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Volume 6, Issue 27 (Sunday, May 15th)

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Hi Folks,

Welcome to a new week and we're ready to roll. Lots of mini camps are opening this week and we'll be here to keep you on top of everything. Thanks to our Mike Brown for rounding up these stories tonight. Let's get to it.



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1. GB - WR Ferguson Has Sights Set On Comeback 2. TEN - Team In Good Hands With WR Bennett 3. SF - QB Alex Smith Close On Contract 4. PHI - Can QB McNabb Hear Sour Notes? 5. CIN - All Starters Returning 6. Possible Destinations For WR Mitchell 7. IDP: Interested Parties In CB Law 8. IDP: Possible Destinations For LB Boulware


1. GB - WR Ferguson Has Sights Set On Comeback

Clipped from: Houston Chronicle Article by John McClain 5/15/05

Packers receiver Robert Ferguson came home to Houston to find a cure for the severe headaches that had plagued him since the vicious hit that was delivered in December by Jaguars safety Donovin Darius.

After consulting with three doctors to find a cure for his headaches, Ferguson decided to try Lasik surgery on both eyes last month. It was performed in Houston by Dr. Slade Baker. After the surgery, Ferguson's vision was perfect, and his headaches disappeared.

"It's an amazing difference," Ferguson said. "I should have done it long ago. I'm ready to roll."

If Javon Walker, the team's leading receiver, continues to hold out for a new contract in training camp, Ferguson should be elevated to start opposite Donald Driver, another Houston native.

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Ferguson's value for 2005 is directly tied into Javon Walker's contract situation. If Walker's situation drags on through the summer and into training camp, and Ferguson shows the team that he can be productive enough as a starter, then the team could very well prepare themselves to move on without Walker. Don't forget, Ferguson was a very highly-touted receiver coming into the league, so the skills are there. Often times, players like that need only to get an opportunity.


2. TEN - Team In Good Hands With WR Bennett

Clipped from: Associated Press Article by Teresa M. Walker 5/15/05

Drew Bennett knows his story sounds so unlikely even Hollywood wouldn't buy it. A college quarterback turned receiver who essentially walks onto an NFL team and winds up four seasons later as the No. 1 receiver?

"I would've been like, 'Whatever. Dream on,' " Bennett said.

But that's exactly what Bennett has become as the Titans prepare for their first full minicamp this offseason, which begins Tuesday. Tennessee released Derrick Mason, the NFL's leading receiver in 2004, for salary-cap reasons in February and in April decided to use its first two draft picks on other positions.

That leaves Bennett as the most experienced receiver in terms of years and starts on the roster, and even he thinks it has been an amazing run.

Based on his performance in 2004, the 6-foot-5, 206-pound Bennett should be ready to take over. He had a team-leading 1,247 yards and 11 touchdowns, and his 80 receptions were second only to Mason's league-leading 96.

But nine touchdowns and 593 of those yards came in the final five games with quarterback Steve McNair sidelined by a painful sternum that needed surgery before the season finale and backup Billy Volek throwing. Like Bennett, Volek came into the NFL undrafted before playing his way onto the roster.

Bennett doesn't expect any problems because he said both quarterbacks can make every throw.

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Drew Bennett defined the "out of nowhere" receiver last year, compiling gaudy stats during the stretch drive of the fantasy season. He's interesting coming into this season, because the reason for his productivity is something of an unknown. Bennett had a big advantage in that he had Derrick Mason attracting attention on the other side of the field. With Mason now in Baltimore, it remains to be seen if Tyrone Calico and company can provide enough of a threat to keep double teams off of Bennett. Bennett obviously has talent to produce at a high level, but after having only done it once, and now losing his counterpart, you might want to think twice about investing too high a pick on Bennett.


3. SF - QB Alex Smith Close On Contract

Clipped from Boston Globe article by Nick Cafardo 5/15/05

Tom Condon, who represents top draft pick Alex Smith, said as of Thursday that he and the 49ers were in ''the language phase" of the contract negotiations, meaning that the numbers had just about been agreed upon.

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It's good to see a high pick get things done quickly, rather than lingering on and on through camp. It's recently been announced that Smith may very well get a shot at the starting job, and the quicker he signs on the dotted line and gets to work with his teammates, the better his chances of starting become.


4. PHI - Can QB McNabb Hear Sour Notes?

Clipped from Philadelphia Inquirer article by Stephen A. Smith 5/15/05

Here's the worst kept secret in the Eagles' locker room: Owens isn't too fond of McNabb. He believes McNabb is a company man, a player who marches purely to Reid's tune. Someone who tows the company line, gets paid handsomely to do so, even when he's unwittingly exploited by Reid and Co. to keep the rest of the troops in line.

Terrell Owens didn't speak kindly of McNabb in the weeks following the Eagles' Super Bowl loss to the New England Patriots. Freddie Mitchell didn't speak highly of McNabb, either, before his unceremonious exit at the behest of the franchise.

And although Todd Pinkston, Greg Lewis or anyone else on the offensive side of the ball wouldn't dare speak out against McNabb - at least if they intend to continue working for this organization - no one has actually stepped to the front of the line to speak on McNabb's behalf, either.

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This could all be nothing. Or it could be everything. Terrell Owens and Jeff Garcia never enjoyed the greatest relationship, but their on-field production together was tremendous. For a while. Towards the end of Owens' San Francisco tenure, the acrimony between the two did actually affect the on-field performance. It remains to be seen if this business in Philly is just a blip on the radar or something more. But the fact is, you never want to hear things like this, even if most of it is just speculation. McNabb is an All-Pro talent in his own right, and the article mentions how close the Eagles were to a Super Bowl on several occasions even without Owens. Implication of course being that he was not, is not, and may never be the "missing piece" to the Eagles' championship puzzle. Whether stories like this one end up meaning a lot or a little, we will find out down the road. We're leaning towards it meaning nothing right now, but it's something we're watching.


5. CIN - All Starters Returning

Clipped from Cincinnati Enquirer article by Mark Curnutte 5/14/05

The signing of center Rich Braham to a two-year contract on Friday leaves the Bengals with all 11 starters from last season returning on what should be a high-scoring offense in 2005.

Palmer, Johnson, Houshmandzadeh and two-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Chad Johnson are all under contract with the Bengals through at least the 2008 season.

The 2004 Bengals scored 374 points, their most in a single season since the 1989 team scored 404.

The 2004 Bengals were 10th in the NFL in scoring with an average of 23.4 points a game, and could add Warrick and running back Chris Perry to their mix of talented skilled players.

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The Bengals had a rough schedule last year and still managed to turn in fantasy production from a number of key positions. With everyone returning for 2005, meaning familiarity and cohesion should be there from the start, we expect big things out of the Cincinnati offense. Chad and Rudi Johnson should remain stalwarts at their respective positions, and we've projected increases from nearly everyone on Cincinnati across the board offensively.


6. Possible Destinations For WR Mitchell

Clipped from Trenton Times article by Mark Eckel 5/15/05

While Washington and Denver have been the teams mentioned most to sign former Eagles wide receiver Freddie Mitchell, don't count out Tennessee and Kansas City. The Titans have just two experienced wide receivers on their roster - Drew Bennett and Tyrone Calico. Kansas City, where Mitchell's agent, Tom Condon, is based, made a push for Kevin Johnson, but lost out to Detroit. Mitchell shouldn't cost more than the league minimum, which is the right price for the Chiefs.

If Mitchell does sign with Kansas City, he would be reunited with his former draft classmate, linebacker Quinton Caver, as well as John Welbourn, who also talked his way out of Philadelphia.

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The last thing we want to do is hype Freddie Mitchell. He's been much more productive as a speaker than as a receiver thus far in his NFL career, and hasn't come anywhere near living up to his draft position. That said, we'll always keep an eye out for talent. He was taken in the first round by the Eagles several years ago, so we know that there is at least some ability there. It's likely that whoever signs him this year is merely looking to add depth, but if he can latch on somewhere as a WR3 and injuries occur, he could see himself on the field fairly often. There are a lot of "ifs" there so don't go spending a draft pick on Mitchell, but it can never hurt to keep an eye out for any potentially promising situations. Denver, Kansas City, and Tennessee are all potentially good situations.


7. IDP: Interested Parties In CB Law

Clipped from Boston Globe article by Nick Cafardo 5/15/05

Ty Law visited the Lions and Dolphins this past week. According to Carl Poston, the other teams that have called expressing interest are the Colts, Jets, Buccaneers, Chiefs, Jaguars, and Steelers. The Chiefs are interested in a one-year deal, but that, according to Poston, won't get it done.

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There are obviously a bunch of teams interested in Law, and this list could grow as players get injured, don't perform, etc. Law is smartly waiting until A) He gets completely into shape, and B) There are as many teams bidding for him as possible. At this point, it's a tough read to see where he will end up because no one is tipping their hand just yet. Each of these teams has a glaring need for a player of Law's abilities, and he could very well provide the type of presence that they all need to get over the hump.


8. IDP: Possible Destinations For LB Boulware

Clipped from

Potential destinations for Boulware because of his connections may include: Cincinnati (Marvin Lewis), Jacksonville (Jack Del Rio), San Francisco (Mike Nolan) or Seattle, where younger brother, Michael Boulware, plays strong safety.

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Boulware endured an injury-plagued season in 2004. In fact, he didn't play a single game for the team, which was the main reason for the Ravens cutting him loose. At this point, Boulware is likely a situational pass-rusher, meaning he'll need to find himself in the right system and the right situation to have a ton of value. If a team gambles on him as an every-down player, it will certainly increase his value but Boulware will need to remain on the field to see any of that value come to fruition. We'll keep you updated on any potential scenarios he may find himself in.


That'll do it for today, Folks. Thanks for reading and we'll see you tomorrow with the update.


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