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Volume 6, Issue 65 (Wednesday, June 22nd)

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Hi Folks. Hope your week's going well. We're rocking along here. Thanks to our Will Grant for rounding up these stories tonight. Let's get to it..

J


SITE NEWS

A. FBG 228 page Strategy Guide Magazines are almost sold out for online orders
David only has about 100 magazines left for ordering online. The newsstands should have them out next Tuesday but you still have time to get the magazine in your hands before then. This thing is a whopping 228 pages thick. It's not a condensed down summary - It's the meaty details that serious players want. Check it out.


INSIDE THIS ISSUE

1. BAL - QB Boller: New Offense Revolves Around Him
2. TB - RB Williams Working With First Unit
3. WAS - RB Portis Will Benefit From New Offense
4. CHI - WR Bradley Signs
5. NE/SF - Mortons On the Move
6. NE - WR PK Sam Impresses Coaches
7. DAL - WR Morgan Hampered By Injury
8. KC - QB/S Crouch Released. CFL Bound?
9. BAL - IDP DL Suggs Should Avoid Jail Time
10. BAL - IDP S Reed Out, Demps In For Run Support

1. BAL - QB Boller: New Offense Revolves Around Him

Clipped from: NFL.com article by Vic Carucci 6/22/05

The Baltimore Ravens making a commitment to build their offense around unproven quarterback Kyle Boller: The Ravens do need to find out, once and for all, if Boller can step up to the challenge of carrying the brunt of their offensive load. And they have added some notable receiving talent in Derrick Mason and Mark Clayton. Yet, Brian Billick seems to be taking a risk by declaring that the Ravens scheme is "all orchestrated for Kyle: this playbook, this offense." Boller has had some impressive moments, such as the four touchdown passes he threw against the New York Giants late last season. However, he still appears to be a long way from demonstrating he is ready for the responsibility Billick wants to put in his hands. Although running back Jamal Lewis had limited production last season because of a four-game suspension and legal trouble that put him in jail during the offseason, he still is capable of being the engine that drives the Ravens offense.

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The Ravens finished dead last in passing yards for the last two seasons. This season they are committed to passing the ball. Mason is a great addition and a healthy Todd Heap can only help matters. However we'll believe in the new commitment to passing when we actually see it in action. Boller is currently ranked 23rd in our real time consensus expert rankings and our current projections place him at QB25. If you're near the end of you draft and have an extra pick to burn, Boller might be a nice flyer pick. Keep your eyes on him during the pre-season though, as he could start to creep up in the rankings if the new offense looks good.

Back to Top

2. TB - RB Williams Working With First Unit

Clipped from: St. Petersburg Times article by Frank Pastor 6/22/05

GAINING SPEED: As offseason workouts near an end, rookie running back Carnell " Cadillac" Williams is getting work with the top offensive unit.

"Me and ( Michael Pittman) were on the field a good little bit," he said. "This is the last week, so they kind of put me out there in that fire right now."

"He's done well," coach Jon Gruden said. "He's worked hard, and his conditioning is top notch. And he's not intimidated. So we're pleased with where he is yet respectful for what he needs to do to get ready to play."

Though he was the Bucs' top pick in the draft and fifth overall, Williams is taking nothing for granted.

"It's going to be some nice competition in training camp. I'm definitely looking forward to it," Williams said. "You've got Pittman, who's got good hands. He's big, explosive, and you've got the other guys. Everybody's got their different little intangible things that they do."

Of course, there is still the matter of Williams' contract. Negotiations haven't started, but "I'm sure it should be no problem," he said.

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

Williams is going to be a great addition to a TB rushing attack that only averaged 3.79 ypc last season (25th) and posted only nine TDs (27th). Michael Pittman's presence should only have a slight impact on Williams who should receive the lion's share of the carries this season. Currently we project Williams to finish 27th among fantasy backs this season, but have him ranked as the #2 overall rookie prospect for dynasty and keeper leagues. Williams is the real deal, and he should have a good season with TB.


3. WAS - RB Portis Will Benefit From New Offense

Clipped from: NFL.com article by Vic Carucci 6/22/05

The Washington Redskins' plan to spread the field more often on running plays: Clinton Portis ran for 1,315 yards last season, but the Redskins (and Portis) know he could have generated more big plays from a scheme that was better suited to his skills. During the previous two years with the Denver Broncos, he established himself as a game-breaking force largely because he usually took the handoff and popped through a hole with little or no hesitation. In 2004, Joe Gibbs and his offensive coaches mostly worked from tight formations that forced Portis to patiently wait for his blockers to create openings. He wound up averaging 3.8 yards per carry, a significant drop from the 5.5 he averaged in each year with Denver. As Portis told reporters in Washington, "You're used to doing one thing, and you turn around and turn into a grinder -- 3 yards a carry." Portis is anything but a "grinder." The Redskins' new approach should result in wider defensive gaps that Portis can exploit with his darting style. It also will include more outside running plays to take better advantage of his speed.

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Portis was known for his big plays in Denver. As the article states, his stats took a huge hit when he moved from Denver to Washington last season. If the Redskins can open up their offense more on offense, Portis will be in a better position to create plays for himself and work one-on-one against defenders in open space where his athleticism should allow him to flourish again. This is great news for Portis owners and Redskin fans alike.


4. CHI - WR Bradley Signs

Clipped from: ESPN.COM news services article dated 6/22/05

The team signed wide receiver Mark Bradley to a five-year contract. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Bradley, selected 39th overall, finished his collegiate career with three years at Oklahoma after playing two seasons at Arkansas-Pine Bluff. A versatile athlete, Bradley played 37 games as a wide receiver throughout his collegiate career while also contributing as a kickoff and punt returner as well as on special teams coverage units.

He was forced to sit out the 2002 season as a transfer student and was switched to cornerback to fill a team need during practice, but moved back to wide receiver just before the start of his junior season. The 6-1, 200-pounder started 10 career games and caught 58 passes for 1,114 yards and a 19.7-yard average while adding 22 kickoff returns for 523 yards and a 23.8-yard average with one touchdown. Bradley also returned eight punt for 199 yards (24.9-yard avg.) with two touchdowns. In 25 games with the Sooners he compiled 685 yards and nine touchdowns on 34 catches for a 20.1-yard average.

Of the 255 players selected in the 2005 NFL Draft, Bradley is the 24th pick to sign his contract. He is the first player to sign who was selected on the first day of the draft and the highest overall selection to sign thus far. Bradley is the second of Chicago's six draft picks to sign this year after safety Chris Harris signed on June 1.

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Great news for Bears Fans. It's unclear what role that Bradley will play in the revamped Chicago offense, as he's #5 on the WR depth chart now, and Bernard Berrian is slated for KR/PR duties. Bradley has good speed, and should be able to help out in a variety of ways for the Bears in 2005. He probably won't be much value in redraft leagues this season, but dynasty owners should take an interest in him for 2006 and beyond.


5. NE/SF - Mortons On the Move

Clipped from: ESPN.com article date 6/21/05

The Morton brothers both found new NFL homes Tuesday.

The San Francisco 49ers signed wide receiver Johnnie Morton to a two-year contract and the New England Patriots agreed to a one-year deal with kick-returner Chad Morton on Tuesday. Chad Morton's deal is worth $600,000 plus another possible $600,000 in incentives, according to ESPN.com's John Clayton.

Johnnie Morton, an 11-year veteran, was cut earlier this month by the Kansas City Chiefs, while brother Chad was cut by the Washington Redskins.

"Johnnie is our kind of guy." 49ers coach Mike Nolan said. "He is a hard-working professional who will be a great example to our young receivers."

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We reported Johnnie Morton's signing with San Francisco yesterday. Now Chad has signed with New England. Chad was an excellent special teams standout in New York, but never lived up the big time contract that he signed with Washington. Morton joins the Super Bowl Champions who only averaged 5.8 yards per punt return in 2005 (29th). Their Kick return average was much better with 23.3 yards per return (9th).


6. NE - WR PK Sam Impresses Coaches

Second-year WR P.K. Sam also made a splash this spring, showing sure hands and good quickness for his size (6-3). Sam, the youngest player to come out of the 2004 draft, battled maturity problems as a rookie, but he claims to have put those behind him. Sam and David Terrell (also 6-3) represent size targets amid the Pats' collection of undersized receivers, but Sam looked far more elusive than the long-striding Terrell.

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PK Sam was a 5th round draft pick for the Patriots last season, and did not record a catch during the regular season. With David Patten moving on to Washington, there is some potential for Sam to see an increase in playing time. The key for fantasy owners to remember though is that the Patriots spread the ball around a lot. David Givens lead the team with only 56 receptions last season. Only he and Patten had more than 35 total. Even if Sam were to see an increase in playing time, don't expect a big year fantasy wise from him.


7. DAL - WR Morgan Hampered By Injury

Clipped from: foxsports.com story Jean-Jacques Taylor

Quincy Morgan suffered a shoulder injury while diving for a pass during one of the club's on-field activity practice days and is going through a rigorous rehab process to make sure he's ready for the start of training camp. He will probably need surgery at the end of the season to repair his AC joint, but the Cowboys think he can get through the season without surgery. Morgan, who has had an outstanding offseason, is supposed to play a big role in the passing game this season, especially with his ability to stretch the field and make big plays. If he is hampered by the shoulder injury, it's going to be a big blow to the passing offense because Terrance Copper and Patrick Crayton, the fourth and fifth receivers, are in their second years and have not had key roles in the offense.

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Morgan only played in nine games for the Cowboys last season. He posted 22 receptions for just over 250 yards receiving and did not reach the end zone. His time in Cleveland was slightly better with just nine receptions but three of them for TDs. If Morgan is going to battle an AC injury for most of the season, it will probably limit his effectiveness as well. We only have Morgan projected as WR63 this season, and a nagging AC injury isn't going to help.


8. KC - QB/S Crouch Released. CFL Bound?

Clipped from: Canadian Press article 6/21/05

The Kansas City Chiefs recently released Crouch, who was attempting to make the NFL club as a safety. After signing Crouch in the off-season, the Chiefs allocated him to NFL Europe so he could learn the ropes of his new position.

The Argos have had Crouch on their negotiation list since his college days at Nebraska, meaning if the 2001 Heisman Trophy winner wanted to play in Canada the Argos would have exclusive negotiating rights.

The Argos have always been curious with the prospect of giving the six-foot, 195-pound Crouch a look at quarterback on the longer, wider Canadian field. Crouch has suited up for three different NFL teams - St. Louis Rams, Green Bay Packers, Kansas City Chiefs - but only the Packers were willing to let him play quarterback.

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

Crouch joins a growing list of Heisman Trophy winners who couldn't make the transition to the NFL. While some winners such as Carson Palmer, Ricky Williams, and Charles Woodson have achieved various levels of success in the NFL, others such as Chris Weinke, Ron Dayne and Danny Wuerffel have been less than impressive. Crouch isn't likely to give up though, and will probably see time in the CFL. We wish him all the best.


9. BAL - IDP DL Suggs Should Avoid Jail Time

Clipped from: Arizona Republic article by Michael Keifer dated 6/22/05

Terrell Suggs acted in self-defense. That's what two U.S Air Force airmen said Monday and Tuesday in Maricopa County Superior Court where Suggs, a Pro Bowl linebacker for the Baltimore Ravens, is on trial for aggravated assault.

And on Monday, Judge Michael O. Wilkinson threw out the more serious of two felony counts against Suggs because he ruled that the prosecutor had not provided substantial evidence for the jury to make a decision. Although he still faces one felony count of aggravated assault and a misdemeanor, Suggs no longer faces a mandatory prison sentence if convicted.

Two of the four defendants in the case were dismissed, although Suggs' younger brother Donald still faces two aggravated assault charges that could put him in prison.

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Good news for Suggs fans. While the league has been silent on how they will handle this situation, it's good news for Raven fans that Suggs should avoid Jail time in this matter. If Suggs is convicted, the league might step in and suspend him for a game or two, but for now it looks as if he'll play the full 16 games. Suggs had 45 solo tackles, 15 assists and 10.5 sacks last season. Currently we have him projected as the #5 DL for 2005.


10. BAL - IDP S Reed Out, Demps In For Run Support.

Clipped from: Foxnews.com article by Mike Preston

Look for strong safety Will Demps to play in the box more this season compared to a year ago when Ed Reed hovered near the line of scrimmage. By bringing so much pressure out of the 4-6 defense, the Ravens need Reed, their best playmaker, to be the centerfielder in the secondary, not crashing the line of scrimmage on run blitzes. Demps has a thicker frame and tackles just as well, if not better, than Reed.

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Demps had 66 solo tackles, 19 assists and 2.5 sacks last season. Reed had 62 solo tackles, 14 assists and 2 sacks. Both recovered two fumbles, but Read beat out Demps in INTS nine to one. Look for a dip in Reed's tackle numbers as Demps increases his run support role. Reed led the league in interceptions last season, and this should put him in an excellent position to do it again this year as well.


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

J

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