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Tony Nowak | Archive | Email
Staff Writer

IDP Notes
Week 9

Bye Weeks: Panthers, Lions, Jaguars, Vikings

Defensive Line

  • The efforts of MIN DE Jared Allen finally paid dividends in the second win of the season for the Vikings on Sunday. Allen had 5 solo tackles, recovered a fumble on the first play from scrimmage for Carolina, resulting in a TD on the subsequent drive, and forced a fumble of his own on a sack later in the game that would also result in a TD. Allen retained the league lead with 12.5 sacks on the season and 11 in his last six games.

  • NYG DE Justin Tuck was active for the first time since Week 3 with a neck stinger and groin strain. He was eased back in, seeing limited snaps, but managed a solo tackles and to share a sack with OLB Mathias Kiwanuka and has two on the season. Ends Osi Umenyiora and Jason Pierre-Paul each had a sack. Umenyiora has six on the season and JPP is fifth in the league with 8.5 sacks.

  • BAL DE Terrell Suggs has a sack in back-to-back games, as he got his team-leading sixth sack of the season. He was all over the field with a game-high 13 tackles (9 solo). DE Paul Kruger had a pair and has 3 on the season.

  • CAR DE Charles Johnson had a sack for the third straight game and his seventh of the season. Rookie DT Terrell McClain had his first career sack.

  • PHI DE Trent Cole returned from the bye with a healthier calf and was back in the starting lineup. He notched his fourth sack of the season. On the other side, DE Jason Babin had a pair of sacks and is now tied for third in the league with 9 sacks on the season.

  • NO DE Will Smith had a pair of sacks in a game for the second time this year, after being suspended for the first two games. Smith shares the team lead with 4.5 sacks on the season.

  • DET DE Cliff Avril had a pair of sacks, forcing a fumble on both and recovering one of those to return it 56 yards for a TD. Avril has had 3 sacks in the last two games and is up to 5 on the season, tied with fellow starting DE Kyle Vanden Bosch, who also had a sack on Sunday. DE Lawrence Jackson also had a pair of sacks. Rookie DT Nick Fairley was inactive again Sunday after reinjuring his left foot, the one he suffered a stress fracture on in the preseason, in the previous game.

  • The Rams upset of the Saints began with a pass rush that brought great pressure and rang up a season-high 6 sacks. STL DE Chris Long led the way with 3 sacks, giving him a team-high 6 on the season. Rookie third DE Robert Quinn got his second sack of the season and blocked a punt.

  • DEN DE Elvis Dumervil was in the starting lineup, playing through an ankle sprain suffered in the previous game. He's still looking for his first sack.

  • CIN DE Carlos Dunlap finally got his first sack of the season after leading the team in sacks last year. He remains in a pass rush specialist role.

  • Despite missing the team flight to be with his wife for the birth of their first child, JAX DE Matt Roth got to Houston in time to start opposite Jeremy Mincey. Aaron Kampman was set to get his first start of the season if Roth didn't make it, but he remained in a backup role and put up a goose egg on Sunday. Roth had 4 solo tackles and recovered a fumble on which he made the questionable decision to lateral it to big DT Terrance Knighton, who then lateralled it to OLB Clint Session, who started the play by forcing a fumble on a sack, and they ended up at the Houston 8-yard line, setting up the Jaguars first TD. DE John Chick, the former CFL star who has been a growing fan favorite after two sacks in the last three games, was inactive due to a strained oblique suffered in the previous game on Monday night.

  • BUF NT Kyle Williams remained inactive with an ankle injury, reported as a bone spur hitting his Achilles' tendon, and there is talk he may be shut down to be ready for the playoffs, if he can return at all this season. As replacement Kellen Heard has disappointed, the team slid first-round pick Marcell Dareus in from DE to NT. Dareus helped lead a relentless pass rush that racked up 9 sacks on the day. Dareus had 2.5 sacks and he now leads the team with 3.5 on the season.

  • PIT NT Casey Hampton returned to the starting lineup after missing the last three games with a shoulder injury. DE Brett Keisel had his third sack of the season.

  • NE pass rush specialist DE Mark Anderson had a sack and RDE Andre Carter had a pair. The duo leads the team with 4.5 sacks on the season. LDE Shaun Ellis left the game early with a rib injury. Brandon Deaderick, who was just activated from the PUP, replaced Ellis.

  • TEN rookie DT Karl Klug was thought to not have enough bulk to play the interior, but his quickness has been an asset as he is becoming a pass rush specialist for the Titans. Klug got his team-leading third sack of the season, had a couple QB hits, 2 solo tackles and batted down a pass on Sunday.

  • SF DE Ray McDonald left in the second quarter with a hamstring injury and did not return. He was replaced by Ricky Jean-Francois.

  • TB DT Gerald McCoy is expected to be ready to go this week out of the bye, after missing time with an ankle sprain.

  • Waiver Wire Recommendations: DET DE Cliff Avril has strung together a couple of good games after getting lost in the rotation early in the season.


  • After local reports that PIT OLB James Harrison (fractured right orbital socket) would return this week, Harrison posted on Facebook that his doctor says he won't return this week and the "worst case scenario" has him out through their Week 11 bye. Harrison missed his fourth straight game on Sunday since fracturing his right orbital socket in Week 4. Lawrence Timmons continued to replace him at ROLB and his production was disappointing again, finishing with 4 tackles (1 solo). On the other side, LaMarr Woodley had a pair of sacks for the second straight game, giving him 7.5 in the last four games and putting him in tie for third in the league with 9 sacks on the season. However, Woodley had to leave early in the third quarter with a hamstring injury. Woodley said he'll play this week immediately after the game, but reports on the seriousness of the injury are far less optimistic. It sounds like he could be out this week, giving rookie Chris Carter his first career start. Reserve OLB Jason Worilds would be the other candidate, but he remains sidelined with a groin injury, although he is expected to return to practice this week. ILB James Farrior was inactive with a calf injury, giving Stevenson Sylvester his first career start inside next to Larry Foote. Sylvester put up a goose egg in the box score, as his snaps were limited with the Steelers frequently in a dime package to cover the New England spread offense and against their quality TEs. Farrior is expected to miss at least this week, as well, and possibly out through their bye. To add depth to their thin LB corps, the team promoted LB Mortty Ivy from the practice squad. The 2008 West Virginia DPOY and first-team All-Big East selection went undrafted in 2009. After bouncing around a few teams the last two years, he signed with the Steelers this year and had a strong preseason before being relegated to the practice squad.

  • MIN MLB E.J. Henderson had a rare sack on Sunday, but it doesn't signify an increased roll for Henderson, who still defers to his brother, WLB Erin Henderson, in the nickel. The Vikings had an all-out blitz on CAR QB Cam Newton on the first play from scrimmage for the Panthers and Henderson got him and stripped the ball, which DE Jared Allen recovered. E.J. had just 3 tackles (1 solo) the rest of the game. Erin had 5 (4 solo) and broke up 2 passes. SLB Chad Greenway had double-digit tackles for the second straight game, leading the team with 13 (7 solo) and recovered a fumble forced on a sack by Jared Allen.

  • BAL MLB Ray Lewis left the game halfway through the first quarter with stinger in his right shoulder. He missed four plays and was back in. Lewis finished with 5 tackles (3 solo) and broke up a pass. WLB Jameel McClain helped keep the comeback going in the second half when he came down with a pass batted for a pop up, grabbing it for his first pick of the season. He also had 5 tackles (3 solo). SLB Jarrett Johnson had 6 solo tackles and a strip sack on the first play from scrimmage of the game.

  • NE LB Jerod Mayo was active and eased back from a reported right MCL knee sprain, splitting reps with LB Gary Guyton. LB Brandon Spikes had 12 tackles (10 solo) and broke up a pass.

  • SF ILB NaVorro Bowman had his fourth double-digit tackle game of the season, leading the team with 12 (11 solo, an assist on special teams). He is second in the league in tackles with 68. Next to him, ILB Patrick Willis had 7 tackles (6 solo) and his first sack of the season. OLB Ahmad Brooks had a pair of sacks, forcing a fumble on one, and rookie third OLB Aldon Smith remained hot, getting another sack, giving him a team-high 6.5 sacks on the season, all in the last four games.

  • NYG SLB Mathias Kiwanuka led the team with 7 tackles (5 solo) and had 1.5 sacks. He has 3.5 sacks on the season, all in the last three games. The return of Justin Tuck may start to limit his pass rush role going forward. Tuck was eased back in this week, but should see a bigger workload this week.

  • STL MLB James Laurinaitis had his second double-digit tackle game of the season, leading the team with 10 solo tackles. He also had his first sack of the season and broke up 2 passes. SLB Brady Poppinga was inactive after leaving the previous game with a calf strain. Bryan Kehl replaced him opposite WLB Chris Chamberlain.

  • IND MLB Pat Angerer had his fourth double-digit tackle game to lead the team with 10 (5 solo). He leads the league by a wide margin with 90 on the season. WLB Kavell Conner had disappointing output for the second straight game with just 2 tackles (1 solo) and is plummeting down the tackle leader board. After being as high as second a few weeks ago, he is now tied for 11th with 63 tackles on the season.

  • HOU rookie OLB Brooks Reed made it back-to-back games with a sack as he continues trying to replace some of the production of Mario Williams, who is done for the season. Reed also had 4 tackles (3 solo). ILB Brian Cushing led the team with 7 tackles (3 solo) and grabbed his first pick of the season. Reserve LB Darryl Sharpton suffered a torn right quad in the second quarter and is done for the season. Tim Dobbins becomes the top backup inside.

  • DAL OLB DeMarcus Ware had a dominating fantasy performance, leading the team with 11 tackles (10 solo) and racking up 4 sacks, forcing a fumble on one. He remains second in the league in sacks with 12 on the season, but has closed the gap on leader Jared Allen to half a sack. ILB Sean Lee suffered a dislocated right wrist in the second quarter on Sunday night. He reportedly will try to play through the injury, but he seems very doubtful this weekend. Bradie Lee and Keith Brooking, who have been splitting time at the other ILB positions, both get a bump if Lee misses any time. Rookie LB Bruce Carter was activated from the PUP and played in his first NFL game on SNF. He was limited to special teams in his debut, but his transition could be sped up if Lee misses time.

  • DET MLB Stephen Tulloch led the team with 8 tackles (6 solo) and got his third sack of the season. WLB DeAndre Levy broke his string of games with double-digit tackles, posting just 4 (3 solo).

  • CLE SLB Scott Fujita returned from concussion and started on Sunday. WLB Chris Gocong suffered a neck stinger in the game and was replaced by Kaluka Maiava, fresh off just having replaced Fujita. MLB D'Qwell Jackson had his fifth double-digit tackle game of the season, leading the team with 10 solo tackles and an incredible 5 TFL.

  • SD OLB Shaun Phillips was inactive for MNF with a foot injury and reserve OLB Larry English had his season officially end when he was placed on the IR last week, so Antwan Barnes got the start opposite Travis LaBoy. Barnes responded with 4 tackles (3 solo) and his third sack of the season. The team promoted LB Bront Bird from the practice squad for depth and brought in former Carolina second-round pick Everrette Brown, who will get a chance to play with his hand off the ground after busting as a DE. ILB Donald Butler led the team with 8 tackles (5 solo).

  • NO MLB Jonathan Vilma temporarily stopped the bleeding, after St. Louis got off to a shocking 24-0 lead, when recovered a fumble for a TD in the end zone for the team's first score in the third quarter. Vilma also had 3 solo tackles and forced a fumble earlier in the game.

  • BUF ILB Nick Barnett posted his fourth double-digit tackle game of the season, as he led the team with 10 tackles (5 solo) and shared a sack with OLB Arthur Moats. Moats was part of the rotation replacing OLB Shawne Merriman, who was placed on the IR over the bye week. Kirk Morrison saw his first extensive action for Buffalo, at the expense of rookie ILB Kelvin Sheppard, and got in on the sack party, as did OLB Chris Kelsay, who was active and back in the starting lineup after battling a calf strain.

  • After concern WAS ILB London Fletcher might miss his first game after suffering a hamstring injury in the previous game, all Fletcher did was have his best game of the season. Fletcher led the team with 20 tackles (12 solo), shared a sack with DE Stephen Bowen and grabbed his first pick of the season.

  • CIN MLB Rey Maualuga remained inactive with a lateral ankle sprain, but is expected to return this week. Dan Skuta continued to replace him in the middle.

  • OAK MLB Rolando McClain practiced over the bye after aggravating a left ankle sprain in the previous game and leaving early. It looks like he'll go this week.

  • CAR WLB Omar Gaither returned after missing two game with a left MCL sprain, but was eased back in as Jason Phillips was in there for the starting lineup. The platoon didn't last long, as Phillips left early with a calf injury. Gaither had 7 solo tackles and a sack, but also got dinged, possibly aggravating his knee, late in the game. Reserve LB Thomas Williams was knocked out, literally, in the second quarter and didn't return. He is coming off a recent concussion, so could miss some time. It sounds like both Phillips and Williams will be out for a while. SLB James Anderson had 7 tackles (4 solo) and is tied for third in the league with 66 tackles.

  • After having trouble with his right knee in practice last week, aging AZ OLB Joey Porter was inactive, giving fourth-round pick Sam Acho his first career start on the right side. Acho responded with 6 tackles (5 solo) and forced a fumble on his second sack of the season. OLB O'Brien Schofield, seeing more playing time as well, also had a sack.

  • KC ILB Derrick Johnson made it back-to-back games leading the team with 13 tackles, his second double-digit tackle game of the season. He also had his first sack and first pick of the season. OLB Tamba Hali brought relentless pressure, racking up a pair of sacks, giving him 6 on the season.

  • Waiver Wire Recommendations: NYG OLB Mathias Kiwanuka has been racking up sacks, although that could take a hit with the return of DE Justin Tuck, and putting up some tackle numbers lately. Keep an eye on the status of the wrist of DAL ILB Sean Lee, as Bradie Lee becomes more interesting if Sean will miss time.

Defensive Back

  • BAL SS Tom Zbikowski returned after missing almost a month with a concussion. He was eased back in, as Bernard Pollard remained the starter, posting 5 tackles (4 solo) and a sack. Zbikowski had a solo on defense and one on special teams. This likely will remain a platoon situation. The team also got nickel CB Chris Carr back from a hamstring, as well as rookie CB Jimmy Smith, in his second game back from an ankle sprain, seeing more action. Cary Williams and Lardarius Webb remain the starters at corner. Carr was the most productive, with 3 tackles (2 solo) and a sack. FS Ed Reed played through a neck stinger from MNF after missing some practice last week. He had 4 solo tackles.

  • A thin Minnesota secondary remained without CB Antoine Winfield, who missed his fourth straight game with a muscle strain in his neck, and CB Chris Cook, who remains suspended indefinitely due to an arrest for domestic assault. The team appears likely to wait for the NFL to rule on the situation, which won't occur until the legal process takes place, before taking further action. Asher Allen continues to start opposite Cedric Griffin with Marcus Sherels as the nickel CB. SS Jamarca Sanford returned from a concussion and was back in the starting lineup.

  • As AZ FS Kerry Rhodes remained inactive with a broken left foot, Rashad Johnson continues to replace him. Johnson led the team with 8 tackles (7 solo). Rookie CB Patrick Peterson had just 2 passes defensed in the box score on defense, but helped his fantasy owners with his second return TD of the season. CB A.J. Jefferson was benched after giving up most of BAL WR Anquan Boldin's 145 yards and drawing three pass interference calls. Nickel CB Richard Marshall replaced him late in the game.

  • BUF SS George Wilson grabbed his fourth pick of the season, tying a career best, and had 9 tackles (8 solo) putting him in a tie for third in the league with 66 on the season.

  • NO FS Malcolm Jenkins forced a fumble on his first career sack that was recovered for a TD. SS Roman Harper had another sack, giving him a career-high 4.5 sacks on the season, sharing the team lead with DE Will Smith.

  • Despite being out indefinitely with a broken left fibula, HOU FS Danieal Manning was not placed on the IR, as the has playoff aspirations and hope to have their secondary star back later this season. As expected, Troy Nolan started in Manning's place at FS. He had 5 solo tackles. Nickel CB Jason Allen had his third pick of the season.

  • NYG nickel CB Justin Tryon was placed on the IR after breaking his arm in the second quarter Sunday. He played through the injury in the second half. Rookie CB Prince Amukamara has returned to practice from a broken foot. He was held back this week as a precaution, but is likely to be active this week after the loss of Tryon.

  • MIA FS Reshad Jones returned from a right knee sprain after missing the previous game and Chris Clemons was active for the second straight game since missing the rest since the season opener with a recurring hamstring problem, but Tyrone Culver remained the starter at FS. CB Vontae Davis was inactive with a hamstring, giving rookie Jimmy Wilson the start opposite Sean Smith. Will Allen remained the nickel corner.

  • Chicago released SS Chris Harris over the bye after not generating interest prior to the trade deadline. Harris is a disaster in coverage, but can still play in the box. The team is apparently confident Major Wright, who replaced Harris as the starter at SS, is over his hip injury that made him a late scratch in London and gave Harris one last start for the Bears. Regardless of his latest injury, Wright has been injury prone so far in his career and, without Harris, the team may be looking to Brandon Meriweather again sooner than late. Rookie Chris Conte appears locked in as the starting FS.

  • DET CB Chris Houston returned his fourth pick of the season, a new career high, 100 yards for a TD. He broke up another pass and had 6 tackles (4 solo). The team signed S Chris Harris, waived by the Bears last week. Harris is simply for depth and some veteran leadership in practice for a young secondary.

  • A patchwork St. Louis secondary stepped up against the top-rated New Orleans passing game. CB Josh Gordy, who just took over as a starter last week, and SS Darian Stewart each had their first career interceptions, with Stewart returning his 27 yards for a TD late in the fourth quarter, ending any hopes of a comeback for the Saints. The team activated CB Marquis Johnson off of the PUP and, after playing just special teams last year, was moved right in to the nickel corner role in their thin secondary.

  • The Patriots released CB Leigh Bodden last week. Reports claim Bodden was unhappy with his playing time, but the timing of the move is surprising, as rookie CB Ras-I Dowling was placed on the IR due a torn tendon near his hip. Bodden is a free agent after going unclaimed through the waiver process. The Patriots now have Devin McCourty and Kyle Arrington locked in as the starters, with Antwan Molden and Phillip Adams, hencetofore primarily special teamers, as the nickel and fourth corner, respectively. McCourty had 11 tackles (7 solo) and S Patrick Chung led the team with 13 tackles (10 solo), as the Steelers dominated time of possession. S Josh Barrett was inactive with a thumb injury. James Ihedigbo had already leapfrogged Barrett and Sergio Brown, the duo who split the other starting S role to start the season, as Ihedigbo has started the last three games next to Chung.

  • TEN SS Chris Hope remains inactive with a broken left forearm and Jordan Babineaux continues to replace him. Breakout fantasy star CB Jason McCourty led the team with 8 tackles (7 solo), broke up a pass and further bolstered his fantasy output by recovering a blocked punt for a TD.

  • Demoted IND CB Jacob Lacey was a healthy scratch on Sunday. CB Kevin Thomas continues to start in his place with Terrence Johnson in the nickel role.

  • WAS FS Oshiomogho Atogwe returned to the starting lineup from a knee injury and continued to be a fantasy disappointment, posting just 3 tackles (2 solo).

  • SD FS Eric Weddle had a pair of picks and moved in to a tie for the league lead with 5 picks on the season. CB Quentin Jammer missed the end of the game due to cramping. CB Antoine Cason, who lost his starting role to rookie Marcus Gilchrist, replaced Jammer. Cason had been demoted to fourth corner, with Dante Hughes remaining the nickel.

  • DEN UDFA rookie CB Chris Harris was promoted to nickel corner and responded on Sunday leading the team with 9 tackles (6 solo). Champ Bailey and Andre Goodman remain the starters, with Jonathan Wilhite coming in the dime and Cassius Vaughn as depth. Rookie FS Quinton Carter left the game in the second quarter with a concussion and was replaced by fellow rookie Rahim Moore, who lost the starting job to Carter recently.

  • CIN FS Reggie Nelson had 5 solo tackles, broke up 2 passes and picked one of those off for his first interception of the season, returning it 75 yards for a TD. The team activated CB Pacman Jones from the PUP, but his stay didn't last long. He pulled up lame on a 63-yard punt return in the first quarter and was out the rest of the game with a hamstring injury.

  • A thin Seattle secondary got a boost by the return of CB Roy Lewis, who was activated off the PUP last week. He played the nickel and had a solo and assist on defense and another of each on special teams. The former UDFA showed some play making ability when pressed in to service last year and is a name to file away, with plenty of opportunity in their secondary. Rookie Richard Thurman and Brandon Browner were the starters at corner. Rookie SS Kam Chancellor had his third pick of the season.

  • DAL CB Mike Jenkins suffered a right hamstring injury on SNF and is expected to miss some time. Orlando Scandrick replaced him.

  • CLE nickel CB Dimitri Patterson suffered a knee injury on Sunday and will be evaluated further this week. Rookie Buster Skrine replaced him in the role.

  • KC SS Jon McGraw hurt his should on MNF and had to leave the game. Donald Washington is his backup. FS Kendrick Lewis made it picks in back-to-back games, his third of the season.

  • Waiver Wire Recommendations: CHI rookie FS Chris Conte has a great opportunity in an active defense for the second half of the season.