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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    Around the League 5-26-05

    Newsbreakers Recap

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    May 25, 2005 5:30 PM ET
    Cardinals: Warner named starter
    The News
    Cardinals' head coach Dennis Green named Kurt Warner the starting quarterback heading into the team's minicamp workouts. "He's the right guy for us," Green told the ESPN website on Wednesday. "With team-organized workouts coming up, we just felt like, across the board, his leadership is important for us." Third-year veteran Josh McCown will serve as the No. 2 quarterback on the Cards' depth chart.
    Our View
    This move shouldn't surprise anyone, as the Cardinals didn't give Warner a $4 million contract to have him hold a clipboard. Green led some successful pass-heavy offenses during his 10-year coaching tenure with the Vikings, and Warner had major success during his run with the Rams. Given the backgrounds of both men and their access to a talented wide receiver corps that includes Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald, we can't rule out the possibility that this will be a bounce-back season for Warner.

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    May 25, 2005 2:51 PM ET
    Jets: Brooks signed for depth
    The News
    Offensive lineman Ethan Brooks was signed by the Jets on Tuesday, according to the Newark Star-Ledger. Brooks was with the Ravens for the past three seasons, starting 23 of 44 games.
    Our View
    Brooks will provide depth at both the guard and tackle positions for an offensive line that is already one of the best in the NFL.

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    May 25, 2005 2:23 PM ET
    Colts: Clark still sitting
    The News
    Tight end Dallas Clark has not participated in the Colts' summer school workouts as he recovers from hernia surgery in early April. Clark could return to the field before the end of the summer school session June 9 and is expected to be at full go by the time the Colts open training camp in late July.
    Our View
    Clark has been nicked up throughout his NFL career, but with Marcus Pollard now in Detroit it's truly his chance to make a big impact in the Indy offense.

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    May 25, 2005 2:17 PM ET
    Jaguars: Jones out another two weeks
    The News
    Wide receiver Matt Jones, the Jaguars' first-round pick in the April draft, isn't expected back until June 7 when the team picks up organized workouts following time off for Memorial Day. Jones has been limited to one-on-one drills since straining his hamstring on the first day of mandatory minicamp April 29.
    Our View
    If Jones makes it back as scheduled, he will have missed nine on-field sessions. How much that stunts his transition from college quarterback to NFL wide receiver remains to be seen.

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    May 25, 2005 2:11 PM ET
    Titans: Troupe may have broken foot
    The News
    Tight end Ben Troupe suffered what The Tennesseean reports is believed to be a broken bone in his left foot. Troupe is scheduled to see a specialist Thursday, and if surgery is required he could be sidelined eight to 14 weeks. "We are going to do some more tests," Titans coach Jeff Fisher told The Tennessean. "Obviously it is more than a sprain. The worst case scenario is he'll start the year for us."
    Our View
    Troupe may also seek a second opinion, depending on what the first specialist has to say. A 14-week absence would return him to the field about a week before the start of the season; just a two-month break would get him back on the field for training camp. This situation bears monitoring, because Troupe was expected to be a major contributor in a Titans' offense that has few experienced pass-catchers.

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    May 25, 2005 2:00 PM ET
    Ravens: 46 defense added to scheme
    The News
    Ravens defensive coordinator Rex Ryan said Baltimore will add a heavy dose of the 46 defense into the team's game plan this season. Ryan is the son of Buddy Ryan, who invented the 46 defense with the Bears in the mid-80s. "We're not going to play the 46 just because my dad is going to kick my butt [if we don't]," Rex told the Baltimore Sun. "We're going to play it because it makes sense to play it."
    Our View
    As if the Ravens' defense needed to become more aggressive, here comes the 46. The plan is for Will Demps to play the Doug Plank role, a safety who serves as an extra inside linebacker and whose uniform number 46 gave the defense its name. Ray Lewis will have sideline-to-sideline freedom as the six-man front makes it difficult for blockers to get to the second level and put pads on him, and Terrell Suggs will reprise Richard Dent's role as the rush end. The Ravens won't use the 46 exclusively, but the versatility of their personnel allows them to be effective when they do use it, as well as able to switch to more conventional 3-4 and 4-3 looks when it's not working.

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    May 25, 2005 1:52 PM ET
    Broncos: Lineman down
    The News
    Guard P.J. Alexander tore the ACL in his right knee during the Broncos' recent passing camp and will miss the 2005 season. Alexander was expected to compete with Cooper Carlisle for the starting right guard position.
    Our View
    Denver signed free agent guard Cameron Spikes to add depth to their offensive line corps.

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    May 25, 2005 1:43 PM ET
    Steelers: Bettis takes the field
    The News
    Running back Jerome Bettis, who comtemplated retirement during the offseason and had not yet joined the Steelers for on-field workouts, took to the field Tuesday. Bettis worked in at halfback and said he felt fine. "It was a good rest," Bettis told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "But now it's time to get back to work."
    Our View
    Bettis is expected to be the short-yardage back while Duce Staley handles the bulk of the rushing chores in Pittsburgh. That was a prosperous fantasy role last year, a role that increased when Staley went down with an injury. The Bus doesn't expect nearly as many carries as he had last year, but he's still a force at the goal line and a solid touchdown-only league fantasy back.

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    May 25, 2005 1:28 PM ET
    Broncos: Rice signs
    The News
    The Broncos signed wide receiver Jerry Rice to a one-year contract Wednesday. Rice is expected to compete for the No. 3 or No. 4 receiver role.
    Our View
    Rice's ties to Broncos coach Mike Shanahan helped land him the job… and, oh yeah, his resume is pretty good, too. Rice will likely spend as much time serving as mentor to Ashley Lelie and Darius Watts as he does as a factor in the offense.

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    May 25, 2005 1:15 PM ET
    Chiefs: Shelton visits
    The News
    Free agent offensive tackle L.J. Shelton is slated to visit the Chiefs in Kansas City later this week. The former first-round pick has already talked to the Bears and Texans since being released by the Cardinals.
    Our View
    The Chiefs are currently missing three offensive linemen, with Will Shields and Willie Roaf nursing minor injuries and Brian Waters yet to show up for offseason workouts. Shelton would, at minimum, provide some solid depth to one of the better offensive lines in the league, and if properly motivated become an integral part of the unit—perhaps even the heir apparent to the 13-year veteran Roaf.

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    May 25, 2005 12:24 PM ET
    *****: Newberry will have surgery
    The News
    *****' center Jeremy Newberry is scheduled to have surgery on his right kneecap next Tuesday. The two-time Pro Bowl lineman has been told by team doctors that he has a 50-50 chance of playing this season. "The underlying problem hasn't gone away," Newberry told the Mercury News. "I don't have a lot of cartilage left in that knee." If this relatively minor procedure is not successful, Newberry will eventually undergo season-ending surgery.
    Our View
    Jeremy missed all but one game last season because of this injury, so there is a chance that he will be sidelined again. He has been the team's best offensive lineman over the past few years, so losing him for another season would be quite a blow to rookie signal caller Alex Smith and running back Kevan Barlow.

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    May 25, 2005 12:01 PM ET
    Vikings: Sale to Wilf group approved
    The News
    The Vikings have a new owner, or at least they will next month. The NFL owners on Tuesday unanimously approved the sale of the team to New Jersey businessman Zygi Wilf, who will officially purchase the club for $600 million on June 9. Arizona businessman Reggie Fowler, who was originally listed as the lead investor of Wilf's ownership group, is now a limited investor.
    Our View
    The approval of Wilf is no surprise, as he passed the screening process and proved he had more than enough money to purchase the team from exiting owner Red McCombs. Wilf has already stated that he has no intention of moving the team. In fact, the real estate mogul is hoping to purchase and develop land around a site that will play home to the next Vikings' stadium, assuming Minnesota lawmakers cough up enough money to cover a portion of the costs for such a facility.

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    May 25, 2005 11:46 AM ET
    Redskins: Hall added as insurance for Taylor
    The News
    One day after reports prematurely indicated that safety Cory Hall had signed a one-year deal with the Redskins, the six-year veteran made it official by passing a physical and then inking his new contract. In order to make room for Hall on the roster, the Skins released defensive back Roosevelt Williams, according to the Washington Post. Hall logged 53 tackles for the Falcons last season.
    Our View
    The Redskins hope that Hall's biggest contributions will come on special teams this season, as he plays the same free safety position that's occupied by starter Sean Taylor. However, Taylor is holding out for a new contract and has not returned phone calls made by Skins' head coach Joe Gibbs. If Taylor's holdout gets long and ugly, Hall would likely be inserted into the starting role.

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    May 25, 2005 11:19 AM ET
    *****: Smith's contract talks resume
    The News
    *****' officials and the agent who represents rookie quarterback Alex Smith are scheduled to resume contract talks on Wednesday. Niners' head coach Mike Nolan said Tuesday that he is encouraged by what he's heard about the discussions, yet realizes that one glitch could bring the negotiations to a halt. "We'll see what kind of progress there is," Nolan told the Mercury News. "Their negotiations and communications have been good all along. They're getting places. Hopefully, it's the right place." Tom Condon represents Smith, who was the No. 1 overall pick in last month's draft.
    Our View
    It appears that the Niners and Smith are close to striking a deal. Condon, who also represented Eli Manning in contract talks last year, is not known for being an agent who advises clients to hold out for more money. Smith has said all along that he will not hold out, so we expect this deal to get done sooner rather than later.

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    May 25, 2005 11:11 AM ET
    Cardinals: Lee signs one-year deal
    The News
    The Cardinals signed free agent wide receiver Charles Lee to a one-year contract on Tuesday, according to the Tampa Tribune. The four-year veteran fell out of favor with Buccaneers' head coach Jon Gruden due to inconsistency during practices and games. Lee logged 15 receptions for 207 yards in seven games with the Buccaneers last season.
    Our View
    This is a strange career move for Lee, who probably won't see much playing time behind the Cardinals' top three receivers Anquan Boldin, Larry Fitzgerald, and Bryant Johnson. Given his current spot on the depth chart, fantasy owners shouldn't expect much from Charles this season.

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    May 25, 2005 11:01 AM ET
    Falcons: Griffith on the road to recovery
    The News
    Falcons' fullback Justin Griffith is recovering nicely from ankle surgery that caused him to miss the last three regular season games and the entire postseason last year. "I'm feeling good," Griffith told the team's official website on Tuesday. "My ankle's feeling better. I've still got a little scar tissue and stuff, but the swelling has come down and just getting out there and working and taking your mind off of it is kind of helping it heal." Griffith finished last season with 31 total touches for 259 combo yards and one touchdown.
    Our View
    Justin serves as the lead blocker for running backs Warrick Dunn and T.J. Duckett. The two-year veteran was on his way to a Pro Bowl season last year before he suffered the ankle injury. He is expected to make a full recovery, which is good news for Dunn and Duckett.

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    May 25, 2005 10:44 AM ET
    Jets: Abraham absent from workouts
    The News
    John Abraham did not show up at organized team workouts for the Jets on Monday. The defensive end is holding out after refusing to sign a $6.67 million franchise tender from the team. According to the Newark Star-Ledger, Abraham is working out on his own in South Carolina.
    Our View
    The three-time Pro Bowler wants a mulit-year contract, but the Jets have so far balked at that idea. Abraham irked some Jets officials when he sat out the last few weeks of last season, including the playoffs, while resting a knee injury. He has missed 15 games in the last two years with various injuries. The Jets expected him to miss offseason workouts and minicamps and insist that he'll be playing for them in 2005.


  2. #2
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    HUbison is offline Superbowl MVP
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    Re: Around the League 5-26-05

    Ravens: 46 defense added to scheme
    The News
    Ravens defensive coordinator Rex Ryan said Baltimore will add a heavy dose of the 46 defense into the team's game plan this season. Ryan is the son of Buddy Ryan, who invented the 46 defense with the Bears in the mid-80s. "We're not going to play the 46 just because my dad is going to kick my butt [if we don't]," Rex told the Baltimore Sun. "We're going to play it because it makes sense to play it."
    Our View
    As if the Ravens' defense needed to become more aggressive, here comes the 46. The plan is for Will Demps to play the Doug Plank role, a safety who serves as an extra inside linebacker and whose uniform number 46 gave the defense its name. Ray Lewis will have sideline-to-sideline freedom as the six-man front makes it difficult for blockers to get to the second level and put pads on him, and Terrell Suggs will reprise Richard Dent's role as the rush end. The Ravens won't use the 46 exclusively, but the versatility of their personnel allows them to be effective when they do use it, as well as able to switch to more conventional 3-4 and 4-3 looks when it's not working.
    "We are the Bears shufflin' crew, shufflin' on down doin' it for you. We're so bad, you know we're good, blowin' yo' mind like you knew we would."

    I'm excited. I love the old Bears D, and look forward to seeing the Ravens version of it. They've got the personnel with Sugg, Thomas, Lewis, Demps, Reed, Kemoeatu, Gregg. I think it'll be neat. However, the West Coast offense was considered the answer to solve the 46. Aren't the Browns moving to the West Coast offense? I don't think I've heard of the Bengals or Steelers doing it though.
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

  3. #3
    Nick's Avatar
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    Re: Around the League 5-26-05

    Don't the Ravens open their season against the Colts? Yeah, it'll be interesting to see how that 46 defense stops Mr. Audible and his four/five receiver sets.
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