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Volume 6, Issue 35 (Monday, May 23rd)

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Tonight's update brought to you by the WCOFF

If you want to compete in the biggest fantasy football event in the
world, here's a heads' up... My friend Lenny Pappano from the World
Championship of Fantasy Football told me recently that they expect to
be sold out within the next 60 days. If you want to compete for the
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with a deposit of only $100. I was at the WCOFF last year, and it's a
great event. Go to wcoff.com for the details.

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

Hi Folks,

The news is picking up and we're right here with you. Thanks to our
Mark Wimer for rounding up these stories tonight. Let's get to it.

J

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

INSIDE THIS ISSUE

1. BAL - WRs Moore, Clayton Should Participate in Passing Camp
2. CHI - Camp Battles Including RB, WR, Predicted Winners (Commentary)
3. TEN - WR Brandon Jones, 3rd Rd. Pick Looks to Catch On
4. DEN - TE Wesley Duke Leaping from College B-Ball to Pro Football
5. PIT - RB Bettis Expected to Go All-Out in This Week's Practices
6. CHI - PK Edinger Kicked Off Team by Brien's Arrival
7. NE - WR Troy Brown a Patriot Again
8. CHI IDP - CB McQuarters' Release is Now Official
9. MIA IDP - DT Tim Bowens Mulling Retirement
10. SEA IDP - DB Howell Jumping Off the Bucs' Ship?
11. WAS IDP - DB Taylor Blowing Off Coach Gibbs (Commentary)
12. IND IDP - Rookie LB Tyjuan Hagler Out 3 Months Due to Surgery
13. TEN IDP - DE Schobel Healthy, In Mix at DE This Season
14. DEN IDP - LB Wilson Sees Great Things for Broncs' Linebackers in 2005
15. MIN - "D" Much Better, According to Culpepper
16. NFL - June 1st Cap Casualty List (Commentary)

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

1. BAL - WRs Moore, Clayton Should Participate in Passing Camp

Clipped from: Carroll County Times article by Aaron Wilson, 5/23/05

Besides honing their timing, route-running and accuracy as the
Baltimore Ravens open another voluntary passing camp today, coach
Brian Billick has isolated another goal.

With the Ravens beginning a four-day set of practices this morning at
their training complex, Billick wants to see an increased level of
conditioning.

"The important thing now is to recognize that we have to get in good
football shape," Billick said. "We're in good cardiovascular shape.
We've got to be able to go a week, and now two weeks, and be able to
hold up under this type of running, this type of rigor before we start
to think about getting in hitting shape.

"That's the challenge for us right now, to come back and have a good,
solid, physical week. ... They've got to understand what our pace is
and what we want to get done. They're picking it up pretty well."

Billick predicted that wide receivers Clarence Moore (neck) and Mark
Clayton (hamstring) will both be ready to participate fully after
being limited in drills last week.

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

It's good news that the youngster Clayton will be able to fully
participate in the OTA - he's going to need as many reps in the new
offense as possible if he is to successfully make the leap from
college to the pro ranks.

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

2. CHI - Camp Battles Including RB, WR, Predicted Winners (Commentary)

Clipped from: Chicago Sun Times article by Mike Mulligan, 5/23/05

Here's a look at what minicamp taught us about the top five positional
battles -- real and imagined -- for training camp in Bourbonnais:

Right Guard

Candidates: Terrence Metcalf vs. Roberto Garza.

Overview: This figures to be the most legitimate and open battle of
training camp, if only because Metcalf's status as a former draft pick
(third round in 2002) makes him the man to beat. He was retained with
a low tender offer as a restricted free agent, which makes this a
contract year and make-or-break time in his career. A good athlete who
has relied on power over technique in the past, Metcalf finally might
be ready to blossom in his fourth season. Garza started at three
positions in Atlanta and was ready to hit the free-agent jackpot
before concerns about a 2003 knee injury led him to the Bears. He can
play right or left guard or center and moves a bit like Olin Kreutz.
He would be a luxury as a backup given his versatility but is probably
too good to be kept off the field.

"Obviously, that's the ultimate goal,'' Garza said of starting. "You
want to get on the field. You don't want to be a backup. So obviously
there is some competition, and we'll see what happens in training
camp.''

Projected winner: Up for grabs.

Running Back

Candidates: Thomas Jones vs. Cedric Benson.

Overview: Jones ran off the field ahead of reporters after every
practice of minicamp and has declined to speak about the repercussions
of the Bears' selection of Benson with the No. 4 overall pick. Jones
lined up with the starters in minicamp, but that is a temporary role.
Of course, Jones himself is evidence that a high draft pick can
struggle as a rookie. He was the No. 7 selection in 2000 by Arizona
and opened the season as a starter before losing his job to Michael
Pittman four games in. Still, Benson will get every opportunity to
succeed. He'll wind up banking about $15 million this year.

"I don't think the Bears drafted me not to play,'' he said.

Projected winner: Benson.

Wide Receiver

Candidates: Justin Gage vs. Bernard Berrian.

Overview: Both will get a lot of playing time, but the starting job
opposite Muhsin Muhammad is an important role. Gage was an internal
exile last year in Terry Shea's system, while Berrian showed he could
make big plays downfield as a rookie. Gage might be better over the
middle, but Berrian's big-play ability will earn him plenty of playing
time. The player who could run into a numbers game is Bobby Wade, a
starter last year. In addition to the aforementioned three receivers,
the Bears likely will keep rookies Mark Bradley and Airese Currie.
Free-agent signee Eddie Berlin is a great special-teams player. In
addition to Muhammad and Berrian, a player who attracted a lot of
attention at minicamp is Ron Johnson, a former fourth-round pick by
Baltimore in 2002. He could pull off a surprise at training camp.

Projected winner: Berrian.

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

The article also covers a camp battle at strong side linebacker and
punt returner. The projection of Berrian as the #2 starting wide
receiver in Chicago is interesting. He has had a lack-luster career so
far (15/225/2 in 2004), but the Bears' QB corps wasn't very good last
year when Berrian was a rookie. If Rex Grossman is able to return to
top form after last year's torn ACL, the Bears' passing game should be
much better than the 2004 version. We'll see who emerges the victor of
the camp battles come September - they'll be interesting to watch as
training camp progresses, and we'll keep you informed of all the
developments.

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

3. TEN - WR Brandon Jones, 3rd Rd. Pick Looks to Catch On

Clipped from: Nashville City Paper article by Terry McCormick, 5/23/05

When he came to Baptist Sports Park for his visit, the Titans had made
a slight mistake. New wide receivers coach Ray Sherman wasn't in town.
He had already flown to Fayetteville, Ark., to work out another Jones
- Arkansas quarterback-turned-receiver Matt Jones.

So it looked as if perhaps Brandon Jones' opportunity to talk in depth
with the Titans might have gone by the boards.

But that's where fate and flight layovers intervened.

Jones was on his way back to Oklahoma and had a layover in the Memphis
airport long enough to relax and grab a bite to eat.

He got in line to get a sandwich, and who knew that decision would be
a life-changing event.

As Jones waited in line, he saw a man get in line who had on Tennessee
Titans gear. Naturally, it piqued his curiosity enough to introduce
himself.

As Jones explains, "I'm at the airport, and I'm walking with this lady
that I had met on my flight flying in. I told her, go ahead that I
would meet her at the gate. My gate was far away, so I go in there [to
the restaurant], and Coach Sherman was right behind me.

"He had on Titans gear. I smiled and said, 'Is your name Coach
Sherman?' and he said, 'Yes.' I said, 'My name is Brandon Jones,' and
he goes, 'Oh, yeah, I was supposed to talk to you.'"

Jones and Sherman dined in the sandwich shop and, in the process,
Sherman was able to conduct about a 45-minute interview with the
former Sooners standout.

"It was kind of odd, but it was fate," Sherman said. "He was in line
to get something to eat and I was walking by."

Jones must have made a good impression, as Tennessee selected him in
the third round 96th overall, despite the fact that he was only a
part-time player at Oklahoma. His single-season high in receptions for
the Sooners was 46 catches in 2003. He had just 27 as a senior.

But the Titans looked beyond that and saw an athlete with loads of
potential, despite playing behind Mark Bradley and Mark Clayton.

"The first time you really, really noticed Brandon was at his pro day,
because he was so athletic," general manager Floyd Reese said. "When
you saw him and you watched him run and catch the ball, I think we
said, 'This kid has got a chance to be a legitimate player.'"

Jones, thus far, appears to be catching on in his early stages as a Titan.

"They way he fits into our system, as things would appear now, he's
going to get the chance to catch a lot of balls," Titans coach Jeff
Fisher said. "He's flexible and versatile and he understands how to
get open."

Even if he is still a bit awestruck by the company he now keeps. After
all, Jones is the Titan who referred to quarterback Steve McNair as
"Mr. McNair" during the first organized team activity last week. And
he also knows he needs to impress early and often to keep McNair
happy.

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

The Titans are very thin at WR, with Drew Bennett as the only veteran
WR with a lot of game time experience - the team needs their young
players to contribute this season. Brandon Jones may be a diamond in
the rough - but he's not well known at this time because of his
limited exposure in college. He probably deserves a spot on your "deep
sleeper" WR list due to the favorable situation he landed in, and the
support voiced by coach Fisher. We'll be keeping an eye on his
development during training camp, and you should too.

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

4. DEN - TE Wesley Duke Leaping from College B-Ball to Pro Football

Clipped from: Rocky Mountain News article by Lee Rasizer, 5/23/05

It had been six years since Duke picked up a football, much less held
it for an extended period. A high school tight end, he had turned away
from the sport, choosing basketball and becoming a rebounding,
shot-blocking and defensive force as a power forward for Mercer
University in Macon, Ga.

That is, when he wasn't dealing with knee injuries.

Three times, Duke suffered tears of the left anterior cruciate
ligament. And each time he seemingly came back stronger. The Atlanta
Hawks physician who performed Duke's final surgery and stopped the
vicious cycle of problems in 2001 did research and found only two
other players at the college or NBA level who had returned after three
ACL procedures. Neither Danny Manning nor Brent Price, both future
pros, had three on the same leg as Duke did.

So as strange sights go, carrying a ball to bible study in March paled
in comparison with watching Duke at a slam-dunk contest before this
year's Final Four, where he showed off his incredible leaping ability.

On one attempt at the St. Louis event, he bit down on a pen, flew over
the rim, landed, then signed the ball. On another, he removed his
shirt to unveil his sculpted body, rattled the rim with another
thunderous two-handed dunk, then raced to grab the pompoms from a
cheerleader under the basket before beginning a spirited celebratory
dance routine.

Terrell Owens, eat your heart out.

Or Shannon Sharpe, for that matter.

A week ago, Duke walked into the Denver Broncos passing camp for the
first time as an undrafted free agent. He fiddled with his pads while
his new teammates donned theirs as if it were second nature. And as
this raw, 6-foot-5, 225-pound prospective tight end began his uphill
climb to earn a roster spot in the pros, he reached into his locker
for a jersey, finding a surprise.

He had been given No. 84.

No pressure there.

"I've got a lot to live up to," Duke said. "But I'm going to work as
hard as I can to get it done."

A 'smaller' Ben Wallace

A strong work ethic right now is about all the Broncos can count on as
it pertains to Duke's future, as they attempt to unearth the AFC
West's next hoops-star-turned-legit-NFL-tight end after Tony Gonzalez
and Antonio Gates. Effort was the very foundation of his game as a
basketball player and earned him a reputation as "the Ben Wallace of
the Atlantic Sun Conference, but on a smaller scale," according to
Mercer coach Mark Slonaker.

Given Duke's layoff and the hurdles he faces, his willingness to put
in a day's work was a subject the Broncos addressed extensively with
the Mercer staff before deciding to offer him a three-year contract.
Slonaker told them about Duke's improvement from a sub par shooter and
dribbler to proficiency in both. Duke accomplished that feat by
staying late and coming in early.

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

Jeb Putzier was awarded a big pay increase during the off-season, and
veteran Stephen Alexander backs up Putzier, so don't expect Duke to
suddenly leap into the starting lineup in Denver. However, he looks
like an intriguing prospect for dynasty leagues that have a mandatory
TE position.

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

5. PIT - RB Bettis Expected to Go All-Out in This Week's Practices

Clipped from: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article by Ed Bouchette, 5/22/05

Jerome Bettis, who has attended spring workouts but not practiced
since the beginning of minicamp, is expected to go full-bore with the
Steelers this week.


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

We'll start to get a feel for Bettis' prospects in 2005 when we hear
about his performance during the coming week. Stay Tuned.

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

6. CHI - PK Edinger Kicked Off Team by Brien's Arrival

Clipped from: Chicago Tribune article by John Mullin, 5/23/05

Paul Edinger was given his requested release by the Bears on Sunday,
but only after "a players' farewell" at practice that left the kicker
touched and grateful.

As Edinger converted five consecutive field goals from increasing
distances in his short duel with newcomer Doug Brien, shouts of "Great
kick, Paul!" and "Way to go, Paul!" came from teammates watching.

That was really nice," said Edinger as he left Halas Hall. "I'm really
going to miss the guys. I had good times here, and the people in
Chicago were just so great to me. I'm going to miss them.

"[Leaving] feels weird. This is the only place I've ever known."

Edinger, whose three-day competition with Brien was virtually even,
could have remained with the Bears had he been willing to take a pay
cut. But Brien said certain guarantees the Bears offered led him to
choose Chicago over Buffalo, Minnesota and Tennessee, and he suggested
that the Bears' eventual decision was all but assured.

"I could have gone to any of those places somewhere at one point along
the line," Brien said. "But there were other factors-guarantees and
such, the way the contract is structured-that make a difference."

Edinger's agent, Ken Harris, was given limited permission by the Bears
to explore possible trades last month. Harris discovered there were
enough teams interested in pursuing Edinger that it made more sense to
ask for his release than to accept a pay cut.

The Tennessee Titans are expected to make the strongest push to sign
Edinger, who saved the Bears with a tying field goal with 56 seconds
remaining in their Nov. 14 game at Nashville.

"With the addition of Doug Brien to our roster, and watching him and
our two rookies over this weekend's mini-camp, we felt comfortable
granting Paul's request to be released," Bears general manager Jerry
Angelo said.

"We feel good about the direction of our kicking position, and Paul
will have the opportunity to join another team's off-season program
well before training camp."

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

Followup on the story from yesterday - Edinger endured a miserable
season last year, and was slated to receive much more than the veteran
minimum contract that Brien agreed to - all other things being equal,
he was too expensive to stick with the Bears. If you believe Edinger
can rebound from his 2003 and 2004 performances - 15 of 24 FGs during
2004 (62.5%) and 26 of 36 during 2003 (72.2%) - then pay attention to
where he lands. The Bears' offense was pretty awful last season, so
not all of the blame for a mere 24 field goal attempts sit on
Edinger's shoulders - but a 62.5% conversion percentage on his field
goal chances is not acceptable at the pro level.

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

7. NE - WR Troy Brown a Patriot Again

Clipped from: Palm Beach Post AP article by Jimmy Golen, 5/23/05

Two-way Troy is coming back for a 12th season with the New England
Patriots. Receiver-turned-defensive back Troy Brown, whose willingness
and ability to play both ways made him the face of the Super Bowl
champions' team-first philosophy, agreed Monday to a one-year contract
with the team.

"In this era, it is very unusual for a player to remain with one team
for as long as Troy's career as a Patriot," coach Bill Belichick said
in a statement. "Troy Brown is a special player and person and we are
glad to have him back."

Brown, 33, was released two months ago in a cost-cutting move that
saved the Patriots $5 million against the salary cap. But his Gillette
Stadium locker remained intact and he reportedly didn't negotiate with
other teams.

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

Brown has impressive football skills, and he was a key player in the
Patriot's run up to the Super Bowl. Don't expect him to throw down
elite fantasy receiver statistics as things stand (with David Givens
and Deion Branch ahead of Brown on the depth chart) - but if he's
needed to move into the starting lineup due to injury problems or
other reasons, he'd be a worthwhile waiver wire acquisition - Givens
and Branch owners might wish to draft Brown late as insurance,
depending on how deep a team's "bench" is in your league.

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

8. CHI IDP - CB McQuarters' Release is Now Official

Clipped from: Palm Beach Post AP article, 5/23/05

The Chicago Bears released defensive back R.W. McQuarters on Monday.
McQuarters, who signed a $21 million contract extension with the Bears
in January 2002 that ran through 2006, was acquired by the Bears in a
trade with the San Francisco 49ers in 2000.

In five seasons in Chicago, McQuarters had 295 tackles and nine
interceptions. Last season, he showed his versatility when he switched
from cornerback to safety and returned punts.

"After exploring trade opportunities with R.W., we felt it was in
everybody's best interest to release him at this time," general
manager Jerry Angelo said in a statement. "We respect and appreciate
his accomplishments as a Bear and wish him well."

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

If McQuarters is on your IDP squad, wait to make a move until we see
where he lands after the June 1st cut-down date. However, you'll
definitely want to be lining up a replacement if he's on your roster.
his production going forward will depend on where he lands.

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

9. MIA IDP - DT Tim Bowens Mulling Retirement

Clipped from: Miami Herald article by Armando Salguero, 5/23/05

Dolphins defensive tackle Tim Bowens is pondering retirement, while
the club is studying how and when to break ties with its longest
standing veteran.

Bowens, 32, who has played 12 seasons for Miami and is the only player
remaining from the Don Shula era, got bad news last week when he
visited a specialist and was told he has made no progress in
recovering from the back ailment that forced him to miss all but two
games last season.

The doctor also told Bowens nothing could be done to cure the problem,
short of hoping time would do the trick. A source close to Bowens said
Sunday that the player is
frustrated with his condition to the point where retirement is now a
serious consideration.

Bowens could not be reached for comment. His agent, Drew Rosenhaus,
did not return calls.

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

A bad back is one of the most miserable conditions to endure - our
guess is that Bowens bows out due to his continuing back troubles.

UPDATE: Miami signed DT Keith Traylor today to a 2-year deal. This
move gives the team insurance in case Bowens bows out.

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

10. SEA IDP - DB Howell Jumping Off the Bucs' Ship?

Clipped from: Tampa Bay Online article by Staff, 5/23/05

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers may be on the verge of losing yet another
player to the Seattle Seahawks.

Seattle, which recently signed free agent wide receiver Joe Jurevicius
and free agent nose tackle Chartric Darby, is believed to be closing
in on an agreement with free agent safety John Howell. The four- year
veteran played in all 16 games in 2004, starting six, and could sign
with the Seahawks as early as this week.

The Bucs are believed to have interest in re-signing Howell, but
salary cap issues may prevent the two sides from reaching an
agreement.

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

Losing a part-time starter would be a blow for the Buccaneers' D,
while the Seahawks would gain a valuable addition to their DB corps,
and lend insurance against an injury to starting FS Ken Hamlin or SS
Michael Boulware.

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

11. WAS IDP - DB Taylor Blowing Off Coach Gibbs (Commentary)

Clipped from: Washington Post editorial by Tony Kornheiser, 5/23/05

I wonder what Joe Gibbs is thinking when he can't get Sean Taylor to
return his calls. I wonder if Gibbs is thinking, "Is this what I came
back for?"

I wonder what Sean Taylor is thinking when he doesn't return Gibbs's
calls. Maybe the message got garbled. Maybe Taylor thinks it's not
really Joe Gibbs. Maybe he thinks it's "MTV Cribs." Or maybe he thinks
it's Tony Roma's: Famous for Ribs. Or maybe Taylor never picks up his
phone messages. Or maybe Taylor is just a dope.

I wonder what Gibbs is thinking when he hears Taylor's personal
spokesman, Mr. Clinton Portis, say something like: "Sean has had the
spotlight on him all year. Sean just needs to chill."

So Sean can't return phone calls from a Hall Of Fame coach?

Chilling means no calls?

"I'm sorry. Mr. Taylor is chilling now. Why don't you try back in the fall?"

I wonder how long I would last at this newspaper if I didn't return
calls from Len Downie, the executive editor? Whaddya think, five
minutes?

How well would it go over if I had Wilbon explain, "Everybody wants
something from Tony right now, and he just needs to chill."?

I wonder if Gibbs ever thinks to himself, "Do I really need these Miami guys?"

The last time I looked, if the guy's your boss, you return his call.

You don't blow him off like a telemarketer. Personally, I don't know
about this "spotlight" on Sean Taylor thing. I'm not that familiar
with what Sean Taylor looks like, because most of the time I see him
he's wearing a football helmet. I don't think Sean Taylor has anywhere
near the "spotlight factor" in Washington as, say, Ted Kennedy. Me, I
couldn't tell Sean Taylor from Elizabeth Taylor, especially if both of
them had on white diamond earrings. I think it's possible Sean Taylor
overrates his importance to our lives.

But I wonder about the University of Miami players -- the guys from
the place they proudly call "the U." They don't seem to be happy where
they are. Portis was terribly unhappy with Gibbs's offense last
season. Taylor is unhappy here now. Edgerrin James is threatening not
to report to the Colts. Jeremy Shockey wasn't happy working out in New
York with the Giants, the team that pays him. So he left and went back
to Miami to work out with "the U" guys. Look at Kellen Winslow Jr., a
U guy who so famously said he'd make the Redskins regret not drafting
him. Winslow's contract specifically forbids him from riding a
motorcycle. But he rode one anyway, wrecked it, and now he's out for
the whole season.

The U guys are an island unto themselves. They appear to value each
other more than they value the teams they play for. They play very
well on Sundays. But they don't appear to be particularly responsive
to their teams on other days. It's almost like U guys enjoy getting
into scrapes with management. It's almost like a contest to see if
they can force the teams into subservience and publicly punk them. I
wonder how long it'll take Santana Moss to find something wrong here.

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

Taylor is in a contract dispute after playing under it for one whole
season. He wants more, so he's staging a protest - it's unclear how
long this impasse will continue. Stay tuned.

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

12. IND IDP - Rookie LB Tyjuan Hagler Out 3 Months Due to Surgery

Clipped from: Indianapolis Star article by Mike Chappell, 5/23/05

Rookie Tyjuan Hagler, one of the team's fifth-round draft picks, will
miss at least the next three months while recovering from recent
surgery to address a sports hernia.

Hagler, expected to compete for the backup job at middle linebacker
behind projected starter Gary Brackett, played with the injury during
his senior season at the University of Cincinnati. He participated in
the Colts' rookie minicamp April 29-May 1, and had hoped to put off
surgery until after his rookie season.

That changed after the team sent him to consult a specialist in
Philadelphia. An examination revealed a muscle tear.

"They told me I wouldn't even make it through the preseason," Hagler
said Sunday after watching another mandatory minicamp workout at the
Union Federal Football Center.

"It's pretty disappointing.

"They say I should be back by late September, early October. That's my goal."

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

If Hagler was on your list of rookie prospects at LB, this news should
drop him way down - he'll have a hard time picking up a new scheme
without any training camp to learn what the coaching staff expects him
to do at MLB.

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

13. TEN IDP - DE Schobel Healthy, In Mix at DE This Season

Clipped from: Tennessean article by Jessica Hopp, 5/23/05

Last year at this time Bo Schobel was filled with hope and promise.

He had been drafted by the Titans in the fourth round and was poised
to make a strong push at defensive end.

Then came minicamps, and on June 15, he broke the fifth metatarsal in
his left foot. He was sidelined until the Dec. 5 game against the
Colts.

As the Titans prepare to enter the second week of May minicamp,
Schobel is on the field strong and healthy.

Although memories of last season have not vanished, he has his mind on
other things.
"I am trying not to think about it," Schobel said. "Once I missed
training camp (last year) it hurt me a lot, but it's a fresh start
this year and I'm ready to go."

Before his injury, Schobel was expected to be an early contributor at
defensive end as the Titans looked to replace Jevon Kearse.

This offseason the Titans parted ways with defensive end Carlos Hall
(traded to the Chiefs for a draft pick) and end/tackle Kevin Carter
(released and later signed by the Dolphins).

To help make up for some of the losses, the Titans have brought in
fifth-year defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch, formerly with the
Cardinals. Still, the Titans are in need of big things from
second-year ends Travis LaBoy, Antwan Odom and Schobel.

LaBoy and Odom combined for 5.5 sacks last season. Schobel had 28.5
sacks (17 as a senior) at Texas Christian.

LaBoy is watching minicamp from the sidelines after having surgery to
repair a sports hernia. That means more reps for Schobel, who has been
running with the first team at left end.

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

Schobel will have a lead on LaBoy when training camp rolls around, but
it remains to be seen who will get the lion's share of PT at LDE
during 2005. However, Schobel looks like a solid DE prospect if he can
produce large numbers of sacks in the pros as he did in college. Keep
an eye on who emerges as the Titan's new starter if you have a need at
DE on your team.

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

14. DEN IDP - LB Wilson Sees Great Things for Broncs' Linebackers in 2005

Clipped from: Denver Post article by Patrick Saunders, 5/23/05

Just two years ago, the Broncos' linebacker trio of Al Wilson, John
Mobley and Ian Gold seemed on the verge of being the league's best.

Then Mobley suffered a devastating neck injury and Gold tore the
anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee and moved on to Tampa
Bay.

Now Gold is back and healthy, Wilson remains a rock in the middle and
D.J. Williams, a rookie of the year candidate last season, is a star
in the making. No wonder Wilson predicts great things.

"We can be very good," Wilson said. "We can be just as good as when
Ian and John were here. With D.J. still being a young guy, we still
have to jell a little more. John was a veteran guy that understood the
game, understood offenses and understood the scheme we were trying to
do.

"Once D.J. gets that down to a science, there's no question we'll
definitely be the best corps in the league."

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

Everyone is enthusiastic about their 2005 prospects during mini-camps,
but it's good to hear that the Broncos have their attitudes right and
their heads in the game to start OTA's/mini-camps. D.J. Williams and
Al Wilson were #32 and #33 on the fantasy LB board (in points per
game) during 2004, and both played 16 games, so they are starting
caliber players - if they are even better during 2005, it's possible
that both could land in the top 20.

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15. MIN - "D" Much Better, According to Culpepper

Clipped from: Star Tribune article by Sid Hartman, 5/23/05

Vikings quarterback Daunte Culpepper said that in the team's recent
minicamps, he could see major improvement in the team's defense.

The addition of Fred Smoot and Darren Sharper in the secondary and the
rush provided by new defensive lineman Pat Williams, all signed as
free agents, has made a big difference.

"They're very quick, they're very fast and they are guys who really
want to make big plays," Culpepper said.

Culpepper already had a lot of respect for Antoine Winfield, the
highly rated cornerback who joined the team a year ago. And now with
Smoot on the other side, Culpepper can see a difference.

"They're two lock-down corners. Not many teams have two lock-down
corners like that," Culpepper said. "I have had trouble throwing
against them. I've got to be on point. It makes me step my game up,
having guys like that out there covering our receivers. I've got to
put the ball right where it's supposed to be, and I can't have many
errors.

"It's going to make me better because I've got to be that much better
to complete balls against those two guys."

Culpepper led the NFL with 4,717 passing yards and a .692 completion
percentage last season and had an NFC-high 110.9 passer rating. But
his favorite target, Randy Moss, was traded to Oakland. In five
seasons, they combined for 53 touchdown passes.

"I'm not going to say it's different because Randy's not here,"
Culpepper said. "If Randy was here, he's obviously a great player, but
he's not here, so we've got to deal with that and be the best team we
can be.

"But that's a great opportunity for other guys to step up and make a
lot of plays. And I got to tell you that right now -- we're going to
be a great team."

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

It sounds like the Vikings have found some answers to their problems
on "D" - we'll see how much better they are in the secondary once
pre-season play begins with the Viking's first game on Friday, August
12th vs. Kansas City.

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16. NFL - June 1st Cap Casualty List (Commentary)

Clipped from: CBSportsline.com article by Clark Judge, 5/23/05

A week ago the Arizona Cardinals couldn't wait to cut veteran tackle
L.J. Shelton. They released him instead of holding off two weeks to
defray the cap cost, ready and willing to absorb the impact of a $3.3
million cap hit now.

I tell that story because it illustrates how desperate clubs are to
dump veterans after June 1.

They're not.

Sure, there are a handful of names who make it to the help wanted ads
after June 1, but there aren't nearly as many as you might expect --
and the explanation is there in the Cardinals' release of Shelton. Few
teams are looking to erase big salaries for immediate cap relief.

Yes, Tennessee is expected to cut safety Lance Schulters. Yes, Kansas
City will release wide receiver Johnnie Morton, if he doesn't agree to
a restructured contract. And, yes, offensive lineman -- or defensive
lineman -- Kyle Turley is headed for the exit ramp in St. Louis.

But the list is short, and it's short because most of the dirty work
has been done. A recent study of NFL teams revealed that nearly
three-fourths of the clubs have at least $1.6 million in cap room,
which means don't look for any unexpected bombs.

"I think in past years the anticipation of June 1 is always greater
than the actual players who become available," said Carolina GM Marty
Hurney. "Every year teams are getting better at managing the cap."

This year may be the best example. Nevertheless, there will be
movement, and here are some of the players expected to be doing the
moving:

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

June 1st will mark some reshuffling of NFL teams, but is not expected
to be at the frenzied pace we witnessed in years past. Owners of
players on the bubble (like Johnnie Morton) will want to sweat out the
waivers process and wait to see where their guy lands next - it's
conceivable that some of these players will land in favorable
situations.

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

That'll do it for today, Folks. Thanks for reading and have a great
Tuesday. We'll see you tomorrow with the update.

J

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