Quick Hits (Details in individual
Week 10 Injury Report (available
- Week 10 Byes: CIN, NO, SD, TEN
- PIT LB Farrior sprains MCL, will miss time
- SD LB Edwards playing with torn knee cartilage
- SD LB Merriman dominates, dislocates wrist
- NE LB Vrabel thrives since moving inside
- BAL MLB Lewis and SS Reed remain out
- CAR DEs Peppers and Rucker each have 2 sacks
- WAS OLB Arrington antithesis of TO
- IND DE Mathis regains NFL sack lead with ninth
- AZ DE Berry has torn pec, could miss rest of year
- GB DE KGB has a suddenly rare sack
- TB DE Rice plays this time, but still does nothing
- SD LB group thrives despite injuries
- OAK DE Burgess is Oct. AFC D Player of the Month
- ATL DT Coleman is Oct. NFC D Player of the Month
- DAL LB Ware is Oct. NFL D Rookie of the Month
- DUI and MCL keep NO Watson out, McKinnon in at MLB
- SEA DE "Captain" Fisher continues to have career year
- PHI DEs battle shoulder problems
- JAX DE Spicer continues breakout season
- MIN reverts back to 4-3, CB Winfield dominates
DE Bert Berry left the game in the fourth quarter with a chest injury.
A MRI revealed he has a torn left pectoral muscle and he could be
done for the season. He may not need surgery, but the best-case
scenario doesn’t have him back until the last couple of games.
With Calvin Pace done for the season, the position is extremely
thin. One of the Antonio’s, rookie Smith or recently-signed
Cochran, will get the first shot and will have a great opportunity
at a top producing fantasy position. On the left side, DE Chike
Okeafor had the only sack for the Cardinals, and forced a fumble
on it. He also had 5 solo tackles and is playing through a wrist
OLB Karlos Dansby played through lingering knee problems and
had 6 solo tackles. Reserve rookie LB Lance Mitchell was inactive
after seeing some action the previous few weeks. Mitchell has
struggled with knee problems all season. Fellow reserve rookie
LB Darryl Blackstock notched an assist, his first stat since the
season opener. Blackstock has had no reported health problems,
but has had a problem getting time, despite an assortment of injuries
at LB for the Cards this season.
The return of rookie Eric Green from a shoulder injury made Raymond
Walls expendable and he was released last week. 1st round pick
Antrel Rolle remains inactive with a knee injury and is likely
out for the season, but has not been put on the IR. Robert Tate
remained a starter opposite normal starter David Macklin.
FS Robert Griffith led the team with 9 tackles (7 solo).
After experimenting with Ike Reese and rookie Michael Boley at
MLB to replace Edgerton Hartwell (IR), the team moved Keith Brooking
back to MLB over the bye. Boley remained a starter outside, along
with Demorrio Williams. Williams tied for the team lead with 7
tackles (3 solo), while Brooking had 4 (1 solo) and Boley had
3 (1 solo). FS Bryan Scott also had 7 tackles (5 solo). Scott
suffered a neck injury in the game and while x-rays were negative,
his status is in question this week. Antuan Edwards or Ronnie
Heard would start if he can’t go. SS Keion Carpenter preserved
the victory with a pick, the only turnover of the game for Atlanta,
with less than three minutes left after the Dolphins drove to
the Falcon 8-yard line. It was the first pick of the year in the
Falcon secondary other than by CB DeAngelo Hall.
DE Brady Smith was unable to return from a broken toe and was
inactive. He is expected to miss this week, as well. Rookie DL
Jonathan Babineaux got his first career start at RDE in Brady’s
place, instead of Chauncey Davis. Babineaux had 4 tackles (1 solo).
In a reserve role, Davis had 2 tackles (1 solo) before leaving
with a knee injury.
DT Rod Coleman had just 1 assist after a tremendous October that
earned him a NFC Defensive Player of the Month award. Last month
Coleman had 11 tackles, 4 sacks, and 2 forced fumbles.
With MLB Ray Lewis and SS Ed Reed out of the lineup, and little
help from the offense, the D couldn’t stop Bengal QB Carson
Palmer. Tommy Polley replaced Lewis at MLB, with Bart Scott and
Adalius Thomas flanking him in the base D. Polley led the team
with 10 tackles (6 solo) and broke up a pass. Scott had his first
career sack among his 9 tackles (7 solo) and Thomas also had a
sack, along with 2 forced fumbles and 8 tackles (7 solo). Lewis
is expected to miss at least another week and Polley has excellent
value as long as he is out.
Dale Carter started in the secondary, but Chad Williams was the
primary replacement for Reed at SS. Carter left with a pulled
hamstring and did not return. Williams had 8 tackles (7 solo),
including a sack. Reed remains out with a severe ankle sprain.
DE Anthony Weaver was active, but did not play, and his toe injury
cost him his fourth consecutive game.
Quiet bye week for the Bills.
The Panthers defense looked good as ever, as DE’s Julius
Peppers and Mike Rucker each had 2 sacks and CB Chris Gamble returned
a pick 61 yards. It was Rucker’s first two-sack game in
over two years, and he also forced a fumble on one of the sacks
and recovered a TB RB Cadillac Williams fumble on the first Buccaneer
drive, setting the pace for the D. Peppers also had 5 tackles
(4 solo) playing with a broken right hand. Gamble had another
pick and broke up another pass, along with 4 solo tackles.
After a disappointing first half, OLB Will Witherspoon had his
second consecutive solid fantasy game. He led the team with 9
tackles (8 solo). MLB Dan Morgan looked unimpeded by his shoulder
harness in posting 7 tackles (5 solo).
FS Chris Harris had his first big game in a homecoming of sorts;
the rookie played his college ball at Louisiana-Monroe. After
the Saints offense moved through the Chicago defense shockingly
easily on the first drive, a pick by the Saints on Chicago’s
first possession threatened to put the team down by two scores.
However, Harris picked up a fumble and returned it 49 yards, setting
up the Bears first TD. Later in the game, Harris had his first
career sack and made a nice open field tackle on RB Antowain Smith
on a blitz, among his 7 solo tackles. The resilient defense prevented
three possessions which started in Bears territory due to turnovers
by the Chicago offense, to yield no points.
WLB Lance Briggs led the team with 11 tackles (10 solo). SLB
Hunter Hillenmeyer had a nice game, as well. He posted 4 solo
tackles and applied effective pressure in frequent blitz opportunities,
notching 1 sack, as well as grabbing his first career pick. The
Vanderbilt product is perceived as the intelligent, fundamentally
sound, but short on physical talent type of player. However, he
demonstrated some playmaking ability on Sunday that showed perhaps
he is more than a stopgap player and better suited for a back-up
Despite not being expected to play after being inactive in Week
Eight and missing practice last week due to a knee injury that
occurred in Week Seven, LB David Pollack played and had a solo
tackle. However, Landon Johnson started at SLB and saw most of
the work there, leading the team in tackles (tied) with 8 solo
and he forced a fumble. WLB Brian Simmons had a big game, posting
8 tackles (6 solo), a sack, a forced fumble, and 2 passes defensed.
Rookie MLB Odell Thurman had 6 tackles (5 solo). LB Caleb Miller
was activated from the PUP this week. He saw some starting time
last year, but the LB group is much stronger this year. He’ll
primarily work on special teams, but could see some time in the
rotation if David Pollack’s knee continues to be a problem.
With Duane Clemons threatening to take his starting role, DE
Robert Geathers had his second sack of the year, and first in
over a month.
It wasn’t until the last play of the game, but the Browns
kept their NFL-record streak of games with a turnover alive at
21. As Titan QB Steve McNair avoided a sack by LB Kenard Lang,
he got a pass off that was intercepted by rookie reserve safety
Brodney Pool. It was Pool’s first career pick. He also had
2 solo tackles and another pass defensed. Pool saw significant
action with SS Chris Crocker playing through a shoulder injury.
ILB Andra Davis had the only sack of the day among his 5 tackles
Some honors over the bye week, as 1st round pick LB Demarcus Ware’s
16 tackles, 7 pressures, and 3 sacks in October won him NFL Defensive
Player of the Month.
ILB Dat Nguyen’s outlook for the rest of the season got
no better, as it was reported the team would like to limit his
snaps to about 60% the normal load each week. Nguyen saw limited
action in Week Eight after missing several games with a nerve
injury in his neck and knee problem. This increases Scott Shanle’s
value the rest of the season, as he has been Nguyen’s primary
CB Anthony Henry and S Willie Pile both nursed sore groins over
Despite being effective when healthy, former starting CB Lenny
Walls has rarely been healthy the last two years. After the success
of all Denver’s rookie DB’s so far this year, Walls
is out of the picture and expected to be released in two weeks
when he recovers from his latest groin injury. There will be no
shortage of demand for the tall CB who has flashed great potential,
when healthy. The BC alumnus has expressed interest in the Patriots,
and they should be an interested party with all the injuries in
CB Champ Bailey was held out of practice Monday to give his injured
hamstring more time to heal coming out of the bye, but he is expected
to give it a go on Wednesday and try to play again this week.
Bailey left the Week Eight game in the third quarter after aggravating
it. He has also been playing with a shoulder harness due to a
The defense missed DT Shaun Rogers, who missed another game due
to a MCL sprain, which helped revived the Vikings offense by allowing
the running game to prosper. Rookie Shaun Cody continued to replace
Rogers, posting 5 tackles (4 solo) and a fumble recovery. Kalimba
Edwards got back to being comfortable with his pass rush specialist
role, posting his second two-sack game of the season. He had 3
other solo tackles and a forced fumble. Edwards leads the team
with 6 sacks. Edwards frequently spelled Cory Redding, playing
with a sore shoulder. Redding had 4 tackles (2 solo). DE James
Hall had 7 tackles (5 solo).
FS Terrence Holt returned after suffering a concussion the previous
week and led the team with 8 tackles (5 solo). MLB Earl Holmes
played through a sprained wrist injury and posted 7 tackles (5
solo). Reserve LB Teddy Lehman was inactive with a foot injury.
CB Dre’ Bly remains inactive with a dislocated wrist, so
Andre Goodman and R.W. McQuarters continue to start at CB. Bly
is expected to miss two more weeks. Goodman left the game with
a hamstring injury. All the injuries gave DB Keith Smith more
work, and he recorded his first career sack.
DE Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila had his first sack in a month, giving
him 3.5 for the season. He is on track for his lowest sack total
since his rookie year, when he played only half the season. His
string of four consecutive seasons with double-digit sacks appears
in jeopardy, barring a huge second half.
Despite returning to practice from a MCL tear, SLB remained inactive.
Paris Lenon remained the starter and had 6 tackles (2 solo). Diggs
was a game-time decision and should be back this week. MLB Nick
Barnett led the team with 11 tackles (6 solo). WLB Robert Thomas
had 5 tackles (2 solo) and his first pick as a Packer, playing
with a sore shoulder.
Reserve DL Corey Williams left in the fourth quarter with a pulled
calf muscle. He is expected to miss a game or two.
Embattled second-year CB Joey Thomas was released after criticism
of the team due to his lack of playing time the previous week
sealed his fate in Green Bay.
NT Seth Payne had the only notable day, with 4 solo tackles and
a sack. He has had a sack in three of his last four games. DE
Gary Walker’s shoulder made it through back-to-back games.
He led the team with 5 solo tackles. Rookie DE Travis Johnson
had his first career sack.
CB Demarcus Faggins suffered a hamstring injury in the game and
did not return. Phillip Buchanon, the man Faggins replaced as
a starter, replaced Faggins. The injury is expected to keep Faggins
out of the game this week, moving Buchanon back to the starting
DE Dwight Freeney didn’t show up in the box score, as he
was playing through a foot injury and the focus of double-teams
all night. Pass rush specialist DE Robert Mathis regained sole
lead of sacks in the NFL with his ninth on the last play of the
game. He also forced a fumble on his sack of Patriot QB Doug Flutie,
in for mop up work, and had 5 tackles (2 solo). Mathis has a streak
of 8 consecutive games (each game this year) with at least 1 sack.
FS Bob Sanders recovered from an arm injury over the bye and
posted 5 tackles (4 solo), including forcing a fumble on Patriot
RB Corey Dillon. MLB Gary Brackett led the team with 9 tackles
(5 solo). WLB Cato June continues to play through a sports hernia
that he hopes to not have to tend to until after the season, similar
to Eagle QB Donovan McNabb. June, who also had a sore knee, finished
with 5 tackles (4 solo).
Unexpectedly down 7 at halftime, the defense got the Jags going
on the Texans’ first drive of the second half. DE Paul Spicer
and DT Rob Meier had sacks on back-to-back plays, with Meier forcing
a fumble on his recovered by reserve DE Bobby McCray. The Jags
tied the game four plays later. Spicer’s career season is
looking a lot more legit after a three-sack game seemed an anomaly
on his year. He has sacks in back-to-back games and will keep
adding to his career-high of 5.5 with each subsequent one. He
deserves consideration in deep leagues if you are desperate at
DE. Spicer also had 3 solo tackles. Meier’s sack was his
second of the year, tying his career-high. McCray also had the
best game of his young career. In addition to the fumble recovery,
he had 2 tackles, a sack, and a forced fumble. Meier saw more
work than usual due to a sore ankle on DT Marcus Stroud, who started
despite missing practice most of the week. Stroud kept his streak
of consecutive games played alive. He hasn’t missed one
in his five-year career.
As usual, MLB Mike Peterson led the team in tackles. He had 10
(9 solo) and a sack for the second consecutive game. He also forced
FS Deon Grant played through a sore ankle he twisted in their
game the previous week. He had 4 solo tackles and a sack. SS Deke
Cooper suffered a shoulder injury in third quarter and rookie
Gerald Sensabaugh replaced him.
With CB Patrick Surtain (sprained left knee in Week Eight) and
Dexter McCleon (lingering groin injury) inactive, Dewayne Washington
started opposite Eric Warfield at CB. The former Steeler starter
gave up the only reception of the day to injured Oakland WR Randy
Moss for a go-ahead TD, but RB Larry Johnson bailed him out in
the end. Warfield, playing through a hip pointer, led the team
with 11 solo tackles, but aggravated the injury during the game.
The secondary was really thin with reserve S Jerome Woods out
with a pulled hamstring, as well. FS Greg Wesley had the only
turnover of the day, an INT.
MLB Kawika Mitchell had 6 tackles (5 solo) and the only sack
for the Chiefs.
DE Jason Taylor had his first sack in almost a month, since suffering
a torn plantar fascia, and it almost propelled the Dolphins to
victory. He caught Atlanta QB Mike Vick deep in Falcon territory
on third down halfway through the fourth quarter, forcing a punt
that gave Miami the ball at Atlanta’s 42-yard line. The
offense drove to the 8-yard line, but ended with the only turnover
of the day, spoiling the comeback attempt. Taylor also posted
5 tackles (3 solo).
A week after his worst production of the season, MLB Zach Thomas
got back on track with 14 tackles (8 solo) and a forced fumble.
SLB Junior Seau returned after missing three games with a lingering
calf injury. Seau had 3 assists.
Travares Tillman remained the starting SS and had 9 tackles (6
solo) and a pass defensed. CB Sam Madison returned from a hip
pointer that left him inactive the previous week. He posted 3
solo tackles and broke up a pass.
After HC Mike Tice became more involved in the planning, the base
defense switched back to a 4-3, but the improved play of the offense
was more responsible for a revitalized look by the team. The switch
gave 1st round pick DE Erasmus James his first career start. James
finished with 3 tackles (2 solo) after straining his right hamstring,
limiting him in the second half. On the right side, Darrion Scott
remained the starter and posted 4 tackles (3 solo). Lance Johnstone
thrived back in his pass rush specialist role and with James limited,
posting his first two-sack game of the season. Sam Cowart was
the MLB, with E.J. Henderson at WLB and Keith Newman at SLB. Newman
had the best fantasy game, finishing with 5 tackles (4 solo),
a sack, and a pass defended. Reserve LB Dontarrius Thomas returned
from a knee injury and had 2 tackles (1 solo). Napoleon Harris
remained a reserve and played through a knee injury, mostly on
passing downs. Raonall Smith was the big loser in the new scheme,
as he was limited to mostly special teams work.
A week after bashing the scheme and defensive coaching for the
defense’s struggles, CB Antoine Winfield led by example,
leading the team with 14 tackles (11 solo, including 3 on special
teams) and breaking up 2 passes, including grabbing one for a
pick. CB Fred Smoot started despite a bruised right shoulder,
but aggravated the injury and had to leave for a series in the
third quarter. Smoot finished with 6 solo tackles and a pass defended.
A week after moving into a starting role, journeyman addition
Arturo Freeman was released last week. A strange move, considering
how thin the team is at the position. Starting FS Eugene Wilson
and reserve Michael Stone were the only true safeties on their
active roster against Indy. LB Don Davis has been used in a tweener
role in some run sets. Rookie James Sanders remained inactive
with an ankle injury. CB Randall Gay, who has missed several games
battling ankle problems and was listed as questionable, returned
again Monday night and got the start at SS. He had 6 tackles (5
solo). Gay is a bit undersized for a SS, and using him there might
have been a tactic against the base single-back set Colts, but
with the unconventional wisdom of Bill Belichick, Gay could remain
the new starter. Stone, the former Cardinal, did see plenty of
work, posting 6 tackles (5 solo). Don’t be surprised to
see Stone or the rookie Sanders, when healthy, get a chance to
be the starter, either.
The base LB group continues to include Mike Vrabel and Tedy Bruschi
inside and Rosey Colvin and Willie McGinest outside. Vrabel continues
to thrive inside, having double-digit tackles for the third straight
game since the move. He led the team with 10 (6 solo) and has
37 (23) in his last three games. He also had his second pick of
the year. Bruschi had 10 tackles (6 solo, including 1 on special
teams). After being an apparently healthy scratch last week, Chad
Brown rotated in as the primary back up at LB, posting 4 tackles
(3 solo). Both Brown and Monty Beisel, the former inside starters,
are looking pretty worthless, barring an injury, the rest of the
DE Richard Seymour missed his fourth straight game with a knee
injury. Jarvis Green continues to start in his place, playing
through a shoulder injury that limited him in practice last week.
Asante Samuel and Duane Starks took turns getting beaten by Marvin
Harrison and Reggie Wayne, allowing almost identical stats. With
Gay working at SS, depth at CB remained a problem. Soon-to-be-released
Lenny Walls in Denver could be an answer in a few weeks.
New Orleans/Baton Rogue/San Antonio
Ronald McKinnon continued to start at MLB, as Courtney Watson
appears once again in HC Jim Haslett’s doghouse after an
arrest for a DUI two weeks ago. McKinnon had 6 tackles (5 solo),
while Watson had 1 solo in limited time, during which he managed
to sprain his MCL. He will miss a few weeks and McKinnon gains
value as the starting MLB indefinitely. WLB Colby Bockwoldt led
the team with 8 tackles (6 solo).
SS Dwight Smith had a pick, a sack, and a forced fumble, along
with 3 solo tackles.
CB Mike McKenzie played through a shoulder injury, but maybe
shouldn’t have. His generous cushion, perhaps playing a
bit soft due to the injury, led to Chicago’s first TD and
he had a key pass interference penalty in the game. The Saints
were awarded former Packer CB Joey Thomas on waivers, who follows
in the footsteps of McKenzie in defecting to the Saints after
burning his bridges in Green Bay. The former third-round pick
was one of the players drafted last year by the Packers to help
replace the loss of McKenzie.
New York Giants
With Carlos Emmons still inactive due to a slightly torn pectoral
muscle, Reggie Tobor remained the SLB starter. He led the team
in tackles with 9 (8 solo, including 2 on special teams). MLB
Antonio Pierce had 7 tackles (5 solo) and a sack.
DE Osi Umenyiora had 3 tackles (2 solo), including a sack, and
broke up a pass away before leaving with a leg injury. End was
already thin with rookie DE Justin Tuck inactive due to an ankle
Reserve S Shaun Williams returned after leaving the Week Eight
game in the first quarter with a pulled hamstring, but aggravated
the injury and had to leave again in the first half. SS Gibril
Wilson had been a bit of a disappointment in lacking the ability
to turn in the big play he demonstrated as a rookie last year.
On Sunday, he had his first sack of the season among his 5 tackles
(4 solo). His tackle production is actually exactly on par with
his output through the eight games he played in last year, he
is just a couple picks and sacks short of what he accomplished
in as many games a rookie. FS Brent Alexander had a pick, the
only turnover forced by the Giants.
CB Will Peterson remained inactive with fractures in his back.
He has not improved, but the team has not officially called it
a season for him yet. Curtis Deloatch continues to replace him
in the starting lineup.
New York Jets
With the offense in disarray due to the QB situation, the defense
hung tough during a furious second half comeback and gave the
team a chance for the win with a huge play late in the game by
their two top defensive playmakers. With a little over three minutes
left in the game, down by 5, DE John Abraham sacked Charger QB
Drew Brees forcing a fumble recovered by MLB Jonathan Vilma in
San Diego territory. It was the only sack and turnover of the
day for the defense. The offense drove down, but a pass broken
up on fourth-and-goal spoiled what would have been a huge win
for a struggling team. Vilma also led the team with 11 tackles
(8 solo). Abraham also had 3 tackles (2 solo).
Mark Brown, who replaced WLB Eric Barton (IR), had just 3 tackles
(1 solo), but remains a promising pick-up due to his new starting
role on a defense that should be spending a lot of time on the
CB Ty Law was juked out of his jock by Ladainian Tomlinson on
a flair pass that LT2 took 25 yards for a TD, the second of his
career-high four that the Jets allowed.
With DE Bobby Hamilton inactive with an ankle sprain from Week
Eight, sack-leader Derrick Burgess started a LE and Tommy Kelly
at RE. The duo got off to a fast start on the Chiefs’ first
possession, with Kelly slapping the ball out of KC QB Trent Green’s
hands for a sack and forced fumble that Burgess recovered. Kelly
had 2 other sacks, forcing a fumble on another, as well, in a
career game. He left with a leg injury, but returned and finished
the game. The sacks were his first ones of the season. Burgess
was mostly held in check the rest of the day, adding just 1 solo
tackle. It was his second straight poor fantasy effort after posting
2 sacks in each of the three previous games in October. That effort
earned him the AFC Defensive Player of the Month award for October.
Oakland looked to, at worst, be forcing a long FG to tie, when
KC RB Larry Johnson took a dump pass 36 yards with seconds left.
CB Nnamdi Ashomugha and FS Stuart Schweigert stopped short of
the goal, but on a gutsy call be KC HC Dick Vermeil, Johnson plunged
in for the win on the next play with just five seconds left. Ashomugha
played through some sore ribs and posted 5 solo tackles and a
pass defended. CB Renaldo Hill and rookie CB Fabian Washington
continue to see significant time in the absence of Charles Woodson
(broken right leg). Washington led the team with 9 solo tackles
and Hill had 5 solo, and a pass defended. Hill had to leave the
game with a hip injury, depleting a thin Raider secondary even
DT Warren Sapp followed up his best game as a Raider with just
3 solo tackles.
DE Jevon Kearse played through an AC joint sprain in his right
shoulder he suffered in Week Eight and had one of his better games
of the season. Kearse had 4 solo tackles, including a sack. Opposite
him on the right side, N.D. Kalu was playing through a shoulder
injury of his own, and had to leave the game after aggravating
it. Rookie Trent Cole saw more work in Kalu’s place, and
responded with his first career sack and forced fumble, among
his 3 solo tackles. It was a huge play, as the Redskins were deep
in Eagle territory looking to increase their three-point lead
before the half. Another reserve, DE Juqua Thomas, picked it up
and returned it 16 yards.
SS Michael Lewis showed no ill effects from a quad injury that
forced him out of the game early in Week Eight. He led the team
with 10 tackles (7 solo). FS Brian Dawkins had 8 tackles (7 solo)
and forced a fumble with a beautifully placed helmet right on
the ball in TE Chris Cooley’s arm near the end zone, which
could have swung the outcome of the game. However, an alert Washington
OG Derrick Dockery quickly covered the ball and the Redskins scored
the decisive TD on the next play.
DT Darwin Walker continues to battle lingering thigh problems,
but started and had 2 tackles (1 solo). MLB Jeremiah Trotter played
with a sore knee and had 8 tackles (6 solo). CB Lito Sheppard
appeared recovered from a knee injury that plagued him through
Early in the second quarter, with Green Bay threatening to take
the lead, SS Troy Polamalu missed a sack, but rookie CB Bryant
McFadden got to Packer QB Brett Favre, notching his first career
sack and forcing a fumble. Polamalu then picked up the ball and
returned it 77 yards, assisted by a nice block from McFadden,
for a TD that would eventually be the difference in the game.
Polamalu recovered another fumble earlier in the game and had
6 tackles (5 solo). Green Bay’s comeback hopes were squashed
when a Favre pass went right through the hands of Green Bay WR
Donald Driver and reserve S Tyrone Carter grabbed the wobbling
ball. Overall, the Steelers turned three Green Bay turnovers in
to 17 points.
The injury headlines were dominated the offense, but Pittsburgh’s
defense was banged up at LB. All four starters played through
injuries. OLB Clark Haggans was limited in his second game back
from a partially torn groin. He posted just 1 assist. Opposite
him, Joey Porter continued to play with lingering knee problems
and had 5 tackles (2 solo). ILB Larry Foote led the team with
11 tackles (10 solo), despite a sore shoulder. ILB James Farrior,
the heart and soul of the defense, had 6 tackles (5 solo) despite
adding a sore knee last week to back problems that have lingered
this season. However, Farrior had to leave the game in the third
quarter after aggravating the knee injury. He has a grade two
MCL sprain in his left knee and is expected to miss at least two
weeks. Clint Kriewaldt is expected to replace him in the starting
lineup this week.
Coming out of a bye, DE Leonard Little is expected back this week
after missing two games after the tragic murder of his brother.
He returned to practice on Monday. Opposite Little, Tony Hargrove
hasn’t been the pass rush compliment the team had hoped
for since losing Grant Wistrom. Brandon Green has shown much better
instincts against misdirection plays, but lacks the physical skills
the team keeps hoping Hargrove can manifest into consistent production.
It took a while to get him on the field, but 1st round pick OLB
Shawne Merriman is making up for lost time now that he’s
there. Two weeks after making his first start, and a week after
a two-sack game, Merriman led the team in tackles with 9 (7 solo)
and added another sack. Merriman had suffered a dislocated wrist
during the game and had minor surgery to insert some pins on Monday.
Apparently the injury isn’t serious, as he is not expected
to miss any time with the extra week to heal due to the bye. He
leads the team with 5 sacks. Also taking advantage of his starting
opportunity, OLB Shaun Phillips had 2 sacks among his 5 solo tackles.
Phillips again replaced Steve Foley, who missed his second consecutive
game due to an abdomen injury that has been bothering him for
a while. The bye gives Foley some more time to recover, but the
injury appears to be a significant problem. Phillips, a converted
college DE, continues to make the transition to OLB in his second
year and follow in the footsteps of fellow Purdue DE alums Akin
Ayodele and Rosevelt Colvin, who prospered upon converting at
the next level. He is a good pick-up, as long as he remains a
starter, presenting a good sack threat every week. ILB Randall
Godfrey missed the previous game with a neck injury and whether
or not it has fully healed, he was inactive Sunday due to attend
the funeral of his sister. Stephen Cooper started in his place
again and was productive again, finishing with 8 tackles (5 solo).
ILB Donnie Edwards continues to play through a tender knee, posting
6 tackles (4 solo). Edwards had planned to have minor arthroscopic
surgery to repair some torn cartilage on Monday, with extra time
to recover due to the bye, but the knee responded well after the
game, so he’ll hope to postpone the surgery until the off-season.
The Chargers LB corps is proving to be one of the deepest in the
league, with their scheme providing plug and produce reliability
at the position a la the Steelers.
A struggling Jet squad made a game of it in the second half,
and after the offense turned the ball over late in the fourth
quarter, it took CB Quentin Jammer batting down a fade pass on
fourth-and-goal to preserve the victory. His play was a huge relief
to a team who suffered four close losses all in the closing minutes
of each game. Jammer also had 5 tackles (3 solo) and another pass
defensed. CB Sammy Davis was shaken up for the second time in
three games, leaving in the fourth quarter with an undisclosed
injury. The secondary was already dinged up with reserve CB Drayton
Florence limited by a sore ankle and SS Terrence Kiel inactive
with ankle and calf injuries. Clinton Hart started in Kiel’s
place and had 4 solo tackles, including one on special teams.
DL Dave Ball, a former UCLA standout, was released after being
too tall to play with enough leverage at NT and too slow to contribute
at DE in their 3-4.
OLB Andre Carter struggled seeing more work back at end and DE
Bryant Young posting just 1 solo tackle. OLB Julian Peterson led
the team (tied) with 9 tackles (5 solo) and a forced fumble.
CB Ahmed Plummer (ankle) and LB Saleem Rasheed (knee) both remained
inactive after arthroscopic surgery on their ailments a few weeks
DE Bryce Fisher had 2 sacks among his 3 solo tackles, forcing
a fumble on one and also breaking up 2 passes. He is on track
to post career highs across the board, including possibly his
first double-digit sack season, and is one of the breakout IDP
players of 2005. Last week Fisher was also sworn in as a captain
in the Washington Air National Guard. The Air Force Academy alumnus
had two years of active service after graduation and was allowed
nine years of reserves or National Guard service, a similar arrangement
allowed for other Armed Forces academy graduates with the opportunity
for professional sports careers, instead of the standard five-year
active commitment upon graduation. Fisher was previously affiliated
with the Missouri Air National Guard while a member of the Rams.
Opposite him, Grant Wistrom continues to have a disappointing
fantasy season, posting just 1 solo tackle and defending a pass.
FS Marquand Manuel, who has replaced the Ken Hamlin (non-football
IR) with the first team, led the team in tackles with 12 (9 solo)
and broke up a pass. S Etric Pruitt was activated from the practice
squad to take Hamlin’s place on the roster, but was inactive
for the game on Sunday. The secondary contributed three important
picks, exploiting Arizona QB Kurt Warner’s timing in his
return as the starter. The first two by CB’s Marcus Trufant
and Kelly Herndon set up 10 points for the offense. The third,
by reserve rookie S Jordan Babineaux, ended a comeback attempt
by the Cardinals in the fourth quarter. Herndon remained a starter
despite Andre Dyson returning to the active roster after missing
two games with a hamstring injury. Herndon also had 3 solo tackles
and 2 other passes defensed. SS Michael Boulware strained his
hamstring in the game, but is expected to be fine.
OLB D.D. Lewis was inactive with a knee injury. Rookie Leroy
Hill saw significant action in his place, picking up 5 solo tackles
and his third sack. Lewis is expected back next week.
Former 1st round pick DT Marcus Tubbs had his second sack of
the season, setting a new career-high, but also suffered a serious
Last week IDP owners of Simeon Rice were screwed by late notification
of his benching. This week, there was no such explanation. Another
goose egg, despite returning to the starting lineup and seeing
a full day of work, with no injuries reported. DL Dewayne White,
who started in Rice’s place last week, had the only sack
of the day.
MLB Shelton Quarles played through a thigh injury, that forced
him to miss some practice time last week, and led the team with
14 tackles (9 solo) and forced a fumble. OLB Derrick Brooks played
through a sore hammy, posting 7 tackles (4 solo).
FS Dexter Jackson was inactive again due to a hamstring injury
and remains out indefinitely. Will Allen continues to start at
LB Peter Sirmon was active, but did not play due to an ankle injury.
Reserve LB Rocky Boiman was inactive with a calf injury, so Robert
Reynolds got the start opposite Keith Bulluck. Reynolds had 5
tackles (3 solo) and Bulluck led the team with 11 tackles (10
solo) and a pick.
DE Kyle Vanden Bosch had 6 tackles (1 solo) and was dinged up
during the game. Opposite him, Travis LaBoy got his first start
of the season, posting 3 solo tackles and a fumble recovery. Antwan
Odom, the normal starter who was bothered by a knee injury during
the week, rotated in. The injury may be why Odom didn’t
start, but he has not been consistent either, so LaBoy could supplant
him as starter until Odom improves.
CB Andre Woolfolk was inactive again with a hamstring injury.
Rookie Reynaldo Hill started in his place again. Another entry
for the entry for the folly file of rookie Pacman Jones. He allegedly
had an altercation with a Cleveland assistant coach on the way
to the locker room after the game and security had to separate
them. This guy keeps getting headlines for all the wrong reasons.
In a cosmic display of balance, against the Eagles on a night
when Philadelphia WR Terrell Owen’s cult of one dominated
the discussion, OLB Lavar Arrington quietly returned to a starting
role and was a team captain for the game. In direct contrast of
the Path to TO, he generally kept his mouth shut and eventually
regained his place through hard practice and by re-embracing the
team concept, instead of spitting on it. Arrington finished tied
for the team lead with 6 solo tackles. While he remains overrated
in real NFL terms, he is again worth starting in fantasy lineups
and will have more opportunities to utilize his big play ability.
DE Phillip Daniels looked fine after leaving Week Eight’s
game with an ankle injury. He also had 6 solo tackles, including
a sack. LB Warrick Holdman, who had been starting in front of
Arrington most of the season, did not see a snap. He loses all
value, barring an injury, with Arrington locked back in at OLB.
SS Ryan Clark had a pick for the second consecutive game. In
addition to lingering shoulder problems, FS Sean Taylor is playing
on a sore ankle. He had 2 solo tackles.
DT Cornelius Griffin was inactive due to a strained hip flexor
he suffered during Week Seven that limited him to only two plays
in Week Eight and kept him out of practice all last week. DE Phillip
Daniels also had to leave the game with an ankle injury. Demetric
Evans started in his place. Griffin is expected to give it a go
at practice this week, but remains questionable.