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Volume 6, Issue 133 (Monday, August 29th)

Footballguys.com
Volume 6, #133 August 29th 2005

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Hi Folks,

It's almost here. Week 1 kickoff is right around the corner and we're working for you. From Training Camp Updates, Drafting Software, 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. Pre Season Injury Wrap Up
By Mark Wimer. In case you missed the email on Monday, here's the latest injury news from around the league

B. IDP Sleepers
Aaron Rudnicki, David Baker, and Bob Magaw

C. Offseason Player Movement - Defensive Backs
by Aaron Rudnicki

D. Offseason Player Movement - Defensive Lineman
by Aaron Rudnicki

E. Offseason Player Movement - Linebackers
by Aaron Rudnicki

F. Rookie Report - Defensive Backs
by Bob Magaw


INSIDE THIS ISSUE

1. FA RB Clarett: Where Next? If Anywhere? (Commentary)
2. PIT - RB Bettis Out 2 Weeks
3. TEN - Intent on FA WR Edwards
4. IND - QB Manning's MRI Clean; RT Diem's MRI on Right Foot Unclear
5. NE - WR Brown on the Bubble?
6. CIN - WR Warrick on the Bubble?
7. NYG - QB Manning Looks Good to Go
8. PIT - WR Cedrick Wilson "Dropping" Down the Depth Chart?
9. SEA - QB Wallace is Virtual Lock for #2
10. IDP TB - LB Nece a Starter for Now
11. IDP PHI - DT Corey Simon Must GO (Commentary)
12. IDP NYJ - DE Abraham Signs Tender

1. FA RB Clarett: Where Next? If Anywhere? (Commentary)

Clipped from: Denver Post article by Mark Kiszla, 8/29/05

The faithful still believe Broncos coach Mike Shanahan is a genius on Sundays. Good thing. Because, as an evaluator of talent, the mastermind's IQ has been docked another mandatory deduction.

Blame Maurice Clarett.

Clarett has an uncanny ability to make any football coach who trusts him look stupid. The career of America's favorite wayward running back has taken another wrong turn.

Without gaining one yard for the Broncos, Clarett is long gone. Doomed to the waiver wire as a wasted third-round draft choice by Denver.

Shanahan knows football. And you don't. Just ask him.

There were those of us who thought it was a joke, some sort of crazy draft-day prank, when the Broncos selected Clarett for the shock value.

Wasn't this the same kid who somehow managed to turn a national championship at Ohio State into a source of school embarrassment? Clarett departed the university in a huff, but not before giving his alma mater a black Buckeye.

Ohio State kicked him to the curb. The NFL was in no hurry to let him in.

Clarett earned a reputation for being unreliable, fat and slow. Shanahan knew better.

Clarett quit at the NFL combine for draft prospects after posting 40-yard dash times that read as if he were pushing a Hummer uphill. Scouts wondered if any team would be crazy enough to draft him. Shanahan knew better.

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

We didn't write this commentary: Mark Kiszla from the Denver Post did. Hindsight is 20-20 and obviously, this is a draft pick that didn't work. On the flip side, I give Shanahan some credit for cutting his losses now. It takes some guts to cut a 3rd round pick that you went out on a limb to draft. Probably better now than later. Clarett will likely land somewhere in the NFL but he'll need to prove himself before we get too excited.

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2. PIT - RB Bettis Out 2 Weeks

Clipped from: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article by Gerry Dulac,, 8/29/05

The calf injury sustained by Jerome Bettis is not serious, but he will miss at least the next two weeks and leave the Steelers without their top two running backs for the start of the regular season.

That means Willie Parker, a second-year running back from North Carolina, is expected to start the season opener Sept. 11 against the Tennessee Titans.

Bettis had a magnetic resonance imaging Saturday, a day after his calf was injured in the first quarter of a 17-10 preseason loss to the Washington Redskins, but the results were inconclusive because Bettis had too much blood in his calf. It is possible he could have another MRI early this week.

The Steelers are already without Duce Staley, who has missed the entire preseason and probably won't return until at least Week 3 against the New England Patriots, and maybe longer. Coach Bill Cowher said last week he doesn't want to rush Staley back into the lineup, but he said that before Bettis was injured.

Parker has become the big-play back, registering runs of 50 yards or longer in each of his past two preseason games. After a 51-yard run in the first quarter against the Redskins -- his only carry of the game -- Parker was removed from the game because Cowher didn't want to risk injury to another of his running backs.

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

Well, we've been talking about Parker's potential since last year: now we'll get to see how well he does vs. a live NFL defense (even if it is only the lowly Titans). If you're a Bettis owner, you might want to make a waiver-wire move for Parker. Calf injuries is a notoriously slow healing injury, especially for a big guy like Bettis. I'd take a little exception to the writer above calling it "not serious". Two weeks in the NFL is serious to us. What's troubling is that most every report you see talks about Bettis missing "at least" two weeks. Stay tuned and grab Fast Willie.

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3. TEN - Intent on FA WR Edwards

Clipped from Tennessean article by Jim Wyatt and Paul Kuharsky, 8/29/05

The Titans yesterday expressed an interest in former Jacksonville Jaguars receiver Troy Edwards, and the player's agent said last night he's hopeful a deal could be reached with the team soon.

Edwards was released by the Jaguars yesterday. He was the team's second-leading receiver last season.

General Manager Floyd Reese called agent Richard De Luca yesterday and they are scheduled to talk again this morning.

The Titans have gotten impressive play from rookies Brandon Jones, Courtney Roby and Roydell Williams this preseason, but have also been eyeing an experienced NFL receiver to go with veterans Drew Bennett and Tyrone Calico.

De Luca said a number of other teams also called him yesterday about Edwards, but Tennessee was at the top of his list.

"Hopefully he'll be on a plane for Nashville (today) and be at practice on Tuesday and then play in the final preseason game," De Luca said. "Earlier I told Troy to make a list of the top places he'd like to play and Tennessee was one of the top two. To get a call from Floyd was a pleasant surprise. I think it's a perfect fit for him."

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

Tyrone Calico has 1 catch for 7 yards during the pre-season, and continues to recover from 2004 ACL surgery. Edwards could make a push for playing time, depending on how quickly he is signed/how quickly he can learn Norm Chow's offense.

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4. IND - QB Manning's MRI Clean; RT Diem's MRI on Right Foot Unclear

Clipped from: Indianapolis Star article by Phillip B. Wilson, 8/29/05

Two-time MVP quarterback Peyton Manning and right tackle Ryan Diem joined the growing preseason list of Indianapolis Colts who have had to undergo magnetic resonance imaging tests.

Manning's bruised left shoulder, which he injured during Saturday's 37-24 loss at Denver, checked out OK, Colts coach Tony Dungy said Sunday. But Diem's status with a sprained right foot is still undetermined.

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

While it's good news that Manning is fine, the OL has not been sharp during pre-season. If Diem is lost for any significant period of time, Manning may not have a lot of time in the pocket to start regular season...

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5. NE - WR Brown on the Bubble?

Clipped from: Boston.com article by Ron Borges, 8/29/05

At a time in his professional life when most men might expect some respect for all they had accomplished against the long odds Brown faced when he first arrived in New England in 1993, perhaps the best pure football player on the Patriots knows he has reasons to fret. Tomorrow is cutdown day. There are twice as many wide receivers on the roster as coach Bill Belichick needs. Brown is now an old man in a young man's game.

And so a good man wonders.

Wonder is not the same as fear. Brown, an eighth-round draft pick, doesn't know very much about fear, because if he did, he never would have lasted a week in the NFL, let alone 12 years. But he does know a lot about how the NFL works and how good men like him, as a player and more importantly as a man, disappear every year around this time, and so it is wise to keep expectations in check.

Why would a player who has proven to be more valuable and more versatile than a Swiss Army Knife for a dozen years be concerned about such matters as Firing Day? Because the NFL is a place where Troy Brown has learned many lessons and taken none of them for granted.

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

Tom Brady is an awesome NFL QB - but there is a wide range of talent in the WR stable in New England. Enough that it's hard to see who will excel during 2005. Currently, we expect Deion Branch to lead the crowd at WR - but we project none of the crowd to exceed 1,000 yards receiving: (http://footballguys.com/currentproj-nwe.php).

Brown has Branch, David Givens, David Terrell, Andre Davis, Tim Dwight, and Bethel Johnson to contend with - he may well be on the outside looking in. It's a tough business and we'll be watching this one with interest.

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6. CIN - WR Warrick on the Bubble?

Clipped from: Cincinnati Enquirer Staff, 8/29/05

Marvin Lewis hinted strongly and repeatedly that some familiar names might be a part of the next wave of roster moves.

"Over the next week, we get an opportunity to trim some of the fat and some of the complacency around here," the coach said during a Sunday news conference. "What you did in '03 or '04 doesn't matter. This is a new year, and the bar has been raised."

With three NFL Europe exemptions, the Bengals need to make two more roster moves by 4 p.m. Tuesday to reach 68. Then the hardest cuts come Sunday, when the roster must trim to 53 players. The practice squad may be formed the next day.

Much offseason and preseason speculation is focused on Peter Warrick's place. The sixth-year wide receiver has played in one of the three preseason games, and his on-again/off-again health status seems to be contributing to the offense's uneven rhythm.

Warrick, medically cleared two weeks ago from a knee injury, has a "tender" hamstring, Lewis said.

"I don't want to talk about individual guys," Lewis said when asked directly if his '03 reference was about Warrick. "We got a lot of guys trying to make this football team."

Asked to further discuss his '03 comment, Lewis said, "That's everybody. We don't get to worry about '03 and '04."

Clearly, though almost 48 hours had passed, the team's poor performance Friday in a 27-17 loss to Philadelphia still was on Lewis' mind.

"I'm never happy," he said. "There's a sense of urgency now of things that need to be done. We're not here to be average."

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

The Bengals' offense has been unimpressive during pre-season - Warrick may become an object lesson for a faltering group. Stay tuned this week...

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7. NYG - QB Manning Looks Good to Go

Clipped from: Star-Ledger article by Mike Garafolo, 8/29/05

The short workout provided a double shot of good news for the Giants: Manning was 21-for-21 on hard throws and, more important, felt fine afterward.

"It went well. I had no pain," Manning said. "Nothing affected the way I threw. I had no soreness afterward. I'll see (today) if there's any soreness in it, but I don't think there will be."

Added coach Tom Coughlin: "He looked pretty good. He said he threw well and didn't feel any aftereffect at all. I think that's a very good sign."

Manning confirmed the expected yesterday when he said he would be inactive for Thursday's preseason finale in New England. But when asked if he would be ready for the regular-season opener against the Cardinals on Sept. 11, he said, "I guess I can't say definitely, but I have a good feeling I'll be out there."

Right now, his goal is to take the first snap of the first week of regular-season practice.

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

Manning's elbow seems to be recovering well - Manning fans plus all of the fantasy owners invested in Amani Toomer, Plaxico Burress and Jeremy Shockey can breathe a sigh of relief.

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8. PIT - WR Cedrick Wilson "Dropping" Down the Depth Chart?

Clipped from: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article by Gerry Dulac, 8/29/05

Cedrick Wilson was one of the standouts at training camp, a player who kept catching the eye of coach Bill Cowher with his speed and explosiveness. And, after three preseason games, he has looked like the player he was brought in through free agency to replace -- Plaxico Burress.

But for the wrong reason.

Wilson, a wide receiver who was signed from the San Francisco 49ers, has dropped passes from quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in each of the past two preseason games, the latest coming Saturday night in a 17-10 loss to the Washington Redskins.

"I definitely have to get better and start making tough catches for Ben to give him confidence in us," Wilson said. "The old saying goes, if you touch the ball, you have to catch the ball. We have to hold ourselves accountable to catch those footballs. We got to make tough catches."

In Wilson's defense, neither of the dropped passes was an easy catch. The first came when he mistimed his jump and got two hands on a high pass from Roethlisberger in the end zone against the Miami Dolphins. The other occurred when he stretched for a wide throw on an out pattern against the Redskins.

Wilson had an 18-yard reception against the Redskins, but he has just two catches for 32 yards in three preseason games. He hasn't been able to transfer his practice performance to the game field, and said part of the reason is because he is being shuttled between two positions (flanker and split end) in practice.

The Steelers want Wilson to learn each position because he is the top backup to Hines Ward at flanker and Antwaan Randle El at split end.

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

As the article notes, part of Wilson's problem is trying to learn two positions - but be aware that he hasn't impressed during live action this preseason. He's probably not even a sleeper quality pick for redraft leagues right now.

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9. SEA - QB Wallace is Virtual Lock for #2

Clipped from: Seattle Times article by Jose Miguel Romero, 8/29/05

The game-by-game Seneca Wallace experiment completed its third phase Saturday night in the Seahawks' 23-17 win over the Kansas City Chiefs.

Wallace's performance might have assured him the backup quarterback job, with still one more exhibition game to go before the regular season starts Sept. 11.

Not that Wallace's status was in doubt, or up in the air. But an 8-for-12, 104-passing-yard effort in about 1.5 quarters of playing time will bolster his case for the spot he covets.

"Game after game, it gets a little easier," Wallace said. "It's still tough, but you just have to battle."

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

Seneca Wallace has looked very good in his chances this year. Dynasty leaguers might want to stash him on their bench if he's available, and Hasselbeck owners in larger leagues may want to consider rostering him if they don't have a solid #2 QB on their fantasy roster.

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10. IDP TAM - LB Nece a Starter for Now

Clipped from: TBO.com article by Roy Cummings, 8/29/05

Gooch will miss this week's game and possibly several more with a "severe" calf injury that eventually might force a major shift on the second level of the defense.

The Bucs plan to eventually make second-round draft pick Barrett Ruud their starting middle linebacker, and the injury to Gooch offers them an opportunity to do that.

By moving middle linebacker Shelton Quarles to the strong side, a spot he manned as a starter from 1999 to 2001, the Bucs could accommodate Ruud. But the Bucs don't seem ready to make that move just yet. Instead, their plan is for Quarles to say put and have Ryan Nece take over for Gooch.

"Sometime in the future Barrett Ruud will get his chance to play, and we always feel like we have a contingency plan to move a guy like Shelton if we need to," Coach Jon Gruden said.

"But we like Ryan Nece. Jeff Gooch and Ryan have had a real competitive battle this spring and summer, so Ryan will be the starter. He's earned that in Jeff's absence."

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

Dynasty owners who have kept Nece rostered will now get a second chance to see if he will ever become a top NFL LB - last year was a major disappointment.

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11. IDP PHI - DT Corey Simon Must GO (Commentary)

Clipped from: Philadelphia Daily News editorial by Les Bowen, 8/29/05

Back when Barnes asked the Eagles to release the franchise-tagged defensive tackle, management's reaction was swift and negative. The Eagles wouldn't consider getting nothing in return for a player they'd drafted sixth overall in 2000.

A lot has happened since the spring, though, and last night, Simon found himself on the free-agent market, after the Eagles rescinded their 1-year, $5.13 million franchise-tag offer. Simon, 28, who'd been sitting out training camp because he was unhappy with being tagged, had planned to report this week, he said last night.

"I think it can be a good thing for Corey," said Barnes, who said he didn't know of the move until a Daily News reporter told him. "Corey's a top player and I'm sure a lot of teams will want to make a deal with him. The timing is questionable."

By waiting until training camp is nearly over to release Simon, the Eagles make it less likely he'll get a big-money, long-term deal right away; quite a few teams might be interested in obtaining him, but far fewer are carrying a lot of extra cap room right now.

The reason Simon didn't want the franchise tender was that he was seeking a long-term deal with a signing bonus. In the spring, the Eagles worked out trades with Baltimore and Cincinnati, but neither the Ravens nor the Bengals could work out contract terms.

Simon said last night that he set his demands high in those situations "because I really wanted to stay in Philadelphia" - though an Eagles' source has said Simon was told long before he was tagged that the Birds were no longer interested in doing a multiyear deal with him. The Eagles contend that in 2003, Simon and Barnes turned down a deal similar to the 5-year, $34 million contract Tampa Bay gave Anthony McFarland. The Eagles pretty much gave up on signing Simon to a multiyear contract after that.

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

The Eagles' front office frowns on holdouts and renegotiating contracts. Players like Jeremiah Trotter, Duce Staley, Terrell Owens and company have tried to impose leverage on these guys in the past, without great results. Stay tuned to where Simon lands as he could have a big impact with another team.

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12. IDP NYJ - DE Abraham Signs Tender

Clipped from: Palm Beach Post AP article by Andrea Adelson, 8/29/05

John Abraham provided one critical answer when he reported to the Jets on Monday. Now here come more questions.

Is he in shape? Is he upset he did not get the long-term deal he wanted? Will he stay healthy for an entire season?

All that remains to be seen. The biggest question was answered when he finally signed his one-year, $6.67 million franchise tender after missing all of training camp.

The Pro Bowl player refused to sign the tender because he wanted a long-term deal, and was forced to miss offseason training activities and camp. Abraham does not have the commitment he wanted, nor does he have assurances he won't be franchised again at the end of the season.

But he felt the time was right to return to his teammates. No grudges, no hard feelings.

"It was a business decision," Abraham said. "We just felt this was the right time for me to come in. There's no love lost, there's no harm. I'm coming in with an open mind and ready to play, no grudges at all."

How quickly Abraham can get into game shape is the biggest worry, no matter how hard he worked on his own at home in South Carolina.

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

Abraham is a top player at his position, but we're not going to get excited about his early-season prospects until we see some reports on his conditioning and preparedness to play for the Jets this year. He's missed a lot of time and reps with this hard-nosed holdout.

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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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