is welcomed back at practice.
Kansas City Chiefs running back Larry Johnson has dug himself in to a big hole this 2008 season, and fantasy owners have felt the effects of that hole, but now that he’s ready to come back how he’s going to be received by his teammates? According to the
Kansas City Star Johnson returned to practice this week and was welcomed with open arms. “LJ had the running-back room kind of hyped up during the meetings with his jokes,” rookie running back Dantrell Savage said. “We haven’t had that for a while. It’s been kind of quiet in there without him, but now he’s back and you know it. It was back to normal.” One concern that some may have is that the Chiefs could end up going back to the power running game once Johnson returns to the lineup. In his absence the offense has changed its philosophy to allow quarterback Tyler Thigpen to grow and develop; not to mention that the philosophy has made the team better as a whole. “He’s a part of (our offense),” coach Herman Edwards said of Johnson. “He’s going to get his carries. Our offense has changed a little bit, but we’re still going to try to run the ball, with him being one of the better backs in the league.” The Chiefs definitely could use a little boost in the running game. In Johnson’s absence Chiefs running backs have combined for 60 yards or less per game on the ground in three of the last four outings. Fantasy owners should expect to see a good number of touches come Johnson’s way once he gets up to speed, which could spell trouble for Thigpen owners who have finally made the leap of faith and are hoping he can continue to produce gaudy numbers.
Falcons want to pound the Broncos.
It’s no secret that the Atlanta Falcons are a run first offense, even though both Matt Ryan and Roddy White have had productive years. This week should be no different in so many ways. According to the
Atlanta Journal-Constitution there is little doubt that the Falcons will be running all day against a Broncos defensive line that is small and beat up, and may even run the wishbone. “We’ve got a good solid run game and we’ve got confidence in the guys in our backfield and our offensive line,” Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan said. “It’s going to be important for us to establish the run and do a good job with it.” The Broncos defense is allowing 146.3 rushing yards per game this season, and has had a reputation of being a defense that gives up big chunks of yardage on the ground on a regular basis. “Their whole defense is based on speed,” Michael Turner said. “You just have to make sure that we are playing much faster on offense to make sure that we can handle some of the things they do.” While the Broncos do rank 28th against the pass, the Falcons have shown in the past that they’re not afraid of focusing on running the football if they have the lead and the opposing defense can’t stop it. But if the Broncos turn this game in to a shootout Matt Ryan could have a big day, especially if Champ Bailey (questionable) doesn’t play or is limited. From a strategy standpoint the Falcons probably will stick to their run first game plan, but if Cutler and the Broncos offense stay red hot that could all change as the game progresses.
When will Bills’ Edwards break out of his slump?
The Buffalo Bills have slowly descended in the last three weeks to a 5-4 record. They’ve lost three straight games, and their 5-1 start is starting to look more like a tease. And as fans start to point fingers one player that will be at the top of the list will be quarterback Trent Edwards. Edwards is in a bit of a slump, as he’s thrown five interceptions in the past three games, and has led his offense on just three drives ending with a touchdown. But according to the
Rochester Democrat and Chronicle head coach Dick Jauron insists that Edwards will be fine. “It’s not going to go in a straight line up, it just doesn’t work that way,” said Jauron, referring to the progress of Edwards or any other young quarterback in the NFL. “Nothing does in life and certainly nothing does in football. It’s going to be up and down, you’re going to have highs and lows, you’re going to suffer a lot and get defeated a lot and the bottom line is how you come back. I don’t have any doubts about Trent Edwards. He’s going to be fine.” It is believed that Edwards has picked up some bad habits that haunt even the best quarterbacks throughout their careers; Edwards just picked up his at the wrong time. The AFC East remains as one of the top divisions in all of football, and Edwards will need to bounce back quickly if the Bills are to keep pace with the rest of their competition. And for those who are curious about a quarterback— it probably won’t be happening! In his only game this season back-up JP Losman was sacked five times, fumbled twice, and threw a pick in the Bills 41-17 loss to the Cardinals in week five. Overall, Edwards should be fine, but shouldn’t be considered more than a back-up unless the match-up is right, which coincidentally could be said for each of the Bills next three opponents including this week’s Browns 20th ranked pass defense.
The Buccaneers have a tough task in stopping “All-Day” Adrian Peterson.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense, much like every other NFL defense, knows how good Vikings running back Adrian Peterson is, and according to the
St Petersburg Times knows that it will be tough to stop him on Sunday. “Oh, man, the kid’s a stud, man,” Chris Hovan began. “You talk about the top two backs in the league and I’ll put him at No. 1 right now. His explosion, running ability, the way he breaks tackles. The kid is special, man. We always want to be the best at what we do,” the defensive tackle said. “But we know to be the best, you’ve got to take down the best, and the best is coming here Sunday.” Peterson is coming off a big 192 yard performance, for which he fumbled on a fourth down late in the game, only to come back and score the game-winning touchdown on the very next possession. “For me, it was more emotional because I had just fumbled to put us in a bad situation that could’ve cost us the game, and then in the last drive when we needed it, turned it around and got into the end zone,” Peterson, 23, said. The Buccaneers rank 11th in the NFL against the run, and have faced some tough running backs this season. “We’re going to show up and play now,” coach Jon Gruden said. “We’ve seen Michael Turner, we’ve seen Marion Barber. It’s not like we haven’t seen some great backs. Here’s another one coming in here.” While Gruden does have a point Michael Turner and Marion Barber, good running backs indeed, are not on the same level as Mr. Peterson. “He’s able to get going downhill and then on a dime, without changing speed, cut the opposite direction,” linebacker Barrett Ruud said. “What he really does is test your leverage. Say you’re turning back a block and this is your free hand, he’ll just run at your free hand and make you make a tackle, which is something most backs don’t try to do.” And the best part is that even after a league high 1,015 rushing yards Peterson says he’s not wearing down. “I feel like I’m getting stronger. I’m actually getting bigger. Those are things I’m noticing about myself, I’m putting on a little more weight as I go. That can be scary. I almost scare myself. I do see myself getting stronger and faster and my game is picking up, so hey, it’s a good thing for us.” Peterson is back on top, and although he faces some tough teams in the next three games, he should be able to stay at or near the top from here on out as the Vikings fight for the NFC North crown.
Quick Bites–Injury Rundown
According to the
Chicago Sun-Times the Bears believe that quarterback Kyle Orton could start on Sunday against the Packers. “He’s a lot better today than he was [Wednesday],” coach Lovie Smith said. “If he continues to make the same type of progress, hopefully we’ll have him available.”
According to the
Sacramento Bee Raiders running back Darren McFadden’s feet finally feel back to normal. “It feels good to be able to go out there and run and not have pain,” McFadden said. “I feel like with the last two days I’ve been in (the cleats), everything feels normal.”
According to the
Washington Post running back Clinton Portis remains 50-50 on playing this Sunday. “I’ll probably get a good six treatments in, two massages” before the game, Portis said. “I mean, the progress has been better, but I won’t say, ‘Oh, I’m ready.’ I’ve got ’til Sunday night to make that decision, so that’s when I’ll make it. It’s not a lobbying thing. We’re going to see how I feel before the game and make our decision then. It’s not lobbying or protest. We’re just going to find out.” Back-up Ladell Betts intends on playing, and could see a high number of touches even if Portis does play.
According to the
New Orleans Times-Picayune Saints running back Reggie Bush’s status for Sunday’s game against the Chiefs remains uncertain as Bush did not practice Thursday, but is progressing. “We rested Reggie with the idea that we’ll be able to get him snaps (Friday),” Payton said. “You’re always guarded about a re-injury and being smart, but I was encouraged with where Reggie was today after yesterday’s practice.” As of now, Bush is listed as out on the injury report.
According to the
Baltimore Sun Ravens wide receiver Derrick Mason is determined to play on Sunday against the Giants. Mason did not practice on Thursday, and remains listed as questionable on the injury report.
According to the
Pittsburgh Tribune Review Steelers running back Willie Parker will be back in the lineup on Sunday against the Chargers to give the Steelers a good 1-2 punch. “Mo’s doing a tremendous job for us, but Willie has that explosiveness that we’re looking for,” offensive coordinator Bruce Arians said.
According to the
Indianapolis Star wide receivers Reggie Wayne (ankle), and Anthony Gonzalez (hamstring) returned to practice on Friday and should play against the Texans on Sunday while safety Bob Sanders did not practice and remains listed as questionable on the injury report. Sanders could be a game-time decision.
The Chiefs have three starters listed as questionable— cornerbacks Brandon Flowers and Patrick Surtain, and linebacker Derrick Johnson. The Jaguars will be without defensive tackle John Henderson this week when they face the undefeated Titans, while defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch remains listed as questionable for Tennessee. Texans linebacker Morlon Greenwood remains listed as doubtful with a fibula injury. Packers linebacker Nick Barnett is listed as out and could miss the remainder of the season. Lions linebacker Ernie Sims was limited in practice, and remains listed as questionable with a shoulder injury, while defensive end Dwayne White remains listed as out with a calf injury. Broncos linebackers Nate Webster and DJ Williams will not play this week, as both are listed as out with knee problems.