Bennett did not rule out missing Friday night's game against San Diego, but said he definitely would be back for next week's preseason game at Seattle.

"If not this weekend, next week," Bennett insisted. "I'm ready."

Ready or not, Tice has the final say, and it has opened the door for Moore, who appears poised to open the season as the Vikings' primary back.

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

This is an update to last nights' report on Bennett's neck. It appears that Mewelde Moore may eclipse Bennett on the depth chart - a lot hangs on how well Moore plays vs. the Chargers. If you are invested in the Viking's backfield, you'll want to pay attention to the results of Friday's Vikings/Chargers game (8 P.M. ET)

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17. CIN - D Vulnerable to the Big Play?

Clipped from: Cincinnati Post article by Kevin Goheen, 8/23/05

Allowing opponents big gains was a problem for the defense in 2004, a problem that needs to be rectified this season if the overall performance of the defense and the team is going to be improved.

So far in this preseason, the problem is still around. New England and Washington have combined for 16 big plays - a "big play" being defined as a run of 10 or more yards or a pass of 20 or more yards - in Cincinnati's two preseason games. The Patriots had six runs that fit the criteria, while Washington quarterbacks had six completions for more than 20 yards.

While it's true that some of those plays have come against backups, some of whom will not be on the regular-season roster, that hasn't been the case exclusively. And while O'Neal was beat trying to make an aggressive play on the ball, there have been more times when defenders were out of position because they didn't make the right reads, they forgot their assignments or they didn't communicate properly with their teammates.

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

Cincinnati invested in some marquee defensive players during the draft (LB's Odell Thurman and David Pollack from Georgia, for example), but they are still a work in progress. We'll see how far they have come once the games start to count, but as the clip above points out there are still a lot of wrinkles to iron out...

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18. IDP: NYJ - DE John Abraham to Sign 1-year Deal?

Clipped from: Newsday.com article by Bob Glauber, 8/23/05

Holdout defensive end John Abraham could be back with the Jets by the end of the week, but not with the long-term contract he's hoping for. A person with knowledge of the Jets' situation said yesterday that the team is optimistic that Abraham will end his holdout by signing a one-year contract for $6.7 million.

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

Abraham owners can breath a sigh of relief - it appears he's going to end his holdout.

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19. IDP: DAL - LB Ware Struts His Stuff on MNF

Clipped from: Dallas-Fort Worth Star Telegram article by Staff, 8/23/05

Cowboys coach Bill Parcells can officially check rookie linebacker DeMarcus Ware off his list of concerns.

Ware had a sack, a fumble recovery, two forced fumbles, an interception and a quarterback pressure as the Cowboys defeated the Seattle Seahawks 18-10 in their second preseason game.

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

This young man looks like he is poised to make some noise for the Cowboys this year. If you need a new LB for your IDP squad, he's worth a look.

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20. Preseason Games a Waste of Time? (Commentary)

Clipped from: Mlive.com editorial by Tom Kowalski, 8/23/05

Preseason games are completely and utterly meaningless. Considering the risk/reward of these games, there is no redeeming value whatsoever.

The NFL Players Association is in a battle with the league over a new collective bargaining agreement and, amazingly, the abolition of preseason -- or even two or three of the four games -- isn't even on the radar.

The only reason preseason exists is because owners get to charge full-value ticket prices for two home games while paying the players the same basic salary as the midnight shift at Wendy's. It's a charade that the players union has shamelessly winked at for years.

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

Whether you agree with Mr. Kowalski or not, we include this perspective to remind Deion Branch and Corey Dillon owners (just two examples off the top of my head) that pre-season is really about sorting through late-round draft picks and street free agents - it isn't very crucial for established, veteran players, unless there is a battle for a starting job (Minnesota's Michael Bennett/Mewelde Moore battle detailed above illustrates the counter-point). Pay attention, but don't panic if your established veterans aren't getting tons of snaps during the pre-season.

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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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