Quick Hits (Details in individual
- 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
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).
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.
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
LB Ray Lewis led the team with 11 tackles (6 solo).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
With 3.5 sacks, DE James Hall needs 1 more to match his career
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
LB Zach Thomas had a game-high 13 tackles (4 solo).
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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
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.
The Seahawks enter Week 5 with the number one rated defense, allowing
the fewest yards per game.
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.
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
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