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Volume 6, Issue 105 (Monday, August 1st)

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Tonight's update brought to you by:
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Hey Folks. Training camps are rolling and we're here for you to plow through the mountain of news and bring you the key things you need to know. Thanks to our Marc Levin for helping me round up these stories tonight. Let's jump right to it.

Joe Bryant


INSIDE THIS ISSUE

1. PHI - WR Owens In Camp
2. PHI - RB Westbrook, DT Simon Holding Out
3. NYJ - WR Coles Injures Right Toe
4. STL - Rams Ready To Fly High Again?
5. IND - RB James To Attend Trip To Japan
6. FA - WR Robinson Checks Into Rehab
7. DET - WR Williams Signs Contract
8. SEA - RB Alexander Looks To Be In Seattle For A While
9. OAK - WR Porter To Have MRI On Hamstring
10. STL - WR Holt Misses 2nd Consecutive Practice With Tight Back - Martz Says Not Serious
11. GB - RB Green Misses Practice With Stiff Back
12. OAK - WR Randy Moss Talks
13. IDP: SD - Rookie LB Merriman Signs Contract
14. DEN - Footballguys Training Camp Report

1. PHI - WR Owens In Camp

Clipped from Associated Press article

Terrell Owens reported to training camp Monday, ending months of speculation about whether the disgruntled All-Pro receiver would hold out because of a contract dispute with the Philadelphia Eagles.

Owens refused to speak to reporters.

The dispute has dominated headlines in Philadelphia since the Eagles lost to New England 24-21 in the Super Bowl almost six months ago.

Owens skipped minicamps and, along with agent Drew Rosenhaus, was very vocal about wanting a new contract one season into the seven-year, $48.97 million deal he signed after coming to Philadelphia in March 2004.

The Eagles say they won't renegotiate the contract.

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

No "new" news here, but Owens is in camp as expected. He showed up and walked from his car with his headphones and sunglasses on refusing to speak to the reporters as they shoved microphones and tape recorders towards him. Things can change of course but the word right now is that he's in camp and will stay in camp. Feel free to draft Owens as a top-3 WR. This news also should entrench Donovan McNabb as the #3 fantasy QB under most scoring systems. Owens' agent, Drew Rosenhaus, did speak and indicated that he would still try to work towards a new contract for Owens. He said he wanted "Terrell to play football and concentrate on football and allow me and the Eagles to work on a contract.". Rosenhaus will reportedly sit down Tuesday with Eagles President Joe Banner and Coach Andy Reid to discuss a new contract. However, there has been no indication from the Eagles that they've changed their position of not renegotiating the contract. Rosenhaus summed up the situation when he said Owens "Doesn't want to get caught up in all that, He just wants to play ball right now and I'll take care of the rest."

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2. PHI - RB Westbrook Holding Out

Clipped from: Andy Schwartz article from ComcastSportsNet.com

Two Eagles did not report to camp on Monday: running back Brian Westbrook and defensive tackle Corey Simon. While Simon's absence was expected, Westbrook's came as a surprise.

Unhappy with the team's one-year tender of $1.43 million, Westbrook skipped the mandatory post-draft minicamp. However, after firing his agent and hiring Fletcher Smith, who also represents quarterback Donovan McNabb, Westbrook, signed the offer and participated in the second off-season minicamp in hopes of receiving a long-term deal.

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

On the flip side to Terrell Owens, RB Westbrook, widely being drafted as a top-20 fantasy RB, holds out. Since Westbrook attended the mini-camps after stating he would not hold out, this is definitely a surprise. NFL Network Insider Adam Schefter said that Westbrook's agent expected him to be there. This was a decision made solely by Westbrook and was a surprise to everyone involved. Given the team's history of refusing to be strong-armed in negotiations by players holding out, we will keep an eye on this for you. If nothing is settled as the season draws close, definitely worry. For now, a few ticks downward on your draft charts is advised. There is also the official news IDP players knew was coming, which was that DT Corey Simon held out.

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3. NYJ - WR Coles Injures Right Toe

Clipped from: Dave Hutchinson article from the Star Ledger

WR Laveranues Coles pulled up lame near the end of practice yesterday afternoon (the lone full- squad session) and appeared to injure his right toe or foot. The extent of the injury is unknown. Coles walked gingerly off the practice field, though he took time to greet Edwards' pregnant wife, Lia.

Last season, Coles had an arthritic right big toe that nagged him all season. The Redskins wanted him to have surgery, but he refused, a disagreement that hastened his departure.

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

Uh - oh... An injury to the same toe that gave Coles problems last year is not good news. Especially since he was obviously limited by the toe in 2004, how Coles reacts to this latest injury to the same toe will be crucial in determining whether he will be limited by nagging injuries during the season. Chad Pennington clearly needs Coles to be healthy. Hold off any strong reactions until we hear how serious this is and how Coles reacts to it. If this injury lingers, or looks to be recurring, we'll have to knock Coles and Pennington down a few slots.

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4. STL - Rams Ready To Fly High Again?

Clipped from: John Clayton article from ESPN.com

The swagger is back with the St. Louis Rams. Much like a couple of years ago, Rams offensive downs aren't just plays. They are shows. The pace is quick. The routes are imaginative. Overall, the old confidence has returned.

"You need three or four receivers [for this offense] and we have four solid receivers now," quarterback Marc Bulger said.

Training camp practices opened with that old flair the Rams had in their Super Bowl years (1999, 2001 seasons). Practice passes never hit the turf. Torry Holt, Isaac Bruce, Kevin Curtis and Shaun McDonald snatch passes out of the air and try to zip past corners. Running back Steven Jackson explodes through the line of scrimmage and then uses his 230-pound body to "shake-and-bake" a linebacker. A thin Marshall Faulk runs routes with renewed quickness.

But the single most exciting addition to the offense this year is Jackson. This isn't the dreadlocked rookie who looked lost in 2004. Jackson dropped five pounds and added quickness. His body fat is a mere 5 percent. His impact as the featured back -- often sharing the backfield with Faulk -- could be one of the most watched changes in the NFC this fall.

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

This article is a bit of a fluff piece, but it is an excellent overview of a very important fantasy offense. The important info to gather is two-fold. First, expect Marc Bulger to have a huge year - he seems to have really molded into the offensive scheme that Mike Martz wants and he has developed a good rapport with all four of his receivers. Second, squelch any fears you have of Stephen Jackson not being the feature back. It is becoming eminently clear that the team has turned the running game over to Jackson and that Faulk is going to be utilized - but as a role player, not as a featured runner. Now, that said, the feature running back for the St Louis Rams may not see more than 300 carries in Mike Martz' offense, and you should still expect most of the running back receiving numbers to go to Faulk.

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5. IND - RB James To Attend Trip To Japan

Clipped from: ESPN.com

A week after threatening to get no closer to Tokyo than a stop at the Benihana restaurant chain, James said Monday he will join his teammates on the roughly 14-hour flight that leaves Indianapolis on Tuesday. The Colts play the Atlanta Falcons in the exhibition opener Saturday.

"I didn't have many options," he said. "I'm going to go ahead and get it over with."

James is known to dislike preseason games almost as much as he does flights. In 2002 and 2003, he had just a handful of plays during the preseason and only a couple dozen last year.

Still, the lack of playing time hasn't affected him. He has four 1,000-yard seasons and last year produced 2,031 yards from scrimmage -- the fourth time he's topped 2,000 in six NFL seasons.

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

Not real news here, but it is interesting that the team strong-armed Edge into joining the team for this preseason game. James' dislike of, and lack of participation in , preseason games borders on legendary. But look for James to be just fine once the season rolls around.

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6. FA - WR Robinson Checks Into Rehab

Clipped from: SportsLine.com wire reports

Former Seattle Seahawks receiver Koren Robinson has checked himself into a 28-day alcohol rehabilitation program in South Carolina.

Robinson pleaded guilty July 18 to a charge of driving under the influence, but he faces an additional probation violation charge because he had alcohol on his breath when he reported to serve a one-day jail term a few days later.

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

Here's a guy who looks like he will not have an impact on your fantasy squad in 2005. As if there were any questions, spending the next 28 days in rehab in an effort to avoid jail time will put a major dent in his ability to hook up with any NFL squad for 2005.

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7. DET - WR Williams Signs Contract

Clipped from: AP / Yahoo article:

More than 18 months after his last game, Detroit's first-round pick signed a contract and ended a brief holdout.

The Southern California wideout flew into Detroit on Monday morning, signed his contract and took a physical, then worked out briefly with rookie quarterback Dan Orlovsky in the afternoon.

Williams missed four days of practice, including Monday morning's session.

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

Good news for Williams of course and also Joey Harrington. The few days Williams missed shouldn't be much of a factor he can now get to work. We project Williams to fall right in line and finish as the #2 WR on the team behind Roy Williams.

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8. SEA - RB Alexander Looks To Be In Seattle For A While

Clipped from: AP / Yahoo article

Shaun Alexander reported to camp Monday, three days late because of the birth of his second child.

He compared the Seahawks to a family and expressed hope that he'll stay in Seattle for a long time.

``I would be shocked if I'm not here next year,'' Alexander said. ``I would be shocked if I'm not here two years from now or three years from now.''

Alexander signed a $6.32 million tender last week, the first step toward the long-term contract that the standout running back and the Seahawks front office both say they'd like to see.

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

Not a big story but it's good to see Alexander feeling comfortable in Seattle. His status had been a fairly big question this spring and summer so it's great to see some stability there.

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9. OAK - WR Porter To Have MRI On Hamstring

Clipped from: AP / Yahoo article

Raiders receiver Jerry Porter left Oakland's Monday afternoon practice after tweaking his hamstring. He said he was going to have an MRI.

``He felt a little bit in his hamstring,'' coach Norv Turner said. ``He didn't think he pulled it. We'll know more tomorrow.''

The 27-year-old Porter had a career-high 64 catches for 998 yards and nine touchdowns last season, falling just short of his first 1,000-yard campaign.

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

Let's watch this one. Hamstring injuries can be nagging as we all know. It's still way early and this could just be a "camp soreness" issue. I'm a Ronald Curry fan so keep him in mind should Porter be limited.

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10. STL - WR Holt Misses 2nd Consecutive Practice With Tight Back - Martz Says Not Serious

Clipped from: Nick Wagoner article from Stlouisrams.com

INJURY UPDATE: Receiver Torry Holt missed his second consecutive practice, but Martz said the injury isn't serious.

"He's got a tight lower back, same thing he went through last year," Martz said.

Holt missed some practice time with that same ailment a year ago, but it did not cause him to miss any game action.

Cornerback Travis Fisher is also limited in practice right now because of the possibility of a groin injury.

"He can practice, (but) I'm not going to practice him until we find out exactly what it is," Martz said. "I want to make sure we get it treated right."

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

Not a big worry right now but don't totally ignore this. Holt's clearly an elite WR and we expect another big season from him. Just file this one away to keep an eye on.

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11. GB - RB Green Misses Practice With Stiff Back

Clipped from: Jeff Fedotin article on packers.com

Running back Ahman Green's back stiffened up before practice, causing him to miss the morning session.

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

Just a quick blurb and probably not a big thing to worry about. We'll watch this for you to make sure it doesn't get serious. If nothing else, make sure you send this along to the Green owner in league. Not that we'd ever advocate taunting like that...

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12. OAK - WR Randy Moss Talks

Clipped from: AP article by Janie McCauley

Randy Moss apologized for any absurd on-field antics before the fact - Oakland's new star receiver is still going to celebrate in the same fashion he always has.

And the Raiders are completely embracing his do-it-my-way approach.

"There's no telling what you're going to see," Moss said Monday in his first interview of training camp. "I love what I do. I love having fun. When it comes to big games, you never know what you're going to see out of me. As long as we win, I'm just having fun. If the antics come, then I'm here to apologize first before they even happen. I'm going to have fun, man, believe that."

After initially saying he preferred to stay in the background with his new team, Moss now realizes his visibility makes it impossible to avoid being a leadership figure for a franchise that lost many of its key locker-room personalities over the last two years.

"I think just my name and what I've done makes me one of the leaders of this team," he said. "You know, I really didn't want that. I just want to go out here and play football and let my skills and my play lead. If I need to go out there and lead from a verbal standpoint, then I will do that."

Moss is a perfectionist and a worker, and expects the same from those around him.

He dropped a short pass on a 3-yard route Saturday and immediately got down behind the huddle for 10 push-ups. On Sunday, a ball flew over his head in the back of the end zone and Moss loudly cursed at himself.

"With what I do, with what I've been able to do in double and triple coverage throughout the whole game, I do consider myself the best receiver in the league," he said. "I've said it before, I want to continue to be the best until I leave this game."

Moss is still struggling to digest the Raiders' giant playbook, which he said is much more daunting than what he had with the Vikings.

"The playbook in Minnesota was more like one-plus-one," he said. "And here, this playbook here is like Algebra II. So, it's very complicated."

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

So far so good for Moss in Oakland. It's still early but it looks like he's having a lot of fun. Interesting to hear how much more complicated the playbook is than what he worked with in Minnesota. Regardless, we expect Moss to be a top 2 WR this season. Complicated playbook or not, Moss has physical skills that will let him excel in any system. We think he'll have plenty of opportunities to celebrate this season.

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13. IDP: SD - Rookie LB Merriman Signs Contract

Clipped from: AP / Yahoo article

Outside linebacker Shawne Merriman agreed to a five-year deal on Monday after missing just the first week of camp. His contract potentially is worth $15.73 million, with $9 million guaranteed.

Merriman, the 12th player picked in the NFL draft, caused a stir when he stayed away from both minicamps and other offseason workouts on the advice of his agent, Kevin Poston, who didn't like the wording in the agreement that protects players in case they get hurt before they sign a contract.

He is due in camp on Tuesday, when the Chargers have a night practice.

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

Good news for the Chargers as this had threatened to get ugly. Merriman is an extremely talented player and has given himself a good shot to contribute this year by getting into camp early.

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14. DEN - Footballguys Training Camp Report

Our Footballguy Staff Writer Cecil Lammey is flashing his press credentials and brings us the inside scoop from the Bronco's Training Camp. These are his takes on what he saw today at camp.

The big news out at Dove Valley was the induction of Steve Atwater into the ring of fame.

Jake Plummer continues to make good reads. He goes through his progressions quickly and of course, is nimble on his feet. The first team offense was really taking it to the defense today. Coach Shanahan had this to say after practice: "He has had a great offseason and great mini-camps, so he just has to keep on getting better and better. We have to keep putting him though as many situations as possible and that is what this training camp is really about. "

Danny Kannell is solid yet unspectacular. The defense batted down a few of his passes, and he didn't seem to move the team as well as Plummer or Mauck.

Matt Mauck is making a play for #2, we'll see if he can outperform Kannell in the preseason.

Here's what Mike Shanahan had to say about the RB corps: "We have five guys that have a legitimate chance at getting some playing time. Right now, it is on a day-to-day basis. Sometimes, a guy will have a good practice and the next time he will have a decent practice. I have been impressed with all of them. Everybody here has something to bring to the table. This is just like safeties; You do not know what they can do until they get in a live situation. You can get a feel for them, but until they get the pads on and get a chance to go against the opposition, you really do not know for sure."

Mike Anderson had some nice runs today. He is running with a power and determination that I've not seen in a long time. His best moves were inside the tackles. He's not really able to cut it outside, but getting through the line and then cutting back is what he really excels at.

Tatum Bell is hearing the criticism. He is getting better in receiving drills, and I saw him pick up a nice block in pass protection. Unlike Anderson, he does have the speed to hit it outside. I like what I've seen from him running inside too.

Ron Dayne is getting some love here locally. IMO Clarett is performing MUCH better. Dayne still gets winded easy, and is too much of a plodder. His feet aren't fancy enough, and for a big man he is arm tackled too easily.

Clarett continues to impress. I really like his footwork between the tackles. He is running through arm tackles consistently as well.

Quentin Griffin will need to have a good preseason. I feel it will come down to Dayne or Griffin for the last roster spot.

Rod Smith had a few mistakes today, and he showed his frustration. Here's what he had to say about his bad day at camp: "For me individually, my feet just didn't work well today. The thing is I'm out there, I'm going hard and I'm trying but just a few things were off. I was slipping and falling, a guy pushed me and I fell....Things like that are frustrating for me but at the same time as a whole we were doing well so I was OK with it. I know I have to be better but as a whole we want to dominate the defense and I'm sure they want to dominate us."

Ashley Lelie is working harder than he was early in camp. He had some drops over the middle, but all in all had a good day.

Darius Watts had some passes batted away from him. His routes didn't seem as crisp today.

Triandos Luke is making quite a name for himself. His routes are good, and his speed is crazy. He will be buried on the depth chart, but I feel could produce some decent numbers if given the chance. In red zone drills he had another good day.

Todd Devoe continues to work hard in an upward battle. Coach Shanahan likes what he sees from his younger receivers: "I think it looks good. We have some good competition. We have a lot of guys that are fighting for positions, and only time will tell."

Jeb Putzier injured his ankle today and did not return to practice. It has yet to be determined how serious the injury is. We'll see what they have to say tomorrow. (Monday afternoon was special teams practice) Mike Shanahan was quoted as saying: "Well, he was definitely hurt. But there are a lot of guys hurting out there, and you have to fight through it."

It was an intense practice today, with the defense getting the better of the offense at the end. Coach Shanahan had this to say about the intensity on the field Monday: "The defense stepped up at the end of practice and really played well. I felt like we had one of our worst practices on the defensive side of the ball at one point, but it was nice to see a team step up and rally at the end. The offense played good though about 80 percent of practice, and I think the defense got tired of getting beat, so they started to make some plays. One team is going to be doing good while the other team is doing bad. Our defense ending up getting about six turnovers."

Rod Smith had some more comments on the Denver defense today: "I expect them to be in the top three (in the NFL) easy as one of the best defenses in the league. It's the way they fly around....I love seeing it. I told them all, if I don't get at least three interceptions or a fumble a game, I'm going to smack all of you. You are doing it to us, so you better do it to them."

On whether it was offensive mistakes or the defense creating turnovers during team practice: "It's hard to tell because I wasn't in on every group, so I didn't see everything that was going on. You don't know if it was the pass, the protection or the route...it is hard to tell. We'll watch the tape and see who was responsible for what, but the thing is we all are responsible because it's defense versus offense...they beat us and we have to get them back."

On the defense making plays against the offense during the morning practice: "It was frustrating because it is something you want to see them do but something you don't want them to do against you. Those guys are doing a good job of flying around, and the offense was having a good practice up until that point. That's why we do it at the end when we're tired because that's how you check the character of your team....which is why Mike (Shanahan) does it. The good thing is we learn from it, it's camp and we're going to watch the tape as a group and figure out how we are going to get better."

On how the offense performed in the morning session: "Up until that point, we were doing pretty good as a whole. But when it counted, the defense stepped up. The thing is we get another chance at them tomorrow. I think we are going against one of the top three defenses in the league and for us to go out there and battle with those guys daily is going to help us. That's all we can do is just be critical of each other...we expect a lot, we expect to be one of the best in the business and in order to do that, we have to beat the best and ultimately it's going to make us better."

There was nothing but special teams practice Monday afternoon.

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

Well, this is sort of "our view" as these were Cecil's impressions from the day. Let's look for more tomorrow.

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That'll do it for today, Folks. Have a great day and we'll see you tomorrow with the update. Remember to check out our writing opportunities if you're up for it.

J

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