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Footballguys Daily Email - Volume 9, Issue 114 (Friday, August 15th)

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Introducing the 2008 Titlecraft starting lineup:

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Hi Folks,

Good Saturday to you. Welcome to the weekend - it's a great one as we're into the second weekend of preseason games and starters are seeing a little more time. We've got all the news and notes you'll need to let's get to it.

J

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A. 163 Cheatsheets
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INSIDE THIS ISSUE

1. STL - Rams And RB Jackson Talking
2. NYG - Giants Sign PK Huston
3. BAL - Ravens Offense Ends Camp In Disarray
4. WAS - Redskins WR Thomas Expected To Debut Saturday Night
5. NYG - Giants HC Coughlin Growing Frustrated With WR Manningham
6. CIN - Bengals Shuffling Offensive Line
7. PHI - Eagles WR Brown Can't Stay On The Field
8. CAR - Panthers Pleased With QB Delhomme's Performance
9. GB - Packers Coaches Have Concerns About RB Jackson's Pass Protection
10. MIA - Dolphins HC Sparano Undecided On Running Back Starter
11. GB - Packers RB Grant, WR Jennings Among Those "Unlikely" To Play Saturday
12. CHI - Bears PR/KR Hester Developing Nicely As Wide Receiver
13. SEA - Coach Holmgren Says Daughter, Unlike Coach, Knows Fantasy Football
14. DEF - BAL - Ravens LB Suggs To End Holdout
15. DEF - NYJ - Conversion Moving Slow For Jets DE/OLB Gholston
16. DEF - SD - Chargers LB Merriman Misses Third Day Of Practice Battling Virus

STL - Rams And RB Jackson Talking

Source: AP

Running back Steven Jackson continued to holdout. Jackson missed all of training camp while seeking a new contract. He was not at Rams Park on Friday either, as the team works to bring him to practice.

Coach Scott Linehan met with President of Football Operations Jay Zygmunt on Thursday. Linehan said progress is being made, though the extent of that progress is unclear.

"I know they have had some talks," Linehan said. "I know it's moving along. Whatever that means, it sounds positive to me."

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

I thought it was ridiculous for the Rams to throw out the hardball mandate that they wouldn't talk to Jackson until he came into camp. Looks like they've folded that position. Now maybe we'll get something moving here.

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NYG - Giants Sign PK Huston

Source: Mike Garafolo, Newark Star-Ledger

The New York Giants have signed PK Josh Huston, who was with the team in camp last year, according to Huston's agent Jeff Chilcoat. Huston will handle kicking duties on Monday against the Browns in place of starting PK Lawrence Tynes, who hurt his leg earlier this week during practice. How long Huston remains on the roster after that will be determined by how quickly Tynes can recover.

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

Definitely keep an eye on Tynes here. If he struggles to return, Huston could be a super cheap fill in kicker.

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BAL - Ravens Offense Ends Camp In Disarray

Source: Jamison Hensley, Baltimore Sun

As the Ravens wrap up their training camp today, they have a former construction worker (Chad Slaughter) and a former practice squad player (Mike Kracalik) starting at the offensive tackle spots. They had TE Adam Bergen) running with the first team. Bergen was out of the league in 2007. Ray Rice, a rookie, was taking virtually every snap at running back. Yesterday, almost half the starters on offense - WR Derrick Mason (knee), TE Todd Heap (calf), RB Willis McGahee (knee) and OTs Jared Gaither (ankle) and Adam Terry (ankle) - were sidelined with injuries. All of this is happening with an unstable QB situation.

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

Brian Billick may have gotten out just in time...

These guys are professionals. And things often aren't as bad as they look. Not many folks thought the Giants would win the Super Bowl last year. But I'm having to look pretty hard to find many optimistic things about this offense right now.

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WAS - Redskins WR Thomas Expected To Debut Saturday Night

Source: Jason Reid, Washington Post

With starting wide receiver Antwaan Randle El (hamstring, wrist) a game-time decision, Washington Redskins rookie wideout Devin Thomas is expected to make his debut and play a lot against the Jets Saturday night. Thomas, the Redskins' top pick, and fellow rookie wideout Malcolm Kelly drew the wrath of coach Jim Zorn for their poor performance in conditioning tests. Thomas sat out much of camp because of a strained hamstring and Kelly remains sidelined while recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery.

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

Practice and training camp is one thing but when the lights come on for a game, even a preseason game, things change. Let's see if Thomas can take advantage of this opportunity here.

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NYG - Giants HC Coughlin Growing Frustrated With WR Manningham

Source: Paul Schwartz, New York Post

New York Giants rookie wide receiver Mario Manningham (quad) is not close to returning and is frustrating his head coach. "Just speculation," coach Tom Coughlin said of the date of a possible Manningham return. "It's not worth even talking about."

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

Sounds like Manningham may be making his bed near the Coughlin Dog House...

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CIN - Bengals Shuffling Offensive Line

Source: Mark Curnutte, Cincinnati Enquirer

The Cincinnati Bengals say the move is purely for emergency purposes, but right guard Bobbie Williams worked with the first-team offense at center during practice Thursday. Projected starter Eric Ghiaciuc worked with the second team. A potentially serious ankle injury to backup center Dan Santucci Monday heightened the emergency. Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said before practice that Williams and left guard Andrew Whitworth would play center in preseason games. In addition to Williams' switch, Stacy Andrews moved from right tackle to right guard. Willie Anderson, who completed a healthy training camp after being slowed by foot and knee injuries last season, was inserted at right tackle. The left side, tackle Levi Jones and Whitworth, remained the same.

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

It's not something you hear a lot about but an offensive line that's in disarray like this is a serious concern for the running and passing game. Let's see if the Bengals can get much settled here.

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PHI - Eagles WR Brown Can't Stay On The Field

Source: Tim Panaccio and Bob Brookover, Philadelphia Inquirer

In one of these exhibition games, Philadelphia Eagles receiver Reggie Brown is actually going to stay on the field. The 6-foot-1, 197-pound former Georgia Bulldog left during the Eagles' opening drive against Carolina last night with a pulled hamstring. Brown was scheduled to have an MRI exam this morning. He missed the preseason opener in Pittsburgh last week with an Achilles tendon injury. That injury also caused him to miss some practice this week during training camp at Lehigh.

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

Injuries are part of the game but it certainly seems like some guys have more than their share. Brown is one of those guys. Let's see how quickly he's able to return. The regular season is getting close...

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CAR - Panthers Pleased With QB Delhomme's Performance

Source: ESPN

Carolina Panthers quarterback Jake Delhomme fired a pass over the middle for a touchdown that was overturned. The result didn't matter so much. Delhomme's surgically repaired right elbow passed the test. Delhomme was 9-of-14 for 54 yards in his first real action since ligament-replacement surgery in October. "We didn't have four of our top six receivers, but I thought Jake operated pretty good for the [weather] conditions," Panthers coach John Fox said. "It wasn't ideal as far as the offensive passing game."

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

The team has done nothing but rave about Delhomme throughout the summer and training camp so this is no surprise at all to see him perform well. He says he's better than ever and sounds ready to go.

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GB - Packers Coaches Have Concerns About RB Jackson's Pass Protection

Source: Rob Demovsky, Green Bay Press-Gazette

The Green Bay Packers might like their second-best back, Brandon Jackson, to be their third-down back, but the coaches still have concerns about the second-year pro's ability to pass protect and pick up blitzing defenders. It was a problem for Jackson last season as a rookie, and he missed a blitz pickup in Monday's preseason opener against the Cincinnati Bengals that led to a sack of Aaron Rodgers.

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

The Packers have Brian Brohm and Matt Flynn behind Aaron Rodgers. In other words, they have to keep Rodgers healthy and on the field. That's working against Jackson in a big way if he can't straighten out his pass blocking in a hurry.

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MIA - Dolphins HC Sparano Undecided On Running Back Starter

Source: Sarah Rothschild, Miami Herald

Miami Dolphins coach Tony Sparano said he has a good feel for what running backs Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams can accomplish in games but is figuring out which would be better suited as the starter. ''Who comes into the game warm or who needs to start the game to be warm is kind of an issue,'' Sparano said. ``Last week, Ronnie started the game, we got him touches early in the game, but there's Ricky kind of chomping at the bit to get in, and I wasn't sure how he would enter.'' Sparano said he liked Williams' 'energy' when he relieved Brown.

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

Ronnie Brown may be the best running back in the league that's never deemed the starter in preseason. Last year he had to listen to talk of Jesse Chatman as the starter. Now it's Ricky Williams. It sounds like we may be seeing a lot of both guys.

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GB - Packers RB Grant, WR Jennings Among Those "Unlikely" To Play Saturday

Source: Greg A. Bedard, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy said the players who were sidelined for practice Thursday - receiver Brett Swain (thigh bruise), running back Ryan Grant (hamstring), safety Charlie Peprah (hamstring), linebacker A.J. Hawk (chest), linebacker Desmond Bishop (Achilles' tendon), tight end Tory Humphrey (Achilles' tendon) and receiver Greg Jennings (knee) - would "most likely" not play against the 49ers on Saturday. Receiver Ruvell Martin, who suffered a slight concussion on a hard hit against the Bengals, practiced and would be a game-time decision.

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

Lots of Packers still getting healthy. Of course if this were a real game, some of these guys would go. But they're not going to risk re-injury for a preseason game.

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CHI - Bears PR/KR Hester Developing Nicely As Wide Receiver

Source: Bob LeGere, Arlington Heights Daily Herald

At the conclusion Thursday of Chicago Bears training camp 2008, coach Lovie Smith said most of the questions about Devin Hester's ability to be a starting wide receiver in the NFL had been answered. "Coming into camp we talked about him as a returner that a lot of people thought could play receiver," Smith said. "Now, I think it's safe to say that he's a receiver. He's doing all the things that we've asked him to do. I still make the same statement: I think he can be a 1- or 2-type receiver in the league."

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

If Hester can truly make this transition and excel as a true WR, this will be pretty remarkable. It takes more than physical talent which we all know Hester has tons of. He's apparently doing the work to get the mental and technique sections of his game up to speed as well. Stay tuned.

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SEA - Coach Holmgren Says Daughter, Unlike Coach, Knows Fantasy Football

Source: AP

Seattle Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren says he doesn't know much about fantasy football leagues, now a national obsession and booming industry.

But Calla, one of his four daughters, does.

"My daughter, who's a doctor in Salt Lake City, she captained one of the fantasy teams and then was thrown out of the league because of 'inside information.' But I will say, she was clean," the 60-year-old Holmgren said, chuckling. "It was the appearance.

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

That's how secretive Holmgren is - won't even let his daughter know the inside scoop...

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DEF - BAL - Ravens LB Suggs To End Holdout

Source: John Clayton, ESPN

Baltimore Ravens LB/DE Terrell Suggs plans to end his holdout over the weekend and will report to the team Sunday, a source confirmed Friday. Suggs will sign an $8.5 million franchise tender Sunday, and he's already talked to the team about getting ready to play for the Ravens' third preseason game against the St. Louis Rams next week. Suggs has agreed to play this season at the $8.5 million tender and won't ask for any condition in the deal that will prevent the Ravens from franchising him next season. He is scheduled to be a free agent after the season.

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

Finally. Good news for Suggs' owners and the Ravens. He'll have lots of reasons to be motivated this year to have a great season. Let's hope he can get into game shape quickly and dodge the injury bullet that sometimes hits these guys coming in late.

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DEF - NYJ - Conversion Moving Slow For Jets DE/OLB Gholston

Source: Dave Hutchinson, Star-Ledger

Through three weeks of training camp, New York Jets outside linebacker Vernon Gholston, selected sixth overall, is still swimming up stream as he tries to learn a new system -- or "drowning" as Gholston says -- and it appears he may not be ready to make a significant contribution by the Sept. 7 opener in Miami. As an outside linebacker in the Jets' 3-4 scheme, he seems lost in pass coverage and hasn't been effective when he rushes, often getting blocked by left tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson. "He's converting from basically being a down (defensive end) to a stand-up outside linebacker," said Jets defensive coordinator Bub Sutton.

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

Just another example of how big the step is from college to the NFL. Gholston has the added task of learning a new position which is especially tough. At this point, he doesn't look ready to contribute but hopefully things will start clicking for him.

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DEF - SD - Chargers LB Merriman Misses Third Day Of Practice Battling Virus

Source: Associated Press, Yahoo! Sports

San Diego Chargers linebacker Shawne Merriman missed his third consecutive day of practice on Thursday as the result of strep throat and a high fever. "He's running around and had a good workout today, so we'll see where he is this weekend," head coach Norv Turner said.

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

Not to worry as it looks like Merriman is recovering fine here.

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

J