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Volume 6, Issue 93 (Wednesday, July 20th)

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Tonight's update brought to you by:
World Championships of Fantasy Football (WCOFF)

There are still a few spots left in this year's WCOFF, so please check out their website (WCOFF.com) if you're interested in competing for the largest grand prize in fantasy football history! More good news about the WCOFF...they now offer WCOFF online Satellite Leagues. For only $200, you ca! n earn a spot in the 2006 WCOFF. That includes air fare and hotel accommodations. You can check out their Satellite Leagues by going to www.xpertsports.com/wcoff

Joe's Note: You've heard me talk about the World Championship of Fantasy Football (WCOFF.com) before. I was there last year in Las Vegas and it's an excellent event. One of our Footballguys subscribers has won the $200,000 grand prize in 2002, 2003 and 2004 - and I want to make sure it happens again in 2005.

Web Address: http://www.wcoff.com

Hi Folks,

Hope you guys have some spare time to spend reading about FF today. We've got a ton of new articles ready for our Premium Subscribers. As well as brand new versions of the Draft Dominator and the often imitated but never duplicated VBD App. Thanks to our Mark Wimer for rounding up these stories tonight. Let me make a correction from last night's update. The Star Tribune in Minneapolis reported a story about how the Vikings were going to start charging for practices this year. I said that was a terrible PR move for the new owners. Turns out, this was a pre existing deal that departing owner Red McCombs left for the new ownership. It's still a terrible public relations situation, but this wasn't a decision by the new ownership. Apologies for saying it was. Ok, lot's of info to get to. I hope you have a great Thursday and let's get to it.

Joe Bryant

SITE NEWS

A. (Premium Content) New Draft Dominator Version 6.0e
New projections this week mean a new Draft Dominator. Plus, we added some tweaks and upgrades to the program. It's the single best piece of software on the planet to help you Dominate Your Draft

B. (Premium Content) New VBD Excel App Version 2005F1
For you guys that like the Excel version, here's the newest App loaded with the current projections.

C. (Premium Content) Alex Smith Face Off
by Colin Dowling and Clayton Gray

D. (Premium Content) Plaxico Burress Face Off
by Jason Wood and Chris Smith

E. (Premium Content) Keary Colbert Face Off
by Chris Smith and Chase Stuart

F. (Premium Content) Joe Horn Face Off
by Jason Wood and Andy Hicks

G. (Premium Content) Jerry Porter Face Off
by Mark Wimer and Clayton Gray

H. (Premium Content) Kyle Boller Spotlight
by Jason Wood, Chris Smith and Message Board Gurus

I. (Premium Content) Drew Brees Spotlight
by Jason Wood, Mike Brown and Message Board Gurus

J. (Premium Content) Aaron Brooks Spotlight
by Jason Wood, Mike Brown and Message Board Gurus

K. (Premium Content) Matt Hasselbeck Spotlight
by Jason Wood, Chris Smith and Message Board Gurus

L. (Premium Content) Steven Jackson Spotlight
by Jason Wood, Marc Levin and Message Board Gurus

M. (Premium Content) Lamont Jordan Spotlight
by Jason Wood, Will Grant and Message Board Gurus

N. (Premium Content) Deuce McAllister Spotlight
by Jason Wood, Mike Brown and Message Board Gurus

O. (Premium Content) Brian Westbrook Spotlight
by Jason Wood, David Yudkin and Message Board Gurus

P. (Premium Content) Lee Evans Spotlight
by Jason Wood, Colin Dowling and Message Board Gurus

Q. (Premium Content) Eric Moulds Spotlight
by Jason Wood, Colin Dowling and Message Board Gurus

R. (Premium Content) Dallas Clark Spotlight
by Jason Wood, Mike Brown and Message Board Gurus

S. (Premium Content) Randy McMichael Spotlight
by Jason Wood, Marc Levin and Message Board Gurus


INSIDE THIS ISSUE

1. TEN - RB Henry and Brown: RBBC
2. TEN - RB Henry Signs Extension
3. GB - WR Walker Won't Report To Camp
4. PHI - RB Moats and DE Cole Sign.
5. PHI - WR Owens May Miss Camp?
6. DAL - WR Johnson and Glenn Fully Recovered
7. CHI - Bears Camp Report: WR Gage The Starter For Now
8. NE - IDP LB Bruschi to Miss 2005 Season
9. NFL - Top Picks Waiting on QB Smith
10. NFL - Camp Previews

1. TEN - RB Henry and Brown: RBBC

Clipped from: Tennessean.com article by Paul Kuharsky 7/20/05

Titans Coach Jeff Fisher said the addition of Henry signals the start of a new era for Tennessee, one in which the running back position is far different than it was when Eddie George carried the ball as often as needed.

While workhorse backs are still smattered around the NFL, only nine teams had a running back with more than 300 carries last year. On a day when Fisher paid tribute to George, he said the Titans are now officially believers in a two-back system.

"It's not a matter of who's starting and who's not, they're both going to play," Fisher said yesterday. "The days of having a franchise back that gets 90 percent of the carries are over. You just don't see that. It doesn't happen anymore.

"Successful teams that have played into the postseason the last four, five, six years have had two good backs. Look at Atlanta, Pittsburgh, Carolina. There is depth there.

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

Well there it is. The fantasy kiss of death that we hoped would not come to be. Last season Antowain Smith banged out almost 680 yards from scrimmage and 4 TDS last season in relief of Chris Brown (1200 yards, 6 TDS). With the official announcement of a running back time-share system, you can expect the gap between Henry and Brown to be much smaller. With only 1870 rushing yards and 16 rushing TDS for the entire team, that could mean pedestrian stats for both of them. Watch how the pre-season unfolds to determine if either of these guys emerges as the clear favorite. At this point though, it's a definite 'approach with caution' situation.

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2. TEN - RB Henry Signs Extension

Clipped from: The Washington Times.com article by Teresa M. Walker 7/20/05

Travis Henry knows what he promised to do if the Buffalo Bills didn't trade him. Now he doesn't have to think about his vow to sit out this season.

The Tennessee Titans introduced the four-year veteran running back at a news conference Wednesday. The Bills announced the trade on Monday, then the Titans negotiated a four-year extension of Henry's contract through 2009.

Henry left the University of Tennessee after the 2000 season as the Volunteers' career leading rusher with 3,078 yards. He said hearing that he was being traded to the Titans and returning to Tennessee was a dream come true.

"Just playing in this state for four years, that made the decision real easy, too. I wanted to most definitely come here," Henry said.

[[[[[[[[[[ OUR VIEW ]]]]]]]]]] The situation goes from bad to worse for fantasy owners. It appears that RBBC will be the norm in Tennessee for the next several years. Given Brown's injury history, this could even make Henry the long-term favorite in a dynasty league.

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

The situation goes from bad to worse for fantasy owners. It appears that RBBC will be the norm in Tennessee for the next several years. Given Brown's injury history, this could even make Henry the long-term favorite in a dynasty league.

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3. GB - WR Walker Won't Report To Camp

Clipped from: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Online article 7/20/05

Unless things change in the next few days, Green Bay Packers wide receiver Javon Walker will continue his holdout when training camp begins next week.

That's according to his agent Drew Rosenhaus, who said as much in an interview for HBO's Real Sports taped last Friday and scheduled to be aired next Tuesday at 9 p.m. on HBO.

Here's the exchange between reporter Bernie Goldberg and Rosenhaus:

Rosenhaus: "The news on Javon Walker is that we are, right now, we have already decided he is not going to go to training camp."

Goldberg: "Hold on. That is news."

Rosenhaus: "That is news. I've not said that before. But Javon and I spoke today. And we've made the decision that we're not going to report to training camp. And I can't say when we will report, or if, or when, but he will not be at camp."

Goldberg: "Because?"

Rosenhaus: "Because the teams refuse to negotiate with us. And he's making about half a million dollars, and he's one of the premier players in the league. I can't let this player go out on the field and jeopardize his career for that kind of money. I just can't fathom it."

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

Getting a little uglier here as Rosenhaus has officially backed the Packers into a corner. Walker had a fantastic 2004 season, finishing second among all fantasy WRS and 13th overall. There is still plenty of time for both sides to get together and work it all out, but with Rosenhaus taking shots like this before camp even opens, it may get worse before it gets better.

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4. PHI - RB Moats and DE Cole Sign

Clipped from: nfl.com article 7/20/05

The Philadelphia Eagles signed two of their draft selections, agreeing to four-year deals with third-round pick Ryan Moats and fifth-round pick Trent Cole.

Moats, a 5-foot-8, 210-pound running back, set school records for yards rushing (1,774), touchdowns (18), and carries (288) at Louisiana Tech.

Moats finished his college career with 499 carries for 3,176 yards and 28 TDs. He also received first-team All-WAC honors as a sophomore following a 1,364-yard, 10-touchdown performance.

Cole, a 6-foot-3, 260-pound defensive end, was a two-time first-team All-Conference USA selection at Cincinnati. Cole finished his career with 238 tackles and 19 sacks, which ranks third on the school's career list.

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

This is good news for Eagle fans as they continue to strengthen their backfield. Fantasy wise, Moats is more of a long-term prospect with Westbrook and Buckhalter (who appears to be fully recovered) as #1 and #2 on the depth chart. Cole adds depth and versatility to the Eagle defense as he may see time at DE or LB.

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5. PHI - WR Owens May Miss Camp?

Clipped from: Washington Times.com AP article by Dan Gelston 7/20/05

Terrell Owens hasn't decided whether he will report to training camp on time because of a contract dispute with the Eagles, his agent said Wednesday.

"The odds are 50-50," Drew Rosenhaus told The Associated Press. "We probably won't make any determination until the start of camp."

Owens, who helped the Eagles reach the Super Bowl in his first season in Philadelphia after eight years with San Francisco, fired longtime agent David Joseph in April, hired Rosenhaus and started asking for a new contract just one year into a seven-year deal worth almost $49 million.

The Eagles have said they won't redo the contract.

"Where we stand is there's no change in their position," Rosenhaus said. "In my discussions with them, they've maintained their stance. We're weighing our options."

Rosenhaus also told the AP on Wednesday that Green Bay receiver Javon Walker, another one of his clients, will be a no-show at training camp next week unless the Packers agree to give the Pro Bowl receiver a big pay raise or trade him.

Rosenhaus said it was unfair to compare the two star receivers' money disputes.

"Every situation is different and you can never correlate the two scenarios," he said.

Veteran players are scheduled to report to Eagles camp on Aug. 1, and will participate in their first practice in full pads on Aug. 3 at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa.

Owens set team records with 14 touchdown receptions and seven 100-yard games, and finished with 77 catches for 1,200 yards. He broke his leg and severely sprained his right ankle in Week 15 against Dallas, an injury that sidelined him until the Super Bowl.

Owens defied his doctor's advice by returning to the starting lineup against New England just 6 1/2 weeks after ankle surgery, and was Philadelphia's best player on offense. He caught nine passes for 122 yards in the Eagles' 24-21 loss to the Patriots.

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

Rosenhaus doesn't want anyone to compare Owens and Walker, yet the pattern is pretty clear. This situation doesn't seem as dire as the one with Walker though, as Owens is still on the fence about a full-blown holdout. As training camp approaches, we'll keep you posted of course as this promises to be a hot topic.

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6. DAL - WR Johnson and Glenn Fully Recovered

Clipped from: Dallas Cowboys.com article by Nick Eatman 7/19/05

Other than signing a pair of rookie free agents after the draft, the Cowboys will head into training camp next week with virtually the same receiving corps as a year ago . . . just healthier.

Keyshawn Johnson and Terry Glenn lead the way once again, both having fully recovered from foot injuries suffered last season.

Losing Glenn might have been the biggest pill the Cowboys had to swallow last year. Leading the team in both receptions and receiving yards through five games, Glenn tore ligaments in his foot in the first quarter against Green Bay in Game 6. He spent the final 10 games on injured reserve, his season abruptly ending with just 24 catches for 400 yards and two touchdowns.

Johnson nearly finished the entire season before breaking his foot early in the season finale against the Giants. In his first year with the Cowboys, Johnson just missed recording his fifth 1,000-yard receiving season, finishing with 981, still enough to lead the team, edging out tight end Jason Witten by a yard.

Johnson and Witten also tied for the team-lead with six touchdown catches, a number the flashy wide receiver would certainly like to increase in 2005. And with quarterback Drew Bledsoe now in charge, Johnson could be in line for an even better season this year, especially if Glenn, Witten and Quincy Morgan can stay healthy.

Morgan, who joined the Cowboys on Oct. 19 in the Antonio Bryant trade, couldn't finish his first game without getting injured. His strained hamstring suffered against the Packers forced him to miss two games. He slowly was incorporated into the offense, but never became a huge factor. His four-catch, 42-yard performance against Baltimore was his best of the last eight games.

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

Good news for Cowboy fans as the long string of injuries to the offensive unit hurt their overall performance. With Drew Bledsoe at the helm, and Johnson, Glenn and RB Julius Jones fully recovered, the Cowboys should be in a great position to improve on an offense that ranked 17th last season in total yards.

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7. CHI - Bears Camp Report: WR Gage The Starter For Now

Clipped from: Daily Herald.com article by Bob Legere 7/19/05

Pro Bowl wide receiver Muhsin Muhammad was brought in to be the bellwether of an otherwise young, inexperienced and unaccomplished receiving group. Muhammad caught 93 passes for 1,405 yards and 16 touchdowns last season. No other current Bears wide receiver has that many catches, yards or touchdowns in his career.

One of the youthful group - Justin Gage, Bernard Berrian, Bobby Wade and rookie Mark Bradley - or some combination must step up to provide a complement to Muhammad.

Gage, a 6-foot-4 third-year player, caught 12 balls for 156 yards last season and has 29 career receptions for 494 yards and 2 touchdowns. He is currently the starter opposite Muhammad.

Last year's starter, Wade, caught 42 passes for 481 yards, giving him 53 career catches for 618 yards. He has yet to score an NFL touchdown. Wade is undersized and not that fast, but he can be an effective possession receiver if he demonstrates more consistent hands.

Berrian caught 15 passes for 225 yards and 2 scores last season as a rookie, and he has shown significant improvement in the off-season. He has excellent speed, but it remains to be seen if he can be a factor over the middle considering his skinny frame. If he can turn short slants into long gains when the lights come on, he could be a major player in Turner's offense.

Bradley seems like a project, even though he was a second-round pick, but his combination of athleticism, size and speed makes him an interesting player to watch.

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

Gage was the favorite last season as well. However, he faded and eventually lost his job to Wade. The #2 slot could change hands several times this season. Let's also remember that Muhsin Muhammad has not exactly been a poster boy for health (2004 was his first 16 game season since the 2000). It's a wide-open competition for the Chicago WR corps. Stay tuned for more info as it develops.

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8. NE - IDP LB Bruschi to Miss 2005 Season

Clipped from: Washington Times AP article by Jimmy Golen 7/20/05

New England linebacker Tedy Bruschi will sit out this season because of a stroke he suffered 10 days after helping the Patriots win their third Super Bowl in four years.

"Tedy ... has declared his intentions to forgo the 2005 campaign," Patriots spokesman Stacey James said in a statement. "The Bruschi family wanted to express their heartfelt appreciation for the tremendous outpouring of support they have received from fans throughout New England and others around the country."

Bruschi, 32, suffered a mild stroke on Feb. 16, three days after playing in the Pro Bowl and 10 days after helping New England beat the Philadelphia Eagles 24-21 in the Super Bowl. James said Bruschi has made daily progress in his rehabilitation.

He has attended team meetings, helped new players learn the defense and worked out in the Patriots' weight room. But didn't practice during the team's June minicamp.

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

The Patriots signed Chad Brown, Wesly Mallard and Monty Beisel during the offseason to add depth at the LB position in case Bruschi decided to sit out. We hope the Bruschi enjoys lots of rest during his time off on his way to a full and healthy recovery.

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http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/sports/football/12172803.htm

Clipped from: Miami Herald article by Jason Cole 7/20/05

As for Brown, it appears he will miss at least a few days of training camp waiting for No. 1 overall pick quarterback Alex Smith's contract to be completed with San Francisco. Brown, the No. 2 overall pick, and subsequent picks Braylon Edwards and Cedric Benson, are likely to wait to see what Smith gets in a contract before doing serious negotiations.

According to a source close to agent Tom Condon, who is representing Smith, Smith isn't expected to be signed until July 28 at the earliest. That's when the 49ers are scheduled to report for training camp. That leaves a lag of at least four days for Brown. There are also indications that the Smith talks could drag.

Because the collective bargaining agreement has yet to be extended to six or seven years, the five-year contract limitation severely hampers agents and teams in the amount of guaranteed money a high pick can expect.

As a result, Condon has been spending time working on a very detailed contract. The source estimated that Smith's contract could run as long as 60 pages. Normally, contracts for top draft picks are usually about 15 pages.

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

Don't expect many of the top draft picks to be signed any time soon. Most players will wait until Smith signs before they complete their negotiations. Smith's contract should set the market value for the rest of the top picks. If Smith's talks drag on, it could seriously hinder many of the top picks getting to camp on time.

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10. NFL - Camp Previews

What will year two be like in Eli Manning's development as a franchise quarterback? Manning didn't start showing his potential until late in the regular season. In December, he showed better command in the huddle and started to play with some confidence. The Giants brought in Plaxico Burress to give him a big target. Jeremy Shockey had his best offseason of conditioning and could have one of his best seasons. As Manning evolves as a quarterback, so does the future of the Giants.

How long will Joey Harrington remain the starting quarterback? With Jeff Garcia behind him on the depth chart, Harrington enters the season with a bull's-eye on his back. General manager Matt Millen surrounded Harrington with star talent. For receivers, he has Roy Williams, Charles Rogers, Mike Williams and tight end Marcus Pollard. He has Kevin Jones as his running back. In other words, Harrington has no excuses. He must win or else.

Can Nick Saban have first-year success with what he has at the quarterback position? While everyone seems enamored by the return of running back Ricky Williams -- who will only be a backup at best this season -- the real story is what the Dolphins have at quarterback. Poor quarterback play can put you near the top of any draft, and poor quarterback play in 2004 is the reason Dave Wannstedt lost his job and the Dolphins drafted second. Gus Frerotte may beat out A.J. Feeley as the starter because of his experience, but if the quarterback play is as bad as last year, it will be a long season for the Dolphins.

Can the emphasis to go back to a simpler, more run-oriented offense get the Saints back into the playoffs? The Saints are getting away from the strict structure of the West Coast offense and going to a simpler scheme. The key is running the ball. Deuce McAllister is gearing up for his biggest season. He's hoping to get a huge contract extension before the end of the month. His running success will take some of the pressure off quarterback Aaron Brooks.

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

Lots of good info as always from ESPN's John Clayton. A nice primer as NFL camps prepare to open. Especially interested to hear his take that Ricky Williams will be a backup at best this season. I want to see how he looks in camp before I'm agreeing there.

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

J

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