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IDP Notes
Week 3

Quick Hits (Details in individual team notes)
  • Week 3 Byes: BAL, DET. HOU, WAS
  • BUF MLB Fletcher leaves early with injury
  • MIN MLB Cowart inactive, Rod Davis starts
  • NYJ DE Abraham returns to starting lineup
  • CHI DE Ogunleye injures ankle
  • CAR Rookie S Thomas Davis demoted
  • MIN S Sharper suffers knee sprain
  • DEN CB Bailey plays through dislocated shoulder
  • JAX S Darius injures knee, done for season
  • Two return, two lost in IND secondary
  • NYJ FS Coleman dislocates thumb, has surgery
  • TEN DE Vanden Bosch finally answer at end?
  • CHI Vasher and CIN O'Neal tied for league INT lead
Week 3 Injury Report (available Wednesday PM)

The defense started in a 5-2, with Orlando Huff and Karlos Dansby as the LBs, but in their base 4-3, it appeared they chose not to slide Huff over from the WLB job he won in the off-season. Instead, Lester Towns, who was just signed last week for depth when James Darling was lost with a sprained knee, handled the MLB duties. Towns finished with 3 tackles (2 solo). Darling was inactive and is expected to miss at least next week, as well. Same for Gerald Hayes, who was lost in the preseason, also with a knee injury. Dansby continued his strong start to the season with 5 solo tackles, including a sack. He should have a breakout season this year and is the only Cardinal LB worth playing right now in most leagues. LB Lance Mitchell was active, but never under consideration to replace Darling because HC Denny Green doesn’t believe he’s NFL-ready yet. Fellow rookie BL Darryl Blackstock wasn’t even active, despite no word of an injury, either you can only imagine what Green thinks of him, or he is deep in Green’s doghouse.

DE Bertrand Berry, DE Chike Okeafor, and DT Darnell Dockett each had a sack. Dockett had a huge game, in addition to the sack, he had 5 tackles (4 solo) and an INT on a one-handed grab of a screen intended for Steven Jackson. Berry continues to look like the best free agent signing ever for Arizona. He also had 7 tackles (5 solo), tying SS Robert Griffith for the team lead.

LB Demorrio Williams led the team in tackles again, this time he had a career-high 12 (10 solo). The undersized playmaker from Nebraska is starting to look like one of the steals of last year’s draft. LB Keith Brooking and DT Chad Lavalais each had a sack. MLB Edgerton Hartwell bounced back from a disappointing debut, posting 8 tackles (5 solo) and a pass defended.

DE Brady Smith was a late scratch after his hamstring tightened up prior to the game. DE Patrick Kerney, who was thriving in his new role as RDE, jumped back over to Smith’s LDE position and Chauncey Davis started at RDE. Neither had a productive game, as both finished with just 2 assists each.

Returner and reserve DB Allen Rossum injured his leg and his status for this week is unknown. If he is out, CB DeAngelo Hall is among the candidates to replace him as the punt returner. This could give a boost to Hall’s fantasy value if your league counts return stats.

Rex Ryan’s 46 defense remained a bust in Week Two. After recording no sacks or turnovers in Week One, the Ravens made a Titan offense that was lost a week early look competent. Baltimore forced no turnovers again, and had just 1 sack, but reserve LB Roderick Green. Green saw some work as LB Peter Boulware was inactive due to his knee giving him problems last week. The team actually played more of a standard 4-3, with Terrell Suggs spending more time with his hand on the ground and Tommy Polley in as an OLB. Expect the heat to be turned up on Ryan if the Ravens D doesn’t get back to its expected disruptive self soon.

MLB Ray Lewis led the team with 9 tackles (8 solo) and broke up a pass. SS Ed Reed played through a quad injury that occurred in Week One and plagued him in practice. He finished with 4 solo tackles.

MLB London Fletcher left Sunday’s game at halftime with a hamstring injury. He had 5 tackles (1 solo) before leaving. Angelo Crowell replaced him and finished with 7 tackles (5 solo, including one on special teams). To illustrate Fletcher’s importance to the defense, Tampa Bay had 111 of their 191 total yards in the second half. Fletcher has never missed a game in his eight-year career. He is likely to miss practice this week, but is expected to play in Week Three.

CB Terrence McGee, SS Lawyer Milloy, and LB Takeo Spikes led the team with 10 tackles each. Milloy also had the only sack of the game and the team forced no turnovers. They had five sacks and forced five in the season opener.

The resilient Panther bounced back from a tough loss and the loss of DT Kris Jenkins with a victory over New England that featured an excellent defensive effort. DT Jordan Carstens started in place of Jenkins. Despite not appearing in the box score, Carstens saw most of the work in Jenkins’ place and helped Carolina shut down New England’s ground game, limiting the Pats to 39 yards rushing. CB Ken Lucas led the team with 10 solo tackles, and also broke up a pass. Lucas hurt his shoulder during the game, but remained in and is expected to be fine for Week Three. LB Will Witherspoon made a tremendously athletic INT to stop a drive in Carolina territory in the second quarter. He also had 4 solo tackles and hurt his knee, but remained in the game and is expected to be fine for Week Three.

Most important may have been the performance of DE Mike Rucker. He had 3 solo tackles and flashed his pass rush skill that has been mostly dormant since 2003. After a quick ten unanswered points in the third quarter got the Patriots back in the game in the third quarter, the Panthers were in disarray. The offense did nothing the next drive and New England was in position to tie or take the lead as the quarter wound down. The Rucker got by the LT and swiped the ball out of Tom Brady’s hands, registering a sack and forced fumble, which DE Julius Pepper recovered. This set up another Stephen Davis TD that sealed the victory. Rucker had 2 other solo tackles. He was affected by the absence of Jenkins last year, so Rucker’s performance Sunday should help his confidence.

1st round pick SS Thomas Davis was removed from the starting lineup after he struggled in coverage against New Orleans in Week One. Marlon McCree took his place and finished with 4 tackles (3 solo). Davis still worked in regularly and had his first career sack, as well as another solo tackle. FS Mike Minter suffered a severe calf strain in the fourth quarter and did not return to the game. It was the first defensive snaps he’s missed since early 2003. Minter believes he won’t be ready for Week Three, but HC John Fox says he is day-to-day and is probably a bit upset Minter decided to be his own doctor. If he’s out, Idrees Bashir, who replaced him Sunday, would likely get the start.

A defense that has been recognized as having some tremendous young potential finally put it all together Sunday and showed what it could do with some decent offensive support. All the big playmakers had a day. MLB Brian Urlacher led the team with 7 solo tackles, including 2 sacks. LB Lance Briggs had 7 tackles (5 solo) and a pick. SS Mike Brown flashed his knack for hitting the home run, returning an INT 41-yards for a TD. Brown also broke up another pass and had 4 solo tackles. Ball hawk CB Nathan Vasher has 2 picks, giving him 3 already (and a fourth that was overturned due to a penalty) this year.

However, some bad news may come this week as the team waits for a prognosis on DE Adewale Ogunleye. He injured his ankle on a blitz and had to be attended to on the field in the first half. He did not return and was replaced by disappointing former 1st round pick Michael Haynes. Haynes finished with 3 tackles (2 solo). Ankle problems left Ogunleye ineffective most of last season. X-rays were negative, but he underwent an MRI Monday and the early reports are it is not as serious as last year’s injury and he is likely to be back this week.

The benching of FS Mike Green last week was not temporary. Rookie Chris Harris got the start at FS and Green played primarily on special teams. However, to his credit, he handled it like a professional and did not let it affect his play. Green had 3 tackles on special teams and was cheering on his teammates on the sidelines. Unless there is more to his surprising benching after a pass interference call in Week One, don’t be surprised to see him back in there soon.

The fast start by the offense allowed the defense to rush just four and sit back with seven in a variety of coverages that frustrated Vikings QB Daunte Culpepper, leading to 5 interceptions and 7 total turnovers. CB Deltha O’Neal led the way, grabbing 3 picks and almost returning the second for a TD. In addition, he broke up 2 other passes and led the team with 9 tackles (7 solo), turning in a fantasy All-Pro effort for the day. CB Tory James also had an INT and SS Kevin Kaesviharn had the other, along with 2 solo tackles and a fumble recovery. MLB Odell Thurman forced both fumbles and was second on the team with 6 tackles (3 solo). He injured his thumb, but is expected to be fine for Week Three. Thurman is the real deal and if he’s still available in keeper or redraft leagues (as he should be gone in any dynasty leagues), grab him off the waiver wire. Nickel CB Keiwan Ratliff, who had his first career INT last week, didn’t join the pick party because when the Bengals did blitz out of the nickel they spent a lot of the day in, it was him bringing the heat. Ratliff finished the day with 3 solo tackles and is looking like he’ll be one of the more valuable third corners in the league for fantasy purposes.

Starting the game in the nickel, and spending a lot of time in it, meant both LB Landon Johnson and LB David Pollack came off the bench and didn’t see as much work. Pollack followed up his promising debut with just 1 solo tackle, while Johnson had 3 tackles (2 solo). Those two will continue to rotate and cannibalize the other’s fantasy value until one steps up or Pollack sees time at end. DE Justin Smith and DT Carl Powell each had a sack. Smith remained at LDE, but Robert Geathers needs to do something at the RDE job he earned in the off-season. He finished with the same disappointing line as last week, 2 tackles (1 solo).

ILB Andra Davis had a monster day in Green Bay, leading the team with 19 tackles (12 solo). Ben Taylor again started at the other ILB spot and had 5 tackles (4 solo). He was expected to rotate out with Orlando Ruff on run downs, but Ruff suffered a concussion in the second quarter, and although he returned in the second half, Taylor saw more work. LB Matt Stewart was inactive after suffering a sprained MCL in Week One. Chaun Thompson started in place of Stewart outside and posted 3 tackles (2 solo). Kenard Lang remained the starter at the other OLB spot and had 7 tackles (6 solo). Andra Davis is clearly the one to own of this group from a fantasy perspective, while Kenard Lang should start getting to the QB soon and Chaun Thompson has a lot of potential. I wouldn’t even consider the rest in all but the deepest leagues.

CB Gary Baxter returned after being inactive due to a concussion in Week One. As expected, he stepped into the starting lineup replacing Leigh Bodden, who was inactive after a big Week One. Baxter’s Browns debut had him make an immediate impact with 3 solo tackles and a pick.

Chris Crocker and Brian Russell remained the starting safety tandem, with rookie Brodney Pool working in pass packages. Sean Jones remained limited to special teams work.

Despite a highlight reel hit on Ladell Betts that forced a fumble, the most memorable vision of SS Roy Williams from Monday night’s game was he and nickel CB Aaron Glenn unable to stop Santana Moss twice in little over a minute, allowing a shocking comeback victory for the Redskins. Fortunately for fantasy purposes, those events don’t count against you. In addition to the FF, Williams had 4 tackles (2 solo), a sack, and broke up a pass.

Kenyon Coleman remained the starter at DE opposite Greg Ellis, but rookie Marcus Spears, the prototypical 3-4 DE, got more work now that he’s healthy. Spears shared a sack with Ellis. Similarly, Jason Ferguson, an ideal 3-4 NT, has begun to encroach on the time of La’Roi Glover now that he has recovered from an ankle sprain. And the same story with LB Scott Fujita, who didn’t appear in the box score, but took significant time away from Al Singleton. Rookie LB Kevin Burnett remained inactive.

ILB Dat Nguyen continues to be unaffected by the switch to a base 3-4. He led the team in tackles again with 8 (7 solo) and got a sack on a delayed blitz where he showed tremendous closing speed.

Although he has a dislocated left shoulder, CB Champ Bailey played with a harness and showed teams not to test him, despite the injury. He had 3 solo tackles and a momentum-shifting INT he returned for 25 yards for a TD, bringing Denver within three points and on their way to victory early in the second half.

With his dislocated left elbow healed, DE Courtney Brown made his debut as a Bronco. He did not start, but had a sack and a fumble recovery. He is likely to replace Ebenezer Ekuban, who had 2 tackles (1 solo), at LDE in the near future.

MLB Al Wilson led the team with 10 solo tackles.

A week after dominating Green Bay at home, the Lions appeared to be lacking courage in Chicago. They forced no turnovers, allowed the Bears to run at will on them, and let a rookie QB efficiently lead an offense that looked lost a week earlier.

MLB Earl Holmes led the team with 12 solo tackles. LB Boss Bailey and DT Shaun Rogers each had a sack. Those were the only noteworthy fantasy performances.

In injury news, LB Teddy Lehman was inactive again due to a sprained knee. DE James Hall left with a groin injury and Kalimba Edwards replaced him. Edwards finished with 4 solo tackles. Hall was sore Monday, but with the bye, has an extra week to recover. CB Fernando Bryant, who injured his jaw in Week One, left the game with a shoulder injury near the end of the first half. It has been called a severe clavicle injury with AC joint separation and looks like it will cost him some time. Bryant collided with SS Kennoy Kennedy and took the worst of a hit Kennedy was trying to deliver to Muhsin Muhammad on a 28-yard TD catch. Andre’ Goodman will start in Bryant’s place while he is out.

Green Bay
After the demotion of CB Ahmad Carroll, new starter Joey Thomas had a tough week too. He was beaten by Cleveland rookie WR Braylon Edwards for a 70-yard TD, the first of Edwards’ career. Rookie FS Nick Collins should have been there to help, but he was confused by a blitz call on the play. Despite that, HC Mike Sherman was critical of Thomas on the play, saying he is speed guy and keeping up with Edwards should not have been a problem. That illustrates the growing pains the Packers young secondary will be going through for a while, and the lack of job security. Carroll took his demotion like a man, and worked hard the previous week in practice. He led the team with 5 solo tackles.

SLB Na’il Diggs was again inactive recovering from a partially torn PCL. Diggs claimed he was healthy enough to play, but HC Mike Sherman said the fact he had missed the entire preseason and just began attending practices were the reason he was still inactive. Expect him back next week. The Packers started the game in their nickel package, giving UDFA Roy Manning, who impressed in the preseason, a start. Manning had 3 assists. Robert Thomas remained the primary WLB and Nick Barnett was of course in the middle.

The pass rush wasn’t much more impressive Sunday against a strong Steeler OLine. LB Antwan Peek was the only one to get to the QB. LB Jason Babin was particularly disappointing again. He finished with just one assist and was flagged for offsides on a 3rd and 10, which Pittsburgh then converted and continued on a drive that put them up by 20. Babin was benched after that and Shantee Orr replaced him. Also benched was CB Phillip Buchanon, who was replaced by DeMarcus Faggins in the fourth quarter.

DE Gary Walker suffered a separated AC joint in his left shoulder and had to leave the game in the first quarter. His status is uncertain for the next game, but with a bye week coming up, he’ll have some additional time to heal.

Winning with defense is the new story in Indy, as the offense had a rare off-day on Sunday.

The defensive line was again fantastic. DT Corey Simon moved into the starting lineup and new reserve DT Montae Reagor responded with a career day. He had 5 tackles (4 solo), including 3 sacks. Simon finished with 5 tackles (1 solo) and a forced fumble. After being the hero in Week One, DT Larry Tripplett was limited by a knee injury, finishing with just 1 solo tackle. He is expected to miss Week Three, keeping Reagor’s value high in leagues requiring a DT. The top three of their DE rotation, Dwight Freeney, Raheem Brock, and Robert Mathis, each had a sack. Brock almost split Jaguar QB Byron Freeney in two when he bent him forward and someone else caught Leftwich high as Brock dragged him down. Freeney just missed a sack on another vicious hit, just as Leftwich released the ball on the final drive. Although he finished with just one sack, Freeney’s disruptive presence forced attention that opened things up for the other Colt defenders to get to the QB.

After a one-game suspension and questionable status from a lingering groin injury, Michael Doss was active and back in the starting lineup at SS. His return was expedited by the fact Joseph Jefferson, who started last week at S, was inactive with a toe injury. Jefferson is expected to miss Week Three, as well. Doss finished with 9 solo tackles. At FS, Bo Sanders led the team with 11 tackles (9 solo) and broke up the Jaguars last pass to seal the victory. In other secondary injury news, Donald Strickland is once again done for the season. He was placed on the IR last week, for the second consecutive year, due to a hamstring injury that plagued him through the preseason. He played through it in the season opener, breaking up several passes and almost grabbing one as the nickel corner. Rookie CB Marlin Jackson, who was active for the first time, now immediately steps into a significant role as the nickel corner. Jackson had 3 tackles (2 solo) and a pass defensed.

MLB Gary Brackett strengthened his grip on a starting role with a solid performance, finishing with 8 tackles (6 solo), while Rob Morris was limited to special teams work.

A morale victory is all the Jaguars take away from Sunday, after frustrating Peyton Manning all day and holding the Colts explosive offense to 10 points, shutting them out through more than three quarters. Leading the way was MLB Mike Peterson, who set the tone with a tremendously athletic INT to end an opening drive by the Colts that went to the doorstep of the red zone. Peterson led the team with 13 tackles (9 solo). The winning drive came when DT John Henderson, who was at the top of his game all day, was removed for an injury. Manning audibled into a run at the spot normally controlled by Henderson, and reserve RB Ran Carthon ran in a decisive 6-yard TD. Henderson finished with 11 tackles (8 solo) and batted down 2 passes.

As predicted, changes needed to happen at end to improve the pressure, and, as. They did happen, as Bobby McCray got the start at RDE, but the team still ended the day with no sacks. However, you have to be successfully applying some pressure when you contain Manning like they did. McCray finished with 2 tackles (1 solo), while opposite him DE Reggie Hayward brought just 2 solo tackles to the table. LB Akin Ayodele continued his strong start to the season with 7 tackles (5 solo).

SS Donovin Darius injured his left knee in the second quarter on special teams. He was taken to the locker room for X-rays and did not return to the game. Darius had 4 solo tackles before leaving. Deke Cooper primarily replaced him, finishing with 2 solo tackles and a pass defensed. The worst is feared, and confirmed after the MRI, he tore his ACL and is done for the year. Cooper will be the immediate replacement at SS. Keep an eye on rookie Gerald Sensabaugh, as well.

Kansas City
1st round pick Derrick Johnson continues to show he is the real deal. He led the team with 8 tackles (7 solo) and had a fumble recovery.

CB Patrick Surtain was fine after suffering a concussion that had him leave the game early in Week One. He started and had 5 solo tackles. LB Kendrell Bell started, but was absent from the box score. DT Ryan Sims was inactive after suffering a foot sprain in the first game. He is expected to miss this week, as well. With Sims out, versatile John Browning slid down from end to the interior, and Jared Allen was back in a starting role. Allen posted 3 solo tackles and just missed a sack when Kerry Collins was able to scramble across the line of scrimmage. Reserve DE Carlos Hall suffered a back sprain during the game.

The Chiefs continued to mix in some 3-4 looks, using Keyaron Fox as the fourth LB in those packages. However, Fox suffered a sprained right knee during the game and is questionable for this week.

LB Junior Seau and MLB Zach Thomas led the team with 12 tackles (10 solo) each. Seau also had a sack and Thomas also forced a fumble. Seau’s performance was nice, but don’t be fooled and expect this every week from him like you could ten years ago. Rookie LB Channing Crowder remains the WLB and had 5 tackles (2 solo), but also had a bad personal foul that helped a TD drive that sealed the victory for the Jets.

It looks like Kevin Carter may remain at DE, as he again started on the left side opposite Jason Taylor. He posted 6 tackles (4 solo), including a sack, and gets a bump in his fantasy value as long as he is at end.

The revamped Viking defense was respectable in Week One, but absolutely shredded by the Bengals in Week Two. They gave up 504 yards and 26 first downs. Amazingly, it could have been worse. The Bengals committed 17 penalties, erasing one TD and two Daunte Culpepper fumbles.

Once again, there were more changes to their scheme, which can’t help the players get comfortable. They opened with a package that featured Kevin Williams at end in place of Kenechi Udeze, giving Spencer Johnson the start at NT. Also, LB Keith Newman replaced Napolean Harris on the strong-side. There was obviously some confusion with this package, as some miscommunication left Chad Johnson open for a long TD on the second play of the game. At this point, the heat needs to be turned up on DC Ted Cotrell. The talent was brought in this year and they have the players for either a 3-4 or 4-3, continually tweaking the scheme is confusing the players and getting no one in the front seven clear and confident in their role.

The bad could have been worse, as FS Darren Sharper left the game in the second quarter with a left knee injury. Despite returning the next series, he did not play in the second half. The MRI on Monday revealed a knee sprain of the MCL, his status for next week is undetermined. There is concern because it is the same knee that cost him most of the 2004 season due to a torn PCL. CB Antoine Winfield left in the third quarter due to blister problems on his feet. He came back briefly before eventually leaving the game for good when it was out of hand. He led the team with 9 solo tackles. While not a serious injury, the nature of his job doesn’t give the blisters proper time to heal, so this could bother him and affect his running until their bye (Week 5). DE Kenechi Udeze left in the third quarter with a calf strain. Even if he’s healthy this week, it’s unclear if he’ll have his starting role back. 1st round pick DE Erasmus James was active for his first game and replaced Udeze. LB E.J. Henderson suffered a high ankle sprain Sunday, but finished the game, although he had trouble walking on Monday. HC Mike Tice complimented his effort and performance.

MLB Sam Cowart was inactive due to his strained calf. As expected, it was Rod Davis who got the call. Davis had 6 tackles (3 solo) and forced a fumble. Cowart is expected to practice Wednesday and is looking forward to being back next week. Who can blame him, no one knows how Cotrell will work the ends and backers in the lineup next, so every job is a bad kind of jeopardy each week. Many of these issues and concerns were discussed in this column last week, but after two games, the picture isn’t getting any clearer, much less improving. I still expect Cowart to be the most productive fantasy LB on the team at the end of the year, but it’s a risk playing any of them until we see the Vikings settle on a rotation for a few games in a row.

New England
A rematch of Super Bowl XXXVIII featured another TD by LB Mike Vrabel. He returned an INT 24 yards for a TD that brought the Patriots within a FG, but they couldn’t stop Panther RB Stephen Davis from putting the game away with his third TD in the fourth quarter.

SS Rodney Harrison led the team with 8 tackles (7 solo) and broke up a pass. Reserve LB Rosey Colvin had his first sack of the season, the only one on the day for New England.

CB Randall Gay suffered an apparent left ankle injury and had to leave the game in the second quarter. He was on crutches Monday, but HC Bill Belichick, notoriously quiet about injury information, played it down. Duane Starks and rookie Ellis Hobbs saw more work with Gay out. Starks was inactive Week One and his presence is now important, as the Pats are once again thin at CB. Chad Scott was inactive again and Tyrone Poole was inactive this week as he battles knee problems after off-season surgery.

New Orleans
No sacks, no turnovers, no victory in their “home” opener at Giants Stadium. It also leaves little to talk about for fantasy purposes.

With CB Fakhir Brown inactive after hurting his knee in practice the day before the game, so Jason Craft got the start and was frequently abused by NY WR Plaxico Burress. SS Jay Bellamy led the team with 7 tackles (5 solo).

New York Giants
After suffering from back spasms last Sunday morning, DE Michael Strahan didn’t think he’d be ready to play on Monday night. He did indeed play, showing no ill effects as he posted 5 tackles (4 solo), including a sack. His relentless pressure also forced another sack that DT Kendrick Clancy was credited with and helped DE Osi Umenyiora kick start his season with 2 sacks. Rookie Justin Tuck, drafted with the hope of being Strahan’s eventual successor, worked in the rotation and had a solo tackle.

MLB Antonio Pierce again led the team with 9 solo tackles. LB Barrett Green was inactive again and it looks like Carlos Emmons should retain the WLB spot when he returns. Emmons had 5 tackles (2 solo) and broke up 2 passes, including picking one off.

CB Will Peterson was active and back in the starting lineup, a week after a disagreement with HC Tom Coughlin about the severity of his knee injury. CB Will Allen was briefly benched and replaced by rookie Corey Webster, until Webster suffered a thigh injury in the fourth quarter and left the game.

New York Jets
DE John Abraham was back in the starting lineup and was his usual disruptive force. He had his second sack of the season, forcing a fumble on it, and finished with 4 tackles (3 solo). Opposite him, DE Shaun Ellis had his first sack of the season.

FS Erik Coleman dislocated his thumb during the game, but finished with 3 tackles (1 solo) and a pass defensed. He had surgery on Monday, but could still play in a cast this week. If he cannot go, Oliver Celestin is expected to start at FS.

Big things are expected of the Jets defense this year, but they didn’t show it on Sunday. They posted only one sack and forced only one turnover, an interception by CB Ty Law. Law also had 3 tackles (2 solo). There was concern his foot problem was lingering, but it looks safe to say he’s back and should be a starter in leagues segregating CB and S. He very well could be on your waiver wire after a late signing and quiet preseason.

DT Dewayne Robertson posted just 1 solo tackle for the second straight week as he continues to battle knee problems. MLB Jonathan Vilma led the team with 11 tackles (7 solo).

Still not starting, the Raiders big free agent signing on defense made an impact on Sunday, as DE Derrick Burgess had 5 tackles (4 solo), including a sack, the only one for Oakland in the game. Tommy Kelly and Bobby Hamilton, who started in front of Burgess, combined for 6 tackles.

As predicted here last week, rookie LB Kirk Morrison was involved more and is now on the field in most packages. He tied Danny Clark for the team lead in tackles with 10. CB Charles Woodson had 6 solo tackles, broke up 2 passes, and forced a fumble, the only turnover the Raiders forced.

CB Nnamdi Asomugha suffered a foot sprain during the game and is questionable for this week. Rookie Stanford Routt, who has looked better than 1st round pick CB Fabian Washington, or journeyman Renaldo Hill would get the start if Asomugha is out.

Dominating the 49ers and hurrying them off the field every time they had the ball provided few opportunities for stats to be padded. CB Lito Sheppard was the most productive Eagle IDP, with 3 solo tackles, a sack and a pick. LB Dhani Jones and reserve DB Roderick Hood also had INTs.

DTs Darwin Walker and rookie Mike Patterson continued to be a disruptive interior duo, sharing a sack. DE ND Kalu got his first sack, but opposite him, Jevon Kearse’s slow start continues. He finished with just 2 solo tackles again on Sunday.

MLB Jeremiah Trotter was back in the starting lineup after being kicked out of the season opener against the Falcons for a fight before the game started. He finished with just 2 solo tackles. FS Brian Dawkins led the team with 5 solo tackles.

Reserve LB Mark Simoneau had 2 solo tackles, 1 on special team, but you might have noticed an extra point in his fantasy score, in the unlikely event you played him. After K David Akers went down with a hamstring injury, Simoneau was apparently the emergency short kicker and converted an XP attempt.

Houston QB David Carr was in an all-too-familiar horizontal position on Sunday, as the Steelers sacked him 8 times. After falling behind early and failing to establish a running game, the Steelers just pinned their ears back and got after Carr. SS Troy Polomalu led the way with 3 sacks, tying an NFL record for a safety. LB’s Clark Haggans and Joey Porter each had a sack for the second straight game, with the former recovering a fumble forced by the latter. Haggans proved a tease last year when he began strong after winning a starting job, only to be a fantasy bust most of the season. If he can keep getting to the QB consistently and posting some decent tackle numbers, he could be a breakout fantasy player. Porter has become more streaky with age. He is a decent start now, after a strong start, but you may want to pull him after the first game he’s contained. LB James Farrior led the team with 9 tackles (6 solo).

St. Louis
Despite sneaking out of Arizona with a victory, the Rams secondary has a lot of issues that will cost them games. The loss of CB Jerametrius Butler for the season moved DeJuan Groce into the starting lineup. Groce is a gambler reminiscent of when Dre’ Bly was young and a Ram. While Groce’s propensity for the big play is great from a fantasy standpoint, his lack of consistency could cost him his job. He made a fantastic one-handed INT, but whiffed going for two others, resulting in long gains. He also had 1 solo tackle. With Groce promoted, the team has struggled to fill the nickel CB role. Corey Ivy has the opportunity now, and he capitalized on Sunday leading the team with 10 tackles (9 solo). The secondary almost took another big hit when CB Travis Fisher went down in the third quarter with an elbow injury. He was taken in for X-rays and when they were negative, he quickly returned to the game. He finished with 8 solo tackles and a pass defended on what should have been an easy INT. Rookie S O.J. Atogwe was inactive after struggling on special teams in Week One. Fellow rookie S Jerome Carter was active after an impressive start and worked in the rotation, finishing with 4 solo tackles. SS Adam Archuleta 8 tackles (6 solo) and a sack.

DE Leonard Little continued his hot start, posting 6 tackles (4 solo), including a sack, forced fumble, and fumble recovery. MLB Chris Claiborne continued his disappointing start, as he appears to be limited to mostly run defense. He had 2 solo tackles.

San Diego
I thought LB Steve Foley was a fluke last year, but it is about time for me to recognize he’s a talented late bloomer who is thriving having finally gotten a full-time opportunity. He had a sack for the second straight game, and had 3 other solo tackles. As usual, LB Donnie Edwards led the team in tackles, posting 8 (7 solo).

Rookie Luis Castillo got a start at DE, as Igor Olshansky was inactive with a thigh injury. Castillo finished with 2 solo tackles and Olshansky is expected back at practice this week. The other starting DE, Jacques Cesaire, sprained his elbow during the game. DeQuincy Scott stepped in and had 3 solo tackles, including a sack, and a pass defended. Cesaire may miss some practice time this week.

1st round pick Shawne Merriman made his debut, making a tackle on special teams. He should see his role increase soon.

Reserve CB Jamar Fletcher complained about his lack of playing time in Week One, so you can imagine how excited he must have been to find himself a healthy scratch in Week Two.

San Francisco
After some stellar performances in an upset win the previous week, the 49ers defense to a man came back to earth at Philly. DE Marques Douglas and NT Anthony Adams had the only sacks. Douglas forced a fumble he recovered on his sack, the only turnover the defense forced.

LB’s Derek Smith and Jeff Ulbrich led the team with 8 tackles each. LB Julian Peterson failed to build on his breakout return in Week One, finishing with 6 solo tackles on Sunday.

MLB Lofa Tatupu’s hold on MLB grew stronger, as Niko Koutouvides was inactive on Sunday. Tatupu finished with 6 tackles (4 solo), including his first career sack. LB Jaime Sharper led the team with 7 tackles (5 solo).

DT Rocky Bernard and DE Bryce Fisher each had a sack, just like they did in Week One. As mentioned in this column last week, Bernard will get to the QB occasionally, for deep leagues that require a DT.

Tampa Bay
It lacked big many big plays, but an effective and efficient effort dominated the Bills on Sunday. DE Simeon Rice continued his solid start, getting his second sack of the year, plus another solo tackle and a pass defended. MLB Shelton Quarles led the team with 6 solo tackles and had the only other sack. They forced no turnovers.

The defense this week resembled the Titans of old, and look nothing like the team that was run over by Pittsburgh in the season opener.

DE Kyle Vanden Bosch, highlighted in this column last week as having the potential to be the most productive Titan end, led the way with a career day. The starting LDE had 5 tackles (4 solo), including 3 sacks and a fumble recovery. After missing two days of practice due to a strained right calf, LB Keith Bulluck was back to form, leading the team with 8 tackles (7 solo), including a sack. MLB Brad Kassell also improved his fantasy outlook. He finished with 7 tackles (5 solo) and returned a pick for a TD. It was Kassell’s first career TD and unfortunately he won’t be able to hang on to the ball, because Bulluck was so excited about it, he took the ball from Kassell during the celebration and punted it into the stands. Reserve DE Travis LaBoy and DT Randy Starks shared a sack. DE Antwan Odom played through some knee problems, but was ineffective, finishing with just one assist. LaBoy, who is finally healthy after missing much of camp with a sports hernia, will press him for a starting role soon.

LB Peter Sirmon had a sack before leaving the game with a knee injury. He missed most of last season with a torn ACL. DT Albert Haynesworth left the game in the third quarter with a knee injury, as well. Tests were done Monday and results are not yet know. Both are questionable for this week.

1st round pick Adam “Pacman” Jones was active for the first time, and saw 4 tackles (3 solo, including 1 on special teams) as a back-up CB. He’s expected to continue sharing time with Tony Beckham until he begins to separate himself.

Despite no sacks or turnovers, the Redskins played solid run D and kept the game close, allowing a couple improbably plays by the offense carry them to a late victory. LB Marcus Washington led the team with 11 tackles (8 solo). LB Warrick Holdman continues to see most of the time over Lavar Arrington, who will continue to be eased in. Arrington did make a nice play chasing down Julius Jones early in the game, but it was his only tackle of the day. Stay away from starting Arrington until he sees more snaps.

Pierson Prioleau remained the starter at SS, but left the game with a pulled hammy and did not return. Matt Bowen and Omar Stoutmire saw more work in his absence.