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NFL News and Notes Week 3

NFL News and Notes Week 3

Giants' Smith injures shoulder, Lorenzen sprains ankle

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- New York Giants rookie receiver Steve Smith was knocked out of Sunday's game against the Green Bay Packers with a shoulder injury.

Smith caught a 10-yard pass late in the first quarter and later left the field for X-rays, which disclosed an injury to his shoulder blade.

Smith was the Giants' second-round draft pick out of Southern California.

Backup quarterback Jared Lorenzen sprained an ankle on the Giants' final drive and was forced to leave the game around the two-minute warning. He was taken for X-rays, but the team had no immediate word on the extent of his injury.

Anthony Wright, the Giants No. 3 quarterback, replaced him.

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Sunday Observations

Stiff Brees
Looking for a scapegoat for the Saints' lousy start? How about Devery Henderson, who dropped at least three passes on Sunday, including a catchable pass in the end zone. Then there's Drew Brees, who has looked tentative and uncharacteristically inaccurate. Let's also heap some blame on the coaching staff for failing to figure out how to puncture the Cover-2 defense. Enfeebled by that scheme in consecutive weeks, the Saints have provided a blueprint for future competitors. Still, I'm not ready to give up on the Saints. Their schedule is tremendously easy, and I have too much faith in Sean Payton's ability to dream up creative offenses.

Barren Barron
The Rams played much of last year without Orlando Pace, but that doesn't mean that the transition was smooth on Sunday. Scott Linehan made the decision to shuffle his line, with right tackle Alex Barron switching to the left side to protect Marc Bulger's blind side. The Niners consistently pressured Bulger, battering him often, and forcing many early throws. Bulger wasn't completely ineffective, but his offense was definitely less dynamic than it can be. Steven Jackson had just 60 rushing yards, hasn't scored this year, and hasn't topped 100 total yards in a game. I wouldn't give up on Jackson yet. The Rams offensive line will improve with more reps, and their schedule is very favorable.

Stop and Go Traffic
With two touchdowns on Sunday, Cadillac Williams got his first touchdown since week three of last year. The frustrating part is that many of his owners benched him after he was a game time decision with a rib injury. His track record of playing through injury left most of us skeptical that he'd start the game, let alone finish it.

Don't Debate Nate

The pick up of the week might be Nate Burleson, who scored on Sunday. D.J. Hackett ceded the starting job to Burleson by virtue of an ineffective preseason, and a high ankle sprain suffered in week one. And Deion Branch has yet to validate his expensive contract or the first-round pick Seattle paid to get him. Branch put up 100 yards on Sunday, but Burleson got the touchdown.

Cross Bowe
Sadly, scoring opportunities for Tony Gonzalez are few and far between. The Kansas City offense is as limited as Dane Cook's singing ability, and as his miserable offensive line forces him to spend a preponderance of his time blocking. So, when Dwayne Bowe stepped in front of Gonzo in the end zone and stole a touchdown pass that was headed into Gonzo's chest, his fantasy owners grimaced.

Candy Striper
Some fantasy owners have been harboring concern about whether Frank Gore would get work at the stripe. Last year, Gore lost the job after some costly fumbles early in the season. Eventually, Gore was able to restore confidence in his ball handling, and earned the job back. Considering his preseason hand injury, speculation surfaced that Gore might lose goal line looks out of concern that the hand injury would cause more fumbles. But to his credit, Gore has run well in all situations, and scored twice on Sunday. If you spent a draft pick on Michael Robinson hoping for some goal line work, it's time to cut him free.

Wounded Knee
Andre Johnson suffered a serious-looking knee injury in the fourth quarter of Sunday's blowout win. Johnson looked sensational through two games, and was thriving with new quarterback Matt Schaub. Johnson's injury will likely accelerate the development timetable for rookie Jacoby Jones, who has primarily been used in special teams so far. Jones had an impressive preseason, and will likely be given the opportunity to start opposite Kevin Walter during any games that Johnson misses. Your efforts to obtain Jones in the free agent pool should be directly proportional to the seriousness of Johnson's injury.

The Invisible Man

Thinking back to the last half of last season, many people spent a high draft pick on Lee Evans. But, those people probably failed to look at his schedule, which opened with Denver, Pittsburgh, and New England. As a result, he's totaled 5 and 17 yards in two games. In most scoring systems, that's a couple of zeroes on the scale of Seth and McLovin'. And now you're skittish to start him next week, too. So, after limping through the first three weeks, then what? I'd like to say that it's clear sailing, but there remain a number of tough matchups including games against Baltimore, Miami (twice), New England (again), and Jacksonville. There are still a lot of people who believe in Evans and should be able to find a trading partner/fleecee.

Speculation of the Week
Tarvaris Jackson ran for a score in a short yardage situation on Sunday. It fueled the following line of thinking in the Fanball offices: Chester Taylor was inactive (hip). Perhaps he is secretly the team's designated goal line back—maybe because they don't want Adrian Peterson to pick up the wear and tear of those tough yards. Rather than abandon the plan and use Peterson at the stripe, they ran Jackson. Ergo, when Taylor returns to health, he'll be the goal line guy. It's just speculation, but I'm running with it.

Dayne Knight
Ahman Green notched his first touchdown of the season, but you may have noticed that Ron Dayne got more carries. Don't panic. Nearly all of Dayne's carries were in mop-up time. Green remains safely ensconced as the starter. And, Green's touchdown came from inside the 10, suggesting that Green is also the designated goal line carrier.

It seems hard to believe that Maurice Jones-Drew scored 15 times last year. Through two games he's failed to score, and he's only managed 31 and 32 rushing yards, and even less through the air. So, do you sell low on MoJo while he's still got some value? Do you buy while his value is down? Clearly, he's better than he's looked so far. But, in watching the Jaguars, I don't trust the rest of the components around him. David Garrard has looked fair, which I mean as a compliment. The Jaguars' offensive line has been lousy, opening few holes for MoJo or Fred Taylor. Following their Week Three trip to Denver the Jaguars have been blessed with a bye week to figure out ways in which to improve their blocking. The bye will also make MoJo's owners that much more itchy for a trade. It seems unlikely that Jacksonville will continue to struggle this much throughout the year. If you can buy low, do it.

A Wynner and a Loser

The Packers unveiled a new weapon, DeShaun Wynn, who looked promising in his first game with significant action. He's a rookie from Florida, drafted five rounds after Brandon Jackson. Wynn has a thick frame, making him a viable short-yardage option. He also galloped for a 38-yard touchdown, proving that he has the speed to get some separation. With Jackson squandering back-to-back opportunities to cement the starters job, I'd rather have Wynn.

Not That There's Anything Wrong With It
Those of you who have read this column in the past know I feel about Matt Schaub. Some people would accuse me of lying in bed and imaging scenarios where Schaub happens to have a flat tire outside my house. Hot and sweaty, he rings my doorbell looking for someone to help him work his jack. Hmmmm. The truth isn't too far from that. I'm happy to report that Schaub looks fantastic so far, with two-game totals of 450 yards and three touchdowns. In the preseason, I chose Schaub as my "sleeper of the year," and I'm sticking to my guns. Unless Andre Johnson misses a lot of time, Schaub will continue to develop into one of the better fantasy quarterbacks.

White and Brown, Black and White

LenDale White scored his first NFL touchdown on Sunday after getting back-to-back carries inside the five-yard-line. The frustrating part is that Chris Brown looked fantastic in week one, so everyone benched White. And, naturally, Brown did nothing, averaging less than three yards per carry. That leaves us with a muddy backfield situation, one that is likely to frustrate fantasy owners all season long.

Welcome, please, Enormous Genitals!
Many teams have a designated goal line back. The Lions have a designated goal line receiver, Calvin Johnson, who has scored in consecutive weeks. His absurd height and leaping ability make him very difficult to defend on jump balls, like the one we saw in the third quarter of his game on Sunday. Because the Lions are four deep at receiver, Johnson isn't going to have many games with six or more catches, or even many big yardage games. But he'll be reliable scorer, and that's the most important stat category to fantasy owners.

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Re: NFL News and Notes Week 3

NFL Today, Week 2


Monday night, Sept. 17

Washington (1-0) at Philadelphia (0-1).

An early-season NFC East showdown with both teams missing key players sidelined by injuries.



-Brett Favre, Packers, won for the 149th time in his career, moving past Hall of Famer John Elway and leading the Green Bay Packers to a 35-13 win over the New York Giants.

-Derek Anderson, Browns, threw for five TDs, completing 20 of 33 passes for 328 yards in Cleveland's 51-45 win over Cincinnati. Carson Palmer, Bengals, threw for six TDs and 401 yards.

-Peyton Manning, Colts, threw for 312 yards and a touchdown to lead Indianapolis to a 22-20 win over Tennessee.

-Marc Bulger, Rams, was 24-for-41 for 368 yards and one touchdown in St. Louis' 17-16 loss to San Francisco.

-Jamal Lewis, Browns, rushed for 215 yards to help Cleveland outlast Cincinnati 51-45.

-Edgerrin James, Cardinals, ran for 128 yards in Arizona's 23-20 win over Seattle.

-LaMont Jordan, Raiders, gained a career-best 159 yards on 25 carries in Oakland's 23-20 overtime loss to Denver.

-Travis Henry, Broncos, rushed for 128 yards to help Denver beat Oakland 23-20 in overtime.

-Frank Gore, 49ers, scored two touchdowns and gained 81 yards on 20 carries in San Francisco's 17-16 win over St. Louis a few days after his mother passed away.

-Willie Parker, Steelers, rushed for 126 yards and a TD in Pittsburgh's 26-3 win over Buffalo.

-Braylon Edwards, Browns, had eight catches for 146 yards and two TDs in Cleveland's 51-45 win over Cincinnati.

-Joey Galloway, Buccaneers, caught four passes for 135 yards and two TDs in Tampa Bay's 31-14 win over New Orleans.

-Chad Johnson, Bengals, had 11 catches for 209 yards and two TDs in Cincinnati's 51-45 loss to Cleveland.

-Steve Smith, Panthers, had three TDs and 153 yards receiving in Carolina's 34-21 loss to Houston.

-Isaac Bruce, Rams, caught eight passes for 145 yards in St. Louis' 17-16 loss to San Francisco.
Special Teams

-Devin Hester, Bears, scored on a 73-yard punt and set up a field goal with another long return in Chicago's 20-10 win over Kansas City.

-Neil Rackers, Cardinals, kicked a 41-yard field goal with 1 second to go after his 52-yarder tied it at 20 with 4:44 to play, giving Arizona a 23-20 victory over Seattle.

-Jeff Reed, Steelers, kicked four field goals in Pittsburgh's 26-3 win over Buffalo.

-Joe Nedney, 49ers, made a 40-yard field goal with 3:28 to play and San Francisco hung on to beat St. Louis 17-16.

-Anthony Henry, Cowboys, had two interceptions in Dallas' 37-20 win over Miami.

-Leigh Bodden, Browns, intercepted Cincinnati's Carson Palmer with 21 seconds left to preserve Cleveland's 51-45 win over Cincinnati.

-Mike Peterson, Jaguars, had two of Jacksonville's seven sacks on Joey Harrington in a 13-7 win over Atlanta.

-Dre' Bly, Broncos, intercepted Oakland's Josh McCown in the final minute of regulation before Denver won 23-20 in overtime.


Brett Favre got the 149th win of his 17-year career in Green Bay's 35-13 win over the New York Giants, giving him one more than Hall of Famer John Elway. He completed his first 14 passes of the second half and threw three touchdown passes, finishing 29-of-38 for 286 yards. ... Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin won his home opener, 26-3 over Buffalo, just as Bill Cowher (1992) and Chuck Noll (1969) did before him. Tomlin also matched Cowher by winning his first two games.


Oakland has lost 11 games in a row after falling to Denver 23-20 in overtime. The Broncos' win was their eighth straight win in a home opener. ... Pittsburgh's Willie Parker has three consecutive 100-yard games dating to last season after he went for 126 and a TD in the Steelers' 26-3 win over Buffalo. ... Carolina lost to Houston 34-21, giving the Panthers' their fourth consecutive loss in a home opener. ... Bears P Brad Maynard missed a game for the first time in his career, ending a streak of 161 consecutive games, when he sat out Sunday's 20-10 win over Kansas City because of a groin injury. ... New Orleans had allowed 62 straight points to Tampa Bay and Indianapolis until Mike Karney scored the Saints' first offensive touchdown of the season on a 1-yard run late in the third quarter of a 31-14 loss at Tampa Bay.


Houston beat Carolina 34-21 for the Texans' first 2-0 start in franchise history. In their first five seasons, the Texans went 24-56, but released the very first draft pick, David Carr, and traded for Atlanta backup QB Matt Schaub. Carr signed with the Panthers as a backup and watched as Schaub threw for 227 yards and two TDs. ... Bengals QB Carson Palmer threw for six TDs and the Browns' Derek Anderson had five in Cleveland's 51-45 win over Cincinnati, making it just the third time in NFL history that two QBs threw five TD passes apiece in the same game. Oakland's Tom Flores (6) and Houston's George Blanda (5) did it on Dec. 22, 1963, and Billy Kilmer of New Orleans (6) and Charley Johnson of St. Louis (6) did it on Nov, 5, 1969. ... Buffalo lost at Pittsburgh 26-3 and hasn't won a regular-season game there since 1975, though the Bills knocked Cowher's first team out of the playoffs in 1992. ... ... Cleveland scored its most points since returning to the league in 1999, beating Cincinnati 51-45. ... Chris Carr recovered Oakland's first successful onside kick since 1996 in Oakland's 23-20 overtime loss at Denver.


After blowing a 17-0 lead in what looked like another classic Arizona collapse, Darnell Dockett recovered a fumble by Seattle's Matt Hasselbeck. Then Neil Rackers kicked a 41-yard field goal with 1 second to go Sunday, giving the Cardinals a 23-20 victory over the Seahawks. ... The Giants' 35-13 loss to Green Bay was the second straight for the undisciplined and error-prone Giants, something that hasn't happened at the start of a season since 1996. ... San Francisco beat St. Louis 17-16 despite struggling offensively most of the game. St. Louis had 392 total yards to 186 for San Francisco and Alex Smith was 11-for-17 for 126 yards. ... Houston cornerback DeMarcus Faggins, beaten on two TDs by Carolina's Steve Smith, redeemed himself by stripping kick returner Nick Goings. The ball squirted into the end zone, where Kevin Walter pounced on it for a touchdown. ... Through two Steelers victories, including a 26-3 win over Buffalo, QB Ben Roethlisberger has five TD passes and an interception. A year ago, following a motorcycle crash and an appendectomy, he had five interceptions and no TD passes while losing his two starts. ... Jeff Garcia completed 10 of 16 passes for 243 yards and no interceptions for Tampa Bay after not getting his team into the end zone during a season-opening loss to Seattle. He was not sacked, and Tampa Bay had no turnovers.


The Cowboys intercepted Trent Green four times and the Dolphins' QB fumbled attempting a spike late in the first half, possibly costing Miami points in a 37-20 loss to Dallas. ... Detroit and Minnesota combined for nine turnovers in regulation and two missed field goal attempts in the final 35 seconds of a game Detroit eventually won 20-17 in overtime. The 10th turnover, Brooks Bollinger's fumbled snap, gave Detroit the ball at the 50 to set up the Lions' winning kick. ... The Rams' Dante Hall muffed a punt late in the fourth quarter, allowing Marcus Hudson to recover for San Francisco and set up Joe Nedney's 40-yard field goal with 3:28 to play in the 49ers' 17-16 win over St. Louis. ... The Colts' Adam Vinatieri had an extra point blocked and a field goal partially blocked that bounced off the crossbar before going over. He also missed a 36-yarder to the left, but made field goals of 22, 39 and 20 yards to help Indianapolis win 22-20 at Tennessee. ... Giants Pro Bowl TE Jeremy Shockey was called for a delay penalty when he spiked the ball after a first-down catch at the Packers 16 late in the first half with the score tied at 7. He dropped a potential first-down pass at the Green Bay 3 just seconds later, forcing a 48-yard field goal in New York's 35-13 loss to Green Bay. Veteran Amani Toomer also was called for taunting at the Green Bay 8 a couple of plays before New York settled for a field goal.


Texans rookie defensive tackle Amobi Okoye had two of Houston's three sacks in a 34-21 win over Carolina. ... Led by linebacker Mike Peterson, Jacksonville had seven sacks of Atlanta's Joey Harrington to help the Jaguars rebound from a humbling season opener with a 13-7 victory over the Falcons. ... Tommie Harris sacked Kansas City's Damon Huard twice, and Brian Urlacher also got his first sack since 2005 in Chicago's 20-10 win. ... Gerard Warren, traded from Denver to Oakland in the preseason when he didn't grasp Jim Bates' new defensive scheme fast enough, sacked Broncos' QB Jay Cutler in the end zone for a safety in Denver's 23-20 overtime win.


Eli Manning started at quarterback for the New York Giants in their 35-13 loss to the Packers after bruising his shoulder a week ago. He led New York to scores on three consecutive series bridging the second and third quarters. ... Detroit's Jon Kitna, who missed about two quarters after being shaken up, ran the ball twice to pick up a key first down before the Lions kicked a field goal to beat Minnesota 20-17 in overtime. Kitna finished 22-of-33 for 245 yards with one touchdown and an interception. ... Bills players wore Everett No. 85 T-shirts under their jerseys to salute injured tight end Kevin Everett in Buffalo's 26-3 loss to Pittsburgh. ... Jacksonville defensive tackle John Henderson left in the first half because of a ''blow to the head,'' the team said. He returned in the second, but then had to be helped off the field with heat-related issues.


Larry Johnson ran for just 55 yards on 16 attempts in Kansas City's 20-10 loss to Chicago. ... Tampa Bay did a good job of containing Reggie Bush, limiting the Saints' multi-purpose threat to 27 yards on 10 rushes and 43 yards on six receptions in the Buccaneers' 31-14 win. ... Detroit limited Minnesota rookie Adrian Peterson to 66 yards on 20 carries in the Lions' 20-17 overtime win.


Denver called a timeout just before the ball was snapped on Sebastian Janikowski's 52-yard field goal in overtime. The Raiders rushed the field in celebration and the Broncos hung their heads in defeat, but officials ruled Denver called a timeout. On the retry, Janikowski's kick hit the left upright, giving the Broncos new life and the ball at their 42. They drove to the Oakland 6 and Elam nailed it on first down to give Denver a 23-20 win.


''It was all in good fun. I hope they don't give me a hefty fine like they gave Belichick.'' - Dallas' Terrell Owens, who celebrated a touchdown catch by leaning against the goal post and holding the ball to his face as if videotaping with it - his way of poking fun at the spying scandal involving Patriots coach Bill Belichick


''Before we would go down by 14 points early, the games were over. Now we go down by 14 points, everyone comes on the sideline and says, 'Hey we're fine.''' - Texans receiver Andre Johnson after Houston started a season 2-0 for the first time, beating Carolina 34-21.

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Ravens' Pryce to miss 3-4 weeks with wrist injury; McNair hopeful
September 17, 2007

OWINGS MILLS, Md. (AP) -The Baltimore Ravens expect to have injured quarterback Steve McNair back for this Sunday's game against Arizona, but defensive end Trevor Pryce will miss at least three weeks after undergoing surgery on his broken left wrist.
Pryce was hurt in the third quarter of the Ravens' 20-13 win over the New York Jets on Sunday. The four-time Pro Bowl lineman set career highs last year with 73 tackles and 13 sacks, and also led Baltimore with 73 quarterback hits.

Now there's a chance the Ravens will play the next five games without him.

``It could be anywhere from three to four weeks, depending upon the rehab, how he feels when it's casted up, playing with the club (on his arm),'' coach Brian Billick said Monday.

If all goes well, Pryce will miss three games before returning on Oct. 14. But the 11-year veteran could also be lost until after the bye on Oct. 28, Billick said.

McNair, meanwhile, sat out the Jets game with a strained groin but will practice Wednesday when the Ravens begin on-field preparations for a home matchup against the Cardinals (1-1).

``Steve felt pretty good on Sunday. He felt like if he really had to go, he could have,'' Billick said. ``It's encouraging. He should be able to go on Wednesday.''

Asked if he expected McNair to play against the Cardinals, Billick replied, ``That would be my expectation now, based on he felt Sunday. Now it's the same old story: Let's see how he feels Thursday after going on Wednesday. But he felt pretty good Sunday, so that bodes well for us.''

McNair was replaced against the Jets by Kyle Boller, who went 23-for-35 for 185 yards and two touchdowns. Best of all, Boller and the Ravens did not commit a turnover, a vast improvement over the six giveaways Baltimore had in a season-opening 27-20 loss to Cincinnati.

The Ravens also played Sunday without left offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden, who has toe and foot injuries. Billick said there's a chance Ogden could be back against the Cardinals, but the final decision won't come until later in the week.

``When Jonathan feels like he can go, he'll go,'' Billick said.

With Pryce out, the Ravens will have to depend on fourth-year player Dwan Edwards and rookie Antwan Barnes. After Pryce left Sunday, Edwards played on first and second downs and Barnes entered as part of the nickel package.

``We'll have to tag team it, do it in tandem,'' Billick said.

Edwards, Baltimore's second-round draft pick in 2004, played in only 24 games over his first three seasons and started only once. But he had an excellent training camp and appears ready to make a solid contribution.

``I know the defensive coaches are excited about the way Dwan is playing now,'' Billick said. ``It's a great opportunity for Dwan. We're very pleased where he is right now and what he'll do for us.''

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Jets say Pennington is still starting QB - as long as he's healthy
September 17, 2007

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (AP) -There's no quarterback controversy with the New York Jets.

Despite an impressive fourth-quarter performance by backup Kellen Clemens at Baltimore, Chad Pennington will remain the starter - as long as he's healthy.

``Chad's the starter and I'm the backup. That's been clearly communicated,'' Clemens said Monday. ``Whoever's healthy and ready to go will go on Sunday and we trust the coaches to put us in the best position to hopefully get that first victory.''

Whether that means Pennington, who didn't play in the 20-13 loss to the Ravens because of an ankle injury, will be healthy enough to start against the Miami Dolphins remains to be seen.

``If he can, he will,'' coach Eric Mangini said. ``We'll just assess it throughout the week, but if he's able to, he will.''

Pennington injured his right ankle when he was sacked in the third quarter of the Jets' season-opening 38-14 loss to the New England Patriots. He missed one play, but came back on New York's next series and led the Jets to a touchdown before pulling himself out of the game late in the fourth quarter.

He walked with a severe limp after the game and spent last week rehabbing the injury. He improved to the point that he was listed as the No. 2 quarterback, even telling reporters after the game that he was ready to play.

``He did a really great job with his rehab,'' Mangini said. ``He worked incredibly hard at it. It was one of those things where, just like we're talking about this week, you assess it throughout the course of the week. The progress he made was outstanding. I was really pleased with that and that's why he was at the 2-spot.''

Pennington was not in the locker room Monday, and usually only speaks to the media on Wednesdays and after games.

``Chad is one of our leaders, one of our main leaders, especially on offense,'' receiver Jerricho Cotchery said. ``To have our guys healthy and ready to go for next week would be a big plus.''

Clemens said he wasn't ever told he was going to start against the Ravens - even when the game started.

``As soon as our defense forced that first punt, I just kind of jogged out on the field and nobody told me not to,'' said Clemens, wearing an Oregon-themed T-shirt with the words ``Getting The Job Done'' printed on it.

The second-year quarterback certainly made a case for himself to see more action with an impressive second half against the Ravens. He was bottled up in the first half, going 4-of-9 for 43 yards and an interception, but looked like a season veteran in the final 15 minutes.

Clemens cut a 20-3 deficit to seven points in the fourth quarter and took the Jets to the Baltimore 7 before Ray Lewis intercepted a deflected pass in the end zone with 1:04 left to preserve the win.

``He gave us a chance to win, and that is all you can ask for,'' linebacker Jonathan Vilma said.

Clemens had three passes on the final drive that could've been caught for tying touchdowns, but were dropped. Receivers Justin McCareins and Laveranues Coles took the blame after the game, as did Clemens, for not coming through at the end.

``There were some big throws that we had some opportunities to do something with and I missed,'' said Clemens, who finished 19-of-37 for 260 yards a touchdown and two interceptions. ``We'll work on that.''

When asked if he's confident he can be an NFL starter even if he might have taken his last snaps in a game this season, Clemens grimaced.

``That's highly possible,'' Clemens said. ``Gosh, on that one I can only speak on what I proved to myself, and that was in the fourth quarter, it was a nice boost of confidence against a very good defense. In a pretty hostile environment, we were able to move the ball in a game that wasn't going too smoothly. We battled back and made a pretty dang good game out of it. That helps confidence for me, considering the limited action that I've had.''

Clemens took some hard hits from the Ravens, especially in the first half. He was sacked four times and was forced to hurry a number of throws.

``There's some soreness, there is, but it's a good soreness,'' Clemens said. ``It's a lot better to be sore because you were playing than because you were standing around on the sideline the whole time. A little bit of soreness, but that just comes with playing, and it feels good to be a part of it.''

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Falcons again turn to Morten Andersen
September 17, 2007

Associated Press

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) -- The Atlanta Falcons again are turning to Morten Andersen to solve their kicking woes.

One day after Matt Prater missed two field goals in the Falcons' 13-7 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Falcons cut him and signed the 47-year-old Andersen on Monday.

Andersen, an eight-time Pro Bowl selection and the NFL's career scoring leader with 2,445 points, and also the Falcons' leader with 707. He was Atlanta's kicker from 1995-2000 before coming back for a second stint with the team last year.

Andersen was 20-for-23 in field-goal attempts in 14 games with the Falcons last season, including 7-for-8 from 40 to 49 yards.

Despite his continued accuracy on field goals, Andersen no longer has the leg strength for kickoffs, forcing the team to use punter Michael Koenen in that capacity. Koenen also has been used on kickoffs this season.

Prater is 1-of-4 this season, including two costly misses on Sunday. He was wide right from 43 yards in the second quarter and wide right from 26 yards in the third.

"This was really tough," Prater said after the game. "I put it all on my shoulders. I feel like I let the team down. I didn't do my part or my job. So I feel pretty bad about it."

Andersen has made 540 of 681 field goals in his career. He set an Atlanta record with a 59-yard field goal in 1995, when he also set the team record for most 50-yard field goals in a season with eight.

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Re: NFL News and Notes Week 3

Training Room Report    
Fantasy owners and NFL head coaches had to rejoice once week two action was completed. After a long rash of injuries in week one, week two did not see as many injuries and this week’s training room report highlights the injuries from Sunday’s games, as well as a look at some of the injured players who didn’t play and their status for week three. One of the players to watch throughout the week is Detroit Lions running back Kevin Jones. Jones has missed the first two games of the season, but the team believes he is getting close to a return. According to reports, Jones will be listed as probable for week three and the running back could play around 20 snaps. Obviously, Jones’ return to the field will hurt Tatum Bell’s fantasy value, but it will take him some time to get into game form and return to 100 percent for the rest of the 2007 season.

Arizona vs. Baltimore


Mark Clayton (WR)—Clayton played briefly against the Jets in week two, making one catch. Coach Billick has indicated he will play Sunday against Arizona.

Jonathan Ogden (OT)—Ogden did not play Sunday against the Jets. Coach Billick is hopeful he can resume practice by Wednesday and is listed as questionable for Sunday.

Steve McNair (QB)—McNair did not play in the Ravens’ win over New York in week two, and is currently listed as questionable. The expectation is that he will resume his starting role this coming Sunday.

Trevor Pryce (DE)—Pryce broke his left wrist in the Jets game. He has had surgery to repair it and is expected to miss the next three to five games.

Ray Lewis (LB)—Lewis played well against New York and is listed as probable for the Cardinals game.

Demetrius Williams (WR)—Williams suffered a bruised arm Sunday and will play this week.


Bryant Johnson (WR)—Johnson, who has been hampered with an injured hamstring, made two catches for twenty-three yards this past Sunday. He is listed as probable and expected to face the Ravens.

St. Louis vs. Tampa Bay


Marc Bulger (QB) – According to, Bulger was battling rib and knee soreness after the week two loss to San Francisco. Don’t expect this to keep Bulger out of week three.


Cadillac Williams (RB) – Despite a rib injury, Williams was able to start and play effectively against the Saints. Expect the Cadillac to be rolling out of the garage for week three’s matchup against the Rams.

Brian Kelly (CB) – Kelly was inactive for Sunday’s game against New Orleans and he will likely be questionable for this week’s game.

Chris Simms (QB) – Simms was inactive for week two action and the Bucs show no signs of activating him anytime soon.

San Francisco vs. Pittsburgh


Frank Gore (RB) – During week two action, Gore was spotted on the sidelines getting examined for a knee injury by the trainer. However, the 49ers do not believe it is serious and fantasy owners should feel comfortable with him in the lineup this week.


James Harrison (LB) – In a scary moment at the end of the first half against the Bills, Harrison was carted off the field, but eventually returned to the sidelines. Seeing Harrison walk onto the field was great news for the Steelers, but it is unknown if he can play this Sunday.

Detroit vs. Philadelphia


L. J. Smith (TE)—Smith was activated for Monday’s game against Washington and should be able to play in week three, despite his groin injury.

Greg Lewis (WR)—Despite a hip injury, Lewis is listed as active for the Redskins game and should be available for week three.

Jevon Kearse (DE)—Kearse is listed as active for the Redskins showdown, even with his shoulder injury. He will be available for week three.


Jon Kitna (QB)—Kitna is believed to have suffered a mild concussion in Sunday’s victory. He didn’t show any residue symptoms Monday, nor experience any headaches.  He is expected to play this weekend against the Eagles.

Kevin Jones (RB)—Jones did not play in weeks one or two with a foot injury.  He is, however, listed as probable to take on the Eagles this weekend.  It’ll be interesting to see how effective he can be.

Dan Campbell (TE)—Campbell was scheduled to undergo an MRI on his injured elbow Monday. He is currently listed as probable for week three.

T.J. Duckett (RB)—Duckett did not play Sunday and is currently listed as questionable for further action in week three.

Miami vs. N.Y. Jets


No injuries reported from Sunday’s game against the Cowboys.


Chad Pennington (QB) – Pennington was active, but did not start in week two’s contest against the Ravens. Pennington should be able to start, but we’ll call him questionable at this point.

Jerricho Cotchery (WR) – Reports indicate Cotchery suffered a shoulder injury against the Ravens, but nothing has been released on how severe it is. Since we haven’t heard anything else, we expect this receiver to start on Sunday.

Buffalo vs. New England


Jarvis Green (DL)—Hasn’t played this season with shoulder problems, although he is involved in limited practice.  Patriots have obviously not missed him.

Richard Seymour (DL)—Seymour is currently on the physically unable to perform list with knee injuries.  It is questionable if he will play this season at all.  The Patriots miss him a little more than Green.


Doesn’t really matter.  They have no shot against the Patriots.  For those who still care:

Terrence McGee (CB)—McGee bruised his ribs Sunday against the Steelers and is listed as probable for the Patriots game.  He probably wishes he had been hurt a little more so he wouldn’t have to get embarrassed by Moss.

Josh Reed (WR)—Reed missed Sunday’s game with a hip contusion.  He is listed as questionable at best for this week’s division match-up.  It won’t help Losman to lose a semi-viable target in this game.

Coy Wire (S)—Wire blew out his MCL Sunday and is out indefinitely.

Ashton Youboty (CB) – Youboty left Sunday’s game with an ankle injury and his status for next week’s game is in doubt.

Minnesota vs. Kansas City


Tarvaris Jackson (QB) – Jackson left Sunday’s overtime game against the Lions with a groin injury and his status for Sunday’s game against the Chiefs is up in the air. Kelly Holcomb is expected to start if Jackson cannot go.

Chester Taylor (RB) – Taylor (hip) did not play in last week’s game against the Lions. We’ll update his status for week three later this week.

Robert Ferguson(WR)—Ferguson, continuing his streak of injuries with ankle problems, did play in week two against Detroit.  He made three catches for twenty-nine yards.  He is probable for week three.


Eddie Kennison (WR)—Kennison will miss the Vikings game Sunday due to a hamstring injury.  Coach Herm Edwards anticipates Kennison returning for week four.

Patrick Surtain (CB)—Surtain registered four tackles in Sunday’s loss to the Bears.  He is listed as probable for the upcoming week.

Jon McGraw (S)—McGraw has missed the first two games of the season with hamstring injuries.  He has returned to limited practice, but is listed as questionable at this point.

Keyaron Fox (LB)—Fox played Sunday against the Bears, despite back problems, registering two tackles.  He is listed as probable for Sunday.

Indianapolis vs. Houston


Rob Morris (LB) – Morris was forced to miss Sunday’s game against the Titans due to an abdominal strain. Morris will likely be questionable for this week’s game against the Texans.

Freddy Keiaho (LB) – Keiaho was inactive for the victory against the Titans due to a dislocated elbow. The Colts are uncertain about his status for week three.


Andre Johnson (WR) – In what might be the biggest injury from week two action, the Texans could be without their star receiver for a couple of weeks. Johnson suffered a sprained knee against the Panthers and although a MRI apparently showed nothing serious, he will likely be out at least Sunday and possibly a couple of other games.

Travis Johnson (DT) – Johnson was inactive for the week two contest against Carolina and his status for this week’s game has not been updated.

San Diego vs. Green Bay


Jamal Williams (DT) – Williams suffered an elbow injury against New England and tried to continue with a brace, but was unable to finish the game.

Shane Olivea (OT) – Olivea left Sunday night’s game against the Patriots with an leg injury and had to be carted off the field.

Matt Wilhelm (LB) – Wilhelm dealt with a calf injury against the Patriots and his status for next week is uncertain.

Eric Parker (WR) – Parker is out for the first couple of weeks of the 2007 season, as he is battling a toe injury. Parker could miss around five to six games and while he is out, you can upgrade rookie Craig Davis.


Tony Palmer (G) – The Packers expect Palmer to miss the rest of the year with a fractured bone in his neck.

Vernand Morency (RB) – Morency was inactive for the second straight week against the Giants, but the Packers think he will be able to practice on Wednesday. However, Morency is losing ground to rookies Brandon Jackson and DeShawn Wynn.

Greg Jennings (WR) – Jennings was also inactive for the second straight week and rookie James Jones continues to impress. Jennings’ status for week three is uncertain and he could be another gametime decision.

Cincinnati vs. Seattle


Shayne Graham (K)—Graham was perfect in Cincinnati’s ridiculous loss to Cleveland Sunday.  He made one field goal attempt and was six for six on extra-point tries.  He will play Sunday against Seattle.

Levi Jones (OT)—Jones hasn’t played the first two games this season, although he has continually been listed as probable.  No one knows what’s going on with Jones, which is par for the course in Cincinnati.

T. J. Houshmandzadeh (WR)—T. J. made eight catches, two for touchdowns, for sixty-nine yards Sunday.  His knee may not be one hundred percent, but he is close and will play in week three.

Antonio Chatman (WR)—Chatman injured his hamstring in the Sunday debacle in Cleveland, but is listed as probable this week.

Ahmad Brooks (LB)—Brooks left the Browns game with an injured groin.  He is listed as questionable at this time for the Seahawk contest.  That is bad news for the Bengals, as they are very thin at linebacker and not very strong with Brooks, much less without him.

Johnathan Joseph (CB) – Joseph will undergo a MRI on his injured wrist on Monday. The Bengals struggled to stop the Browns – imagine how bad their defense could be without Joseph.


Maurice Morris (RB)—Morris did not play Sunday with a sore hip.  He is still listed as questionable and may not play this week against the Bengals.

Shaun Alexander (RB)—Alexander, wearing a cast-like device on his left thumb and wrist, had seventy yards on eighteen carries this past week.  He is listed as probable against the Bengals, but is far from the Alexander of 2004 and 2005.  He will sit on many fantasy benches for a while.

Cleveland vs. Oakland


Willie McGinest (LB) – McGinest missed week one with a back injury and is likely out for week three.

Brodney Pool (S) – Pool suffered a slight concussion against the Bengals and his status will be monitored throughout the week.


Josh McCown (QB) – Despite injuries to his hand and ankle, McCown played and nearly led the Raiders to victory over the Broncos in week two. Although his performance wasn’t overwhelming, the Raiders will stick with him as their starter for week three action.

Derrick Burgess (DE) – Burgess reportedly suffered a calf injury in Sunday’s game against the Broncos. The Raiders will likely update his injury status on Wednesday.

Jacksonville vs. Denver


Khalif Barnes (OT) and Maurice Drew-Jones (RB)—Both received X-rays after the victory over the Falcons Sunday for ‘unspecified injuries’.  They are both listed as probable at this point, although the ‘unspecified injuries’ may cause a slight doubt as to the availability of either.

Gerald Sensabaugh (S)—Sensabaugh left Sunday’s game after aggravating a shoulder injury.  He is listed as questionable at best for the Broncos game and is not likely to play.


Domonique Foxworth (CB)—Foxworth did not play Sunday against the Raiders due to his ankle and has not practiced much the last few weeks.  He is questionable for the Jaguars game and is not likely to play.

Travis Henry (RB)—Henry injured his ankle in the victory over Oakland, but is listed as probable for the week three match-up with the Jaguars.

Carolina vs. Atlanta


Dante Wesley (S) – Wesley left Sunday’s contest against the Texans with a collarbone injury and he could be done for the rest of the year.


Wayne Gandy (OT) – Several reports indicated Gandy left Sunday’s game early due to a hamstring injury and he could be questionable for the Falcons week three matchup against Carolina.

Laurent Robinson (WR) – The Falcons declared Robinson as one of their inactives for week two, as he is battling a hamstring injury. Although the Falcon offense has been pretty poor, Robinson is a promising player. His status for week three will be updated later in the week.

N.Y. Giants vs. Washington


Eli Manning (QB) – Even though Manning was expected to miss a couple of weeks with a shoulder injury, the quarterback was able to go on Sunday and didn’t suffer any setbacks. Manning will be in the Giants lineup against the Redskins.

Plaxico Burress (WR) – The New York Daily News reports Burress is expected to play against the Redskins next Sunday, even though he suffered an ankle injury against the Packers. Watch Burress’ status closely throughout the week.

Steve Smith (WR) – Smith suffered a fractured shoulder blade against the Packers and will be out a couple of weeks.

Ahmad Bradshaw (RB) – The New York Daily News is reporting Bradshaw was in a sling due to an injured elbow after Sunday’s game against the Packers. Bradshaw’s status for the Redskins will be updated later this week.


Randy Thomas (G) – The Redskins offensive line didn’t get any better on Monday night, as Thomas suffered a torn triceps in his arm. Thomas may end up missing the rest of the year – which would mean two starters from the offensive line would be out for the remainder of this season.

Dallas vs. Chicago


Muhsin Muhammad (WR)—The star Bears receiver had only one catch for seven yards against the Chiefs, but is listed as probable to play this week against the Cowboys as he recoups from an ankle injury.

Brian Urlacher (LB)—Urlacher has experience soreness in his back.  He still registered nine total tackles last week against the Chiefs and is listed as probable for the Cowboys contest.

Dusty Dvoracek (DT)—Dvorcek has been placed on injury reserve for a torn ACL.

Mike Brown (S)—Brown has likewise been placed on injury reserve for a torn ACL.


Terry Glenn (WR)—Glenn is out with knee injuries and underwent surgery to remove cartilage, but hopes to be able to return in four to six weeks.

Patrick Crayton (WR)—Crayton, who didn’t register any catches in limited time against the Dolphins, suffered a dislocated pinky finger early in that game.  He is listed as probable at this time.

Terence Newman (CB)—Newman did not play in week two and is listed as questionable for this week’s match-up due to plantar fascitis.

Jason Ferguson (DT)—Ferguson is out for the season with a torn biceps.

Greg Ellis (LB)—Ellis is still listed as out with the foot injury that threatens his career.

Tennessee vs. New Orleans


Deuce McAllister (RB)—McAllister suffered a swollen left eye in Sunday’s loss to Tampa Bay.  He is expected to be ok and able to play in week three’s match-up with the Titans.


Casey Cramer (TE)—Cramer has missed the first two games of the season with knee problems.  He has resumed practicing on a limited basis and is questionable at best for week three against the Saints.

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Andre Johnson doubtful for Week 3 
Andre Johnson (knee sprain) is being called doubtful for Week 3.

"We'll know more in the next couple of days," coach Gary Kubiak said. "There was no swelling, but there's definitely a sprain there. It's a concern right now." An MRI revealed an MCL sprain, meaning Johnson could miss anywhere from one week to several weeks. Jacoby Jones appears likely to start against the Colts Sunday.

Ravens receiver Clayton to resume starting  
Mark Clayton will resume starting for Baltimore in Week 3.

Clayton has been limited to third downs so far while coming back from a foot injury. If the Ravens had another capable third receiver option, he may have sat out. Baltimore is confident that Clayton is healthy and can resume being an every-down player.

McCown will keep starting job for Raiders 
Raiders coach Lane Kiffin confirmed Monday that Josh McCown will keep his starting job in Week 3.

McCown wore a protective boot on his foot Monday, but should be healthy enough to face the Browns. Kiffin did indicate that McCown, who has thrown three touchdowns to five interceptions through two weeks, could be on a short leash: "Josh has got to get better, that's no secret, or he won't be our starting quarterback for long, especially at this pace.

Redskins lose RG Thomas with torn triceps  
Redskins RG Randy Thomas left Monday night's game with a torn triceps.

Thomas could miss the rest of the season. This is a huge blow for the Redskins' offense, which has now lost the entire right side of its line after losing RT Jon Jansen for the season in Week 1. Thomas was possibly Washington's best run blocker

Jets CB/KR Miller to miss remainder of season  
According to the New York Daily News, Justin Miller will miss the remainder of the season with a knee injury.

A Pro Bowl return man last season, Miller hurt his right knee in Sunday's loss to the Ravens and underwent an MRI, with an anonymous source telling the newspaper that "it doesn't look good." Leon Washington figures to replace Miller on kickoffs.

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Suspended defensive tackle Tank Johnson signs contract with Dallas Cowboys
September 18, 2007

IRVING, Texas (AP) -Suspended defensive tackle Tank Johnson has signed a two-year contract with the Dallas Cowboys.

Johnson, who played the last three seasons for the Chicago Bears, can't play for the Cowboys until he completes his eight-game NFL suspension for violating probation on a gun charge. He has served the first two games of that suspension.

Johnson signed Tuesday after visiting with the Cowboys and taking a physical.

``For a lot of reasons, he really just felt the Cowboys were the right fit,'' said Johnson's agent, Jerrold Colton. ``He's so thankful to them for giving him this opportunity. He is very determined to prove they made a wise decision in believing in him.''

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Steelers' Harrison has stiff neck, cleared to play

PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker James Harrison has been cleared to play against San Francisco this week despite being carried off the field on a stretcher during Sunday's game against Buffalo.

Coach Mike Tomlin said Tuesday the news on Harrison was ''very good'' and that Harrison was diagnosed with a stiff neck.

Harrison may be held back during practice Wednesday, but can play Sunday, Tomlin said.

Harrison, an undrafted free agent who has replaced Joey Porter at right outside linebacker, was hurt on Marshawn Lynch's 8-yard carry that ended the second quarter.

Harrison, caught in a pileup, rammed his head into teammate Casey Hampton's back as Lynch was tackled by Brett Keisel and Clark Haggans. He lay motionless briefly as the Steelers delayed a halftime tribute to some of their former stars until Harrison was taken off the field.

After being examined by doctors for a few minutes, Harrison returned to the sideline midway through the third quarter, but did not play again as the Steelers won 26-3.

Through two games, Harrison has two sacks and is second on the team with 10 tackles.

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Falcons sign former Jaguars' starter Leftwich

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- The Atlanta Falcons signed former Jacksonville quarterback Byron Leftwich on Tuesday, giving the team immediate depth and a potential contender for the starting job.

Leftwich's agent, Tom Condon, said the former first-round draft pick passed a physical, worked out for the team and signed a two-year, $7 million deal.

''He's very pleased to be in Atlanta, for whatever role they have in mind,'' Condon said. ''At this time of year, at the time Byron was released, it makes it difficult for teams, because clearly he is a starting caliber quarterback. Nevertheless, it's going to take a period of time before he learns the offense.

''Byron is an extremely bright guy. I think it will happen relatively quickly.''

Condon said the 27-year-old Leftwich already was studying film and would join the team for Wednesday's practice.

Oddsmakers have listed the Falcons as 4-point underdogs for Sunday's game against the Carolina Panthers. The total for this contest is set at 36.

The Falcons needed help. Harrington, who took over as the starter when Michael Vick was suspended by the NFL, has lost his first two starts with Atlanta and the offense has scored only 10 points.

Harrington's current backups are Chris Redman, who has not played in an NFL game since 2003, and Casey Bramlet, whose only professional experience came in Europe.

The Falcons did not immediately confirm the signing of Leftwich or announce a roster move to clear a spot for the new quarterback.

Vick was suspended indefinitely last month following his guilty plea on a dogfighting charge. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 10.

Leftwich was cut by Jacksonville in a surprise preseason move when the Jaguars chose David Garrard as their starter. Ankle and knee problems have prevented Leftwich, who was taken seventh overall in 2003, from completing a full season recently. He missed 15 games the past two years.

Harrington has been sacked 13 times, and coach Bobby Petrino said Monday the quarterback is holding the ball too long and showing a lack of confidence in his play.

''I think right now Joey is playing a little bit conservative, a little bit not to throw the interception,'' Petrino said. ''Therefore it is causing him to hold the ball. He just needs to open it up more with confidence and play to go win the game.''

Harrington was 12-for-20 passing for 200 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions in a 13-7 loss to Jacksonville on Sunday.

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Jets place Pro Bowl KR Justin Miller on injured reserve

NEW YORK -- The New York Jets placed Pro Bowl kick returner-cornerback Justin Miller on injured reserve Tuesday because of a knee injury.

The speedy Miller, who led the NFL last season in yards per kickoff return, injured his right knee during a 22-yard return early in the second quarter of New York's 20-13 loss at Baltimore on Sunday. He stayed on the turf for several minutes before being helped off the field and taken to the locker room.

The nature and severity of the injury was not immediately known. The Jets were off Tuesday, and coach Eric Mangini is extremely tightlipped when it comes to injuries. Calls and e-mails to the office of Miller's agent, Eugene Parker, seeking comment weren't immediately returned.

It's a disappointing end to the season for Miller, who was making strides at cornerback in training camp before injuring a hamstring in the team's scrimmage at Fordham University on Aug. 5. He didn't play in any preseason games while recovering, but played in the first two regular-season games and had two tackles and two returns for 48 yards.

Miller struggled with pass coverage in his first two NFL seasons, but was selected for the Pro Bowl last season after leading the league with 28.3 yards per kickoff return. He had two returns for touchdowns last season: a team-record 103-yarder against Indianapolis and a 99-yarder at Cleveland.

The Jets' second-round pick in 2005 out of Clemson, Miller holds the team record with three kickoff returns for touchdowns and is already third on the career list for kickoff return yardage with 2,929 yards.

The last several months have been rough for Miller, who was also arrested May 20 and charged with third-degree assault, a misdemeanor, after an early morning fight at a New York City nightclub.

In Miller's absence, the Jets are expected to use Leon Washington, Brad Smith and Wallace Wright as kick returners. Rookie Darrelle Revis has stepped in as the team's primary right cornerback, the spot Miller started at in four games last season.

Also Tuesday, the Jets released offensive lineman Jason Capizzi from the practice squad.

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Steelers' Harrison has stiff neck, cleared to play

PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker James Harrison has been cleared to play against San Francisco this week despite being carried off the field on a stretcher during Sunday's game against Buffalo.

Coach Mike Tomlin said Tuesday the news on Harrison was ''very good'' and that Harrison was diagnosed with a stiff neck.

Harrison may be held back during practice Wednesday, but can play Sunday, Tomlin said.

Harrison, an undrafted free agent who has replaced Joey Porter at right outside linebacker, was hurt on Marshawn Lynch's 8-yard carry that ended the second quarter.

Harrison, caught in a pileup, rammed his head into teammate Casey Hampton's back as Lynch was tackled by Brett Keisel and Clark Haggans. He lay motionless briefly as the Steelers delayed a halftime tribute to some of their former stars until Harrison was taken off the field.

After being examined by doctors for a few minutes, Harrison returned to the sideline midway through the third quarter, but did not play again as the Steelers won 26-3.

Through two games, Harrison has two sacks and is second on the team with 10 tackles.

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Bengals sign LB Dhani Jones
September 19, 2007

CINCINNATI (AP) -The Bengals signed free agent linebacker Dhani Jones to a one-year contract Wednesday, a day after waiving linebacker Andre Frazier.

Jones played four seasons with the New York Giants and three with Philadelphia, starting 13 games last season.

The Eagles released him April 30 and he signed with New Orleans, which released him Aug. 31.

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mvbski wrote:

Andre Johnson doubtful for Week 3 
Andre Johnson (knee sprain) is being called doubtful for Week 3.

"We'll know more in the next couple of days," coach Gary Kubiak said. "There was no swelling, but there's definitely a sprain there. It's a concern right now." An MRI revealed an MCL sprain, meaning Johnson could miss anywhere from one week to several weeks. Jacoby Jones appears likely to start against the Colts Sunday.

Johnson says he'll miss Sunday's game  
Associated Press

HOUSTON (AP) - Houston Texans receiver Andre Johnson said he won't play this weekend against Indianapolis as he recovers from a sprained knee.

Johnson injured his knee during the fourth quarter of the Texans 34-21 win over the Carolina Panthers on Sunday. He was hurt after falling awkwardly following a 10-yard reception and remained on the turf for several minutes.
He was able to walk off the field on his own, but could be seen limping on the sideline.

Johnson had seven catches for 120 yards and two touchdowns Sunday and his 262 yards receiving in the first two games rank fourth in the NFL. 

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It's not like we haven't seen this before.

Really, it's like clockwork, and the reason forecasts for upcoming football seasons should often be taken with a grain of salt.

Quite simply, it's not the 2006 NFL season anymore. Just like the '06 campaign wasn't 2005. And the '05 season wasn't 2004. Like always, teams that were able to sneak up and surprise people the previous season are wearing targets the next year. Dynamics can change quickly in the NFL.

Yet, come preseason time, the majority of pundits who predict the upcoming gridiron campaign invariably base almost all of their projections on the previous year's results. We'd bet that well over half of this year's NFL prognostications had the same teams making the playoffs as last season. Lots of support for sides like the Jets and Saints, little support for the Texans, Redskins, or Packers. Although we suppose a playoff repeat of 2006 still could happen, it's not very likely.

The list of early reminders that the nascent 2007 campaign isn't going to be a redux of 2006 are plentiful, but it's nonetheless worthwhile to review. In descending "shock value" from a year ago, here are the biggest changes to note after two weeks of NFL action.

1) New Orleans Saints...The Saints were a du jour selection by many to get to the Super Bowl after last season's surprising 10-6 mark, and appearance in the NFC title game. But there were plenty of cracks evident in the foundation all of last season, many of those on the defensive side, which were exposed in the lopsided 39-14 conference title game loss at Chicago. New Orleans was able to camouflage its stop unit with a high-powered attack piloted by Drew Brees a year ago, but that hasn't worked thus far in '07. The Saints have been humiliated in their first two games, losses at Indy and Tampa Bay by a combined 72-24 count. Opposing defenses have slowed Brees and a receiving corps that might miss the presence of vet wideout Joe Horn, and some soft play up front has thus far limited the damage Reggie Bush and Deuce McAllister can cause. Meanwhile, the "D" still lacks playmakers, and its inability to force turnovers is becoming a burden for the team. After everything seemed to go right for Sean Payton in his first season as head coach, everything seems to be going just as wrong in '07, and a loss vs. Tennessee this Monday would really sound the alarms at the Superdome.

2) Houston Texans...It was easy to overlook the Texans because never in their history had they given a hint that they were ready for something of a breakthrough. Heck, the franchise has yet to record a winning season since its birth in 2002. But things might be changing in 2007 in HC Gary Kubiak's second year in charge. The offensive line, long an albatross, appears serviceable. New QB Matt Schaub, imported from Atlanta in the offseason, is confirming scouting reports that he was ready to take over an NFL offense. RB Ahman Green, brought in from Green Bay, has added further class to the backfield. And with holdover WR Andre Johnson one of the NFL's best-kept secrets, the Texans are now ready to deal on offense for the first time in franchise history. Coupled with significant improvement from a defense that began to assimilate d.c. Richard Smith's 4-3 as last season progressed, and has seen last year's top draft choice DE Mario Williams (left) finally show signs of becoming a dominator, all indicators are up at Reliant Stadium. The Texans are 2-0 for the first time in franchise history, have won both of their games by double-digit margins, and scored a franchise-high 34 points in last week's win over Carolina.

3) New York Jets...Things definitely aren't the same in Jets camp as a year ago. Remember, New York was able to keep QB Chad Pennington, whose durability has always been a question, relatively healthy and in the lineup throughout 2006. Already in 2007, Pennington has been knocked out of action (ankle sprain), and it remains to be seen if his surgically-repaired shoulder can withstand another season when he gets back into the lineup. Moreover, the Jets might rue not re-signing veteran LG Pete Kendall, traded to the Redskins last month after a contract dispute. Minus the leader of last season's forward wall, the Jets have been suspect offensively the first two weeks. The offense hoped the acquisition of RB Thomas Jones from Chicago would help the infantry, but the attack still lacks a legit big-play dimension. In addition, the secondary is looking vulnerable, with rookie DBs Darrelle Revis & David Barrett now seeing plenty of time. The Jets might be the AFC version of the Saints, as, like counterpart Sean Payton in New Orleans, things have suddenly gone pear-shaped for the Jets' own second-year coach, Eric Mangini.

4) Washington Redskins...They're not doing it with style points, that's for sure. But if the Skins' defense really is upgraded from its disappointing '06 self, and young QB Jason Campbell begins to mature into a competent leader, perhaps Joe Gibbs' 2-0 start isn't a mirage. Indeed, Campbell could prove one of the real x-factors in the NFC, because last year the Skins could not properly utilize what appeared to be a dangerous group of deep-threat wideouts in Santana Moss, Antwaan Randle El, and Brandon Lloyd. But early indications are that Campbell can get the ball downfield a lot better than Mark Brunell the past few years, and suddenly the Skins are stretching the field, which is opening up more room to run for now-healthy RB Clinton Portis (shown at right in Monday night's win at Philly). With the Giants and Eagles misfiring (and each already 2 games behind the Skins), perhaps Washington can stick in the NFC East race a lot longer than most anticipated.

5) Green Bay Packers...Of all the early 2-0 teams, the Pack might be the most surprising. Most pegged Green Bay, which opened the season as underdogs vs. both the Eagles and Giants, to break 0-2 from the gate, but Brett Favre and Co. have had other ideas. Favre, in particular, is playing out of memory, and tossed 3 TD passes in last weekend's 35-13 romp past the slumping Giants. It will still be important to limit Favre from forcing the ball downfield, which means the Vernand Morency/Brandon Jackson infantry must continue to establish a presence, but for now, things are working well for 2nd-year HC Mike McCarthy. An underrated defense, especially an active LB crew led by MLB Nick Barnett, appears gnarly enough to keep the Pack in the hunt most weekends, and special teams play appears much improved as well. But it's still the popular Favre's show, and his ability to lift his teammates is an intangible that could prove the difference in more than a few games this fall.

6) Philadelphia Eagles...There were some worrying smoke signals during the offseason in Philly, amid hints that the window of opportunity for the Andy Reid/Donovan McNabb Eagles was about to close. And now that their ninth year together has commenced, it might be shutting quicker than either of them could have imagined. It was not a pleasant offseason in Philly, especially for Reid, who took a leave of absence from work in February to deal with family issues, then drafted what would appear to be an heir apparent to McNabb with 2nd-round pick Kevin Kolb from the University of Houston. Meanwhile, McNabb was recovering from another injury (this time a knee) after missing significant action for the third time in five seasons. Moreover, reliever deluxe Jeff Garcia bolted for Tampa Bay in the offseason, leaving the cover for McNabb a bit thinner than before (Kolb and journeyman A.J. Feeley the backups for '07). And veteran d.c. Jim Johnson has had to move pieces on his stop unit. But the real question is if McNabb, without the mobility he possessed a few years ago, can still be the impact performer he was earlier in his career. So far, it doesn't look so, as the Eagle aerial attack (always prone to dink-dink status with McNabb) can't get the ball downfield with any consistency, and there are only so many ways Reid can involve versatile RB Brian Westbrook in the offense.

7) San Francisco 49ers...Like Washington, the 49ers aren't scoring many style points in the early going, but they are winning close games, and qualify as the early "cardiac kids" of 2007 with a pair of hair-raising wins over the Cardinals and Rams. What is most encouraging about these developments, however, is that the 49ers are doing it without their offense yet hitting gear. RB Frank Gore, who missed almost all of preseason with a hand injury, is finally getting back in the groove, but with 3rd-year QB Alex Smith still a work in progress, the offense has been a bit sluggish (although putting the drives it needs together nicely in the clutch). The difference in this year's 49ers is on defense, where additions such as ex-Bills CB Nate Clements and Ole Miss rookie LB Patrick Willis have added immediate impact performers to the stop unit. No, HC Mike Nolan (a respected defensive tactician) finally has the pieces to fir in his stop unit's puzzle, and the 49ers can win the sort of 20-17 and 17-16 decisions they couldn't in the past few years.

8) San Diego Chargers...Perhaps it is too soon to draw conclusions about the coaching switch in Chargerland, with Marty Schottenheimer sent packing and Norv Turner (left) brought in to replace him after last January's bitter playoff loss vs. the Patriots. But early indications are that this is a move that might backfire in San Diego. Turner, a respected offensive tactician, has nonetheless failed at two previous head coaching assignments (Washington and Oakland), and more than a few informed observers believe Norv is ill-suited to head coaching duties, being more comfortable (and effective) as an offensive coordinator and QB tutor. And it has been apparent from watching San Diego (wearing cool new duds, by the way) in its first two games that things are different in '07. The emotional frenzy in which Marty seemed to whip the team in '06 has been mostly absent in Norv's first two games, and one wonders if the introverted Turner can provide the sort of emotional fire that fueled the Bolts a year ago. We would never discount a team with LaDainian Tomlinson and so many other accomplished performers, but the one-sided loss at New England might have been a warning sign, and we suspect things are not going to come as easy for the Bolts in '07. We're not even sure they are going to make the playoffs.

There are other teams worth mentioning, both good and bad (Lions, Giants, Chiefs, Dolphins, etc.), but we'll save discussions of those for future weeks. In the meantime, just remember that it's not 2006 anymore.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Derek Anderson, QB, Cleveland Browns...Stat-wise, ex-Oregon State star Anderson might have even been outdone by his counterpart in last Sunday's game, Cincy's Carson Palmer, who threw a career-best 6 TDs. But Anderson tossed 5 of his own, and more importantly, led his Browns to a wild 51-45 win, a success many are saying could be the most significant in recent franchise history, at least beginning with the Browns' rebirth in 1999. Moreover, Anderson appeared to be just a stop-gap at QB until rookie Brady Quinn was read to go, and had just inherited the job on a temporary basis after first-week starter Charlie Frye was demoted, then traded to Seattle. But Anderson executed new o.c. Rob Chudzinski's schemes beautifully, getting wideout Braylon Edwards (8 catches for 146 yards and 2 TDs) more involved, and opening the field for vet RB Jamal Lewis, who harkened memories of his salad days in Baltimore with a 215-yard rushing performance. For the Bengals, and their defense in particular, it was a massively disappointing afternoon. But for the unlikely hero Anderson, it was a week to celebrate.

GAMES TO WATCH THIS WEEK: Indianapolis (2-0) at Houston (2-0)...Are the Texans for real? We'll get a better idea this Sunday in an early showdown for first place in the AFC South. Detroit (2-0) at Philadelphia (0-2)...We're not sure if it was gutty, or plain stupid, for Lions QB Jon Kitna to go back into last week's game vs. Minnesota after suffering a concussion. But what we do know is that the phone lines are buzzing at 610 WIP in Philly, as angry callers vent their frustrations at the Birds' 0-2 start to sports talk hosts Angelo Cataldi, Al Morganti, and Howard Eskin. With Dallas galloping in the NFC East, the Eagles already might have to re-adjust their sites to the wildcard, and if they fall to 0-3, even that might be optimistic. Meanwhile, the Lions officially establish themselves as threat in the NFC North if they break 3-0. New York Giants (0-2) at Washington (2-0)...The Giants are another team on the brink of the abyss, and will fall three games off the NFC East pace if they lose this week. With each sloppy effort, HC Tom Coughlin's chances of surviving past this season grow slimmer and slimmer. Is Eli Manning really at 100%? And are the Redskins for real? Dallas (2-0) at Chicago (1-1)...One can already sense the playoff implications in this battle between two of the NFC favorites to reach the Super Bowl. The winner will have the tiebreaker edge for homefield in case these two end up level in the standings. The Cowboys have been the most-impressive NFC team to date. Can T.O. stay on good behavior? And can Wade Phillips finally prove he's a prime-time head coach?

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Re: NFL News and Notes Week 3

Line of Scrimmage: It's "Reality Week" for Some 2-0 Teams
September 19th, 2007

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - It is indisputable that you have to win the first two to win them all. It is also true that you can win the first two and still go 15-67. Just ask the 1995-96 Vancouver Grizzlies of the NBA.

Fans in Vancouver started queuing up for playoff tickets when the Griz began their inaugural season at 2-0 with wins over the Trail Blazers and Timberwolves, but that line got quite a bit shorter when they promptly lost their next 19 to fall just a little off the postseason pace.

The NFL season is 66 games shorter than that of the NBA, and the first few games mean a lot more, but that doesn't change the fact that at least a couple of the NFL's current crop of ten 2-0 teams are about to be exposed as frauds.

While it's entirely plausible that teams like the Patriots, Colts, Steelers, Broncos, and Cowboys will slip into the abyss after starting the year 2-0, all of those clubs have a recent track record suggesting that they'll be able to steer the ship at least in the proximity of the postseason.

That leaves five teams that most of the NFL-viewing public is trying to size up, with the 49ers, Lions, Packers, Redskins and Texans all seeming like candidates to fall off the map, beginning with this week.

We should get a pretty good handle on where San Francisco is after the 49ers are done playing 60 minutes with fellow 2-0 Pittsburgh this Sunday. The Niners have looked pretty darned good on defense, with offseason reinforcements Nate Clements, Michael Lewis, and Patrick Willis bolstering a team that ranked last in the league in scoring defense a year ago, but we're still not sure if that offense has what it takes. Mike Nolan's club is last in the NFL in total offense (190 yards per game) as Week 2 begins, and will be taking on a Pittsburgh team that has given up a total of 10 points in two wins over Cleveland and Buffalo.

The same goes for Detroit, which has managed to outlast two of the worst teams in the league - Oakland and Minnesota - over the past two weeks, but figures to have a much tougher time in Philadelphia on Sunday. We know the Lions offense has the potential to be consistently explosive, but if even one name of a Detroit defender rolls immediately off your tongue, you must be a diehard.

Green Bay seems to be doing it with mirrors, and has also faced six consecutive opponents at exactly the right time during its current win streak, which dates back to last season. Packers fans are talking up that defense, but we'll reserve our judgment until LaDainian Tomlinson and Antonio Gates leave Lambeau Field after Week 3. The offense? It's Brett Favre, Donald Driver, and a bunch of guys. Shawne Merriman is not fearful.

The expectations have changed for the Redskins after Monday night's stunning win in Philadelphia, and based on the upcoming schedule, Washington is probably the member of the group with the best chance to stick among the elite. The Skins have seemingly winnable games against the Giants, Lions, Packers, and Cardinals next on the slate, though consistent winning over lesser opponents has hardly been Washington's hallmark during the second Joe Gibbs era.

And finally, there are the Texans, the team that parity forgot. Houston has looked great in back-to-back wins over Kansas City and Carolina, but do we really trust a team featuring a quarterback with four NFL starts under his belt, not to mention a running back who is 30 with injury problems? If the Texans are a fraud, the Colts will prove as much when they invade Reliant Stadium on Sunday.

One or all of the above will see their high hopes dashed in the coming weeks and months, though there is a bright side that those inaugural year Grizzlies didn't live to experience. If the Niners, Lions, Packers or Texans fall from grace, chances are they won't be exiled to Memphis.

Let's take a look at the week that will be in the National Football League:


Josh McCown, QB, Oakland (vs. Cleveland) - He's thrown a bunch of picks already, but look for him to get well against a poor Browns defense.

Cadillac Williams, RB, Tampa Bay (vs. St. Louis) - Two-touchdown performance against the Saints should spark a renaissance.

Santana Moss, WR, Washington (vs. N.Y. Giants) - Check out the Giants' numbers in the area of pass defense, and remember that the Redskins are famous for scoring on the Giants.

Marcus Pollard, TE, Seattle (vs. Cincinnati) - Young Bengals defense has had little clue against tight ends Kellen Winslow (Cleveland) and Todd Heap (Baltimore).

Carolina Defense (at Atlanta) - Falcons will make a lot of defenses look good this year.


Brett Favre, QB, Green Bay (vs. San Diego) - Shawne Merriman will single- handedly deny him the touchdown pass record.

Edgerrin James, RB, Arizona (at Baltimore) - Is he the James of old? Maybe, but against Baltimore, he'll just look old.

Lee Evans, WR, Buffalo (at New England) - It's a shame such a great talent is being wasted on such a poor team.

Alge Crumpler, TE, Atlanta (vs. Carolina) - A couple of years ago, benching this guy would have seemed unthinkable.

Detroit Defense (at Philadelphia) - Why would you even consider starting the Lions "D"? Because they have six interceptions in two games, but remember those came against the Raiders and Vikings.


1. New England (vs. Buffalo) - Bills won't lay down as some will expect, but they won't come close to winning either.

2. Philadelphia (vs. Detroit) - Lions are raising some eyebrows with their play, but three straight road wins are not in the cards.

3. N.Y. Jets (vs. Miami) - Jets will take a couple of weeks of frustration out on a Miami team that is no offensive stalwart.

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Re: NFL News and Notes Week 3


I was just 9-7 in my picks last week, and a woeful 4-11-1 against the spread. Not that I could care any less about point spreads or the degenerate gamblers who do care about them, but it was a little strange that seven of my 11 losses came in games where the team I picked actually had a big enough lead to cover at some stage of the contest, only to have their opponents come back to some degree.

Just by way of comparison, and to show the fish-in-a-barrel guesswork of trying to pick NFL games against the spread, I have had my eight-month-old daughter make her own picks for each of the first two weeks of the regular season. My wife wrote team names on 32 separate sheets of paper, and we present each matchup to daddy's little girl by placing two sheets before her on the floor corresponding to each game. Whatever paper she picks up first is her selection, and we do nothing to steer her to one sheet or the other. Through two weeks, Infant Moss is 18-11-3 (.609), which is much better than the record of Daddy (10-19-3, .359), and three games better than any of The Sports Network's "Pigskin Prognosticators" who make picks weekly at I kid you not.

I am 21-11 straight up, so I guess I am able to tell you with some degree of certainty which team will win every week.

Arizona (1-1) at Baltimore (1-1), Sunday, 1:00 (Ravens -8)

Storylines: Baltimore attempts to keep pace with 2-0 Pittsburgh in the AFC North, while Arizona tries to stay near 2-0 San Francisco in the NFC West...Ravens quarterback Steve McNair expected to play after missing last week's 20-13 win over the Jets with a groin problem... Baltimore defensive end Trevor Pryce (broken wrist) and tackle Jonathan Ogden (toe, foot) not expected to play against Cardinals...Cardinals running back Edgerrin James rushed for 128 yards in last week's 23-20 win over the Seahawks, his best total since coming to Arizona in 2006...Baltimore running back Willis McGahee seeking his first 100-yard game and rushing touchdown as a Raven...Arizona wideouts Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin have combined for just one touchdown catch through two games...Ravens signed former Giants and Jaguars linebacker Nick Greisen on Wednesday...Cardinals cut former starting center Nick Leckey earlier in the week.

Fast Fact: The Cardinals are one of four NFL teams (Atlanta, Minnesota, New Orleans) against which Ravens quarterback Steve McNair has never thrown an interception.

Prediction: Arizona receivers will give Ravens' secondary some problems, but Baltimore pass rush will force enough Matt Leinart mistakes to spark the win. Ravens 22, Cardinals 15.

San Diego (1-1) at Green Bay (2-0), Sunday, 1:00 (Chargers -4)

Storylines: Green Bay vying for its first 3-0 start since 2001, when it went 12-4 under Mike Sherman, while San Diego tries to rebound from last Sunday's 38-14 trouncing in New England...Packers have won six straight dating back to last season, and are seeking their first seven-game win streak since Weeks 3-10 of the 2002 season...Packers quarterback Brett Favre is three back of Dan Marino (420) at the top of the NFL's all-time touchdown passes list...Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson has been held to 68 yards and one touchdown on 35 carries (1.9 yards per rush) in two games this season...Packers rookie DeShawn Wynn rushed for a team-best 50 yards and two touchdowns in last week's 35-13 win over the Giants...Green Bay running back Vernand Morency (knee) considered questionable for Sunday after missing the team's first two games...Chargers have yet to score a first-half point through two games...San Diego nose tackle Jamal Williams (elbow) expected to play.

Fast Fact: The Chargers are 1-7 against the Packers all-time, scoring their only win in the series in 1984 at Lambeau Field.

Prediction: Chargers will get well against a Green Bay team that isn't quite ready to top a first-rate opponent. Chargers 23, Packers 9.

Indianapolis (2-0) at Houston (2-0), Sunday, 1:00 (Colts -6)

Storylines: One of two battles of unbeatens on Week 3 docket (Steelers/49ers) ...Texans, 2-0 for the first time in team history, trying to win their fifth consecutive game dating back to last season...Houston was 0-9 against Indianapolis prior to a 27-24 win last Dec. 24th...Texans' 34 points in a 34-21 win over the Panthers last week were their most in team history...Texans quarterback Matt Schaub has completed 72 percent of his passes (36-of-50) for 452 yards with three touchdowns and an interception in his first two starts with the team...Houston Pro Bowl wideout Andre Johnson (knee), who has been the recipient of all three Texans touchdown passes thus far, considered doubtful for Sunday...Colts quarterback Peyton Manning leads the league in passing yards (600)...Indianapolis linebacker Rob Morris (rib) expected back after a one-week absence...Colts are 16-2 in September under head coach Tony Dungy...Texans are tied for the league lead in turnover margin (+4).

Fast Fact: In 10 career games against the Texans, Peyton Manning has thrown for 2,708 yards with 25 touchdowns and four interceptions.

Prediction: Probable absence of Andre Johnson hurts a Houston team that needs to have all pistons firing against Peyton Manning. Colts 28, Texans 17.

Minnesota (1-1) at Kansas City (0-2), Sunday, 1:00 (Kansas City -2)

Storylines: Chiefs make home opener, while Vikings take to the road for first time in 2007... Kansas City trying to avoid first 0-3 start since 2004, when it finished 7-9 under Dick Vermeil...Minnesota quarterback Tarvaris Jackson expected to start despite throwing four interceptions and suffering a groin injury in last week's 20-17 overtime loss to the Lions...Jackson's five interceptions are tied with Oakland's Josh McCown for the most in the league...Damon Huard expected to start for Chiefs despite being benched in favor of Brodie Croyle (4-for-4, 55 yards) late in last week's 20-10 loss to the Bears...Kansas City linebacker Napoleon Harris, a member of the Vikings in 2005 and 2006, will face his former team...Vikings fullback Tony Richardson, a member of the Chiefs from 1995 through 2005, will take on his former employer...Vikings end and former first-round pick Erasmus James (knee), who has not played since 2005, considered questionable for Sunday...Chiefs, Eagles, and Falcons are tied with a league-low one touchdown scored through two games...Kansas City end Jared Allen slated to return from a two-game NFL suspension.

Fast Fact: Chiefs running back Larry Johnson has failed to score a touchdown in five of his last seven games, dating back to last season.

Prediction: In one of the uglier NFL games you'll see in 2007, Larry Johnson will make one more play than Adrian Peterson. Chiefs 13, Vikings 10.

Buffalo (0-2) at New England (2-0), Sunday, 1:00 (Patriots -16)

Storylines: New England looks to keep rolling after downing Jets and Chargers by identical 38-14 scores...Bills trying to avoid first 0-3 start since 2004, when they lost their first four before rallying to finish 9-7 under Mike Mularkey...Bills have lost seven straight against Patriots, have dropped six in a row in New England, and are 1-12 in their last 13 contests against the Pats overall...New England last started 3-0 in 2004, when it won its first six en route to a 14-2 finish and Super Bowl title...Patriots quarterback Tom Brady leads the NFL in passer rating (134.2) and completion percentage (79.7)...New England receiver Randy Moss is tied for the league lead in receptions (17)...Bills are last in the league in passing offense (96.5 yards per game)...Patriots lead the league in total defense (214 yards per game) and rushing defense (56 yards per game)...New England had to rally from a 17-7 deficit to beat Buffalo, 19-17, when the teams met in Week 1 at Gillette Stadium last season.

Fast Fact: The last Bills quarterback to win a start in New England was Doug Flutie, who led Buffalo to a 16-13 overtime victory over the Patriots on Nov. 5, 2000.

Prediction: Patriots can't possibly lose to Buffalo, but don't forget that the Bills gave New England a rough time in Foxborough last year. Patriots 21, Bills 16.

Miami (0-2) at N.Y. Jets (0-2), Sunday, 1:00 (Jets -3)

Storylines: AFC East rivals both seeking their first win in only battle of winless teams on Week 3 docket...Jets last opened 0-3 in 2003, when they lost their first four en route to a 6-10 finish under Herm Edwards...Dolphins last started 0-3 in 2004, when they dropped their first six en route to a 4-12 season under Dave Wannstedt and Jim Bates...Starting quarterback uncertain for Jets, after second-year-pro Kellen Clemens started last week's 20-13 loss to Baltimore in place of an injured Chad Pennington (leg)...Dolphins head coach Cam Cameron and quarterback Trent Green both seeking first win with Miami... Jets wideout Jerricho Cotchery had a career-high 165 receiving yards against the Ravens...Dolphins are last in the league in rushing offense (63.5 yards per game)...Running back Thomas Jones has totaled 109 yards on 38 carries without a touchdown in his first two games as a Jet...Miami rusher Ronnie Brown has gone over 100 yards in his last two games against the Jets...Jets Pro Bowl kickoff returner Justin Miller (knee) is out for the year...Dolphins have lost five of their last six against Jets.

Fast Fact: Since their 40-37 overtime loss at the Meadowlands on a Monday night in 2000, the Dolphins have averaged 12.6 points and have gone 1-5 in six road games with the Jets.

Prediction: It won't be beautiful, but Mangini will find the left column behind a strong effort from his defense. Jets 16, Dolphins 12.

Detroit (2-0) at Philadelphia (0-2), Sunday, 1:00 (Philadelphia -6)

Storylines: Lions looking to start 3-0 for the first time since 1980, when they won their first four en route to a 9-7 finish under Monte Clark... Philadelphia seeking to avoid its first 0-3 start since 1999, when it lost its first four en route to a 5-11 finish under then-first-year head coach Andy Reid...Eagles, who are still looking for their first win since Donovan McNabb's ACL surgery last November, have scored just one touchdown in their first eight quarters of 2007, tied with the Falcons and Chiefs for fewest in the league...Running back and Philadelphia-area native Kevin Jones (foot) expected to make his first appearance of the year for the Lions...Detroit leads the NFL in passing offense (321.5 yards per game)...Lions defense has recorded an NFL-high six interceptions through two games...Status of Philadelphia cornerback Lito Sheppard (knee) uncertain for Sunday, and safety Brian Dawkins (neck stinger) expected to play...Eagles re-signed kick returner J.R. Reed on Wednesday, after Reed had been released due to a key fumble in Week 1.

Fast Fact: The last Lions quarterback to win a start in Philadelphia was Joe Ferguson, who engineered a 13-11 victory (on 10-of-33 passing) at Veterans Stadium on Nov. 16, 1986.

Prediction: Eagles won't run away with it on a short week, but the Lions will look enough like the Lions of old to lose it. Eagles 20, Lions 19.

San Francisco (2-0) at Pittsburgh (2-0), Sunday, 1:00 (Steelers -9)

Storylines: One of two battles of unbeatens on Week 3 docket (Colts/Texans) ...Niners last started 3-0 in 1998, when they finished 12-4 under Steve Mariucci...Steelers haven't opened at 3-0 since 1992, when they went 11-5 under first-year head coach Bill Cowher...49ers are 2-0 despite ranking last in the league in total offense (190 yards per game)...Steelers have given up a league-low 10 points through two games...San Francisco running back Frank Gore is tied for first in the league with 6.3 yards per rush...Steelers running back Willie Parker has gone over 100 yards in five of his last six games dating back to last season...Pittsburgh linebacker James Harrison (neck) could play after being carted off the field in last week's 26-3 win over the Bills...Steelers rookie tight end Matt Spaeth, who has caught touchdown passes in each of Pittsburgh's first two games, considered questionable for Sunday with a thigh problem... Steelers wideout Cedrick Wilson played in 53 games with the 49ers between 2001 and 2004.

Fast Fact: The 49ers have won by double digits in their last two trips to Pittsburgh, winning at Three Rivers Stadium in 1993 (24-13) and 1996 (25-15).

Prediction: Look for the 49ers to hang, but for the Steeler defense to ultimately be too tough. Steelers 20, 49ers 16.

St. Louis (0-2) at Tampa Bay (1-1), Sunday, 1:00 (Buccaneers -4)

Storylines: Rams, who will play their first road game after dropping consecutive home contests, last opened at 0-3 in 2002, when they fell in their first five en route to a 7-9 finish under Mike Martz...Buccaneers running back Cadillac Williams scored two touchdowns in last week's 31-14 upset of the Saints, doubling his 2006 scoring output...Rams running back Steven Jackson has been held to 118 yards on 39 carries without a touchdown in his first two games of 2007...St. Louis guard Richie Incognito (ankle), linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa (ankle), and cornerback Tye Hill (back, ribs) all considered questionable for Sunday...Rams have lost an NFL-high five fumbles through two games...Buccaneers tackle Kevin Carter was a first-round pick of the Rams in 1995, and recorded 61 sacks with St. Louis from 1995 through 2000...St. Louis quarterback Marc Bulger leads the NFC with 535 passing yards...Tampa Bay linebacker Barrett Rudd is reigning NFC Defensive Player of the Week after recording 16 tackles, two forced fumbles, and a fumble recovery against the Saints.

Fast Fact: Rams receiver Isaac Bruce has scored at least one career touchdown against every NFC team but the Buccaneers.

Prediction: Call it a trap game for the Buccaneers, who are thinking a little too much of themselves following last week's performance against the Saints. Rams 23, Buccaneers 20.

Jacksonville (1-1) at Denver (2-0), Sunday, 4:05 (Broncos -3)

Storylines: Broncos seeking first 3-0 start since 2003, when they won their first four en route to a 10-6 finish...Jaguars take to the road for first time in 2007 after splitting a pair of home games...Denver running back Travis Henry, who is aiming for his fifth consecutive 100-yard game dating back to last season, leads the NFL in rushing yards (267)...Broncos wideout Javon Walker is tied for the league lead in receptions (17)...Broncos lead the NFL in total offense (455 yards per game)...Jacksonville has scored a total of two touchdowns in its first two games of 2007, neither by running back Maurice Jones-Drew (16 touchdowns last season)...Denver has allowed a league-low 125 passing yards through two games...Jaguars are allowing an NFL-high 182 rushing yards per game...Jaguars safety Gerald Sensabaugh (shoulder) considered questionable for Sunday...Jacksonville defense, which last week featured rookies Justin Durant (linebacker) and Reggie Nelson (safety), tallied seven sacks in last week's 13-7 win over the Falcons...Broncos re-signed tight end Stephen Alexander, who had been cut prior to last week's win over Oakland, on Tuesday.

Fast Fact: Jaguars kicker John Carney has kicked 37 of his 415 career field goals against the Broncos, more than against any team other than Seattle (49).

Prediction: Jacksonville will be game, but doesn't have enough offensive punch or run-stopping ability to beat Denver at this stage. Broncos 16, Jaguars 15.

Cleveland (1-1) at Oakland (0-2), Sunday, 4:05 (Raiders -3)

Storylines: Oakland trying to avoid its third consecutive 0-3 start and hand head coach Lane Kiffin his first NFL win...Raiders quarterback Josh McCown has thrown five interceptions in two starts, tied for the league high along with Minnesota's Tarvaris Jackson...Cleveland quarterback Derek Anderson threw five touchdown passes and earned his first win as an NFL starter in last week's 51-45 win over the Bengals...Oakland has lost 11 straight and is 2-22 over its last 24 games...Cleveland running back Jamal Lewis comes off a 215-yard outing, his first 200-yard game since the 2003 season...Raiders rusher LaMont Jordan rushed for a career-high 159 yards on 25 carries in last week's 23-20 overtime loss to the Broncos...Browns are allowing a league-worst 448 yards per game...Oakland trying to avoid its first 12-game losing streak since dropping its first 13 games in 1962...Raiders end Derrick Burgess (calf) expected to play after missing the end of last week's loss to the Broncos... Browns last won back-to-back games in September of 2004.

Fast Fact: Cleveland running back Jamal Lewis (250 rushing yards), one of four players to rush for more than 2,000 yards in a season (Eric Dickerson, Barry Sanders, Terrell Davis), is on pace to rush for exactly 2,000 yards in 2007.

Prediction: Raiders will finally give the home fans something to cheer for, as they show that the Browns' Week 2 performance was an aberration. Raiders 24, Browns 13.

Cincinnati (1-1) at Seattle (1-1), Sunday, 4:15 (Seattle -4)

Storylines: Two teams seeking to rebound from difficult losses converge in Seattle...Bengals were 51-45 losers in Cleveland last Sunday, their most points allowed since giving up 52 to Carolina in 2002...Seahawks were 23-20 losers in Arizona thanks in part to a fumbled exchange between quarterback Matt Hasselbeck and running back Shaun Alexander in the waning moments... Cincinnati quarterback Carson Palmer leads the NFL in touchdown passes (... Bengals wideout Chad Johnson leads the NFL in receiving yards (304), and fellow Cincinnati receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh is tied for the league lead in receptions (17)...Seahawks wideout Deion Branch caught seven passes for 122 yards against the Cardinals, his most yards in a regular season game since 2002...Bengals middle linebacker Ahmad Brooks (groin) and wide receiver Tab Perry (hamstring) considered questionable for Sunday...Beleaguered Cincinnati defense signed ex-Eagles linebacker Dhani Jones on Wednesday.

Fast Fact: The most touchdown passes Cincinnati quarterback Carson Palmer (eight TDs the last two weeks) has thrown in a three-game span is nine, achieved between Weeks 10-12 of the 2006 season.

Prediction: Seahawks will exploit a weak Bengals defense, and Palmer and company won't be able to keep pace on the other side of the ball. Seahawks 27, Bengals 19.

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Re: NFL News and Notes Week 3

Carolina (1-1) at Atlanta (0-2), Sunday, 4:15 (Panthers -4)

Storylines: Falcons head coach Bobby Petrino and quarterback Joey Harrington make formal debuts before home fans at the Georgia Dome, and will be seeking first wins as Falcons...Atlanta last started 0-3 in 1999, when it finished 4-12 under Dan Reeves...Carolina seeks to rebound from a 34-21 home loss to Houston last Sunday...Falcons, Eagles, and Chiefs are tied with a league-low one touchdown through two games, and Atlanta has scored an NFL-worst 10 points...Atlanta signed quarterback Byron Leftwich on Tuesday, and the former Jaguars starter and first-round pick is expected to serve as the No. 3 quarterback this week...Panthers receiver Steve Smith, who scored all three Carolina touchdowns in last week's game, is tied with the Giants' Plaxico Burress for the league lead in TDs (4)...Falcons tackle Wayne Gandy (hamstring) considered questionable after leaving last week's loss to Jacksonville...Panthers have won three of the last four against Falcons, including last two at the Georgia Dome...Atlanta signed 47-year-old kicker Morten Andersen on Monday.

Fast Fact: The last Atlanta quarterback other than Michael Vick to win a start was Kurt Kittner, who led the Falcons to a 27-7 victory over the Giants on Nov. 9, 2003.

Prediction: Falcons will look like they have something to play for in what could be their last stand before joining the Brian Brohm sweepstakes. Panthers 20, Falcons 19.

N.Y. Giants (0-2) at Washington (2-0), Sunday, 4:15 (Redskins -4)

Storylines: Redskins vying for second 3-0 start in the past three years, and also trying to keep pace with similarly 2-0 Dallas...Giants trying to avoid their first 0-3 start since 1996, when they went 6-10 in Dan Reeves' final season...New York quarterback Eli Manning (shoulder) expected to play despite leaving late in last week's 35-13 home loss to the Packers...Giants wideout Plaxico Burress, who is tied with Carolina's Steve Smith for the league lead in touchdowns (4), expected to play despite ankle and finger problems...Giants are allowing an NFL-high 310.5 passing yards and 40 points per contest...New York wideout Steve Smith (broken shoulder blade) and running back Brandon Jacobs (knee) not expected to play...Washington running back Clinton Portis has scored touchdowns in each of the team's first two games... Brothers and wideouts Santana (Redskins) and Sinorice Moss (Giants) will oppose each other...Giants have won seven of the last 10 against Redskins, and swept last year's home-and-home.

Fast Fact: The Redskins have averaged 28.5 points per game in their last six home outings with the Giants.

Prediction: Redskins won't play great on a short week against a desperate team, but they'll pull it out against a hapless group of Giants. Redskins 17, Giants 14.

Dallas (2-0) at Chicago (1-1), Sunday, 8:15 (Bears -3)

Storylines: Cowboys, who have scored a league-high 82 points through two games, take on a stingy Bears defense that has allowed just 24 points in its first two outings...Dallas last started 3-0 in 1999, when it went 8-8 under Chan Gailey...Chicago quarterback Rex Grossman has thrown one touchdown pass versus three interceptions in his first two games of 2007...Cowboys wideout Terrell Owens has scored touchdowns in six consecutive regular season games dating back to last season...Bears running back Cedric Benson rushed for 101 yards on 24 carries in last week's 20-10 win over Kansas City, his second 100- yard game in a Chicago uniform...Bears return man Devin Hester brought back a punt for a touchdown last week, the seventh TD return for a score in his 18- game NFL career...Dallas signed troubled former Bears defensive tackle Tank Johnson, who is currently serving an eight-game NFL suspension, earlier this week...The Cowboys are 0-2 at Soldier Field and have scored a total of 18 points there since upsetting Chicago, 17-13, in a 1991 NFC First-Round Playoff in the Windy City.

Fast Fact: Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (3,172 passing yards in 12 career starts) needs 388 yards this week to set the NFL mark for most yards in his first 13 NFL starts, currently held by Kurt Warner.

Prediction: If you truly believe that defense wins championships, how can you bet against Chicago? Bears 30, Cowboys 14.

Tennessee (1-1) at New Orleans (0-2), Monday, 8:30 (Saints -4)

Storylines: Saints become NFL's 32nd and final team to make their 2007 home opener...New Orleans last started 0-3 in 1997, when it finished 6-10 under Mike Ditka...Tennessee quarterback Vince Young and New Orleans running back Reggie Bush meet for their first meaningful contest since Young and Texas defeated Bush and USC in the 2005 Rose Bowl...Bush will oppose former backfield mate LenDale White, now with the Titans...Saints, who led the NFL in total offense last season, have scored a total of 24 points and have scored two offensive touchdowns through two games...Titans lead the NFL in rushing offense (211 yards per game)...Tennessee has won four straight road games dating back to last season...Saints are just 7-15 (.318) all-time on Monday night, the worst record of the 31 teams that have played on the second day of the week...New Orleans snapped a seven-game Monday night losing streak with last year's 23-3 win over Atlanta in Week 3...Tennessee has lost four of its last six on Monday night.

Fast Fact: Tennessee running back Chris Brown has not scored a touchdown in the last 11 games in which he has had a carry, a span of 176 rush attempts.

Prediction: Saints will benefit from their own desperation and a super-charged atmosphere in the Superdome. Saints 31, Titans 20.

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Re: NFL News and Notes Week 3

Ravens sign LB Greisen
September 19th, 2007

Owings Mills, MD (Sports Network) - The Baltimore Ravens signed free agent linebacker Nick Greisen on Wednesday. Per club policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The 28-year-old Greisen was released by Jacksonville on September 1 as part of the team's final roster cutdown.

A fifth-round selection in the 2002 draft by the New York Giants, Greisen enters 2007 having played in 70 career games, starting 31. He has totaled 237 tackles (163 solo), four sacks, five forced fumbles and six fumble recoveries.

Greisen's most productive season came in 2006 with the Jags, when he played in 16 games, starting 10 while posting a career-high 82 tackles (48 solo) and notching his first career interception.

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