While head coach Dennis Green hasn't indicated who the starting quarterback will be after their Week Six bye, those close to the team say they expect Josh McCown to keep the job because he's done such a good job of moving the football down field. He also has good mobility and doesn't take as many sacks as Kurt Warner does. The coaching staff does, however, want McCown to cut down on his mistakes and needs to learn to get rid of the ball and throw it out of bounds instead of throwing it to the other team a few times a game.
Look for QB Kelly Holcomb to remain the starter for as long as he continues to win. Head coach Mike Mularkey believes that my not saying who the starter is at quarterback each week that it gives his team competitive advantage. Fact is, coaches around the league know that QB J.P. Losman isn't ready to play and Holcomb is a much better option at this point to lead the team for a possible playoff run. Should the team be out of the playoff picture, then Losman will likely get a chance to play.
Look for rookie WR Chris Henry to see extended playing time once again in place of No.2 WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh who is not expected to play due to a hand injury. Henry was one of their stars during training camp and has gained the confidence of QB Carson Palmer.
The matchup of the game probably is rookie RT Rob Petitti going up against Giants' LDE Michael Strahan. Petiti has been one of the biggest surprises of this young season for the team. Considering he was selected in the sixth round and not much was expected of him, the story even becomes more amazing. The Cowboys are also expected to veteran Anthony Thomas at running back with Julius Jones being inactive, but also look for a healthy dose of rookie Tyson Thompson. Thompson has steadily worked his way up the depth chart and has gained the confidence of Bill Parcells and could see as many as 20 carries this afternoon.
Things have gotten so desperate on the offensive line after giving up league-high 26 sacks that several moves have been contemplated this week. One that was made to stay was Chester Pitts to left tackle who was playing at guard. The coaches may move C Steve McKinney to guard and former starting LT Victor Riley may move to right tackle in place of the struggling Todd Wade.
During the bye week, the coaches decided to make a change at linebacker with inserting veteran LB Keith Newman on the strong side over Napoleon Harris who has been struggling all season. Newman has better pass rush skills but Harris is generally considered to be better against the run. Still, it's not a good sign that Harris, who was acquired in the Randy Moss deal, is unable to be successful in their scheme. Harris wanted to play outside with Minnesota after playing inside last year in a 3-4 scheme with Oakland.
New England Patriots
In a strange move, 14 players were downgraded on the league's official injury report Friday. Why? It's anyone's guess but it could be because the team wasn't happy with Atlanta downgrading QB Michael Vick on the injury report last Saturday when they knew he wasn't going to be able to play. The league asks teams to downgraded players on the injury report on Friday that don't practice or are in danger of not playing. He was still listed as probable on Friday.
New Orleans Saints
Look for the coaching staff to continue to rotate starting MLB Courtney Watson with veteran MLB Ronald McKinnon. Those who have watched Watson's game tape say he's playing poorly and could lose his starting job if he continues to struggle stopping the run.
San Diego Chargers
The team is feverishly trying to deal G Toniu Fonoti by Tuesday's trading deadline. According to a league source, Fonoti is "a different guy, not easy to deal with". The team is high on his replacement, third-year pro Kris Dielman who was signed as an undrafted free agent.
San Francisco 49ers
Although the team denies he's being shopped, don't be surprised if QB Tim Rattay is moved by the trading deadline. Rattay isn't well thought of by the new coaching staff and they are happy with the development of young quarterbacks Ken Dorsey and Cody Pickett.
St. Louis Rams
In a pretty bold move, the team released starting FS Michael Hawthorne earlier this week and will replace him with Mike Furrey. What's significant about the move is Furrey had been a receiver up until this season.
The renewed emphasis on the passing game should continue the rest of the season. Why? The coaching staff knows RB Clinton Portis isn't a drive sustainer and they won't be able to control the clock with him. The fact that they have two smaller yet fast receivers shows the change in philosophy in the passing game this season. The numbers that QB Mark Brunell has put up in his last three games should continue going forward.
Pre-Game Scoop: Week 6
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