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IDP Notes
Week 9
11/3/10

Week 9 Injury Report (available Friday PM)

IDP Depth Chart

Bye Weeks: Broncos, Jaguars, 49ers, Rams, Titans, Redskins

Defensive Line

  • The day Jacksonville DE Jeremy Mincey was announced as replacing former eighth-overall pick Derrick Harvey at LDE, Mincey broke his right hand in practice. Instead of reverting back to Harvey, the Jaguars gave rookie Austen Lane his first career start. He posted one TFL, while Harvey had a goose egg in limited time. Lane had 29 sacks and 55 TFL in his 43 games at FCS (D-IAA) Murray State, highlighted by 12 and 22 in his breakthrough senior season. He became their highest-drafted player in the history when Jacksonville took him in the fifth round. Lane had a nice showing at the Senior Bowl and showed solid, but unspectacular, athleticism at the Combine. Heís a nice long-term prospect, but needs to get stronger and add more bulk to his over 6í6Ē frame. I have modest expectations for Lane this year and expect to see Mincey take over as soon as he can.

  • It was a dominating performance for the Detroit front four in the, with DE Kyle Vanden Bosch, DE Cliff Avril and rookie DT Ndamukong Suh each racking up a pair of sacks and at least 5 tackles. Suh also returned a fumble forced by KVB 17 yards for his first career TD to seal the victory. Suh leads the team, and all rookies in the NFL, with 6.5 sacks on the season, tied for eighth in the league. He is the leading candidate for Defensive ROY.

  • The season is officially over for Giants DE tweener Mathias Kiwanuka. He was placed on the IR last week. He will try to rest for his herniated disc to avoid surgery, but if he eventually needs surgery, the longer he waits could impact his start to the 2011 season. He is a free agent after this year, so someone will potentially get a bargain, probably the Giants on a one-year contract. The team claimed tweener Alex Hall off waivers to fill the roster spot. Hall, who has shown potential as a pass rusher with his hand off the ground, could fill the role at SLB in their ďbig baseĒ package that Kiwanuka thrived in.

  • After leading the league in sacks with 48 last year, Minnesota is tied for last in the league with 6 almost halfway through this season. They have gone three weeks without a sack. In this column the first week of the dry spell, I tried to rationalize their already disappointing output with the impact of the injuries in the secondary and the mindset of DE Ray Edwards. While those reasons still apply, this is now a team in full-blown turmoil and itís time to revisit expectations for a turnaround up front. On the downside, the offense remains in shambles, with QB Brett Favre struggling and now the Randy Moss debacle. They also are still thin at corner with Cedric Griffin done for the season. On the other hand, in the next four games, they face the top three teams in sacks allowed this season and three more teams in the top third of the league in the final five games, including getting Chicago twice, who far and away lead the league in sacks allowed. Compare that to in their seven games so far this season, six of the teams they have played are in the bottom third of the league in sacks allowed. Iíd definitely buy low on DE Jared Allen and his one sack so far this season. He is capable of reaching double-digit sacks in nine games. However, heís going to need help in drawing away double-teams. UT Kevin Williams still requires attention, but NT Pat Williams is playing on empty and itís time to give Jimmy Kennedy and Letroy Guion, whoíve shown potential in limited opportunities, more work. Iím not as confident in Edwards bouncing back and it may be time to give Brian Robison and rookie Everson Griffen more snaps in passing sets. And if they still arenít getting it done up front, look for DC Leslie Frazier to bring it with the blitz. He has been hesitant to sacrifice support with the problems at corner, but he may have to take more chances to try and get some pressure, making their linebackers the beneficiaries of more sack opportunities.

  • After missing the previous game with a calf injury, Green Bay DE Cullen Jenkins started and saw his normal amount of work in contributing to Sundayís shut out of the Jets, but posted just one assist and one pass defensed. On the other side, DE Ryan Pickett was inactive after aggravating an ankle sprain in their previous game. Rookie C.J. Wilson replaced him and had another solid performance with 3 tackles (1 solo). The team added Howard Green for depth last week with their DLine banged up and he saw immediate work, posting 2 tackles (1 solo).

  • Expected to have a breakout season when he inherited the starting RDE job this season, Tampa Bay DE Greg White, the sack artist formerly known as Greg, had a disappointing start to the season. However, after just one sack in the first 5 games of the season, he now put up sacks in back-to-back games. He also forced his second fumble of the season.

  • Cincinnati DE Jonathan Fanene aggravated his injured hamstring and could be done for the season. DE Frostee Rucker had another uninspiring start at RDE. Rookie Carlos Dunlap saw more work than Michael Johnson again this week as the reserve ends. The result was no sacks for the second straight week. As I said in this column last week, stay away from this mess.

  • Already without LDE Aaron Smith, who partially tore his left biceps in the previous game, Pittsburgh also missed their other end, Brett Keisel, out for the second straight game with a hamstring. Nick Eason replaced Keisel and former first-round pick Evander Hood replaced Smith. Keisel thought he was going to be able to this past week, so expect him back this week. The team DL Steve McClendon for depth last week with both ends out and had to cut rookie fourth-round pick OLB Thaddeus Gibson to make room as they try to protect Smithís roster spot. HC Mike Tomlin indicated theyíll wait and see about Smith after his surgery on Monday. He was given an 8-9 week recovery, which could have him back for the start of the playoffs. Ideally theyíd like to have the experienced run-stopper back for the playoffs, but it remains to be see how long they can afford to keep his roster spot open. Smithís injury was almost a year to the date after tearing his right rotator cuff to end his season and late in 2007 he tore his right biceps. Smith is signed through next season, but turns 35 before the season starts and has now missed significant time in 3 of the last 4 seasons. He could be done as a Steeler if Ziggy Hood can take advantage of the opportunity. The 2009 first-round pick has not made much of an impact in limited opportunities, but he has worked mostly at LDE in preparation to eventually replace Smith and needs to step or he might not be the long-term solution.

  • Washington DT Albert Haynesworth followed up a strong performance in the previous game with his most productive performance of the season. Playing primarily a situational pass rushing role in their nickel and dime packages, he had 4 solo tackles, including the teamís only sack of the game. It was his second sack of the season and came for the second consecutive game.

  • St. Louis DE James Hall broke his hand on Sunday, but continued playing. The team is on a bye this week, so expect Hall back with a cast in Week Ten.

  • New Orleans DE Will Smith had a sack and shared another with S Pierson Prioleau. It was the first time Smith had gotten to the QB since Week Three. Smith now has 2.5 sacks through seven games after a career high 13 sacks last season.

  • Seattle lost DE Red Bryant the season after he suffered a right knee injury on Sunday. He hasnít been much of a fantasy producer, but the converted DT has been an outstanding run-stopper since Carroll blew up his front four in the offseason and moved Bryant to LDE. Former first-round pick Kentwaan Balmer, who San Francisco gave up on this year, is expected to take over at LDE. DT Colin Cole also suffered an ankle sprain in the game and his status is TBD. The team hopes to get DT Brandon Mebane back this week after heís missed three straight games with a calf injury.

  • Philadelphia comes off the bye looking to start former UDFA DT Antonio Dixon next to Mike Patterson although DT Brodrick Bunkley, who has a torn elbow ligament, is being eased back in to practice and could play this week.

  • Buffalo DT Kyle Williams was shredding the Kansas City interior line on Sunday, racking up 2 sacks and a handful of other pressures. DE Dwan Edwards had another strong game with 6 tackles (4 solo). DE Aaron Maybin was a healthy scratch for the second consecutive game.

  • Kansas City DE Wallace Gilberry got his first career start, replacing Tyson Jackson, and posted 5 tackles (4 solo), including his third sack of the season. Gilberry had been rotating in as a pass rush specialist for Jackson, but as Jackson has fallen behind since his knee injury, Gilberry appears to be the beneficiary. An undrafted free agent out of Alabama in 2008, the tweener has shown the ability to get to the QB in limited opportunities.

  • Tampa Bay placed second-round rookie DT Brian Price on the IR. He has been out for a few weeks with a hip injury, now heís done for the season.

  • Teams allowing the most sacks this season (start your pass rushers against them):

    1. Chicago (31)
    2. Washington (23)
    3. Arizona, Oakland, Seattle (22)
    6. Carolina, Denver, Philadelphia, San Diego (21)

  • Top waiver wire recommendations of the week: As discussed above, Greg White is heating up and could be one of the few players with pass rush potential on the wire in medium-to-deep redraft leagues. Particularly in dynasty leagues, Austen Laneís stock rises with the opportunity, although it might be Jeremy Mincey in a few weeks.

Linebacker

  • Instant impact Ė ILB Gerald Hayes played for the first time this season, fresh off the PUP due to back surgery over the summer, and returned a fumble 21 yards for a TD. While rookie Daryl Washington started, PT for Hayes came more at his expense than Paris Lenon. Hayes also had 5 tackles (3 solo, including one TFL) and Washington had 3 tackles (2 solo). Lenon had 5 tackles (3 solo) and forced the fumble Hayes returned. With Arizona starting to drift out of playoff contention, there no longer seems to be a reason to stunt Washingtonís development and keep Lenon in there. It may be a mess for another week or two, but Iíd expect Hayes to be back starting in his SILB role soon and Washington starting at WILB, with Lenon in a situational role. Rookie OLB OíBrien Schofield was also activated off the PUP, but was limited to special teams. Alex Hall was released to help make room on the roster for the returning OLBs. A disappointing pass rush had some success on Sunday, with starting OLBs Joey Porter and Will Davis each getting a sack. It is back-to-back games with a sack for Porter, but just his third of the season. It was the first sack of the season for Davis in his first career start, as Clark Haggans was inactive with a groin injury. Davis hadnít been producing as a pass rush specialist, but as a starter, in addition to the sack, he had 4 other solo tackles.

  • Detroit MLB DeAndre Levy was finally back from groin and ankle injuries, starting for just the second time this year and posting 4 solo tackles in the middle. However, the team lost another LB last week as Zack Follett (neck) was placed on the injured reserve. Ashlee Palmer takes over WLB in place of Follett and had 4 solo tackles on Sunday. The team added Bobby Carpenter for depth. After extremely disappointing performances in St. Louis and Miami already this year, I donít expect Carpenter to compete for more than special teams work.

  • ILB Desmond Bishop put up his fourth straight double-digit tackle game, leading the team with 10 solo in their shutout of the Jets. Next to him, A.J. Hawk saw his numbers dip a bit with Brandon Chillar seeing more work. Hawk had 5 tackles (3 solo) and broke up a pass, while Chillar had 2 solo, including a sack. OLB Clay Matthews extended his league lead in sacks with number 9.5 on the season. On the other side, UDFA rookie Frank Zombo returned to the starting lineup after putting Brad Jones on the IR with a right shoulder injury last week. Itís the second straight week the team has lost an OLB for the season, with Brady Poppinga going previously. The team added OLB tweener Erik Walden off the street for depth and he made an immediate impact, getting 2 solo tackles on defense and another on special teams. A sixth-round pick of Dallas in 2008, he didnít make their final preseason cut before getting a cup of coffee in Kansas City and then getting his longest stint in Miami. Heís been almost exclusively a special teams player, but with the depth problems at OLB, he looks a good bet to stick this week despite the team having to make some tough decisions with a slew of PUP activations hitting their roster.

  • With his fourth consecutive double-digit tackle game, and fifth in seven games this season, New England ILB Jerod Mayo retained the league lead in tackles. He led the team with 14 (7 solo) on Sunday. He now has 86 on the season, an average of over 12 per game, and is on pace for an incredible 195 this season. As discussed in this column the last two weeks, it continues to be a pretty straight platoon next to Mayo with rookie Brandon Spikes starting and the run-stopper and Gary Guyton in there against the pass. Fearing Minnesota RB Adrian Peterson more than QB Brett Favre, a heavy dose Spike resulted in 7 tackles (5 solo) for him. The Pats travel to Cleveland this week and with RB Peyton Hillis their only threat on offense, expect plenty of Spikes again on Sunday.

  • Washington ILB Rocky McIntosh led the team with 9 tackles (7 solo). He is on pace to shatter his highest single-season tackle total with well over 100 tackles this season. ILB London Fletcher had just 4 tackles (3 solo), but broke up a pair of passes and recovered a fumble. He remains among the top ten in tackles in the league. OLB Brian Orakpo missed a series with an apparent left ankle or foot injury in the first quarter, but returned. He injured the same foot last week.

  • The move MLB didnít for Brian Cushing in Houston didnít net big results on MNF. Cushing had 5 tackles (2 solo) and a pass defense. Those who rushed out to grab WLB Zac Diles when it was originally announced he would be the new Mike hopefully got some residual benefit if they started him anyway since he led the team with 11 tackles (10 solo), including a TFL. New SLB Kevin Bentley had just a solo tackle, as Indianapolis dominated time of possession and Houston played a lot of nickel against the Colts three-wide set.

  • Indianapolis MLB Gary Brackett returned to the starting lineup from a groin injury and led the team with 9 tackles (7 solo). WLB Clint Session had 8 solo tackles, including annihilating Houston QB Matt Schaub on a sack in the second quarter. Session left the game shortly after with a left arm injury, but would return the next series. At SLB, Philip Wheeler was demoted in favor of rookie second-round pick Pat Angerer, after his impressive showing filling in for Brackett. Angerer had 4 tackles (4 solo) and forced a fumble.

  • Atlanta rookie SLB Sean Weatherspoon did not practice Monday coming off the bye, so he looks questionable this week. He has missed the last two games after injuring his left knee in Week Five. Stephen Nicholas will get the start again if Weatherspoon canít go, perhaps even if heís active but fully healthy. Nicholas had played well and the team likely has no reservations with either starting.

  • Itís been a few weeks since Carolina SLB James Anderson has gotten love for his breakout season. After posting double-digit tackles in three of his first four games, he cooled off a bit, but still hasnít had less than 7 tackles in any game. On Sunday he had 8 solo tackles, including a sack, and now has already set single-season highs for himself in both categories with 68 tackles on the season, still among the top ten in the league, and 2.5 sacks. The team placed reserve LB Jamar Williams on the IR with a spinal concussion, pretty much locking in Dan Connor in the middle and Jon Beason at WLB for the rest of the season, not that they were considering changing anything up regardless. Beason has been hurt by the move, with his numbers down across the board. He has yet to get a sack, force a fumble or grab a pick this season.

  • Pittsburgh ILB Lawrence Timmons has had at least 11 tackles in five of the teamís seven games this season and is tied for fourth in the league with 74 this season. OLB LaMarr Woodley played through a sore hamstring and had 2 solo tackles, a fumble recovery and a QB hit.

  • The move to WLB produced great results just couple weeks in for Paul Posluszny in Buffaloís OT loss. Posluszny had a career-high 18 tackles (11 solo), including sharing a sack with DE Marcus Stroud. MLB Andra Davis had just 3 tackles (2 solo), but the Bills played a lot of nickel, which bumps Davis and features Posluszny and Reggie Tobor at the LBs.

  • San Diego OLB Shawne Merriman was waived after previously being placed on the IR. Heíll go through waivers on Wednesday and be a free agent if no one selects him. Pretty much any 3-4 team has been reported as potentially interested.

  • Miami ILB Channing Crowder played through a dislocated right thumb and should play this week with a cast/club on the arm.

  • St. Louis bumped Larry Grant from the starting lineup in favor of Bryan Kehl at WLB. Kehl, who saw some spot starts with the Giants earlier in his career, posted 3 tackles (2 solo).

  • San Francisco claimed OLB Thaddeus Gibson off waivers when Pittsburgh was forced to release him to address their injuries on the DLine. A surprise early departure from Ohio State, Gibson was a talented, but raw, tweener prospect when drafted in the fourth-round this year. He becomes another LB project for HC Mike Singletary, who has gotten modest results with his last one, Ahmad Brooks, and might not be around much longer to tutor either.

  • Tennessee had plenty of opportunities for tackles as San Diego dominated the time of possession on Sunday. OLBs Gerald McRath (10 solo) and Will Witherspoon (6 solo) each had 10 tackles, while MLB Stephen Tulloch had 8 (4 solo). Tulloch is now second in the league in tackles with 79 on the season. OLB David Thornton is expected to begin practicing over the bye and must come off the PUP by Monday, but McRath has played well since his four-game suspension to start the season and shouldnít surrender his starting role.

  • Top waiver wire recommendations of the week: It wasnít an impressive return for MLB DeAndre Levy, but if heís out there in any medium-to-deep leagues, he could pay dividends shortly. I also like Ashlee Palmer as the new WLB with Zack Follett done for the year. All Indianapolis linebackers had a great showing this week, with Clint Session and Gary Brackett possibly available due to their bye the previous week, and Brackett as he missed a few games. New SLB Pat Angerer is more appealing to dynasty leagues, but also might be a decent guy in very deep redrafts. With a bye this past week, Scott Fujita might be out there and he was on the rise before it.

Defensive Back

  • It was a rough second half for Oakland CB Nnamdi Asomugha on Sunday. He left the game in the third quarter with a hand injury, then returned only to painfully sprain his right ankle in the fourth quarter and have to be assisted off the field. Versatile FS Michael Huff slid over to corner and seventh-round pick Stevie Brown took over for Huff when Asomugha left because nickel CB Chris Johnson was inactive with a concussion. Huff had a pick negated due to illegal contact on the play by Stanford Routt, who also had pass interference call in the game. However, Routt did help the right team when he deflected a pass that landed in the hands of SS Tyvon Branch for just his second career interception, and first of the season. Branch also led the team with 8 tackles (3 solo), including his second sack of the season. With the improvement in the front seven, tackle numbers are down for Branch this year after his breakout season last year, but he remains on pace to eclipse 100 tackles and is still one of the top-producing defensive backs. Johnson would be the replacement if Asomugha is out this week, but if Johnson isnít ready to go, Huff would start at corner, with seventh-round pick Jeremy Ware playing the nickel again this week. There were reports Asomugha has a high ankle sprain, in which case he could miss more than a week, but HC Tom Cable said he could play this week. It is a huge game for the Raiders against Kansas City for control of the division, but with a bye for Oakland the following week, it would make sense to rest Asomugha this week. It looks like Brown has passed Hiram Eugene on the depth chart, so he could start at FS, despite among the final cuts for the 53-man roster to start the season and resigning later. Another possibility is Mike Mitchell starting at SS and Branch moving to FS, but the team has been quite happy with the production of Mitchell as their nickel LB lately. Since reserve LB Thomas Howard went down with a knee injury in Week 4, Mitchell has been extremely productive in a hybrid role. Augmented by his special teams contributions, over the last four weeks heís averaged 4 tackles per game, broken up a pass in each game, and has a forced fumble.

  • The encore for Washington CB DeAngelo Hall after his record 4 picks in one game the previous week was to tie his career season high in interceptions with his league-leading sixth pick of the season. He broke up another pass and had 6 tackles 4 solo) as his monster fantasy season continues. SS LaRon Landry had 8 tackles (7 solo), including 2 for a loss. He remains third in the league with 76 tackles this season. He also broke up 2 passes, but is relegated to being the ďotherĒ fantasy stud DB in the lineup while Hall is hot.

  • Typical HC Bill Belichick shenanigans with New England SS Patrick Chung last week. After Chung left their previous game limping off the field and didnít return, there was an unconfirmed local report that heíd miss a game or two. I warned in this column last week Chung would be a highly risky play if he showed up on the injury report, which he eventually would as questionable. However, after returning to practice late last week, most outlets were reporting he was expected to play. Chung ended up inactive. Proceed with caution if he is on the injury report again this week. I expect Belichick is more concerned with having a fully healthy Chung in Pittsburgh in two weeks then he is to have him in Cleveland this week.

  • Despite CB Johnathan Joseph (ankle) returning to practice last week, he was inactive again on Sunday. Morgan Trent, battling his own PCL strain in his knee that limited him in practice last week, got his first career start in place of Joseph and was the star of the defense. He led the team with 11 tackles (9 solo) and grabbed his first career pick that set up a TD. Despite not practicing most of last week either, CB Leon Hall started on a sore hamstring. Already replacing SS Roy Williams, who missed his third straight game with an MCL sprain in his knee, Chinedum Ndukwe was inactive with his own knee issue. Reggie Nelson got his first start as a Bengal at SS. Disappointing was the lack of use by rookie Brandon Ghee, the only healthy corner on the roster. Instead of getting a shot at nickel, the team primarily relied on FS Chris Crocker in the slot and gave Tom Nelson some work at FS.

  • Neither S Atari Bigby (ankle) nor CB Al Harris (knee) were activated from the PUP last week, despite expectations both would be. Charlie Peprah, who has been playing well, remains the SS and rookie Sam Shields the nickel corner. Peprah had 4 solo tackles and broke up 2 passes, while Shields had a solo. The reports again this week are Bigby and Harris will be activated, although the team has until Monday. At best, Bigby is looking at sharing the role with Peprah and Harris is expected to be the nickel. Both corners Tramon Williams and Charles Woodson had a pick.

  • Hall of Famer Russ Grimm, the assistant HC for Arizona, finally got to see his son, Tampa Bay FS Cody Grimm, play in person as a pro. Unfortunately, it was on the other side of the field. He saw Cody lead the Bucs in tackles with 8 (4 solo) in contributing to the win. In the five games since taking over the starting job, Cody has average 7 tackles per game and has 2 picks, one returned for a TD, and forced a fumble. CB Aqib Talib exploited the Cards brutal QB situation, grabbing 2 picks to run his total to 5 on the season, second most in the league. The third-year corner is turning in to one of the better ball hawks in the league. Despite a hamstring injury limiting him late last season, he has 10 picks in his last 19 games. He is gold in leagues that value interceptions heavily, as long as he keeps out of trouble.

  • Vikings SS Husain Abdullah returned to the starting lineup after missing the previous game due to a concussion. Tyrell Johnson returned to his backup role. Rookie nickel CB Chris Cook left the game early with a thigh contusion. He was benched last week for performance and has been a disappointment since getting healthy in a year where he has had a tremendous opportunity. Forget about starting, Asher Allen remains the starter opposite Antoine Winfield, Cook needs to worry about losing time in the nickel to journeyman Frank Walker.

  • Despite reports that expected the contrary, Miami CB Jason Allen reclaimed his starting role from CB Sean Smith. However, Smith grabbed his first career pick late in the fourth to preserve the victory. This situation is influx, making neither a good fantasy play.

  • Denver got starters SS Brian Dawkins (strained knee ligament) and CB Andre Goodman (hamstring) back in London, but were without key reserves rookie CB Perrish Cox (concussion) and S Darcel McBath (ankle).

  • Despite returning to practice last week, Buffalo CB Terrence McGee missed his fourth straight game with a pinched nerve in his left leg. HC Chan Gailey has said he expects him back this week.

  • SS James Butler suffered an ankle sprain on Sunday, with unconfirmed reports it could be of the high variety, meaning heíd miss a few weeks. The Rams have a bye this week, so look for more information next week. Butler has been sharing the starting role with Craig Dahl, after Dahl originally won the role out of camp. Both have battled some injury problems, as well as FS Oshiomogho Atogwe, who missed a start with a thigh injury, so none have been particularly productive. Last week the team added Michael Lewis who quit/was cut by San Francisco a couple weeks ago after losing his starting position. Lewis was not active on Sunday, but could push for a significant role, at least in run defense, especially if Butler misses some time. Lewis has a relationship with HC Steve Spagnuolo that dates back to when he was drafted by Philadelphia and Spagnuolo was the DB coach. For Atogwe, it has been a slow start to the season coming off major shoulder surgery and then the aforementioned lingering thigh problem, but he is starting to show the playmaking ability that used to make him one of the top fantasy DBs. He had a sack and pick on Sunday, giving him both of his interceptions for the year in the last three games. Banged-up St. Louis CB Ronald Bartell had a shoulder stinger and thigh problem, but played Sunday. Kevin Dockery got the start instead of Bartell, but Bartell was the most productive corner. Bartell should be better after the bye this week.

  • Dallas CB Terence Newman started despite a rib muscle strain, but couldnít finish on Sunday. He left in the third quarter and was replaced by Orlando Scandrick. He looks questionable for this week. Newmanís injury contributed to the big day by Jacksonville WR Mike Sims-Walker.

  • Despite CB Jabari Greer (shoulder) and Tracy Porter (knee) returning to practice on a limited basis last week, New Orleans was without their top two corners for another week (top three corners for the season now, with Randall Gay on the IR). To compensate, the team moved FS Malcolm Jenkins back to corner, where he started opposite rookie Patrick Robinson with Leigh Torrence at the nickel. The situation got worse during the game when Robinson sprained his right ankle in the first quarter and didnít return. Torrence move over, with Usama Young, Darren Sharper, and Pierson Prioleau working the nickel and FS. The recent return of Sharper from the PUP helped facilitate the move, although it was Young who got the start at FS. However, Sharper saw more work this week, especially with Robinson out early, and was back to his playmaking ways. With just a three-point lead in the fourth quarter, a fumble bounced right in to the hands of Sharper that he returned near mid-field. The Saints would score a TD on the subsequent drive and clinch the win.

  • In the last three games since resuming the starting SS role, Courtney Greene has averaged 8 tackles (6 solo). Don Carey, who spent his rookie season on the IR last year, has taken over the FS job, giving the Jaguars some youth and energy in a defensive backfield, but still not much quality pass defense.

  • Indianapolis corners Jerraud Powers (feet) and Jacob Lacey (foot) were both inactive, giving Justin Tryon another start in place of Powers opposite Kelvin Hayden.

  • Dimitri Patterson returned from the bye week to find out he was the new starting RCB in Philadelphia CB, replacing Ellis Hobbs, who was torched by Tennessee WR Kenny Britt in Week Seven. An undisclosed injury may have contributed to the poor play by Hobbs, as he didnít practice Monday and instead was reportedly seeing a doctor for unspecified tests. Further connecting the dots, the Eagles brought in street free agent corners Fred Bennett and Joe Burnett for workouts on Tuesday, although neither was signed.

  • Detroit SS C.C. Brown left early Sunday with a right knee injury. He had an MRI and said he wonít need surgery, but it looks like heís out at least this week. Rookie Amari Spievey, a converted college corner, would replace him.

  • After four straight games with a pick, Tennessee FS Michael Griffin didnít one against San Diego and missed tying the franchise record.

  • Picking up right where he left off any time heís healthy, Baltimore FS Ed Reed stepped right off the PUP and in to the starting lineup to grab a pair of picks and force a fumble. He also had 4 solo tackles and was the only bright side in pass defense for a secondary that was surprisingly torched by Buffalo QB Ryan Fitzpatrick. CB Fabian Washington was benched for Josh Wilson in a move that could remain after their bye this week.

  • San Diego SS Steve Gregory is done with his four-game suspension for a banned substance and returned to practice. The team has to activate him by Saturday to play this week, and is expected to do so, otherwise heíll be activated on Monday. Paul Oliver has played well in his absence, so returning to a starting role isnít assumed. Watch for updates this week.

  • George Wilson got the start at FS in Buffalo over Jairus Byrd to shore up the leagueís worst run defense and counter the strong run game of Kansas City. The two split time and cannibalized each otherís stats, while SS Donte Whitner had 10 tackles (6 solo). Look for plenty of Byrd against the pass-first Bears this week and for the 2009 league leader in interceptions to finally get one with pick-machine Chicago QB Jay Cutler coming to town.

  • Top waiver wire recommendations of the week: Ed Reed might still be out there and coming off a bye and people may have forgotten his 2 picks and forced fumble, but you shouldnít if heís still on the waiver wire. In tackle-heavy leagues, Courtney Greene is intriguing again now back as a starter. Amari Spievey is appealing against a run-heavy Jets team if C.C. Brown is out.