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IDP Notes
Week 5

Quick Hits (Details in individual team notes)
  • Week 5 Byes: KC, MIN, NYG, OAK
  • Could NE LB Bruschi return this year?
  • PIT LB Haggans tears groin, will miss at least a month
  • NYJ MLB Vilma take over league lead in tackles
  • SF DE Bryant Young takes over league lead in sacks
  • MIN D ravaged by injuries in front four and secondary
  • SF D a mess: Rumph done, Plummer out for a while, Winborn sent home
  • Both starting CBs in DEN miss game, first ever for Bailey
  • AZ rookie CB Rolle done for season, rookie CB Green steps up
  • PHI FS Dawkins hurts ankle
  • CAR MLB Morgan hurts groin
  • IND DE Freeney AFC Def. Player of Month for Sept.
  • STL SS Archuleta NFC Def. Player of Month for Sept.
  • CIN MLB Thurman NFL Def. Rookie of Month for Sept.
  • BAL DE Weaver dislocates toe, will miss at least a month
  • KC CB Warfield and CIN DE Duane Clemons eligible to return
  • DET LB Lehman returns
Week 5 Injury Report (available Wednesday PM)

1st round pick CB Antrel Rolle played through a sore left knee in Week Three, but further tests showed he has meniscus damage and when they got in there to scope it on Monday, ligament damage was found too. He is expected to be done for the season. Raymond Walls started in his place, but Walls hurt his hip and groin and left the game. Rookie Eric Green spent most of the game with the first unit. Green looked good, leading the team (tied) with 5 tackles (4 solo), as well as a pass defended and a forced fumble he recovered. Green will likely end up replacing Rolle. CB David Macklin was Questionable after his hamstring gave him problems last week in practice, but he started. He was limited during the game and eventually he also had to leave after aggravating the injury. This gave veteran journeyman Robert Tate, who was just signed last week due to the injuries at CB, significant action. Tate had 2 solo tackles, a pick, and a forced fumble. To sign Tate, the team released LB Lester Towns, who started the last couple games while James Darling was inactive with a sprained knee. They were able to cut Towns because Darling returned and was back in the starting lineup at MLB. Darling had 5 tackles (3 solo).

Reserve DE Calvin Pace had a rollercoaster game. The former 1st round pick has largely disappointed, necessitating the acquisition of free agents Bertrand Berry and Chike Okeafor, who have both been tremendous. Pace had a solo tackle in the first quarter then he had a personal foul on a punt in the second quarter that buried the offense deep in their own territory. He made up for it with a sack in the second quarter, his first of the season. Later in the game, he committed a cardinal sin for a linemen, he tried to advance a fumble in a crowd. With the Cardinals only up 21-14 at the start of the fourth quarter, DE Bertrand Berry sacked 49er QB Tim Rattay forcing a fumble. Pace picked up the ball deep in San Francisco territory and tried to make a dash for the end zone. 49er FB Fred Beasley knocked the ball loose and San Francisco recovered, getting a first down on the change of possession and negating an opportunity for the Cardinals to put the game away. He then shared a sack with Berry later in the fourth quarter. All in all, it was his best game of the year and his best since the team played San Francisco last year and he had 2 sacks. While Berry and Okeafor are firmly entrenched as the starters, if there is an injury, this game gave some hope that Pace has still has upside if he gets another chance to be a full-time player in the future. DT Ross Kolodziej moved into the starting lineup with Russell Davis out for the year. Kolodziej had 2 solo tackles, including a sack, and a forced fumble.

A week after the Vikings appeared to have turned their season around, the Falcons slapped them around in Atlanta, frustrating QB Daunte Culpepper all day. He was sacked 9 times, intercepted twice, and fumbled once. DE Brady Smith returned after missing a couple of weeks with an injured hamstring and had 2 sacks, forcing a fumble on one of them. DT Rod Coleman posted the same line, giving him 2 sacks in back-to-back games. Coleman had to leave late in the game due to leg cramps, but should be fine this week. OLB Demorrio Williams was the third player to post 2 sacks for the Falcons. He also totaled 8 solo tackles. OLB Keith Brooking led the team with 9 tackles (8 solo), as well as getting a sack and an interception.

CB Jason Webster returned to the starting lineup, but recent FA addition Chris Cash, who saw significant time last week, continued to this week, as he’s earned the nickel CB job. Cash had 7 tackles (6 solo) and a pass defensed. Cash had an excellent rookie season with the Lions in 2002, when he posted 100 tackles, breaking up 10 passes and picking off 1 of them. However, two injury-filled seasons and limitation in pass coverage resulted in him being cut and not finding work at the start of this season, but he appears to be thriving in the Falcons’ system. CB DeAngelo Hall’s shoulder appeared fine as he had 5 solo tackles and his third INT of the season.

The defense finally got back on track on Sunday after the bye week and against a Jet offense starting their third string QB, Brooks Bollinger. DE Terrell Suggs finally got to the QB, sharing a sack with OLB Tommy Polley. Suggs had his first big day of the year, posting 8 tackles (3 solo) and knocking down a pass, in addition to the half sack. Back-up OLB’s Peter Boulware and Roderick Green did their job as pass rush specialists, with each tallying a sack. Green now leads the team with two. MLB Ray Lewis led the team with 9 tackles (7 solo) and had his first sack of the year, as well.

SS Ed Reed had to leave the game after suffering a concussion. He returned in the fourth quarter and said he was OK after the game. He had 4 solo tackles. Reed is among the IDP’s on the Ravens who have disappointed so far this season. The reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year has no interceptions yet, after averaging 7 per season his first three years in the league and leading the league with 9 last year.

DE Anthony Weaver dislocated a toe during Sunday’s game. He had 3 solo tackles before leaving and was replaced by Jarrett Johnson. Weaver had no ligament damage, but is expected to miss at least a month. Johnson should continue to replace him in the lineup.

Angelo Crowell replaced Takeo Spikes (out for season) at WLB and had 7 tackles (5 solo). He’s a nice pick-up in deep leagues. MLB London Fletcher looked back to full speed, after being plagued by a hamstring the previous couple of week. He had 9 tackles (5 solo), including a sack, and broke up a pass. Fletcher’s sack was the only one and the defense forced no turnovers for the third straight week.

SS Lawyer Milloy led the team with 10 tackles (7 solo). CB Terrence McGee hasn’t done much on defense this year, but he is still an elite return man. He brought back 4 kick-offs for 159 yards, including an 82-yard return before being tripped inside the Saints’ 5 as time expired in the first half.

DE Mike Rucker looked good again, setting the tone for the first three quarters early, with a sack on the second play where he forced a fumble deep in Packer territory that was recovered by DT Kindal Moorehead. Rucker only had 3 other tackles the rest of the game, but was frequently applying pressure.

LB Will Witherspoon returned from a knee injury that kept him out the previous week. He posted 7 tackles (4 solo). MLB Dan Morgan hurt his groin during the game, and missed two series, but returned and played through it, posting 7 solo tackles and broke up 2 passes. Warning siren are blaring if you are a Morgan owner, because where there’s been smoke, there’s been fire in his injury-prone career. Follow this carefully before you start him this week.

1st round pick Thomas Davis was limited to special teams work for the second straight week. He’ll get back in there one of these days and have a breakout game, but you need to bench him until he does.

It was a quiet bye week for the Bears.

Leading the NFL with 16 takeaways through three games, the Bengals only forced 1 turnover in Week Four, but it was a big one. With the Cinci offense struggling for the first time this year, the team found themselves up only three with Houston driving late in the fourth quarter. DE Justin Smith hit Texan QB David Carr and forced a fumble that DT John Thornton recovered. The play was challenged, Houston believed it should have been an incomplete pass, but the call stood. The Bengals took over and got another FG on the ensuing drive to go up 16-10. The victory was sealed when Carr was sacked for the seventh time with one second left on the next possession. Seven separate players each had a sack, including the first career sack for each of the dynamic rookie duo of MLB Odell Thurman and reserve OLB David Pollack. Thurman was named NFL Defensive Rookie of the Month for September and Sunday was the first game he wasn’t involved in a turnover. For the season, he has 21 tackles (15 solo), a sack, 2 passes defensed, an INT, 2 forced fumbles and 1 fumble recovered.

FS Madieu Williams was inactive with a shoulder injury and remains Questionable for Week Five. It has been reported he may have a torn labrum. Ifeanyi Ohalete started in his place at SS, as Kevin Kaesviharn moved to FS, and Ohalete had 3 solo tackles. S Anthony Mitchell also saw more work, and had 3 solo tackles, including a sack. Nickel corner Keiwan Ratliff continues to be productive. He led the team with 6 solo tackles, including 1 on special teams.

After winning the starting RDE role this year, Robert Geathers hasn’t produced much. He had his first sack of the season, and another solo tackle. DE Duane Clemons is eligible to return from his four-game substance-abuse suspension this week, however, it is unclear where he’ll fit in, if at all. The team was disappointed by his off-season effort, likely because he knew he’d be suspended.

OLB Matt Stewart, sidelined with a sprained MCL since the season opener, hopes to be back this week. He is expected to practice this week, but his status will be announced on Wednesday. ILB Orlando Ruff also used the bye week to recover, as he suffered a concussion in Week Two. ILB’s Andra Davis and Ben Taylor have played well, so Ruff might struggle to get back in the rotation consistently.

1st round pick OLB DeMarcus Ware had a sack for his second straight game. While he has had an immediate impact, the Cowboys other early defensive draft picks that were supposed to be a big part of the move to a 3-4 this year haven’t contributed much so far. Fellow 1st round pick DE Marcus Spears has been limited after a preseason injury. He has been active the last few games, but isn’t fully integrated into the rotation. 2nd round pick OLB Kevin Burnett was active for the first time the previous week and was active again Sunday, but has been limited to work on special teams. Instead, it has been a couple of later round picks who have contributed more. Rookie DE Chris Canty has been a regular in the DE rotation and had a career-high 6 tackles (5 solo) on Sunday. He also had a sack in Week Two. Rookie DE Jay Ratliff was active for the first time on Sunday and shared a sack.

Denver was without both their starting corners from the previous week as Champ Bailey missed his first career game after pulling his hamstring during the game the week before. Bailey had started 99 consecutive games, everyone since the first game of his rookie year in 1999. After his first career start, rookie Darrent Williams was also inactive with a sprained ankle. Rookie Dominique Foxworth got his first career start and responded with 6 solo tackles, a fumble recovery, and his first career INT.

Despite missing their starting corners, the defensive backfield didn’t have to worry much about spreading itself too thin helping in run support or blitzing, the front seven dominated the line of scrimmage, holding the Jaguars to a franchise-low 12 yards rushing (on 11 carries) and providing pressure. MLB Al Wilson led the way with 4 solo tackles, a sack, 2 forced fumbles, and a pass defensed. Wilson forced a fumble on his sack that DE Ebenezer Ebukan recovered. DE Courtney Brown remained the starter and LDE and had 2 solo tackles. DT Gerrard Warren had his second sack of the year in the second straight game.

James Davis started at WLB, but hurt his elbow during the game and Teddy Lehman, active for the first time this year, got most of the work there. Lehman had 3 tackles (2 solo) and a pick, but was also burnt badly for a TD reception by Tampa Bay RB Michael Pittman.

DE James Hall has been playing through a strained groin and has not practiced the last two weeks. It explains his struggles since opening day, after a breakout 2004. Hall aggravated the groin early in the second half and did not return. Kalimba Edwards replaced him and was already having a big game before Hall got hurt. Edwards had 3 solo tackles, including 2 sacks, and forced a fumble.

Andre’ Goodman replaced Fernando Bryant (out for season) at starting CB and had 6 solo tackles, but was beaten badly a few times as he played through an ankle injury.

Green Bay
After posting just a half sack in the first three games, DE Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila showed up at the right time. He got his first solo sack of the year and forced a fumble that DT Corey Jenkins recovered and pitched to MLB Nick Barnett for a loss. The recovery was deep in Carolina territory, and the Packers scored on the next play. After a two-point conversion, they tightened the game to 32-21. On the next drive, KGB had his second sack when DE Aaron Kampman pushed the RT into Carolina QB Jake Delhomme, who lost his balance and was taken down by KGB. The Packers got the ball back shortly after and scored again, cutting the lead to 32-29 after another two-point conversion. The defense held again, including a run-stopping tackle by KGB, and forced a punt just before the two minute warning, but the offense couldn’t complete the comeback. KGB finished with 7 solo tackles, including the 2 sacks, and a forced fumble.

MLB Nick Barnett led the teamm with 13 tackles (10 solo), giving him back-to-back double-digit tackle games. SLB Na’il Diggs was active for only the second game and reinjured his knee, tearing his MCL, trying to tackle Stephen Davis on a TD run before the half. Paris Lenon replaced him and finished with 5 tackles (3 solo). Lenon should get the first crack at replacing him the next month or so, but Roy Manning will be in the picture, as well.

Joey Thomas returned from a concussion, but Ahmad Carroll remained a starter a CB. He had a rough day, getting beat a few times and committing a blatant pass interference when he totally misjudged the timing of a pass. SS Mark Roman also drew a key PI call when Carolina DE Julius Pepper unexpectedly lined up as a WR on a second-and-six at the goal. The Panthers were able to run the ball in from the one with the decisive TD on the next play.

DT Grady Jackson, looking ridiculously fat, was back in the starting linep after being benched in the second half of Week Three. He still saw less work than usual and finished with just 1 solo tackle.

The Texan corners earned the first check of the year in the ‘Yes’ box on the “Who will cover 85 in 2005?” list in Chad Johnson’s locker. The entire secondary focused on number 85 and held him without at TD and to a season-low 67 yards. However, with little help from the offense again, it wasn’t enough. CB Phillip Buchanon, who was demoted from his starting position last week, and new starting CB DeMarcus Faggins, primarily took turns focusing on Johnson. CB Dunta Robinson had 7 tackles (6 solo), including a sack on which he forced a fumble. Rookie SS C.C. Brown led the team with 9 tackles (6 solo).

OLB Jason Babin had already been demoted from the starting lineup and with a shoulder injury bothering him, as well, he was left inactive. Antwan Peek remained the starter at OLB.

DE Gary Walker was inactive due to a separated AC joint in his left shoulder suffered in Week Two. He is out indefinitely. He was replaced by rookie Travis Johnson, a converted college DT who made his first career start. Johnson had a solo tackle.

DE Dwight Freeney was AFC Defensive Player of the Month for September. It was his second consecutive award, as he won it for December/January last year. Freeney had 11 tackles (10 solo), 4 sacks, and a forced fumble in September. October started off a bit slower, as he had just 2 solo tackles on Sunday. Pass rush specialist DE Robert Mathis had another sack, to give him 1 in each game this year.

FS Bob Sanders led the team with 10 tackles (8 solo) and had a pick, the only turnover forced by the Colts. DB Joseph Jefferson was inactive again with a toe injury and is expected to miss this week’s game, as well. SLB David Thornton played through a strained groin and had 7 tackles (3 solo). MLB Gary Brackett had 8 tackles (5 solo).

Last week DE Paul Spicer had 3 sacks, his first since 2002. Sunday he shared a sack with fellow DE Reggie Hayward, who also had another solo sack. Hayward moved back to starting at LDE, where he claims he is more comfortable, and Spicer started at RDE. DT Marcus Stroud looked fine after injuring his knee the previous week, he had 4 solo tackles. DT John Henderson had 6 tackles (5 solo).

LB Akin Ayodele led the team with 8 solo tackles. MLB Mike Peterson also had 8 tackles (7 solo). Deke Cooper remains the starting SS with Donovin Darius out for the year. Cooper had 7 tackles (6 solo).

Kansas City
1st round pick Derrick Johnson led the team with 10 solo tackles. The team started in the nickel defense, so OLB Kendrell Bell did not start and saw less work Sunday. Despite having a decent game last week, he has been a major disappointment and was unproductive again, posting just 1 solo tackle. With Bell a non-factor, FS Greg Wesley has to focus a lot more on run support than you’d like a centerfielder too, but that has led to more tackles. He posted 7 solo in Week Four and is among the Top Ten in the league for the season so far. The team’s options are limited with Bell struggling, as top back-up LB Keyaron Fox remained inactive and is expected to miss more than a month rehabbing a knee injury.

The DLine was shaken up again as Carlos Hall returned from back problems and was in the starting lineup at RDE. Opposite him, Jared Allen remains a starter and posted another sack among his 4 tackles (3 solo). DE Eric Hicks was bumped to make room for Hall. He had to leave the game early with an apparent injury to his right leg. John Browning remained a starter on the interior, but Lionel Dalton was bumped for Jimmy Wilkerson. DT Ryan Sims remained inactive with a foot sprain suffered in their first game.

CB Eric Warfield is eligible to return from a four-game substance abuse policy suspension this week. Depending on the shape he is in, he could replace Dexter McCleon soon.

LB Junior Seau (strained calf and Achilles’ tendon) and SS Terbucky Jones (hamstring) rehabbed injuries over the bye week, but have yet to practice this week. Jones believes he’ll be ready, but the team and Seau have been quiet about his status.

Injuries hampered the Vikings preparations for Week Four and impaired the defensive performance, but a return of ineffectiveness by the offense killed the team.

Former 1st round pick DE Kenechi Udeze, who has disappointed so far this season, was inactive after chipping a bone in his left knee that caused him to leave the game early in Week Three. The swelling didn’t subside during the week, leading to concern that the injury is more serious. There will be another arthroscopic procedure this week to examine the knee further, but there are already reports that he may need season-ending surgery. DE Lance Johnstone as also inactive after leaving with a shoulder injury in Week Three. He damaged the tendon that connects the pec to the shoulder and partially tearing the pectoral muscle. However, the news on him was better last week, as reports said surgery would not be required. With the Vikings on a bye this week, he’ll have extra time to heal. The injuries resulted in Darrion Scott returning to the starting lineup at RDE and Spencer Johnson getting the start at LDE. Scott had 4 solo tackles and Johnson had 5 solo. 1st round pick DE Erasmus James also saw more work, but he failed to appear in the box score. However, his name was prominent during the game, after he hit Atlanta QB Mike Vick hard after a throw in the second quarter. Vick went down to the ground where he rolled in pain for a while, holding his leg. Vick suffered a sprained knee and was held out of the game as a precaution, but sounds like he’ll be OK, sparing James from being remembered in infamy by Falcon fans. James’ role will continue to increase if Udeze and/or Johnstone are lost for a significant amount of time. Despite being off to a slow start in his NFL career, he is the only decent pass rush threat at DE (unless the team moves Kevin Williams there full-time) with Udeze and Johnstone out. DT Kevin Williams hurt his back at the end of the game, but the injury is not believed to be serious. He has an extra week to recover with the bye, but keep an eye out for updates next week.

FS Darren Sharper remained inactive with a sprained MCL in his left knee. He is expected to miss at least another week. As Willie Offord tore his ACL, ending his season, Ken Irvin moved into the starting lineup at FS and Corey Chavous moved back to SS. Irvin had 5 solo tackles and Chavous had 3 and a pass defended. CB Brian Williams was also inactive, also with a sprained MCL. Ralph Brown replaced him as the nickel corner and had 4 solo tackles. Williams is expected to miss more time.

The LB group was all healthy and had a fairly stable and consistent rotation for the first time. MLB Sam Cowart led the team with 9 tackles (8 solo) and had the only sack of the day. Cowart left the game briefly after banging his knee, giving Dontarrius Thomas some work, but Cowart returned the next series in the third quarter. Flanking Cowart, E.J. Henderson and Napoleon Harris started at OLB and saw the most work. Henderson had 6 tackles (5 solo).

As mentioned in this column previously, the constant movement of personnel and changes in schemes of DC Ted Cotrell must be contributing to the lack of success on defense. Obviously someone high up in the Vikings agree, because former Viking DC Foge Fazio is being brought in as a special consultant to analyze the defense.

New England
LB Tedy Bruschi has apparently not given up on returning this season. Although he refuses to comment, reports are he continues to solicit medical opinions on the possibility of returning from a stroke this off-season and the Patriots have not put him on the IR yet at his request. He’s currently on the PUP, so the team doesn’t have to make a decision on his status until after Week 6. Owner Bob Kraft is reportedly against having Bruschi return, even if he receives medical clearance. As far as I know, this is unchartered territory as far as have a historical reference for the likelihood of Bruschi ever returning, much less this year. In deep dynasty leagues, he’s probably worth hanging on to, but if your league has an IR and requires strict adherence to the NFL IR, he’s making keeping more challenging. At this point, it will all be sorted out in a few weeks when the PUP expires, so you might as well hang on to him. In all other leagues, this glimmer of hope doesn’t make him worth picking up.

With Rodney Harrison now done for the season, the team could have used Bruschi on Sunday, as Ladainian Tomlinson and the Chargers thrashed them at home, ending a 21-game home winning streak. Guss Scott replaced Harrison at SS and had 7 tackles (5 solo) in his first career start. OLB Mike Vrabel led the team with 11 tackles (10 solo, including 1 on special teams), while ILB’s Chad Brown and Monty Beisel each had 8 tackles (5 solo each).

CB Randall Gay (ankle) and CB Tyrone Poole (knee) remained inactive. Duane Starks and Asante Samuel remained the starters at corner. The Chargers apparently were looking to exploit Starks, as he was victimized on both of the TD passes thrown by Drew Brees. However, the TD to Reche Caldwell was simply a great pass in tight coverage and an excellent athletic play by Caldwell with a leaping catch.

New Orleans
Jay Bellamy was placed on the IR and Dwight Smith moved from FS to SS to replace him. Smith finished with 5 solo tackles and a pass defensed. Rookie Josh Bullocks moves into the starting lineup and FS and got off to a solid start with 6 tackles (4 solo) and a pass defensed. Bullocks has good upside as a ball hawk centerfield, but struggled with his reads and the mental aspects of the game in the preseason.

DE Charles Grant missed some practice last week as he battled a toe injury. It might help explain why he had a disappointing day the previous week, posting just 1 solo tackle. However, he was back to his dominating self on Sunday, leading the team 7 solo tackles, as well as a sack, a forced fumble, and a pass defended. Opposite him, DE Darren Howard remained hot with 2 sacks, forced a fumble and broke up a pass. He has 13 tackles (9 solo) and 3.5 sacks in his last two games. Reserve DE Will Smith had a sack, as well.

CB Fakhir Brown missed his third straight game with an ankle injury and Jason Craft continues to replace him, despite the fact he’s bad and Fred Thomas should be starting. Craft was the beneficiary of another bad J.P. Losman pass, which he intercepted and returned 39-yards. Losman would later be removed from the game.

After benching the entire LB group last week, all of them (Colby Bockwoldt, Courtney Watson, and Sedrick Hodge) were back in the starting lineup. MLB Watson was the most productive of the group with 4 tackles (1 solo). However, HC Jim Haslett continued to platoon all of them, until reserve OLB’s James Allen (hamstring) and T.J. Slaughter (groin) were dinged up. Both are Questionable this week. Ronald McKinnon could also apparently continue to platoon with Watson.

New York Giants
After being benched the previous week, Gibril Wilson (SS) and Reggie Tobor (SLB) were back in the starting lineup. Wilson led the team in tackles with 12 (11 solo, including 1 on special teams) and forced a fumble. It looks safe to keep him in your starting lineup. WLB Carlos Emmons was inactive after hurting his knee in practice last week. He may miss another couple of weeks. Nick Greisen replaced him in the starting lineup and will likely continue to until Emmons returns. Greisen had 9 tackles (5 solo) and recovered a fumble. Greisen was the starting MLB heading into last season, but was quickly replaced. He saw a lot of work at WLB last year while Barrett Green was out, so Greisen is a solid fill-in if Emmons misses any more time. Green remains inactive recovering from a torn ACL last year and is not expected back until after the bye week.

CB Will Peterson was inactive and could miss the season with fracture in his lower back. The injury was on the other side of the same bone he developed a stress fracture on in 2003 that cost him most of the season. He’ll see another specialist this week to determine if he can play through the injury. Peterson was replaced in the starting lineup by Curtis Deloatch, who had started in his place the first game of the season. Deloatch had 7 tackles (5 solo) and broke up a pass. Rookie reserve CB Corey Webster returned from a thigh injury that kept him out of the game the previous week. Peterson’s time in as a Giant may be over regardless of the severity of the injury. Peterson and HC Tom Coughlin were at odds after Peterson declared he was not fit to play in the team’s season opener. This week, Coughlin reminded players not to discuss injury information with the public and media. Soon afterward, Peterson announced to the press the seriousness of his injury and that he was out for Week Four. The two apparently argued after this occurred and Peterson was told not to join the team at their hotel for preparations prior to Sunday’s game. However, the team will be challenged in getting rid of him. They’d have to come to an injury settlement and he just signed a five-year contract extension last year, so there will be salary cap ramifications problems with cutting him. The injury makes a trade now impossible, and if the team puts him on the IR and tries to trade him next year, his value will be nil. The team also has CB Will Allen in a contract year and believe he has underachieved so far this year.

DE Michael Strahan didn’t seem to be affected by the back spasms that have been bothering him. He had 4 tackles (3 solo) and a sack to give him 3.5 on the season. DE Osi Umenyiora injured his foot during the game. He doesn’t have a break, but his status for this week is unknown.

New York Jets
Despite holding the Ravens to 2.6 ypc, with no support from an offense that is down to their third string QB, Baltimore was able to keep running and dink and dunk in the pass game to dominate the time of possession and waste a solid effort by the defense. MLB Jonathan Vilma led the team with 16 tackles (11 solo), his third straight game with double-digit tackles. Vilma’s huge day put him in the league lead for tackles with 48 (35 solo), passing Miami’s Zach Thomas, who has a bye this week. WLB Eric Barton was inactive after spraining his ankle during the game the previous week. He was replaced by Mark Brown, who had 12 tackles (4 solo). SLB Victor Hobson also posted double-digit tackles, finishing with 10 (5 solo) and a fumble recovery.

FS Erik Coleman appears to be recovered from a dislocated thumb. He had a pick, in addition to 8 tackles (5 solo).

SS Derrick Gibson had a big game, leading the team with 8 tackles (6 solo) and getting his second career sack. CB Charles Woodson appeared unaffected after being dinged up the previous week. He posted 5 tackles (4 solo) and grabbed his first pick of the year. Woodson continues to see significant time at FS, which is fine with Woodson. DT Warren Sapp continues to play well. He had his first sack of the year, and 3 other solo tackles. Reserve DE Derrick Burgess had 2 sacks and 2 other solo tackles.

Rookie LB Kirk Morrison continues to be consistent tackle-machine, posting 7 (2 solo). MLB Danny Clark had his lowest production of the season with just 5 tackles (4 solo). Morrison leads the team with 36 tackles (23 solo), putting him in the Top Ten for the League a quarter of the way through the season. However, both he and Clark have yet to turn in a big fantasy play (no sacks, turnovers, or scores for either).

DE Jevon Kearse got his first sack of the season, causing a fumble recovered by reserve DT Sam Rayburn. Kearse also had 2 other solo tackles and batted down a pass, giving him his best game of the season. However, it may be premature to believe he has turned around his season. Pro Bowl LT Willie Roaf was inactive and Kearse worked against back-up LT Jordan Black, who struggled for the second consecutive game after being moved from RT to replace Roaf. TE Tony Gonzalez was frequently kept in to assist on pass blocking, and Kearse’s sack actually came on an attempt by Gonzalez to handle Kearse alone. 1st round pick DT Mike Patterson remained a starter and continues to thrive. He had a sack for the second straight game and 3 other solo tackles. Patterson again replaced Darwin Walker, who missed his second game with a thigh injury. Walker remains questionable to return this week. Depth on the DLine, especially at tackle, took another hit as Paul Grasmanis retore his Achilles’ tendon, the same one that ended his 2003 season early.

The Chiefs scored 17 points in little more than a quarter, but the defense kept after it and QB Donovan McNabb pulled out the win. The momentum turned not long after a blocked FG in the second quarter kept the Eagles shut out and downtrodden. On Kansas City’s ensuing drive, CB Sheldon Brown took an interception back 40-yards for a score, putting Philly on the board. Brown had another pick later in the game.

MLB Jeremiah Trotter led the team again with 10 tackles (9 solo) and broke up a pass. He banged up his thigh, but should be fine. FS Brian Dawkins had to be helped off the field with an apparent left leg injury at one point during the game, but he returned after missing just one play and finished with 6 solo tackles, including a sack, and a pass defensed. He is having a MRI on his ankle this week, so this is definitely a story to follow.

The bye week brought bad news to the Steelers. LB Clark Haggans will miss at least the next four games after undergoing surgery for a partially torn groin. Haggans suffered the injury late in Week Three, but finished the game and didn’t have any problems until the next day. After fizzling when handed the starting job to replace Jason Gildon in 2004, Haggans was off to a great start this year. He had at least one sack in each of the first three games and was coming off a 12 tackle performance. James Harrison will get the first shot to replace him while he’s out. Harrison has been solid as a back-up and replaced Haggans and Porter in the lineup when they’ve been out the past two years. The way Steeler LB’s have plug and produce under HC Bill Cowher, Harrison is a guy to consider in deep leagues, especially if you need to replace Haggans. Keep an eye on rookie Andre Frazier, as well.

CB Ike Taylor has been outstanding since an injury to Willie Williams opened the door for him to start. Through three games he has 29 tackles (23 solo) and has broken up 3 passes. However, his knee is giving him some problems and he may be Questionable this week.

St. Louis
A week after discussing how consistent DE Leonard Little has been, he posts just 4 tackles (2 solo) and is held without a sack for the first game. Opposite Little, Tony Hargrove came up with his best game of the season and a little more job security for another week. Hargrove had 4 solo tackles, including his first sack of the season. The team had no other sacks and no turnovers.

SS Adam Archuleta was the NFC Defensive Player of the Month for September. On Sunday he had 6 tackles (5 solo) and broke up a pass. OLB Pisa Tinoisamoa led the team with 9 tackles (4 solo).

After the Week Four whipping by the Giants, HC Mike Martz complained of the defensive effort and talked about giving some young guys a chance if veterans continue to struggle. MLB Chris Claiborne has to head that list, with OLB Dexter Coakley not far behind. Don’t be surprised to see Trev Faulk and rookie Brandon Chillar get more work at their expense.

San Diego
The Charges took advantage of an injury-ravaged Patriot team in the hardest part of their schedule and ended their 21-game home winning streak. As usual, ILB Donnie Edwards led the team in tackles. He had 11 (9 solo), as well as an INT, which he pitched to reserve S Clinton Hart who returned it 40-yards for a TD. FS Bhawoh Jue had his second pick of the season.

Rookie Luis Castillo remained the starting LDE, while Jacques Cesaire remained at RDE. LB Ben Leber had the only sack for the Chargers, among his 3 tackles.

San Francisco
A week of turmoil off the field got no better on the field, as the 49ers were soundly beaten by the Cardinals at Azteca Stadium in Mexico City, Mexico, the first regular season NFL game played outside the United States.

Plenty of issues led up to the game. In a surprise move, OLB Jamie Winborn, who started the first two games of the season, was sent home last week. HC Mike Nolan talked cleaning house of some players who were not on the same page after the team’s rough start. Apparently, Winborn was one, as the team indicates they are looking to trade him and don’t want him to get injured working out with the team before then, so he cleared out his locker and left. Andre Carter, who replaced Winborn in the starting lineup in Week Three, remained a starter at OLB and posted just 3 assists on Sunday night.

Meanwhile, OLB Julian Peterson had to be inactive after straining his hamstring in the game the previous week. Brandon Moore started in his place and had 7 tackles (5 solo) and recovered a fumble after a sack by DE Bryant Young on the first play of the game. As Moore rumbled toward the end zone, he was stripped of the ball and LB Derek Smith fell on it for a TD in the end zone.

The secondary took a couple of big hits. The team found out FS Mike Rumph was done for the year with a torn plantar fascia in his foot. It’s the second straight year his season ends early on the IR. Nickel CB Michael Adams replaces Rumph as the starting FS. He had 3 solo tackles. To replace Rumph on the roster, team signed Willie Middlebrooks. Middlebrooks had been acquired by San Fran from Denver for DE John Engelberger in the preseason, but was cut before the season began. Middlebrooks had 6 tackles (5 solo) and a pass defensed. CB Ahmed Plummer was also inactive after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on an ankle injury he aggravated the previous week. Plummer is expected to miss several weeks. Rookie Derrick Johnson, who had a big preseason, was promoted to starter at LCB replacing Plummer. Johnson had 5 tackles (3 solo) and a fumble recovery returned 78 yards for a TD. However, Johnson had to leave the game with an injury and did not return, moving Middlebrooks into a full-time role.

The game started out well, as the San Francisco defense put the team up by 14 on the aforementioned fumble recoveries, early in the first quarter. However, those would be the only points the team scored and the defense then allowed Arizona QB Josh McCown, in his first start of the season, to get in a rhythm and systematically pick them apart the rest of the game. DE Bryant Young continues to have a monster year in his 12th season. In addition to the sack he had on the first play of the game where he forced a fumble that was recovered for a TD, Young beat a double-team to get another sack and had 4 other tackles. For the season, he now has 17 tackles (14 solo), 6 sacks, a forced fumble, and a pass defended. His 6 sacks lead the NFL. That’s the most sacks he’s had since 2000, and that production is remarkable, considering he’s playing a fantasy-unfriendly 3-4 DE. ILB Jeff Ulbrich led the team with 11 tackles (9 solo).

After trailing since the second quarter, the Seahawks tied the game at 17-17 with less than two minutes left and the defense put them in position to with their only turnover of the day on the following Redskin possession. A pass deflected off the hands of Redskin RB Clinton Portis was picked by back-up CB Kelly Herndon in Washington territory. They were unable to convert the FG and then the defense was unable to stop the Redskins in OT.

MLB Lofa Tatupu led the team with 10 tackles (9 solo) and a sack. SS Michael Boulware also had a sack. DE Bryce Fisher was held without a sack for the first time this season, but he did have 6 tackles (4 solo) and knocked down a pass. Reserve DT Rocky Bernard had 5 solo tackles.

Tampa Bay
FS Dexter Jackson was inactive after hurting his hamstring the previous week and Will Allen replaced him. Allen was very active, finishing with 7 tackles (6 solo) and could retain the job when Jackson is healthy.

As usual, MLB Shelton Quarles led the team in tackles, posting 10 (7 solo) on Sunday. Quarles hurt his wrist early in the game, but did not miss any time. DE Simeon Rice had 4 tackles (3 solo) and a sack. He just missed another sack when he lost a scramble to Detroit QB Joey Harrington to CB Rhonde Barber, who had just blitzed right off Rice. It was Barber’s 19th career sack. He needs one more to become the first player in NFL history with 20 picks and 20 sacks.

No sacks, no turnovers, and they were rolled by a Colt offense that got back on track against them. Not many highlights for the Titans on D. OLB Peter Sirmon led the team with 10 tackles (7 solo). 1st round pick CB Pacman Jones started his first game and looked like a rookie. He drew two penalties, getting flagged for illegal conduct and then a stupid personal foul for taunting on a drive that resulted in a TD. He also was beat by Reggie Wayne for a 25-yard TD. He finished with 3 tackles (2 solo).

DT Albert Haynesworth was inactive again due to a knee and toe problems. Jared Clauss started in his place.

With CB Walt Harris inactive with a calf injury, 1st round pick Carlos Rogers got his first NFL start. Rogers tied for the team lead with 7 tackles (6 solo) and forced a fumble. If there’s any doubt about Harris this week, they’ll have no problem keeping Rogers in the starting lineup, where he’ll eventually replace Harris at some point this season anyway. MLB Lemar Marshall looked unaffected by a groin injury that limited him in practice earlier last week. He led the team with 7 solo tackles, including a vicious sack of Seattle QB Matt Hasselbeck.

SS Pierson Prioleau was also inactive with a hamstring injury suffered in Week Two. Ryan Clark started in his place and had 3 solo tackles. FS Sean Taylor was Probable with a shoulder injury, but he started and posted 5 solo tackles. However, he aggravated the shoulder during the game and left late in the fourth quarter.

OLB Lavar Arrington was active, but played just four snaps. The official word from the Washington coaching staff was he’s not a starter, his packages were not called, and HC Joe Gibbs said he’s 100% healthy. Either Gibbs is lying or something else is going on here. Warrick Holdman, who continues to start in his place, had just 1 solo tackle.