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Volume 6, Issue 41 (Sunday, May 29th)

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Hi Folks,

Hope the weekend is rolling along for you. Not a lot of news today but
our Mike Brown has rounded up what's out there for you. Let's get to




1. DAL - RB J. Jones Bulked Up
2. SD - QB Rivers: Season Two
3. OAK - WR Curry Cashes In
4. CLE - Details Of TE Kellen Winslow's Contract
5. TEN - OC Chow, Titans Find Transition A Smooth One
6. DAL - Finally, Visible Proof Cowboys Switching To 3-4
7. DAL - CB Hunter Will Play Safety If Needed


1. DAL - RB Jones Bulked Up

Clipped from Fort Worth Star-Telegram article by Mac Engel and Charean
Williams 5/29/05

Running back Julius Jones weighs only 212 pounds, down from the 217 he
was listed in last year's media guide, but he looks bigger. "I've put
on some mass," he said. "... Last year I was kind of shriveled up
after I broke my shoulder. I got back in the weight room and put on
some bulk. I guess it's showing, huh?"

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

This is excellent news for Jones owners and potential Jones owners.
Jones may have been a bit out of shape last year if he can lose weight
and actually gain size. His production over the second half of the
season is nothing to take lightly, and his workload was incredible for
someone who barely played the season's first half. About the only real
concern about Jones coming into this season was the possibility of
losing goal-line touches. But if he can prove himself to be a force
down in the trenches in short-yardage situations, then he can very
well make himself into a dominant fantasy football player. There is a
lot of debate as to Jones' potential productivity for the upcoming
season, but we like his chances for success, and have him ranked as
the #13 running back overall.


2. SD - QB Philip Rivers: Season Two

Clipped from article by Tom Shanahan 5/28/05

Drew Brees appears to be in midseason form and Philip Rivers shows
maturity that comes with entering his second season of professional
football. But when practice ends, Rivers quietly walks off the
Chargers' practice field without fanfare. That's a big difference
between now and a year ago.

Where are the TV cameras? A year ago they followed Rivers' every move
and reporters wanted his thoughts on being ready to take over as the
starting quarterback.

"It's a different atmosphere," Rivers said. "This year we have a
veteran guy coming off a Pro Bowl season. Yeah, we're competing, but
that's the starting point. I'm not blind to the situation. I know Drew
is coming off a heck of a year and he's the quarterback going into the

Rivers, a four-year starter at North Carolina State, calls himself the
No. 2 guy, even if officially the Chargers say there is an open
competition for the starting job.

"I've never been the No. 2 guy before, but that's why I've got to
compete and work a little harder," he said. "I believe I can be a
starter in this league at some point. I hope it's this year, but
whatever happens I'll be ready for the decision."

Quarterbacks are always talking about finding a comfort level in their
transition from college to competing against the speed of the NFL.

"I feel a ton better as far as being comfortable," Rivers said. "Doubt
isn't the right word, but there is a question in your mind about the
speed of the game. I feel I'm getting over that hump and it's getting
back to the same old game I played."

The situation between Brees and Rivers could easily turn awkward or
tense, but the two players have remained friends.

"I don't know what the formula is for making a relationship work in
our situation, but it really is a good relationship," Rivers said.
"There never has been any tension. Yeah, there is competition and we
both want this to be our job for the rest of our career, but we pull
for each other on the field and we're friends off the field. We've
played golf together and we have a good time in the meeting room - the
whole quarterback crew does."

One difference between this year and last season Rivers was still
negotiating his contract when training camp opened last year.

"I feel a lot better this year," Rivers said. "I'm looking forward to
being there for the start of training camp and practicing for the
whole summer."

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

Rivers is currently saying and doing all the right things as the
backup to Brees. After losing his opportunity to compete for the
starting gig last year during his contract holdout, Rivers instead
watched Drew Brees compile a career year. All year long, most assumed
Brees was in his final year in San Diego, but the way he played led
the Chargers to franchise him and bring him back for 2005. Rivers is
losing playing time still because of that, but not necessarily losing
out on learning. After all, if the relationship between the two is as
close as it would appear, then Brees can only help in the development
of Rivers. One interesting note is that the article mentioned that the
"official" stance of the Chargers is that there is an open competition
for the starting QB job. After the year Brees had, and Rivers' lack of
experience, it doesn't seem likely for Rivers to supplant Brees this
season, barring injury. Still, Rivers is a good prospect to keep an
eye on, both for dynasty consideration or if Brees were to go down
with an injury.


3. OAK - WR Curry Cashes In

Clipped from article by Adam Schefter 5/27/05

Since rupturing his Achilles' tendon last season, Raiders wide
receiver Ronald Curry has been the forgotten man. But not in Oakland's
front office.

Very quietly, without anyone noticing, the Raiders recently signed
Curry to a two-year, $2.3 million extension that included a $200,000
signing bonus and enough incentives to bring the value of the deal to
$3 million. There's a third year on the deal worth $6.5 million that
includes a $5 million roster bonus the Raiders will have to decide
whether they want to exercise. But that's for another season. As for
this one, Curry is getting ready and looks like he will be back and at
or near full strength. He's already running and he will be ready for
the start of the Raiders training camp.

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

If not for the injury suffered late last season, Curry could have had
his first career 1,000-yard season. As it was, the Raiders clearly
noticed how well Curry was playing before the injury and rewarded him
with a new contract. Since Oakland brought in Randy Moss and brought
back Jerry Porter, Curry drops to the #3 receiver on the depth chart.
But the Raider offense is expected to be an explosive one, and Curry
will be one of the top #3 receivers in the entire NFL. Assuming he is
back to full strength after the injury (and it appears he will be),
Curry is definitely someone to watch for. If an injury should befall
either of the two starting wideouts for Oakland, Curry immediately
becomes starter-worthy in nearly every league.


4. CLE - Details Of TE Kellen Winslow's Contract

Clipped from: Beacon Journal article by Patrick McManamon 5/29/05

What are the details of Kellen Winslow Jr.'s contract?

The Browns already have paid Winslow $6 million. That figure breaks
down this way:

. $230,000 in 2004 salary;
. $720,000 in a roster bonus paid last August;
. $2 million in option bonus money;
. $3.05 million in signing bonus money, which has been paid in two
installments ($2 million the day he signed, $1.05 million in December
of 2004).

At minimum, the Browns owe Winslow $9.2595 million through 2009 when
the contract expires (the 2010 season likely will void once Winslow
plays a majority of a season).
That breaks down this way:

. $2 million in signing bonus money due July 15;
. $950,000 in signing bonus money due Dec. 15;
. $2.41 million in option bonus money due July 15, 2006;
. salaries of $305,000, $542,500, $780,000, $1.017 million and $1.255
million through the 2009 season.

If Winslow goes on a non-football injury list this year (the team will
decide), the Browns will not have to pay the $305,000.

However, if Winslow plays a season, his salaries for 2007-2009 will
increase. His contract includes language that says if he takes part in
45 percent of the team's offensive plays in a season -- a virtual
certainty if he's healthy -- his salaries will increase to $3.015,
$3.3 and $3.3 million.

That makes the remaining value of the contract $15.5175 million.

That total number drops significantly, though, in light of the injury.

It's safe to assume that the Browns will not pay Winslow the remaining
signing bonus money this year, and his option bonus money in 2006 is
certainly in danger.

That reduces the figure to $10.1575 million -- and it could go lower
if the team asks for repayment of bonus money already paid.

Which means that Winslow's contract would go from a six-year deal
worth $29 million (or $40 million with incentives) to one worth
anywhere from $7 million to $9 million.

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

Not really fantasy-relevant news here, but it does shed some more
light on the Winslow pact. He stands to lose a ton of money obviously,
and even if he doesn't return to being the same dynamic player he was
before, once can assume he'll be eager and hardworking during his
rehab to try and recoup some of the lost cash. If nothing else,
perhaps this can serve as a warning to those who might be taking part
in similar risky behavior (listening to that, Ben Roethlisberger?).


5. TEN - OC Chow, Titans Find Transition Smooth One

Clipped from Tennessean article by Jim Wyatt 5/29/05

Titans veterans and rookies have been on the field with (new offensive
coordinator Norm) Chow for just six days of organized workouts. Next
month the Titans will be on the field for six more days, then take a
break until training camp begins on July 30.

By the end of June the entire offensive system will be ready to
install. When the season opens on Sept. 11 at Pittsburgh, fans will
get a good look at what Chow has been preaching and teaching.

So what's different with Chow, who replaced Mike Heimerdinger, now
offensive coordinator for the New York Jets?

"The thought process,'' Titans quarterback Steve McNair said. "Dinger
was a guy who was going to try to burn you every play on the deep
ball. Chow is a guy who all he wants is first downs, no matter how we
get it - if it's a 5-yard pass, a 6-yard pass, a 7-yard run - that's
what he's looking for.''

Fullback Troy Fleming has noticed something else about Chow.

"He is fast-paced on the field, but he is a soft-spoken, nonchalant
guy who also puts out what he wants done,'' Fleming said. "Not
knocking Dinger, but Dinger was loud and boisterous. The contact is
still there now, it's just soft, not loud.''

Said tight end Erron Kinney: "It is a very positive atmosphere. And
from talking to guys, they are excited about things.''

Chow's run of success in 32 years at the collegiate level speaks for
itself. He enjoyed three national championships (the first at BYU in
1984), tutored three Heisman Trophy-winning quarterbacks (Ty Detmer,
Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart) and was named assistant coach of the
year three times. His offenses, from BYU to North Carolina State to
USC, were regularly ranked among the nation's best.

The Titans didn't hire Chow because their offense was dead, however.
Under Heimerdinger the Titans ranked 11th in 2004 and eighth in 2003,
McNair's NFL Co-MVP season.

But Chow arrived to find a beaten-up quarterback thinking about
retirement and a cupboard of receivers that was about to become less
attractive with the release of Derrick Mason just a few weeks away.

Chow said his chief priority will be to "keep McNair upright for 16
games'' and to "keep the chains moving.'' He will try to accomplish
those goals with more short passes in an offense that uses tight ends
and running backs as receivers more often.

There will be more shifting at the line of scrimmage, which will force
defenses to change calls quickly and, ideally, make mistakes more
often. Then the Titans plan to capitalize on those mistakes.

There will be less time spent in the huddle, which will give McNair
more time at the line of scrimmage, and the overall tempo will be

"And we are going to be as balanced as we can,'' Chow said. "If we end
the day at 50-50 pass-run, we have done a nice job.''

It was important from the start that Chow and Titans Coach Jeff Fisher
to be on the same page. So far so good.

"Philosophically, we are doing what Jeff wants us to do,'' Chow said.
"But there is quite a bit of freedom. ... He knows what he wants.''

Fisher said the transition has gone even better than expected.

"It's been great,'' he said. "One of the things that is oftentimes
overshadowed is you think about Coach Chow and the passing game, but
he is adamant about the run game and we are working on that as well.
Guys are excited about the direction we are headed with that, too.''

"The main thing for him is he just wants us to have fun with what
we're doing," McNair said. "There will be some changes, but I think it
is going to be an interesting year for us.''

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

Chow inherits an offense that has performed as one of the league's top
units over the past several years. However, he's also inheriting an
offense that has lost Derrick Mason, has an aging quarterback who has
become even more injury-prone before, an injured tight end who was
being counted on for big things (Ben Troupe), and a feature running
back that can't stay on the field in Chris Brown. That said, Chow has
a terrific track record of success everywhere he's been. And the
cupboard isn't entirely bare, because guys like Drew Bennett are still
around, and Steve McNair and Brown both have the talent to succeed as
long as they remain on the field. With the Titans defense seemingly in
disarray coming into 2005, the offense will be counted on to keep the
team in games. Even if they are unable to do so, however, they will
probably be on the field enough to put up good fantasy numbers. And
really, isn't that what it's all about?


6. DAL - Finally, Visible Proof That Cowboys Switching To 3-4

Clipped from: Associated Press article 5/29/05

Jason Ferguson and Aaron Glenn know why they were brought to Dallas,
and La'Roi Glover realizes he's going to have to be more flexible in a
new defensive scheme.

And, now there's finally visible proof that the Cowboys are switching
to a 3-4 defense, even if coach Bill Parcells hasn't confirmed they
are. That's what they're practicing at the team's minicamp.

``That's what it is,'' new cornerback Anthony Henry said Saturday.

While still uncertain how much the Cowboys will use three-man fronts,
it's clear they will play more of the defense that Parcells has
preferred in the past but has never been standard for a Dallas coach.

That is obvious by not only what they're doing on the practice field,
but the moves that have been made since last season.

Ferguson, a 305-pound defensive tackle, is a block-eating wide body
that will fit nicely in the middle of a three-man front _ a spot he's
played before even though not with the New York Jets last season.

Glenn is a cornerback who played last year in the 3-4 scheme in
Houston, where he was for three seasons. He started his career with
the New York Jets for eight seasons, some of that time with Parcells
and a similar defense.

``It's a transition for everybody going from a 4-3 to a 3-4,'' Glenn
said. ``The terminology is simple for me. As far as binding with my
teammates, that's the biggest thing to me.''

The Cowboys used six of their eight draft picks last month on defensive players.

Defenders DeMarcus Ware (6-foot-4, 251 pounds) and Marcus Spears (6-4,
307), the two players they got in the first 20 picks, are both perfect
fits for the new scheme.

``These guys come from 3-4 schemes. A lot of these guys know more
about 3-4 schemes than we do,'' Ferguson said. ``It's going to be
something to see.''

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

The worst-kept secret in football is now out of the proverbial bag.
The Cowboys will be using a 3-4 defensive formation this year, and
they are setting their personnel up as such. The newcomers will
especially be counted on immediately, as Parcells hasn't often drafted
players simply for their upside down the line. Many of the new
defenders will play, and play a lot. The rotation on the defensive
front line should help keep everyone fresher, and there is a lot of
talent on this side of the football for Dallas. Remember, this was a
defense that played impeccably in 2003, then suffered a hiccup last
season. But with the influx of talent all over the place for the
Cowboys, we expect their defense to be markedly improved from where it
was a year ago.


7. DAL - CB Hunter Will Play Safety If Needed

Clipped from article by Nick Eatman, 5/28/05

Few players on the Cowboys roster have had such uncertainty
surrounding them this off-season as cornerback Pete Hunter.

And yes, for now, that's cornerback Pete Hunter.

See, that's where the root of the problems have occurred this
off-season for Hunter, who has been quoted in the past few months
voicing his displeasure with not only Cowboys signing a pair of
veteran free-agent cornerbacks in the off-season, but also with the
possibility of him being moved to free safety.

So in between practices Saturday during the team's three-day mini-camp
out here at Valley Ranch, Hunter did his best to clear the air, and
his name for that matter, attempting to set the record straight.

"Right now, I consider myself a cornerback," said Hunter, who is back
on the practice field after missing the final 13 games last year
recovering from reconstructive surgery on his left knee. "And I would
love to stay at cornerback. But if they need me to play safety, I'll
do that. I'm not one of those guys.

"A lot was made about what I said about wanting to play corner. But if
I have to play safety, I will. Whatever it takes to get on the field,
I'll do that."

With the Cowboys this off-season adding veterans Anthony Henry and
Aaron Glenn to the cornerback position, which already included Terence
Newman and four more players heading into their second seasons, things
are getting a bit crowded at corner. Couple that with the team's
glaring weakness at free safety, a position head coach Bill Parcells
said Friday the team might have to address if no one steps up rather
quickly, a move to safety might behoove Hunter.

In some regards, it seems a natural move for Hunter to go to free safety.

And it's not just because of the numbers at each position. Hunter
certainly looks the part, standing at 6-2, 208 pounds. In fact, the
fourth-year corner is just as big as every safety on the roster, other
than Roy Williams, (6-0, 226) who is moving to strong safety. And if
that's not enough reason for the move, Hunter actually played the
position in college, although not at a high-level and not because it
was his best position.

"It's not really the same," Hunter said of playing safety in the NFL.
"But like I've said, if they need me to do it, I will. But cornerback
is my position. It's what I've been training to do since I got here.
It won't be an easy move. But if the coaches decide that's the best
move, then I'll do it.

"And that's always been my stance. A lot of stuff through my agent
kind of got mixed up, but if this team needs me to play safety, I

All that being said, Parcells said he plans on keeping Hunter at
cornerback - for now.

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

Funny how a little time and a little trade rumor will get players to
reverse fields. Not long ago, Hunter mentioned how he didn't want to
make the move, yet now that camp is approaching and starting jobs are
up for grabs, Hunter is willing to make the move. In all seriousness,
it's probably for the best for Hunter. If he truly wants to remain on
the field as much as possible, it would appear that moving to safety
would be his best bet. Clearly, the depth at corner will mean there
will be more rotating at that spot, not to mention the fact that there
are solid starters manning each spot at this point. Safety is a
weakness, and Hunter can and should turn that into his advantage
during camp. There may be a bit of a learning curve, but it's
obviously easier to go from corner to safety than vice versa. And if
he proves he can handle the spot, it will only enhance his fantasy
value by getting him onto the field that much more.


That'll do it for today, Folks. Have a great one and we'll see you
tomorrow. Cook a few burgers and brats for me.


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