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Volume 6, Issue 74 (Friday, July 1st)

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Tonight's update brought to you by Phenoms Fantasy Football

Phenoms Fantasy Football offers some of the best prize pay-outs you’ll find: 80% cash back for a $50, 12 team league up to 95% on a $500, 12 team league. You’ll also get top-notch customer support, including live online and phone help on draft day should something go wrong. Phenoms FF offers a variety of league types, include slow and live drafts, live auctions, and contract keeper leagues. If you are in too many leagues already, consider a draft-n-go league where you’ll only need to draft.

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Hi Folks,

Hoping everyone is enjoying their 4th of July extended weekend. Not a lot happening in the NFL this weekend, but we had a huge day with the site. Thanks to Chris Smith for rounding these stories up. Let's get to it.

J


SITE NEWS

A. How Joe Became a Winner?
John Tayman, the talented artist who does the web animation Bang! series, created a 6 minute infomercial for us. Not only is the piece informative, it also provides a lot of laughs. Check it out.

B. Running Back Production by David Yudkin
David Yudkin takes an indepth look at RB production over the last three years. This is a must read.

C. Links and Team Links Updated
All of your favorite sites/features are just 1 click away.

D. Basic Training Series by Staff
Chris Smith, Bob Magaw, Will Grant, Ron White and Marc Levin walks you through the 12 steps of the fantasy football season. Another must read series.


INSIDE THIS ISSUE

1. PHI - WR Owens Trade Rumor Is A Hoax
2. WAS - Center Rabach Is New Center Of Attention; QB Ramsey Full Of Confidence
3. NE - RB Cobbs Hopes For Chance To Showcase His Talent
4. NYG - Offensive Line To Be a Team Strength In 2005
5. STL: Rookie QB Fitzpatrick Impressing Head Coach Martz
6. IDP - KC: Free Agent CB Ambrose Agrees To Terms With The Chiefs
7. IDP - GB: Defensive Coordinator Bates Brings New, Aggressive Approach
8. IDP - WAS: Rookie CB Rogers To Miss Start Of Training Camp

1. PHI - WR Owens Trade Rumor Is A Hoax

Clipped From: PhillyBurbs.com article by Reuben Franks

A high-ranking Eagles official laughed off broadcast rumors that had the Eagles and Raiders discussing a trade that would ship disgruntled wide receiver Terrell Owens to Oakland for wide receiver Jerry Porter.

"It won't happen," he said.

Owens has six years left on his seven-year contract and earned $9.17 million last year but wants a raise. The Eagles have been firm in their refusal to rework his contract, and his agent has said Owens may not report to training camp without a new deal. Owens stands to lose about $176,000 for every regular-season game he misses if he doesn't report by opening day. Porter, 26, caught 64 passes for 998 yards and nine touchdowns last season. He has 163 catches for 2,273 yards and 19 TDs in five years with Oakland. Owens caught 77 passes for 1,200 yards and a club-record 14 TDs last year and was 9-for-122 in the Super Bowl.

Porter signed a three-year contract extension worth $15 million in March. The Raiders also signed Randy Moss from the Vikings during the offseason.

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

Well it made for fun talk for a day or two but it doesn't sound like this trade is actually going to happen. The Terrell Owens saga continues on for yet another day.

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2. Was - Center Rabach Is New Center Of Attention; QB Ramsey Full Of Confidence

Clipped From: Redskins.com article by Casey Husband

As any offensive lineman will tell you, it's a big change when you switch teams. Casey Rabach, late of the Baltimore Ravens and now a first-year Redskin, is trying to get to that point where he feels continuity with his new teammates. Rabach explained the process this way, at the close of the Redskins mini-camp on June 19: "Those guys have to learn to trust me, and vice versa. We're getting there. We've made a lot of progress. We'll be there when the bell rings on opening day."

The 6-4, 301-pound Rabach, says head coach Joe Gibbs, "fits in perfectly for us. He's a talented addition."

A fifth-year NFL player out of Wisconsin, Rabach is expected to step in as the starter for veteran Cory Raymer, who is still highly-regarded among Redskins coaches. That means one Wisconsin center for another. Consider that the Cowboys' starter at center, Al Johnson, is also a former Badger, and maybe you can spot a trend.

Says Joe Bugel: "Casey comes out of an outstanding program for offensive linemen, and centers in particular, at Wisconsin. Casey did a great job the past couple of years at Baltimore, at center or guard, whatever they needed him to play. He and Raymer set the whole thing up on the offensive line. They're both really smart, and they have an outstanding work ethic. Those are the type of guys you're happy to call Redskins. You just want them on your team. Both of those guys can give you a lot at the center position. Casey's a lot younger and we expect that he'll be our starter."

The thing that has impressed Rabach the most in the early going? It's the quarterback.

"The thing about Patrick Ramsey is that he's such a confident player," Rabach says. "Obviously, I've only been around him for a few months. But what I see in Patrick is confidence. He has the attitude that he'll step up and be a leader for this team. That's what you need out of that position."

Rabach started 15 games at center and one at left guard for Baltimore a year ago. He helped pave the way for Jamal Lewis's third consecutive 1,000-yard rushing season and helped the Ravens' offense compile more than 2,000 rushing yards on the season.

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

This is a great move for the Redskins. Rabach is a young athlete at the center position who should be a great addition to a much improved unit in 2005. It is also nice to see the positive praise for QB Patrick Ramsey from newcomer Rabach. While most fantasy owners have soured on Ramsey, it must be said that Ramsey and Mark Brunell both were running for their life last season behind a patchwork offensive line that really struggled in the pass-blocking department. If the Redskins offense surprises people this year, it will likely be the offensive line that will lead the way.

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3. NE - RB Cobbs Hopes For Chance To Showcase His Talent

Clipped From: Patriot Football Weekly article by Andy Hart via Patriots.com

There is little question who the workhorse in the New England backfield will be in 2005. After a record setting first season with the Patriots a year ago, and with a new contract extension in hand, Corey Dillon will get the ball early and often as the Patriots look to march toward an unprecedented third consecutive Super Bowl. But even if Dillon puts in a full season at perfect health, there will be occasions for another back to carry the ball. With Kevin Faulk handling the third-down duties, the role of true backup running back would appear to be wide open.

That's where second-year player Cedric Cobbs hopes to come in. After a rookie season as New England's fourth-round pick out of Arkansas a year ago that included an early injury, time on PUP and just four games with 22 carries and 50 yards, the 6-0, 225-pound back hopes to open eyes at Patriots training camp later this summer. And that's something Cobbs admits he wasn't prepared to do a year ago.

"I wasn't [ready]," Cobbs said looking back on the early stages of his rookie season. "It was a new system. It's a lot to learn. And besides that I got hurt so that hindered me. It didn't allow me to really get to do it physically on the field."

A year spent learning the system and getting his body into NFL shape has Cobbs hoping his second season as a pro allows him to display some of the talent that saw him rush for 1,329 yards on 227 carries (5.8 avg.) with 10 touchdowns during his senior season at Arkansas.

"I am definitely more in shape going through the offseason program just being up here," Cobbs said. "That's probably one of the reasons why I got hurt last year because I wasn't in shape like I am this year. Coming out last year they put a lot on me. So not being in shape and running a lot of plays can cause injury."

In the end Cobbs just wants a chance to show what he believes he can do at the NFL level and earn the trust of his coaches and teammates.

"This [coming] training camp, even this mini-camp is important," Cobbs said at the team's June mini-camp. "It's important that I stay in my book and go out and do well in practice. It's important to go out and have all the coaches knowing that I am going to come in and do the right thing. As long as I have that in my favor I can just go out and just play football like I usually do."

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

Cedric Cobbs is still an unknown entity at the professional level. It is great to hear he is in great shape and now understands the pro game better than he did a year ago. However we will not really know how well he can do until he gets an opportunity to display his ability during a game. He is a big, strong back and he seems to have enough ability to step into the starting lineup and put up at least adequate numbers. He is still an interesting player for those in deep keeper or dynasty leagues.

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4. NYG - Offensive Line To Be A Team Strength In 2005

Clipped From: Giants.com article by Michael Eisen

Soon after the Giants signed tackle Kareem McKenzie on March 4, Tom Coughlin sent word that he wanted to see David Diehl. They met not in the coach's office but in the team's weight room, where Coughlin was running on a treadmill. It was there that Coughlin informed Diehl that he would be moving from right tackle, where McKenzie would set up shop, to left guard.

The conversation was newsworthy for several reasons. First, it meant Diehl would play his third position in his three seasons with the Giants. He started 16 games at right guard as a rookie and 16 games at right tackle in 2004. It demonstrated the Giants' vastly improved depth on the offensive line. McKenzie and Diehl will join Chris Snee, Shaun O'Hara and Luke Petitgout as the offensive line starters when training camp practices begin on July 30. Behind them are tackle Bob Whitfield - a former Pro Bowler - guards Rich Seubert and Jason Whittle and guard/center Wayne Lucier, who have all started in the NFL. That's nine linemen with experience in a position group that's been thin the last few seasons. Finally, it set up a spirited competition between experienced players who each can make a legitimate claim to a starting job.

Whittle will apparently begin camp as Snee's backup on the right side, with Seubert playing behind Diehl. But everyone would like to start, and no one is conceding anything. When the move was made, Diehl was considered a relatively secure frontrunner, in part because no one was certain if Seubert would return to the field or how well he would play if he did. But Seubert, who was probably the Giants' best lineman when he suffered his injury, has made a remarkable recovery from three fractures in his right leg. He performed so well since being cleared to return to the field, he was the first player Coughlin praised in the coach's review of the offseason program.

Seubert is confident he will pass his next big test, when he puts on his pads in Albany and tries to win back the job that was once his.

"I like competition," he said. "I came in here as a rookie and had to prove myself. I proved myself for two years and I got hurt. I'll prove myself again. It's the business. If you don't have competition, your team's not going to be good. This year we have some good competition on the offensive line. It will be interesting to see how it all boils down."

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

With Rich Seubert making it back from his serious injury, the depth along the Giants offensive line is looking much stronger than a couple of months back. It won't be easy for Diehl to go to a third position in as many seasons but he has done well in his first two seasons and can likely settle into the left guard spot for years to come. The Giants have an improving offensive line. Young players David Diehl and Chris Snee are coming into their own and the addition of a veteran presence in Kareem McKenzie should help solidify this unit. There will still likely be a learning curve for the young players but the future looks bright. We have them currently ranked 19th overall against other offensive lines but they are certainly capable of moving up from there.

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5. STL: Rookie QB Fitzpatrick Impressing Head Coach Martz

Clipped From: an AP article by David Elfin

Another Martz QB surprise? -- It could be St. Louis rookie quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, a seventh-round draft pick from Harvard, of all places. And because Rams coach Mike Martz's last three starting quarterbacks -- Trent Green, Kurt Warner and Marc Bulger -- have gone from being unknowns to the Pro Bowl, Fitzpatrick can realistically dream big despite his Ivy League background.

"[Given] the history of the guys that Coach Martz has taken under his wing and coached to be great quarterbacks, I couldn't have ended up at a better place," said Ivy Player of the Year Fitzpatrick, who turned down a scholarship from I-AA Eastern Washington, the only school to make him an offer. "My whole life I've been an underdog."

Fitzpatrick has already impressed Martz enough that he was given some snaps with the second team ahead of veteran journeyman Jamie Martin and 2004 rookie Jeff Smoker during this month's minicamp. "I don't know if I've ever been around a quarterback that absorbed what we've done with him as quickly as he did," Martz said.

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

Who were Green, Warner and Bulger before Martz got his hands on them? Fitzpatrick finished his collegiate career with 39 touchdown passes against only 15 interceptions. He has decent arm strength and a burning desire to win. He appears intelligent enough to excel in the mental aspect of the game and could be a player to keep an eye on this season to see how he progresses. At the very least, he has the potential to become a serviceable backup in the NFL for many seasons to come.

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6. IDP - KC: Free Agent CB Ambrose Agrees To Terms With The Chiefs

Clipped From: KCChiefs.com article

Kansas City Chiefs President Carl Peterson announced on Friday that the club has agreed to terms of a one-year contract with free agent CB Ashley Ambrose. As per Chiefs policy, no other terms of the agreement were made available.

Ambrose (5-10, 185) has played in 192 career regular season games (141 starts) with Indianapolis ('92-95), Cincinnati ('96-98), Atlanta (2000-02) and New Orleans ('99, 2003-04). He has recorded 550 tackles (458 solo), 42 interceptions (512 yards) with four TDs, 163 passes defensed, a sack (-10.0 yards), six fumble recoveries and two forced fumbles. The New Orleans native has also started five postseason contests, including three with Indianapolis in '95 and two with Atlanta in 2002. Ambrose has 19 tackles (12 solo), an interception and 12 passes defensed in the playoffs.

Ambrose originally entered the NFL as a second-round draft pick (29th overall) of Indianapolis in the '92 NFL Draft. He enjoyed his best season in '96 when was named a Pro Bowl starter and selected the NFL Players Association AFC Defensive Back of the Year. He started all 16 games that season, registering 57 tackles (46 solo), a career-high eight interceptions, 20 passes defensed and one forced fumble.

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

Ambrose isn't a spring-chicken any more but will provide the Chiefs with valuable depth and experience coming off of the bench. A nice signing from a team in desperate need of an attitude adjustment on the defensive side of the ball.

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7. IDP - GB: Defensive Coordinator Bates Brings New, Aggressive Approach

Clipped From: Packers.com article by Jeff Fedotin

No matter where you stood on Ray Nitschke Field, defensive coordinator Jim Bates' voice could be heard urging his linebackers to explode off the ball during organized team activities. The defensive coordinator would follow these commands by crouching down in a two-point stance, instructing his players the proper way to bend their knees.

"He has such a passion about what he's trying to do," defensive end Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila said. "He's very hands on. Most coordinators I've had just sort of tell you what they want, but he can get down and show you exactly."

There's definitely a new sheriff in town on defense. Bates has made his presence known with a demanding style, trademarked by his active coaching technique, attention to detail and booming voice.

"That's the way I coach," Bates said. "I'm going to be after them and pat them on the back when they make plays and get after them when they don't."

He not only brings a high intensity to each practice but also has installed a new, attacking defense.

"There's a different attitude," linebacker Paris Lenon said. "It's a little more aggressive. It allows you to play fast."

And that's a good thing. The Packers know they must improve on last year's 25th-ranked defense if they want to repeat as NFC North champions in a division that features playmakers like the Vikings' Daunte Culpepper, the Lions' Roy Williams and the Bears' Muhsin Muhammad. Bates has the credentials to upgrade the unit's performance. He served as the Dolphins' coordinator the last five years, and the defense never ranked below 10th in the league during that time. From 2000 to 2004, only four teams allowed less yardage.

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

The Packers don't have a lot of talent on the defensive side of the ball but it was a great choice to sign former Dolphins' coordinator Bates to take charge of the defense. Just his presence alone should do wonders to the attitude of the Packers defense. At the very least, the Packers defense unit should attack the football in 2005.

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8. IDP - WAS: Rookie CB Rogers To Miss Start Of Training Camp

Clipped From: Washington Post article by Nunyo Demasio

The Washington Redskins acknowledged yesterday that rookie cornerback Carlos Rogers has a pre-existing stress fracture in his right foot but said doctors' primary concern is a bone bruise in his right ankle.

Rogers, the Redskins' top pick in the April draft, is expected to be in a walking boot and on crutches for two weeks and in a hard-bottom shoe for an additional two weeks. The team said he is not expected to play when training camp begins Aug. 1.

The Redskins said that Rogers also has a first-degree sprain of his right ankle, which caused him to miss the final two days of minicamp June 18 to 19.

Rogers originally sprained his ankle last month while working out at Auburn, his alma mater, the Redskins said. Rogers told reporters he had stepped in a hole. He aggravated the injury the first day of minicamp, June 17, and the coaching staff praised him for playing through the pain before they told him to sit out the next two days.

The Redskins said an old stress fracture was discovered during treatment of his ankle. The team's main concern is that the bone bruise doesn't develop into a non-displaced fracture. The boot and crutches are expected to help. The team said the stress fracture has not caused Rogers any previous problems.

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

This doesn't bode well for Rogers chance to start in 2005, at least early in the season. He is a talented cornerback but it takes time to adjust to the speed and complexity of NFL offenses and he'll be behind the eight ball right out of the gate.

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That'll do it for today, Folks. Have a great extended weekend and stay safe.

J

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