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Volume 6, Issue 61 (Saturday, June 17th)

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Hi Folks,

Happy Fathers Day! For all you Dads out there, enjoy your day. For all you sons out there, give the Old Man a call today and say thanks if you're fortunate enough to have him around still. It's a cool day and I hope you have a great one. Thanks to our Aaron Rudnicki for rounding up these stories tonight so let's jump right to it.

J


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INSIDE THIS ISSUE

1. KC - Chiefs Sign WR Freddie Mitchell
2. MIA - No QB Currently In The Lead According To OC Linehan
3. NO - Saints Again Make Offer to WR Hakim
4. WAS - OT Jon Jansen Returns To Lineup
5. WAS - RB Portis Sees Better Second Redskins Season
6. PHI - Interview With QB McNabb
7. KC - Q&A With QB Trent Green
8. CLE - C Faine Facing Crucial Season
9. TEN - McNair Watching Titans' RT Competition Closely
10. HOU - WR Bradford Taking Advantage Of Gaffney's Absence
11. IDP: WAS - Police Say S Sean Taylor Will Be Prosecuted

1. KC - Chiefs Sign WR Freddie Mitchell

Clipped from: AP article by Doug Tucker posted at Washington Post, 6/18/05

The Kansas City Chiefs signed free-agent wide receiver Freddie Mitchell Saturday, a month after the Eagles released the troublesome player.

Mitchell was at Chiefs minicamp in street clothes but will begin practicing Sunday, coach Dick Vermeil said.

"We're very happy to have him here and I think he's happy to be here," Vermeil said. "He's in a good frame of mind and his attitude is very good."

Mitchell, who played in 63 games in four seasons at Philadelphia, fell into disfavor with Eagles coaches and teammates after making a series of controversial and inflammatory statements.

He insulted the Patriots secondary before the Super Bowl, and also called out New England coach Bill Belichick. He also criticized his teammates for not backing him and blasted quarterback Donovan McNabb for not throwing to him more.

"The plays are going to be there for me to make," Mitchell said after the Chiefs went through a two-hour workout in front of about 15,000 fans. "I just want to help the team win and hopefully be utilized catching the ball. So it's going to be good. I'm happy to be here."

Mitchell, picked in the first round out of UCLA in 2001, also labeled himself with a seemingly endless list of self-promoting nicknames like "The People's Champ," "FredEx," and "First-Down Freddie." But he hardly produced, catching 90 passes for 1,263 yards and five touchdowns in his career.

The move comes a day after free-agent receiver Az-Zahir Hakim changed his mind and decided against signing with the Chiefs.

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

Mitchell hasn't done much since entering the league as a first round pick, but he'll be entering a great situation in Kansas City that should give him a chance to be productive. Obviously, Holmes and Gonzalez and Kennison will continue to the be the primary targets, but the #2 and #3 WR spots appear to be open. If Mitchell can become even half the player he thinks he is, he could wind up starting and might actually be worth taking a flier on in deeper leagues.


2. MIA - No QB Currently In The Lead According To OC Linehan

Clipped from: Sun-Sentinel.com article by Alex Marvez, 6/18/05

Dolphins offensive coordinator Scott Linehan said Thursday there is no front-runner to start at quarterback even though Gus Frerotte worked with the first-team offense ahead of A.J. Feeley during last weekend's minicamp.

"Gus has familiarity with a lot of things, but the reps were split such that he wasn't necessarily working on things that he was as comfortable with as maybe he would be had I worked a lot of the concepts that we worked at Minnesota," said Linehan, who had Frerotte as his backup quarterback the past two seasons with the Vikings. "He got a lot of work in areas that were new to him, as well.

"Between the two of them, I thought they did a great job of handling the situation well, learning the system, how they fit into it as a quarterback. And really, that is what the training camp is used for, establishing who that person is going to be."

Dolphins coach Nick Saban has said Frerotte had a slight advantage over the other quarterbacks because of his knowledge of Linehan's offense. Frerotte also has a close personal relationship with Linehan, but the latter said that won't play a role in determining who starts.

"I have stepped away from that situation purposely," Linehan said in his first availability to Dolphins media since his hiring in January. "I think [quarterbacks coach] Jason Garrett has done a wonderful job of managing that situation, that quarterback group. I've spent a lot of my time sitting in on other meeting groups trying to get a handle of the overall picture. There are no favorites in coaching. You're going to play who is going to go out and play and execute."

Regardless of who is under center, expect the Dolphins to have a much more wide-open passing offense than in the previous nine seasons under former coaches Jimmy Johnson and Dave Wannstedt. "It's fair to say that there is going to be some deep threat incorporated into every read," said Linehan, whose schemes helped make Minnesota one of the NFL's best throwing teams. "The coverage is going to dictate where the ball is going to go, but it's fair to say we're going to attack every part of the field."

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

While many think that Frerotte will have an advantage in this QB competition given his familiarity with the system, it seems that Linehan is going out of his way to avoid the appearance of favoritism. The closeness of this competition is reflected in our real time expert rankings , as both Frerotte and Feeley are ranked almost identically at the moment. Chances are it will come down to their performance in the preseason, but given that Frerotte has been in the system for years, he should still have a slight edge. If you have a good feeling about Miami, rather than getting stuck with the wrong QB, you may want to consider adding both if you have an extra roster space available on draft day.


3. NO - Saints Again Make Offer to WR Hakim

Clipped from: Times-Picayune article by Mike Triplett, 6/18/05

The Saints are optimistic that they will add free-agent wide receiver Az-Zahir Hakim to the roster after the veteran's deal with the Kansas City Chiefs fell through Friday. The Saints made a contract offer to the seven-year veteran before he agreed to terms with the Chiefs last week. Apparently, Hakim and the Chiefs could not come together on money and playing-time guarantees and decided to part ways.

"Az and his agent got together, and they really felt his best situation was not here for him," said Chiefs coach Dick Vermeil, who said the Saints were offering more money and that the Chiefs could not guarantee a roster spot. "I told you all along that I wanted what was best for him, and I think he's going to end up in New Orleans."

Details of the Saints' offer are unknown. Hakim's agent, Bruce Tollner, could not be reached for comment. The Saints sent a contract offer to Hakim by overnight Friday, but haven't officially reached an agreement. "I don't have anything confirmed yet, but we'd love to have him," Saints general manager Mickey Loomis said.

The Saints have been seeking a veteran this offseason to compete with Devery Henderson, among others, for the third receiver job. Hakim, 28, has averaged 40 catches, 550 yards and four touchdowns over the past six seasons, mostly as a third receiver for the Detroit Lions and St. Louis Rams. Hakim, 5 feet 10, 189 pounds, also has been a top punt returner.

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

It looks like Hakim left the Chiefs to accept a better deal with the Saints. The Saints have been looking to add a veteran WR to compete with Devery Henderson for the #3 WR role. Last year's #3 WR Jerome Pathon signed with the Seahawks and the Saints missed out on Troy Brown earlier this offseason. Hakim may have had a decent chance to start in Kansas City while playing in an offensive system that he was familiar with. In New Orleans, however, he'll be no better than the #3 WR behind established players Joe Horn and Donte' Stallworth. Playing in a dome will certainly play to his strengths though, and adding another quality receiving weapon may be reason to slightly bump up the value of QB Aaron Brooks.


4. WAS - OT Jon Jansen Returns To Lineup

Clipped from: AP article posted at SI.com, 6/18/05

Of all the additions and subtractions the Redskins made in the offseason, the biggest plus is probably the return of the right tackle known as "Rock." Jansen was one of the most reliable players in the NFL -- he missed just one snap in his first five seasons -- before rupturing his Achilles tendon in the first quarter of the first exhibition game last season.

In some respects, the season went straight downhill from there. "I felt when that injury happened last year it took quite a bit away from us," coach Joe Gibbs said. "We went through some instability there in the line for a while."

Jansen is a vocal locker room leader and an advocate of old-fashioned, hard-hitting football. He was thrilled at the chance to play for traditionalist Gibbs after two strange years under pass-happy Steve Spurrier.

Then the injury came -- at the worst possible time -- and Jansen found it hard to accept.

"It didn't really hit me for a long time," Jansen said. "I knew before I hit the ground what had happened, and I knew there was no quick recovery from it. But still you think you can wake up the next day and you can tape it up, or there's some way you can make it feel OK to go out and play. For a long time, I felt there was something I could do to get back faster."

Nope. Ruptured tendons take a full season to heal, no matter how hard the patient works. Jansen found himself part of the team and not part of the team at the same time. He kept himself mentally sharp by watching film, but he did it on his own rather that join the other linemen in their meetings. "I hate seeing somebody in my spot," he said.

Watching the games was no fun. The Redskins eventually settled on Ray Brown at right tackle, and he performed admirably considering he turned 42 in December. But the Redskins went 6-10, and even the six victories had their drawbacks for the 1999 second-round pick watching in street clothes from an upstairs booth.

"There was pretty much no good part about it," Jansen said. "If they were doing real well, then you'd be sitting back going, 'I guess they don't really need me.' And whenever they struggled, you were thinking, 'I really wish I could be out there and be part of some solution.' "

Jansen got the final clean bill of health from the doctor in January and no longer even thinks about the injury when he's on the field. He's more than anxious to put on the pads when training camp begins in August. "I'm looking forward to even the preseason games, just to be able to get out there and have the fun and excitement that football brings," Jansen said. "I enjoy the contact. I enjoy the physicalness of the game, and to be away from that for so long, you really do miss it."

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

Losing Jansen last year undoubtedly played a major role in some of the struggles by the Redskins offense. He's one of the better RTs in the game and a pretty physical run blocker. Getting him back healthy should open up a few more holes for Portis to run through as he tries to rebound from a disappointing season. The change from Ray Brown to Jansen should also buy QB Patrick Ramsey some extra time in the pocket.


5. WAS - RB Portis Sees Better Second Redskins Season

Clipped from: AP article at Washington Post by Joseph White, 6/18/05

Clinton Portis' first season with the Washington Redskins was all about patience - or the lack thereof.

First, he needed to be patient to learn a totally new offense, only to learn it didn't suit him well. He didn't have the patience to pick his way through unfamiliar blocking schemes, preferring to dart ahead to try to make the type of big gains he had with the Denver Broncos. Then the whole team got impatient after a 1-4 start, focusing on the big picture instead of one game at a time.

"All the movement, the patience that it takes to run the offense that we had last year, the patience that was involved in running this system," Portis said. "Not really being spread out, being crowded. Dodging one person, having to dodge two more. It was clustered."

Yes, he rushed for 1,315 yards, but they were tough yards. He ran for just five touchdowns after averaging more than 1,500 yards and 14 1/2 TDs in two seasons with the Broncos.

"Knowing that you're one tackle away, you're one play away from having a big day. Frustration can kick in. The aggravation can kick in," Portis said. "You're used to doing one thing, and you turn around and turn into a grinder - 3 yards a carry."

"This year," he added, "I think it's going to be a lot more spread out and a lot more open." Portis hopes to be the beneficiary of coach Joe Gibbs' offseason tinkering with an offense that ranked 30th in the NFL last year. Portis is promising slice-and-dice, not grit and a pile of dust, a result of the game plans formulated during the offseason practices and culminating in this weekend's minicamp. "He wanted to put this thing together structurally to suit him and us," Portis said, "so I think we're going to be much more exciting."

The way Portis talks, one would expect a complete offensive overhaul, but Gibbs says the changes will be much more subtle. The coach, after all, is quick to compare Portis' 2004 season to the best seasons John Riggins had in the 1980s. The numbers are indeed similar, although Riggins got to the end zone a lot more often. "I think we've changed," Gibbs said, "not so much to suit Clinton's style but to what we thought was more effective. Clinton can run anything. He has the speed to run outside, and he's physical."

Tackle Jon Jansen said certain plays have been tweaked. One play might simply have a different blocking scheme, for example, while another has been redesigned to give Portis more room to run outside. "On the surface, I don't think people will notice much of a difference - other than we'll be a much more productive offense," Jansen said.

If nothing else, the Redskins' speedier receiving corps led by David Patten and Santana Moss should get the ball downfield more often, opening up the running game. If so, Portis might genuinely be able to consider his 1,315-yard season an off year. "I know players excited about getting a new deal after 1,000 yards," Portis said. "For my worst season to be 1,300 yards, if that's the worst season I ever have in my career, I'm fine with that."

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

Almost every article that comes out around this time of year is positive as teams are attempting to make improvements and solve problems that emerged last year, so this isn't that surprising. It also sounds like Portis may be slightly exaggerating the changes that were made based on the comments from Jansen and Gibbs. That being said, however, there were clearly some major problems with the Redskins offense last year, and it's pretty clear that Gibbs is working hard on fixing them. Portis makes a good point in saying that the 1300 yards last year really wasn't that bad, but we've all come to expect more from him after the huge years he had in Denver. Next year should give us a better idea of how much of his early success was due to his talent vs. playing in the Broncos' RB friendly system.


6. PHI - Interview With QB McNabb

Clipped from: Philadelphia Inquirer article by Bob Brookover, 6/18/05

This could have been, and perhaps should have been, the most enjoyable off-season of McNabb's career. He finally conquered the NFC championship game hurdle and achieved career bests with a 64 percent completion percentage, 31 touchdown passes, and a 104.0 passer rating. All of the above should have made this a special break between seasons.

"You would think so," McNabb said. "You'd think guys would just be trying to stay physically fit or participating in different events and having a great time. But it has been a challenging one because you never want to go through something where you are constantly talking about somebody or what they said or what they decided to do. You'd prefer to come in, focus on camp, do some interviews and go home."

Instead, McNabb has listened to critics condemn his running of the hurry-up offense against the Patriots. He has listened to Owens accuse him of being "tired" in the NFL's biggest game. He has listened to a deposed Mitchell accuse him of not throwing the ball his way. Owens has inferred and Mitchell has referred to the quarterback as the "company man."

"I wouldn't say I was blindsided, but it was kind of shocking," McNabb said. "Just talking to other guys who have played the game, they will tell you that things happen. It doesn't happen all the time when you go to the Super Bowl. Sometimes it happens during the course of the season. I think the way to handle it is to keep everything in house, communicating with that person or people involved."

McNabb said he and Owens have spoken and reached a peace accord. "I talked to him after the first minicamp" in early May, he said. "We communicated and put everything in the air. I'm fine. We dealt with things, and I'm looking forward to getting out there with him."

Still, McNabb doesn't know if or when that might happen because Owens, looking for a new contract after only one season with the Eagles, appears that he will sit out for as long it takes.

"We're fine, at least from my part," McNabb said. "I don't know what they're talking about upstairs or whatever is going on with that. I told him that is none of my concern. I don't get involved in anyone else's contract or financial business because that's nothing I would want anyone to get involved with me. But from my side of things, as far as what was going on, we're fine."

McNabb said he received an apology from Owens even though he never asked for one. "He apologized, but that's not what I was looking for," McNabb said. "I just wanted to get things out in the open and kind of see where he was and make sure we were on the same page."

During their conversation, McNabb invited Owens to Arizona, where he lives in the off-season, for a chance to work out and work on their passing connection, which resulted in 77 completions for 1,200 yards and 14 touchdowns a year ago.

"I've definitely brought it to his attention, and we'll see where it's at," McNabb said. "I'm here, and guys will show up. If he does, that would be great."

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

Not too much new here, but it provides some insight into the rough offseason that McNabb has been having after finishing the best season of his career. Looks like he and Owens have cleared the air so there shouldn't be any lingering problems if Owens and the Eagles can come to some type of resolution in their contract negotiations.


7. KC - Q&A With QB Trent Green

Clipped from: KCChiefs.com article, 6/17/05

Q: Do you feel that they need to bring in another wide receiver?

GREEN: "I feel confident with the guys we have but your just going in with a lot of inexperience. Other than Eddie Kennison there is a lot of inexperience. I feel confident with the talent these guys have but it's being able to sustain it for a 16-week season and hopefully 20 or more weeks. When you have inexperience that is the hard part to determine if you can do it on a one or two game basis but can you sustain it for an entire season. In terms of talent, speed, ability to catch, and learn the offense they haven proven that with the end of last season."

Q: Would you like to see them bring a veteran receiver in?

GREEN: "If that is going to make us better, great. If we don't then we go with the guys we have. You would always like as many weapons as possible. If they decide that more weapons will help us win a championship then I am all for it. If this is the group we have then you work with what you have and you go from there. The way these guys have worked and the speed that they bring and if they pick up where they left off last season and they continue growing the way they have I see no reason why they can't be a successful group. If it means your rotating four or five guys or if you all of a sudden find your one or two of your go to guys either way as long as they are productive I don't have a problem going with the group I have. They are all big play capable guys, they al have speed, and get good separation and anytime you have that, that is something you can't coach."

Q: Kris Wilson plays like a receiver, does he not?

GREEN: "Coming off of the injury from last year there was obviously high expectations before he was hurt. The fact he came in and got to play a little bit but getting him in there and getting reps helped him. I think he has got a lot better this off-season. I don't know if he still has lingering affects of the leg or the confidence of moving around. It seems like every week and every practice he gets more and more confidence. Today he did really well. Today in practice he came up with several catches down the middle. Catching the ball in traffic and being able to run with the ball after the catch he has looked good. With the absence of Tony Gonzalez recovering from an injury he is making the most of the opportunity having to deal with the amount of reps he is getting. It is only going to make him better and once we get to training camp I am sure they will monitor the number of reps that Tony gets because he is coming off a surgery. That will present more of an opportunity and the way preseason games work. He will get a lot of work in those situations. If he continues to progress the way he has we will have a great package with putting in Tony Gonzalez, Jason Dunn and Kris Wilson."

Q: Were you surprised with the situation with Az Hakim or disappointed?

GREEN: "Yes, I really was. Talking to Az Hakim he was excited to be here. Talking to him on the field and when we were going through practice holding the scripts we went through a recall from when we were in St. Louis. He was excited for the opportunity and the offense that we have here. It's really shocking to me. If he is presented with a better opportunity then that's great. Coach came to me this morning and gave me a brief update with what happened and I don't know what it was that he changed his mind. I wish him the best but I think he would have had a lot of fun here."

Q: Are you on solidarity strike that you're not throwing in practice?

GREEN: "No, it's more of a smart thing. I am doing all the run work and condition work. Sometimes I get a little bit overzealous in my preparation. I have been running and throwing since the Monday after the Pro Bowl and that probably wasn't the smartest thing on my part in terms of how long the off-season is. I think it's some of the coaches and trainers and everybody saw the way I was working. It's kind of a force thing to pull back. I do tend to over do some things. They are taking the ball out of my hand. I have been ready for the season to start. It's a long season. I have been ready to start ever since the Pro Bowl ended. I was like alright the seasons over lets get ready for the next season and obviously it can't get started fast enough. It is a long haul and we still have a long way to go until training camp."

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

Today's signing of Freddie Mitchell obviously adds a veteran to the young and inexperienced WR group that Green is talking about. It's also important to keep in mind that Kris Wilson could provide another valuable target for Green and the Chiefs this year. He's expected to fill more of an H-back role for them and has very good receiving skills. He could be a nice late round TE sleeper this year. The Chiefs coaching staff is also not allowing Green to throw in this minicamp because they are worried about him overworking his throwing arm. This is a legit concern, as most fantasy owners remember from several years ago when Brett Favre developed tendonitis in his throwing shoulder.


8. CLE - C Faine Facing Crucial Season

Clipped from: Akron Beacon Journal article by Patrick McManamon, 6/18/05

Jeff Faine heard the criticism late last season. It came after he was sidelined with an ankle injury and Melvin Fowler had replaced him for three games. It also came from Faine's former offensive line coach, Larry Zierlein, who said Fowler played better than Faine.

It bothered Faine. Why wouldn't it? When your line coach goes on the air on the team's flagship station and says that the backup was better than the starter, it would naturally bother the starter. But Zierlein is a straight-shooting ex-Marine, so he said what he thought. The statement raised eyebrows yet again about another Butch Davis first-round draft pick.

Faine seems solidly entrenched as the team's starting center, but this could be a key season for him. He talks of being a premier center, but finished his first two seasons on injured reserve.

Faine clearly was the choice of Davis when he was taken with the 21st overall pick in the 2003 draft. Davis' offensive coaches favored Eric Steinbach, who wound up starting at Cincinnati. But Davis preferred a guy he had recruited and knew from his days in the state of Florida. Faine came from Notre Dame with a reputation of being mean and nasty, but some of Davis' staff snickered that the mean side only came out in blowout wins.

When Faine altered his diet before last season, eyebrows were raised. He focused more on healthy foods than proteins, the talk went, which caused his weight to drop, which caused his strength to subside. Zierlein's statements seemed to be the final element in a tough season -- but then new general manager Phil Savage made some statements about Faine at the NFL Scouting Combine that caused some to think Faine might be on his way out. Savage said the team believed Faine needed help around him. When his remarks were taken as criticism of Faine, he said his comments were misinterpreted. "We like Jeff Faine," he insisted.

It's up to Faine to justify the team's faith in him. The Browns gave him help when they signed guards Joe Andruzzi and Cosey Coleman. Faine and Ryan Tucker are the lone holdovers from last season's line. Faine, a good guy who is always cooperative with the media, chose his words carefully about the overhaul. "We needed a change," he said. "We'll see how it goes from here, but I think it's a change for the good. It looks like that's the way it's going. I'm going to miss the guys who were here -- they were personal friends -- but it's business and we need to put the best players out there."

Faine scoffs at questions about his weight. Rumors that he was below 280 pounds last season were not true, he said. "The lightest I ever was was 285," he said. He said he now weighs 290 (he's listed at 300) and said he can play effectively at a weight between 285 and 290. He said the same thing last camp, dismissing rumors about his diet by saying he still ate meats, and had plenty of weight and strength to have proper leverage.

Coach Romeo Crennel won't guarantee a starting job at this point, because it's hard to consider anyone untouchable from teams that won nine games in two years. But he does seem committed to giving Faine every possible chance to prove himself.

"Jeff is what he is," Crennel said. "And we're not going to request that he get larger. We're going to ask that he do a great job. We're going to ask that he does what we want him to do. If he can do it at the weight he's at and do it efficiently, then I'm all for that. I've had guys who have been undersized that get the job done, guys who are little overweight who get the job done. We're going to put him out on the field and see if he can get the job done."

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

The Browns finally seem to have the pieces in place to make up a solid offensive line. They've brought in some help at the guard position in Joe Andruzzi and Cosey Coleman, and also signed LJ Shelton to play left tackle. Faine will get a chance to keep the center position, but Fowler proved himself last year and could eventually overtake him at some point. It's a good problem to have, and if the blocking up front improves, the Browns may finally wind up with a productive fantasy RB this year.


9. TEN - McNair Watching Titans' RT Competition Closely

Clipped from: AP article at SI.com, 6/18/05

Tennessee quarterback Steve McNair has plenty of faith in offensive line coach Mike Munchak. That doesn't mean he isn't watching the competition at right tackle very closely. The Titans cut starting right tackle Fred Miller in February for salary cap reasons, and veteran backup tackle Jason Mathews retired this offseason. That leaves Brad Hopkins, going into his 13th season, as the only tackle on the roster with any real experience as a starter.

The competition to replace Miller includes Todd Williams, a seventh-round pick in 2003. Jacob Bell, who started 15 games last season at left guard as a rookie, tore his right ACL before he could try his hand at right tackle. The rest are rookies led by second-round pick Michael Roos, the highest lineman drafted by the Titans since taking Hopkins in the first round in 1993. They also picked up David Stewart of Mississippi State in the fourth and added Daniel Loper of Texas Tech in the fifth -- the most draft picks used on the line since 1985.

Coach Jeff Fisher said Friday each player will get a chance to play with the first team before the Titans make a final decision, and McNair is confident they'll pick the best guy. "I think those guys are working hard ... I think Todd is doing an excellent job as far as getting this offense, knowing what to do, and he's getting a lot better at his technique," McNair said.

McNair has reason to be watching this position closely. Miller had protected his right side since 2000, and the quarterback is coming off surgery to strengthen a sternum that kept him out of eight games last season. "I'm not too worried about this offensive line," McNair said with a laugh. "I think this offensive line has a great coach in Mike Munchak and will be as prepared as any line in the National Football League."

Munchak, a Hall of Famer for his 13 years with the then-Houston Oilers, may have his best raw talent yet. He has Williams working with the starting line while splitting some time with Roos. Loper has been kept exclusively backing up Hopkins, while Stewart is working on the flexibility Munchak wants by working at right guard.

The job is there for Williams, the 6-5, 330-pound lineman who was homeless for three years as a teenager before going back to school and playing his way through Florida State. "You don't know when your window's going to come open," Munchak said. "He was behind three real good tackles, and he had the privilege of learning from them and the fact that [general manager] Floyd Reese is very patient with linemen usually and gives them a chance to develop."

Bell could be the wild card if he continues his quick recovery from surgery. The Titans now just hope publicly that he's ready to be a backup by the season opener Sept. 11 at Pittsburgh, and Munchak sounds confident the Titans will have plenty to choose from.

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

The Titans have lost a lot of veteran talent this offseason, particularly at RT, WR, and CB. Whoever winds up starting at RT will almost certainly be a downgrade from Fred Miller, and that could make things difficult for Chris Brown and the Titans QBs. This will be a situation to watch in preseason, and if nobody emerges there it might be enough to slightly downgrade all the Titans offensive players this year.


10. HOU - WR Bradford Taking Advantage Of Gaffney's Absence

Clipped from: HoustonTexans.com article by Nick Schenck, 6/18/05

Following last season, wide receiver Corey Bradford wasn't sure if his tenure with the Texans was over. An unrestricted free agent, Bradford weighed his options after spending the past three years in Houston.

Publicly, Bradford didn't hide his preference to stay with the team he's helped develop since its inaugural season. At the same time, he didn't limit himself, visiting the Detroit Lions and New York Giants.

Ultimately, it wasn't anything to do with playing time or his role in the offense that made Bradford's decision easy. Simply, it was his expectation of where the Texans were headed compared to the other teams. "All of that was good," Bradford said of his trips to Detroit and New York, "but my main thing was our record was better than their records last year, so I didn't really want to take a step back."

While Bradford's signing might have surprised some people, who saw his flirtations with other clubs as a sign of his impending departure, he had a feeling all along that he'd remain with the Texans. The reason: Bradford sees himself as a finisher, which shouldn't shock fans that have seen him break off multiple long touchdown receptions in his career.

"I always knew I would (re-sign)," said Bradford , whose 13 touchdown catches with the Texans average 43 yards per score. "I started it here, so my thing was I wanted to finish it. Every year, we've been getting better and better. I just wanted to be here this year when we really take off."

With slot receiver Jabar Gaffney sitting out of mini-camp while recovering from shoulder surgery, Bradford has taken advantage of the added practice reps by flashing his trademark speed and showing more discipline in his routes.

Individually, he wasn't pleased with last season, when he hauled in only 27 passes for three scores, his lowest total since 2001. But even though he has caught fewer than 30 passes in each of the past two years, Bradford believes brighter things are in his future.

This off-season, he has been working on coming out of his breaks better, running crisper patterns and increasing his strength to fend off press coverage. With the wrinkles the Texans have put in their passing game, namely shortening the routes, Bradford might have more pass-catching opportunities in 2005. "We're the type of receivers that can take a five-yard route 80 yards, 90 yards," Bradford said of the Texans' corps of receivers. "I like the new offense. It's going to accommodate what Andre (Johnson), Jabar, (Derick) Armstrong and I do better. We can run."

Wide receivers coach Kippy Brown was pleased to have his veteran receiver return to the team. Brown has worked with Bradford not only for the past four years in Houston, but also in 2000 as the running backs coach of the Green Bay Packers. Based on what he's seen of Bradford the past few months, Brown believes the Texans made a wise move by re-signing the former track athlete.

"He's had a great off-season," Brown said. "He's made a whole bunch of plays and really has improved in some areas that we talked about during the off-season. I think he's ready to have his best year."

The slot opposite Johnson in the Texans' offense is wide open. As is the case with others positions, head coach Dom Capers has opened up competition for the job, refusing to award anyone the duty quite yet. Armstrong and Bradford are the front-runners, but a slew of other receivers could emerge.

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As mentioned already, most offseason news stories are positive so this may not mean a whole lot. But, Bradford is likely a guy that is off most fantasy owner's radars right now. If he can carry this momentum into the season, he should be able to hold off Derick Armstrong for one of the top-3 WR spots and could be a decent sleeper as QB David Carr continues to improve as a passer.


11. IDP: WAS - Police Say S Sean Taylor Will Be Prosecuted

Clipped from: Palm Beach Post article by Carlos Frias, 6/18/05

The Miami-Dade state attorney intends to prosecute Washington Redskins safety Sean Taylor, who recently was charged with a felony of aggravated assault with a firearm, police said Thursday.

Taylor, a former University of Miami football player, turned himself in to Miami-Dade police June 4 after he was charged with attacking a man he said stole his all-terrain vehicle.

According to the police report, Taylor drove up to two men in his car, pointed a gun at them and demanded to know where his ATV was. Taylor left, according to the report, but returned about 10 minutes later and jumped one of the men. One of Taylor's associates allegedly chased the other man with a baseball bat.

The state attorney's office told police it believes there is sufficient evidence to prosecute Taylor, Miami-Dade Detective Mary Walters said.

State attorney spokesman Ed Griffith said the office will not announce its plans until Taylor's arraignment June 24.

Police still are investigating Taylor's claim that shots were fired at his car in retaliation, Walters said.

The Washington Post reported Thursday that Taylor hired a new attorney, Edward Carhart, a Miami defense lawyer and former prosecutor, to defend him.

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It certainly doesn't look like this problem is going to go away anytime soon for Taylor. At the moment, he is not expected to miss any playing time. That could change if he's convicted, however, as the NFL would almost certainly give him some type of fine and suspension. We should all find out more on June 24th after his arraignment.


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

J

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