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Old 08-26-2008, 06:12 AM   #1
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Default PFW Whispers Aug. 24, 2008

ProFootballWeekly
Whispers — league wrap-up
Aug. 24, 2008


After a failed preseason experiment on the D-line, word is the Bucs will move Greg White from left end back to his natural position on the right, as a backup.

The Falcons are easing ORT Todd Weiner along in the hopes he’ll be prepared to anchor down the right side of the O-line by Week One, but Weiner is recovering from major knee surgery, and it’s not yet clear how he’ll hold up.

Panthers WR Jason Carter, once an afterthought when it came to making the team, has a good shot to remain on the roster because of a strong training camp, Steve Smith’s suspension and a banged-up receiving corps.

Injuries to Saints DTs Brian Young (knee) and Hollis Thomas (shoulder) have opened the door for Orien Harris, and he’s taken full advantage of the opportunity. Harris appeared to be on the outside looking in. That has changed, and his strong showing in the preseason games will make it hard for the Saints to move on without him.

Perhaps the biggest surprise at Rams Park this preseason has been the emergence of undersized Nick Leckey as a serious contender for the starting center job.

A Rams offensive line that had already been dealt an early blow with season-ending injuries to backups Mark Setterstrom and Brandon Gorin could be cause for even greater concern with the news that starting OLT Orlando Pace reinjured his right shoulder in the team’s second preseason game.

The Cardinals are saying the high ankle sprains recently suffered by FS Antrel Rolle and TE Ben Patrick should take about a week to fully recover, but our sources in the desert believe that recovery date could be a bit premature.

Heading into the Cardinals’ third preseason game in Oakland, it appeared that newly acquired Travis LaBoy had moved past veteran Bertrand Berry for the starting WOLB job.

We hear Niners WRs Bryant Johnson and Arnaz Battle, both of whom have been sidelined for an extended period with hamstring injuries, are expected to be able to see some playing time in the team’s final preseason game.

If Seahawks fans have their way, we hear there would be no way diminutive seventh-round RB Justin Forsett would not make the team. At the same time, we hear the natives have been more than a little restless regarding veteran RB T.J. Duckett, who had failed to show much of an ability to move the pile.

Daily Seahawks observers tell us no defender was as impressive in training camp as second-year CB Josh Wilson, who we’re told has made great strides in his ability to cover opposing slot receivers.

Don’t be alarmed or surprised that Lions first-round pick Gosder Cherilus has taken snaps at both OT spots. If anything, it shows the team is willing to give extra reps and looks to the rookie, who should overtake George Foster for the starting ORT spot.

Our Packers sources tell us it’s quite possible the team could go out of its way to pick up a veteran tight end off the waiver wire, with rookie Jermichael Finley looking like a major work in progress and third-year pro Tory Humphrey continuing to be a major injury risk behind starting TE Donald Lee.

Vikings TE Garrett Mills’ bothersome right ankle has kept him off the field and could cost him a roster spot. His lack of play this preseason has hurt his cause, despite the coaching staff’s interest in his ability. If Mills is cut, don’t be surprised if the team that drafted him — the Patriots — take a hard look.

Our Bears sources were quick to mention that second-year RB Garrett Wolfe might have very well put himself on the bubble following his fumbled kickoff return that set up a Niners TD in that game. The fact that newcomer Kevin Jones looked impressive in his first preseason action vs. the Niners certainly doesn’t help Wolfe’s cause.

There are some in Cowboys land who feel that second-year S Courtney Brown might be a player to watch. Sure, Roy Williams is in no danger of losing a starting spot but if Williams is in his final season in Dallas, Brown could be a starting possibility down the line.

The Eagles have a glut at linebacker. Right now, Chris Gocong, Stewart Bradley and Omar Gaither are starters and locks to make the team. Veterans Akeem Jordan and Rocky Boiman are likely to make it, and rookie Joe Mays has shown enough to earn a roster spot. But that leaves Andy Studebaker, who also has impressed, as the likely odd man out. Sources say it might be tough to sneak him back on the practice squad, as some team might claim him.

Not only do the Giants have one of the best starting fives on their offensive line, but they are feeling good about the depth, too. Among the backups, young OLs Kevin Boothe and Guy Whimper have fared fairly well when given the chance, though Adam Koets might be sliding a little.

Redskins DT Anthony Montgomery doesn’t get low enough in his stance and appears to have fallen back to the second team in favor of Kedrick Golston. Although Montgomery has the ability to make more plays and occupy two blockers, Golston’s consistency appears to have given him the edge.

The Colts are willing to suffer the inevitable growing pains and mental mistakes of second-year LB Clint Session, who has been thrust into the starting SLB role with Tyjuan Hagler rehabbing a torn pectoral muscle.

We’re hearing there’s a realistic chance that DEs Quentin Groves and Derrick Harvey — the latter unsigned as of this writing — will be the only two of the Jaguars’ five draftees to make the final roster.

We hear the Broncos have been very impressed with SS Marquand Manuel in training camp and in preseason games. He has passed up the presumed starter heading into camp, Hamza Abdullah, and sources say it’s Manuel’s job to lose at this point.

Although rookie OLT Branden Albert had been expected to miss only a few weeks with his foot injury, we’re hearing that his status for Week One is uncertain. All he’s been able to do thus far is walk around in a boot, meaning it could be some time before he can return to contact drills.

There are concerns within the Chargers’ organization that LB Shawne Merriman’s knee issues could be career-threatening. The Pro Bowler recently visited a number of specialists, and it was determined that he has serious ligament damage. If he opts to undergo reconstructive surgery, he’ll miss the entire season. If he tries to fight through the pain and injures the knee further, it could lead to the end of his playing days.

The Raiders are having a difficult time finding a replacement at kick returner for Chris Carr, who departed for the Titans. Second-year veteran Johnnie Lee Higgins has received most of the looks thus far, but he has shown no consistency. Oakland doesn’t have many other options — it drafted Tyvon Branch to compete for the job, but he had thumb surgery recently and may not be ready when Week One rolls around.

Our sources in Pittsburgh have fully endorsed the Steelers’ decision to make Santonio Holmes their punt returner this season. Holmes had been requesting a shot at the return duties, but coaches had been resistant because of concerns that it would be too much of an injury and fatigue risk since they’re counting on him to deliver in the passing game, as well. It’s a gamble to have such a productive receiver on special-teams units, but Holmes’ big-play ability proved too tempting in this case.

Sources in Baltimore say the Ravens are losing hope that Pro Bowl FS Ed Reed will be ready for their season opener Sept. 7 against the Bengals. Reed missed the team’s first two preseason games with a shoulder injury.

Recently acquired Browns CB Travis Daniels was a player whom Cleveland GM Phil Savage had been eyeing for a long time, a source close to the team tells us. He’s likely to be the primary backup corner but won’t be seeing time as the nickel back.

CB Jabari Greer saw the writing on the wall when the Bills grabbed CB Leodis McKelvin in the first round. But he’s done an admirable job of erasing the message (“back to the bench”) with his scrappy play through the preseason. Sources say McKelvin’s superior athleticism is mitigated by his slow absorption of the defensive playbook.

Given the high-flying tendencies of the Patriots’ passing attack, it would seem as though running backs would be deemed expendable. Yet word out of Foxborough is that five backs — Laurence Maroney, Sammy Morris, LaMont Jordan, Kevin Faulk and Heath Evans — could end up making the roster. If one is to get cut, it’s likely to be either Jordan or Morris, who play very similar roles.

For as much hype as Dolphins rookie OLT Jake Long has generated, sixth-round OG Donald Thomas has been awfully impressive in his own right. Thus far, Thomas has easily represented to be the best value among the Dolphins’ rookie class. He’s already locked down the starting ORG job.

Word out of New York is that lightly regarded WR David Clowney was mounting a strong case to be the Jets’ No. 3 receiver before suffering a broken collarbone, which will keep him sidelined upward of two months. With such a long time on the fritz, the preseason revelation is no certainty to make the final cuts.

http://www.profootballweekly.com/PFW...apup082408.htm
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Old 08-26-2008, 08:40 AM   #2
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Default Re: PFW Whispers Aug. 24, 2008

I hope Santo can stay healthy. Its a bit of a injury risk but it could pay off big.
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Old 08-26-2008, 08:42 AM   #3
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Default Re: PFW Whispers Aug. 24, 2008

I wish he wouldn't return punts, like stated, that's just an extra play to get injured on.
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Old 08-26-2008, 08:52 AM   #4
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Default Re: PFW Whispers Aug. 24, 2008

i don't like the idea of him returning punts... i think moore did just fine back there.. keep him back there so homles saves himself 4 the off
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Old 08-26-2008, 09:51 AM   #5
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Default Re: PFW Whispers Aug. 24, 2008

Bad news for the Chargers in regards to Merriman....gone for the year. He is a huge part of that defense.
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Old 08-26-2008, 12:13 PM   #6
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Default Re: PFW Whispers Aug. 24, 2008

Quote:
Originally Posted by STEELtownHAVOX View Post
I wish he wouldn't return punts, like stated, that's just an extra play to get injured on.
It's also a play in which the Steelers offense could do one of two things:

1) Start on the opponents side of the 50 or
2) Not have to take the field at all
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Old 08-26-2008, 12:31 PM   #7
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Default Re: PFW Whispers Aug. 24, 2008

Im not sure how I feel about Holmes being the punt returner.

On one hand, it can give us great field position, not to mention some return TD's.

On the other, one of the hits many return guys take could send him to the IR. That will be very bad for our offense.
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Old 08-26-2008, 12:36 PM   #8
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Default Re: PFW Whispers Aug. 24, 2008

speaking of steelers lack of depth on the defensive line, anyone remember this guy-
Quote:
Injuries to Saints DTs Brian Young (knee) and Hollis Thomas (shoulder) have opened the door for Orien Harris, and he’s taken full advantage of the opportunity. Harris appeared to be on the outside looking in. That has changed, and his strong showing in the preseason games will make it hard for the Saints to move on without him.
yep, thats orien harris, bill cowhers final 4th round draft pick to be cut outta camp.

wouldnt've been so bad if we didnt take a $200,000 cap hit for his signing bonus.
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Old 08-26-2008, 12:39 PM   #9
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Default Re: PFW Whispers Aug. 24, 2008

Quote:
Originally Posted by tony hipchest View Post
speaking of steelers lack of depth on the defensive line, anyone remember this guy-yep, thats orien harris, bill cowhers final 4th round draft pick to be cut outta camp.

wouldnt've been so bad if we didnt take a $200,000 cap hit for his signing bonus.
..and wouldnt be so bad if we weren't so thin at D-line depth!!
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Old 08-26-2008, 12:59 PM   #10
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Default Re: PFW Whispers Aug. 24, 2008

From the sounds of it, the only reason his fortunes changed was due to the injuries to the guys in front of him, and now the Saints have no choice but to keep him around.
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