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Volume 6, Issue 113 (Tuesday, August 9th)

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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. For you subscribers, get ready to be happy: Our Issue #2 of the Training Camp Updates are ready to roll - check them out. Also, please check out the site news for our Draftsheets as they're a great addition for your live draft. And our killer "My Team" feature is ready. Plus, we've got new projections for you. But first, our quote of the day.

Jets coach Herm Edwards compared signing Ty Law to the acquisition of [Pete] Kendall during camp last year. Kendall had a good reply. "I can see how a lot of people can equate the two," he said. "The guy's been to four Pro Bowls and is going to the Hall of Fame, and I got cut by an organization [Arizona] that would throw a parade if they were .500."

Ok, let's get to it.

Joe Bryant

SITE NEWS

A. (Premium Subscription) 35 Page Training Camp Update Issue #2 Ready For Download
We showed everyone what we're doing with the Training Camp Updates last week as we gave away Issue #1. Subscribers to the Premium Subscription can download Issue #2 here. Since camp had just opened last week, Issue #1 was mainly an off season summary. Issue #2 is focused on just the last seven days with detailed reports on camp battles and practice reports. It's chock full of coaches comments, player quotes, depth chart battles and much more.

Here are a few excerpts from issue #2

On QB Joey Harrington, Detroit Lions

At Saturday's practice, the first open practice of the season for fans, 26,000 were in attendance. Joey Harrington listened to a smattering of boos from a vocal crown after every completion. "Oh yeah, I heard them," replied Harrington after being asked if heard the booing. "I don't like it, but it's part of the game. I don't listen to them. I don't care about them. They are booing for their own reasons, some of which happen to do with us losing. I want to change the losing, obviously." On a funnier note, the local radio station was looking for new nicknames for Joey. Apparently his college nickname was 'princess'. The two best calls were 'lame duck' and 'Joey Checkdown'.

On WR Marc Boerigter, Kansas City Chiefs

Don't look now but Marc Boerigter is having a strong camp. He's practicing only once each day, but his surgically repaired knee is holding up well. "It's kind of up to me," he said. "There's no reason for going one a day because my knee is healthy. They're looking at saving the wear and tear. I feel pretty good doing it this way. I'd hate to do a ton of two-a-days and then have a setback or something and have to take a couple of days off... Eventually, I'll go to two practices a day."

On RB Michael Bennett, Minnesota Vikings

To prepare for this year Bennett returned to Milwaukee and did extensive track work with Demi Omole, the current Big Ten 100-meter champ. Bennett reportedly ran a 10.21, 10.15 and 10.19 this summer meaning he's faster now than he was in high school or at Wisconsin. Bennett didn't stop there, he also incorporated hill training to increase his leg strength. The Vikings hope this new level of dedication from Bennett will transform some of that track speed into explosiveness on the football field. "I wouldn't call this a make-or-break year for me," Bennett said. "But it's a year I need to stay healthy. With an up-and-coming star in Mewelde Moore and now [rookie] Ciatrick Fason, time is not going to wait for me. With my injuries and everything, I can be here today and gone tomorrow if I don't start hitting some of those home runs again."

On St. Louis Rams Defense:

Rookie safety Jerome Carter quickly impressed the coaching staff in the first week of camp. Carter comes to the Rams with a reputation as a hard worker and fierce hitter at Florida State. Rams secondary coach Kurt Schottenheimer said, "The young man has tremendous toughness". The fourth round pick is already running with the first team at strong safety, while Adam Archuleta moved to free safety in the offseason. The shift to FS means Archuleta will be tasked with calling defensive signals and making sure his teammates are in the right place on the field. "We've challenged him with that," Martz said. "It's not enough to know what you do; now you've got to have a grasp on everything going around you. That's the next level for Adam. I think it's fun for him, the mental part of it. He's up to the challenge. He's never studied in the past the way he needed to. Now he's all over that stuff."

B. (Premium Subscription) Stat Projections Updated
Don't draft your team based on projections from May or June. Check out our detailed stat projections that are current as of a few hours ago instead of projections that are months old.

C. Footballguys Draftsheets Are Ready For Ordering
We've been buried with email from folks inquiring about the Draft Boards we did last season. We're glad to say they're back and better than ever. It's a 4 foot by 6 foot draft board with pre printed player labels (color coded by position) that you use at your live draft to track all the players selected. If you've ever seen these in use, you know how much better it makes the draft flow. All this for less than a 20 dollar bill INCLUDING shipping. Draft Night is already one of the best nights of the year. Our Draft Sheets make it even better.

D. (Premium Subscription) My Team Feature Let's You Track YOUR Team
One of the coolest features we've added in quite a while is our "My Team". Click on the link above and you can select up to 25 players that you want to keep an eye on. A great way to watch "your" players.


INSIDE THIS ISSUE

1. PHI - WR Owens Misses Practice Again
2. OAK - QB Collins Expected To Lead
3. CAR - WR Gardner Making Big Plays - Colbert Still a Starter?
4. NYJ - QB Pennington Won't Play In Friday's Game
5. TB - PKs Impressive but France Standing Out
6. NYG - RB Jacobs Making Believers Out of Giants
7. DEN - RB Clarett Has MRI on Groin
8. BAL - RB Lewis Looks Strong in Workout
9. WAS - TE Cooley Impressing
10. PIT - Young RBs to See Bulk of Work In Preseason Game
11. CLE - RB Droughns Misses Time With Hamstring
12. IDP: NYJ - CB Law Signs Deal
13. DEN - Footballguys Training Camp

1. PHI - WR Owens Misses Practice Again

Clipped from Associated Press article

Philadelphia Eagles All-Pro wide receiver Terrell Owens missed practice Tuesday for the fourth time in five days because of a left groin injury.

Owens is day to day, and the injury isn't considered serious. He's had groin problems in the past.

Owens sat out practices last Friday and Saturday. He returned on Sunday for both the morning and afternoon sessions, but hasn't been on the field since.

Owens is unhappy the Eagles have refused to redo his contract as he enters the second season of a seven-year, $48.97 million deal.

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

Is this a big deal? No, not really. It's more of an aggravation than anything. The team says it's not serious. Andy Reid was adamant when Owens was injured that this was a "real" injury and he cautioned against anyone reading anything more into it. Todd Pinkston has been lost for the season and it looks like Greg Lewis will be the #2 across from Owens. Keep an eye on rookie Reggie Brown. He's been raising eyebrows in camp. From our Training Camp Update: When McNabb was asked about Brown, he praised his hands, route running ability and most importantly what he can do after the catch. "He has big play ability, and he's the type of guy who if you put the ball in his hands, he can make a couple guys miss," McNabb said. "If you give him the ball in a six yard route, he can take it the distance." Keep in mind that Brown, a rookie, went to Arizona with McNabb to work out in the offseason. Brown has a lot of work ahead of him as rookies have traditionally struggled in Andy Reid's offense, but Brown is off to a good start so far.

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2. OAK - QB Collins Expected To Lead

Clipped from: Mercury News article by Tim Kawakami

This isn't Randy Moss' team, unless he figures out how to throw himself 65-yard touchdown rainbows. The Raiders surely aren't Warren Sapp's team or Charles Woodson's team, and they're not Rich Gannon's team anymore.

Kerry Collins knows exactly who has to be the man on this team, run the show and take responsibility for its rise or fall, up from 5-11 or back to the bottom again.

He spent the whole off-season knowing, and Gannon's retirement announcement last weekend only put an exclamation on it: Collins borrowed the keys for 13 starts last year after Gannon's injury; this year he owns the thing.

"It's unfortunate that Rich got hurt -- he was a heck of a guy and a heck of a competitor," Collins said after practice Monday morning. "But we all know things happen, and I know it's my team now. I know that I'm the guy that's going to make this thing go.

"I think there is more pressure, definitely. The expectations for me are high, and they should be. Just look at all the guys around me."

There's no question, Collins looks steadier, talks more freely and ambles around the practice field with more certainty and quiet command.

Collins was careful not to intrude on Gannon's well-earned turf last season, collecting points in the locker room after he was brought in as Gannon's soon-to-be replacement.

This year, Collins sounded like a cool veteran when I asked if he and Moss have clicked yet on the practice field.

"I think his greatness is not going to be out here in practice," a smiling Collins said of Moss, never famous for over-exertion. "The guy rises up to the occasion at game time."

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

When Rich Gannon retired recently, Raiders owner Al Davis spoke glowingly at Gannon's press conference about what a leader Gannon had been and how well he represented the Raiders. Collins obviously took notice: "That was a really good experience for me, to see how Mr. Davis spoke about Rich," Collins said. "There's a lot of time between now and then hopefully, but I'd like to be talked about that way, especially by Mr. Davis, who gave me this opportunity." Another factor to consider with Collins is the fact he's known for a good while this is his team. And he has time in the offense. Randy Moss commented recently on how complex the Raider offense was compared to Minnesota's. An entire offseason for Collins to absorb the offense will likely be a big factor. On the downside, he's never been a guy to post gaudy numbers. His career high passing TD total is 22 back in 2000. Although to be fair, he did throw 21 TDs last year in just 13 starts. He does have a point regarding his surrounding cast, "Just look at all the guys around me." We'll be looking and watching.

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3. CAR - WR Gardner Making Big Plays - Colbert Still a Starter?

Clipped from the Pat Yasinskas article on Charlotte.com

Wide receiver Keary Colbert has been out with a hamstring injury since the middle of last week and Rod Gardner has looked good while working with the first team in his absence. But Fox said Tuesday that Colbert remains the starter.

"That's where he is on the depth chart now," Fox said. "They're competing. He's proven a year ago that we can trust him. Every year these guys have to re-prove themselves. He's a guy we're counting on and we feel good about, so we're anxious to get him back."

Fox said it's too early to say if Colbert will be available for Saturday's preseason opener against Washington. Ironically, the Panthers acquired Gardner in a trade with Washington just before the start of camp.

"He was a good get," Fox said. "I could see that early on. He's big, physical, he's not afraid to stick his nose in there. Every time I see him out there, he's making a big play. He's getting more and more comfortable day by day."

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

We've been watching this for a while. Back in the July 27 email update we wrote, "What Gardner has that Smith and Colbert don't is the big, physical receiver that they lost in Muhammad. Colbert is 6' 0" and Smith is a small guy at 5' 9". Gardner is 6' 2" and 213. He has been a disappointment the last two seasons, finishing 34th and 45th among fantasy WRs the last two seasons although he's flashed plenty of potential with a nice 1,006 yard / 8 TD season in 2002. Hopefully the change of address will do Gardner well. Let's watch how he fares in camp, but we wouldn't be surprised to see him see significant playing time across from Smith as the Panthers try to take advantage of his size." Colbert's hamstring injury may be the "crack in the door" Gardner needs to make a strong impression with the coaches. Steve Smith / Keary Colbert is a nice combo but Steve Smith / Rod Gardner is closer to the Steve Smith / Muhsin Muhammad combo the Panthers were excited about bringing into week 1 of the 2004 season. Colbert is still the starter but from John Fox's tone, it sounds like he'd better start producing.

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4. NYJ - QB Pennington Won't Play In Friday's Game

Clipped from the ESPN / AP article

Quarterback Chad Pennington and newly signed cornerback Ty Law will not play in the New York Jets' preseason opener against the Detroit Lions on Friday.

Coach Herman Edwards said on Tuesday that he wants to be careful with both, who are coming off serious injuries and working themselves back into game shape.

"We didn't want to take a chance to have a setback when everything was going so well," Pennington said.

The star quarterback is recovering from a torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder that caused him to miss minicamp and offseason training. Pennington has generally been alternating between days off and participating in afternoon practices after throwing in each of the first five days of camp, but practiced for the second straight day Tuesday.

"I think my shoulder is starting to respond now," he said.

Pennington practiced with his left calf wrapped up after he was accidentally spiked by a teammate during practice Monday, causing some bruising and swelling.

But Edwards said that had no affect on choosing to not play Pennington against Detroit.

"That decision was made about three months ago," Edwards said.

"In the first game, we'd play a maximum of two series," Pennington said. "Getting more practice reps and getting my shoulder in game shape is more important than going out there and taking any chances."

Backup Jay Fiedler will start Friday night's game at Giants Stadium and third-stringer Brooks Bollinger will follow. The Jets also have former free-agent rookie Kevin Eakin in camp.

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

Expect this story to create some panic but don't worry too much. The key phrase in the article is coach Edwards saying, "That decision was made about three months ago". Pennington has been progressing along nicely in camp and looks to be on target. Let's give it another week and see how he's looking for the next weekend before we get too worked up.

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5. TB - PKs Impressive but France Standing Out

Clipped from: buccaneers.com article

Maybe this year will be different for France. After all, he's only made 31 straight field goal tries on the Bucs' practice field. With the regularity and imperturbability of a metronome, the former Toledo kicker has swung his right leg and split the uprights at a rate that would rank him among the NFL's best were they recorded in the regular season.

"Thirty-one of 31; the last I checked, that's pretty good," said Head Coach, who has appreciated both kickers' work over the last week. "France is on a roll right now. These aren't just extra points; some of these are bombs from the 44, 48, 50-yard area. He's been good from all hashes."

"If this guy can come through or if it's Matt Bryant, so be it," said Gruden. "But we need to make dramatic improvement in our field-goal accuracy, and so far we like what we've seen out here in the last four or five days from both of them. But Todd France has definitely stood out."

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

Keep a close eye on this one as whoever wins this job will likely be a decent kicker that you can grab in the last round. Matt Bryant is having a great camp as well making every field goal attempt in the last three days. But listening to Gruden, it sounds like he's favoring France a bit. Watch the games closely as you can be sure that the coach wants to see how the guys perform under the pressure of a game and a crowd.

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6. NYG - RB Jacobs Making Believers Out of Giants

Clipped from: AP / ESPN article

While the rest of the New York Giants offense struggles to find continuity and consistency during training camp, Brandon Jacobs creates a stir among spectators at the University at Albany whenever he touches the ball.

Giants players sit up and take notice, too, when the 6-foot-4, 265-pound rookie rumbles through the line or outraces a defensive back down the sideline.

"He's like Jeremy Shockey was in his rookie year: you couldn't wait for him to get the ball in his hands," said Tiki Barber, whose job at running back Jacobs could take some day.

Jacobs, a fourth-round draft pick, arrived with far less fanfare than Shockey, who played at Miami and was selected in the first round by the Giants in 2002. Where the outspoken Shockey made his presence felt immediately at his first training camp, Jacobs is quiet almost to a fault, offering a glimpse into his thoughts only when prodded by questioners.

It is on the field where his self-confidence is greatest, apparently. In a drill this week, he was caught momentarily off-balance and knocked down by veteran safety Shaun Williams, who weighs 45 pounds less.

"I said, 'Nice hit," Jacobs said. "And I said, 'That'll never happen again."

While Jacobs' combination of size and speed are a revelation to people who haven't seen him play before, they weren't enough to persuade the teams holding the first 109 picks in the NFL Draft to select him. The Giants selected him at 110, and may have gotten one of the steals of the draft.

Jacobs was taken low because most of his yards in college were at Southern Illinois, after he transferred from Auburn where he played behind top-five draft picks Carnell Williams and Ronnie Brown. It is a decision Jacobs stands by.

"I wanted to play," he said. "I knew I had a chance to play in the NFL, and I wanted a chance to show people what I could do."

Barber has been one of Jacobs' biggest boosters on the team, and has been impressed by the rookie's off-field attention to detail.

"He can definitely be an impact player for us. The best thing is that he's eager to learn. He asks me a lot of questions. He cares about learning the ins and outs of the game."

Jacobs will get his first chance to prove himself against live competition Saturday night when the Giants visit Cleveland for their first preseason game.

Coach Tom Coughlin has been sparing in his praise for Jacobs, no doubt wanting to keep the growing hype to a manageable level. But he lauded Jacobs' performances in daily practice and during the joint sessions with the New York Jets Saturday, particularly in short-yardage situations.

"He certainly has been impressive. He's got a ways to go, he's got to stay down and protect his legs more. He can't run straight up in the air, not at the goal line; you'll get rejected no matter how big you are. But I'm encouraged by what I've seen."

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

Another day, another Brandon Jacobs hype article... At 265 pounds with speed and power, he could be tough to handle if he gets his technique honed. Listen to coach Coughlin about the right technique, it won't matter how big or strong he is if he can't get his pads down. He'll be a guy we're watching very closely in the preseason games to see if he can live up to the hype coming out of camp.

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7. DEN - RB Clarett Has MRI on Groin

Clipped from: AP article

Maurice Clarett missed another practice Tuesday while he had an MRI on his sore right groin.

The rookie third-round draft pick has missed several of Denver's training camp practices with injuries. He was listed fifth at running back on the depth chart released this week by the Broncos, the first of the season behind Mike Anderson, Tatum Bell, Quentin Griffin and Ron Dayne.

"It's the same thing. The groin's sore," coach Mike Shanahan said. "Hopefully it's not too serious, but if it is, we'll take the proper procedure to heal it."

Clarett, the last player taken in the third round, has a contract filled with incentives, making the injury even more important. The deal did not include a signing bonus.

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

It's a crowded running back corps in Denver and Clarett can't afford to fall very far behind. The more pertinent story is that Mike Anderson is hanging on tightly to the #1 RB spot. Tatum Bell is hovering in the wings but for now, it looks like Anderson.

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8. BAL - RB Lewis Looks Strong in Workout

Clipped from: Jamison Hensley article in Baltimoresun.com

Jamal Lewis sprinted several times along the back of the end zone Tuesday, another pivotal step in his attempt to distance himself from his federal drug conspiracy sentence.

A week removed from his release from an Atlanta halfway house, the Ravens running back returned to the practice field for the first time since the end of last season, professing fresh legs and a fresh start.

"It's been hanging over my head for the last five seasons," said Lewis, who pleaded guilty in October to using a cell phone to try to set up a cocaine deal in 2000. "It's just a great weight off my back so I can move forward. If I could accomplish what I did over the last five years under the circumstances, hopefully there are better years to come.

"It's like starting brand new right now."

The Ravens will assimilate Lewis back slowly into football after an offseason that included four months in federal prison, two months in a halfway house and surgery on his ankle.

Lewis, who was limited to a conditioning workout Tuesday, could have some carries in contact drills Wednesday. The earliest he would play in the preseason would be the second game, Aug. 20 against the Philadelphia Eagles.

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

It sounds like the biggest challenge will be keeping Lewis from trying to do too much too soon. He definitely appears motivated. "Without any question, we got a guy that's on a mission," running backs coach Matt Simon said. "He's out to prove that [he] hasn't done yet what he wants to do. In his mind, it's like, 'Whatever the numbers have been, you ain't seen the best of Jamal yet.'" That's a pretty tall order because what we've seen of Lewis in the past is pretty darn good. Better than that would be scary. .

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9. WAS - TE Cooley Impressing

Clipped from: Washingtontimes.com article by Ryan O'Halloran

With a better grasp of coach Joe Gibbs' offense and an offseason spent improving his speed and route running, Cooley wants to become a downfield threat.

"I want to stretch the field," he said. "I'm a lot quicker -- I'm out there running routes on safeties, and I can see them stumbling when I'm making my breaks."

The improved speed also will benefit Cooley when he's lined up as a receiver.

"Our H-back position is a hybrid where you have to be an excellent blocker and you have to be able to win in the passing game," (Offensive coordinator, Don) Breaux said. "And we feel comfortable enough to split him out -- you're going to see him out there sometimes, and we'll utilize him as we would our receivers.

"We're counting on him to be a major part of our passing game."

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

Cooley's not a guy that grabs a lot of attention but he's quietly positioning himself for an excellent season. He's brought his blocking up to par with his receiving skills. And that means more time on the field. Tight ends coach Rennie Simmons said. "Toughness and strength. [Cooley] shows a lot of strength, even though he's labeled as an 'H' back, and he's doing a really good job in the passing game, but he's as good a blocker. He's doing a real good job blocking. I think if he continues to improve on that, he's one of those guys that could stay in there on all packages."

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10. PIT - Young RBs to See Bulk of Work In Preseason Game

Clipped from: Post-gazette.com article by Ed Bouchette

Jerome Bettis steps into the No. 1 tailback spot while Duce Staley recovers from knee surgery, but three young backs likely will carry the load through the Steelers' four preseason games.

Verron Haynes, Willie Parker and rookie Noah Herron will get the brunt of the work in the preseason games because the Steelers do not want to overuse Bettis, 33.

"We'll just go with those guys," coach Bill Cowher said. "There's no set time at this point. I feel good about the guys we have there and the fact we'll get Duce back, and we'll be ready to roll."

Haynes, who had a arthroscopic knee surgery in the offseason, moves up to No. 2 with Staley out, but the coaches wanted to find ways to use Parker more, even before camp started.

"I was a little worried about Verron because he had some work done on his knee during the offseason," said Dick Hoak, who coaches the backs. "But he's not saying anything's bothering him. That's good.

"We'll play Willie more in the preseason. He's having a good camp. He has that thing none of the others have. He has that extra gear."

Herron's versatility attracted the Steelers to him. He's 5-11, 224 and rushed for 1,381 yards and 14 touchdowns at Northwestern last season. He also caught 36 passes.

"Noah's doing well," Hoak said. "He's picking everything up. He's a smart kid. ... He can catch the ball, run with the ball, blocks. He's a solid player. He's not a burner, but he's solid."

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

It looks like we'll get to see how these guys perform in a live game situation. Haynes is the safer choice to see action should Staley miss significant playing time. But let's see what Parker does in the game. He's the most physically gifted. He can fly when he wants to. Plus, you can be the guy saying you've been talking about Fast Willie since last season...

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11. CLE - RB Droughns Misses Time With Hamstring

Clipped from: clevelandbrowns.com article by Jack Jackson

Droughns has been out five days due to a sore hamstring, but Crennel said he's hopeful to have him back this week. Osika suffered a recurrence of an inflamed toe.

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

Lee Suggs gains valuable practice reps with every practice that Droughns misses. We're also watching William Green who appears to have finally gotten his life turned around. Watch to see if Droughns returns this as was hoped.

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12. IDP: NYJ - CB Law Signs Deal

Clipped from: nytimes.com article by Karen Crouse

Cornerback Ty Law agreed to a multiyear deal with the Jets late last night, according to his publicist, Elita Lee.

Law, the four-time Pro Bowl selection who was released by the New England Patriots in February, sustained a left foot injury in a game at Pittsburgh on Oct. 31 andfinished the 2004 season on the injured reserve list.

Law, 31, said his surgically repaired foot was healed. He is expected to fill the starting void created last month by the retirement of Donnie Abraham.

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

NFL Network's Adam Schefter reported an interesting insight in that Law did not sign the contract until late that night. It could have been a risky situation as Law was posing for all the photo ops while other teams were urging him not to sign. It's a moot point now as he's in camp and ready to go. The issue will of course be his health. If Law can get back to his early form, the Jets got a great deal.

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13. DEN - Footballguys Training Camp

Our Footballguys Staff Writer Cecil Lammey is flashing his Press Pass at Bronco's camp.

The Broncos had one practice today before they head off to Houston. A new depth chart was released and there are still several starting spots up for grabs. Here's what I saw:

Jake Plummer is showing no ill effects from his ankle injury. He was throwing on the run with good accuracy and touch. He had a pass intercepted on a deep route by Darrent Williams. The little man showed some hops and went up for a pass intended for Ashley Lelie.

Bradlee Van Pelt has bounced back with a couple of nice days of practice since his poor performance on Saturday. He made a nice scrambling throw to Todd Devoe, it was a little high, but Devoe went up and got it. Rod Smith had this to say about Van Pelt's progress: "He's working hard. At times, he's a little confused. There are a lot of words to describe him, but at the same time, he's a competitor. That's what I like. He's one of those guys... We call him scrappy. He's going to do whatever he can to try and make plays and make things happen. At that position, that's what you have to have. At the same time, you've got to be calm and be poised. He's going to be put under the fire real early. That's good because the games count, but they don't count. They count from the standpoint of the leaders of this football team seeing who's going to go to war with us, who's going to fight with us and how they play in a situation when it's tough for them - when it's 100 degrees, when we're down by three, and we need to make plays -especially the quarterback because he touches the ball a lot on offense. This is a time to test a lot of guys, you know we test ourselves as veterans; we make sure that we push ourselves and get better."

The backup QB spot is going to be decided by preseason games. Van Pelt now has a firm hold on the #2 spot, but will need a consistent preseason to stay there. Kanell is 3rd string and Mauck is 4th string. Matt Mauck has a much stronger arm than Kanell, so he will need to have a strong preseason showing to help move up the depth chart.

Mike Anderson has been great in the goal line drills. He has been running with great authority between the tackles, and lowering his head for the tough yards.

Tatum Bell has been up and down recently in camp. As the Broncos prepare to head off to Houston, Bell had a nice showing this morning. Perhaps going back to Texas (he's from Dallas) will help motivate Bell to the next level.

Quentin Griffin is listed as 3rd string. The Broncos believe that his change of pace skills separate him from Dayne. Griffin could also be relied upon in kick/punt return duty if needed.

Ron Dayne has been tough to bring down running up the middle. His spot as the 4th string RB might serve as a spark to Dayne in the preseason.

Maurice Clarett had an MRI on his injured groin, although the results were not immediately known. Here's what Coach Shanahan had to say, "His groin is sore. We had an MRI today and we haven't got the results from the MRI. We'll find out how serious it is. Hopefully it's not too serious, but if it is, we'll take the proper procedures of healing. His hamstring is a little tight. He came out here yesterday and felt pretty good, but it tightened up so we kept him out today. Hopefully he'll practice against Houston tomorrow."

Rod Smith had a good practice this morning, and had some thoughts about practicing in the Houston heat: "That's the way it's going to be when we play in Miami. So it's a good test for us when we play Miami because that's what everything is building toward... that first regular season game. It's going to be hot, and it's going to be humid. Guys are going to be tired. You are going to see some guys with IVs. It's a great deal for us. It's one of those times you test the guys, test your endurance, test your workouts and the things you've done this offseason." He also had some other comments about playing/practicing Houston: "You know what? We've been going really hard since I can't remember. We've been going at it with each other. This is the first step, this test to see if all the work you've put in is going to pay off because you're going to get someone that hits hard everyday. I think everybody is excited. We're going out there to have fun, work hard, but at the same time, be safe and make sure we don't hurt any of their players and none of our players get hurt and learn and see what kind of football team we're going to have."

"This is football. People get hit. People get pushed. People get kicked and tripped and all that. It's just about who has a level head and understands this is part of the business. If there's a cheap shot or something like that, I expect a guy to retaliate. If I did it to one of them, I'd expect him to do something. It's just the nature of the beast. We don't play dirty football, and I'm sure they don't. You're going to have some tempers because it's part of the deal, but at the same time, you have to keep a level head and make sure you don't do anything to hurt your team. If it was a game, you get fined or get penalties. Those things hurt your team. Our group is really... It's something we stress each and every day. We don't expect there to be any kind of deals going on. We want to go out there and get a lot of good work in, a lot of physical work, a lot of hard work. At the same time, we want to get in a lot of safe work. That's what we're looking forward to."

Ashley Lelie had a couple of nice deep catches today. One on a fade route, the other on a fade stop. His over the middle route running has still been improving.

Triandos Luke actually showed up again today. Making a nice leaping catch on the sidelines from Van Pelt.

Rod Smith had some comments on the Broncos young WR's: "You expect a lot out of the guys that get a lot of reps. I think we might play a quarter and then you see them for three quarters. The whole time I'm sitting there in their ear making sure that they understand their technique and use those techniques that we've worked on since March. You just want to see someone compete because you're not going to win them all. We're going against one of the best defenses in the league. You're not going to win each and every time, but you have to win a majority of them. That's how you stay in this business. That's how you keep your job. Not only are there jobs on the line, but it's still a game. You've got to learn it's a game - a game we've played all our lives as kids. You've got to go out there with that mentality. I'm going out here with a bunch of my friends to play a game and have fun. As long as you're having fun, you tend to make plays along the way. That's what I want to see - see guys sticking their nose in there on the run and helping our backs get out and just pushing downfield and doing the things they got to do. You want to see them smiling during the game because that way you know they are enjoying themselves. You don't want it to be an intense where my job is on the line type situation because you can't play in those uptight moments."

Coach Shanahan answered these questions after the morning session:

On defensive tackle Gerard Warren's hamstring injury: "I think he will be able to go tomorrow. He said that he could have played a game today. We just kept him out for the obvious reasons, but he should be able to practice tomorrow against Houston, which will be a big plus for us."

On practicing against the Houston Texans: "Any time you go through a couple of weeks of two-a-days, it's always nice to practice against somebody else because you get to know you're players inside and out. It's a little different atmosphere. You get a chance to compete against not only different players but different schemes, different systems... Kind of get out of here for a little bit. I think it's a big plus for them a s well (Houston)."

On most of the players knowing what to expect in Houston: "A third of you're team changes every year, so there are a number of players that have not been done there. Playing Miami the first game and Jacksonville the fourth game, it'll be nice to practice in that type of heat and that type of humidity.

On whether the intensity will pick up against Houston: "It's very natural once you go against somebody else for the intensity to pick up. You have to be smart in the way you handle yourself and the way the players practice..... You want to protect each other but you still want to be productive."

The Broncos have 4 more training camp dates in Denver, starting next Monday. I will be out there to give you all the latest!

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That'll do it for today, Folks. Have a great day and we'll see you tomorrow with the update.

J

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