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Volume 6, Issue 106 (Tuesday, August 2nd)

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Hi 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 Aaron Rudnicki for rounding up these stories tonight. Let's jump right to it.

Joe Bryant


INSIDE THIS ISSUE

1. KC - Chiefs Give RB Holmes A Break
2. PHI - Eagles President Says WR Owens Is Committed
3. SF - RB Barlow Prepares For Another Rocky Season
4. SF - WR Rashaun Woods Suffers Another Injury
5. SF - QB Alex Smith Could Earn Starting Job Sooner Rather Than Later
6. PHI - Injury Drives RB Buckhalter
7. CLE - Rookie WR Edwards Falling Behind During Holdout
8. CAR - Injury Questions Frustrate RB Foster
9. WAS - QB Ramsey Looking Comfortable
10. WAS - Redskins Sign 1st Rounders CB Rogers and QB Campbell
11. NO - Saints Are Ready To Run
12. ATL - Rookie WR Roddy White Starting To Win Over Mora
13. JAX - Jaguars Sign Rookie WR Matt Jones
14. BUF - RB Shaud Williams Adds Weight; QB Losman Shows Running Ability
15. GB - QB Favre In Great Shape
16. IDP: NE - Pats Reach Deal With DL Richard Seymour To End Holdout
17. IDP: CLE - Kenard Lang Moving To OLB
18. IDP: KC - Rookie LB Derrick Johnson Vows To Be Ready By Opener
19. IDP: BAL - Rookie LB Dan Cody May Miss Season
20. IDP: IDP: NYJ - Jets Still Most Likely Team To Sign CB Ty Law
21. DEN - Footballguys Broncos Training Camp Report Day Five

1. KC - Chiefs Give RB Holmes A Break

Clipped from Kansas City Star article by Adam Teicher, 8/2/05

Having watched their star running back's season end prematurely two of the last three seasons, the Chiefs are taking measures to see that it doesn't happen again.

That's why Priest Holmes has been an observer as much as a participant through the first five days at training camp. One practice off duty, one practice on. The pattern repeated itself Monday, and Holmes, predictably, isn't about to complain.

"My body feels good," Holmes said in what has become his annual training-camp health update. "I can definitely say that if I was practicing twice a day it probably would not feel as good as it does now. It's not disruptive at all."

The Chiefs are resting other veteran players, as well. Offensive tackle Willie Roaf practices only once each day. Center Casey Wiegmann and tight end Jason Dunn have been given breaks. Coach Dick Vermeil said he planned to give one or more breaks to defensive end Eric Hicks.

Holmes is the only one of the bunch who missed considerable time last year. A midseason knee injury ended his year. In 2002, Holmes missed the last two games because of a hip injury. Otherwise, Holmes has responded strongly to a continued physical pounding. The Chiefs are hopeful some extra rest in July and August will pay dividends in December and January.

But don't expect the Chiefs to go any easier on Holmes once the regular season begins in September. They aren't planning that. Even if they were, they're simply too addicted to Holmes to provided him any kind of extended regular-season rest. They may have a viable alternative to Holmes in Larry Johnson, but the Chiefs aren't looking at them as 1A and 1B.

"Priest Holmes is our starting running back, and Larry Johnson is his backup," Vermeil said. "They'll both play. If you follow Priest's career, it's go, go, go, and all of a sudden he needs a blow and comes out.

"There might be a few things we program in the backfield for both of them at the same time, but right now I don't anticipate a this-guy-carries-the-ball-six-times-and-that-guy-carries-it-five-times sort of arrangement. I think the game and flow will determine all of that."

It might be tempting for the Chiefs to believe this summer's arrangement might also extend Holmes' career. But if all goes well this season, Holmes is looking at about 300-plus touches and another savage beating.

That's why Holmes and the Chiefs know better. "Once it's time for my career to end," Holmes said, "it will end regardless of another person being able to take some of the (practice snaps)."

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

The Chiefs are probably making the right decision here as there is little reason to overwork Holmes this early in training camp. Furthermore, it appears as though there will not be too much of a RBBC as some people expect. As long as Holmes remains healthy, he should be one of the top 2 or 3 fantasy RBs in the league. But, were something to happen to him, the Chiefs now know they have a great insurance policy in place thanks to how well Larry Johnson ran late last year.

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2. PHI - Eagles President Says WR Owens Is Committed

Clipped from: AP article by Dan Gelson posted by Washington Times, 8/2/05

Terrell Owens still wants a new contract from Philadelphia. The Eagles still aren't going to budge from their no-negotiation stance.

But the All-Pro wide receiver will remain committed to staying in training camp and trying to help the Eagles win the Super Bowl, team president Joe Banner said Tuesday.

Banner, Owens, Owens' agent Drew Rosenhaus and coach Andy Reid met face-to-face for the first time Tuesday to try to resolve their differences over the ongoing contract dispute.

"Our expectations would be that he's here and he's here to stay," Banner said after a brief meeting. "Things happen that you don't expect, but what was said privately and what was said in the meeting would lead us to expect he's here and committed to seeing the season through."

Owens wants to reopen his contract one season into the seven-year, $48.97 million deal he signed after coming to Philadelphia in March 2004.

"We understand his feelings, but we're glad he's here," Banner said. "We're glad he's committed to focusing on football and trying to have a good year. Our position has always been he has a contract and he needs to honor it. That continues to be our position."

Owens so far hasn't spoken to the swarm of media at training camp at Lehigh University. In the offseason, he repeatedly told media outlets he wanted a new contract.

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

Although this has been one of the biggest stories in the NFL over the past few months, it looks as though things could be getting back to normal. Owens remains unhappy about the contract, but the Eagles are unlikely to budge. If the relationship can't be fixed, the Eagles may decide to part ways with him after this season ends, but a happy Owens probably gives them their best chance of returning to the Super Bowl, especially with Westbrook now holding out.

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3. SF - RB Barlow Prepares For Another Rocky Season

Clipped from: AP article posted by ESPN.com, 8/2/05

Kevan Barlow spent the offseason working on his endurance and stamina -- so imagine the San Francisco 49ers' surprise when their starting running back left the first day of training camp workouts because he was exhausted from the heat.

But the 49ers still have faith in the fifth-year pro, whose quest to become a star NFL running back still is in progress. Though Barlow struggled along with all his teammates last season in his first campaign as a starter, new coach Mike Nolan has stayed behind him.

San Francisco still drafted former Miami star Frank Gore with the first pick of the third round, perhaps producing just the spark Barlow will need to reach the stardom he covets.

"It's a new attitude. It's definitely a clean slate," Barlow said. "You get new coaches, and everybody's new. You've got to go out there and somewhat prove yourself again, which is no problem for me, because I'm always looking for a challenge."

Barlow also usually makes his share of news in training camp, and this summer has been no exception. In addition to the running back's "heat frustration," as Nolan termed his opening-day troubles, Barlow wore a tinted visor in early workouts as a precaution following offseason laser eye surgery.

After four years as a backup and an embattled starter, he needs a strong season to justify his lucrative contract -- and to hold off Gore, who's sure to challenge him for playing time. "I know we're going to stress running," Barlow said. "Coach's style is run first, pass second. We've got to establish the run, so I'm going to come out strong."

Barlow's struggles in his first full season as the 49ers' starter epitomized the club's ineptitude while finishing with the league's worst record at 2-14. Running with none of the decisiveness and power that made him a rising star, Barlow rushed for 822 yards with a career-low 3.4 yards per carry, scoring seven touchdowns and taking much of the heat for the offense's ineptitude.

Barlow didn't respond terribly well to the pressure, making a handful of comments that could have been construed as criticism of his offensive line. When backup Maurice Hicks played well in several games late in the season, Barlow took even more heat.

But the 49ers apparently saw the same deficiencies in their line. San Francisco signed Jonas Jennings, generally considered the best left tackle on the free agent market, and drafted Michigan's David Baas to bolster the line that's expected to open bigger holes for Barlow.

Barlow seems committed to improving his relationship with both coaches and teammates. On advice from Nolan, Barlow's locker is back among those of the 49ers' running backs after two years on the other side of the room following a fight with fullback Fred Beasley.

After years of mutual dislike, Barlow and Beasley have learned to get along. Barlow even expects a big season from Beasley, who's in the final year of his contract. "I think Kevan will do some big things this season," Jennings said. "He seems a little moody sometimes, but that's just because he's thinking about what to do. He's going to be solid."

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

Pretty good article on Barlow, who is trying to work on some of the problems that hurt him in the past. His relationship with some of his teammates has been rocky, but that appears to be something he's trying to mend. The upgrades on the offensive line and the change to a more conservative (i.e., ball control) offensive philosophy should help him improve on his 2004 finish as the #27 ranked fantasy RB. After last year's disappointing season (although he did have 7 rushing touchdowns), Barlow's value has certainly taken a hit and he might actually be undervalued by many folks this year.

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4. SF - WR Rashaun Woods Suffers Another Injury

Clipped from: Sacramento Bee article by Matthew Barrows, 8/2/05

Rashaun Woods is starting training camp the same way he spent last year's summer session - watching from the sideline.

An injured groin kept the receiver out of Monday's afternoon session, and coach Mike Nolan said he could miss work today, too. A similar scenario occurred last season when bad hamstrings limited Woods throughout the preseason.

The first-round draft choice entered last year's camp carrying big expectations, which only increased when he chose No. 81, the jersey number that once belonged to Terrell Owens. But the early injuries caused him to tumble down the team's depth chart, and he never was able to climb back up when the season began.

Woods caught just seven passes and his first year largely was considered a washout. He currently is the fifth receiver on the team's depth chart.

Asked what Woods needs to do to see more playing time this season, Nolan said it's simple: get healthy. "The player's got to get well and get on the field," he said. "We've got to move on. That's just the way it is."

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

Woods had so much promise coming into last season with the 49ers having lost all of their top 3 WRs, but he just couldn't get things going due to some nagging hamstring problems. The former 1st round pick is now far down the depth chart and will really need a strong preseason to get back in the WR mix, so this latest groin injury certainly comes at a very bad time for him. It is still too early to write him off as a draft bust, but he'll need to turn things around at some point if he hopes to avoid that label.

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5. SF - QB Alex Smith Could Earn Starting Job Sooner Rather Than Later

Clipped from: Press Democrat article by Matt Maiocco, 8/2/05

Rookie quarterback Alex Smith might make his stay with the 49ers' first-team offense permanent.

Smith ran with the starters for the third straight day Monday, and coach Mike Nolan left open the possibility Smith could take control of the No.1 job before a quarterback controversy takes shape.

"He could, but there's a process involved if he's going to do it," Nolan said. "He has to do it with his peers as well, not just with the coaches."

Smith, the top overall pick in the draft, has looked progressively better each day of practice during his first training camp.

Nolan said on the first day of camp he planned to juggle the practice snaps of Smith, Tim Rattay and Ken Dorsey so each gets a chance to work with the first-team offense. But Nolan said Monday he wants Smith to develop continuity with the starters.

"We don't want to jockey them too much with different groups," Nolan said. "One problem with that is the other 10 guys have a timing issue with the guy that's pulling the trigger. So if you change it too often , then it throws off the timing of everybody. So you have to stay with it a little while before it changes."

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

Expectations for the 49ers as a whole are pretty low this year so there may not be much reason to stick with one of the veteran QBs for very long. It was expected that Tim Rattay would begin the year as the starter and eventually give way to Smith when he was ready, but Smith is clearly the QB of the future here so the team may just decide to bite the bullet and let him learn on the job. He is much more mobile than Rattay, which should give him an edge playing behind a questionable offensive line. Unless he suffers a disastrous pre season, we expect him to be the starter in Week 1.

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6. PHI - Injury Drives RB Buckhalter

Clipped from: Express-Times article by Paul Sokoloski, 8/2/05

What looks like a limp in Correll Buckhalter's jogging gait turned out to be misleading.

"I've been jogging like that for a while," Buckhalter said. "It's kind of like a ... I'm not sure what it is. But you see the difference when I'm running with the ball."

Indeed. Buckhalter looked nothing like a player with knee problems as he regularly took screens and short passes, pivoted effortlessly and burst upfield during passing portions of Sunday's morning and afternoon training camp workouts at Lehigh University. The fifth-year running back out of Nebraska also darted through holes on both sides of the line during running plays in the non-contact, unpadded drills.

It's just that when he returned to the huddle at a trot, Buckhalter seemed to be favoring something. "Everybody says that," Buckhalter said with a laugh. "But, no, it's only when I jog and I've always jogged like that. It's just that it's more noticeable now because of what I went through."

What he went through in 2004 was a second season-ending knee surgery in the last three years. During the Eagles' second preseason game against Baltimore last summer, Buckhalter suffered a torn patellar tendon in his right knee that required season-ending surgery.

That came after Buckhalter missed the 2002 season with a torn ACL in his left knee, which also required surgery to repair. And while he jokes about his jog, Buckhalter has to admit there have been times during the early part of training camp when his right knee doesn't seem quite right.

"It's stable," Buckhalter said, "but there are some days when it doesn't feel right -- because of fatigue. I'll work through it. It's a little different. I got myself in a position where I can run, do all the things I did before I was injured."

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

Buckhalter has been an effective RB when healthy but has been unlucky when it comes to season ending knee injuries. With Westbrook holding out, he enters camp as the likely lead back in the Eagles RBBC so he should have decent fantasy value right now. Westbrook has established himself as the feature RB though, so he'll assume that role again once he reports to camp. Keep an eye out for Ryan Moats in the preseason, as he is a talented RB who could push Buckhalter for the #2 RB job.

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7. CLE - Rookie WR Edwards Falling Behind During Holdout

Clipped from: Beacon Journal article by Patrick McManamon, 8/2/05

Braylon Edwards missed his fourth day of Browns training camp Tuesday.

The team's first-round draft pick has missed six full-squad and 10 total practices (if rookie workouts are included). Browns coach Romeo Crennel said things have reached the point where his absence is ``a problem.''

``He's going to be behind everybody else,'' Crennel said of the wide receiver.

Edwards bought a $140,000 Bentley before he was drafted and was adamant on draft day that he wanted to be in camp on time. Signs are not good that Edwards will sign anytime soon.

Crennel said Edwards' chances to start on opening day decrease with each day he misses. ``Unless he's just an unbelievable phenom,'' Crennel said.

One of Edwards' teammates agreed that not being in camp is hurting Edwards. ``I think he's missing a whole lot,'' cornerback Gary Baxter said. ``When he comes in camp he has to be ready and he has to be ready very fast, so he's putting a whole lot of pressure on himself.''

The Browns and Edwards have exchanged offers, but no numbers have been revealed. The team had planned a conference call last Friday with Lamont Smith, Edwards' agent, but it didn't take place, and the Browns had no contact with Smith on Friday or Saturday.

The Browns only will say that they will continue talking.

Talk with league insiders has the two sides a fair distance apart.

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

Many experts thought that Braylon Edwards was the most talented player available in the draft this year regardless of position, but he'll have a hard time making an impact this year if he doesn't get into camp soon. The team is clearly hoping that he can become the #1 WR the team has lacked for years, but there are enough other quality receivers on the roster for the Browns to make due without him.

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8. CAR - Injury Questions Frustrate RB Foster

Clipped from: The Herald article by Darin Gantt, 8/2/05

DeShaun Foster has made many highlight films with his sheer athletic talent. He's also made the cutting room floor when it's time to talk about them, because he's hesitant to speak and does so quietly when he chooses to.

If you want to see emotion in the Carolina Panthers' running back, if you want to see his eyes light up, then narrow into a determined stare, if you want to see his shoulders go back and his jaw set, ask him about being fragile.

Foster has heard the knocks throughout his career and hates them. He practically seethed Monday, which is about as much emotion as you're ever going to get out of him.

"If I was pulling hamstrings, or breaking a finger to miss games (I could understand)," he said with a cross look. "But what can I do about microfracture? What can I do about breaking my collarbone? It was a freak accident, I fell down and that's just what happened. It happened."

At the same time, he knows the criticism isn't completely unjustified, leading to frustration. In his three-year career, he's missed 30 games because of injury. His rookie year was shot because of a preseason knee injury which required microfracture surgery, and most of last year went down the drain with a broken collarbone.

As much potential as he's shown, the 25-year-old back has only managed one 100-yard game and two rushing touchdowns since being chosen in the second round of the 2002 draft.

"We're in a production business, OK?" running backs coach Jim Skipper said. "Everybody's got to produce. So you've got to consistently make plays. I've got no doubt about it, if the guy stays healthy, he's going to consistently make plays."

That qualifier -- or some equally dreadful one -- has followed Foster throughout his career. When he came to the team, it was fumbling, a criticism he's silenced only because he hasn't been on the field. The next one will be a skeptical view of his motivation for the coming season, since he'll be an unrestricted free agent with potential riches -- if he finally delivers.

All that resides in the past or future. For now, he's at the top of the depth chart, possibly even if Stephen Davis comes back to his old form at an old age (31). There's a crowd behind him, with Nick Goings and 2005 second-rounder Eric Shelton. It's a deep group, with little room for anyone to take their time claiming the carries.

Skipper won't ask Foster or anyone else to run 30 times a game. He was clear -- and nearly as defensive as Foster -- that Foster can be a feature back and his reputation for having a glass jaw was undeserved.

"I don't even put that in my mind," Skipper said. "This guy is a physical football player. Remember that run he made against Philly (in the NFC championship, when he broke several tackles to score)? Fragile is in no way part of his game. That's the other part of injuries. If it happens, it happens. You just knock on wood and hope for the best."

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

Foster has shown flashes of greatness during his limited playing time in the NFL, but it's pretty hard to overlook the 30 missed games over a 3-year career. If, and it's a huge if, he can stay healthy, he should hold onto the Panthers #1 RB job and be a productive fantasy RB. However, the presence of Stephen Davis, Eric Shelton, and Nick Goings put his grasp on the starting spot at risk, as even a minor injury or two could be just enough to open up the door for one of those other players to take over.

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9. WAS - QB Ramsey Looking Comfortable

Clipped from: AP article by Joseph White posted at Washington Times, 8/2/05

Patrick Ramsey opened training camp as the starting quarterback of the Washington Redskins, but not necessarily as the quarterback of the future.

Ramsey looked at ease - much more comfortable than last year - as he tossed passes Monday to newcomers Santana Moss and David Patten and the rest of the receivers. Always the optimist, he spoke of making the best of his opportunity, even though his status has been muddled yet again by the team's decision to select a quarterback in the first round of the draft.

Of this year's quarterback threesome - Ramsey, Brunell and Campbell - Ramsey is the only one not hand-picked by Gibbs. In essence, Ramsey has been given the job with a one-year lease, knowing that Brunell's career is on the wane and that Campbell - came to terms with the team late Monday - will probably need a season of grooming.

"Patrick's been up here a while now," Gibbs said. "He's been through some stuff a lot of young guys go through, to be truthful. He's established himself as the lead quarterback, and I would say he needs to take this thing and go with it now. Our opportunities in life - this is one where he's perfectly situated."

If Ramsey succeeds, he'll bring stability to a position in flux more or less since the days of Mark Rypien in the early 1990s.

Physically and mentally, Ramsey is miles ahead of where he was 12 months ago, when he was coming off the foot injury and shaking off two seasons of unorthodox coaching from Steve Spurrier. Just the fact that he gets to go first in the practice drills helps his rhythm and confidence - and affects how he is viewed by teammates.

"Where you stand with the guys is what's different," Ramsey said. "But it's not something I'm going to assume. I want to produce early. ... I want to play well in the preseason and show that I deserve the distinction I have as a starter."

Ramsey's career quarterback rating is a modest 74.4, but he played well at the end of last season, completing at least 64 percent of his passes in five straight games. He has always had a strong arm, but he's worked to improve his touch passes this year. He's excited to have speedsters Moss and Patten, who should help him get the ball downfield more often and improve an offense that ranked 30th last year.

"I see potential," said Patten, who spent the last four years working with one of the game's best, Tom Brady, in New England. "I see the way he's running the huddle. He's just gotten more and more confident. He's really starting to take control of the offense."

"I have an opportunity," Ramsey said. "I need to continue to earn the opportunity. You can't ask for more than that."

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

The decision by Gibbs to trade for Brunell last year hurt the team in a variety of ways. Not only did they give up a 1st day draft pick and give him a surprisingly large contract, but his presence also shattered the confidence and hindered the development of Patrick Ramsey and indirectly caused them to draft another 1st round QB this year. The situation Ramsey finds himself in now seems somewhat reminiscent of where Drew Brees was last year in San Diego. Now that he has a firm grasp of the system and the confidence of the coaching staff and his teammates, he could be a nice sleeper this year.

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10. WAS - Redskins Sign 1st Rounders CB Rogers and QB Campbell

Clipped from: Washington Post article by Nunyo Demasio, 8/2/05

Several hours after agreeing to terms with quarterback Jason Campbell, the Redskins this morning signed his former Auburn teammate, cornerback Carlos Rogers, according to sources familiar with the situation. With the signings, the Redskins first-round picks will show up at Redskins Park today for practice, although Rogers remains injured and unable to participate.

Late last night, Campbell -- the 25th overall pick -- agreed to terms on a five-year contract potentially worth more than $20 million, according to a league source. Rogers, the fifth overall pick, signed a five-year deal with guarantees in excess of $11 million, according to sources familiar with his contract. Rogers isn't expected to be able to practice for several days because of foot and ankle ailments.

Campbell and Rogers missed the first two sessions of training camp yesterday. Campbell, who the Redskins acquired by relinquishing three picks, isn't expected to play much during his rookie season. But Rogers is expected to eventually replace Fred Smoot -- who departed for the Minnesota Vikings -- as the starter opposite Shawn Springs. (Walt Harris, a nickleback last season, will likely be the starting cornerback for the season opener.)

Rogers and Campbell were part of an Auburn team that hadn't lost since Nov. 15, 2003, when Georgia won, 26-7. Campbell was voted the Southeastern Conference offensive player of the yeas as the Tigers went 13-0 and beat Virginia Tech, 16-13, in the Sugar Bowl. Rogers won the Jim Thorpe Award as the nation's top defensive back. Only 18 of 65 passes thrown in Rogers's direction were completed.

Campbell has generated as much attention as Rogers because of Washington's quarterback situation. Campbell is an intriguing selection since the Redskins already had quarterbacks Patrick Ramsey and Mark Brunell. Campbell -- who has shown promise with his size, arm and athleticism -- learned four different offenses in four years in Auburn.

Rogers missed the final two days of minicamp, June 18 to June 19, after suffering from a first-degree sprain of his right ankle. Rogers originally sprained his ankle during the off-season working out at Auburn, and he aggravated it at minicamp.

The Redskins said that an old stress fracture was discovered during treatment of his ankle. But the team said that its main concern is the bone bruise. The Redskins added that the stress fracture has not caused Roger previous problems.

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

Rogers was expected to play a big role in the secondary after the team lost Fred Smoot to free agency, but his ankle injury during minicamp put a damper on those plans for the time being. He'll have some catching up to do once he gets healthy, but should be able to challenge Walt Harris for a starting job early on. Jason Campbell, meanwhile, is expected to compete with Mark Brunell for the backup QB job so it is good for him that he only missed a day of training camp and didn't fall too far behind.

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11. NO - Saints Are Ready To Run

Clipped from: The Advocate article by Sheldon Mickles, 8/2/05

When asked what he'd do to fix a running game that averaged just 100.4 yards a game despite the presence of two-time Pro Bowler Deuce McAllister, New Orleans Saints running backs Johnny Roland had a quick and simple response. "Call it more," said Roland, a 27-year NFL assistant coach who's mentored stars like Walter Payton, Emmitt Smith, Jerome Bettis, Ahman Green and Wilbert Montgomery during his career.

To be fair, McAllister missed two games and most of a third because of a severely sprained ankle, and he felt the effects of it for the final 12 games. Even though he rushed for 1,074 yards and became the first back in club history with three straight 1,000-yard seasons, Haslett decided that the productivity would have to improve in 2005.

In order to move in that direction, Haslett fired running backs coach Dave Atkins, promoted offensive line coach Jack Henry to associate head coach and the new staff position of running game coordinator, and hired Roland away from the Green Bay Packers.

After laying the coaching groundwork, the Saints signed unrestricted free agent guard Jermane Mayberry and moved up three spots in the first round of the draft to select Oklahoma tackle Jammal Brown, who won the 2004 Outland Trophy winner as the nation's best lineman.

The moves fortified the right side of the line to go with center LeCharles Bentley, a Pro Bowl alternate last season, and told everyone what the Saints plan to become.

"You have to be committed to the running game," Roland said. "You can't just give it lip service. I'll take my chances with Deuce, Antowain (Smith) and Aaron (Stecker), and we have a pretty good lead blocker at fullback (Mike Karney)."

Haslett doesn't figure to go back on his word, especially after signing Mayberry to a four-year deal and selecting Brown, a 6-foot-6, 320-pound mauler who could be the cornerstone of the Saints' offensive line for years to come.

Brown, who described himself for a TV reporter as "dominating, mean and aggressive -- but pretty," said his strength is his run-blocking even though he pass-blocked for 2003 Heisman Trophy winner Jason White and gave up just one sack in his final 29 college games.

"It's first things first, and that's the running game," said Brown. "When you run the ball you can take over a game. When you have a physical line and a running back like Deuce, you can keep the clock moving and keep your defense out of bad situations."

Seconds after drafting Brown, McAllister phoned Haslett and said, "Thank you." Now, 3 months later, McAllister is licking his chops to see if the Saints are going to deliver on their promise of running the ball.

"Hearing about it and doing it are two different things," said McAllister, who's rushed for 4,103 yards the last three seasons despite the presence of several other offensive weapons. "If you're not committed to it, it doesn't matter. So knowing the coaches want to do that is good."

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

The Saints have talked up the running game all offseason, but as this article mentions, their personnel moves are probably the best indication of how serious they are. Teams have often talked a good game of committing to the run and then failed to back it up once the games started. If the Saints do what they say they are going to do, Deuce McAllister and the running game could be in for a huge season.

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12. ATL - Rookie WR Roddy White Starting To Win Over Mora

Clipped from: Atlanta Journal-Constitution article by Matt Winkeljohn, 8/2/05

For more than a week, the deal with Roddy White was no laughing matter, but it is now that the Falcons have signed their first-round draft pick.

The rookie wide receiver laughs, a lot, actually. He chuckles after answering interviewer's questions. He snorts after a good play. Same thing after a defensive back makes a play against him. Seriously. He laughs.

"Yeah, pretty much. That's my whole game; through the games I laugh," White said. "When I get out on the field, I'm just so happy ... not having to worry."

Team officials are smiling more.

After reaching a contract agreement Sunday morning, White practiced for the second time Monday, making outstanding plays in receiving and goal-line drills. "I'd be lying if I didn't say I'm impressed by some of the things he does," Falcons coach Jim Mora said. "He's just a happy kid."

The kid has fresh legs after missing the first nine practices of training camp.

On an 18-yard out pattern, cornerback DeAngelo Hall was stuck to White in coverage most of the route, but quarterback Michael Vick threw the ball on time and to a near-perfect spot. It whizzed just past Hall's fingertips, who jumped up and down in mock disgust at the near miss after White caught it at the sideline. "I compare him to [Cardinals] wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald without all the hype," Hall said.

Moments later, Hall was again glued to White as he made a double move, Hall breaking up a would-be touchdown pass at the goal line. That prompted gymnastics. Hall did a cartwheel and then several backflips. And White laughed. Not so seriously.

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

The Falcons have been trying for years to find some WRs for Michael Vick to throw to. The trade for Peerless Price is looking like a big mistake, but the talented youngsters Michael Jenkins and Roddy White could develop into a very strong tandem. White is a strong WR who attacks the ball in the air and is a threat to score from anywhere on the field. Look for him to become a favorite deep threat of Vick right away, and his strong performance against DeAngelo Hall in practice could be a sign of great things to come.

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13. JAX - Jaguars Sign Rookie WR Matt Jones

Clipped from: Times-Union article by Vito Stellino, 8/2/05

Matt Jones, the Jaguars' first round draft pick, ended his four-day holdout shortly after midnight when he agreed to a five-year deal following a marathon negotiation session.

Jones will sign the contract today after he and one of his agents, Dave Butz, review the deal.

Including escalators, Jones can make close to $11 million over the five-year length of the contract and will make $6.3 million the first year.

The two sides had been waiting for Mark Clayton to sign at the 22nd pick but when talks stalled, they went ahead and hammered out a deal.

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

The Jaguars surprised a lot of people by drafting Jones as highly as they did. As a converted QB, he has a big adjustment to make, but his combination of size and speed could make him a valuable weapon. The Jaguars are giving Byron Leftwich lots of weapons to use in the passing game, and he could be headed for a breakout season if a few of these young guys play to their potential.

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14. BUF - RB Shaud Williams Adds Weight; QB Losman Shows Running Ability

Clipped from: Rochester Democrat & Chronicle article by Leo Roth, 8/2/05

Buffalo Bills running back Shaud Williams amassed 4,659 all-purpose yards in his college career at Texas Tech and Alabama.

His durability has never been a question. Still, given the rigors of a 16-game NFL season, Williams figured that adding a little weight to his muscular 5-foot-7 frame couldn't hurt.

"I sat down with the coaches at the end of last season and they felt that it would help me hold up," said Williams, who is in the mix for the Bills' backup running-back job behind Willis McGahee now that Travis Henry has been traded. "I put on about 8 pounds. I'm up to about 198, 199. I can tell the difference. I'm still getting used to carrying it but hopefully by the end of camp, I'll be ready to go."

Williams, who led the SEC in rushing as a senior, made the Bills' roster last year as an undrafted free agent. With Henry injured, Williams played the final four games and gained 167 yards on 42 carries (4.0 average), including a breakout game against San Francisco when he rushed for 97 yards and a 27-yard touchdown.

Williams is a smaller version of McGahee, who can excel between the tackles and turn the corner. "I've always felt I can hit it up inside if I need to," Williams said. "That's what they've got Willis here for. He's a back who can go inside and outside. You have to find your role and find where you fit in to help the team and go from there."

J.P. on the loose:

Quarterback J.P. Losman, seeing the entire left side of the field unguarded during 11-on-11 drills in Monday's afternoon practice, took off on a scramble that would've resulted in a long touchdown run.

"He told me it was 82 yards," coach Mularkey quipped.

Mularkey doesn't mind Losman taking the ball and running with it, even though last year such a move resulted in Losman breaking his leg.

"No. To me, that's a serious threat and we're going to take advantage of it," he said. "If he sees it and wants to take it, I'm not going to take that away from him. What we practice is going to happen in the game. He just needs to know that when he's going to take a hit, he's got to be smart about it and that tough guy image has to take a break for the blow, get down or get out of bounds."

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

With the trade of Travis Henry to Tennessee, the backup job in Buffalo is wide open. Shaud Williams is the incumbent after backing up McGahee late last year, but he'll have to hold off a challenge from newcomers Reshard Lee and rookie Lionel Gates. Williams is a small back but he runs hard and played well in limited opportunities. Expect all three RBs to see plenty of work in the preseason, but once the season begins McGahee isn't likely to come out of the game very often.

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15. GB - QB Favre In Great Shape

Clipped from: AP article posted at ESPN.com, 8/2/05

After deciding in March to return for a 15th NFL season, Favre was determined to get into better physical shape. He said the average fan may not have noticed but he did: he'd been cutting corners.

"I just felt like the last few years, I worked out but I didn't put in as much effort. Whereas when I was 22, I could just get away with it. So, I feel better but we'll see what happens. I mean, there's no guarantees. It's hard to throw for 4,000 yards and 30 touchdowns in good shape or in bad shape."

On the morning after the Packers' playoff loss to Minnesota, Favre had a talk with his position coach, Darrell Bevell, who told him that as great as he was, he could do a lot of things better.

Favre agreed. "I felt like the last two or three years I cheated myself," Favre said, "which obviously ends up cheating your teammates as far as being in the best shape physically and mentally that you can possibly be in."

"And so I said if I do decide to come back I want to do something and I haven't been able to do that on my own like I used to, so I said maybe I'll hire someone."

That someone was strength and conditioning coach Ken Croner of Athletes' Performance, based in Tempe, Ariz. They worked out in Mississippi for 50 minutes a day through June, and it worked wonders.

Favre reported to camp at 217 pounds, his lightest reporting weight since 1999, when he came in at 214 after giving up beer. Every year since, he had reported in the mid-220s.

Not only is he lighter but more muscular, and the Packers are monitoring him closely. Favre, who turns 36 in October, is only throwing once a day during the early part of camp and he's on a limit of 40 throws per practice or 60 in a day.

He said the last time he lost a lot of weight, he was in better condition to run a marathon than play a football season. This time, he feels he's in better shape to elude defenders. And he said he not only feels better physically, but mentally, too.

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

Favre's consecutive starts streak is made even more impressive by his admission that he hasn't worked out as hard as he could have. He may not have many years left, but perhaps this change will help him last a bit longer than he would have otherwise and now that Javon Walker has reported to camp, he should be headed for another excellent fantasy season.

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16. IDP: NE - Pats Reach Deal With DL Richard Seymour To End Holdout

Clipped from: FoxSports.com article by Jay Glazer, 8/2/05

The impasse between the New England Patriots and one of their best players appears to be over.

FOXSports.com has learned the Patriots and their All-Pro defensive lineman Richard Seymour have come to a financial agreement to end his holdout with the two-time defending Super Bowl champions.

Seymour is expected to report to the team by Wednesday morning.

"We are very pleased that this situation has been resolved and that our complete focus can move back to the field," according to a statement released Tuesday by the team and player.

Seymour had been a holdout since camp began last week, as he's still working off his rookie deal. While the team did not lock him up to a long-term extension, the two sides came to an agreement for this season that worked out for both parties.

It is expected that Seymour's agent and the Patriots will try to hammer out a long-term deal sometime this year.

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

Great news for Pats fans as the team appears to have avoided what could have become a major distraction throughout the preseason. The team has enough to deal with this year on defense having lost their coordinator and two of their star players in Tedy Bruschi and Ty Law, so the last thing they needed was to lose their best defensive lineman. Seymour is their best playmaker on the defensive line, but his fantasy value is somewhat limited by playing in the Pats 3-4 scheme.

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17. IDP: CLE - Kenard Lang Moving To OLB

Clipped from: AP.com article by Tom Withers posted at Cleveland.com, 8/2/05

A slimmed-down Lang - he has dropped 20 pounds - appears good to go at linebacker, a new position for the nine-year veteran whose quickness allowed him to drop off the line of scrimmage in Cleveland's new 3-4 defensive scheme.

It's a big change for Lang, who has recorded 20 sacks as Cleveland's top pass rusher the past three seasons in a 4-3 alignment. But along with having to learn a new position, Lang is competing for a starting job for the first time since he broke into the league as a rookie with Washington in 1997.

He's currently splitting time with Matt Stewart, who signed with the club as a free agent after four years with Atlanta.

Lang welcomes the challenge. "You have to fight for the last biscuit on the table sometimes," said the always cheery Lang, who made 15 starts at right end in 2004. "But that's the way it has to be. Sometimes it's good for that to happen."

Following his success with the 3-4 in New England, first-year Browns coach Romeo Crennel decided that was the defense he would use in Cleveland despite a lack of depth or players like he had with the Patriots.

When Crennel proposed Lang move to linebacker, the 30-year-old didn't give it a second thought. "I said, 'Let's go,'" Lang said. "I easily could have said that I don't want this or I want to be traded. I know it sounds repetitive but everyone says that coach Crennel has been there before and he knows what it takes."

There's still a learning curve for Lang, but it's getting straighter every day. His down-to-down responsibilities are different, but some of the basics remain: find the ball carrier and tackle him. "It's been a little bit of an adjustment," Lang said. "It takes me back to my high school days when I played middle linebacker. They are about the same concept, but there are a lot more coverages. The main thing is I have to be more attentive to the guys around me who are my surrounding cast.

One of Lang's new duties is to cover running backs and the occasional wide receiver who lines up in the slot. In practice, Lang has found himself matched up with Dennis Northcutt, the Browns' quickest player.

It's not the mismatch you might think. Lang has held his own.

"Sometimes I'm thinking that I have to get on my horse and start running, but I'd rather run with Northcutt any day than hitting a big (330-pound) Ryan Tucker every down," Lang said. "You have your gives and takes, but it still comes down to the point of pursuing the football and making plays. That's what I plan on doing."

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

Lang appears to be handling the position switch very well and could become a Willie McGinest type player who lines up at OLB on early downs and DE on passing downs. He's the Browns best pass rusher and the team doesn't have much talent on the defensive line so he'll be counted on heavily to pressure opposing QBs.

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18. IDP: KC - Rookie LB Derrick Johnson Vows To Be Ready By Opener

Clipped from: Kansas City Star article by Elizabeth Merrill, 8/2/05

After a delayed flight and a brief holdout, the Chiefs' ballyhooed first-round draft pick arrived at training camp shortly after 5 p.m., rolling to the practice field in a Chevy Trailblazer with president/general manager Carl Peterson.

Johnson changed into his No. 56 jersey and said he's happy to finally be a Chief. He promised to work hard. He vowed to be ready for the Sept. 11 opener with the Jets. He said nothing about being a starter.

"Hopefully I can play a lot," Johnson said. "I won't say starting lineup yet, but at the same time I know I'm here for a reason, to help this defense out, help this team out, and win a championship."

Though he's missed nine practices, the mild-mannered Texan, the 15th overall pick and the first linebacker selected in the draft, is expected to start on the left side. That's how impressive Johnson was in minicamp and offseason workouts.

As the team walked off the field Monday, Johnson spent about 10 minutes doing conditioning tests for linebackers coach Fred Pagac. Johnson ran, cut, caught a few passes and looked as if he'd spent enough time working out in Austin.

"I did pretty well," he said.

Johnson was sent off to meetings Monday night and said he had a few pages left to sign of his massive $10.5 million contract. He'll start two-a-days this morning, bright and early at 8 a.m., and will work out in pads this afternoon.

Though Johnson has already drawn comparisons to Chiefs all-time sack leader Derrick Thomas, the defense did move on in Johnson's absence. Keyaron Fox, the current starter on the left side, drew praise from the coaches in the first five days of training camp.

When defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham had a rare sit-down with reporters Sunday, Johnson's name was never mentioned.

That is about to change. "We were doing just fine without him," defensive end Jared Allen said. "(But) it should be good. He brings an element of speed and athleticism to our defense. And they drafted him for a reason. It's good to have him out here and get him going."

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

Derrick Johnson fell much farther than expected on draft day, but he is a special talent who could single handedly help turn around the Chiefs defense. He's expected to take over as the starting strongside LB before too long. That will likely limit his fantasy value early on, but he could eventually be moved over to the weakside depending on how things shake out with Shawn Barber and Kendrell Bell.

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19. IDP: BAL - Rookie LB Dan Cody May Miss Season

Clipped from: Baltimore Sun article by Jamison Hensley, 8/2/05

While first-round draft pick Mark Clayton has yet to report to training camp, the Ravens' top defensive rookie might never return this season.

Linebacker Dan Cody sprained the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee midway through the team's first practice yesterday, officially sidelining the second-round pick indefinitely.

Although he will be re-evaluated later in camp when the swelling has settled down, the Ravens have resigned themselves privately to losing him for the year. A magnetic resonance imaging test revealed between a second- and third-degree sprain, which are the two most severe conditions.

The loss of Cody would deliver a sizable blow to the Ravens' pass rush. He was projected to play rush end in passing situations, the role previously reserved for Peter Boulware. "A lot was going to be expected of him," defensive coordinator Rex Ryan said.

Cody's injury is even more jolting when considering he was never touched. In the final team drill, he was trying to change directions on a flea flicker, spinning to his left when the running back tossed the ball back to the quarterback. Then, after planting his foot to run downfield, he just dropped to the ground and held his knee.

It's been a frenetic first two days of camp for Cody. He signed his four-year contract just before reporting Sunday night and needed to be carted off the field a day later. Cody walked gingerly on crutches through the team hotel, applying no weight on his right leg. This marks the latest setback for Cody, a first-round talent who plummeted in the draft because many teams were wary of his bout with clinical depression in 2001.

"You never want to see an injury, but it's bound to happen," defensive end Tony Weaver said. "Regardless of who goes down, the next man has to step up." The next man is Roderick Green, a fifth-round pick in 2004. He will take over for Cody as the other pass rushing end opposite Terrell Suggs, but the Ravens won't be able to replace the depth at strong-side linebacker.

The original plan was to have Cody rotate with starter Adalius Thomas, who would be able to contribute more on special teams (where he was a Pro Bowl performer). With Cody down, the Ravens likely will use Thomas primarily on defense unless they can add another linebacker who can rush the passer.

One possible candidate could be Boulware. Team officials have not contacted the franchise's all-time sack leader, but wouldn't rule out his coming back.

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

Tough break for Cody and the Ravens here, but the team does have some other players who can take his place. Adalius Thomas has filled that role well in the past and should be able to take over for the time being. With Boulware still sitting on the open market, he remains an intriguing possibility.

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20. IDP: NYJ - Jets Still Most Likely Team To Sign CB Ty Law

Clipped from: NY Post article by Mark Canizzaro, 8/2/05

Law is not yet a Jet, but his becoming one soon is a very real - not to mention tantalizing - possibility.

At the moment, the competition for the starting job at left cornerback is "wide open," according to coach Herman Edwards. Veteran nickel back Ray Mickens, coming off a serious knee injury that wrecked his 2004 season, is competing. So is rookie No. 2 draft pick Justin Miller, along with free agent Pete Hunter.

But until the situation is resolved with the 31-year-old Law, a free agent coming off surgery on his left foot, that Jets' job will remain "wide open," waiting for the former Patriots Pro-Bowler to close it.

According to people in his inner circle, the Jets are Law's top choice among his possible suitors, which also includes the Lions and Jaguars.

Law has a great relationship with Edwards, who recruited him out of college while he was coaching defensive backs for the Buccaneers, and is on record in stating his desire to play for him. Law, too, has close friends on the Jets, beginning with Curtis Martin. Law is salivating at the chance to play against his former team twice a year as an AFC East opponent to show the Patriots' brass how wrong it was about him.

The Jets have already made an offer to Law. It obviously wasn't enough to get him to sign, but that's what negotiating is all about. "There are a lot of things here that he thinks are positive for him," Edwards said yesterday. "That's always good. That always helps you."

This is the way the Law situation is most likely to unfold:

Once preseason games begin in another 10 days, Law will feel some urgency to get into a camp to learn the system and get ready for the season.

His asking price, which has been reported to be somewhere around $6 million per year, likely will come down when he realizes none of his potential suitors is willing to go that high.

And then, once he decides he can play for, say $3 million or $4 million with incentives, Law will opt for the Jets, because all things being equal, they are who he wants to play for.

The only thing that could derail the Jets signing Law is if a team like Detroit or Jacksonville panics and opts to pay him the $6 million or more, a number that would blow him away and force him to sign.

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

It does seem like the Jets would be the perfect fit for Law at this point, but he's likely waiting as long as he can to see if any team will give him an offer close to his asking price. He's good enough that he probably won't need too much time to adjust to a new system once he signs, and physical style of play would be a great addition to the Jets cover-2 defense. They already have one of the best front sevens in the league, so adding a player of Law's caliber at CB (if fully recovered from his injury) could elevate them to one of the elite defenses in the league.

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21. DEN - Footballguys Broncos Training Camp Report Day five 8/2/05

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 offense took it to the defense today. The offense buckled down on Tuesday and really looked efficient.

Jake Plummer was showing more great leadership. He was making plays with his feet and throwing the ball away when needed. This is something that he needed to do more of last season. Plummer was spot on with his TEs today, working the red zone drill effectively.

Bradlee Van Pelt got a chance to work with the second team. He had two drives against the first team defense. On his first drive he made a costly mistake, trying to force the ball into coverage. The second drive he was much better, and the offense got the score. He faced plenty of blitzes and pressure and had his best day of camp yet.

Kannell threw an INT in the end zone that was batted by Terry Pierce and picked off by Sam Brandon.

Mauck was solid, but spent most of his time with the 3rd team, and a little with the 2nd

Mike Anderson was nearly unstoppable. He was great in the red zone drills, running with power. He was lowering his head and gaining positive yards on nearly every play. Here's what Shanahan said about the success of the red zone offense today: "Well, it's kind of hard to tell. We weren't going live, so any time you don't go live and you're butting, it's really hard to see how the defense did do. It's just not very realistic. It was a good goal-line period. I thought we got a lot done. This coming Saturday - if everything stays status quo - we will go live in the goal-line situation."

Tatum Bell was running hard again. I like what I've seen from him recently. He started out a little slow, seemingly dazed by all the competition at RB. Now he seems more focused and intent on wrestling the job away from Mike Anderson. It will be a dog fight that will come down to the wire.

Maurice Clarett had a great day of practice. He had a 20 yard run for a TD in red zone drills and was out there knocking heads. He was playing with a lot of fire and mixed it up inside quite a bit. He made a great cut back run against the first stringers that picked up positive yards. He's playing himself into shape, but is still not in "football shape." Here's what Coach Shanahan had to say about Clarett after practice: "Running backs have to be able to run over people. The sign of a great running back is to be able to hit somebody and spin off. If you remember (former Broncos running back) Terrell Davis, I think that was his forte - to make people miss and at the same time (having) the power to run over people and kind of spin and keep his balance. It helps if our running backs can do that. Maurice is getting better and better every practice."

Quentin Griffin didn't practice in the morning and had some slight swelling in his knee according to Shanahan: "He's fine. There was a slight swelling in his knee yesterday. It's one of the reasons we have him on one-a-days. We will continue to do that until we feel that the knee feels so good that two-a-days won't hurt him."

Ron Dayne was running with some authority. We've seen this from him before. We've even see him look great in the preseason (remember the KC game last year?). With Griffin's injury it's opening the door for Dayne to make the roster. However, it remains to be seen how much playing time he would actually get during the regular season. His hands are still bad, he catches with his body and has a tendency to bobble some easy ones. Coach Shanahan commented on Dayne after practice: "Ron Dayne has come in and has really helped himself. He's helped himself out in the offseason conditioning program, I believe, by really getting into great shape. He's got some natural running skills. It will be interesting to see how he does in game situations."

The TE's sure do get a lot of work in practice. Jeb Putzier was out this morning, so it was up to Stephen Alexander and Nate Jackson to pick up the slack. Alexander was in the zone except for a couple of drops. Jackson was absent from most of practice, but did have a great catch over Ian Gold in the end zone. Coach Shanahan commented on the absence of Putzier: "Jeb is the same reason. Jeb had two-a-days yesterday. There's no swelling. He should be good but for the same thought process we did with Quentin. Same thing for (defensive end) Ebenezer Ekuban. Not that anything is wrong, but any time people are coming off injury, we don't want to put that much pressure of two practices in one day. It just swells, whatever the infected area is."

There is some movement in the lower part of the depth chart for the Broncos WR's.

First, let's start at the top. Rod Smith was very active. Ashley Lelie really stood out. A real crowd pleaser was his sideline bomb that he caught from Plummer that went for a TD. I have been impressed with his ability to make space for himself on those sideline routes. He is working harder on his routes over the middle as well.

Watts was very sure handed and is practicing with a lot of confidence.

Rice was silent, except for a slant that he caught from Van Pelt against the first team defense.

Here's where the shakeups begin. Todd Devoe has worked very hard in camp this year. He has moved up the depth chart and was practicing ahead of Triandos Luke. Devoe is consistent, and a hard worker. Luke has a ton of potential, but has had some bad drops on occasion. Charlie Adams is quietly having a good camp as well. All of these guys are fighting for a roster spot, and it should be an interesting battle.

The D-line couldn't stop the run. Brown, Ellis, and Pryce all practiced. They were active, but none of them really stood out. Marco Coleman practiced less today with the return of Brown, but when he did play he did a good job.

It was a physical practice, and of course, Al Wilson was all over the field. He had some big hits and the crowd was definitely in awe. D.J. Williams got some time at SLB and MLB today. Terry Pierce has had a nice couple of days. Ian Gold's speed is his biggest asset as he was running plays down from the back side. Jashon Sykes played all different positions. Chukwurah was playing with the 3rd team. Keith Burns, Sykes, and Pierce with the 2nd.

Nick Ferguson and John Lynch were looking good again. Jeremy LeSuer was filling in for Lynch from time to time. LeSuer also seems to be entrenched as the starting nickel cornerback. Lynch loves the physicality that he's seeing in practice: "It's necessary. Mike (Shanahan) tells us, 'I don't want anyone going down to the ground, but I want a good thud.' You have to practice good habits, and that's what this does for you. It practices good habits for the defense as well as the offense in terms of guys getting hit., guys trying to strip the football and guys protecting the football. I'm really pleased with the way we are going about our job. and it's incumbent upon the veterans to set that tone and I think we have done a nice job of that thus far."

Champ Bailey continues to have a strong camp. Sam Brandon continues to play well.

Roc Alexander has now slid down with the 3rd team.

Lenny Walls made some great plays. He batted several passes away, and was making some big hits.

Todd Sauerbrun boomed a punt from his own 15 yard line into the endzone at the opposite end of the field. John Lynch had this to say: "It's fun to watch. The fans here are getting spoiled. Sauerbrun kicks a 60-yarder and its ho-hum, it's not until the 70-yarder that everybody is like 'ooohh.' I've seen Sauerbrun over the years, and I really think he has fit in well going about his job and it's impressive to watch him. Ernster, he's booming the ball well, so I thinks it's good competition for those guys. They are both tremendous punters. Todd has obviously proven it for a long time, and we are fortunate to have them both."

[[[[[[[[[[ 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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