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Volume 6, Issue 73 (Thursday, June 30th)

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Hi Folks,

Outside of a big Terrell Owens rumor, there's not a lot happening in the NFL news world. But we're cranking on the website. We've got brand new Stat Projections out and several new Spotlight articles. Thanks to our Maurile Tremblay for rounding up these stories tonight and let's get at it. You folks that are heading out of town today for the Holiday, I hope you have a safe and Happy 4th of July.

J


SITE LINKS

A. Updated Stat Projections

B. Darrell Jackson Spotlight
by Jason Wood, Will Grant and Message Board Gurus

C. Randy Moss Spotlight
by Jason Wood, David Yudkin and Message Board Gurus

D. Muhsin Muhammad Spotlight
by Jason Wood, Chase Stuart and Message Board Gurus

E. Jermaine Wiggins Spotlight
by Jason Wood, Cecil Lammey and Message Board Gurus


INSIDE THIS ISSUE

1. PHI - WR Owens To Oakland?
2. WAS - WR Jacobs Hopes For Breakthrough Season
3. SEA - IDP: DE Wistrom Back In Action
4. TB - IDP: DE Rice Plans On Breaking Sack Record
5. TB - IDP: Bucs Show Interest In Ty Law
6. DET - IDP: Lions DE Edwards Pleads Guilty
7. NFL - IDP: Breakout Players On Defense

1. PHI - WR Owens To Oakland?

Clipped from: WPVI TV, Philadelphia article, 6/30/05

There are reports a trade is in the works with the Oakland Raiders. Owens would go to Oakland for wide receiver Jerry Porter.

T.O. may be trade bait because he wants the Eagles to give him more money.

If he goes to Oakland, the Raiders would have two of the best wide receivers in the NFL: Terrell Owens, and Randy Moss.

Yesterday, Moss told reporters he could co-exist with T.O. as long as he got the number of passes he deserves.

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

Any article that begins "There are reports . . ." without naming any sources should be taken with a rather large grain of salt. That said, there are a few plausible reasons why the Eagles may in fact be open to moving Owens. As "The (Grid)Iron Giant" stated on our message board, "The damage Owens has done cannot be undone. If Andy Reid and Donovan [McNabb] want to keep control of the team, they have to think about moving Owens. Maybe chemistry is overrated, but does anyone doubt the sublime ability of Owens to be a monstrous distraction? He's truly gifted in this area." Link to discussion of this topic: http://forums.footballguys.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=165986

If this trade actually does happen, it would be nearly impossible for Kerry Collins to have a poor fantasy season. Again, understand that this is the ABC TV affiliate for Philadelphia saying this. And what they're saying is they have un-named sources saying there is a trade in the works. We'll obviously keep an eye on this one for you.

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2. WAS - WR Jacobs Hopes For Breakthrough Season

Clipped from: Redskins.com article by Gary Fitzgerald, 6/30/05

Most veterans departed Redskins Park on June 19 to begin a six-week vacation, but there was Taylor Jacobs last Friday, still working out in preparation for training camp. Jacobs was a solitary figure on the primary Redskins Park practice field. The third-year wide receiver was perfecting his route-running skills--first a curl, then a deep route, then another curl.

Since he joined the Redskins as a second-round draft pick in 2003, Jacobs has always been one of the hardest-working players on the team. He is consistently among the last players off the field after practice.

The coming season is a big one for Jacobs and his NFL career. The Redskins revamped their wide receivers this offseason, emphasizing speed. The team acquired Santana Moss in a trade and signed a pair of veteran free agents in David Patten and Kevin Dyson. Darnerien McCants and James Thrash are also in the mix.

Where does Jacobs fit in?

For the first time in his NFL career, Jacobs could be a legitimate contender for a starting job at wide receiver.

"Taylor has come back and looks as good as I've ever seen him," head coach Joe Gibbs said during the June mini-camp.

Asked who would be the starting wide receivers this season, Gibbs replied: "We haven't designated a starter. I'd say David and Santana have been lining up with the first group, but we haven't designated a starter. We're letting [wide receivers coach] Stan Hixon work with the guys and rotate them around a little bit."

For his part, Jacobs senses the opportunity before him. But he's not taking anything for granted. In two NFL seasons, Jacobs has a modest 19 receptions for 215 yards and one touchdown. From 1999-2002, he was a standout at the University of Florida, where he ranks eighth all-time with 133 career receptions and ninth with 2,097 career receiving yards.

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

Taylor Jacobs, like Santana Moss and David Patten, is blessed with tremendous speed. Injuries slowed him down in each of his first two years in the league, but the Redskins passed on selecting a wide receiver on the first day of the NFL draft this year in part because of their confidence in Jacobs. Patten has been getting reps with the first unit opposite Santana Moss in the team's mini-camp practices, but Taylor Jacobs has a legitimate shot to move ahead of Patten during training camp and the preseason. If he manages to do so, he becomes a nice sleeper pick in deep fantasy drafts - or at least someone to keep an eye on in the first few weeks of the season if he is available on your league's waiver wire.

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3. SEA - IDP: DE Wistrom Back In Action

Clipped from: Seahawks.com article 6/30/05

Three games into the 2004 regular season, the Seahawks found themselves with the top-ranked defense in the NFL, thanks in due part to the efforts of Grant Wistrom. A big free agent contract had cemented Wistrom to the right defensive end position, providing a major upgrade to the defense in the process: a pass defensed (one of two) in the season opener at New Orleans led to a Michael Boulware interception and a 21-7 win; two sacks and a forced fumble at Tampa Bay helped the Seahawks to a 10-7 win; and then holding San Francisco scoreless for the first time in 420 games in a 34-0 home opener shutout at Qwest Field.

Two games later Wistrom suffered a knee injury that would keep him sidelined for the next four games, and at the same time the Seahawks defense saw its ranking begin to fall. Returning to action in November against Miami, Wistrom would play the next three games before re-injuring the same knee that would keep him out of action for the rest of the regular season.

It's certainly been one long offseason for Grant.

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

Wistrom would have been healthy enough to play in the second playoff game last year if the Seahawks had made it that far. He looked great during the team's May and June mini-camps this offseason, and should begin the 2005 season at 100%.

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4. TB - IDP: DE Rice Plans On Breaking Sack Record

Clipped from: Buccaneers.com article, 6/23/05

Buccaneer DE Simeon Rice has his eyes set on an enormous 2005 campaign, the type of season that will move him closer to the league's all-time elite pass rushers.

Over the last three years, Simeon Rice has been the NFL's most productive sack artists. That is impressive, but by the end of his career, he'd like to be known as one of the greatest pass rushers ever.

To accomplish that goal, he'll have to sustain the type of play that led to an NFL-high 42.5 sacks from 2002-04, and that's reasonable to expect from a supremely-conditioned, 31-year-old athlete who has missed double digits only once in the last seven years. However, even Rice acknowledges that he is approaching the homestretch of his career.

"This is my 10th year coming up and I am aware of what I have done in the league," he said. "I understand you can't do this forever."

He is almost certain to do it long enough to land in the top five on the league's all-time sack chart. Whether he challenges the icons at the top of the list - Bruce Smith, Reggie White, Kevin Green and Chris Doleman - may depend on whether he has one or more monster years left in him.

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

Simeon Rice would like to own the NFL sack record? That qualifies as fluff, not news - but the element of this story worth paying attention to is that Rice is not resting on his laurels: he is motivated and in shape and has his eyes set an another season of double-digit sacks. Rice has achieved double-digit sacks in seven out of his nine years in the league, and it is not unheard of for a player to keep putting up 10+ sacks in his 10th year or beyond: Bruce Smith, Reggie White, Kevin Greene, Chris Doleman, Richard Dent, John Randle, Leslie O'Neal, Lawrence Taylor, Rickey Jackson, and Derrick Thomas have all done it.

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5. TB - IDP: Bucs Show Interest In Ty Law

Clipped from: St. Petersburg Times article by Rick Stroud, 6/30/05

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are trying to make room for another veteran cornerback with a Super Bowl ring.

Three of them, to be exact.

Patriots cornerback Ty Law has received a contract proposal that was faxed from the Bucs.

General manager Bruce Allen did not specify what role he envisions the 31-year-old Law would play in Tampa Bay.

"He's one of several free agents we're looking at," Allen said Wednesday night.

When asked how signing Law would affect Bucs starting cornerbacks Ronde Barber and Brian Kelly, Allen said, "He's just one of many. We're looking for players at every position."

The courting of Law comes at a time when the Bucs are trying to clear about $6-million from the payroll for their rookie salary pool to sign 12 draft picks.

And with all the concerns the Bucs may have heading into the season, the cornerback position doesn't appear to be one of them.

Barber, an All-Pro last season, has expressed dissatisfaction over being the 27th highest-paid cornerback when free agency began. He has two seasons remaining on a six-year contract that averages $3-million and will earn $3.75-million in 2005.

Kelly, who has four years remaining on his contract, is scheduled to earn $2.4-million in base salary. The Bucs also signed Jaguars free agent Juran Bolden to be their nickel back.

Despite coming off a serious injury, Law may be seeking a deal in excess of either Bucs starting cornerback.

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

The Jaguars, Jets, Dolphins, Chiefs, and Colts have also expressed an interest in signing Law, but the Bucs and the Colts seem to be the two teams most serious about it. Law suffered a fractured left foot against the Steelers last Halloween, and is reportedly just 85 percent healthy right now. But he expects to be fully recovered by training camp.

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6. DET - IDP: Lions DE Edwards Pleads Guilty

Clipped from: Associated Press article, 6/30/05

Detroit Lions defensive end Kalimba Edwards pleaded guilty to charges of disorderly conduct and failing to produce a driver's license during a traffic stop in May, and was sentenced to one year of probation.

Edwards entered the pleas Wednesday to the two misdemeanor charges, the court said Thursday. Because of the pleas, a felony charge of resisting and obstructing police was amended to the disorderly charge.

46th District Court Judge Shelia Johnson sentenced Edwards to the probation, to be served through the Oakland County First Offenders program, the court said. He also was ordered to pay $820 in fines and court costs.

According to Michigan State Police, the Edwards refused to produce his driver's license after being pulled over by a trooper 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.

State police stressed that Edwards wasn't aggressive and didn't attempt to assault the officers.

The Lions drafted Edwards in the second round in 2002. He led the team in sacks his rookie year.

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

Edwards hasn't been completely healthy since he led the team in sacks three seasons ago as a rookie. He is a pass-rushing specialist, and is projected to back up starter James Hall. He has little fantasy value unless either Hall or Corey Redding are injured. This incident is an unneeded distraction, but will not keep Edwards off the field this season.

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7. IDP: Breakout Players On Defense

Clipped from: TSN article by Dan Pompei, 6/30/05

Ends

Injuries and limited opportunities prevented Jerome McDougle from breaking through in his first two seasons, but everything is laid out for him to change that pattern this season.

The Eagles need McDougle to step up after losing Derrick Burgess as a free agent. McDougle demonstrated his commitment by staying in Philadelphia for the offseason conditioning program for the first time. Playing in the Eagles' aggressive defense, McDougle should get a lot of one-on-one opportunities. Giants coordinator Tim Lewis had a special plan for Osi Umenyiora a year ago, but Lewis wasn't able to implement it because the Giants lost eight linemen to injuries and Umenyiora was forced to be an every-down player.

This year, look for the Giants to use Umenyiora as a wild-card pass rusher, a player who can stand up, put his hand down, move around and take advantage of specific situations. Playing opposite left end Michael Strahan could help Umenyiora become a prolific sacker.

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

As is usually the case with Dan Pompei, the full article is well worth reading. In addition to McDougle and Umenyiora, Pompei also names DT Ron Edwards (BUF), DT Darnell Dockett's (ARI), LB Karlos Dansby (ARI), LB Daryl Smith (JAX), LB Jonathan Vilma (NYJ), S Bob Sanders (IND), S Gibril Wilson (NYG), CB Terence Newman (DAL), and CB Phillip Buchanon (OAK) as potential break-out candidates.

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

J

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