Nickel CB Antrel Rolle has struggled to live up to expectations
since being drafted in the first round in 2005. A knee injury cost
him most of his rookie season. Then he was solid, but unspectacular,
as a starter in 2006. He lost his starting job to Rod Hood in the
preseason. He even struggled to produce early this season, having
just one pick in the first seven games and never more than three
tackles in any of them. However, he began to turn things around
as the nickel corner recently. After 10 tackles in Week 9, he had
5 more and a pick in their previous game. On Sunday, with SS Adrian
Wilson out giving him work in more packages, Rolle broke out and
flashed the big play ability that made him a first round pick. He
returned two picks for TDs and could have done the same on a third,
but a personal foul erased the TD. All three returns were over 50
yards. Wilson injured his right calf in the previous game and was
already battling a heel problem. He remains questionable this week.
Oliver Celestin started at SS in place of Wilson. CB Eric Green
was active despite injuring his left foot and ankle in practice
last week. He led the team with 11 solo tackles.
With Bert Berry done for the season, Joe Tafoya took over as
the starter, but Darryl Blackstock replaced him as a situational
pass rusher and when they showed more of a 3-4 front. Blackstock
had the only sack for the Cardinals, his second in as many games.
ILB Karlos Dansby had his third pick of the season, all in the
last two games, as well as 8 tackles (7 solo) before he left with
a left shoulder injury in the second half. He returned and is
expected to play through it this week.
A week after breaking out after missing most of the season recovering
from injuries, DT Rod Coleman went down again. He left the game
late in the first quarter after injuring his right arm, but returned
on a few passing rushing situations later in the game. The injuries
to his right triceps and hand landed him on the IR, done for the
season. Fellow DT Trey Lewis also left the game early with a right
knee injury and joins Coleman on the IR. After releasing Grady
Jackson earlier this year, the ATL DT situation is in shambles.
Jonathan Babineaux returns to the starting lineup and the recently-acquired
Tim Anderson joins him. Anderson was just signed a few weeks ago
after being cut by the Bills. The team moved DE Kevin Huntley
up from the practice squad and signed FA DT Jesse Mahelona off
the street for depth to fill the open roster spots. While they’re
likely to stick with Babineaux and Anderson starting inside, I’d
be interested to see first-round pick Jamaal Anderson slide from
end and Huntley get a chance at DE. Anderson has struggled to
make an impact off the edge as a rookie, but has the size and
explosion to be a disruptive force inside. Huntley had sporadically
shown upside as a pass rusher previously in Oakland with 2.5 sacks
in six games last year. Mahelona is a warm body who was cut after
his rookie year in 2006 with the Titans and only lasted a week
with Dolphins this year.
DE John Abraham got his team-leading seventh sack of the season.
He isn’t getting any tackles, but he also hasn’t gone
consecutive games without a sack.
Frustrated with the offense, MLB Ray Lewis took matters in to
his own hands when he returned his second pick of the season 35
yards for a score in the second quarter. Lewis also led the team
in tackles with 16 (12 solo) and recovered a fumble forced by
DE Terrell Suggs on a sack during the first CLE drive of the game.
DT Haloti Ngata drew a personal foul after that sack when he bopped
CLE rookie OT Joe Thomas in the head. Ngata explained he thought
Thomas was going after Lewis’ knees after the turnover.
After a slow start to the season in tackle production, Lewis has
been on a tear lately. He had one double-digit tackle game through
the first five. He has four double-digit tackle games through
the last five. Speaking of remaining hot, Suggs has all four of
his sacks in the last five games, after going sackless through
the first five. He also had 28 tackles in his last three games,
after the same number in his first seven.
CB Chris McAllister returned from a knee to break up 2 passes
and post 4 solo tackles, but CB Samari Rolle (mystery illness)
missed his sixth game. Corey Ivy continued to start in place of
Rolle, who is expected to return this week.
DE Trevor Pryce left the game in the fourth quarter with a strained
or torn left pec. The team awaits word on the severity of the
injury, but HC Brian Billick indicated he thought it was serious.
Dwan Edwards will see more work while Pryce is out.
No sacks or turnovers in their embarrassing loss to the Pats.
MLB John DiGiorgio led the team with 11 tackles (10 solo). Reserve
CB Kiwaukee Thomas was put on the IR due to his groin tear.
DE Julius Peppers had his first sack since Week 6, the only one
for CAR, and forced a fumble on it. He has just 2.5 sacks on the
season. He had 4 other solo tackles in the game. MLB Jon Beason
led the team with 9 tackles (7 solo). CB Chris Gamble dislocated
his thumb during the game, but is expected to play this week.
DT Tommie Harris didn’t start and was limited as he continues
to battle a sore left knee. There were reports he’ll need
surgery on the knee after the season that HC Lovie Smith denied.
Harris, who has a career high seven sacks this season, is unlikely
to push it with the team falling out of playoff contention and
could have his season cut short if CHI is eliminated from the
playoffs early. Darwin Walker and Anthony Adams started at DT
and Walker had his first sack as a Bear. CB Nathan Vasher missed
another game with a partially torn groin and remains very questionable.
After sorting through the recent IR moves at LB, the reconstituted
CIN lineup kept Landon Johnson in the middle despite Anthony Schlegel
returning. Dhani Jones was at Johnson’s normal WLB spot,
and Rashad Jeanty at SLB. Even though Schlegel was still battling
a bad back, the LB group might be stronger without him. Johnson
is also nursing a sore back, but is expected to be fine to play
this week. Jones led the team in tackles with 7 (4 solo).
Rookie CB Leon Hall replaced the Deltha O’Neal in the starting
lineup. Robert Geathers returned to focusing on DE (he had been
rotating at SLB in certain packages recently) and has 1.5 sacks.
The team and his fantasy owners suffered a big blow when productive
rookie CB Eric Wright went down on Cleveland’s first defensive
play of the game. He suffered a sprained right knee and is expected
to miss several weeks. The nature wasn’t revealed, but it is likely
an MCL sprain, based on the length of absence (possibly a month)
being suggested. Wright is currently leading the team in tackles.
replaced Wright and led the team with 8 solo tackles. Rookie Brandon
McDonald took over Holly’s nickel duties. Holly should continue
to start while Wright is out. On the other side, CB Leigh
Bodden battled back spasms while allowing previously unspectacular
BAL reserve WR Devard Darling to look like a star. FS Brodney
Pool grabbed his second pick in as many games and returned
100 yards for a franchise record.
More bad injury news for the team was DE Shaun Smith being inactive
after hurting his knee during practice last week. Smith is likely
to miss another game. This forced DE Orpheus Roye, who has been
battling knee problems of his own, back to the starting lineup.
Roye responded with 8 tackles (5 solo), including sharing a sack
with ILB Leon Williams, the first of the season for either. The
team had a season-high six sacks on Sunday, giving them ten in
their last two games after a league-worst seven in their first
eight games. DE Robaire Smith led the way with two sacks. Smith
now leads the team with four sacks. Some positive injury news
was ILB D’Qwell Jackson returned from a sprained ankle.
Andra Davis remained the starter, but Jackson saw some limited
action. Jackson’s return hurts the value of all three ILBs
as he is eased back in, but mostly downgrades Davis, who did nothing
in the two games Jackson missed to reclaim his starting role.
Ware had the only sack for the Cowboys, his ninth on the season,
among his 7 tackles (4 solo) and he forced a fumble. He battled
dehydration in the game, but should be OK for this week. SS
Roy Williams led the team with 10 tackles (9 solo, including
one on special teams). CB Anthony
Henry continues to play, but not start, on a tender ankle.
FS John Lynch returned from a pinched nerve and looked a little
dazed after a big hit during the game, but is OK and expected
to play this week. Hamza Abdullah remained the starter at SS.
Rookie Tim Crowder continues to impress, getting his third sack
of the season, all in the last two games.
DE Dewayne White missed his second consecutive game with a left
triceps injury, however he expects to play on Thursday. Jared
DeVries got the start in White’s place. DeVries recovered
a fumble forced by MLB Paris Lenon. On the other side, DE Kalimba
Edwards got his third sack of the season, and first since Week
One. He had 3 other solo tackles. SLB Boss Bailey had his first
sack since Week Two.
CB Travis Fisher was dinged during the third quarter and left,
but later returned. On the other side, CB Fernando Bryant played
after spraining his foot in the previous game. Nickel CB Keith
Smith is the top back-up as former starter Stanley Wilson has
fell down the depth chart. SS Kennoy Kennedy forced a fumble he
recovered himself. He also had 8 tackles (6 solo). Back-up free
safety Idrees Bashir injured his right knee during the opening
kick-off. He tore his ACL and is done for the season. The team
signed FA S Greg Blue to replace him.
DT Johnny Jolly left the game with a shoulder sprain and is very
questionable for this week. DT Corey Williams saw more work in
his place and had his second two-sack game in his last three.
He has six on the season. Rookie Justin Harrell could finally
see some significant action with Jolly out. Harrell has been out
almost a month with an ankle injury, but is ready to return.
MLB Nick Barnett led the team with 9 tackles (8 solo). CB Charles
Woodson had his fourth pick of the season. He has one in each
of the last three games. Rookie Aaron Rouse continued to replace
Nick Collins (knee) at FS and had his first career pick. Collins
could return this week despite being expected to miss a few more.
Williams came out on top in his first meeting in Houston with
NO RB Reggie Bush, after the team passed on Bush to take Williams
first overall in last year’s draft, much to the chagrin of many
fans. Williams had 6 tackles (3 solo), including his fifth sack
of the season, as the defense held Bush to 34 yards rushing on
2.3 ypc and shut out the previously resurgent NO offense in the
second half. Williams forced a fumble on the sack and while NO
recovered it, the effort helped end the drive deep in NO territory,
setting up a FG and 17-10 lead for Houston going in to halftime.
MLB DeMeco Ryans led the team with 10 tackles (6 solo) and broke
up 2 passes. As expected, Von Hutchins moved to CB opposite rookie
Fred Bennett with Dunta Robinson done for the year. Will Demps
replaced Hutchins as the starting FS. The versatile Hutchins thrived
in the role, getting his first pick of the season and totaling
9 tackles (7 solo). CB Jamar Fletcher is expected to return from
recovering after an appendicitis, but will, at best, compete with
Petey Faggins for the nickel CB role.
DE Dwight Freeney was put on the IR last week with a Lisfranc
sprain in his left foot. Josh Thomas moved in to the starting
lineup in Freeney’s place and DE Robert Mathis brought the
pass rush with his team-leading sixth sack, and fourth in the
last three games.
WLB Freddie Keiaho returned from post-concussion syndrome and
led the team with 9 tackles (7 solo). Tyjuan Hagler (neck) remained
inactive, giving Rocky Boiman another start. Hagler is expected
to miss this week, as well.
MLB Mike Peterson broke his right hand in the third quarter, but
finished the game and led the team with 6 tackles (5 solo). However,
the hand requires surgery and he is expected to miss several weeks.
WLB Darryl Smith moved to the middle, opening up a starting role
again for rookie Justin Durant outside with Clint Ingram. Smith
was solid, but unspectacular, when he filled in for Peterson in
the middle much of last year, so his value doesn’t get much
of a bump.
Kansas City Greg Wesley got his first start at SS over Bernard Pollard on
Sunday, but left on their third play on defense with a sore knee.
Pollard replaced him and led the team with 7 tackles (6 solo)
and broke up a pass. Wesley is expected to be out this week, so
Pollard remains the starter and likely should hold on to the job
the rest of the season now.
Allen picked off PHI QB Donovan McNabb twice, but the team’s
fortunes changed after McNabb was knocked out of the game. Both
picks were deep in MIA territory and Allen also had 6 solo tackles,
including one on special teams, in his best game of his career.
CB Andre’ Goodman had his second pick of the season on replacement
PHI QB A.J. Feeley, but it was not enough. CB Will Allen (CB,
appeared to force a fumble on a sack early in the third quarter,
but was called offsides. The Eagles would score the eventual game-winning
TD on the next play. MLB Zach Thomas continued to battle migraine
headaches last week, so he missed his fifth game of the season.
Crowder continues to replace Thomas in the middle, despite
battling a leg injury, and led the team with 12 solo tackles.
Pope remained on the weakside in place of Crowder and had
4 solo tackles. SLB Joey Porter had 7 solo tackles and brought
some pressure, but the team had no sacks.
After struggling to recover from what was supposed to be a minor
knee procedure several weeks ago, Travares Tillman was placed
on the IR. DE Matt Roth was inactive after straining his groin
in the previous game and is expected to be out this week, as well.
Vonnie Holliday started at DE in his place and Rodrique Wright
started at DT in place of Holliday.
Greenway was involved in both turnovers the defense forced.
With MIN up by just three late in the fourth quarter, rookie DE
sacked OAK QB Daunte Culpepper knocking the ball away which Greenway
recovered. Then with less than two minutes to play, it looked
like Greeway sealed the victory when he grabbed his first career
pick. However, he fumbled it on the return and OAK recovered,
giving them a fresh set of down. Fortunately for the Vikings,
the drive stalled after they entered MIN territory and the Vikings
got the win. Robison leads the team with 4.5 sacks as a pass rush
DE Ray Edwards had his fourth sack of the season and reserve DE
Erasmus James had his first sack since 2005. MLB E.J. Henderson
also had a sack among his 6 solo tackles. DT Pat Williams led
the team with 9 tackles (6 solo) as the Raiders inexplicably kept
trying to run in the strength of the MIN D, up the middle.
CB Antoine Winfield returned after missing two games with a pulled
hamstring, but aggravated the injury and sat out the second half.
Rookie Marcus McCauley stepped in for him. HC Brad Childress said
Winfield could have returned, but was kept on the sidelines as
a precaution and Winfield says he expects to play this week.
After just a half sack through his first nine games as a Pat,
ILB Adalius Thomas had 2.5 in their dismantling of the Bills.
OLB Mike Vrabel had at least one sack for the fourth straight
game and leads the team with 9.5 on the season, tying his career
high. CB Ellis Hobbs put the cherry on the blowout cake when he
picked up a fumble forced by FS James Sanders for a TD. DE Jarvis
Green suffered a leg injury in the game.
DE Charles Grant was inactive after trying to play through a sprained
left ankle in their previous game. Josh Cooper remained the start,
but Grant is expected back this week. On the other side, DE Will
Smith remained hot. He now leads the team with four sacks and
had his third in the last four games. Smith totaled 3 tackles
(2 solo) and also recovered a fumble. DT Brian Young remained
out after recent arthroscopic surgery on his left knee.
WLB Scott Shanle returned after missing two games with a hamstring
injury, but had problems with it after the game and is questionable
for this week. Brian Simmons would get another start if Shanle
can’t go. SLB Scott Fujita led the team with 9 tackles (6
solo) and recovered a fumble.
Another week, another toasting for CB Jason
David. This time it was a 73-yard TD to HOU WR Andre Johnson
in his first game in a while. David incredibly remains a starter.
New York Giants
The Giants brought great pressure all day and turned the turnover
game around on the league’s leader in takeaways. Up by just six
late in the fourth quarter, SS James
Butler wrestled a potential TD ball away from DET WR Shaun
McDonald for his first pick of the season. CB Sam
Madison forced a fumble on McDonald earlier in the drive,
but it went out of bounds before the Giants could recover. However,
the Giants went three-and-out, giving DET one more chance. They
drove in to NYG territory, but McDonald was the goat again as
he deflected a pass up and Madison came down with his third pick
of the year. Earlier in the game, FS Gibril Wilson grabbed his
team-leading fourth pick of the season. Butler (5 solo) and Madison
(4 solo) both had 7 tackles, Butler also recovered a fumble by
McDonald right before the half.
The team had three sacks, all by DE Michael Strahan. He now is
tied with DE Osi Umenyiora for the team lead with 8 sacks. Strahan
is among the hottest DLs in the league as he now has 7 sacks in
his last four games. Umenyiora just had an assisted tackle for
the day. MLB Antonio Pierce led the team with 10 tackles (7 solo).
He also forced the fumble Butler recovered and recovered a fumble
himself later in the game. Pierce played through a mild concussion
suffered two days earlier in practice. SLB Mathias Kiwanuka broke
his left fibula on the second play of the game. He will have surgery
this week and may miss the rest of the season. Reggie Tobor replaced
him and should continue to start in Kiwanuka’s place.
New York Jets
Rookie ILB David Harris didn’t miss a beat coming off the
bye week. He posted double-digit tackles (11) for the third straight
game and got his second sack of the season. He now leads the team
in tackles despite starting just three games.
Tweener Chris Clemons was rewarded for his outstanding play as
a situational pass rusher and got his first start as a Raider
at LDE. He responded with 2 sacks, forcing a fumble recovered
by DT Warren Sapp on one of them. Sapp also forced a fumble on
one of his 6 tackles (5 solo). Clemons now leads the team with
5 sacks and has some upside in leagues where sacks score big.
On the other side, DE Derrick Burgess had his third sack of the
season, all in the last four games.
returned from a shoulder injury, but Robert
Thomas remained the starter at SLB. Thomas, a former first
round pick of the Rams, is undersized, but a solid tackler and
good in coverage. He had 4 tackles (3 solo) and forced a fumble
that MLB Kirk
Morrison recovered. Morrison led the team with 10 tackles
Asomugha returned from a knee injury that kept him out of
the previous game and grabbed his first pick of the season in
their own end zone on an outstanding athletic play before leaving
in the third quarter with a concussion after being accidentally
kicked in the head by MIN RB Chester Taylor. Fabian
Washington replaced Asomugha. FS Stuart
Schweigert injured his hip on the first play of the game and
was replaced by Hiram
Eugene. Schweigert was in and out of the game, finally locked
in when Eugene left with a stinger in the fourth quarter.
Thomas replaced Jevon
Kearse and rookie Victor
Abiamiri as the starting LDE. Thomas only had 2 solo tackles,
but the last one was huge. On a fourth-and-goal with seconds left,
he tackled MIA RB Jesse Chatman for a 13-yard loss on a pitch
that was a shockingly bad play call. Kearse has been battling
knee problems, but has been unimpressive all year. He could be
active this week, but will likely remain a reserve. Darren
Howard continues to barely be involved, as well. Both players
could be gone after this season, although Abiamiri needs to show
The team had no sacks or turnovers. SLB Chris Gocong led the team
with 7 tackles (6 solo, including one on special teams). WLB Takeo
Spikes had 6 solo tackles and broke up a pass.
As expected, Quintin Mikell replaced Sean Considine, who is done
for the season, at SS. However, Mikell suffered a sprained MCL
on the final play of the first half and did not return. The team
awaits results of an MRI. After losing Considine, the team is
extremely thin at safety. J.R. Reed replaced Mikell, but Reed
is more return specialist than defender. Rookie UDFA Marcus Paschal
may be a better starting option on the roster, but he was inactive
on Sunday as he was just moved up from the practice squad last
week. The team will likely bring a FA off the street if Mikell
misses significant time. FS Brian Dawkins had a sore thigh after
the game, but is expected to play this week. After being benched
last week, former nickel corner Will James was active, but did
not play this week.
Clark is done for the season and was placed on the IR after
his spleen was removed last week. Clark had battled an inflamed
spleen since their late October game in Denver. The problem is
a blood condition that was aggravated as a result of the combination
of exertion and altitude in Denver. The good news is he can play
again, but I suspect not in Denver. Anthony Smith remains the
starter at FS in his place. The news got worse at safety as Troy
Polamalu suffered a knee sprain in the game and is doubtful this
Carter replaced him as SS and should get the start this week.
FS O.J. Atogwe sealed the victory with his team-leading third
pick of the season on the final play of the game. He led the team
with 9 tackles (6 solo). MLB Will Witherspoon set a career high
with his fourth sack of the season. He also had 7 tackles (3 solo)
and 3 passes defensed. Witherspoon has had sacks in three straight
games, as he is one of the key people DC Jim Haslett is leaning
on to help their pass rush with DE Leonard Little out for the
season. He has even been lining up as an end in certain packages.
Witherspoon gets a big bump in leagues where sacks score well.
After an incredible string of performances the last few weeks,
Antonio Cromartie bumped Drayton Florence and remained a starter
at corner with Quentin Jammer returning from a hamstring. Unfortunately,
Cromartie ended up a huge disappointment for those who played
him, not showing up in the box score, much less turning in another
amazing big play. He should continue to remain a starter and remains
a strong starting fantasy candidate because of his home run potential,
despite a disappointing showing on Sunday.
The team had no sacks and no turnovers. OLB Shaun Phillips led
the team with 10 solo tackles. Jacques Cesaire continues to start
in place of DE Luis Castillo, who will miss up to another four
weeks after surgery on a right ankle tendon.
ILB Jeff Ulbrich hurt his ankle in the game and didn’t see
as many snaps as usual. He had been playing more the starter Derek
Smith lately. Ulbrich is questionable for this week. Rookie ILB
Patrick Willis had just 4 tackles (3 solo) and continues to not
produce as well playing with a cast on his broken right hand.
The team had a season-high six sacks, led by 2.5 by DE Bryant
Young. On the other side, DE Marques Douglas had half a sack and
led the team with 10 tackles (6 solo).
OLB Leroy Hill returned after missing a game with a hamstring
strain and led the team with 10 tackles (5 solo), including second
sack of the season. DE Patrick Kerney had three sacks, he now
has 7.5 on the season, the most he’s had since 2004. DT
Rocky Bernard suffered a concussion in the game, but is expected
to play this week.
CB Ronde Barber picked a fumble forced by DE Greg White on a sack
in the second quarter and returned it 41 yards for a the fourth
fumble return TD of his career. It was his eleventh career TD
and ninth in the regular season, tying MIN S Darren Sharper for
the lead among active defensive players. It was the first defensive
TD for the Bucs this year. The less-heralded rookie DE, White,
had 2 sacks. He now leads the team with 4.5 sacks as a situational
player, including 3.5 in the last four games. The more-heralded
rookie DE, Gaines Adams, got his second start at RDE with Greg
Spires out again and despite Patrick Chukwurah returning. Adams
had a sack, giving him 2.5 for the year. Spires has a torn left
calf and is expected to miss at least two more weeks.
MLB Barrett Ruud continues to slip in the tackle department. After
posting double-digit tackles in five of his first six games, he
now has done it in just one of the last four games. Ruud had just
4 tackles (3 solo) in the game, but he did reward his fantasy
owners with his second pick of the season. SLB Cato June led the
team with 9 solo tackles and celebrated a bit too much after the
game, as it was also his 28th birthday. He was arrested and charged
with a DUI on early Monday morning. If this is his first offense
of the league’s substance abuse policy, nothing should happen.
If it isn’t, he could be in a little trouble.
DT Albert Haynesworth missed his second game with a sore hamstring.
Randy Starks started in his place and Haynesworth is expected
back this week. CB Nick Harper was inactive with a concussion
and Reynaldo Hill returned to a starting role in his place. Harper
is expected back this week.
With an unexpected three point lead late in the third quarter,
the momentum shifted on consecutive plays. WLB Rocky McIntosh
appeared to have a pick that he returned deep in DAL territory,
but the play was challenged and ruled an incomplete pass. On the
next play, FS Reed Doughty was called for a 51-yard pass interference
that would lead to a DAL TD. Despite a good effort by the offense
to keep up with DAL in the fourth quarter, WAS never regained
the lead. Doughty got the start over Pierson Prioleau, as the
two both keep the spot warm for Sean Taylor who is expected to
miss at least this week with an MCL sprain in his knee.
CB Shawn Springs (6 solo) and MLB London Fletcher (5 solo) led
the team with 7 tackles. Fletcher also had a pick. SLB Marcus
Washington was back in the starting lineup and played through
a lingering left hamstring injury.