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Saturday NFL News and Notes

Saturday NFL News and Notes

Lions will wait until gametime to decide Kitna's status
August 23, 2007

Associated Press

ALLEN PARK, Mich. (AP) -- Quarterback Jon Kitna's status for the Detroit Lions' third preseason game remained uncertain Thursday.

Offensive coordinator Mike Martz said the Lions will wait until Saturday afternoon to decide whether the starter will play that night at Indianapolis. Kitna left Tuesday's practice with back spasms and has not taken part in drills since.

Coach Rod Marinelli said Wednesday he didn't think the injury was serious, but added the team was ready to play the Colts without him.

"You've got to go with what you have," Marinelli said.

The third preseason game typically features the starting unit.

Kitna took every regular-season snap in 2006, led the NFL in completions (372) and was second in attempts (596). Both were career bests and team records. The 11-year veteran's 4,208 yards were second only to Scott Mitchell's 4,338 on Detroit's single-season list.

Dan Orlovsky, one of two quarterbacks fighting for the backup job, is doubtful for Saturday's game with a turf toe injury suffered Aug. 18 at Cleveland. He has not taken part in drills since the game. And Detroit lost rookie Drew Stanton, the first of two second-round picks, to a knee injury early in camp.

Journeyman J.T. O'Sullivan and rookie Phil Horvath have taken all the practice snaps since Kitna left practice Tuesday. Horvath, a free agent who played last season at Northern Illinois, joined the team Tuesday.

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Re: Saturday NFL News and Notes

Plenty of T-Jack Saturday?
Aug 23, 2007

This preseason was supposed to include Tarvaris Jackson seeing plenty of time under center during games. But, thanks to a swarming Vikings defense that scored two early touchdowns, Jackson threw just four passes and played two series last week. As a result, the Vikings may play him a little longer than usual Saturday when the team travels to Seattle.

One of the main questions fans had coming into the preseason was exactly how far along in his professional maturation Tarvaris Jackson would be this season? He looked solid in a short outing in the opening game – completing 8 of 11 passes. But, thanks to a pair of defensive touchdowns in the first quarter of the Jets game, Jackson was only on the field long enough in the second game to throw four passes.

While many teams have eschewed using some of their top stars in the preseason, the Vikings don’t have that luxury. Jackson has to be on the field more than most because he needs to build his timing with his receivers and see and feel a pass rush at full speed that he simply hasn’t had in practice. It’s a dicey situation for coach Brad Childress, who wants to protect Jackson from taking too many hits in meaningless games, but at the same he has to balance that out with getting his young quarterback some legitimate playing time.

How will that play out Saturday when the Vikings play the Seahawks? Jackson will play the first half and start out the second half, with Brooks Bollinger getting the rest of the action in the second half. While much of that will depend on whether the Vikings offense has the ball often in the first half and has some success, this could be one of the biggest games of Jackson’s fledgling NFL career. To many fans, these games mean nothing. But for Jackson, this game could be huge for building his confidence and getting him ready for the regular season – something the Vikings defense denied him of last week against the Jets.

* Julian Peterson and Walter Jones have been officially scratched from Saturday’s game for the Seahawks against the Vikings.
* Former Viking Daunte Culpepper will get the start for the Raiders against the Rams Friday. While JaMarcus Russell has continued his holdout, Culpepper has moved ahead of Josh McCown and Andrew Walter to the No. 1 QB spot for the Raiders.
* Fred Smoot, who was an expensive mistake with the Vikings, seems to be getting his groove back with the Redskins. At first thought to only be competing for a nickel back job, Smoot has played extremely well in training camp and the preseason, and coach Joe Gibbs said Thursday that if he continues to play the way he has, he will be starting in Week 1.
* Randy Moss missed practice with the Patriots again Wednesday, continuing a streak in which he hasn’t practiced. The last day Moss practiced with the team was Aug. 1.

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NFL: Several Ravens will be sidelined Saturday
Advertiser Staff

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Ravens cornerback Samari Rolle and wide receiver Mark Clayton both insist they'll be ready for Baltimore's regular-season opener at Cincinnati.
Rolle and Clayton sprained their right ankles in a 13-12 loss to the New York Giants on Sunday and are expected to sit out the remainder of the preseason.

Rolle is optimistic that this ankle injury won't linger like the one he suffered in the second game last year against the Oakland Raiders. That setback affected his speed, and eventually his confidence.

"Same ankle, but not as bad," said Rolle, who's off crutches. "I think it's just sprained badly. I'll be out there in the opener definitely."

Rolle and Clayton are among several Ravens battling injuries heading into their preseason game at Washington on Saturday night. Defensive tackle Haloti Ngata (swollen knee) and rookie outside linebacker Antwan Barnes (right high-ankle sprain) are expected to be gametime decisions.

Tight end Daniel Wilcox (left ankle sprain) and running back P.J. Daniels (hamstring) returned to practice this morning, but won't play against the Redskins.

The Ravens will start second-year cornerback David Pittman in Rolle's place against the Redskins, and Demetrius Williams in place of Clayton.

Pittman, a third-round pick in 2006, was criticized last season for his work ethic and toughness.

"Basically, I want to show the team and the coaching staff that I'm able to be trusted," Pittman said.

"It's time to put him up with the big boys and see what he can do," Ravens coach Brian Billick said.

Nose guard Kelly Gregg, who has missed the majority of the preseason with knee and thigh injuries, is slated to play at least a few snaps.

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