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IDP Notes
Week 4

Quick Hits (Details in individual team notes)
  • Week 4 Byes: CHI, CLE, MIA, PIT
  • BUF LB Spikes tears Achilles, done for season
  • NE SS Harrison blows up knee, done for season
  • NO SS Bellamy hurts knee, done for season
  • MIA MLB Thomas leads league in tackles
  • TEN DE Vanden Bosch leads league in sacks
  • CIN CB O'Neal leads league in picks
  • Broncos D-Line meshing in Denver
Week 4 Injury Report (available Wednesday PM)

CBs David Macklin and 1st round pick Antrel Rolle were both injured in the second half and did not return. Rolle aggravated a knee injury and Macklin strained his hamstring. Rolle had 11 tackles (10 solo) before leaving, as Seattle RB Shaun Alexander was running right by the Arizona front seven. SS Adrian Wilson (6 solo) and WLB Orlando Huff (8 solo) also had 11 tackles.

James Darling remained inactive with a sprained knee and Lester Towns continued to start at MLB in his place. Towns had 6 solo tackles, including 2 on special teams.

DT Russell Davis tore his left biceps during the game and is expected to have surgery for it that would end his season. Ross Kolodziej moves into the starting lineup in his place.

LB Keith Brooking led the team with 9 tackles (6 solo) and broke up a pass.

With reserve CB Allen Rossum missing his second straight game with a sore hamstring, CB DeAngelo Hall replaced him as punt returner, but had a costly muff. Hall also hurt his shoulder on a tackle on the final play of the first quarter, and had to leave the game, but returned in the second half and had a pick. He is expected to be limited in practice, but play this week. With CB Jason Webster inactive, CB Christian Morton got the start, but he suffered a mild concussion during the game. All this meant newly signed CB Chris Cash saw significant time due to all the injuries in the secondary. Morton and Hall appear fine, while Webster and Rossum are expected back this week.

DE Brady Smith remained inactive with a hamstring injury, but is expected to return this week. His replacement, Chauncey Davis, had a sack. DE Patrick Kerney remained at LDE and shared a sack with DT Chad Lavalais. DT Rod Coleman had a forced fumble and 2 sacks among his 5 tackles (4 solo).

Quiet bye week on the defensive side for the Ravens.

LB Takeo Spikes is out for the season after tearing his Achilles’ tendon trying to chase down Falcons QB Michael Vick in the second quarter. Spikes has only missed one game in his career, to attend his father’s funeral. Angelo Crowell will likely replace him at LB, with Josh Stamer in the mix, as well.

MLB London Fletcher fought through a hamstring injury to lead the team (tied) with 11 tackles (8 solo). SS Lawyer Milloy broke his thumb in Week Two, but finished the game and started as usual on Sunday.

A defense that was expected to be one of the best in the league, and looked like it on opening day, forced no turnovers for the second straight week. They also had no sacks.

LB Will Witherspoon was inactive with a knee injury that occurred in the previous game and the versatile Vinny Ciurciu started at WLB in his place. MLB Dan Morgan led the team with 11 tackles (6 solo).

A week after losing his starting job, 1st round pick Thomas Davis continues to freefall. He was limited to mostly special teams work, as starting SS Marlon McCree saw his role expand.

CB Ken Lucas was inactive with a shoulder injury, so Ricky Manning started in his place.

DE Mike Rucker appeared to temporarily reassure us the previous week he wouldn’t fall off the radar, like he did last year, after Kris Jenkins went down again. However, Rucker had just 2 tackles (1 solo) this week. Perhaps the Dolphin line has just improved, because Julius Pepper had just 4 tackles (3 solo) and a pass defended and no Panther had a sack, while they allowed rookie RB Ronnie Brown to rush for 132 yards.

The defense played well again, but the inept offense kept deflating them and they were again worn down in the second half. They did have a few blown coverages and opportunities they failed to capitalize on, particularly SS Mike Brown being unable to hold a sure INT in the end zone that could have been a big momentum shifter in the first half. In addition to the pass defensed, Brown led the team with 10 tackles (9 solo).

After being a game-time decision, DE Adewale Ogunleye played through a sprained ankle and didn’t appear limited. He broke up a pass and had a sack among his 4 tackles (2 solo). With the team having a bye in Week Four, Ogunleye’s ankle should has some extra time to fully heal. Opposite him, DE Alex Brown was just a step short on a few potential sacks, but did post 7 solo tackles.

MLB Brian Urlacher had a nice strip on Bengals RB Chris Perry that was recovered by LB Lance Briggs. Urlacher also had 7 tackles (4 solo).

The Bengals had a pick party at the expense of Bears rookie QB Kyle Orton. For the second straight game, they had 5 interceptions, including a league-leading 4th INT of the season for CB Deltha O’Neal. FS Madieu Williams had been quiet the first two games, but flashed the skills that made him a breakout rookie last year, leading the team with 8 solo tackles and grabbing a pick of his own. Nickel CB Keiwan Ratliff remains one of the most fantasy-friendly third corners in the league, as he had his second INT of the season, along with 3 solo tackles and a forced fumble.

Rookie MLB Odell Thurman continues to be a playmaker, recovering a fumble to make it three straight games he has been involved in at least one turnover. For the season, he already has 18 tackles (12 solo), an INT, 2 forced fumbles and 1 fumble recovered. For the second straight game, rookie LB David Pollack headed in reverse. He didn’t see much work, as Landon Johnson started at SLB and had 6 tackles (5 solo). Pollack didn’t appear in the box score and was shaken up late in the game and didn’t return.

With ILB Orlando Ruff limited after a concussion last week, Ben Taylor is giving HC Romeo Crennell less reason to keep a platoon. Taylor, believed more of a liability against the run, led the team with 11 tackles (7 solo) and broke up a pass. Fellow ILB Andra Davis has back-to-back double-digit tackle game after posting 10 tackles (7 solo) on Sunday.

OLB Matt Stewart was inactive again with a knee sprain and will be evaluated again after the bye this week. Chaun Thompson remained the starter outside opposite Kenard Lang.

Chris Crocker and Brian Russell remained the starting safety tandem, with rookie Brodney Pool working in pass packages. Sean Jones remained limited to special teams work.

OLB DeMarcus Ware recorded his first career sack and DE Greg Ellis had his forty-sixth (two for this season). Both had 2 other solo tackles, as well. So far, Ellis has not been affected very detrimentally by the move to a 3-4. He has at least a half-sack in each game. Similarly, ILB Dat Nguyen has not been impacted. He again led the team in tackles, posting 7 solo, a pick, and a fumble recovery on Sunday.

The value of FS Keith Davis takes a hit as HC Bill Parcells said Willie Pile will be working in pass packages at FS.

Rookie LB Kevin Burnett was active for the first his game and limited mostly to special teams.

Already playing with a harness for a dislocated shoulder, CB Champ Bailey pulled his hamstring and had to be assisted off the field, ending his night early. Before leaving, Bailey had 3 tackles (2 solo) and broke up 2 passes, covering TE Tony Gonzalez particularly well. A MRI showed no tears, but his status for this week is still in question. Rookie CB Darrent Williams celebrated his first career start by leading the team with 10 tackles (9 solo).

The Brown-cos on the DLine had their first collectively productive day. DE Courtney Brown had his first start as a Bronco, posting a solo tackle and a fumble recovery. Getting knocked out of the starting lineup set a fire under Ebenezer Ekuban, who had his first sack of the season and a couple other tackles. DT Gerrard Warren also his first sack of the year.

LB Teddy Lehman was back in pads at practice Monday, but is still questionable as he recovers from a pre-season sprained knee. After spending last year at SLB, he’s working at WLB and will try to overtake James Davis. Alex Lewis hurt his ankle and is doubtful for Week Four.

CB Fernando Bryant is done for the year after fracturing his collarbone and suffering an AC joint separation in Week Two. Andre’ Goodman is expected to start in his place.

Green Bay
SLB Na’il Diggs was active for the first time and back in the starting lineup. He posted 2 solo tackles. Paris Lennon and Roy Manning returned to reserve roles, as Robert Thomas remained the starting WLB. Thomas had 5 tackles (3 solo, including 1 on special teams). MLB Nick Barnett had his first big fantasy game of the season, thanks to Cadillac Williams running wild. Barnett had 15 tackles (9 solo).

CB Ahmad Carroll’s demotion lasted just a week, as Joey Thomas was inactive with a concussion, Carroll returned to the starting lineup and looked improved. He finished with 6 tackles (5 solo) and an INT. As of Monday, Thomas had not been cleared to begin practicing again.

DT Grady Jackson did not work with the first team defense to start the third quarter and played sparingly in the second half. Jackson was healthy, so he was confused and upset about his limited playing time. Corey Williams and Kenny Peterson saw more work in his place.

DE Gary Walker suffered a separated AC joint in his left shoulder in Week Two and did not practice over the bye week. His status for Week Four is still up in the air.

Peyton who? Defense remains the story in Indy. The defensive line, in particular, has just been tremendous. The improved play across the board should help DE Dwight Freeney see less double-teams and chip blocks. If that continues, Freeney could break the sack record this year. On Sunday, he was on his way as he abused a weak Cleveland OLine, posting 6 tackles (5 solo), including 3 sacks, forcing a fumble on 1 of them.

SLB David Thornton has a strained groin and is not expected to practice much this week, but should play Sunday. MLB Gary Brackett continues to increase his job security, as he led the team with 12 tackles (8 solo).

From the Out-of-Nowhere files, after not registering a sack since 2002, DE Paul Spicer had a career-high 3 on Sunday. This is an anomaly, don’t rush to pick him up. Spicer was demoted the previous week, as the team moved Reggie Hayward to LDE, where he claimed he was more comfortable, and started Bobby McCray to try and boost their pass rush, particularly to jump start Hayward. That doing nothing, Spicer returned to LDE and Hayward was back at RDE, still sackless and also was dinged up during the game. If their problems at end weren’t enough, their stud interior linemen had a bad week. DT Marcus Stroud injured his knee during the game. DT John Henderson has some legal problems potential on the horizon after a former girlfriend made a complaint to police about a domestic incident. No charges have been pressed yet.

MLB Mike Peterson has back-to-back double-digit tackle games, after leading the team with 10 (4 solo) on Sunday.

As expected, Deke Cooper replaced Donovin Darius at SS. Cooper got off to a good start, posting 4 solo tackles and grabbing a pick.

Kansas City
1st round pick Derrick Johnson continues to be a key playmaker on defense. He posted 5 tackles (3 solo) and forced a fumble. He has 22 tackles, a sack, 2 forced fumbles and a fumble recovery through three games. LB Kendrell Bell had his best game so far this year, posting 6 tackles (4 solo). SS Greg Wesley led the team with 11 tackles (9 solo), many of them coming after being burnt by his man for a pass reception.

DT Ryan Sims was inactive again with a foot sprain in the first game. Key reserves in DE Carlos Hall (back) and LB Keyaron Fox (knee), both injured in the previous game, were inactive, so depth was a problem.

With Sims out, John Browning and Lionel Dalton remained the interior starters, with Eric Hicks and Jared Allen at ends. Allen 8 tackles (7 solo) and Hicks had the only sack for the Chiefs.

MLB Zach Thomas is all over the field every game. He posted 17 tackles (9 solo), broke up a pass, had a sack, and forced a fumble. Thomas leads the NFL in total and solo tackles. Thomas has returned to elite form after an injury-plauged 2004, and so is FS Lance Schulters. Schulters posted 4 tackles (2 solo), forced a fumble on a sack, and had his second pick of the season. Without a team until the end of the preseason, Schulters flew under the radar and is a guy to look for on your waiver wire if you need help at DB. LB Junior Seau suffered calf cramps and a strained Achilles’ tendon during the second half. He has the bye week to rest, but if it can’t heal with the extra time, Donnie Spragan would fill-in at SLB. One other player finding the fountain of youth in Miami is DE Kevin Carter, who had a sack for the second straight game.

SS Terbucky Jones strained his hamstring in the second quarter, but with the bye week, he’s confident he’ll be back for Week Five.

CB Sam Madison was called a “punk”, among other disparaging remarks, by Panthers WR Steve Smith after the game. Madison drew two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties, one for seemingly taking a shot at Smith’s knees after a turnover and another for a late hit. Constantly getting beat for TDs (three) by Smith must have had Madison in an ornery mood.

With the bye week here, HC Nick Saban has indicated this is the time to look for free agents to improve weaknesses. With the team off to a decent start, big changes aren’t expected, but chief among the rumors are possible replacement for struggling nickel CB Reggie Howard. Names like Terrell Buckley and Bobby Taylor have come up.

Despite being list as probable, FS Darren Sharper was out with a MCL sprain in his left knee. His replacement, Willie Offord, tore his ACL in the fourth quarter and is done with the season. That could speed Sharper’s return, but Sharper seems a bit concerned about rushing the return, as it is the same knee that cost him most of 2004. Regardless of what he is listed as on the injury report, Sharper is a risky play until further notice. Offord started at SS and Corey Chavous moved to the FS spot vacated by Sharper. To prepare for Sharper’s possible absence again this week, compounded by the loss of Offord, the team has moved reserve CB Ken Irvin to FS, which should put Chavous back at the SS spot his is more comfortable at, and better suited for. They promoted S William Hunter from the practice squad to add depth in place of replace Offord, who was placed on the IR. Depth in the secondary was further complicated by nickel CB Brian Williams getting injured Sunday. He also suffered a MCL sprain, leaving the game in the second quarter and not returning. Ralph Brown stepped in. Williams is expected to miss a few weeks, so Brown should be the nickel and rookie Dovonte Edwards the fourth corner.

DE Lance Johnstone got a rare start and ended up having to leave the game early with a chest and shoulder injury, including damage to the tendon that connects the pec to the shoulder. He posted a sack before departing. There is fear this is a serious injury to the team’s best pass rusher, and he is seeking a second opinion on what to do. DE Kenechi Udeze saw more time and got his first sack of the season. However, he chipped a bone in his knee during the game and despite being able to finish, his status is unknown for this week. Darrion Scott, the former starting RDE who was the odd-man out last week, also had his first sack of the season. 1st round pick Erasmus James also saw more work and finally got his first NFL tackle. Scott and James both see their value increase significantly if Johnstone and Udeze miss any time.

MLB Sam Cowart returned from a strained calf and started. He had just 2 solo tackles. Rod Davis returned to special teams work after getting the start when Cowart was out the previous week. LB E.J. Henderson was inactive with an ankle sprain this week, but is expected to play this week. Dontarrius Thomas started at WLB and led the team with 6 tackles (5 solo). Napolean Harris was back at SLB, where Keith Newman started the previous week. Harris had 2 solo tackles. Newman sprained his thumb last week, but is fine. As discusses previously in this column, a Viking LB remains a risky pick until DC Ted Cotrell settles on a consistent rotation.

New England
SS Rodney Harrison is done for the season, and perhaps his career, after a vicious knee injury when Pittsburgh WR Cedrick Wilson collided with Harrison after Wilson was knocked down. It has been reported he tore his left ACL, PCL, and MCL. Guss Scott will probably replace him, but reserve LB Don Davis has also been used in more of a safety role at times this year, and should remain in the mix. Scott was shaken up in the fourth quarter and had to be attended to by trainers, but only missed one play before returning and is apparently fine. Depth is a problem at S, as rookie James Sanders was also inactive. Free agent S Michael Stone, last seen in Arizona, was signed for depth. No one finds players to plug and perform in his defensive system like Bill Belichick, so Scott, who is likely on the waiver wire in most leagues, is a good gamble if you need help at DB.

CB Randall Gay was inactive with an ankle injury and CB Tyrone Poole remained inactive as he recovers from off-season knee surgery. Both are expected to miss at least another week. CB Chad Scott was finally active for Week Two and, along with rookie Ellis Hobbs, backed up starters Duane Starks, who was inactive Week One, and Asante Samuel. Starks hurt his wrist on the first play from scrimmage, but returned to action. None of them were particularly effective and a bad shoulder on Steeler QB Ben Roethlisberger helped limit the Pittsburgh passing game as much as any effort by the Patriot corners.

DE Richard Seymour had 4 solo tackles, including 2 sacks, and deflected a pass.

New Orleans
SS Jay Bellamy hurt his right shoulder in the third quarter and had to leave the game. It is a serious injury to the rotator cuff, and it appears his season is over. He is expected to have surgery this week and be placed on the IR. Aside from losing the tackle-machine on the field, the morale of the Saints takes another hit, as he was a team captain. Versatile FS Dwight Smith is expected to move to SS and rookie Josh Bullocks will start at FS.

In an apparent fit of disgust with their collective play, HC Jim Haslett benched the entire LB group at one point during the game, replacing them with Ronald McKinnon at MLB, and T.J. Slaughter and James Allen flanking him. No word on if any changes will carry through to this week, but avoid starting any Saints LB until this is cleared up. Courtney Watson is probably the only one worth even being on a roster in most leagues.

DE Darren Howard reminded people why Will Smith can’t get a starting job. He led the team with 11 tackles (7 solo) and had a sack and a half. Opposite him, Charles Grant had a disappointing day, posting just a solo tackle. Grant will turn it up soon.

CB Fakhir Brown was inactive for the second straight game and Jason Craft started again. Reserve CB Fred Thomas had 2 sacks and 2 other solo tackles, as well as broke up a pass. Thomas was one of the top-producing CBs a few years ago as a starter, but has apparently fallen out of favor with Haslett, because Craft is bad. Thomas always seems to produce when given the chance, so either he’s just a player whose fantasy production exceeds his actual skills, or it’s just another poor decision by Haslett.

New York Giants
DE Michael Strahan hadn’t let the back spasms that have been bothering get to him yet through the first two games, but they did in Week Three. He started, but was limited, and only posted 1 solo tackle. Rookie Justin Tuck saw plenty of work with Strahan hurting, and finished with 5 tackles (4 solo).

LB Barrett Green remained inactive and isn’t expected back until after the team’s bye week, at the earliest. Rookie CB Corey Webster was inactive, unable to overcome a thigh injury during the game the previous week.

SS Gibril Wilson and SLB Reggie Tobor struggled Sunday and were benched, but are likely to regain their jobs. Shaun Williams and Nick Griesen saw more work in their place.

New York Jets
WLB Eric Barton sprained his ankle during the game, but finished with 8 tackles (4 solo). Mark Brown would replace him if he is out this week. MLB Jonathan Vilma has back-to-back double-digit tackles games, leading the team with 13 (10 solo) on Sunday.

DE John Abraham forced a fumble on a sack for the second consecutive game, and DT James Reed picked it up and rumbled 33 yards for a TD. Abraham had a monster game, also posting 10 tackles (8 solo). With the Jaguars controlling the ball for most of the game, there was plenty of time for subs to get work, and reserve DE Bryan Thomas had a nice day, with 6 tackles (4 solo), including a sack. He’s never worth starting in most leagues, but the former 1st rounder who is considered a bust has good upside if Abraham is hurt again or Shaun Ellis goes down.

FS Erik Coleman started and played through his dislocated thumb.

CB Charles Woodson briefly left the game after a head-on collision, but returned. He also suffered a knee injury during the game, but is expected to practice this week. He led the team with 8 solo tackles and broke up a pass. He continues to be mixed in at free safety in certain packages, as well. CB Nnamdi Asomugha played through a foot sprain in Week Three. While it looked like it would be rookie Stanford Routt who got the promotion if Asomugha couldn’t play, but it now appears 1st round pick Fabian Washington, who had been slow to pick up the defense, has passed him. Both saw work in nickel and dime packages, while reserve CB Renaldo Hill also saw work at free safety in those sets. FS Stuart Schweigert’s value take a hit as the variable schemes give Woodson and Hill work in centerfield at times.

Despite looking fatter than ever, DT Warren Sapp played like he was several years younger on Sunday. Although he only had 1 tackle, he was frequently in the backfield and broke up three passes, including intercepting a deflected pass.

LB Danny Clark and rookie LB Kirk Morrison continue to be consistent tackle-machines and on the field in most packages, however neither seems to have a nose for the ball or being a playmaker. Morrison only has three games under his belt, but Clark has a track record of lack of involvement in big plays.

MLB Jeremiah Trotter had his first big game, he led the team with 10 solo tackles, broke up 3 passes, and forced a fumble. After a slow start, this should resemble more of what we see from him this year. A lot of people have dismissed Trotter, but he’s only 28 years old and there he can very well get back to the 100-tackle level he was at before a tumultuous couple of years after being humbled by his failed move for the dollars in free agency.

DE Jevon Kearse continues to be a non-factor. He bruised a knee in Week Two, but the injury was minor and there is no news of any health problems impacting his place. With depth on the Eagles DLine a problem, he continues to face a lot of double-teaming, but that is nothing new. Last year he was quiet the first two games before exploding for 3 sacks in the third game, so maybe a breakout is on the way. Unless you have a better option, keep him the lineup and hope that big game is this week.

DT Darwin Walker was inactive after suffering a bad thigh injury in practice last week. It is expected he could miss at least another week. Rookie Mike Patterson replaced him in the starting lineup and had 3 solo tackles, a sack, and a forced fumble. He will continue to replace Walker while he’s out, and will still see significant time when he returns. As usual, the Eagles are a good source of fantasy DTs, for leagues that require them.

With K David Akers still fighting hamstring problems, LB Mark Simoneau was called on again to try an XP, but had it blocked. Simoneau’s kicking day appear to be over, as Akers has been diagnosed with a small tear and the Eagles will have a legitimate substitute until Akers has recovered. Simoneau’s real hope for any fantasy value this year would be to reclaim the starting WLB from Keith Adams. Both had just a solo tackle Sunday, so neither appears to be making an impression.

ILB James Farrior showed the form that made him a contender for Defensive POY in 2004. He led the team with 15 tackles (9 solo) and had a sack. OLB Clark Haggans seems to be cashing in on his potential, he had a huge game with 12 tackles (9 solo), a sack and 2 forced fumbles. He has at least one sack in each game this season. After posting a sack in the first two games, OLB Joey Porter was MIA, posting just 1 solo tackle.

CB Ike Taylor continues to be a tackle machine in the secondary. He had a career-high 13 tackles (9 solo) and broke up a pass.

St. Louis
SS Adam Archuleta continues to heat up, as he had a nice break on a ball in the Rams’ red zone for an INT he returned 85 yards for a TD. He also had 6 solo tackles. FS Michael Hawthorne left the game with a sprained ankle and was replaced by Mike Furrey. Hawthorne was having a career day before leaving, having posted 6 tackles (4 solo), a pick, and a fumble recovery. He is questionable for this week. Rookie S O.J. Atogwe was a healthy scratch again, but he could be active this week depending on Hawthorne’s ankle.

After a few rollercoaster years, DE Leonard Little has been the model of fantasy consistency so far. He has a sack in each of the first three games. Reserve DE Brandon Green, who pushed Tony Hargrove for a starting spot opposite Little in the preseason, had his first sack. Hargrove had his most productive game of the year, with 3 solo tackles, but has yet to register a sack.

CB Travis Fisher was in the starting lineup and fine after an elbow injury in their Week Two game. He had 4 solo tackles.

MLB Chris Claiborne had his first decent day as a Ram, leading the team (tied with LB Dexter Coakley) with 7 solo tackles.

San Diego
ILB Donnie Edwards led the team with 13 tackles (9 solo), as well as posting a sack and forced fumble. SS Terrence Kiel had 11 solo tackles.

Rookie Luis Castillo started at end for the second straight game. Igor Olshansky was active, but still battling a thigh injury. However, this week, Castillo was at LDE. Jacques Cesaire moved from the left, where he had been starting, to the right side, where Olshansky would normally be. Castillo has played well and may remain the starter.

1st round pick Shawne Merriman saw some work at LB, posting 2 solo tackles.

San Francisco
After slipping a bit in 2004, SS Tony Parrish was flashing his playmaking skills again Sunday. He led the team 9 tackles (7 solo) and had 2 INTs, including one he returned 34 yards for a TD.

CB Ahmed Plummer strained his groin during the game and aggravated a lingering left ankle problem that got worse as the game went on. That might help explain why he was beaten so badly by Keyshawn Johnson on consecutive plays, first for the decisive TD and then on the two-point conversion that followed it. Plummer may correct the ankle problem with surgery that will cost him at least two weeks. He missed most of last season with neck and back problems that were feared to be career-threatening. Plummer’s absence will likely result in Mike Rumph moving back to CB and starting opposite Shawntae Spencer. Rumph had been move from corner to FS in the pre-season and started there the first three games. Nickel CB Mike Adams would then move to FS. Adams is off to a good start this season and could be the player whose fantasy value improves the most by this move.

LB Julian Peterson strained his hamstring and had to leave the game in the fourth quarter.

LB Andre Carter started his first game of the season in place of Jamie Winborn. He had 4 solo tackles and Winborn had 2 solo.

DE Bryant Young continues to look like a younger version of himself, getting his fourth sack of the season, along with 5 other tackles.

With Michael Boulware now entrenched as a starter at SS, reserve S Jordan Babineaux stepped in as the playmaking third safety. He led the team in tackles (tied) with 6 (3 solo) and had his first career INT. Boulware had 5 tackles (3 solo), including a sack and a forced fumble.

Rookie reserve LB Leroy Hill saw his first significant time, and 5 tackles (4 solo) and his first career sack. He could continue to take time from D.D. Lewis.

DE Bryce Fisher had his third sack, and has one in each game.

Tampa Bay
FS Dexter Jackson left with hamstring injury and did not return, although he could have. Will Allen replaced him and had two picks, so it was probably more than just precautionary that Jackson didn’t return. Allen could replace him permanently in the near future.

MLB Shelton Quarles again led the team in tackles, with 9 (7 solo) and forced a fumble. While many expected rookie Barrett Ruud to replace him as soon as this season, Quarles has been the most dependable and consistent performer in the front seven. SLB Ryan Nece, whose job security is also considered threatened by Ruud, had his best game. Nece posted 7 tackles (6 solo), including a sack.

DE Simeon Rice had a quiet day, finishing with just 1 assist.

After spending three draft picks in 2004 in an effort to find someone to replace Jevon Kearse as a disruptive force at end, it has been a lightly-regarded free agent returning from blown knees in back-to-back seasons who has emerged. Kyle Vanden Bosch continues to make an early case for IDP Comeback Player of the Year, as his 2 sacks Sunday give him a league-leading 5 for the season. He also had 5 other tackles (4 solo) and a forced fumble that fellow DE Antwan Odom recovered and took 25 yards for a TD. After sharing a sack last week, DT Randy Starks and reserve DE Travis LaBoy each had one of their own. Despite the fumble return for a TD, Odom has not been as productive as hoped, and LaBoy could end up taking the starting job eventually. Starks returning to the form he showed as a rookie has been important because DT Albert Haynesworth was inactive due to a knee and toe problems and remains questionable for this week. Rien Long started in his place.

After leaving early the previous week with a knee injury, LB Peter Sirmon was back in the starting lineup and had 2 solo tackles and a fumble recovery.

1st round pick CB Pacman Jones is starting to get more time than Tony Beckham and could start for the first time this week, replacing Beckham. Jones had 3 solo tackles and broke up 2 passes. CB Andre Woolfolk dislocated his finger during the game, but played through it and is expected to play this week.

DT Brandon Noble was placed on the IR with a knee injury. His season is over early again, and probably his career. However, he’ll continue to contribute as a helper for the DC Greg Blache, who also coaches the defensive line.

SS Pierson Prioleau still did not return to practice Monday after the bye, as he recovers from a pulled hamstring in Week Two. Matt Bowen would return to the starting lineup this week if Prioleau doesn’t improve quickly.

MLB Lemar Marshall was limited in practice Monday with a tender groin.

Lavar Arrington and Warrick Holdman appear set to continue to split time, as long as the defense continues playing well, regardless of Arrington’s progress in recovering from knee problems.