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Volume 6, Issue 58 (Wednesday, June 15th)

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Tonight's update brought to you by EA Sports

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Hi Folks,

We're over the hump for the week and racing towards the weekend. Thanks for all the emails regarding the Footballguys Strategy Guide Magazine as the first batch arrived in mailboxes today. Glad you're liking it. Thanks as well to our Will Grant for rounding up these stories tonight. Let's get to it.

J


INSIDE THIS ISSUE

1. KC - WR Hakim Signs with KC
2. SEA - WR Engram Set To Start
3. TEN - TE Troupe Recovering Well
4. ARZ - RB J.J. Arrington Impressing Coaches
5. JAX - RB Taylor - Ailing But Upbeat
6. MIN - RB Bennett Looking Good
7. CHI - TE Clark Struggling
8. NO - QB McPherson Working On The Basics
9. CAR - RB Davis Coming Back Slowly
10. KC - WR Craphonso Thorpe Struggling
11. IND - IDP S Doss Suspended for Two Games by the NFL
12. NYJ - IDP - S Reggie Tongue Released

1. KC - WR Hakim Signs with KC

Clipped from: ESPN.com AP article dated 6/15/05

The Kansas City Chiefs have agreed to terms on a one-year deal with free agent wide receiver Az-Zahir Hakim.

Hakim was released by the Detroit Lions in April. He signed as a free agent there before the 2002 season but didn't produce the way the Lions hoped after watching him excel for St. Louis.

In 2004, he had 31 receptions for 533 yards and three touchdowns, missing four games because of injury. He has 265 receptions for 3,555 yards and 26 TDs during his seven-year career.

Hakim's arrival provides depth at wide receiver for the Chiefs, who recently released Johnnie Morton.

Hakim played for Chiefs coach Dick Vermeil when Vermeil's St. Louis Rams won the Super Bowl six years ago.

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

The Chiefs are really looking for help in WR depth after Eddie Kennison. Samie Parker has not proven himself a solid #2 choice, and Hakim can also help out with some of the PR/KR return duties if need be. Those who remember Hakim when he was a Ram know that he can be very good if used in the right situation as he was in 1999 and 2000. However, since the 2000 season, Hakim has not been a fantasy WR standout (never finishing higher than WR 57 since he left the Rams back in 2002. Fantasy owners should approach Hakim with a great deal of caution.


2. SEA - WR Engram Set To Start

Clipped from: Herald.net article dated 6/15/05

Needing just five minicamp practices in the post-Koren Robinson era, the Seattle Seahawks already have an idea who might be their starting split end next season.

Coach Mike Holmgren said Tuesday that slot receiver Bobby Engram has the inside track on the starting job that came open when Robinson was cut 13 days ago.

"Right now, Bobby's our starting split end," Holmgren said. "Bobby's a good player. I know this: When he was hurt last year, we weren't as good on offense. Engram's kind of the forgotten man, but he's a good football player."

Engram worked mostly in the slot last season, but Holmgren likes the way that veteran newcomer Joe Jurevicius has played that inside position in minicamp. If the season were to start tomorrow, Holmgren would probably have Darrell Jackson and Engram in the starting lineup, with Jurevicius filling the No. 3 role.

"I'm just going to keep working," Engram said. "It's early in the year, but it's good to know that you've got a chance to battle for a starting position. That's what everybody in this league works to get."

Holmgren's praise stopped at veteran Jerome Pathon, who has underwhelmed the coach thus far.

"Jerome has to get going a little bit," Holmgren said. "I don't think he's in great shape. Our receivers run all the time; they're going all the time. He's just got to learn how to do things."

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

Engram isn't exactly a spring chicken anymore, entering his 11th NFL season. However, he seems to be the Seattle starting split end for now. His receiving totals dropped off significantly in 2004, and he was hampered by injures for part of the season. As there are several different options that the Seahawks could explore to start opposite DJAX in 2005, this should not be considered set in stone. Approach Engram with caution, and stay tuned for more info once the pre-season starts.


3. TEN - TE Troupe Recovering Well

Clipped from: Tennessean.com article 6/15/05

Titans tight end Ben Troupe watched yesterday's practice from the sideline, his injured left foot in a protective boot.

Troupe, who had surgery last month, said he expects to wear the boot for six weeks. But he agreed with Coach Jeff Fisher's timetable - he expects to be ready for the regular season opener Sept. 11, if not much sooner.

Troupe said Dr. Robert Anderson inserted a screw in his left foot to repair the fractured fifth metatarsal.

"The doctor said everything went well," Troupe said. "If you could have a pretty good break, I did, I guess. I just have to stay in the training room and hope for the best.

"I do see myself being back hopefully by middle if not late training camp."

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

Based on his performance from last season, we are pretty high on Troupe this season. Our current projections rank him at #9. To see that he's recovering well from his surgery is good news indeed. Troupe had some great flashes as a rookie. Despite only appearing in 14 games last season Troupe racked up 329 receiving yards and a TD. More than half of those stats were from the final three games of the season. If Troupe can return to full speed before the start of the season, he's going to be a great sleeper TE for most drafts. Stay tuned here for more info.


4. ARZ - RB J.J. Arrington Impressing Coaches

Clipped from: The Arizona Republic article 6/15/05

Cardinals rookie running back J.J. Arrington is reaping the benefits of Troy Hambrick's absence.

With fewer players to share repetitions, Arrington is getting more plays during practices and showing the coaches what he can do with the ball in his hands.

So far, Cardinals coach Dennis Green likes what he sees from his second-round draft pick.

"J.J.'s very quick, explosive," Green said. "He has outstanding hands. I think he's everything we hoped he would be. I think it's going to work out real well. When you get on the field with him, he's just so quick and explosive. Very few guys coming out (of college) are like that.

"Then he's got balance. He's similar to the other running backs in the league who have good balance. It's very hard to knock them off their feet. I think he can get behind the big linemen pretty well, too."

That's high praise for a rookie, but Arrington has shown what he can do when he's prepared.

"I feel more comfortable each day," he said.

"As long as we go over it (practice objectives) in the meetings each day, I'll be feeling pretty good."

The number of running backs dwindled further when Roger Robinson, a rookie free agent out of Northern Arizona, went on the injured list June 2 with a hamstring strain.

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

The RBBC disaster of 2004 may be over. If Arrington continues to impress, Green may simply name him the starter and be done with it. We didn't expect Hambrick to give Arrington much of a challenge, as Marcel Shipp is returning from injury and should press for more offensive time. Expect Arrington to beat them all out and become the primary ball carrier by the time the season starts. Currently we have Arrington projected to finish in the top 20 for fantasy RBS in 2005.


5. JAX - RB Taylor - Ailing But Upbeat

Clipped from: Jacksonville.com article by Vito Stellino 6/15/05

Coach likes Taylor's attitude

Taylor, who is still rehabilitating the knee he injured last Dec. 19, remained sidelined Tuesday when the Jaguars conducted their 10th of 14th organized team activities. This was the only one that is open to the media this week.

Although the Jaguars insist he'll be ready to open training camp on July 30, they're keeping him under wraps and have him running on Wednesday and Thursday, the two days that the workouts are closed to the media.

New running backs coach Kennedy Pola is impressed with Taylor even though he hasn't yet practiced yet.

"Fred has just been awesome," Pola said. "A true professional. He's on time, you give him a little test and he turns it in. He's taking notes and is asking questions. He knows how to get ready."

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

Taylor is definitely getting in his 'mental reps'. The bigger concern is the length of time that he's been away from the game. Seven full months out of practice is going to be hard to recover from, and 'Fragile Fred' may have a hard training camp if he isn't 100% by the time things get rolling. The media is being kept far away from this and much of this sounds like 'coach speak.' At this point, we can only sit tight and hope that Taylor comes into Camp 100%.


6. MIN - RB Bennett Looking Good

Clipped from: foxsports.com article by Kevin Seifert

RB Michael Bennett always shines in spring workouts, and this year is no exception. Bennett's speed and quickness have shined through in non-contact drills, but now there is more pressure on him than ever to carry the momentum into training camp and the regular season. The loss of Onterrio Smith leaves Bennett as the only experienced every-down runner in the team's once deep backfield. Bennett is also in the final year of his contract and will have his future determined by the way he performs this season. He has spent time this offseason working on his receiving skills as well, which have improved significantly since he entered the league in 2001.

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

Bennett is the logical choice to take over the starting role for Minnesota. But with Mewelde Moore, Moe Williams and Ciatrick Fason all competing for carries, it's not clear how big of a fantasy impact Bennett will have. Currently we have him ranked as the 28th best RB in the league. Not quite good enough to be a starter, but certainly a quality backup. Some people feel that players turn it up a notch in their final year of a contract. If that's the case, Bennett's situation may be tailor made for a great sleeper pick.


7. CHI - TE Clark Struggling

Clipped from: foxsports.com article by Mike Mulligan

Injury-prone tight end Desmond Clark has not met expectations and might be running out of time to prove himself. Clark will be in a training camp battle for playing time with Dustin Lyman, John Gilmore and Darnell Sanders, and also the position itself. The offense may reduce the role of the tight end to be more of an extra blocker if it is deemed there won't be enough production from the position again this year. Clark didn't help his case with a severely sprained ankle when he stepped on a cone in a routine workout drill before a recent minicamp. If the team opts for the tight end to become more of a blocker, Clark might not make it out of training camp. . . .

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

Clark was a sleeper TE pick two years ago when he came to Chicago. Clark was a good pass catching TE in Denver, and was expected to play a big part of the Chicago offense. When Lovie Smith took over, visions of Tony Gonzalez began to dance in minds of Bear fans everywhere. Instead, Clark floundered with the rest of the Bear receivers, and now appears to be in danger of losing his job. If Clark is cut, expect Dustin Lyman to receive the majority of the TE catches. As the article points out however, the Bears may reduce the role of TE even further in 2005. Bear TE's put up a combined 350 yards receiving and 2 TDS last season. Any more reduction and the starting Bear TE won't even be worth a backup slot on your fantasy roster.


8. NO - QB McPherson Working On The Basics

Clipped from: foxsports.com article by Jeff Duncan.

Coaches are working with rookie quarterback Adrian McPherson to improve his setup and release. The former Florida State and Arena League standout was holding the ball too low and at a three-quarters angle on his setup, limiting the accuracy and velocity of his throws. The Saints knew the inexperienced McPherson would need a lot of work, and that's what they've discovered so far. Still, they're happy with his attitude and willingness to try to improve.

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

While many would argue the Aaron Brooks needs to be replaced, it seems clear that McPherson still needs work if he's going to take over the job. McPherson has drawn some interest as of late, as people hope that his arena football success can translate into a solid NFL career. He's slowly creeping up the dynasty draft boards as well. It's still June, and the pre-season camps and games will really show us what Adrian is made of. At this point though, he doesn't appear to be in a position to challenge Brooks to the starting role.


9. CAR - RB Davis Coming Back Slowly

Clipped from: foxsports.com article by Pat Yasinskas

The team continues to take a very cautious approach with RB Stephen Davis, who is recovering from microfracture knee surgery. Davis only recently began running lightly and straight ahead. The team has targeted training camp as the time for Davis to begin cutting and to return to the practice field. But that may happen closer to the end of camp than the beginning. Considering Davis' age, 31, and the presence of Foster and Shelton, it's best not to rush Davis. If he is going to make a full recovery and return to his previous form, it's going to be a process that could include Davis getting minimal playing time at first and building it up as the season goes on.

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

It's good to see that Davis isn't being rushed back into service after a surgery that could have been very serious and career threatening. Expect him to give it his all but fall short of returning to the starting lineups after the pre-season training camps begin. Davis is a tough, never say die person. However, with Foster and the rookie Shelton also trying to prove themselves, it looks like running back by committee for the Panthers in 2004 unless someone can distance themselves from the pack or the rest are injured.


10. KC - WR Craphonso Thorpe Struggling

Clipped from: foxsports.com article by Adam Teicher

The Chiefs aren't counting on getting much from wide receiver Craphonso Thorpe as a rookie. Thorpe struggled mightily in rookie camp and recent practices and then injured a groin muscle, which will sideline him for a while. Thorpe had problems running routes and catching the ball. He broke his leg toward the end of his junior season at Florida State and doesn't appear to have yet made it all the way back. On draft day, the Chiefs were counting on Thorpe to be a contender for playing time as a rookie.

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

Yet another addition to the Black Eyed Joe All Name Team. Footballguys.com readers know that every year we talk about the dangers of expecting too much from a rookie WR. You'd think that the Chiefs would have listened to us. At any rate, Thorpe was probably not on any redraft radar since he is #5 on the depth chart. Dynasty Owners who are hoping that Thorpe can become super effective in a year or two might consider looking elsewhere for that breakout WR right now.


11. IND - IDP S Doss Suspended for Two Games by the NFL

Clipped from: The Washington Times article 6/15/05

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Indianapolis Colts safety Mike Doss was suspended Wednesday by the NFL for the first two regular-season games after pleading no contest to misdemeanor gun charges.

Doss was sentenced to community service last week after pleading no contest to misdemeanor gun charges in Akron, Ohio, where he was arrested after firing a gun into the air outside a restaurant on May 29.

"We support the policy and the commissioner completely and therefore left it in his hands. He has acted," Colts president Bill Polian said of the decision by NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue.

"We hope this swift sure action by the commissioner sends a signal to all concerned, players and fans alike; that actions such as those engaged in by Mike Doss will not be tolerated in the NFL or with the Colts."

Under the league's suspension, Doss may participate in all preseason practices and games but must sit out the first two regular season games - without pay - Sept. 11 at Baltimore and Sept. 18 at home against Jacksonville. He will be eligible to return to the active roster on Sept. 19.

"We hope that Mike has learned a positive if costly, lesson from this experience," Polian said. "Our expectation is that he has and that he will return to our team as the major contributor he has been in the past.

"The Colts consider this matter closed."

Doss faced a felony weapons charge and three misdemeanor charges after his arrest by Akron police.

He pleaded no contest last week to misdemeanor charges of carrying a concealed weapon and firing a weapon within city limits. He was sentenced to 40 hours community service, fined $1,000 and ordered to destroy the gun. A 180-day jail sentence was suspended.

Doss later apologized to the court, the city of Akron, the Colts and his family.

"He just wants go to back to playing football," said his attorney Jon Sinn.

Doss, selected in the second round of the 2003 draft from Ohio State, has 150 career tackles and had three career interceptions over two seasons.

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

Doss' off the field problems have finally been put to rest. The two game suspension was expected once he plead no contest to the gun charges. Doss has 102 tackles in his rookie season, but slipped to 46 after missing six games in 2004. Given that he'll miss the first two games of the season due to suspension, you might want to look elsewhere for a DB in your IDP leagues.


12. NYJ - IDP - S Reggie Tongue Released

Clipped from: Washington Times AP article 6/15/05

Safety Reggie Tongue was released Wednesday by the New York Jets after starting all 16 games last season.

Tongue played just one season with the Jets and had the second longest interception return in the team's postseason history with an 85-yard touchdown run against Pittsburgh. The longest was 98 yards by Darrol Ray in 1982.

A second-round draft pick in 1996 by Kansas City, Tongue played four years with the Chiefs and four years with Seattle.

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

Tongue's stats have slipped as he's getting a little long in the tooth. He finished 2004 with just 71 total tackles and only 1 INT. He'll sign somewhere before the start of the pre-season, but probably won't have much more than a backup role on your fantasy roster.


That'll do it for today, Folks. Thanks for reading and have a great Thursday.

J

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