Quick Hits (Details in individual
- No byes Week Two
- Reviews of valuable new starters and rookies galore!
- Debut in DEN for Champ Bailey, on both sides of the ball
- NYJ Cowart explodes, rookie Vilma does little more than watch
- PIT LB Clark Haggans shows why Jason Gildon was expendable
- TEN rookie DE Antwaan Odom starts career like a Freak
- WAS rookie S Sean Taylor doesn't start, barely sees field
- DET S Bracy Walker almost single-handedly ends road losing streak
- How OAK lined up in their new base scheme
- GB CB holdout Mike McKenzie to return?
- IND S Mike Doss out a few weeks with hamstring injury
- DET CB Dre Bly may miss two weeks
- MIA Jay Williams doesn't start, but fills O-Gun's DE production
- CLE Kenard Lang abuses BAL replacement tackle for 3 sacks
Week Two Injury Report
An 87-yard TD on an INT return by LB James Darling was nullified
by a holding call on LB LeVar Woods. Darling started at OLB, with
Ray Thompson inactive due to knee problems, and recorded 5 solo
tackles and a forced fumble. New starting FS Quentin Harris did
have an INT that counted, along with a forced fumble, a fumble
recovery, and 5 tackles.
CB Duane Starks led the team with 10 solo tackles and 3 passes
SS Bryan Scott continues to develop into a standout, posting
6 solo tackles, a sack, and 2 passes defended.
Playing through hamstring problems, OLB Keith Brooking has 5
tackles (4 solo). New MLB Chris Draft, who has been plagued by
asthma problems, didn't go far to prove he's 100%, totaling just
While not giving up a huge day to the Browns, the Ravens D failed
to display their trademark disruption, causing no turnovers and
registering only 2 sacks. Ray Lewis had one of those sacks, along
with leading the team in tackles with 14 (13 solo).
NT Kelly Gregg suffered a knee injury that required minor surgery
performed Monday. He could miss 2 weeks. Gregg is one of the better
tackle-producing interior linemen in the league and a key cog
in the Ravens defense.
Coy Wire started at SS in place of the injured Lawyer Milloy
and had 7 tackles (2 solo). FS Izell Reese and CB Nate Clements
both had INTs returned into Jacksonville's red zone. Clements
added 6 tackles (5 solo) and is also the punt returner, making
him an even better DB to have in leagues that count return stats.
Chris Kelsay started at LDE, over Ryan Denney, and had 3 tackles
A defense that led the Panthers to the Super Bowl was a shell
of itself in the season-opener. They had no turnovers and were
handicapped by an impotent running game that resulted in almost
twice as much time of possession for the Packers offense. GB ran
the ball 47 times for 152 yards, resulting in some nice individual
tackle numbers, but horrible overall results.
MLB Dan Morgan picked up where he ended last season, with a huge
effort in the Super Bowl, to have a game-high 13 tackles (9 solo).
No one questions the former first round pick's ability to be an
impact player, but his health has made him a dangerous fantasy
pick. If he plays 16 games, there's no question he'll have a breakout
year (since he has yet to play every game of a season, it's not
going out on much of a limb).
Colin Branch had a solid debut as the new FS, with 6 solo tackles.
1st round pick Chris Gamble started at CB, but wasn't tested much
with GB running at will. He looked to have been beaten for his
first TD, but WR Robert Ferguson pushed off and a flag for offensive
pass interference erased it. He finished with just a solo tackle.
Gamble may see work as a punt returner, with the loss of Steve
LB Mark Fields return from Hodgkin's Disease was a great story,
despite the outcome of the game. Unfortunately, Fields suffered
a rib injury and his status for next week is unknown. Brandon
Short would likely start if he's unable to go.
MLB Brian Urlacher, sidelined through the preseason with a hamstring
injury, was not only in the starting lineup, but on the field
for every defensive down. More importantly, his play appeared
much improved over last year. He just missed an INT on an acrobatic
leap at a pass and led the team with 10 tackles (9 solo). Urlacher
says the hamstring is not 100%.
Lovie Smith's aggressive approach to defense didn't turn into
results on the field. The Bears had only one turnover, a Mike
Green INT, and one sack, by Michael Haynes. New addition DE Adewale
Ogunleye didn't show up much in the box score (3 solo tackles),
but was getting into the backfield and just missed a sack, catching
Harrington scrambling just past the line. It may take him a few
weeks to get into game shape after missing camp and the preseason
as a holdout.
The defense failed to record a sack or force a turnover, and
did little to stop the running game. Not exactly the trademarks
of a Marvin Lewis team. New hand-picked MLB Nate Webster got off
to a slow start, posting 3 tackles (2 solo).
With Deltha O'Neal inactive, rookie Madieu Williams started at
CB and finished with 9 tackles (8 solo) and a pass defended. O'Neal
is expected to return next week and Williams will go back to being
the third safety. SS Rogers Beckett left the game in the first
quarter with a concussion, his second this year, and FS Kim Herring
is doubtful with leg injuries. Keep Madieu Williams on your waiver
Another rookie, Caleb Miller, got the start at WLB with Brian
Simmons inactive due to knee problems. However, it was fellow
rookie Landon Johnson who excelled when inserted at OLB, registering
9 tackles (6 solo) and a forced fumble. Both injured their ankles
during the game, Johnson was able to return, but Miller was not.
After running for 500 yards against the Browns last year, Jamal
Lewis was limited to 57 in the season-opener. The absence of injured
OT Jonathan Odgen hurt Baltimore in more than just the running
game. DE Kenard Lang abused Odgen's replacement Ethan Brooks.
Lang tied a career-high with 3 sacks, adding another assist and
a forced fumble, as well.
MLB Andra Davis, the only member of the LB group with a lock
on a starting job, had 6 tackles (3 solo) and an INT. Kevin Bentley
and Warrick Holdman started at OLB, with Chaun Thompson and Ben
Taylor working in. Bentley led all LBs with 8 tackles (5 solo).
DT Gerard Warren hurt his shoulder in the first quarter and did
The secondary was absolutely smoked by the Vikings passing game.
They not only allowed 279 yards and 5 TDs, they didn't even get
close to stopping it. They had one pass defended on the day, and
that was a ball knocked down at the line by DT LaRoi Glover.
LB Bradie James did not start, but did see significant time,
mostly at Al Singleton's expense. He was second on the team with
7 tackles (6 solo). MLB Dat Nguyen led the team with 8 tackles
The switch to RDE by Greg Ellis and the addition of Marcellus
Wiley opposite him paid no immediate dividends to the pass rush.
Ellis had 3 solo tackles and Wiley had 2. No one in the front
seven had a sack.
1st round pick D.J. Williams started at OLB, along with Donnie
Spragan, and paid immediate dividends. He led the team with 8
tackles (6 solo) and also knocked down a pass.
The big story was the first game of Champ Bailey in a Bronco
uniform. After Clinton Portis made an instant impact on his new
team earlier in the day, Bailey did the same for his. He intercepted
a pass in Denver territory ending a KC drive and finished with
6 tackles (2 solo). He also saw time on offense, catching a third
down pass for 11 yards, setting up a fourth and one that Denver
converted on a drive that ended with a FG, their first points
of the game. If Bailey remains this involved in the offense, his
fantasy value is helped significantly. Another point or two in
receiving yards a week, and possibly an offensive TD or two, will
add up by the end of the year.
When Bracy Walker was slotted in the starting SS role, after Brian
Walker was out on the IR, expectations were not high. By Sunday
afternoon, he was the player most responsible for ending the Lions
24-game road losing streak. Walker took a FG blocked by Shaun
Rogers 92-yards for a TD and a 10-point swing that Chicago never
recovered from. He also sealed the victory with an interception
of an ill-advised Rex Grossman pass into double coverage in the
end zone with seconds left in the game.
Rookie Teddy Lehman started at SLB, finishing with 4 tackles
(3 solo) and a vicious strip on the first play from scrimmage
for the Bears after the deflating blocked FG TD, that got the
Lions the ball right back.
Pro Bowl CB Dre Bly left the game in the first quarter with a
knee injury, around which there is some debate if it occurred
on the play or during a celebratory dance after. He missed the
rest of the game, was diagnosed with a sprained ligament, and
is expected to miss at least two weeks. Andre Goodman replaced
him and had an INT, to go with 6 tackles.
Nick Barnett started the season where he left off last year, one
of the top young playmaking MLBs in the game. He tied for the
team lead with 7 tackles (5 solo), an INT, and a sack. A more
aggressive Packer defense under new DC Bob Slowik resulted in
only 2 sacks, but had players in Jake Delhomme's face many times.
DT Grady Jackson dislocated his knee in Monday's game and is
expected to miss a minimum of 4-6 weeks. This will hurt a Packer
front seven who last week exploited a patchwork offensive line
on the Panthers and limited them to only 38 yards rushing.
New SS Mark Roman had a solid debut. He tied for the lead in
tackles with 7 (4 solo) and shared a sack with LB Hannibal Navies.
CB Michael Hawthorne started in place of holdout Mike McKenzie.
Hawthorne was decent, working mostly on Mushin Muhammad, and finished
with 2 tackles and 2 passes defended. 1st round pick Ahmad Carroll
saw working in nickel and dime packages, knocking away 2 passes.
On the heels of this performance, McKenzie is being reported to
be rejoining the Packers Wednesday. Looks like somebody lost some
bargaining power after the subs were adequate. However, his agent,
Drew Rosenhaus says he still hopes to be traded.
Rookie LB Jason Babin, a standout collegiate DE expected to help
the Texans pass rush, didn't get to the QB, but did have 7 tackles
(6 solo). As usual, LB Jamie Sharper led the team in tackles (9
SS Mike left last Thursday's game early after injuring his hamstring.
He's expected to miss three weeks. Anthony Floyd replaced Doss
and finished with 7 tackles (4 solo). Donald Strickland, who started
at CB and led the team with 8 tackles (7 solo), could move to
SS while Doss is out.
Cato June, who earned the fantasy-friendly WLB spot, had only
4 tackles (2 solo) in his first career start. 2003 breakout player
David Thornton, who moved from the weakside to the strongside
this year, had 5 tackles (4 solo).
With Hugh Douglas and Tony Brackens gone, Paul Spicer and Lionel
Barnes, not Rob Meier, were the starting ends. Spicer had 5 tackles
(4 solo), while Barnes had 3 solo tackles and a sack.
Rookie SLB Daryl Smith, whose name has been on the rise recently,
had 4 tackles (2 solo) and a pass defensed. WLB Akin Ayodele,
whose name has been on the decline lately, had 10 tackles (8 solo),
a forced fumble, and a pass defensed. MLB Mike Peterson led the
team with 13 tackles.
SS Donovan Darius had 5 tackles (4 solo), a pass defensed, a
forced fumble, and 2 fumble recoveries.
The Chiefs obviously blamed former DC Greg Robinson for their
29th ranked defense last year, as they fired him and added no
free agents. Every starter on their defense Sunday night was with
the team last year. New DC Gunther Cunningham was the big change,
but the results weren't any different.
Monty Beisel had a solid debut at MLB. He finished with 5 solo
tackles and intercepted the first pass of the second half, setting
up a KC FG. Beisel should hang on to the job for now, even when
Kawika Mitchell is healthy.
DE Vonnie Holliday was solid, but unspectacular, as a big free
agent addition last year, finishing with just 5.5 sacks. He got
off to a strong start last week, already recording his first sack,
as well as 3 other solo tackles and deflecting a pass.
In a scary scene Sunday night, CB William Bartee had to be carted
off the field with a neck brace after a collision. Fortunately
there appears to be no permanent damage, but he has a concussion
and sprained neck, so he may miss some time.
David Bowens started in Adewale Ogunleye's vacated LDE spot and
recorded 1 solo tackle. Jay Williams, who rotated with Bowens,
registered 3 solos, a sack, a forced fumble, and a pass defended.
Looks like he could be the guy to have in that committee. Everyone
talks about how O-Gun will play sans Taylor, but in his first
game without O-Gun, Taylor posted just 1 solo tackle.
Space-eating DT Tim Bowens was inactive with a back injury that
could cause him to miss 2-3 more weeks. His absence was immediately
felt, as the Dolphins surrendered 100 yards in the first half
to Chris Brown, after not allowing a 100-yard rusher all last
Antuan Edwards, who beat out Arturo Freeman to start at FS, had
5 solo tackles and a forced fumble.
A huge day by the offense overshadowed the fact the defense still
couldn't stop the pass, allowing Old Man Vinny to total 355 yards.
The front seven couldn't get to him and they didn't pick one,
1st round pick DE Kenechi Udeze had 2 tackles (1 solo) and a
pass defended. DT Kevin Williams appeared the most disruptive,
but the box score only shows 2 tackles. There is an APB out for
Chris Hovan. The coaching staff is reportedly upset with his effort,
New MLB E.J. Henderson and OLB Chris Claiborne have high expectations
this year, but both only had a handful of tackles. Rookie Dontarrious
Thomas led the LBs with 6 (3 solo).
CB Antonie Winfield was on of many stars in new uniforms that
proved their worth right in Week One. He led the team with 9 solo
tackles, forced 2 fumbles, recovered 1, and tipped away a pass.
Ken Irvin was suppose to start at CB for Brian Williams, who
was bothered by a sore knee. However, Irvin blew his Achilles
in pre-game warm-ups, and now his season is done.
The Pats D showed why they are one of the best units in the league
in two crucial drives with less than four minutes left. With New
England up by 3, Eugene Wilson forced an Edgerrin James fumble
at the goalline that 1st round pick Vince Wilfork recovered. The
following drive, with the Colts in easy FG range, Willie McGinest
registered the Pats only sack of the day for a 12 yard loss on
third down, resulting in Mike Vanderjagt's first missed FG since
2002 on the next play. Wilson also added 8 tackles (7 solo) and
recovered a fumble too.
Roman Phifer led the team with 14 tackles (8 solo) and Tedy Bruschi
had 12 (5 solo) as well as an interception that ended another
Colts drive in the red zone.
Rookie MLB Courtney Watson led the team with 11 tackles (8 solo).
1st round pick DE Will Smith got a start with Darren Howard inactive,
but finished with only 2 tackles. Howard is bothered by a neck
injury and his status for next week is not known.
New York Giants
Kevin Lewis swooped in and took the starting MLB role away from
Nick Greisen just before the season started. After his first start,
Greisen has an uphill battle to try and regain it. Lewis led the
team with 9 tackles (6 solo) and had a sack.
Michael Strahan had a Michael Stahan day, with 4 solo tackles
and a sack. Keith Washington started over Osi Umenyiora opposite
Strahan at RDE. Neither did anything noteworthy.
New York Jets
Ridiculous insinuations that 1st round pick Jonathan Vilma should
replace Sam Cowart at MLB can finally stop. Vilma will be great
one day, but it wasn't last Sunday and it won't be at Cowart's
expense. Sam reminded doubters he's still one of the best LBs
in the game, leading the team with 14 tackles (12 solo) and a
forcing a fumble that was returned by CB Donnie Abraham for a
TD. In fact, Vilma only had 1 solo tackle in his debut, with DE
John Abraham being the fourth LB in a hybrid role in their new
defense. John picked up where he left off after missing most of
2003 due to injury. He registered the team's only sack and another
solo tackle. Shaun Ellis won't begin this year with a sack streak.
He posted only 3 assisted tackles. 2003 was a career-year, expecting
similar numbers is not a good bet.
Rookie Erik Coleman showed why he won a starting job, totaling
5 tackles (4 solo) and intercepting a pass with less than two
minutes left to seal the victory. However, this week Coleman started
at FS with Jon McGraw inactive, and the man Coleman beat out,
Reggie Tongue, got the start at SS.
With a lot of questions about Rob Ryan's new schemes and where
people are playing, here is how the front seven lined up the first
play: Tyler Brayton and Warren Sapp at ends, Ted Washington on
the nose, Travian Smith and DeLawrence Grant at OLB, Danny Clark
and Bobby Hamilton at ILB. Napolean Harris and Sam Williams were
inactive with injuries. Harris will be at one of the ILB slots
when he's healthy and Williams could beat out Grant when he returns.
The star last week were Travian Smith, who led the team with 11
tackles (7 solo), a pass defended, and a fumble recovery. Brayton
also had a good game, With 4 solo tackles, a sack, and 2 passes
defended. Sapp had 4 tackles (1 solo) in his Raider debut.
After all the off-season drama, Charles Woodson was in the starting
lineup and looked great, spending the day shutting down Plaxico
Burress, who he held to 1 reception for 13 yards. Woodson finished
with 6 tackles (5 solo) and a pass defended.
Marques Anderson got the start at SS and finished with 7 tackles
(3 solo). David Terrell only saw time on special teams.
The big story was the debut of Terrell Owens, but several significant
sub-plots on defense are worth noting. First, the MLB situation.
As was promised, Mark Simoneau was the starter. In fact, most
of Jeremiah Trotter's time was on special teams. Simoneau finished
with 5 tackles (3 solo), a sack, and a pass defended. Trotter
has only 2 tackles, both on special teams, and his most notable
play was knocking down a punter.
Next, OLB Nate Wayne was a late scratch with a hamstring injury
that occurred in the preseason and flared up Sunday. Keith Adams
started in his place. His availability for next week is unknown.
The big debut on defense was the Eagles other major off-season
acquisition, DE Jevon Kearse. Kearse had 3 tackles (2 solo), a
pass defended, and a fumble recovery. He also tweaked his notoriously
problematic right ankle, but returned to the game. While Kearse
didn't have any sacks, new starting DE Derrick Burgess and returning
prodigal son DE Hugh Douglas did, as well. Former first round
pick DE Jerome McDougle didn't appear in the box score, but got
in a highlight reel lick on rookie QB Eli Manning. As long as
he's healthy, Kearse is set on the left side, but who produces
opposite him could vary week-to-week.
SS Michael Lewis won't steal many highlight cameos from his high-profile
teammates, and is overshadowed by some other bigger names at safety,
but he is an emerging star. He led the team with 12 tackles (10
solo) and had 2 passes defensed.
CB Lito Sheppard broke his thumb. He's expected to be able to
play next week with a cast.
Kendrell Bell was inactive against Oakland with shoulder problems.
Larry Foote started at ILB in his place, and led the team with
6 solo tackles. However, the star was new starting OLB Clark Haggans.
He finished with 5 solo tackles, 2 sacks, a pressure that forced
an INT throw, and 2 forced fumbles, including one returned 49
yards by DE Aaron Smith setting up a touchdown. That one might
have been a gift, too, as it appeared Rich Gannon was in his throwing
motion when Haggans knocked it free (though it was challenged,
the call stood). In addition to the fumble recovery, Aaron Smith
had a big game across the board, with 4 tackles and a sack he
forced a fumble on that Haggans just missed recovering.
Troy Polamalu was solid as the new SS, finishing with 7 tackles
(4 solo). His coverage skills still need work, as he bit on a
pump fake and he gave up a 58-yard TD to Doug Gabriel.
DE Leonard Little, dealing with off-field problems related to
a DUI, was a non-factor. He totaled one assist. New starting DE
Bryce Fisher had 5 tackles (3 solo) and a sack. Rookie DE Tony
Hargrove had his first game cut short after suffering a concussion
on the kickoff.
LB Pisa Tinoisamoa played much of the game with a dislocated
shoulder. X-rays show no break, and he's expected to play next
week with a harness.
Early results indicate the move to a 3-4 won't hurt the stats
of Donnie Edwards. He tied for the team lead in tackles with 10
(6 solo) and defended a pass. Terrence Kiel looks like a promising
fantasy prospect now that he has the starting SS job. He also
had 10 tackles (7 solo), a sack, and a fumble recovery.
Rookie Shaun Phillips is off to a good start in following in
the footsteps of Rosey Colvin and Akin Ayodele, fellow Purdue
DE alums converted to rush LBs. He recorded a sack in limited
duty his first game. Phillips may not take over starting OLB Steve
Foley's position soon, however, as the unheralded free agent addition
to the group finished with 6 tackles (4 solo), intercepted a pass
that resulted in a the go-ahead TD for the offense on the ensuing
drive, and recovered a fumble late in the fourth quarter that
protected the lead and allowed the offense to run out the clock.
LB Julian Peterson was unaffected by his late holdout. He had
5 solo tackles, 2 sacks, and forced 2 fumbles. LB Jaime Winborn
successfully returned from two injury-plagued years to register
3 tackles (2 solo), a pass defensed, and a sack. LB Derek Smith
led the team with 11 solo tackles.
CB Mike Rumph checked out after the first half with a groin injury.
He's expected to miss one to three weeks. Rookie Shawntae Spencer
is expected to start in his place.
Terreal Bierria started at SS and led the team with 9 tackles
(5 solo), as well as adding a pass defended and a forced fumble.
S Michael Boulware still made his presence felt in his first NFL
game, registering 3 solo tackles and intercepting a pass deflected
by DE Grant Wistrom.
New starting MLB Orlando Ruff managed only one solo tackle, but
did recover a fumble.
1st round pick DT Marcus Tubbs was inactive due to poor condition.
He is expected to make his debut next week, but has been disappointing
and doesn't look to be a starter anytime soon.
The Buc D appeared to miss some of their departed veterans last
Sunday. The team failed to register a sack or force a turnover.
A fumbled snap by Mark Brunnell was capitalized on, CB Rhonde
Barber returned it 9 yards for a TD.
MLB Shelton Quarles led the team with 13 tackles (10 solo).
Rookie Antwaan Odom started at LDE and although he finished with
only one tackle, he immediately flashed his playmaking ability.
His one tackle was a sack on which he also forced a fumble. He
also knocked a pass down. Expect rookie struggles some games,
but this guy can be an impact player. Odom is the first rookie
to start on the Titans DLine since Jevon Kearse did and won ROY
in 1999. Another rookie, DT Randy Starks, also recorded his first
sack, as well. DT Rien Long had the team's other sack and two
S Lamont Thompson and CB Andre Woolfolk aren't technically starters,
but are important pieces on a team that runs a lot of packages
with 5 and 6 DBs. Woolfolk had 5 solo tackles and a pass defensed,
while Thompson had 2 tackles and returned an interception for
Despite a stellar preseason, S Sean Taylor did not start his
first NFL game and saw little time. DC Gregg Williams downplayed
it, claiming the packages he played in didn't match-up with how
the Bucs were lining up. Andre Lott started in his place, posting
4 solo tackles and a pass defended. It was SS Matt Bowen who was
the star of the defensive backfield, leading the team with 8 solo
tackles and 2 sacks, as well as adding a forced fumble.
With Mike Barrow inactive, Antonio Pierce started at MLB. Barrow
is nursing a knee injury and will likely miss next week, as well.
Barrow's presence wasn't missed, as Pierce had 7 tackles (5 solo)
and a fourth quarter interception while the game was still tied,
that swung the momentum when it resulted in the go-ahead FG.