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IDP Notes
Week 5
10/6/04

Quick Hits (Details in individual team notes)

- Week Five Bye: Chicago, Cincinnati, Kansas City, Philadelphia
- ATL DE Patrick Kerney unstoppable
- CB Mike McKenzie traded to NO
- CHI LB Urlacher misses another, expected back after bye
- NYJ LB Vilma gets 1st start, LB/DE Abraham has big game
- MIN unstable LB situation
- STL DE Leonard Little moves around, moves numbers up
- CIN DE Justin Smith arrested for DUI
- Injuries pile up in SF and TEN
- PIT LB Bell still out, Larry Foote emerges in his place
- CB Troy Vincent out 2-3 weeks with knee injury
- WAS LB's Arrington and Barrow still out, Arrington back soon

Week Five Injury Report (available Wednesday PM)

Arizona

James Darling led the team with 8 tackles (6 solo), and none bigger than a third-and-goal stop of an Aaron Brooks scramble at the one. The Saints went for it on fourth-and-goal, with Brooks running it again. The ball came out, and LB Gerald Hayes recovered it for a touchback. This swung the momentum of the game early on, as the Saints had moved from their own 20 down the field rather easily on the first drive of the game. On the Saint's next drive, forgotten former 1st round pick Calvin Pace had a sack and forced a fumble on third down. Although the Saints recovered it, they were forced to punt from deep in their own territory. Winning this battle of field position paid off not long after, when a muffed handoff in the Saints own territory was returned for a TD by SS Adrian Wilson. Wilson also had 4 solo tackles.

MLB Ronald McKinnon's continues to be a statue on the field, with just 2 tackles (1 solo).

Atlanta

DE Patrick Kerney continue to be an absolute beast off the edge in the 4-3 scheme. He finished with 9 tackles (8 solo), 2 sacks, and a forced fumble. He leads the NFL with 7 sacks and could pass his former career-high of 11.5 in the first half of the season.

Baltimore

In a role reversal, the Ravens defense struggled to contribute, while the offense kept them in the game. The Ravens D had only 1 sack and forced no turnovers, while allowing KC to pound the ball down their throat on the ground and move efficiently through the air.

LB Ray Lewis led the team with 11 tackles (6 solo).

Buffalo

CB Troy Vincent left early with a knee injury last week that required some minor surgery to clean up. He's expected to miss two weeks. Terrence McGee posted nice stats in his place, totaling 6 solo tackles and 2 passes defensed, but was also gave up a big TD to David Patten. McGee, who is expected to start in place of Vincent while he's out, also returned a kickoff 98-yards for a TD. Vincent's injury comes at a bad time, with SS Lawyer Milloy still out. Milloy was expected to be back by now, but has not started practicing yet, as he recovers from a broken arm.

The Bills had no sacks last week and have only 4 sacks this season. Most disappointing is that they are getting no pressure from their young DEs on edges. Aaron Schobel, Chris Kelsay, and Ryan Denney have combined for 0 sacks.

Carolina

Lack of big plays is the difference this year, as the defense of the defending NFC champs continues to struggle. They had no sacks and no turnovers in their loss to the Falcons. They have only 5 sacks and 1 INT on the season. Leading the disappointment among the DLine is Mike Rucker, who has no sacks so far this year, after back-to-back double-digit sack seasons.

MLB Dan Morgan led the team with 9 tackles (8 solo).

FS Colin Branch is not overwhelming anyone as the new starter this season. Travares Tillman may begin to see more work.

Chicago

MLB Brian Urlacher was inactive for a second straight game, battling lingering hamstring problems. Hunter Hillenmeyer continued to start in his place, posting 9 tackles (8 solo) and 2 passes defensed. Hillenmeyer has impressed the coaching staff and could take over the starting strongside job from Joe Odom. Both Urlacher and CB Jerry Azumah are expected to return after the bye for the 10/17 game against Washington. Azumah was expected to miss several months after neck surgery, but apparently will be ready to play and is reported to be in great shape. His return not only helps a depleted Bears secondary, but he is a Pro Bowl kickoff returner. With the CB position thin, rookie Nathan Vasher got his first start last week. A noted ball hawk in college, sharing a Texas record with 17 interceptions, he got his first NFL interception off Donovan McNabb, and added 3 solo tackles. Vasher did, however, have a misstep on special teams. He ran into punt returner R.W. McQuarters causing a muff that turned an unexpectedly close game around when Philly scored their only TD after recovering it.

Lance Briggs had a game-high 10 tackles (8 solo). 1st round pick Tommie Harris had 4 solo tackles and fellow rookie DT Tank Johnson had his first sack. Both players continue to improve each week and have great potential to be a disruptive tandem in the future.

Cincinnati

Rookie Caleb Miller finished with 3 tackles (2 solo) and a fumble recovery in his first NFL start, replacing Nate Webster, who is out for the year.

Rookie Madieu Williams started his third position (FS) in his fourth NFL game. He's previously started at CB (Week One) and SS (Week Three). It doesn't seem to matter where they put him, he thrives - maybe they should give him a shot at QB. He had a game-high 10 solo tackles, also leads the team for the season, and added a fumble recovery. SS Rogers Beckett suffered his second concussion of the year, so Madieu's versatility will continue to be needed.

Former 1st round pick Justin Smith's sack totals continue to fall each year (he has only 1 so far this year), but his blood alcohol content was up Tuesday morning. Pulled over on suspicion of drunken driving, he brutally failed the field sobriety test (he couldn't touch his finger to his nose) and tested a BAC of 0.152 - nearly twice the legal limit. Depending on whether or not he is already in the league's substance abuse program (first time violators remain anonymous), a fine and/or suspension could be awaiting him. While in jail, he reportedly told police he was unemployed. If he can't start getting to the QB more than the bottle, he may soon be.

Cleveland

With no sacks, no INTs, and few big plays on defense, a struggling Redskin offense was as much responsible for their ineffectiveness as anything the Browns did to stop them. The biggest play was LB Kevin Bentley knocking the ball free from Laveranues Coles after a big reception near the end of the game. FS Earl Little recovered it, preserving the victory. Bentley also had 3 tackles. However with Ben Taylor out, it was Chaun Thompson, not Bentley, got the start on the strongside, finishing with 3 tackles.

Starting corners Daylon McCutcheon and Anthony Henry returned from injuries to the starting lineup. Henry showed no ill-effects from the vertigo he experienced last week, as he led the team with 7 tackles (6 solo).

Dallas

After reports that Darren Woodson's recovery was progressing, he's apparently had some setbacks, and Tony Dixon, who is having a breakout year in his place, looks to be the man at SS for the a while longer.

Denver

The Willie Middlebrooks Revival Tour gained more momentum last week. The former 1st round pick somehow remained with the team through disappointing season after disappointing season, and has found a niche this year as their third corner. Willie had 3 solo tackles, a sack, and recovering a fumble forced by SS Kennoy Kennedy, who led the team with 9 tackles (8 solo). FS John Lynch had a solid game against his old team, finishing with 7 tackles (6 solo) and almost picking a pass on the last play of the game.

Detroit

With 3.5 sacks, DE James Hall needs 1 more to match his career high.

The team hopes CB Dre' Bly can return this week from a knee injury, but LB Boss Bailey is still several weeks away from returning from his.

Green Bay

The defensive line that had no sacks yet this season finally started applying some pressure. DE Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila had a sack and a half to go with 5 tackles. The other bookend, Aaron Kampman, had a huge game, totaling 11 tackles (8 solo) and a sack. Even reserve DE R-Kal Truluck joined in, sharing a sack with KGB before leaving with a shoulder injury. Finally displaying a pass rush with the 4 sacks was offset by a run defense that fell apart. They surrendered 245 yards on the ground. This provided plenty of tackling opportunities for LB's Na'il Diggs, who had a game-high 15 (11 solo) and Nick Barnett, who had 11 (8 solo). The run D is struggling up front without Grady Jackson, who remains inactive with a knee injury. DT James Lee was also a scratch. Cledius Hunt is forced to play out of position at the NT to compensate, which is not only an inadequate replacement for Jackson, but has sapped Hunt's ability as a pass rusher.

CB Mike McKenzie remained a scratch for the second game with his mystery hamstring injury. The Packers don't have to deal with that situation anymore, as they quickly sent McKenzie to New Orleans the next day, for a second round pick and QB J.T. O'Sullivan.

Houston

LB Jamie Sharper had a big game, scoring an IDP fantasy grand slam on one play. Sacking Kerry Collins early in the 2nd quarter, he knocked the ball loose, recovered it himself, and returned it for a TD. He also led the team with 9 tackles (7 solo).

Eric Brown was inactive for the second straight game with a sprained knee. He's expected to miss this week, as well. Rookie Glenn Earl started at SS again in Brown's place, and posted 4 solo tackles. 1st round pick CB Dunta Robinson had his first two career INTs and young nickel corner Demarcus Faggins had his first career INT, as well. Faggins pick ended the Raiders last real threat deep in Houston territory early in the 4th quarter.

Indianapolis

Cato June has not taken the potent weakside job and ran with it. HC Tony Dungy noted last week he is not playing as well as he did in camp when he won the job. He's averaging less than 5 tackles per game and has turned in no big plays. Rookies Gilbert Gardner and Kendyll Pope should be recovered from injuries soon and could get a chance to replace him. However, veteran back-up Jim Nelson has also been a solid contributor who could get the first shot. He had 7 tackles (6 solo) last week. June finished Sunday with 5 tackles (4 solo) and a fumble recovery.

Anthony Floyd (FS) and Cory Bird (SS) continue to fill in for injured starters Idrees Bashir and Mike Doss.

DE Dwight Freeney's inconsistent play continues to frustrate fantasy owners. He was unable to take advantage of facing back-up OT Ephraim Salaam for most of the second half, after starter Mike Pearson left with a knee injury. One solo tackle is all he put in the box score for the second straight week, after starting the season with a sack in each game.

Jacksonville

While they didn't allow him to throw for six TDs, the Jaguars defense was outclassed by Peyton Manning and Colts explosive offense. Rookie LB Daryl Smith had the only turnover of the game, his first career INT. The play was originally ruled incomplete, but Jacksonville challenged and won the review.

The return of DE Lionel Barnes from injury didn't help the Jaguars put any pressure on Manning most of the day. They finished with no sacks.

Kansas City

DE Vonnie Holliday returned after missing 2 games due to groin problems, but John Browning, who impressed in Holliday's absence, remained the starter at RDE. However, it was the rest the starting DLine who was noteworthy. DE Eric Hicks, DTs Ryan Sims and Lionel Dalton, as well as reserve DE Gary Stills, all had sacks.

CB Eric Warfield, who already has 3 INTs, looked like he tied his career-high with his fourth INT early in the 4th quarter, but the ball was returned to Baltimore when he was called for a defensive holding penalty.

Miami

Another game, another 100-yard rushing day against this embattled defense. However, the DLine play improved vs. the pass, with Jason Taylor, David Bowens, and Jeff Zgonina all registering a sack each.

LB Zach Thomas had a game-high 13 tackles (4 solo).

Minnesota

MLB E.J. Henderson (knee sprain) is expected to miss at least this week's game and his absence will continue the musical chairs in the Vikes LB corp. Rookie Rod Davis is the back-up on the depth chart, but is likely to be passed over. OLB Chris Claiborne is one option to move to the middle, but he is battling calf problems and has already been moved from the strongside to the weakside when rookie Dontarrious Thomas was demoted. Thomas is the more likely option to start in the middle, as after being demoted, injuries necessitated his return in their last game before the bye. He responded by leading the team with 13 tackles, including 2 on special teams, all in the second half. Keith Newman will probably remains the strongside starter.

New England

DT Richard Seymour answered critics who've questioned his lack of big plays this season. In addition to 3 tackles and a sack, Seymour returned a fumble 68-yards for a TD to put the game out of reach late in the 4th quarter. LB Tedy Bruschi forced that fumble on a sack, his second of the day, to go with 7 tackles (4 solo).

LB Rosevelt Colvin had his first sack in over a year, a significant step for a player hoping to return to being a premier rushing threat from a near career-ending injury. 1st round pick DT Vince Wilfork also had his first sack.

New Orleans

The Saints tightened up their defensive backfield by trading a second round 2005 pick and back-up QB J.T. O'Sullivan to the Packers for disgruntled standout CB Mike McKenzie. McKenzie had played sparingly since ending his holdout due to conditioning and knee problems, so it remains to be seen if those issues were an extension of his holdout or he really isn't physically ready to jump in this week and help. Eventually, he should replace either Ashley Ambrose or Fred Thomas as one of the starters at CB.

LB Sedrick Hodge has been activated after serving his four-game suspension for violating the league's substance abuse policy. James Allen should eventually return to a back-up role with Hodge back.

While he's not producing fantasy numbers like he did in St. Louis, DT Brian Young is helping his line mates do so by occupying blockers. DEs Charles Grant and Darren Howard both had sacks last week, their fifth and second, respectively, of the season.

FS Terbucky Jones breakout season continues, as he posted a game-high 10 solo tackles.

New York Giants

DE Michael Strahan was held without a sack this week. Brett Favre's absence much of the game meant there'd be none handed to him.

Rookie Gibril Wilson continues to flourish in the starting SS role. Although he didn't have an INT for his third straight game, he again led the team in tackles with 12 (10 solo).

New York Jets

1st round pick Jonathan Vilma got his first start, made all the defensive calls, and led the team with 8 tackles (3 solo). Although he's likely to miss at least one more game, Sam Cowart is apparently recovering quicker than expected. That will tend to happen when a 1st round pick is succeeding at your job.

Unable to capitalize on John Abraham's tremendous disruptive ability as a pass rusher with him dropping into coverage more in his new DE/LB tweener role, DC Donnie Henderson used the Week Three bye to figure out how to get him involved more as a pass rusher again. The results were 4 tackles, 2 sacks, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery that ended Miami's final threat with less than two minutes to go in the game. It's nice to see a coach abort a bad idea, instead of stubbornly defending it and continuing to try to make it work.

Disappointing former 1st round pick DE Bryan Thomas is now working inside in their dime package to help provide more pressure than another increasingly disappointing 1st round pick, Dewayne Robertson, has been giving them.

Oakland

CB Charles Woodson continues his hot play. He led the team with a game-high 10 tackles (8 solo) and knocked away 4 passes. Phillip Buchanan was second on the team with 6 solo tackles, and forced a fumble. Unfortunately, when your CBs lead you in tackles, things are not going well in the front seven.

After returning from injury to lead the team in tackles the previous week, LB Napolean Harris was expected to see his playing time increase last Sunday. Instead did not start and played less than half the snaps. LB/DE Sam Williams remained inactive.

Philadelphia

The Eagles forced no turnovers against a back-up QB thrust into a starting role, but then again they were only on the field for 22 minutes. They did, however, total 4 sacks, giving them 18 already for the season. Starting DE Derrick Burgess had his best game so far, posting 4 solo tackles and a sack. In reserve roles, DE Hugh Douglas and DT Sam Rayburn both registered their second sacks of the season. CB Lito Sheppard got his first sack, as well.

Pittsburgh

Kendrell Bell remained inactive and Larry Foote had a career game continuing to start in his place. Foote had a sack and a forced fumble to go with a game-high 11 tackles (9 solo). Bell is expected to miss at least 2 more weeks. Joey Porter didn't get to the QB this week, but he broke up 5 passes and added 3 solo tackles. LB Clark Haggans remains MIA since his big Week One performance.

SS Troy Polamalu returned an INT for a TD to seal the victory late in the 4th quarter. The former 1st round pick has made great progress this year and thanks, in part, to spotty LB play, leads the team in tackles.

St. Louis

DE Leonard Little is finally showing up, totaling 6 solo tackles, a sack, and a fumble recovery last week. After being MIA the first two games, he's now had sacks in back-to-back games. Moving him around appeared to help. He bounced between both sides of the line and alternated playing with his hand down and rushing as a LB out of a standing position.

Adam Archuleta, who has been slowed this season by nagging leg and back problems, didn't start, but played in nickel and dime packages totaling 5 solo tackles. In response to not starting, Archuleta commented it was due to him not practicing last week. He reportedly did not aggravate his injuries. Rich Coady, who started at FS the previous game, started at SS and finished with 6 tackles (4 solo), 2 passes defended, and a forced fumble. While CB DeJuan Groce was still inactive with a sprained knee, Aeneas Williams returned to FS and Kevin Garrett got the start at CB.

LB Tommy Polley had a sack for the second straight game, as well as forcing a fumble.

DT Jimmy Kennedy is recovering quicker than expected from a broken foot in August and may be back before the end of the month. His presence could help bolster a run defense that is one of the worst in the league, giving up 137.3 ypg on the ground.

San Diego

Journeyman LB Steve Foley seems to be headed for a career year, posting 7 tackles, 1.5 sacks, and forcing a fumble.

FS Jerry Wilson led the team with 10 tackles (9 solo).

San Francisco

LB Derek Smith left last week's game early in the second quarter with torn ligaments in his ankle. An MRI will determine the extent of the injury, but he's out indefinitely. Smith is the team's leading tackler, and has been for the last three seasons. Jeff Ulbrich is likely to see the majority of the work inside in 4-3 sets, with Jamie Winborn and Saleem Rasheed seeing more time outside.

DE Andre Carter missed the last three games with back problems, and now will miss at least three more after undergoing surgery to remove a cyst from his lower back. He is also troubled by a bulging disc.

CB Mike Rumph is expected to miss the rest of the season after breaking his arm last week. He will have surgery to have a metal rod inserted. Rumph had missed the previous two games with groin problems, and rookie Shawntae Spencer, who had been starting in his place, is expected to continue to do so.

Seattle

The Seahawks enter Week 5 with the number one rated defense, allowing the fewest yards per game.

Tampa Bay

A week after Warren Sapp beat his old team, John Lynch returned and the result was the same. They could have used some of John Lynch's leadership, as penalties kept drives by an inept Jake Plummer alive and the continued impotence by the Bucs O appears to be driving a wedge between the units.

Shelton Quarles (11) and Derrick Brooks (10) both posted double-digit tackle days. The only sign of DE Simeon Rice was 2 solo tackles.

Tennessee

Neither of the Rocky's played LB last week, with Calmus a scratch with back and leg problems and Boiman suiting up, but never seeing the field, unable to overcome hand and knee problems. Rookie Robert Reynolds was thrust into a starting role, though head coach Jeff Fisher noted the move was out of necessity and Reynolds is not physically or emotionally ready to play in the NFL. That is a supersized precuse. Reynolds finished with 4 tackles (2 solo).

With Lance Schulters out possibly two months with a Lisfranc sprain, Lamont Thompson has replaced him at FS, as expected, posting 2 solo tackles.

In addition to the injuries, the Titans troubles can be traced to the inability to get pressure on the QB from the edges. DEs Juqua Thomas (who missed last week with a high ankle sprain), Antwan Odom, and Carlos Hall have combined for 1.5 sacks. Despite this, there are no plans at this time to move Kevin Carter from the inside. DT Rien Long had his team-leading second sack last week.

Washington

Sean Taylor improved in his second game as starting FS, posting 7 tackles (6 solo).

Antonio Pierce continues to start at MLB with Mike Barrow is nursing a knee injury. Lavar Arrington joined him as inactive, giving Lemar Marshall a start. That hasn't changed from last week. What has changed is Arrington is expected to return for this week's game, but Barrow's return is uncertain. Pierce continues to play well with Barrow out, leading the team with 8 tackles (4 solo) and adding a fumble recovery



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