What We've Been Told

Here's the buzz around the NFL, where coming and goings start with whispers which reach our ears...


Head coach Dennis Green quietly has been keeping an eye on quarterbacks and running backs which could help the team in 2006. While the team is not giving up on rookie running back J.J. Arrington, the rushing attack has struggled. Veteran quarterback Kurt Warner's days in Arizona appear to be numbered, as the offense has not displayed the explosiveness expected, with sacks and turnovers being a consistent issue.
As the season progresses, opponents of the Atlanta Falcons are expected to force quarterback Michael Vick to beat them with his arm, rather than with his gifted athletic ability as a ball-carrier. The vast majority of defensive coordinators around the league, according to league sources are of the belief the Falcons can be grounded when applying a solid containment strategy against the often-spectacular quarterback.
Despite a solid relief performance by backup quarterback J.P. Losman filling in for injured starter Kelly Holcomb, the Bills will stick with Holcomb as the starter.
With the Panthers rolling along on a six-game winning streak, those close to the team wonder how much longer running back Stephen Davis will physically hold-up. Knee injuries have robbed Davis of some speed and quickness, while the veteran still displays the ability to power into and through the hole.
Although the Bears passing game has been average at best this season, all indications are rookie quarterback Kyle Orton is entrenched as the starter, even if/when the oft-injured Rex Grossman returns.
The Browns are expected to give backup rookie quarterback Charlie Frye some additional work with the first-team offense this upcoming week. The struggling Cleveland offense has been inconsistent and penalty prone, while veteran quarterback Trent Dilfer has been missing on potential big-plays in the passing game.
Quarterback Joey Harrington of the Detroit Lions is in the midst of his last hurrah in the Motor City. It is now or never for the former first-round draft selection of the Lions. Under the direction of head coach Steve Mariucci, Harrington has not progressed to the liking of the organization and especially that of team president Matt Millen. Speaking of Mariucci, ownership remains in his corner, but this could quickly change if the team falters in the second-half of the season.
Look for the Minnesota Vikings to simply let running back Michael Bennett to walk away following the 2005 season, rather than attempt to negotiate a new contract with the oft-injured, but potentially dynamic back. Injuries have hampered Bennett throughout his career and the Vikings do not appear poised to commit to a player with such physical issues.
The skinny on quarterback Eli Manning's four interceptions this past Sunday? Simple, a young quarterback forcing the ball, all in an attempt to make something happen. Head coach Tom Coughlin cringes at the thought of these types of mistakes, but is reluctant to put the reigns on the promising signal-caller. Look only for improvement from the second-year quarterback, despite some questionable reads.
NFL DRAFT While discussing defensive impact players in the collegiate ranks, Ohio State linebacker A.J. Hawk's name comes up in almost every discussion. Hawk, a tremendous athlete and well-schooled could easily become a top-five selection in the college player draft.
We have been told by those in league circles that the Oakland Raiders will terminate their relationship with head coach Norv Turner at the end of the season. Again in the 2005 season, the Raiders have been a disappointment.
While an arbitrator will determine if suspended wide receiver Terrell Owens should be reinstated to the team, interest in the much-maligned Owens has been steadfast. If the arbitrator rules in favor of the player, the Eagles are expected to simply deactivate the receiver. In Owens corner, the player would like to be granted his release so he can play again this season.
Quarterback Charlie Batch is expected to miss the Steelers next game, against the Baltimore Ravens due to a broken bone in his passing hand. Batch, who engineered an impressive first-half offensive performance against the Cleveland Browns on Sunday night, was filling in for injured starter Ben Roethlisberger.
While most around the game, including this writer believed Washington Redskins quarterback Mark Brunell was finished, the veteran has surprised almost everybody with his solid play this season. All except Redskins head coach Joe Gibbs, who noted recently Brunell was not healthy last season and dedicated himself to a strenuous off-season workout program to strengthen his legs.

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