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Volume 6, Issue 43 (Tuesday, May 31st)

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Today's update is brought to you by Payday Sports/Tropicana's East
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/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/

Hi Folks,

Hope everyone had a safe and Happy Memorial Day Weekend. Thanks to the
many of you for the incredibly cool emails you sent me regarding the
"What Is A Vet?" message we sent Monday. You guys made my day. Thanks.

We're back to football with a vengeance today. Thanks to our Mike
Brown for rounding up these stories today plus we've got a ton of new
stuff on the site for you that you're going to love. Let's get to it.

J

******************************

Site News:

A. Blogger News Added To Player Pages
Ok, you guys have seen the new Player Pages. We've made
them even better now by adding a tab for each player that will pull up
all the news stories involving that player from our News Blogger. For
instance, clicking the Latest News tab for Terrell Owens would show
this list of stories. It's just one more way we're leveraging the tools and
information we've been providing and allowing them to all work together
for your benefit. Special thanks to our Doug Drinen and Keith Overton for
making this happen.

B. Survivor 1 Contest Opens on the Message Boards
This contest is a lot of fun and this year has some new twists. Note that
this is NOT the $20,000 contest for subscribers. We'll be doing that
again this year but this Survivor contest is something different. Also
note that registering for our message boards is 100% free. Good luck!

C. New Projections are out
We'll continue to refine and polish our numbers all Summer. Here's
another new set of projections for you

D. Clayton Gray - Ultimate Strength Of Schedule
Our Clayton Gray unleashes all you need to know and more about one
of the best kept secrets of serous fantasy owners - Schedule Strength.

E. Mike Herman - The Life Of A Stud
Mike takes a look at that burning question - How long do studs last?

F. Bob Magaw - Ear to the Ground
Bob's got his proverbial ear to the ground. And he's hearing everything.
Check it out.

G. Chris Smith - Water Cooler Talk
It's never to early to start the water cooler discussions.

H. John Norton's IDP Cheatsheets
It's everything you'll need if Individual Defensive Players are your thing.

I. Bob Henry - Depth Charts updates
Again.

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

INSIDE THIS ISSUE

1. MIN - T Birk Likely Out 3-4 Months After Hip Surgery
2. GB - WR Walker's Agent (Rosenhaus) Hints Walker Will Skip Minicamp
3. KC - RB Holmes Ready To Handle Full Rushing Load
4. BUF - TE Everett's Knee Surgery Successful
5. GB - QB Favre Excused From Minicamp
6. PHI - WR Owens Expected To Honor Second (Final?) Year Of Contract
7. CLE - According To QB Dilfer, It's Not The End Without TE Winslow
8. MIA - RB Brown's Versatility Could Come In Handy
9. DAL - HC Parcells Hopes WR Morgan Is Still a Catch
10. CAR - RB Goings Returns To Role As Backup Fullback
11. MIN - Vikings Still Believe In WR Campbell
12. WAS - RB Betts Aims To Keep Pushing RB Portis
13. NO - TE Williams Needs Strong Camp To Remain With Team
14. OAK - Statement Time For RB Fargas
15. ARZ - Cards Will Likely Use a Tight End Committee
16. HOU - Don't Count Out WR Gaffney For Starting Spot
17. IDP: DET - DE K. Edwards Arrested
18. IDP: IND - HC Dungy Expects To Impost Swift Punishment On S Doss
19. IDP: DAL - DE Spears Expects To Make An Immediate Impact
20. IDP: DAL - Davis Takes Lead At FS
21. IDP: SF - DT Sopoaga Could Muscle Way Into Lineup

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

1. MIN - T Birk Likely Out 3-4 Months After Hip Surgery

Clipped from ESPN.com article by Len Pasquarelli 5/31/05

Four-time Pro Bowl center Matt Birk, a mainstay of the Minnesota
Vikings' offensive line, underwent hip surgery Tuesday that could
sideline him all of summer training camp and perhaps jeopardize his
availability for the start of the regular season.

The surgery, to repair a torn labrum in Birk's right hip, is the
fourth procedure to which the seven-year veteran has been subjected
over the past nine months. The three earlier operations were all to
repair sports hernias. Birk believes the hip injury resulted from the
sports hernias.

"This is all a function of having tried to compensate for [the
hernias]," said Birk, who has missed all of the off-season
conditioning program. "When they checked out the hernia, to see how it
was progressing, they found this thing. Hopefully, this will take care
of it."

Normal recovery time for the labrum surgery is 3-4 months. So even
under the best-case scenario, Birk likely would not be fully
rehabilitated until early September, leaving him little time to
prepare for the Vikings' regular-season opener on Sept. 11.

Birk is a key to coach Mike Tice's plans to return to the strong
inside running game that Minnesota seemed to abandon too easily in
2004, when the Vikings too often turned to the pass and, thus,
sacrificed offensive balance. If Birk is not available for the start
of the season, five-year veteran Cory Withrow likely would start at
center, in what figures to be a largely refurbished interior of the
offensive line.

The Vikings have already moved left guard Chris Liwienski to the right
side to replace longtime veteran David Dixon, an unrestricted free
agent who could be re-signed but only as a backup. Former tackle Adam
Goldberg was moved to left guard, but that position is unsettled and
could ultimately be won by rookie Marcus Johnson, a second-round
choice who played tackle in college but performed well at guard in
recent practices.

A former Harvard star and sixth-round pick in the 1998 draft, Birk
appeared in just 12 games in 2004, with 11 starts. Birk, who had never
played center before being moved there by the Vikings, had started all
16 games in each of the 2000-03 seasons. He was named to the Pro Bowl
in 2000, 2001, 2003 and 2004.

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

As the article mentions, Birk is a big key for Minnesota for obvious
reasons. He's their best lineman, and is being counted on to anchor
the o-line in 2005. With Birk missing most and possibly all of
training camp, that really hurts a team that is in an offensive
transition. The line is currently being constructed to look almost
nothing like the 2004 version, and a loss of reps with ALL parts of
the line together can hurt continuity and delay the offense from
jelling as a whole. It may not be time to downgrade the offense again,
but this bit of news has to at least be troubling to those drafting
Vikings skill position guys.

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

2. GB - WR Walker's Agent (Rosenhaus) Hints Walker Will Skip Minicamp

Clipped from Associated Press article by Arnie Stapleton 5/31/05

The camp consists of three days of practices this week followed by
five days next week after the players take the weekend off.

Although the camp is voluntary, "I'm expecting everybody else to be
here," HC Mike Sherman said.

What about Pro Bowl receiver Javon Walker, who skipped the team's
April minicamp as part of his jockeying for a new contract?

"He hasn't indicated he won't be here, so I'm expecting he will be
here," Sherman said. "I'm optimistic."

Walker's newly hired agent, Drew Rosenhaus, seemed to indicate that
was wishful thinking.

"I'm not going to have any comment on that," Rosenhaus said when asked
about Walker's plans. "I doubt my position's going to change."

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

When a player and agent threaten to sit out mandatory training camp,
you can bet they have no desire to attend voluntary minicamp. It would
take a titanic shift in the cosmos to get Walker into minicamp without
a new contract, so don't think any differently of his situation when
you don't see him there. Our concern is more with Walker's attendance
at training camp. With each update on the situation, it looks more and
more unlikely that he'll be signed and in camp on time, but it's still
far too early in the process to determine the final outcome one way or
the other. For now, we're not too concerned about Walker missing any
real time, as we project him to finish as the 7th-highest scoring WR
in the NFL this season.

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

3. RB Holmes Ready To Handle Full Rushing Load

Clipped from FoxSports.com article by Adam Teicher 5/29/05

Unless the Chiefs have a change of heart, don't look for Priest Holmes
to relinquish any of his playing time to Larry Johnson. The Chiefs are
resolute in their belief that using one featured back makes them more
dangerous and more productive in the long run. Holmes missed the last
half of last season because of a knee injury, so he should be well
rested and ready to handle his large portion of the offensive load.

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

Adam Teicher is a writer for the Kansas City Star and has covered the
Chiefs for years. He knows the ins and outs of the team due to
covering them on a daily basis. Still, we have a difficult time
believing that the Chiefs won't at least limit Holmes somewhat, based
in large part on his inability to finish two of the past three seasons
because of injuries. The Chiefs have tried improving their defense
without costing themselves much offensively, and Dick Vermeil isn't
getting any younger as he attempts to lead one more team to a Super
Bowl. This team is built to win now, and Holmes carrying the football
gives them the best chance to do so. Thus, it's hard to see them
leaning so heavily on him throughout the year when the ultimate goal
will be playoff success. Not only that, but Johnson proved last year
that he can not only handle the workload, but excel in a feature back
role. With that being said, what you should definitely take from this
blurb is the positive news that Holmes is ready and raring to go. We
like his chances for success, even with a slight role reduction,
because of how productive he is when he DOES get the football. He's
currently #3 on our projection list.

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

4. GB - QB Favre Excused From Minicamp

Clipped from Associated Press article by Arnie Stapleton 5/31/05

Green Bay Packers coach Mike Sherman is excusing Brett Favre from the
team's voluntary minicamp that starts Wednesday, saying he wants the
quarterback to be raring to go when training camp starts in July.

Sherman also asked Favre to skip the post-draft minicamp this spring
because of the emotional wear and tear he had been under the previous
18 months, when he lost his father to a heart attack, his
brother-in-law to an ATV accident and friend Reggie White to a
respiratory ailment. His wife, Deanna, underwent treatment for breast
cancer.

"He's had a tough go of it the last year and I just want him to come
in busting the door down in July when we start up," Sherman told The
Associated Press on Tuesday.

Sherman said Favre's personal trainer reports the quarterback is in
top shape because of a special diet and workout regimen, and Favre
wanted to participate in the minicamp.

"He's chomping at the bit, but this will give me a chance to work with
some of the younger guys," including top draft pick Aaron Rodgers of
Cal, Sherman said.

"Brett is not a great one for being a spectator at practice. If he's
not taking all the reps, he can be a pain."

Favre, however, will visit club headquarters Friday to get updated on
some changes implemented since the Packers' playoff loss to Minnesota.
He'll also participate in his annual celebrity softball game Sunday in
Appleton.

"In talking to him, it's been beneficial" to skip the grind of
offseason team workouts, Sherman said. "This is his 15th season, and
as long as his physical part is being taken care of, the only concern
I would have is him being mentally ready to go when the season
started.

"If it started tomorrow, he'd be ready. This is as positive as I've
heard him in talking about a season and himself in a long time. He'll
come by Friday to see the guys and get caught up on some things we're
doing, some new things."

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

This is nothing to get worked up over. We recently told you about
Favre's tireless off-season conditioning program, and how he feels his
best in years. Missing a minicamp at this stage of his career is not
going to make or break his season, or that of the Packers. All of the
skill guys return from last year, so it's not as if he's working with
a new system and new players all over the place. This is just a chance
to get a veteran a little less bumps, bruises, and soreness. When
you've been playing in the NFL for fifteen years, every little bit
helps.

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

5. BUF - TE Everett's Knee Surgery Successful

Clipped from FoxSports.com article by Allen Wilson 5/29/05

Rookie TE Kevin Everett had successful surgery to repair the torn
anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. The team hasn't ruled out
the possibility that he'll return before the upcoming season is over,
but that may be a bit optimistic. The good news is Everett's knee
didn't require a major reconstruction that the Bills' top two tight
ends, Mark Campbell and Tim Euhus went through. With Campbell and
Euhus on schedule to be fully recovered by the start of training camp,
the Bills can afford to be patient with Everett's rehabilitation.

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

It is highly unlikely that we'll be seeing Everett on the field at any
point this season. Even if we do, the combination of returning from a
torn ACL and being a rookie tight end aren't exactly factors that make
us crazy for Everett. Look to him for dynasty consideration, and
nothing more.

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

6. WR Owens Expected To Honor Second (Final?) Year Of Contract

Clipped from Daily Times article by Bob Grotz 5/31/05

Barring a minor miracle, Reid will be answering the same tired
questions about Owens with "We'll see" when the Eagles begin their
seven-practice passing camp at the NovaCare Complex Wednesday.

Owens and his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, have painted themselves into a
corner trying to get the Eagles to restructure the player's seven-year
contract. Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie and chief negotiator Joe Banner
already have pointed it out publicly. Owens wants his contract
adjusted to reflect his real market value; Lurie says unh-unh.

Even the traditional out in such jams -- the media made too much of it
-- is a reach. Owens, however, almost certainly will play that card if
and when he returns to the Eagles, explaining to those with the most
simple of minds that he didn't name names when he said, "I wasn't the
one who got tired in the Super Bowl." Even Donovan McNabb knows it was
a thinly veiled indictment of his much discussed, emotional fourth
quarter in Super Bowl XXXIX.

When the paint dries, Owens is expected to show up at training camp
and honor the second year of a two-year contract the Eagles almost
certainly will consider terminating at the end of 2005.

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

The irony of this entire situation is that Terrell Owens is seemingly
doing all he can to earn a new contract and make more money. Yet if he
had been given some good advice that a marquee player with incredible
talent and a big smile who plays in a major media outlet could have
made millions upon millions of dollars in endorsement deals just by
being a good team guy. It's far too late for that now, and Owens has
all but signed his ticket out of town in the not-too-distant future.
While it appears likely that Philadelphia hangs onto him for 2005, the
distractions during training camp could prove to be difficult to
overcome. At best, Donovan McNabb and company will move on and have a
good season on-field. But at worst, the Owens distractions and
complaining corrupt the team's play on the field. Remember, once upon
a time, Owens and the 49ers were 10-6 division champs one year; 7-9
and involved in an all-out team collapse just one season later.

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

7. CLE - According To QB Dilfer, It's Not the End Without TE Winslow

Clipped from Cleveland Plain Dealer article by Mary Kay Cabot 5/31/05

Quarterback Trent Dilfer's diagnosis of losing Kellen Winslow Jr. for
the season is that the Browns offense still has two legs to stand on.

"I feel very good about what we have," he said last week during
passing camp, which continues through the minicamp, June 13-15. "We
have a lot of really fine football players that maybe haven't shined
as bright as they are."

Dilfer has lived through similar situations in his 11 NFL seasons.

"I feel like one of my main jobs is to let them shine bright," he
said. "At the end of the year, if this thing goes as good as I think
it will, if you ask me what I'm most happy about, it's going to be an
Andre Davis shining brightly, a Lee Suggs, guys like that -- that I
was able to help them play as good as they are."

Dilfer, who won a Super Bowl with the Ravens after the 2000 season and
was on playoff teams in Seattle, was pleasantly surprised at the
Browns' offensive talent.

"It's as good as any group I've been with," he said. "I've told that
to my friends throughout the league. It's all talk right now, but I
think it will show, come the regular season."

Dilfer especially has been impressed with tight ends Aaron Shea and
Steve Heiden, who combined for nine of the Browns' 21 receiving
touchdowns last season.

"Besides Ben Coates [now a Browns assistant] and Shannon Sharpe,
they're the two best tight ends I've ever played with," Dilfer said.

"They complement each other well, and they're two of my closest
friends on the team, which goes a long way. We're already developing
that type of relationship where we can work things out and trust each
other."

Dilfer has been impressed with receiver Braylon Edwards, a first-round
pick out of Michigan.

"Like the rest of us, he's got a lot of work to do to, but what I like
is that he's willing to work," Dilfer said. "He's very respectful. The
talent jumps out. He snatches the ball out of the air. He has such a
big body. He's a legit 6-3, a big, strong target who wants to catch
the football."

Dilfer also singled out receiver Andre Davis for praise, in part
because the two are friends, "and I knew he wouldn't mind me talking
about him."

Dilfer said that when he first arrived, he was told that Davis, who
missed nine games with toe injuries, was a track guy trying to play
football.

"I tried not to listen to that, and I went out and threw balls with
him first and said, 'I've got a football player here - those people
were wrong,' " Dilfer said. "I told him that. And I've seen the guy
get better every single day."

He's also excited about the offensive line, despite the fact left
tackle Ross Verba is holding out for a new contract.

"This is not the offensive line that's been maligned," he said. "This
is a new offensive line. When healthy, those five starters - and
there's some good depth - are very talented and have some success in
this league. I don't blink an eye when I say I have no concerns with
the protection."

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

What Trent Dilfer is trying to say is that there are still warm bodies
to man the skill positions in Cleveland. But we aren't ready to take
him at his word that the Cleveland offense will be fine without Kellen
Winslow being a part of it. When a team loses the one player it had
planned on building the offense around, it does make things more
difficult, no matter what Dilfer says. Another aspect that we're
concerned about is Dilfer himself. Even if the players around him and
the offensive line can hold their own (which we have our doubts
about), Dilfer has never really lit it up as the leader of an offense
before. Additionally, he hasn't been a starting QB for five years now.
Things are looking bleak in Cleveland for this season, despite
Dilfer's optimism.

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

8. MIA - RB Brown's Versatility Could Come In Handy

Clipped from FoxSports.com article by Jason Cole 5/29/05

One of the most intriguing qualities of rookie RB Ronnie Brown is his
ability to play multiple positions. In addition to tailback, Brown has
lined up at wide receiver and fullback at times during his college
career. That versatility could come in handy for the Dolphins,
particularly if Ricky Williams returns to the team and can be an
effective player this season. Brown and Williams could be on the
field, or even the same backfield, at the same time because Brown
could be the fullback. This would be a huge upgrade for the Dolphins,
who lacked any real threat in the backfield last season after Williams
abruptly retired.

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

Someone wake me up when Ricky Williams decides once and for all what
he's doing. Or better yet, call me when you actually see him on a
field. Hey, until we hear something definitive otherwise, we're going
under the assumption that Brown will be the team's featured back in
2005, not Williams. While it'd be nice for Miami to have two
top-quality backs in the mix, we don't really see them pushing their
top pick to fullback to make room for an out-of-shape player who
hasn't seen a football field in a year and a half. If Williams does
indeed come to camp AND proves he is in football shape, then the
situation could get interesting. But until we hear that, we'll believe
Brown is the man in Miami.

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

9. DAL - HC Parcells Hopes WR Morgan Is Still a Catch

Clipped from Dallas Morning News article by Matt Mosley 5/30/05

The Cowboys passed on taking a receiver in last month's draft, which
had a lot to do with the team's deficiencies on defense.

But coach Bill Parcells' hope that third receiver Quincy Morgan is
ready to make an impact was another factor.

Morgan, who came over to the Cowboys in last season's trade for
troubled receiver Antonio Bryant, wants to show the consistency that
has eluded him his first four seasons in the league. On the third day
of minicamp Sunday, Parcells talked about Morgan's progress.

"He really did a good job of getting into our off-season program
here," Parcells said. "He did a good job of improving his strength and
his body type a little bit, and I think it is showing up on the field
here."

Parcells has insisted that receivers such as Morgan, Terry Glenn and
Terrance Copper have the speed to make plays downfield. The problem
for Morgan has been catching the ball.

The Cowboys identified a flaw in the way he positions his hands when
making catches. They hope that by making sure he puts the correct hand
on top, he won't have as many drops.

"He's pretty tough," Parcells said of the Garland, Texas, native. "I
kind of like the kid. I really do."

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

Having focused almost exclusively on upgrading the defense, Parcells
is really putting a lot of faith in Quincy Morgan to be a solid player
for Dallas. Fantasy owners have been repeatedly burned by Morgan the
past several years by putting that same faith in him that Parcells is.
The major difference, of course, is that fantasy owners need him to
put up stats, whereas Parcells might be talking about Morgan's value
for REAL football. Why he'd be thinking that way, we have no idea.
Still, it's very possible that Morgan has a good year as a WR2 on
Dallas but finds himself fairly worthless in fantasy football circles.
Unless Dallas suddenly becomes a high-octane offense (they won't), we
don't see much of a chance for Morgan to have great fantasy success
this year unless Keyshawn Johnson is hit with injury.

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

10. CAR - RB Goings Returns To Role As Backup Fullback

Clipped from FoxSports.com article by Pat Yasinskas 5/29/05

After leading the team in rushing last year, Nick Goings will go back
to his role as backup fullback and special teams player. Goings
doesn't have the speed or size to compete with DeShaun Foster and Eric
Shelton for the starting tailback role. But Goings could get some time
as a third-down back because of his skills as a receiver.

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

Like Keyser Soze once said, "And poof - just like that.he's gone."
Nick Goings went from waiver wire stud to complete afterthought in the
span of a few months. Still, this isn't entirely unexpected. With
DeShaun Foster and Stephen Davis both working their ways back, and
Eric Shelton also in the mix, Goings wasn't going to get much playing
time and knew it. Of course, Foster and Davis haven't proven to be
even remotely close to durable in recent years, so there is still a
chance that Goings could make a fantasy impact this season. But
despite the talk of him being a viable third-down option, we don't
think he'll see the field anywhere near enough to be productive for
just about any league setup. The good thing, however, both for us and
for HC John Fox, is that if injuries do strike, we know he's got the
ability to perform.

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

11. MIN - Vikings Still Believe In WR Campbell

Clipped from FoxSports.com article by Kevin Seifert 5/29/05

The team still believes that WR Kelly Campbell can serve as a deep
threat despite his history of off-field trouble and on-field injuries.
Campbell, arrested earlier this offseason in Atlanta for drug and gun
possession, is the team's fastest returning receiver and a favorite of
coach Mike Tice. His play-making abilities are valuable after the
trade of WR Randy Moss, and the team believes Campbell has taken a
more serious and dedicated approach to its offseason program. Time
will tell.

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

With possession guys like Nate Burleson, Marcus Robinson, and Travis
Taylor, and a rookie in Troy Williamson at receiver, and other
possession guys like Jim Kleinsasser and Jermaine Wiggins seeing some
passes, it'll be imperative for the Vikings to establish a deep threat
in the passing game. Campbell is a decent bet to be a factor in the
deep passing game. While we don't see much chance for roster-worthy
numbers, his importance is more to establish a deep presence and take
some pressure of off the other players. If Campbell can't shake his
troubles and finds himself in Tice's doghouse, it'll be an awful lot
of pressure put on the rookie Williamson. As the article mentions,
time will indeed tell.

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

12. RB Betts Aims To Keep Pushing RB Portis

Clipped from Redskins.com article by Gary Fitzgerald 5/30/05

Ladell Betts was drafted five spots behind Clinton Portis in the 2002
NFL Draft, but that doesn't mean Betts is settling in as his backup.
The 5-10, 222-pound Betts continues to push Portis for playing time,
even during Organized Team Activity practices.

Portis, who by all accounts enters the 2005 season as the starter at
running back, knows Betts is strong competition.

"I have always thought Ladell runs hard," Portis said. "I said that at
the beginning of last season. I'd say that he needs to be on the field
more, but that would mean I'd be standing on the sidelines."

When Portis was sidelined with an injury in the Redskins' season
finale last season, head coach Joe Gibbs and the offensive coaches got
their first extended look at Betts in game action. Betts responded
with a 118-yard rushing performance in the Redskins' 21-18 win over
the playoff-bound Minnesota Vikings.

Betts seemed to get stronger in the second half of the Vikings game.
After rushing for 39 yards in the first half, Betts ran for 79 yards
in the second half, including carries of 27 and 13 yards in the fourth
quarter. The 27-yarder tied his career-long.

The performance changed Gibbs' initial impressions of Betts.

"When we started out [last season], in my eyes I had pictured Ladell
as more of a third-down back," Gibbs said. "But he's a perfect example
of what happens during the course of the season. He played great on
special teams and then you see him running the football, and I said,
'Hey, this guy can run inside and outside, and he's a real good
athlete.'

"That's an example of what happens when you get to know guys over a
period of time."
When Betts entered the NFL as the Redskins' second-round draft pick
(56th overall) out of Iowa in 2002, he envisioned himself as a
starting-caliber tailback.

In three NFL seasons, Betts has logged 232 carries for 933 yards (4.0
yards per carry) and four touchdowns. He has also caught 42 passes for
429 yards.

"I like to think my abilities are just as good as anyone else," Betts
said. "That's how you want it. If you're second- or third-string, you
don't want there to be that much of a drop-off. If the first-stringer
gets comfortable, then you're not giving your best effort. You always
want to push somebody. We're friends off the field, but at the same
time, we're competing on the field."

Betts' number could be called more often next season. Portis carried
the ball 343 times last year-- fifth most in the league and fourth
most in team history--and coaches could seek to lessen his workload so
that he's fresh late in the season.

Further, their respective running styles would appear to complement
each other well. While Betts isn't the prototypical big running back,
he has more of a bulldozing style compared to Portis' quick burst.

Said Portis: "I think it's great that coaches can use us both. Ladell
runs hard, plays hard and practices hard. All he needs is an
opportunity. When there's a guy giving effort like that, you have to
stay on your Ps and Qs."

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

Ladell Betts is one of the more important handcuffs in the league this
season. Because of Portis' penchant for getting nicked up, and the
fact that he carried the ball so much last year, Betts could see his
biggest numbers yet. While Portis isn't going to relinquish his
starting gig anytime soon, both because of talent and his price tag,
Betts would make a solid short-term fill-in option should Portis go
down to injury. Unless you have Portis on your team, it's unlikely
you'd find a spot for Betts. But if you can afford the roster space,
there are much worse players to take a chance on than him.

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

13. NO - TE Williams Needs Strong Camp To Remain With Team

Clipped from FoxSports.com article by Jeff Duncan 5/29/05

Tight end Boo Williams needs a strong training camp to maintain his
roster spot. The offseason addition of Shad Meier and the improvement
of reserve Zachary Hilton mean Williams needs to start to fulfill the
vast potential he showed two years ago. With veteran Ernie Conwell
likely assured of a roster spot and blocking specialist Lamont Hall
returning, Williams could be in jeopardy of being cut if he doesn't
improve his mental approach, maturity and consistency this fall.

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

Williams certainly has nose-dived since his incredible breakout in
2003. Last year he played very poorly, not only losing time because of
poor blocking but also because the one strength to his game (catching
passes) was clearly lackluster. Williams has a lot of potential to do
damage in an expectedly high-scoring offense, and maybe the threat of
being cut will prompt him to come to camp refocused. He had gained a
bunch of weight last year to try and become more of a force as a
blocker, but it now appears all that did was cut down on his
effectiveness as a receiver. When he reports to camp, take note of
what kind of shape he's in before determining if he is draft-worthy
for 2005.

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

14. OAK - Statement Time For RB Fargas

Clipped from FoxSports.com article by Steve Corkran 5/29/05

Running back Justin Fargas is at the point in his career where he
needs to make a defining statement as to whether he is a potential
lead back or a player who bounces around as a special teams player,
kick returner and situational back. He had a chance to prove himself
last season but failed to capitalize, in part because of injuries. As
a result, the Raiders signed LaMont Jordan and anointed him the
primary ball carrier. Still, Fargas figures to get his share of
carries now that Tyrone Wheatley and Amos Zereoue are gone. What he
does with those carries will go a long way toward determining whether
the Raiders keep Fargas in their long-term plans or continue to view
him as little more than a role player who can't handle a starring
role. Fargas has the speed and decisiveness to be a lead back, it's
just a matter of his showing that he can remain healthy, avoid
fumbling, and make the most of his carries.

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

The Raiders didn't bring LaMont Jordan in to have a competition with
Justin Fargas for the starting job; the job is Jordan's. But while
Jordan will open the year as the starter, it's not as if he has any
more experience as a feature back than Fargas does. In fact, he has
less. It was just two seasons ago that Fargas was being looked upon as
the Raiders RB of the future. A torn ACL and a year in recovery that
followed, put Fargas in the background of the Raiders' plans. That
prompted the team to add Jordan this past off-season, and he will
certainly be given every opportunity to excel. But Fargas is a good
handcuff to Jordan. For one, there is no question about Fargas'
talent. Two, he was still recovering from the torn ACL last year. If
history is any indication, this year he should be fully recovered.
Three, Jordan has never had more than 93 carries in a season before.
The unknown with him should be enough to prompt his owners to handcuff
with Fargas.

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

15. ARZ - Cards Will Likely Use a Tight End Committee

Clipped from FoxSports.com article by Kent Somers 5/29/05

The team is probably going to use a committee of tight ends this year,
mainly because there is no proven talent there. Starter Eric Edwards
played a little last year as a rookie and has some skills but he's
hardly ready to be a featured target in the passing game. He's no
better than a decent blocker right now. His backup, Lorenzo Diamond,
was cut recently, partly because the club is high on Bobby Blizzard,
who is playing in Europe.

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

If the Cardinals are going with a tight end by committee, it's pretty
safe to say that none of those players will be of any use to fantasy
owners. Unless one guy emerges as at least a viable red-zone threat,
we don't advocate spending a pick on any tight ends from Arizona.

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

16. HOU - Don't Count Out WR Gaffney For Starting Spot

Clipped from FoxSports.com article by Carlton Thompson 5/29/05

Receiver Jabar Gaffney has been limited in his offseason work because
of shoulder surgery. The Texans hope he will be at full strength by
the start of training camp. Gaffney could flourish with shorter routes
and more timing patterns in the offense. He is not a burner, but he is
quick, runs crisp routes and has the most consistent hands on the
team. The starting job opposite Pro Bowl receiver Andre Johnson is
open, and although fourth-round pick Jerome Mathis, a speedster from
Hampton, will be given every opportunity to work himself into the mix,
don't count out Gaffney, who has shared the role with Corey Bradford
over the past two seasons.

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

The Texans number two receiver spot could be a vastly underrated
position this year. We already know that Johnson has the top spot to
himself, but the #2 role could actually be productive. The Texans
offense has made great strides each year of its existence, and this
could be the year they really break out. We're remaining conservative
in our estimates of what the offense can do until we see them actually
do it out on the field, but this could very well be an offense that
moves the chains and puts up a lot of points. Whatever stats are left
over from the #1 spot could make the #2 guy a viable option. Gaffney
has the talent to put up solid numbers, and now what he needs is an
opportunity in a good situation.

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

17. IDP: DET -DE Kalimba Edwards Arrested

Clipped from Associated Press article 5/31/05

Kalimba Edwards of the Detroit Lions was arraigned Tuesday on charges
of resisting arrest and failing to produce a driver's license during a
confrontation with police following a weekend traffic stop.

According to Michigan State Police, the Lions' defensive end refused
to produce his driver's license after being pulled over by a trooper
Sunday evening in Southfield. The trooper warned him that if he did
not show his license, he would be placed under arrest, state police
said.

When he refused again, the trooper asked Edwards to step out of his
vehicle and proceeded to arrest him, but Edwards resisted by not
allowing the trooper to put both handcuffs on him, state police said.

The trooper called local police for backup, and when the officers
arrived, pepper spray was used to force Edwards to comply, they said.

State police stressed that Edwards was not aggressive and did not
attempt to assault the officers.

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

That last line makes the whole beginning of this quite confusing. The
police went out of their way to let people know that Edwards wasn't
aggressive and didn't assault them, yet it took pepper spray to enable
them to get the cuffs on? Hey, none of us were there so we don't know
exactly what happened. In any event, we don't need to tell you that
it's never good news when a player is arrested for anything. There
aren't many available details about what specifically happened, but
we'll keep you updated on anything else we hear.

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

18. IDP: IND -HC Dungy Expects To Impose Swift Punishment On S Doss

Clipped from Associated Press article 5/31/05

Colts coach Tony Dungy says he'll impose a swift and severe punishment
on safety Mike Doss, who was arrested on gun charges over the weekend.

Doss was arrested in Akron and has been released pending a court appearance.
Police say the 24-year-old former Ohio State star fired five or six
shots outside a downtown Akron restaurant early Sunday.

Dungy says he's spoken with Doss, who explained what happened. Dungy
says Doss violated team rules and would be punished when Dungy learns
exactly what happened.

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

Two players have been arrested in the past 48 hours. We must be
getting closer to training camp!!! In all seriousness, this arrest is
much more of a concern than the Edwards story, A) Because it involves
a much more serious charge, and B) Fantasy owners care more about Doss
than Edwards. We don't know what the punishment is that Dungy has in
mind, but "swift and severe" seems to indicate he has already made up
his mind about what it will be. Any loss of playing time would go
against the "swift" portion of the punishment, so expect a harsh fine
from Dungy. As for any punishment yet to be handed down by the league,
that's another matter entirely.

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

19. IDP: DAL - DE Spears Expects To Make An Immediate Impact

Clipped from San Antonio Express-News article by Tom Orsborn 5/31/05

Considering his impatience when it comes to eating spicy Cajun stew,
it shouldn't surprise that Marcus Spears expects to have an immediate
impact at defensive end for the Dallas Cowboys.

"I don't want to wait," Spears said. "Let's get it going."

Spears' can-do attitude helped him get off to a fast start at LSU,
said Tommy Moffitt, the Tigers' strength and conditioning coordinator.

"Marcus wanted to be a good player from the first day he walked on
campus," Moffitt said. "Before his freshman year, he worked out hard
all summer long and was one of the first from his recruiting class to
play, and that was because of all the running and lifting he did
before the season.

"He just comes out and is ready to work and practice hard every day."

Spears' sense of urgency is one reason why he shed 13 pounds between
being drafted in April with the 20th overall selection and starting
mini-camp, which ended Sunday.

At 6-foot-4, 307 pounds, he's a perfect fit for the 3-4 look Parcells
wants the defense to use this season. Spears, however, is quick to
point out that he also has mastered the 4-3 defense.

"It doesn't matter to me which one we use," Spears said, "because I've
played both. Other guys might have a preference, but I really don't. I
like the 4-3 defense, and I like the 3-4 defense.

"But, right now, it seems like we're doing a lot more of the 3-4."

What Spears wants to do this season is help the Cowboys win. Held back
by a defense that surrendered 330 yards and 25 points a game, they
finished 6-10 last season.

"I've never had to deal with a losing season," Spears said. "It's a
big thing to get in here and try to get things going. We have enough
talent and a great coaching staff. I don't think it will be a problem
for us to get to that next level. We just have to bond and become the
team we need to be.

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

We told you a few weeks ago about how much Parcells plans on using
Spears, so this news merely confirms what we already know and
demonstrates Spears' determination to play and play well. One nice
thing to keep in mind is that we're reading about Spears' ability to
play the 3-4 or the 4-3 and how tireless of a worker he is, rather
than some fluff about his jewelry or cars or how good of a video game
player he is. Spears, at this point, looks to be all about football,
and seems very focused on the task at hand. That is something to keep
in mind when trying to evaluate how much of an impact he can have in
his rookie season.

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

20. IDP: DAL - Davis Takes Lead At FS

Clipped from Star-Telegram article by Clarence E. Hill, Jr. and Charean Williams 5/31/05

One fact emerging from the Cowboys' three-day minicamp over the
weekend is that while Lynn Scott, Clint Finley and rookie Justin
Beriault are part of the competition to be the starter at free safety,
the job is probably special teams maven Keith Davis' to lose.
Never mind that Scott finished last season as the starter and the
competition is technically open; Davis is the guy everyone is looking
to as the starter.

Of course, that's if the Cowboys don't sign a veteran free agent.
Davis can't help but be excited about the prospects of going from
undrafted rookie free agent to starter.

It's simply a dream come true for a guy who was cut two years ago
after being shot in a nightclub, forcing him to spend last spring in
NFL Europe before regaining Cowboys coach Bill Parcells' trust with
his standout play on special teams.

That he will probably replace the retired Darren Woodson opposite Roy
Williams in the starting lineup makes the opportunity even more
special for Davis, who grew up idolizing Woodson in nearby Italy, a
town about 55 miles southeast of Fort Worth.

"It was a joy for me to come up under Darren Woodson," Davis said. "In
my eyes, he's the best safety to play the game. It's a thrill for me
to come behind a guy like that and show what I can do."

For Parcells, the prospect of starting Davis leaves him with mixed
emotions because of what the Cowboys potentially could lose on special
teams.

"I think Keith has played pretty good in this camp," Parcells said. "I
am torn there because he is my best special teams player.

"But if he is the best player, he is going to play. I am torn because
if he is starting, we are going to be losing a lot on special teams."

Wouldn't the Cowboys rather have him on defense? Parcells said it
depends on whether Davis can be as good in the regular defense as he
is on special teams. Currently, he has potential on defense, but he is
largely unproven with no starts and no experience.

"When you are better than good at something and average at something
else, I would rather have the better than good," Parcells said. "Now
we will see. Maybe he will improve. He does have a knack for the ball.

"The ball does come to that kid. You want those players on defense for you."

At least one player feels Davis does not need to look over his shoulder.

"That guy's going to be a player," cornerback Aaron Glenn said. "Write it down."

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

There are mixed signals as to what Dallas plans on doing at the other
safety position, opposite Roy Williams. This article mentions Davis as
the likely starter, while there are other reports suggesting that Pete
Hunter may move from cornerback to man the safety position. What it
appears on the surface is that HC Bill Parcells has a bunch of options
to use, and it may very well come down to him not really making a
decision one way or the other. One of the best things Parcells does on
a week-to-week basis is make sure he gets production from everyone on
the roster. If that's the plan here, then neither Davis nor Hunter nor
anyone else may have a ton of fantasy value. We'll keep you updated on
this training camp battle, one that could have important consequences
because of the expected improvement of the Dallas defense.

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

21. IDP: SF - DT Sopoaga Could Muscle Way Into Lineup

Clipped from Sacramento Bee article by Matthew Barrows 5/31/05

As it stands, the battle for the starting nose tackle job is a dead
heat between Isaac Sopoaga, a fourth-round pick who missed his rookie
season in 2004 with a back injury, and third-year player Anthony
Adams.

Adams has the experience. Sopoaga has the strength.

The man is built like a 320-pound statue of Buddha - compact, rounded
and low to the ground. Polynesian body art wraps around
bowling-ball-sized biceps. His upper torso is nearly as thick as it is
broad. And long, black hair cascades over hulking shoulders.

"He's extremely strong," Nolan said. "He's a hard one to move. When
offensive linemen tell you that, it's a good sign."

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

Adams has the early advantage here in that he actually played last
year. But Sopoaga may have the advantage in that the 49ers aren't just
looking for someone solid to fill a hole. They are looking for a
potential stud, because there isn't much else positive in San
Francisco in 2005. He's clearly physically superior to Adams, and
needs to get his reps in training camp to push his way into the
starting lineup. We'll be sure to keep you updated on this and other
training camp battles throughout the summer.

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

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

J

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