Quick Hits (Details in individual
Week 12 Injury Report (available
- No more byes
- MIA MLB Zach Thomas separates shoulder
- IND DE Mathis first to double-digit sacks
- CAR LB Morgan gone after five minutes
- SD rookie LB Merriman continues his tear
- OAK DE Burgess has fourth multi-sack game
- SF DE Bryant Young suffers serious leg injuries
- CHI CB Vasher turns in two more big plays
- PHI CB Sheppard to IR
- NE LB Vrabel scores sixth career offensive TD
- STL SS Archuleta sustains concussion, out this week
- PHI CB Sheppard seriously injures ankle
- PHI rookie DE Cole has back-to-back multi-sack games
- The Rocky Bernard Experience rolls on at DT in SEA
- AZ rookie LB Blackstock has decent starting debut
- Injuries to secondary and suckiness of front 7 fester on Rams D
The defensive plan was to shut down the running game and force a
shootout, and they succeeded, holding Ram RB Steven Jackson to 6
yards on 12 carries. Rookie Darryl Blackstock was a big part of
the effort, as he got the start with LB Karlos Dansby inactive due
to a groin injury. Blackstock flashed his ability from the edge
with his first career sack, forcing a fumble, among his 4 solo tackles.
His sack late in the fourth quarter came after the team had just
extended their lead to 11 and as the offense converted a TD on the
following drive, the victory was secured. Blackstock has struggled
to impress HC Denny Green and get significant minutes, but Sunday’s
effort should help. SS Adrian Wilson recovered the fumble Blackstock
forced, part of a huge day for him, also featuring 8 solo tackles,
a career-high 3 sacks, including a forced fumble. DE Chike Okeafor
also had a sack and forced a fumble.
The Rams went after rookie CB Eric Green and, combined with the
focus on stopping the run, it helped him post a big fantasy day.
He led the team with 15 solo tackles and broke up a pass. Rookie
S Ernest Shazor was active for his first career game after being
promoted from the practice squad last week. He only saw work on
special teams and didn’t post a stat.
DE Antonio Smith remained the start at RDE with Bert Berry done
for the year.
OLB Demorrio Williams again led the team in tackles, this time
with 7 solo. MLB Keith Brooking had 5 solo tackles and the only
turnover forced on the day for Atlanta, a pick.
DE Brady Smith missed another game with a broken toe and rookie
Jonathan Babineaux got another start at RDE. Chauncey Davis remained
a back-up. With Chad Lavalais inactive, Antwan Lake got the start
next to Rod Coleman at DT. Smit is expected to miss another game,
while Lavalais was back at practice this week.
After an offsides penalty by reserve OLB Peter Boulware nullified
his first INT of the season, DE Terrell Suggs grabbed a ball deflected
off PIT WR Hines Ward’s foot into the air like pop-up to
prevent Pittsburgh’s last chance in regulation. Suggs also
had a solo tackle, but he didn’t get to the QB for the third
straight game and his chances of reaching double-digit sacks this
season are all but over, as he has struggled with a lingering
Tommy Polley remained the starter at MLB with Ray Lewis (hamstring)
still out. Polley posted 5 solo tackles, including his third sack
of the season, setting a new career high. Bart Scott continues
to excel with more playing time in the absence of Lewis. Scott
led the team with 9 tackles (8 solo), 2 sacks, and a fumble recovery.
He also broke up a pass. DE Anthony Weaver also had 2 sacks.
SS Ed Reed (ankle) remained out and Chad Williams continues to
replace him. CB Samari Rolle left the game late with a concussion
and looks unlikely to play this week.
With the Chargers moving the ball at will and dominating the time
of possession, there were plenty of tackles to be had for the
Bills, and three players finished with double-digit tackles. MLB
London Fletcher led the way with 16 (9 solo). After a slow start
to the season, Fletcher has been all over the field the last two
weeks since getting healthy after the bye. He is getting his average
seasonal tackle numbers back on track with 36 (22 solo) in the
last two games. CB Nate Clements had 11 tackles (9 solo) and SS
Lawyer Milloy had 10 (8 solo).
After being very limited in practice last week with a pulled
hamstring, CB Terrence McGee saw little action on Sunday. Jabari
Greer replaced him and was regularly targeted by SD QB Drew Brees,
finishing with 3 solo tackles. McGee should be better this week.
DT Sam Adams returned after missing a week with a knee injury,
then promptly sprained his ankle in the first half and was done.
He is questionable for this week. FS Troy Vincent started and
played regularly after injuring his shoulder in Week Ten. He had
6 tackles (5 solo).
DE Aaron Schobel was sack-less for the first time in three games,
finishing with 3 solo tackles. A streaky player, Schobel is now
a risky start this week.
LB Takeo Spikes, out for the season with a torn Achilles’
tendon, talked about his injury for the first time last week.
He said he had been playing with small rips in it all season,
hoping it wouldn’t fully tear. He will soon begin his rehabilitation
and has no doubt he will be 100 percent by training camp.
The harbingers of doom have been there (you were warned in last
week’s column) in the minor dings and shoulder problem Dan
Morgan has been successfully played through, but destiny caught
up to the injury-prone MLB and his quest to play 16 games on Sunday.
Just a few minutes into the game, after just 1 assist, he had
to be helped off the field with a gimpy leg and did not return.
He was replaced by Chris Draft. Morgan is currently reported as
day-to-day and more information will be known on Wednesday, but
the attrition of injuries seems like it will inevitably catch
up to him this year. OLB Will Witherspoon also went down with
an undisclosed injury during the game, contributing to his lackluster
Deflated by there offensive struggles, the defense rarely seemed
inspired and had no sacks and just one turnover, a gift pick by
reserve CB Ricky Manning on a pass tipped up by CHI WR, and former
Panther teammate, Mushin Muhammad. SS Marlon McCree led the team
10 tackles (9 solo). DE Julius Peppers is almost completely recovered
from his broken right hand, but it wasn’t enough to beat
CHI RT Fred Miller and his teammate-inflicted broken jaw. Peppers
had just 2 solo tackles for the day.
The Bear defense silenced doubters with a dominating effort against
a solid Panther offense. All eight of their sacks came from the
DLine, with CAR LT Travalle Wharton, in particular, playing the
role of a revolving door. DE Adewale Ogunleye led the way with
a career-high 3 sacks, as well as another assisted tackle and
pass defended. He leads the team with 7 sacks. Despite being held
nearly every passing play, DE Alex Brown managed 2 sacks and his
first big game of an otherwise disappointing fantasy season. He
also had 4 solo tackles, 2 forced fumbles, and a pass defended.
DT Tommie Harris and reserves Michael Haynes and Alfonso Boone
all each had a sack, as well.
Coming off his record-setting return the previous week, CB Nathan
Vasher was the key playmaker again. He had picks on two of the
first three Carolina drives, setting up scores with big returns
both times. Vasher set a new career-high with his six picks on
the season and is tied for the NFL lead. CB Charles Tillman led
the team with 8 solo tackles and broke up 2 passes, including
a perfectly timed jump to break up a potential big catch by CAR
WR Steve Smith late in the game.
After starting the season with 6 sacks in his first 5 games,
MLB Brian Urlacher hasn’t had one in over a month. He also
hasn’t had a double-digit tackle game in three weeks. He
finished with a season-low 3 tackles (2 solo) and a pass defensed.
He is still making is presence felt, this actually may be his
finest all-around season, unfortunately, it is not showing up
lately in the box score for his fantasy owners. The pass he defensed
was breaking up a screen that was almost a pick and one of his
tackles was catching the speedy Smith from behind and saving a
potential TD on a screen he broke down the sideline.
Rookie FS Chris Harris didn’t put up big numbers, 4 solo
tackles and a pass defensed, but the pass he broke up was a tremendous
athletic play, as he leapt across the end zone and knocked away
a potential TD pass late in a close game.
CB Deltha O’Neal (6 solo), MLB Odell Thurman (3 solo), and
SS Ifeanyi Ohalete (5 solo) led the team with 7 tackles. O’Neal
hasn’t had a pick in a couple games, but is still tied for
the league-lead with six. He remains a solid DB play because he
gets his picks in bunches, so he can be a huge factor in any given
game, and his tackle numbers have been decent for a CB, he is
pace to at least match his career-high in that department. Nickel
CB Keiwan Ratliff had an INT, his third of the season, but first
since September. It was the only turnover the defense forced.
The Bengals lead the league with 21 interceptions.
DE Justin Smith had the only sack for the Bengals, as IND QB
Peyton Manning ate up their blitz all afternoon. It was Smith’s
first sack since early October and just his third of the season,
but that is good enough to still lead the team. Opposite him,
Robert Geathers continues to be a bust in the pass rush department
and getting to the QB in the front four remains the glaring hole
on this defense. Adding a premier pass rushing threat at RDE should
definitely be their top priority for free agency and the draft
1st round pick LB David Pollack was active, but wasn’t
a factor, still limited by a knee injury from Week Seven. Landon
Johnson remained the starter at OLB and had 4 tackles (3 solo).
He left briefly after getting shaken up in the first quarter,
but later returned. With Pollack limited, Hannibal Naives saw
some work while Johnson was out and had a solo tackle.
A great team showing is shutting out the Dolphins, but no exceptional
individual efforts. ILB Andra Davis led the team with 11 tackles
(9 solo) and he broke up 2 passes. He leads the team in tackles
for the season. OLB Matt Stewart had his first career pick, courtesy
of a nice pressure by Davis that forced MIA QB Sage Rosenfels’
pass off-course. SS Chris Crocker had his first INT of the season,
second of his career. OLB Chaun Thompson and DE Alvin McKinley
each had a sack and each is tied for the team-lead with three.
Rookie reserve S Brodney Pool was inactive with an ankle sprain.
CB Daylon McCutcheon overcame an ab injury from Week 10 and was
in the starting lineup. He had 2 solo tackles and 2 passes defensed.
After two of the top three picks this year spent on LBs, Bradie
James became a forgotten man. He was the first LB added by Parcells
when he came to town and the fourth-round pick was regarded as
the “prototypical” Parcells LB, big. As the smaller
vets were cleared out of town, James’s future looked bright,
but he struggled to earn a starting spot last year and was inconsistent
outside. With the change to the 3-4 and athletes brought in to
man the edges, his outlook looked dim. However, Parcells stuck
with him and something clicked a month into this season. Now he
is the team’s leading tackler and has started every game.
He led the team in tackles again on Sunday, with 8 (4 solo, including
1 on special teams).
DE Greg Ellis had the team’s only sack, on which he also
forced a fumble. The move to the 3-4 has hurt his tackle numbers,
but with his team-leading seventh sack of the year, he remains
on pace for his first career double-digit sack season. 1st round
pick Demarcus Ware has now failed to find his way to the QB for
the fourth straight game, after getting a sack in each of the
previous four games. An early contender for Defensive Rookie of
the Year, it would take a huge end of the year for him to return
ILB Dat Nguyen continued to have his snaps limited and share
time with Scott Shanle, who was the starter. Shanle had 1 assist
and Nguyen 1 solo and a fumble recovery.
CB Anthony Henry returned from a groin injury and had 4 tackles
With the offense controlling the ball for over an incredible 42
minutes and the Jets running just 39 plays, there wasn’t
much opportunity for the defense to tally stats, but a few players
made the most of it for their fantasy owners. LB Al Wilson, LB
Ian Gold, and DT Michael Myers all had their second sack of the
season. No one on the team has more than two. Gold forced a fumble
on his sack that Myers recovered. Reserve DE Marco Coleman had
his first sack of the season, and possibly last of his 14-year
career seeming likely to end this year.
Rookie CB Darrent Williams led the team with 6 solo tackles.
CB Champ Bailey had his fifth pick of the year, tying a career-high.
He has an INT in back-to-back games and three in his last four.
FS John Lynch also had a pick.
A depleted Lion LB corps with missing starters Earl Holmes (knee)
and Boss Bailey (ankle) after injuries in Week 10, as well as
Teddy Lehman (foot), who missed his third straight game. Holmes
is expected to miss this week, while the team is optimistic Bailey
will be back, but Lehman is now done for the season, as he was
placed on the IR this week. Wali Rainer replaced Holmes in the
middle and had 6 tackles (4 solo). Donte’ Curry replaced
Bailey at SLB and led the team (tied) with 10 tackles (9 solo,
including 2 on special teams). James Davis was the only active
regular starter, and he played with a cast on his hand. Journeyman
Nate Wayne, who was signed a couple of weeks ago, saw extensive
work at LB due to all the injuries. He had 5 tackles (4 solo)
and forced a fumble.
The situation wasn’t much better in the secondary. Although
he returned to practice on a limited basis, wearing a cast on
his dislocated wrist, Dre’ Bly was inactive again, but he
has been cleared and says he’ll play in Thursday’s
game with a smaller cast. Andre Goodman returned from a hamstring
injury that cost him a game and R.W. McQuarters remains the other
starting corner. Terrence Holt was out with a back injury, so
former Jets starter Jon McGraw returned as a starting FS. McGraw
had 10 tackles (7 solo, including 2 on special teams) and recovered
a fumble. Holt is expected back this week.
Pass rush specialist DE Kalimba Edwards had the only sack for
the Lions among his 5 tackles (4 solo). He continues to usurp
time from starters Cory Redding and James Hall, as Edwards remains
the only consistent threat from the edge for the front four, leading
the team with seven sacks. Hall continues to start at RDE, despite
a disappointing season after his breakout 2004. He had 2 solo
tackles and broke up a pass. He has only 2 sacks this year and
hasn’t had one this month.
The officials didn’t do the Lions any favors. Dallas got
nine first downs on Lion penalties.
With DE Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila struggling to get to the QB this
year, DE Aaron Kampman provided the pressure on Monday night,
posting his first multi-sack game of the season. Kampman had his
most productive day, posting 7 tackles (4 solo), 2 sacks, a forced
fumble, and a pass defended. He now leads the team with 5.5 sacks
for the year. KGB shared a sack with DT Cullen Jenkins and recovered
the fumble Kampman forced. KGB now has just 4 sacks on the season
and is on track for his worst total since his rookie year, when
he played in just seven games. He had double-digit sacks his last
FS Nick Collins led the team with 11 tackles (8 solo) and broke
up 2 passes, grabbing one for his first career pick.
Paris Lenon got the start at WLB this week, with Robert Thomas
inactive due to a quad injury. Na’il Diggs returned to his
starting role at SLB. MLB Nick Barnett had 10 tackles (6 solo).
The whole defense looked frustrated and dejected as they couldn’t
stop KC in the first half, with no help from an impotent offense.
In particular, veteran DE Gary Walker, an original expansion-draft
Texan looked angry, and he failed to appear on the stat sheet
as he battles through injuries. The defense didn’t help
themselves either, dropping several interceptions.
When he wasn’t giving up on tackles or drawing penalties,
CB Phillip Buchanon was getting burned and looked lost on Sunday
night. With Demarcus Faggins still inactive with hamstring injury,
Buchanon remained the starter and showed a national audience why
the former 1st round pick was jettisoned by Oakland and benched
in KC. He has outstanding physical abilities, but apparently lacks
the dedication and football acumen to be a consistent player,
much less an outstanding one. He ended up leaving the game with
an ankle injury, giving Lewis Sanders more work. After dropping
one earlier, Sanders did grab a pick, the only turnover the defense
A heavy dose of KC RB Larry Johnson made for plenty of tackle
opportunities. ILB DaShon Polk led the team with 11 (9 solo) and
ILB Morlon Greenwood had 10 (9 solo) and a pass defensed. Reserve
OLB Jason Babin saw extensive action and displayed some nice speed
catching Johnson from behind on one of his 4 tackles (3 solo).
However, with no sacks, he still didn’t help bring the pass
rush the team lacks from the edges.
Glenn Earl got his first start of the season at SS, replacing
rookie C.C. Brown. Brown had struggled lately and Earl, a starter
for part of his young, injury-plagued career last year, had a
nice showing. He finished with 7 tackles (6 solo) and broke up
a pass as he was in for most of the snaps with Brown mainly on
special teams. Earl was a highly-regarded prospect until a blown
knee dropped him in the draft last year. He has some good value
on a team that will have a lot of tackle opportunities each week,
if he retains the job.
A week after having his eight-game sack string snapped, DE Robert
Mathis started a new one with his league-leading tenth sack. He
also had 2 solo tackles on special teams. Opposite him, Dwight
Freeney continues to be hampered by a sore foot and didn’t
show up on the box score. He still remains a must-start player,
because he can throw up a multi-sack game against any opponent,
but with the strong play across the DLine this year, the team
can afford to give him fewer reps to keep his foot healthy for
the playoffs, which hurts his fantasy production.
Despite missing some practice due to a knee injury suffered in
Week Ten, FS Bo Sanders started and led the team (tied) with 10
tackles (6 solo). MLB Gary Brackett also put up 10 (4 solo), including
a key stop of CIN RB Chris Perry on 4th-and-1 late in the third
quarter. SS Mike Doss returned to the starting lineup after not
playing the previous game with right shoulder problems. He had
6 tackles (4 solo) and remains an iffy fantasy play while he battles
lingering pain and movement limitations in the shoulder. WLB Cato
June is also among those playing through a potentially serious
injury, as he has a sore knee and sports hernia. You saw with
PHI QB Donovan McNabb how quickly the latter type of injury can
go from able to play to done for season, so make sure you have
depth at LB if you are starting June. He had 8 tackles (3 solo).
A week after a flub on punt coverage cost his team a TD, rookie
nickel CB Marlin Jackson atoned with 5 tackles (3 solo) and 2
passes defensed, including his first career INT. The pick was
a crucial one, as the Bengals were down by just 8 and were moving
the ball well on their first possession of the fourth quarter.
Rookie DE Vincent Burns’ first season was over before it
started, as he was placed on the IR with a shoulder injury that
has prevented him from playing this year. Burns is an undersized
pass rush specialist, the type of player who has proven very successful
on this team.
DE Paul Spicer continues to have a breakout season, relative to
his normal production. After a quiet game last week, he had another
sack, giving him three in the last four games and 6.5 for the
season. Reserve DT Rob Meier continues to take advantage of Marcus
Stroud being limited by injuries (ankle and groin). Meier set
a new career-high with his third sack of the season in the game.
MLB Mike Peterson led the team with 11 tackles (6 solo).
After several three-and-outs, by the time the Houston offense
finally started moving the ball late in the second quarter, the
KC D switched from stopping them, to taking the ball away. They
forced turnovers on three consecutive drives and put the game
away before halftime. HOU WR Andre Johnson forgot to take care
of the ball and FS Greg Wesley popped it out for CB Eric Warfield
to recover. After their best drive of the game, to that point,
on Houston’s next possession, the FG snap was muffed and
reserve CB Dewayne Washington recovered it for the Chiefs. With
less than a minute left, the Texans tried to execute a two-minute
drill, a dubious decision when they couldn’t execute their
regular offense. On a 2nd-and-ten near mid-field, HOU QB David
Carr never took his eyes off his intended target, and Warfield
cut in front of the throw with perfect timing, racing 57 yards
for a TD. In addition to the fumble recovery and pick, Warfield
led the team with 9 solo tackles.
CB Patrick Surtain, who has previously missed time this season
on separate occasions with a concussion and sprained knee, suffered
a sprained ankle in the first half and did not return. He is not
expected to play this week. Benny Sapp and Dexter McCleon will
see more work if he is out.
After battling injuries earlier this year, DE Carlos Hall may
have finally found a niche in the rotation, as he worked more
inside as a DT on Sunday night. He had 4 tackles (3 solo), including
a sack and forced fumble. Despite all the off-season additions
on defense, the front four were largely neglected (other than
the addition of Hall) and lacks a DT who demands double-teams
and can collapse the pocket to anchor the line. Hall doesn’t
fill that role, but DC Gunther Cunningham continues to tinker
with the DLine to try and find a consistently productive rotation.
Ryan Sims was drafted to fill the role, but he has been a disappointment,
when healthy, and has not played since suffering a serious foot
injury in the season opener. He’s begun light practices,
but isn’t expected back for another week or two.
Enjoying a career-year in his tenth season, MLB Zach Thomas had
it come to a screeching halt just before halftime on Sunday. After
having to leave after the first play of the game with a leg injury,
Thomas returned and while just missing a sack, his arm was twisted
while wrapping up the CLE QB Charlie Frye. He immediately headed
to the sideline holding his arm in pain. The early report is a
separated right shoulder. He had 5 tackles (4 solo) before leaving.
Derrick Pope replaced him. HC Nick Saban said on Monday, “It’s
safe to say he’s going to be out for a couple of games,
I don’t know.” The severity of the injury is still
under evaluation by doctors. If it’s a mild separation,
Thomas could be back this week in a harness, but based on Saban’s
early comments, indicating at least missing more than one game,
it sounds more serious. Rookie Channing Crowder’s value
should increase as he would move over from WLB to his natural
MLB position. If Seau is healthy, he could shift to WLB. Either
way, it looks like Pope will be in the starting lineup.
OLB Junior Seau reportedly had a walking boot on his left leg
after the game, likely aggravating a calf injury that cost him
three games earlier this season. FS Lance Schulters was also hurt
after a collision with Zach Thomas before he left. He had a neck
stinger, temporarily going numb on his left side and reporting
briefly losing consciousness. After being assisted off the field,
X-rays were negative and he returned to the game later. He had
7 tackles (6 solo). Reserve S Yeremiah Bell was also dinged, giving
Norman LeJeune his first action since joining the team.
SS Travares Tillman was the only significant fantasy producer
for Miami. He led the team with 9 tackles (6 solo) and had a pick,
the only turnover for the D.
After a sluggish start on offense and GB QB Brett Favre driving
his team down field in the two minute drill before the half to
go up two scores, rookie reserve CB Dovonte Edwards kick-started
the team with a pick returned for a TD. He and the GB WR both
went to the ground on the INT, then Edwards got up and raced 51
yards for the score. The play was challenged that Edwards was
down by contact, but review let the play stand, giving Edwards
his first career INT and TD. He also had 4 solo tackles, including
2 on special teams. Edwards played nickel corner with CB Fred
Smoot still inactive due to a small fracture in his collarbone.
Smoot is expected to be out until Week Thirteen. Brian Williams
started in his place and also had a pick.
Erasmus James remained the starter at RDE and had a sack among
his 3 tackles (2 solo), as well as batted down a pass. He is finally
starting to show his potential after a slow start that had him
inactive or not play much through the first half of the season.
Pass rush specialist Lance Johnstone had the only other sack for
WLB E.J. Henderson led the team with 8 tackles (6 solo) and forced
a fumble. FS Darren Sharper had 3 tackles (2 solo) in his first
game back at Lambeau since leaving the Packers.
As if Mike Vrabel hasn’t been doing enough for his fantasy
owners with his regular double-digit tackle games since being
moved to ILB, he returned as offensive threat with a one-yard
TD catch. It was his sixth career reception (regular and post
season) and all six have been for a TD. He also led the team with
11 tackles (8 solo).
OLB Willie McGinest had the only sack for the team and FS Eugene
Wilson had the only pick. McGinest leads the team with 3.5 sacks
for the year. Wilson’s pick in the end zone, while in double
coverage on Joe Horn with Artrell Hawkins, ended the game and
prevented OT. NO WR Donte’ Stallworth, who beat up rookie
CB Hobbs pretty bad during the game, caught the potential tying
score out of bound on the play before. Already with a lot on his
plate in his second career start, rookie CB Ellis Hobbs was also
sharing kick return duties with WR Tim Dwight. Hobbs returned
one for 23 yards and had 6 tackles (5 solo). He also became their
top corner during the game, as a secondary devastated by injuries
lost Asante Samuel to a leg injury during the game. With WR/CB
Troy Brown not playing, despite being active, due to foot and
groin problems, the Patriots went way down the depth chart to
Hank Poteat and the recently-signed Hawkins, who was the nickel
corner. Samuel returned late in the fourth quarter, but his calf
was treated immediately after the game. It is reported to be a
minor injury, which is good, because with Tyrone Poole, Randall
Gay, Duane Starks, and Chad Scott all on the IR, the team will
be combing flag football fields for help at DB if Samuel is seriously
Michael Stone remained the starter at SS and had 7 solo tackles
(including 1 on special teams).
New Orleans/Baton Rogue/San Antonio
MLB Courtney Watson couldn’t recover from a sprained MCL
over the bye, so Ronald McKinnon continues to start. He led the
team with 10 tackles (5 solo). If the Saints were competitive,
it would make sense to stick with McKinnon, but he is not the
future of this team at MLB. If Watson remains injured and in the
doghouse, Alfred Fincher should get a shot. However, HC Jim Haslett
rarely lets logic interfere with his decisions, so McKinnon remains
a decent play until further notice in deep leagues, if you are
desperate for a LB who will put up some good tackle numbers, but
offers little else.
DE Charles Grant had his first full sack in five games and has
only 2.5 for the year. After back-to-back years of double-digit
sacks, and looking like he’d moved into the elite at the
position, Grant has been one of the biggest DE busts of the year.
He has been limited by some toe and knee and knee problems which
limited him this year and help explain some of his struggles.
Reserve DE Will Smith has had no such problems, and he had 1.5
sacks, leading the team with 5.5 for the year. However, he also
had a career-low on Sunday, drawing three penalties on one play.
After NE TE Christian Fauria pulled his face mask, Smith kneed
him after a play and got his first Unsportsmanlike Conduct personal
foul. During his argument with the refs, he got another, and then
he drew a third throwing his helmet on the field. However, he
wasn’t ejected. The Pats net 14 additional yards on the
play and the drive resulted in a FG.
New York Giants
SS Gibril Wilson continues to help his fantasy numbers with a
big play for three consecutive games. After a sack in back-to-back
games, he had his second pick of the season on Sunday, as well
as leading the team in tackles (tied) with 8 (7 solo). With reserve
S Shaun Williams inactive again with a hamstring pull, rookie
S James Butler saw more work and had 6 solo tackles.
After five sacks in his last three games, DE Osi Umenyiora let
down his owners this week with just 5 tackles (3 solo). Michael
Strahan had the same tackle numbers, as well as a pass defensed
and forced fumble. The team had no sacks in the game. Strahan
suffered a neck stinger in the fourth quarter after colliding
with Umenyiora and left the game in pain, but returned shortly.
He had stiffness on Monday and will have an MRI for what is believed
to be a pinched nerve.
Carlos Emmons returned from a torn pectoral muscle after missing
a few games and saw a full workload at SLB. He had 4 solo tackles.
Emmons will be evaluated this week to ensure his chest is fully
healed. His return was necessitated by the loss of Reggie Tobor.
Tobor could miss a month after undergoing minor surgery for a
hernia last week. Special teams ace Chase Blackburn becomes the
fourth LB. Nick Greisen remained at WLB, where Emmons started
the year before getting hurt.
DT William Joseph (dislocated elbow) and CB Will Peterson (back)
were inactive, as expected. Fred Robbins returned to the starting
lineup in place of Joseph and Kendrick Allen saw more work, as
well. Curtis Deloatch, Peterson’s replacement, had to leave
the game with an injury. CB would be extremely thin and Frank
Walker would see more work if Deloatch’s injury is serious.
The Giants were working out free agent CBs this week, so it looks
either Peterson is definitely going to be put on the IR and/or
Deloatch will definitely miss this week.
New York Jets
Rookie Justin Miller started against as CB as David Barrett missed
his second game due to an eye injury. Derrick Strait also saw
more work, posting a solo tackle and recovering a fumble forced
by MLB Jonathan Vilma, the only turnover they forced on the day.
Vilma also led the team with 14 tackles (12 solo) and 2 passes
Rookie SS Kerry Rhodes had his first career sack among his 10
tackles (8 solo, including 1 on special teams). FS Erik Coleman
was benched during the game as he struggled reading the Denver
passing game. Oliver Celestin replaced him. HC Herm Edwards says
Coleman is still the starter.
OLB Victor Hobson had his first sack of the season among his
8 tackles (6 solo, including 1 on special teams). Because he isn’t
much of a big play guy, Hobson remains an iffy fantasy play, but
he has improved in his third season and is consistently putting
up good tackle numbers.
After winning AFC Defensive Player of the Month for October, DE
Derrick Burgess had a very quiet start to November, despite moving
into the starting lineup with Bobby Hamilton out with an ankle
injury. He bounced back big on Sunday, with 3 tackles, 2 sacks,
a forced fumble and recovery. Most of that came on one play, the
decisive play of the game. After a Sebastian Janikowski FG gave
the Raiders a 16-13 lead, a couple of passes had the Redskins
in Oakland territory with seconds left. On 4th-and-2, Burgess
got to Brunell for his second sack, stripping the ball and recovering
it himself to seal the victory. Hamilton was active and rotated
in regularly, posting 3 solo tackles and a fumble recovery, but
Burgess remained the starter. It was Burgess’ fourth multi-sack
game of the season, he had three consecutive games with 2 sacks
in October. He is now second in the NFL in sacks with nine. Opposite
Burgess, DE Tommy Kelly had 4 tackles (3 solo) and a forced fumble.
CB Charles Woodson remained inactive with a broken leg and is
expected to miss at least two more weeks. With SS Derrick Gibson
on the IR, the depleted secondary filled with young starters now
has an increased role for a vet brought in at the beginning of
the month. Despite starting 16 games for the Jets last year, S
Reggie Tongue was waived during a youth movement with the Jets’
safeties and couldn’t find work. Second-year player Stuart
Schweigert is starter at FS and former special teams ace Jarrod
Cooper will retain his first extended starting role at SS, but
Tongue is seeing work in various packages. He had 3 solo tackles
on Sunday. Schweigert led the team with 6 solo tackles, as well
as getting a pass defensed and a fumble recovery.
The Trent Cole Era is underway in Philly. While N.D. Kalu returned
and played with a sore shoulder that cost him a game last week,
Cole got his first career start at DE and posted 2 sack for the
second straight week, giving him five in the last three games.
He also had 3 other solo tackles. However, he was upstaged on
the other side by Jevon Kearse, who had his best game of the season
by far. Kearse had 3 sacks among his 6 solo tackles, and forced
fumbles on 2 of them, as well as batting down a pass. He strained
his shoulder during the game, but should be OK for this week.
His first multi-sack performance of the season is a promising
showing for the rest of the way from a player who seemed lethargic
at times early in the season.
CB Lito Sheppard suffered a serious ankle injury in the game.
His foot smacked into NYG WR Plaxico Burress in the air on an
incomplete pass in the third quarter. He landed in immediate pain
and has to be carted off the field. The original reports of a
broken ankle are apparently incorrect, but the latest news is
that it is a severe high ankle sprain and will likely require
season-ending surgery. He has been placed on the IR. Roderick
Hood should move into the starting lineup to replace him. CB Sheldon
Brown had his pride injured after getting burned by Burress on
a hitch route, then having run away from him and showboat after
he missed on a diving tackle for a 61-yard TD that put the game
away. Former injury-prone Colt Donald Strickland was added to
fill Sheppard’s spot on the roster and add DB depth with
MLB Jeremiah Trotter led the team in tackles again with 11 tackles
(9 solo). He continues to play on a sore knee. SS Michael Lewis
suffered a minor concussion and rib injury last Monday night,
but started as usual and had 8 tackles (5 solo).
Rookie S Sean Considine was put on the IR with a shoulder injury.
Journeyman S Jack Brewer was signed to replace him for depth.
Despite returning to practice late in the week, ILB James Farrior
missed another game with a MCL knee sprain. Clint Kriewaldt continues
to start in his place and had 9 tackles (8 solo, including 1 on
special teams). CB Ike Taylor led the team with 10 solo tackles
and broke up 2 passes.
DE Aaron Smith had his first big game of the season, posting
7 tackles (6 solo), a sack and a forced fumble. On the other side,
Kimo von Oelhoffen had a sack, as well, as did reserve S Tyrone
Carter and LB’s Clark Haggans and Larry Foote.
A week after releasing vet CB Willie Williams, the team resigned
The complete mess the Rams defense is was making headlines before
the unit took another step backwards on Sunday. In a Sports Illustrated
article last week, an anonymous St. Louis player identified as
a “Disgusted Veteran” commented after their loss to
the Seahawks in Week Ten, that "We have three (former) No.
1 picks at (defensive) tackle, and those guys are killing us.
They're not playing hard, and they can't stop anybody. It's horrible."
As a previously impotent Cardinal running game went for nearly
100 yards and a TD in a win, his point was reinforced. Damione
Lewis and Ryan Pickett started, with Jimmy Kennedy coming off
the bench with just 1 solo tackle. Kennedy lost his starting job
to Lewis last week. Pickett had 4 tackles (3 solo) and broke up
a pass, while Lewis had 3 tackles (2 solo) and a fumble recovery,
the only turnover of the game the defense forced. Lewis’
recovery came after DE Brandon Green sacked AZ QB Kurt Warner
in the first quarter after Warner held on to the ball too long
in typical Warner fashion, and Green knocked the ball out on the
hit. It was the only sack of the day, as Warner appeared to regain
his former MVP composure and won the shootout. Green got the start
at DE over Tony Hargrove, who had 3 solo tackles off the bench.
Hargrove has not provided the complimentary pass rush opposite
Leonard Little the team had hoped for. Green appeared to have
earned the job in the preseason, before Hargrove ultimately started
the season and has disappointed for most of it with the first
Warner’s big day was helped by a depleted secondary. Top
CB Travis Fisher was inactive with a groin injury, leaving rookie
Ron Bartell to start in his place. Bartell finished with 4 solo
tackles, including 1 on special teams. Things got worse quickly
after their other starting corner, Dejuan Groce, and SS Adam Archuleta
collided on the first Cardinal offensive play. Groce was helped
off the field after catching Archuleta’s helmet in his neck,
while Archuleta stayed in for a while before eventually leaving
for the day later in the first quarter with a concussion. Archuleta
was hospitalized after the game and released Monday. He is expected
to be out this week. Chris Johnson replaced Groce and Warner went
right after him, victimizing him most of their first scoring drive.
Johnson finished the game with 6 solo tackles and a pass defensed.
Groce returned in the second half and played nickel corner. Both
AZ receivers finished with a TD and over 100 yards receiving as
Bartell and Johnson used penalties as their best defense in trying
to stop them. Rookie Jerome Carter replaced Archuleta at SS and
posted 6 tackles (4 solo) and is expected to start this week.
FS Mike Furrey didn’t have a big play for the first time
since being a starter, and a string of three consecutive games
with a pick was snapped, but he still contributed to his fantasy
owners by leading the team with 7 solo tackles. The converted
WR is one of the late breakout IDP stories of the year.
The veterans brought in at LB to stabilize the defense and add
leadership continue to be another disaster. Chris Claiborne had
3 solo tackles and Dexter Coakley had 2 solo tackles. The St.
Louis Post summed it up best in their post-game report card, handing
out a ‘D’ to the Linebackers and commenting, “Coakley
and Claiborne continue to be more spectators than participants.”
1st round pick Shawne Merriman showed no ill effects from minor
surgery for a dislocated wrist over the bye week. He continued
his late push for D-ROY with his second multi-sack game, posting
2 sacks and 2 other solo tackles. He now has at least one sack
in four straight games and all of his team-high seven in six games.
He has 23 tackles (20 solo), 6 sacks, and a forced fumble in his
last four games since becoming a starter.
OLB Shaun Phillips set a new career-high with his fifth sack.
He had 2 other solo tackles and a forced fumble. Phillips continues
to seamlessly replace Steve Foley, who missed his third game with
an abdomen injury. Foley did practice a bit last week, so he could
be back this week.
ILB Donnie Edwards led the team with 6 tackles (5 solo) and also
had a sack and a pass defensed.
DE Bryant Young, the last remaining member of the 49er’s
last championship team, was rejuvenated this season by a move
to DE and having his best season since 2000. However, it came
to a screeching halt on Sunday as he suffered serious right knee
and ankle injuries. He tore his MCL in his knee and the meniscus,
as well as had a high ankle sprain, in the second quarter. He
apparently won’t need surgery, but will miss 3-6 weeks.
DE-turned-LB Andre Carter is likely to go back to working more
with his hand on the ground, while rookie DL Ronnie Fields and
veteran DL Travis Hall will see more work. Carter had a sack among
his 5 tackles (4 solo) in the game. Brandon Moore should see more
work with the first team at LB if Carter sees more time at DE.
Bert Emanuel, not Keith Lewis, started at SS in place of Tony
Parrish, who is done for the year with a broken left ankle and
fibula. Emanuel had 3 tackles (2 solo) and nearly had a pick in
his first career start.
CB Ahmed Plummer (ankle) and LB Saleem Rasheed (knee) both remained
out. CB Willie Middlebrooks has been waived for at least the third
time by the team and CB B.J. Tucker was added from the practice
Rocky Bernard started again in place of an inactive Marcus Tubbs
(leg) and had 2 sacks among his 5 tackles (4 solo), as well as
2 passes defensed, while playing on a sore right knee. Bernard
is tied with DE Bryce Fisher, who also had a sack and forced a
fumble, for the team-lead with 7.5 sacks. OLB D.D. Lewis returned
to the starting lineup and led the team with 8 tackles (5 solo).
Lewis continues to play on a sore knee and is likely to miss practice
regularly the rest of the season. Rookie Leroy Hill remained in
the starting lineup with Jamie Sharper out indefinitely with a
staph infection in his right knee. Hill had 7 tackles (5 solo)
and shared a sack with MLB Lofi Tatupu. Hill has gotten to the
QB in three straight games.
The defense’s big stars turned in the big plays that were
keys to victory. On their second drive of the game, penalties
and a sack by DT Anthony McFarland pinned the Falcons with a 3rd-and-22
on their own 1-yard line. ATL QB Mike Vick had to leave after
the McFarland sack, so with back-up Matt Schaub dropping back
in his own end zone, DE Simeon Rice raced by the LT and slapped
the ball out of Schaub’s hand. Rice got the sack and forced
fumble, while McFarland recovered it for TD. McFarland left the
game briefly in the third quarter with a bruised shoulder, but
returned. In between, the big turnaround of the second drive through
the final minutes, the Falcons put up over 400 yards of offense,
including just the second 300 yard passing game of Vick’s
career, but the Buccaneers tied the game at 27 with two minutes
left. On the next drive, LB Derrick Brooks blitzed on a 2nd-and-2,
with a perfectly-timed leap over the center, he collided with
RB Warrick Dunn, forcing a fumble when he pushed Dunn into QB
Vick. MLB Shelton Quarles recovered and the Bucs won with a FG
on the ensuing drive. Quarles also led the team in tackles with
9 (7 solo). In addition to the forced fumble, Brooks had 8 solo
tackles, including a sack.
DE Greg Spires started and played through an AC joint sprain
in his left shoulder. He had 6 tackles (5 solo). Reserve LB Marquis
Cooper saw some more work, as Ryan Nece does not show a high potential
and Cooper earns more work with good special teams’ play.
Dexter Jackson remained inactive with hamstring injury and Will
Allen was out with a knee injury, so Kalvin Pearson got his first
career start. Pearson had 7 solo tackles before being carted off
the field with an undisclosed injury.
De Kyle Vanden Bosch continues to look like the Defensive Comeback
Player of the Year, as he notched another sack among his 5 tackles
(4 solo). He leads the team, and is third in the league, with
8.5 sacks. His sack came after the Jaguars had just tied the game
at 14 in the third quarter, and he knocked the ball loose on the
play, tallying a forced fumble as well, which DE Antwaan Odom
picked up and returned 27 yards for what would be the Titans’
last lead in the game. Odom also had 2 tackles (1 solo).
LB Peter Sirmon’s leg injuries healed over the bye, allowing
him to start again and post 6 tackles (4 solo). LB Keith Bulluck
led the team 7 tackles (5 solo) and 2 passes defensed.
Another week and another roller coaster ride for embattled 1st
round pick CB Pacman Jones. He set up a go-ahead TD with an 85-yard
kick return before the half, but he drew a personal foul to help
along the Jaguars first scoring drive and with the Titans down
by 7 in the fourth quarter, he couldn’t field a punt that
proved costly. After a three-and-out by the defense, Jacksonville
was punting from their own 25 and it looked like the Titans would
have decent field position and plenty of time. However, after
not catching the punt, it took a nice bounce for the Jags and
ended up burying Tennessee at their own 1-yard line on a 74 yard
MLB Lemar Marshall scored the first Washington TD of the game
and allowed the first Oakland TD of the game. He took the third
play from scrimmage by the Raiders in 17 yards for a TD in the
first quarter, then found himself exposed in a mismatch trying
to keep up with OAK WR Jerry Porter down the middle for a 49-yard
TD. Marshall had a great fantasy day overall, in addition to the
pick for a TD, he led the team with 10 tackles (9 solo), including
a sack and forced fumble.
Despite having his ankle in a boot cast until last Wednesday,
FS Sean Taylor was active and started. He broke up a pass and
posted 5 tackles (3 solo), including the type of devastating blow
on OAK WR Porter after a reception that he is famous for, but
Porter hung on to the ball and popped back up after the hit.
LB Lavar Arrington is locked back in a starter, but posted just
4 solo tackles, another disappointing fantasy day. Warrick Holdman
is completely out of the picture. Chris Clemons, who had the only
sack for the day, is now the top reserve at LB.
DT Cornelius Griffin missed his third straight game due to a
hip injury and Demetric Evans continued to replace him.