Here's what KFFL's inside sources are saying this week.
- It may make the field smaller, but the Green Bay
Packers could look to send Aaron Rodgers
out on bootlegs or sprint-outs to keep him away from the Dallas
Cowboys' DeMarcus Ware and co.
- There isn't too much panic coming from it, but our Atlanta
Falcons observer noticed Matt Ryan's
passes are coming out a bit higher, and more passes are sailing as a result.
His release point looks the same, but he may not be following through. Ryan
remains aggressive in throwing downfield, but he just isn't connecting as
Despite Kyle Orton's success this year,
the Denver Broncos still don't boast a true deep-play
threat outside of maybe tight end Tony Scheffler,
whom they use sparingly. They'll continue to take what is given to them.
Mile High, not Mile Deep
- Vince Young's return has helped open
up the Tennessee Titans' playbook - they called
more options, QB draws, etc. last week. Don't expect OC Mike Heimerdinger
to slow down the creative juices, which will also help free up tailback Chris
- Though the Green Bay Packers couldn't necessarily
pressure him, Josh Freeman delivered
in his first start for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
He showed a solid pocket presence but had trouble identifying blitzes and
coverages. We'll see what happens against a more formidable Miami
Dolphins pass rush.
- Detroit Lions rookie Matthew
Stafford underthrew his target on a couple of picks last week, and
tried to force the issue and attempt perfect pass placement on other throws.
Speculation is he's probably still being bothered by his knee injury.
- This could be a make-or-break game for Trent
Edwards' (concussion) future with the Buffalo
Bills. Of course, the notion of bringing in a certain No. 7 to receive
snaps - Michael Vick, not J.P.
Losman - looks like pure speculation.
- According to Cleveland Browns head coach Eric
Mangini, Brady Quinn doesn't trust
what he sees and has been hesitant to throw when he has guys open. Mangini
would like to see Quinn trust his instincts more.
- If the questionable DeAngelo Williams
(knee) can't go in Week 11, expect Tyrell Sutton
and Mike Goodson, in that order, to
see token Carolina Panthers carries behind Jonathan
Stewart (Achilles'), who'd be the starter.
- The Indianapolis Colts likely have been careful
with Donald Brown; he should be good
to carry at least a 40 percent share of the workload this week with Joseph
Addai. It might even be closer to 50-50. Brown is rested and has practiced
all week. He could be used late in the game; he runs harder than Addai, which
could be more beneficial in the final stanzas.
- History is on the Detroit Lions' side with stuffing
the Minnesota Vikings' Adrian
Peterson. He has never rushed for more than 116 yards against them
and has more fumbles than touchdowns. Most of his damage against them came
on two plays earlier this year when corners failed to contain him. We're
not saying he isn't a top play, though.
- Don't be surprised to see a 50-50 work split between LeSean
McCoy and Brian Westbrook (concussion,
ankle) for Week 10. The Philadelphia Eagles probably
won't push Westy too hard.
- The final split at running back for the New York
Jets could be similar to what we saw in Week 8: 28 utilizations for Thomas
Jones to nine for Shonn Greene.
At the very least, our insider didn't feel Greene would get more than
- The Washington Redskins' Clinton
Portis (concussion) hasn't even hit the practice field yet and still
has ringing in his ears. Don't expect to see him back until after next week,
at the earliest.
- Ladell Betts (ankle) is hurt, too,
but he's expected to play and could receive up to 90 percent of the touches
out of Washington's backfield. Rock Cartwright
would be next in line.
- The Seattle Seahawks will look to work in more
screen passes to the backfield on first and second downs, instead of trying
to force unsuccessful interior carries. Julius
Jones has shown marked improvement after the catch, gaining better
reads of blocks and timing on screens. Expect Seattle to incorporate Louis
Rankin, too, if they can keep their Week 10 game close.
- The Denver Broncos started Correll
Buckhalter in Week 9. A big part of this probably came from their
desire to bolster their pass protection. Against the blitz-heavy Pittsburgh
Steelers, they probably felt more secure with Buck starting in the back.
We wouldn't be shocked if Knowshon Moreno
takes the field first this week.
Though it's hard to etch their backfield management in stone, the Dallas
Cowboys want to involve Felix Jones
more in the offense, preferably in open-space situations. He isn't as good
a receiver as he's hyped to be outside of swing receptions.
Felix needs work
- The Arizona Cardinals' backfield touch split between
Tim Hightower and Beanie
Wells shown in recent weeks will remain par for the course.
- Earlier this week, Jamal Lewis asserted
Cleveland Browns head coach Eric
Mangini works the team too hard. Lewis later said the media blew his comments
out of proportion, but that's a stretch. The vet hasn't had to endure rough
practices in a while before Mangini's arrival. Is this a big reason for his
impending post-2009 retirement?
- The Baltimore Ravens are trying to welcome Willis
McGahee back into the offensive fold. Their red zone trips haven't
been often enough to give him enough work, but they want to give him a series
here and there.
- Though it's a risky fantasy play, we could see the New
England Patriots look to open up Kevin Faulk
on screen plays as a way to counteract the Indianapolis
Colts' speed rush. This could be another outlet for Laurence
- Jamaal Charles and Kolby
Smith will probably see something close to a 50-50 carry split this
week, but the Kansas City Chiefs eventually want
Smith to be the main between-the-tackles option. They don't want Charles to
carry the load. Dantrell Savage remains
the No. 3 back in line for sprinkle duty.
- The Chiefs all but abandoned the run in Week
9 because the Jacksonville Jaguars surprised them
with a 4-3 defensive alignment and a heavy dose of run blitzes. Expect them
to work more toward a balance if possible against the Oakland
- The Green Bay Packers' Ahman
Green looked better last week and could garner six to 10 touches as
the No. 2 back.
- Packers linebacker Aaron
Kampman (concussion) might not cover well, but he has been solid against
the run this year. He'll miss Week 10, bringing Brad
Jones into the lineup. The Dallas Cowboys could
run the Marion Barber III at Jones
often, especially as they have some strong run blocking linemen on that side
of their offensive line.
- The Detroit Lions' Calvin
Johnson's spat with quarterback Matthew
Stafford wasn't a huge deal. It probably just stemmed from frustration
that Johnson isn't getting the ball, but the Lions
don't have anyone to take the double teams away from him.
- The Philadelphia Eagles won't make the same mistake
they made last week; they'll try to involve DeSean
Jackson as often as possible against the San Diego Chargers.
- Roy Williams update: It looks like
the Dallas Cowboys pariah has finally clicked a
bit with quarterback Tony Romo. Williams performed
better on timing routes and general route running; he's reportedly working
- Remember the NFL debut on national TV of the
Denver Broncos' Eddie
Royal? Well, his gawdy numbers came mostly at the expense of cornerback
DeAngelo Hall - then an Oakland Raider, now
a member of the Washington Redskins. More incentive
to flex Royal in Week 10....
The New York Jets could look to take advantage
of Jerricho Cotchery's matchup on a
rookie defensive back (Derek Cox). Cotchery
is finally healthy, too.
Cotchery a forgotten man this week?
- Tennessee Titans rookie Kenny
Britt will start this week with Justin
Gage (back) sidelined.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers wideout pecking order: Sammie
Stroughter, Maurice Stovall
and Michael Clayton. If and when he's
healthy, Antonio Bryant (knee) could
even be listed behind Clayton, mainly since Bryant hasn't had a chance to
work extensively with slinger Josh Freeman.
- Don't expect Lance Long to exit the
Kansas City Chiefs' offensive plans anytime soon.
They are impressed by his hands and his reckless abandon over the middle.
- Maurice Purify, of the Cincinnati
Bengals, is the one to fill in for Chris
Henry (forearm), who's lost for the season. He isn't the deep threat
that Henry is, though; Cincy doesn't have a receiver, other than Chad
Ochocinco, that can fill that role. Laveranues
Coles can get deep but isn't a speedster, while Andre
Caldwell is a third-down, possession-type guy.
- Devery Henderson has shown more consistency
in recent weeks than our source has seen at any point since beginning to cover
the New Orleans Saints. Henderson is working more
intermediate routes and is actually catching the ball when it's thrown his
- Look for the New England Patriots to try to jam the Indianapolis Colts' two big weapons at the line of scrimmage. The Pats have a deep secondary, meaning they can rotate options in guarding Colts wideout Reggie Wayne and tight end Dallas Clark.
- The San Diego Chargers' pass rush has improved, partly due to the improved comfort of linebackers Shawne Merriman (foot) and Shaun Phillips (ankle), who oddly enough are both injured heading into Week 10. Regardless, defensive coordinator Ron Rivera has mixed up his blitzes, which has helped them gain better penetration.
- The Tennessee Titans' bettered pass rush in the last two weeks has included more blitzing from safeties and linebackers. Of course, the secondary regaining starting cornerback Cortland Finnegan has helped buy more time for their front seven, too.
- Is Ed Reed playing more tentatively because of his lingering soreness? The Baltimore Ravens say he's fine, and they won't sit him. Expect Reed's pain to have a game-to-game effect on his play, though.
- The Jacksonville Jaguars have returned to the 4-3 defense because the ends weren't applying enough pressure. Fantasy owners shouldn't try to find out if this change will work.
Around the league
- Fast fact: The Baltimore Ravens are 4-0 when they record more than 20 carries this year, and they're 0-4 when they tally fewer than 20. Baltimore has bought into OC Cam Cameron's approach, but to bring it to the next level next season, they'll need to pursue a high-level No. 1 wideout.
- The Pittsburgh Steelers' O-line has grown this year, led by left tackle Max Starks' maturity and improved footwork.
- Another O-line riser: Tennessee Titans tackle Leroy Harris, who should start next season after he climbs out from behind veterans blocking him on the depth chart.
- Seven players scored a touchdown for the New Orleans Saints the last time they played a team as bad as the St. Louis Rams (Week 1 against the Detroit Lions).
- The no-huddle has been a bugaboo for the Denver Broncos recently - mainly because of poor substitutions and package matchups, not conditioning.
- Another reason to be down on the Buffalo Bills: their reluctance or inability to build up offensive line depth via free agency or a trade. Head coach Dick Jauron's Langston Walker experiment doesn't earn him much sympathy.
- It looks like Jerry Jones is leaving things open for bringing head coach Wade Phillips back to the Dallas Cowboys next season. New veteran defensive leadership from Keith Brooking and Igor Olshansky has given Phillips some disciplinary legs to stand on.
About Tim Heaney
Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous publications, and recognized as a finalist in FSWA's awards. The Boston University alum competes in Tout Wars and LABR and has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.
During baseball and football season, he's on The Reality Check with Glenn Clark every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore. He hits the airwaves every Thursday at 9:30 a.m. ET on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, where he often crashes other shows, as well.
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