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Volume 6, Issue 32 (Friday, May 20th)

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Hi Folks,

Hope you're having a great weekend. Thanks to our Chris Smith for
rounding up these stories tonight. Let's jump to it.

J

/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/

INSIDE THIS ISSUE

1. N.O. - RB McAllister Limited By Injury And Conditioning A Season Ago
2. TEN - RB Brown Continues To Be An Injury Concern; Team Interested In RB Henry
3. GB - WR Walker States His Case, Hold Out Possible
4. KC - Q&A With Head Coach Dick Vermeil
5. JAX - RB Toefield Gets Chance To Show His Stuff
6. MIA - QB Frerotte Has Advantage Over QB Feeley
7. SD - WR Caldwell Carefree On Rebuilt Knee
8. KC - RB Holmes Healthy and Ready To Go
9. CHI - Rookie QB Orton's Potential Too Good To Ignore
10. MIA - Offensive Line Has Made Improvements
11. BAL - It's New Day For TE Trent Smith
12. IND - RB James Misses The Start Of Training Camp
13. IDP: MIA - DT Bowens, DT Chester Situations Are Up In The Air
14. IDP: TEN - CB Woolfolk Turns The Corner
15. IDP: ATL - LB Hartwell Is A Tenacious Competitor
16. IDP: KC - Linebackers Going Places Fast In Kansas City

/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/

1. N.O. - RB McAllister Limited By Injury And Conditioning A Season Ago

Clipped from: The Advocate article by Sheldon Mickles

RB Deuce McAllister is hoping to work out a new contract with the team
before training camp begins July 29. The rookie contract he signed in
2001 was scheduled to expire after the 2006 season, but the final year
of the deal was voided. Even that will come in due time, he said.
McAllister mentioned the possibility of holding out of training camp
or the regular season, but only if negotiations don't move forward in
a positive manner. He said he's leaving that up to agent Ben Dogra and
Saints General Manager Mickey Loomis.

"I'm just enjoying this right now," he said. "I'm trying to recover
and get back to 100 percent. This is the only time of the year that a
running back is 100 percent, so I'm looking forward to the season."

Getting healthy and remaining healthy are the only goals McAllister is
concerned with right now. He missed two games and all but one series
of another in 2004 after spraining an ankle in the second game, which
slowed him the rest of the year. The ankle injury kept McAllister from
using his speed and explosive power and resulted in just 1,074 rushing
yards. In the previous two seasons, the five-year veteran piled up
1,388 and 1,641 yards, respectively. Saints coach Jim Haslett cited
McAllister's conditioning and productivity last year as reasons for
dismissing running backs coach Dave Atkins and replacing him with
former Green Bay Packers coach Johnny Roland. Because of the injury,
McAllister said he couldn't keep his conditioning up which kept him
from peaking around the middle of the schedule and the latter part of
the season.

"That (Haslett's words) doesn't bother me because everybody has their
opinion of this, that or the other," McAllister said. "Whether it was
positive or negative, you take it in stride and you continue to go
about your business. Some of it may have been said out of frustration,
some of it may have been actually true. I know I go out there and put
it on the field every week whether I'm 90 percent or 100 percent
(healthy). I'm going to put whatever I've got out there."

Haslett knows he'll get that from McAllister, but said the bruising
237-pounder needs to be more decisive hitting the hole than he was a
year ago.

"He needs to use that big body and run through plays," Haslett said.
"We'll run the ball a little bit more than last year, but that might
mean Antowain (Smith) and Aaron Stecker will get more carries. We want
(McAllister) to take advantage of the holes, take what you can get. If
somebody gets in your way, run them over."
McAllister agrees with Haslett.

"He's the coach and I'm going to listen," he said. "It's criticism in
a positive way. He has his outlook on plays and I'm going to have my
outlook on plays, that's why I have to play my game. On certain plays,
I know what he's talking about as far as going and getting those 3 or
4 yards. But on certain plays I'm looking for that home run because
that's what a back looks for. You're not looking to take it the
distance every play, but a great back is always going to want to take
it 40, 50 or 60 yards."

McAllister isn't worried about getting the contract done because he's
confident both sides will reach an agreement soon.

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

Deuce McAllister has the talent to be a top-three fantasy back if he
can stay healthy. The Saints feature a wide-open offensive attack
that will keep defenses honest and McAllister will find holes to
exploit. His conditioning was weak last season thanks to his injury
woes and he realizes both his conditioning and his durability must be
improved to help the Saints reach the next level. We think McAllister
could be poised for a big season in 2005.


/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/

2. TEN - RB Brown Continues To Be An Injury Concern; Team Interested In RB Henry

Clipped from: The Tennessean article by Jim Wyatt

The questions won't go away. Until Titans running back Chris Brown
proves he can avoid injuries, they probably never will. During Brown's
rookie season, everyone wanted to know about his bum hamstring. Last
year it was his ankle, then his shoulder, and finally a toe. Now it's
his right hand. Brown has shown that he can run past NFL defenders. He
just can't sidestep the injury bug. His latest ailment is a fractured
right hand, suffered in Wednesday's minicamp practice. Titans Coach
Jeff Fisher said yesterday that Brown will wear a cast for 4-6 weeks,
but should be back at full strength when training camp starts in July.

Maybe some of Brown's injuries have been due to bad luck. Whatever the
reason, those injuries have given him a bad rap.

Last year he became just the second running back in NFL history to
rush for more than 100 yards in each of his first three starts. His
average yards per carry (4.9) was the best among NFL backs with more
than 1,000 yards. But the player who excites fans and coaches with his
running ability has also missed 10 games in two seasons. The Titans
are concerned enough about Brown's capacity to be an every-down back
that they've remained in contact with the Buffalo Bills about the
possibility of acquiring running back Travis Henry.

"If Chris is going to be unable to carry the load we have to be smart
about that," Titans General Manager Floyd Reese said. "And maybe the
combination of him and other guys will allow you to get it done
instead of putting all the pressure on Chris.''

Although Reese has publicly downplayed his efforts to trade for Henry,
who is unhappy with his situation in Buffalo, the Titans and Bills
have been discussing a deal since the April 23-24 NFL Draft. Their
most recent conversation was earlier this week. The Bills have
remained firm in their demand of a third-round pick for Henry, but so
far the Titans haven't been willing to go that high.

"We have no control over that, that is all their deal,'' Reese said of
the Bills. "I don't think it is their No. 1 priority to let him go right now.
I think the owner really likes the guy, the GM likes the guy and they
are probably saying this is a player who can help us.''

The soft-spoken Brown, meanwhile, started yet another recovery period
yesterday. He said he's aware of the talk about Henry, the former
University of Tennessee star who has rushed for 3,849 yards in four
NFL seasons.

"That's what they do in the front office," Brown said. "They do what
is best for the team and you always need a good guy to come in and
help in the back-up role. It doesn't bother me at all. It's just
competition.''

Brown said he plans to keep working. Last offseason he was among the
first players to report to Baptist Sports Park. Coaches said he works
out hard, has been committed to the offseason training program and
does what is asked of him when it comes to speeding his recovery from
injuries. On the field, he knows the offense and all his assignments.

Coaches consider him the model player in that regard.
Said Fisher: "We just need him to stay on the field.''

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

The good news with Chris Brown is he has the talent, athleticism and
work ethic necessary to be an elite player in the NFL. The bad news
is his durability woes are hard to ignore and well documented. He has
had problems staying healthy through each game, let alone an entire
season. Whether he becomes an elite fantasy force or an afterthought
will likely depend on his health over the next couple of seasons.
Much like former NFL running back Tim Biakabutuka, it is not always
enough to have great football skills if you can't stay healthy on game
day. It is still very early into his professional career and he could
certainly put these durability questions behind him with a full season
or two but for now you have to mark your projections of him with a red
flag. Henry would give the Titans a very interesting one, two punch
at the running back position. It would be bad for fantasy football
but potentially very good for the Titans organization.

/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/

3. GB - WR Walker States His Case, Hold Out Possible

Clipped from: Packers Plus online article by Bob Wolfley

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Javon Walker, who is holding out for a
better contract, took his case before a national television audience
Thursday when he was interviewed on ESPN's "Rome is Burning" show with
Jim Rome. Walker, who has two years left on his contract, told Rome he
"should be paid as one of the top five receivers in the league."

When asked about holding out, presumably from training camp in July,
Walker said: "That could be a possibility. I'm thinking, hopefully, we
can get something worked out. As of right now, we'll just take it one
day at a time and see what happens."

Walker said he was prepared for a quick resolution or a prolonged battle.
"I'm doing what I need to do to stay in shape, just in case there's a
turnaround," Walker said. "Green Bay (hasn't) really made too much
(of) an effort to try and renegotiate. I'm just going to sit back and
see what happens. I'm going to stick to my guns just like they're
going to stick to theirs."

Walker said he was not worried about quarterback Brett Favre's
criticism of his strategy to force negotiation. He said he and Favre
had "never really" had an off-season, off-the-field conversation.

Rome asked Walker if he wanted to tell Favre his contract was none of
his business.

"I mean, the public will make that known," Walker said. "The public
will make it known."

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

There is no denying that WR Javon Walker has great potential when it
comes to putting up fantasy numbers but there are some big red flags
to at least stay aware of during this preseason. If he isn't signed
by mid-July, it could be possible he'll have an extended holdout
possibly moving receivers like Donald Driver and Robert Ferguson up a
peg or two in the organization's eyes. In all likelihood, Walker will
be signed, sealed and delivered to the Packers training camp with a
resolution to both parties. But for now, watch this situation with
great interest be ready to bump Driver and Ferguson up a few notches
in your rankings.

/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/

4. KC - Q&A With Head Coach Dick Vermeil

Clipped from: KCChiefs.com

Q: Any of the wide receivers sticking out?

VERMEIL: "Well Sammie Parker seems to make a play each day and Kris
Wilson made a couple plays today. The other kids have a ways to go. Of
course, Richard Smith was doing real well until he got hurt the other
day. We know Dante Hall was also doing well. Craphonso (Thorpe) has a
long ways to go and a lot of work to do, but all the stuff he is doing
well. The good part about the young kids is that they are all handling
the volume that we are giving them both offensively and defensively
very well."

Q: Does WR Sammie Parker have a good opportunity for substantial playing time?

VERMEIL: "Oh yeah. He has a chance at a starting job."

Q: What about (WR) Nathaniel Curry?

VERMEIL: "You know he has been real impressive. I think Nathaniel
first needs to think about making a practice squad. He has been
impressive though. There's no substitute for being bright. He is a
very, very bright student of Georgia Tech. He demonstrates it himself
here on the field everyday."

Q: It's the end of your first week of OTAs, talk about how you felt they went?

VERMEIL: "I thought they did a great job. You expect your veterans to
do a good job, but I have been very impressed with the young kids. I
am extremely impressed with the movement. We have some defensive speed
over there and it shows. Probably as pleasing as anything is seeing
some of those sophomores and juniors that have been here a while and
how much better they look today than they did a year ago. (LB) Keyaron
Fox is a much better football player today than he was a year ago.
(DT) Montique Sharpe, (T) Kevin Sampson, (T) Jordan Black and all
these other young players that look better, it just shows the benefit
of there hard work."

Q: What are you looking for from RB Priest Holmes while he is here?

VERMEIL: "We want to get his stamina built back up. You can see
physically that he is fine. He is probably stronger than he has ever
been in his life. We will probably have to take a few pounds off him
because he is so bulked up. But, we probably won't expect anything
more than 2,100 yards rushing and 29 touchdowns, nothing more than
that. (laughs)"

Q: Do you feel going into this season that it is now or never with the
team that you have assembled?

VERMEIL: "There are 16 guys from the original roster here and 21 guys
that have been here all four years and they feel like I do right now.
They know we have a job to do and we have to do the job better, that's
all there is too it."

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

There are many interesting tidbits in the information above. Keep
your eyes on rookie WR Craphonso Thorpe who could emerge as an Anquan
Boldin surprise if he can pick up the offense quickly. He was a
prominent force in college football until injuries struck but he has
the talent to start at the NFL level. Also it appears Sammie Parker
will get a chance at starting this year and Holmes is strong and ready
to go. The Chiefs offensive juggernaut should continue rolling on.

/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/

5. JAX - RB Toefield Gets Chance To Show His Stuff

Clipped from: Times-Union article by Vito Stellino

Carl Smith needed no introduction to running back LaBrandon Toefield
when he was named the Jaguars' offensive coordinator this year. Smith
said he's been watching Toefield for a long time. "I watched him at
LSU because my son went there and worked in the video department,''
Smith said.

And Smith likes what he's seen of the 5-foot-11, 232-pound Toefield.

"I loved him [when Toefield was at LSU] and I still do,'' Smith said.
''He's got quickness and he's got toughness. He's got size.

''He looks like a smaller back. But he's not. He was sitting there at
230 in college and, on the tape, when he gets hit, he's still coming.
He's going to get that next couple of yards. He's got terrific hands.
Catching the ball is not a problem for Toe. And he'll pick up a
blitzer and he'll go hit him in the face.''

The glowing recommendation helps explain why Smith made Toefield the
No.1 running back in the team's offseason program, while Fred Taylor
continues to nurse his knee injury. The way the Jaguars are lining up
for the 14 organized team activities, Toefield is the running back,
Greg Jones is the fullback and Chris Fuamatu-Ma'afala is backing up
both while fighting for a starting spot.

The Jaguars -- and Taylor -- insist that Taylor will be able to start
running next month and will be ready for the start of training camp on
Friday, July 29. Meanwhile, they're counting on Toefield to fill the
void. James Harris, the team's vice president of player personnel,
said the Jaguars haven't made any overtures to get an experienced back
such as Travis Henry of the Buffalo Bills. And Toefield couldn't be
more excited about his opportunity.

"When an opportunity comes, you've got to be ready,'' he said. ''I'm
ready now and the opportunity is there. I've got to make the best of
it. If Fred can't go, then I'm the guy.''

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

Don't be surprised to see LaBrandon Toefield get some significant
playing time in 2005. The Jaguars appear to like this kid quite a bit
and he has always had the talent to do well at any level of football.
His durability issues have slowed his progress but he can certainly
come into a game and put up good numbers if given the chance. Of note
is Greg Jones continues to play at the fullback position despite Fred
Taylor's injury woes. It appears that Jones will not be given a look
at the halfback position and it will be a fight between Taylor,
Toefield and rookie Alvin Pearman.

/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/

6. MIA - QB Frerotte Has Advantage Over QB Feeley

Clipped from: Sun-Sentinel article by Harvey Fialkov

New Dolphins coach Nick Saban continues to insist that the starting
quarterback position will go to "whoever plays the best," but that
12-year veteran Gus Frerotte has a "little bit of an advantage" over
incumbent starter A.J. Feeley and Sage Rosenfels.

"Because he has a lot of knowledge and experience in this system,"
Saban said of Frerotte, who played under offensive coordinator Scott
Linehan the past two seasons in Minnesota.

"So he doesn't have the same learning curve that the other guys do,
but I certainly feel like all three of those guys have done a good
job."

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

This article is a reminder to make sure you don't rank either
quarterback for the Dolphins too highly in your cheatsheets at this
time. There are some potential playmakers on the offensive side of
the ball and the offensive line looks better but it is a toss up at
this time which player will start the year at quarterback and if he'll
keep the position once he does have it.

/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/

7. SD - WR Caldwell Carefree On Rebuilt Knee

Clipped from: North Country Times article by Jay Paris

The Charger collecting the most offseason ink is one skeptical of an
injury. But while rookie linebacker Shawne Merriman skips another
workout, wide receiver Reche Caldwell skips onto the field. Caldwell's
mind-set is going hard and letting the injury chips fall where they
may. If his rebuilt knee buckles, so be it.

"I feel like if I'm going to get hurt again, I'm going to do it by
going at full speed,'' Caldwell said. "I'll just go out and do it and
don't think about (the knee). Whatever happens, happens.''

Caldwell has been a work-in-progress since arriving in San Diego as a
2002 second-round draft pick. While enticed by his skills, the
Chargers were always waiting for him to blossom, to show the
production he did at the University of Florida. But the Sunshine State
product has carried a black cloud. There were grumblings about his
practice habits, about his consistency in running routes, in just
about everything he did. Last year, though, the light came on, and
Caldwell emerged from the dark. He was the Chargers' go-to wide
receiver until October, when he crumbled to the Georgia Dome turf in a
heap, clutching his right knee. He had snapped his anterior cruciate
ligament, ending what appeared to be his breakout season.

"I started off strong last year, then I tore my knee up," said
Caldwell, who had 18 catches for 310 yards and three touchdowns in his
six 2004 games. "Now I have to try and do it all over again and put up
the numbers and put up a good season this year."

It's now or never for Caldwell in the Chargers' minds. He's in the
final year of his contract and a perfect spot to erase those pointing
to his imperfections. Among the questions surrounding the AFC West
champions is their wide-receiver position. Not one wide receiver had
50 catches last year. The team has Keenan McCardell for a full season,
but he's 35 years old. Eric Parker is coming off his best showing, but
at 6-foot and 180 pounds, his durability is a question. Kassim Osgood
and Malcom Floyd are hopefuls. Vincent Jackson is a rookie. All of
which leaves the door open for Caldwell to burst through ---- his
rebuilt knee willing.

"I can do everything that I need to do,'' Caldwell said. "I just can't
do it as fast as I want to."

Caldwell estimates his knee is 90 percent healthy and that it will be
100 percent by July's training camp. Smith, and coach Marty
Schottenheimer, are upbeat about Caldwell's progress.

"It's fantastic and it's a good story,'' Smith said of Caldwell's
journey. "We are excited; he's had a great comeback. To his credit,
he's worked real hard in his rehabilitation, and it's paying off. So
far, he looks terrific."

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

WR Reche Caldwell will be an interesting pick in fantasy leagues this
season. He began to find his game last year and was on pace for more
than 800 yards and 8 touchdowns when he went down with injury. He is
the perfect mid-late round draft pick that could greatly exceed his
draft position if he can indeed return all the way back from injury.
QB Drew Brees and himself were building some nice chemistry and he
could perform as a great backup fantasy receiver for a fantasy squad
at the very least this season if the knee can reach 100% health.


/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/

8. KC - RB Holmes Healthy and Ready To Go

Clipped from: Kansas City Star article by Elizabeth Merrill

Priest Holmes refers to "The Body" as if it's a separate entity. The
body is holding up well. The body is down 7 pounds. When it is time
for Priest to call it quits, the body will tell him.

For a moment Thursday, it sounded as if Holmes was trying to hint at
something. Is the end near? It's year nine in the NFL for Holmes, the
Chiefs' veteran halfback. The knee that kept him out of the second
half of 2004 is covered in a large wrap that extends to his lower
calf. A few feet away from him, Larry Johnson, the young buck,
continues to show that he's healthy and ready to be a starting NFL
halfback.

"He's definitely going to be the new face for the Kansas City Chiefs,"
Holmes said. "And I'm excited to be here and to be able to leave that
legacy behind and give him the torch."

This handoff will have to wait. Holmes, 31, arrived in Kansas City
this week for offseason workouts, and coach Dick Vermeil said Holmes
is probably the strongest he's been his entire life. In a weight room
in Texas, Holmes bulked up to 222 pounds. Holmes, a 5-foot-9 Pro
Bowler, said he's dropped 7 of that in the last three weeks by laying
off the honey buns.

About 20 minutes into his second workout Thursday, Holmes showed the
burst that carried him to 892 yards in half of a season. He broke a
long run during an 11-on-11 drill, prompting a sideline observer to
shout, "How about that running back?"

Saunders now has two running backs capable of producing 1,000-yard
seasons. Before the knee injury, Holmes had run for at least 1,400
yards in his first three years with the Chiefs. Johnson, filling in
for Holmes, piled up 151 yards on 30 carries in a late-season game
against Denver. In a perfect world, Holmes envisions a one-two punch
like he had at Texas in 1996 with Ricky Williams. Johnson, who's more
of a pounding back, said he has no problem sharing snaps with Holmes.
Or watching the veteran give a few more lessons.

"He's here to help this team succeed," Johnson said, "and I'm here to
help extend his career even longer if he wants to stick around more.
I'm just here to be his backup and do everything I need to put myself
in position if he decides to either give it up or go down.

"It's real cool between us. We don't even talk about football that
much. That stuff kind of gets tiring."

Holmes said he won't be the type of player who hangs around when his
skills fade. He doesn't want to be the guy who holds on and struggles
to get 200 yards in a season. His body will tell him when it's over.

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

There are two things worth thinking about when it comes to the above
article. First of all, it sounds like Priest Holmes is in great shape
and could be ready to be the elite fantasy player once again this
season. However it also appears that Larry Johnson is really coming
into his own and will at the very least cut into the carries of Holmes
while spelling the veteran player. Priest Holmes came into the NFL
with limited touches while at the university of Texas and that could
help him have another outstanding season or two behind one of the more
gifted offensive lines in football before time catches up to him.
Sure Holmes is a greater risk to miss some games than other running
backs but if you are in a head-to-head league, getting Holmes 20+
fantasy points per game is a major step to victory and especially so
if you can manage to secure the services of Johnson to back him up.
Holmes has some more great football ahead of him and he will continue
to be a force in fantasy football.


/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/

9. CHI - Rookie QB Orton's Potential Too Good To Ignore

Clipped from: Daily Herald article by Bob LeGere

Most of the early buzz at the Bears' weekend minicamp that begins
today will focus on quarterback Rex Grossman taking his first 11-on-11
snap since suffering a ruptured ACL in his right knee Sept. 26.
Overshadowed by the hoopla surrounding Grossman's return, the four-man
place-kicking competition, the status of on-the-bubble cornerback R.W.
McQuarters, the position flip-flop of former free safety Mike Brown
and strong safety Mike Green will be the continued development of
rookie quarterback Kyle Orton.

Orton, the Bears' fourth-round pick out of Purdue, impressed with his
arm strength three weeks ago at the rookie minicamp, and GM Jerry
Angelo believes he has the ability to eventually be a starter. But in
the short term, the Bears hope Orton can develop into a reliable No. 3
and then a backup, although he still must unseat Craig Krenzel for the
third spot. The Bears didn't put much effort into acquiring a veteran
backup quarterback in free agency, but they believe their selection of
Orton may be a better solution. It's still a risk going into this
season with unproven Chad Hutchinson and a rookie behind Grossman, but
Angelo seems willing to gamble now for what he hopes will be a big
payoff later.

"When you look around and you look back at the history of this league,
your best backup quarterbacks come from within, the ones you drafted
and developed," Angelo said. "When you have to go out and sign a
veteran, very few teams, if any - particularly in the last three years
- have won with veteran quarterbacks."

The Bears are convinced they got a bargain in Orton with the 106th
overall pick. He started out last season as a Heisman Trophy
candidate, but some poor individual and team performances later in the
season, along with some nagging injuries, sent Orton's stock
plummeting. He still wound up throwing 31 TD passes and just 5
interceptions.

"He's there in the fourth round, you have to take him," said Bears
director of college scouting Greg Gabriel. "He was too good; he was
too productive. He was just too good to leave go."
Orton was disappointed he fell so far down the draft board, but he
doesn't have time to lament his plight.

"You've got to respond," said Orton, who left the rookie minicamp with
his head stuffed to overflowing with terminology and formations.
"You've got to come in here and play."

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

Rookie QB Kyle Orton has no fantasy worth at this time in non-Dynasty
leagues this season but he does have the skills, ability and drive
necessary to learn the professional game and make a difference down
the road. He is worth a shot in a dynasty format if you can afford to
wait on him for at least a couple of seasons at the NFL level. At the
very worst for the Bears, they may have found a solid quarterback to
back up Rex Grossman. At best, he may push Grossman for playing time
down the road.

/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/

10. MIA - Offensive Line Has Made Improvements

Clipped from: MiamiDolphins.com

Miami Dolphins Head Coach Nick Saban addresses a variety of
team-related topics. Among the topics discussed are the recently
completed Offseason Training Activity, the development of the
offensive line, cornerback and quarterback positions, the rookie class
and his contact with former Dolphins running back Ricky Williams.

"I've been very, very pleased with the way the players have responded
in buying into the systems that we are implementing on offense,
defense and the bit of special teams work that we've done. I think the
leadership of the team has been very positive. I think the intangibles
that I've seen demonstrated on a day to day basis in terms of the
effort, focus, concentration and responsibility that people are taking
to develop the knowledge and experience to do their jobs has been very
positive. There is a lot of learning going on, which is exactly what
we want at this point. There is a lot of experience being gained and
that is exactly what we want."

"I think that the offensive line has developed and made improvement.
I'm pleased with the way that group has worked. I think Hud (offensive
line coach Hudson Houck) does a great job with those guys. I like the
way those players have worked. We've made a lot of improvements and
there is a lot of improvement that still needs to be probably made,
not only with that group, but with every group on our team."

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

The unsung heroes of fantasy football are the large men who make up
the offensive line. No running game is going to flourish behind poor
blocking (unless you are blessed with a Barry Sanders in your
backfield and a Brett Favre can quickly become a Heath Shuler if the
pass blocking is atrocious in front of him. The Dolphins offensive
line started horribly last season but did make some improvements as
the season wore on and should be much better in 2005. Don't knock
Ronnie Brown down your rankings due to poor blocking up front as the
lineman will likely do better than expected.

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11. BAL - It's New Day For TE Trent Smith

Clipped from: Baltimore Sun article by Brent Jones

Trent Smith nearly saw his career derailed before it really got
started and watched his mother fight a losing battle with cancer,
incidents that changed his outlook on life. Fortunately for the
Ravens, the change was for the better. The big and brash tight end out
of Oklahoma has taken his bravado down a notch and replaced it with
measures of poise and perspective. Smith's mother, Carolyn, died at 51
because of liver cancer, a few months after he broke five bones in his
left leg and missed the 2003 season (the injury also forced him out
last year).

"I feel like I had to grow up a lot faster," Smith said. "I don't know
if I would still be here if I didn't go through all that. I wasn't the
most mature kid. I was kind of arrogant and cocky. I still am, but
just more mature about it now."

Smith might need the added maturity if he has a rough day during
training camp. He figures to be part of probably the team's
most-contested position battle, waging a fight for the last two tight
end spots with Terry Jones, Daniel Wilcox and Darnell Dinkins.
Practicing with the team for the first time since before the first
preseason game of his rookie season, Smith ran without hesitation,
still had the hands that helped him lead the nation's tight ends in
receptions as a college junior and was relatively smooth running
routes.

Now, he needs to brush up on the basics. Running and catching is the
easy part -- getting down in a football stance after 18 months can
prove challenging.

"He's been running around well so far, but playing with leverage --
bending with your knees, getting to the right spots and playing in a
football position, which he hasn't been in -- it's a tough deal,"
tight ends coach Wade Harman said. "But he's up to it."

Harman said the optimism about Smith, who turned heads during training
camp two years ago, still exists.

Back then, Smith, feeling slighted after having slipped to the seventh
round of the draft despite setting numerous records with the Sooners,
looked destined to make the Ravens after a number of solid practices,
culminating in a 39-yard catch in the preseason opener against
Buffalo. The play highlighted everything the Ravens thought Smith
could bring. He glided down the middle of the field, made the
reception in double coverage and held onto the ball despite a
thunderous hit. His leg, though, was broken on the tackle.

But just from that catch, coaches liked what they saw.

"When we get the pads on in games, he turns it up a notch," Harman
said. "He's got no fear of catching the ball across the middle."

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

TE Trent Smith has an excellent chance to make this roster but he'll
have to bring his 'A' game to do so. He has more raw talent than the
other three players he is competing for a roster spot but with his
being out of football for a long period of time, it all depends on how
quickly he can shed the rust off and make progressions in all facets
of his game.


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12. IND - RB James Misses The Start Of Training Camp

Clipped from: AP

Edgerrin James was a no-show Friday as the Indianapolis Colts began a
mandatory minicamp session amid his effort to get a new long-term
contract from the team or be traded. The former two-time NFL rushing
champion signed a one-year franchise offer from the Colts in March
that will pay him a little more than $8 million this year. Colts coach
Tony Dungy said the minicamp would continue, with or without James.
"We're missing one guy," Dungy said after Friday's workout. He said he
had spoken with James and understood why he hadn't shown up.

"It's a little disappointing to us. We want to have everybody here,
but our thing is to focus on the guys who are here," Dungy said.
"We're getting a lot of good work and we've got to continue that. When
Edgerrin gets here, we'll go from there." Drew Rosenhaus, James'
agent, declined to comment when reached Friday by The Associated
Press. Rosenhaus had said in March that James was "not enthusiastic"
about playing under a one-year contract and that he was negotiating
with the Colts and other NFL teams.

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

We all know that RB Edgerrin James isn't happy with his contract but
the bottom line is he'll almost certainly be with the Colts for the
2005 season and he'll look elsewhere for next year. Missing the start
of camp is just James making a statement in regards to his thoughts
about the one-year contract but he'll almost certainly show up and
play by the start of the season. He'll likely be fine and won't miss
a beat.

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13. IDP: MIA - DT Bowens, DT Chester Situations Are Up In The Air

Clipped from: Miami Herald article by Jason Cole

New Dolphins Coach Nick Saban said that neither of the team's
projected starting defensive tackles, veterans Tim Bowens and Larry
Chester, are participating in the offseason program. Saban also hinted
that he wasn't sure if either would be ready for the season.

``You know that Larry Chester and Tim Bowens both have not
participated in any on-field team activity because of injury, and that
is of some concern as to when those two guys will be able to come back
and if they'll be able to come back,'' Saban said. ``I think both
those situations are a little bit up in the air right now.''

The Dolphins have talked to the agent for veteran defensive tackle
Keith Traylor, but have yet to sign him. Bowens missed all but one
game last season with a back injury. Chester missed all but three
games with a knee injury. Chester had surgery two weeks ago to clean
loose bodies in the knee. Both are expected to be limited during
training camp, as well.

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

The Dolphins will have a problem stopping the interior running game if
one or both of these gifted run-stopping defensive tackles can't start
the season. LB Zach Thomas is a stud when he has wide bodies along
the defensive line; protecting him from the large offensive lineman he
has a problem shedding off. Without those two tackles, Thomas may
struggle to make plays in the hole and the result could be a lot of
rushing attempts that go for positive yardage. The Dolphins will
really miss the presence of both Bowens and Chester if they can't go.


/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/

14. IDP: TEN - CB Woolfolk Turns The Corner

Clipped from: Nashville City Paper article by Terry McCormick
As a former first-round draft pick, Andre Woolfolk realizes potential
only goes so far. The former University of Oklahoma star now is
expected to produce. With veterans Samari Rolle and Andre Dyson no
longer around, it is Woolfolk who will get a full shot at being the
top cornerback for the Tennessee Titans this season. And while high
draft pick Adam "Pacman" Jones should garner plenty of attention on
the right side, the onus is on the 6-1 Woolfolk to become the veteran
leader and big match-up cornerback the Titans need on defense.

"It's a tremendous opportunity," Titans coach Jeff Fisher said.
"That's why we drafted him, to come in, use his size and his speed and
his long arms and take over that corner spot."

Woolfolk's first two seasons with the Titans have been marked by
injuries and the fact he has played almost exclusively as the team's
nickel back. Playing nickel was a great way to cut his NFL teeth, but
Woolfolk will abandon that role this year and will get to work on the
outside as an every down corner.

"I'm going to try to make plays when I step out onto that field
wherever I'm going. Now, it's just at corner. I have a different focus
this year," Woolfolk said. "I like the thrill of being a corner. You
have to have a short memory, and your knowledge of the game has to be
a whole lot greater when you're out there at corner. It's a big
challenge. Who wouldn't like that? Everybody knows when you've done
good, and everybody knows when you've messed up."

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

Andre Woolfolk certainly has the ability to be a very good cornerback
at the NFL level. If he can stay healthy, and continue making
improvements throughout the season, he could give the Titans a very
strong secondary towards the end of the season. Expect him and rookie
Adam Jones to make some mistakes while learning their crafts, but they
should form a formidable duo down the line.

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15. IDP: ATL - LB Hartwell Is A Tenacious Competitor

Clipped from: AtlantaFalcons.com article by Michael Oldham

It's 11-on-11 drills in the third day of the Falcons post-draft mini
camp. Matt Schaub takes the snap, gets two steps into a three-step
drop and the play's over. Schaub is done.
If it was a real game, he might be looking for a shoulder specialist.

Meet Ed Hartwell.

The Falcons starting middle linebacker is already showing off a
tenacity and intensity that has Atlanta convinced he's going to
elevate the play of their defense in 2005.
See the man play, and you'll believe it too.

"He's an outstanding young man who's really dedicated to his
profession," Jim Mora said. "He's got real leadership qualities and
he's a hard worker. I watched him on the field during mini camp and I
watched him challenge himself, watched him challenge his teammates,
run to the ball, have an up-beat attitude -- all the things that we
saw in him as we evaluated film."

"You can see the tempo that he plays at, the speed that he plays and
his intensity," linebacker Keith Brooking said after observing
Hartwell in mini camp. "He fits into what we're trying to do. He has
passion for the game of football. It means a great deal to him and we
welcome anybody like that on this football team."

But perhaps what's most refreshing about Hartwell's approach to the
game of football is that no one had to teach him how to be intense,
teach him how to strive for excellence, teach him to lead. That's just
Ed Hartwell.

"That's just how I play. I don't know how to be any other type of
player," Hartwell grinned. "I go out there and I have fun. I love the
game. I love going out there, I love being with my players, I love
coming here and being with the guys.

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

Signing LB Ed Hartwell this year is a great move for the Falcons. He
is an aggressive, hard-working linebacker who will do a great job for
the team. You can't teach heart and determination and Hartwell has
plenty of both attributes. He'll have an impact in 2005.

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16. IDP: KC - Linebackers Going Places Fast In Kansas City

Clipped from: Kansas City Star article by Adam Teicher

The Chiefs may or may not be improved on defense this season, but one
thing was evident from this week's practice sessions: They are much
faster, particularly at linebacker.
"We have defensive speed over there," coach Dick Vermeil said, "and
it's glaring."

Veteran Kendrell Bell and rookie Derrick Johnson cover ground like no
Chiefs linebacker since perhaps Donnie Edwards and maybe even longer.
Bell caught everyone's attention in Wednesday's practice when he came
across the field and chased down Priest Holmes on a screen pass.

It's early in the offseason to make any final decisions, but the
Chiefs privately are impressed enough with both players that they're
already thinking Shawn Barber and Scott Fujita could have trouble
getting their starting jobs back. Barber and Fujita, the incumbent
starters at outside linebacker, will miss the offseason practices
because they are rehabbing from surgeries.

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

It is just a matter of time before rookie linebacker Derrick Johnson
gets the nod to start at the NFL level. He has great athleticism and
will give the Chiefs an element they have been lacking, pure hustle.
Don't be surprised to see Johnson start right out of the gate for the
Chiefs who need a spark on the defensive side of the ball.

/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/


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

J

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