NFL Player Wire

<b>Washington Redskins</b> <br><br> QB Mark Brunell made a number of terrible throws in the Redskins' 21-18 loss to the Cowboys on Monday night. Although the veteran passer ended up with 325 yards passing and two touchdowns, thanks to a flurry in the final five minutes, he left continued doubt as to whether he's the man for Gibbs' offense.

Some of Brunell's passes floated. Others fluttered off-target to relatively close receivers. It was unclear whether his strong close 4-for-4 for 119 yards in the final 4:45 altered Gibbs' impression, but the coach certainly exited the contest without any harsh words.

"Mark fought his guts out like the rest of the guys," Coach Joe Gibbs said. "I thought he scrambled and played hard. As for how players get on hot streaks like that, I don't know. But certainly he got rolling and made a lot of great plays."

C Cory Raymer was promoted to the starting lineup ahead of Lennie Friedman, who struggled in the first two games. Ray Brown probably can be considered the right tackle at this point, now that he has replaced Kenyatta Jones in consecutive games.

LB LaVar Arrington was bitterly disappointed to miss the Cowboys game following arthroscopic surgery on his right knee. However, he intends to get back quickly, perhaps even more quickly than the time frame 2-4 weeks doctors have lain out.

"Two-to-four they say, so that means I'll probably be back in, like, a week and a half," Arrington said. "Hopefully I'll make that move and be back somewhere short of what everybody's expecting. We'll see what happens."

KR Chad Morton suffered a sprained knee and a concussion Monday night, thanks to a severe beating he took while returning kicks. He didn't play the fourth quarter.

S Matt Bowen is day-to-day with a groin strain after sitting out Monday's second half. Bowen injured himself while flushing QB Vinny Testaverde on a blitz.

RT Ray Brown started for a second straight week ahead of Kenyatta Jones.

WR James Thrash had his first catches as a Redskin, getting four balls for 47 yards. All four receptions occurred from the late first half on, as Joe Gibbs' offense seemed to diversify.

Dallas Cowboys

Rookie CB Jacques Reeves, who was the last player taken by the Cowboys in the 2004 draft, filled in for injured Pete Hunter against the Redskins and will likely, get the first shot at keeping the job for the rest of the season.

Although he gave up a couple of passes late, Reeves proved up to the challenge against the Redskins, who repeatedly targeted the rookie seventh-round pick for big plays. He tackled well and only gave up a one-yard touchdown pass to Rod Gardner.

"I feel pretty good about the game I had tonight," Reeves said. "But I know I had stuff to improve upon. I think I can."

RB Eddie George's streak of 130 consecutive starts came to an end Monday night when the Cowboys opened the game with the nickel pass offense.

The streak was second only to Walter Payton's all-time mark of 170 for a running back. It is the longest to begin a career, dating back to his rookie year with the Titans in 1996. George finished game with 11 carries for 19 yards including a one-yard touchdown run.

QB Vinny Testaverde didn't put up the big numbers as he did in the first two weeks. But he was effective against the Redskins, passing for 214 yards and moving into 10th place all-time on the passing touchdowns list with 254 thanks to a 10-yard scoring toss to tight end Jason Witten.

SS Tony Dixon and DE Greg Ellis had two sacks each against the Redskins. The Cowboys had a total of five as a team. It was the most since they recorded five last December against the Giants. That was also the last time a Cowboys player recorded two sacks in a game. Then it was Ellis.

RB Richie Anderson became the first non quarterback to throw a touchdown pass for the Cowboys since 1985 when he hit receiver Terry Glenn on a 26-yard halfback pass. It was also Anderson's first touchdown pass of his career.

CB Pete Hunter went down in the first quarter Monday with a knee injury. Cowboys' owner Jerry Jones said he's 90 percent sure Hunter tore ligaments in his knee, meaning he probably will be lost for the season.

New York Giants

QB Kurt Warner completed 19 of 27 passes for 232 yards vs. Cleveland, but according to his receivers its how he's throwing the ball that is most impressive. "He is putting the ball into impossible places where only we can catch it," said wideout Amani Toomer. "He has lifted the confidence of the entire offense."

QB Eli Manning, who flirted with a chance to win the starting job all summer, seems to be spending his rookie year sitting, standing, watching and learning. "It's fine," he says. "Every snap Kurt takes on the field I sort of take with him on the sideline."

WR Ike Hilliard, a first round pick back in 1997, rarely speaks above a whisper and is usually recalcitrant at best. But ask him about the new, improved Giants' offense through the first three games and he chirps: "It is entirely because of number 13." That's Kurt Warner, by the way.

WR Tim Carter, perhaps the fastest player on the squad but also one of the most frequently injured, appears to be staying healthy this season and has become Warner's favorite "deep-surprise" target. "We'll go deep when they don't expect it," he says, "and as long as I can stay healthy, I think this is going to be a lot of fun." In his first two seasons, Carter suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon and multiple concussions that necessitated taking the final four games off last season.

WR Jamaar Taylor, a rookie from Texas A&M, was predicted to be a first or second round pick when the 2003 college season started, and began playing up to that level until October, when he tore his ACL. That dropped him and the Giants took a chance in the sixth round. He has rehabbed faster than anyone thought. "I'll play this year," he says. "Any week now I'm going to be activated. I feel it."

Rookie SS Gibril Wilson, forced into emergency starting status when veteran Shaun Williams tore the meniscus in his knee last Friday at practice, played well under pressure. He had eight tackles and an interception. "It wasn't as scary as I thought it might be," he said. "It's just football."

P Jeff Feagles had four punts last Sunday and all were downed inside the 20, which made him the all-time NFL leader in that category. "All time? You mean ever?" he said. "I hope to just continue this for years."

DE Michael Strahan, at first one of new head coach Tom Coughlin's adversaries, seems to have warmed to the strict rules and fines and now says the team has a chance to win something meaningful if the guys just pay attention -- a far cry from his previous stance, as well as his criticism of the release of veteran QB Kerry Collins.

RB Tiki Barber, through three games, has yet to fumble. This is a far cry from his 14 fumbles lost in 2003. "I spent all spring and summer practicing holding the ball differently," he said, referring to head coach Tom Coughlin's "high and tight" style with arms crossed over the ball. But he did extend it once last week to make sure he got into the end zone. It worked.

RB Ron Dayne may or may not be in Coughlin's dog house, but his mysterious absence from the active roster last Sunday might have been more than the swollen calf that was offered as the reason. He had practiced all week and was fit to go. But on game day he was found on the Game Inactive list. "I was ready to play," he said, "and I thought I would."

TE Jeremy Shockey, who complained that he wasn't getting enough passes thrown his way, caught five last week and continued to improve his blocking. "No, I wasn't complaining," he said. "I was just commenting that this new offense has me doing different things. I'm not used to being a fullback and a blocker."

Chicago Bears

RB Thomas Jones leads the NFC with 329 rushing yards and is third in the NFL. His 5.0-yard average is fourth among NFC running backs and eighth in the NFL. Jones also leads the Bears with 15 receptions, good for 116 yards.

RB Anthony Thomas got just two carries and picked up two yards last week. He had 10 carries for 30 yards this season and has not caught a pass. He really doesn't have a role except to give Jones an occasional breather.

WR Bobby Wade's four catches in Week Three were a personal best, as were his 71 yards. Wade also continues to be a factor in the ground game. He has had at least one carry in each game and has 42 yards on four carries this season.

WR David Terrell had just two catches for 25 yards in Week Three, although at least six passes were thrown to him. Officials originally called pass interference in Terrell's favor, which would have given the Bears a 20-plus-yard pickup, but they overruled themselves. Terrell was overthrown on two other occasions.

WR Justin Gage had a diving, 32-yard reception at the Vikings' one-yard line to set up a Bears TD but it was just his second catch of the season.

TE Desmond Clark was extremely limited by a sprained ankle against the Vikings and did not catch a pass. He expects to be healthier this week.

PK Paul Edinger hit on field goals of 34, 23 and 32 yards in Week Three but missed a 39-yarder, his third miss in six attempts this season.

QB Jonathan Quinn's big knock is that he doesn't have much game experience despite his seven seasons in the NFL.

"I have to agree with them," Quinn admitted. "I don't have game-time experience. I can't argue that. But this is my seventh year, and I'm a professional. I have started games before, and you have to go to training camps and preseason, which is where the backups get most of their experience anyway."

Quinn will more than likely get more experience in the next few weeks than he's ever had in an NFL season. The only depth on the roster is fifth-round rookie Craig Krenzel and Cowboys castoff Chad Hutchinson, who was signed to a two-year deal on Monday.

QB Chad Hutchinson was signed to a two-year deal by Chicago on Monday.

QB Craig Krenzel, a fifth-round pick from Ohio State, suddenly is thrust into the No. 2 spot, at least until recently signed Chad Hutchinson has a chance to learn the offense. "I don't believe Craig is ready," offensive coordinator Terry Shea said of Krenzel being the No. 2. "Mentally he does a great job of staying up. Physically, I don't think he's had enough snaps, had enough reps to say he's truly capable of being a No. 2 quarterback."

LB Brian Urlacher hamstring did not play last week and will not be rushed back into the lineup until he is 100 percent according to coach Lovie Smith. Urlacher missed six weeks in the preseason with the same injury.

SS Bobby Gray left the Vikings game with a stinger in the second quarter, but the Bears hope to have him back this week. Gray plays strong safety in nickel situations.

DT Ian Scott, who played as part of a three-man rotation in the middle, got the first sack of his NFL career on Sunday. Scott will continue to play in a rotation with rookie starters Tommie Harris and Tank Johnson while Alfonso Boone is out with a sprained knee.

Baltimore Ravens

QB Kyle Boller has become more accurate in the Ravens' conservative passing game, increasing his completion rate to 58 percent. He also leads AFC quarterbacks in rushing 74 yards.

QB Kordell Stewart did not play in Week 3.

RB Jamal Lewis broke out after two sub-par games, recording his fifth-best rushing performance of his career. He returned to his big-play form with runs of 32, 18, 18 and 75 yards.

RB Chester Taylor has solidified himself as the top backup to Jamal Lewis and has averaged 5.9 yards per carry. The third-down back has yet to become a factor in the passing game, with just one catch for minus-seven yards.

RB Musa Smith has yet to receive a carry this season.

WR Kevin Johnson had his consecutive streak of making one catch end at 81 games. He is third on the Ravens with seven catches for 75 yards.

WR Randy Hymes is the only consistent receiving threat with Travis Taylor and Todd Heap out with injuries. He leads the team in catches 12, yards 124 and touchdowns 1.

TE Daniel Wilcox had fewer chances in the passing game with Todd Heap out with an injury. He was supposed to have increased opportunities but the Ravens chose to go with more three wide formations.

PK Matt Stover is perfect this season, going 5-for-5 on field goals but has had just one chance beyond 40 yards.

CB Chris McAlister had his worst game of the season in Cincinnati, which is a major reason why the Ravens gave up 300 yards passing for the first time this year.

LB Terrell Suggs continues to bring pressure each week on the quarterback and has recorded 15 sacks in 19 games.

WR Travis Taylor likely will be out for two more games with a groin injury.

TE Todd Heap is expected to miss two more games with a sprained ankle.

NT Kelly Gregg is expected to return to the starting lineup, which should give the Ravens' run defense a boost against Kansas City running back Priest Holmes.

Cleveland Browns

WR Dennis Northcutt is not getting the ball in open space. He averaged nearly 12 yards a catch last year. He is averaging 5.6 yards on 13 catches this season

WR Quincy Morgan, in his contract year, has just five catches after three games.

WR Andre Davis confessed he was guilty last week on a holding penalty that negated a 49-yard touchdown run by William Green.

LB Ben Taylor is out for the season. A pectoral tendon torn in the game against the Giants was surgically reattached to his left shoulder Tuesday. Chaun Thompson replaces him as the starter.

QB Jeff Garcia began rolling out more by design than for survival against the Giants. The rollouts will continue to be part of the game plan. The offense would have to adjust if Kelly Holcomb ever has to play, because he is strictly a pocket passer.

RB William Green, though he would have been the backup at the start of the season had Lee Suggs been healthy, is expected to start against the Redskins.

TE Steve Heiden is expected to start against the Redskins. He missed the first three games because of a sprained right MCL.

CB Daylon McCutcheon has been cleared to practice. He missed the Giants game because of a broken finger.

CB Anthony Henry remains day to day with vertigo. Coach Butch Davis was convinced Henry would play against the Giants, but the conditioned returned.

RB Lee Suggs has been cleared for full practice for the first time since his neck was injured Sept. 1. He expects to play against the Redskins Sunday.

Cincinnati Bengals

QB Carson Palmer said he has not been as sore after a game in a long time. Making his third NFL start, Palmer was sacked four times by the Ravens, hit a handful of other times and took a vicious hit from linebacker Ray Lewis after throwing a pass on a scramble. Lewis drew a 15-yard penalty for roughing the passer.

RB Rudi Johnson has 232 rushing yards 3.4-yard average after three games. The Bengals' featured back was inactive for Games 1-3 in 2003 as he recovered from a quad injury.

RB Kenny Watson has earned Coach Marvin Lewis' praise for his performance as a blocker on third down and for making the most of his opportunities to handle the ball. Watson, playing No. 2 behind Rudi Johnson -- rookie tailback Chris Perry has not played yet -- has 47 rushing yards on seven carries and seven catches for 36 yards and one touchdown.

RB Chris Perry has not played in three games, even though he dressed for the past two games. Perry has not been told why he hasn't played but suspects it's because coaches don't think he has caught on with blocking schemes.

WR Chad Johnson rebounded from his worst game in 2003 -- two catches for 15 yards against the Ravens -- to grab eight passes for 99 yards. It's Johnson's second 99-yard game this season. Johnson got the best of Baltimore cornerback Chris McAlister.

WR Peter Warrick did not catch a pass Sunday, breaking his streak of 64 consecutive games with a reception. Warrick is downgraded to doubtful for the Steelers on Sunday because of a shin injury.

WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh is probable with a rib injury following a 116-yard day, a career best.

TE Matt Schobel had three catches for 28 yards and is clearly the team's top receiving tight end, ahead of Tony Stewart and Reggie Kelly, each of whom have two receptions this season.

K Shayne Graham was 3 of 3 on field goal attempts against Baltimore. He is 7 of 8 and leads the team with 25 points. The team has scored 49.

LB Adrian Ross, who had a workout with Cincinnati this week, apparently will not be re-signed by the team.

CB Rashad Bauman will likely see more action after replacing Tory James in the second half against Baltimore. Bauman is much more of a sure tackler than James.

LB Kevin Hardy had one tackle against the Ravens on the press box stats. After reviewing game film, coaches took it away, leaving with Hardy with no tackles against Baltimore. He is the starter at strong-side.

QB Jon Kitna politely declined to talk about the possibility of his taking Carson Palmer's place as starting quarterback. Kitna supports Palmer 100 percent and has said if he plays again for the Bengals it's because of two bad incidents have happened: Palmer is hurt or Palmer plays poorly.

LB Caleb Miller will likely get his second NFL start, his first in the middle, in Game 4 at Pittsburgh. Starter Nate Webster is likely out for the season after having surgery on his patella tendon Monday. Coach Marvin Lewis said the Bengals are likely to place Webster on IR this week.

Pittsburgh Steelers

LB Kendrell Bell, who has not been on the field since the first exhibition game, is listed as questionable again for the fourth game of the season. He has a groin injury.

WR Hines Ward caught nine passes for 96 yards and the game's only touchdown in a torrential rain and muck in Miami after hurricane Jeanne Sunday night. Ward now has 22 receptions for a share of the lead with Marvin Harrison in the AFC. Ward leads the conference with 346 yards, just two yards behind Isaac Bruce for the NFL lead.

Ward is in step to break his own 2002 team record of 112 catches; he's on a pace to have 117 receptions. He's on pace for 1,845 yards, or 447 more than Yancey Thigpen's 1997 team record of 1,398. He's topped the previous team record of 85 each of the past three years and is well on his way toward a fourth.

RB Duce Staley's average per carry finally reached 4.0 after three games, thanks to his 101 yards on 22 carries against the Miami Dolphins.

RB Verron Haynes may have earned more playing time with his performance against the Dolphins.

WR Plaxico Burress is second on the team in receiving, yet he has only five receptions for 103 yards and no touchdowns.

WR Antwaan Randle El has five catches, but only for 47 yards. El also has not lined up at quarterback yet this season, something former coordinator Mike Mularkey had him do quite often.

TE Jay Riemersma did not catch a pass Sunday and leads all Steelers tight ends with two receptions for 22 yards.

K Jeff Reed made only 2 of 4 field goals against Miami and despite the poor field conditions and the fact he made one from 51 yards, Reed needs to be "more consistent," according to coach Bill Cowher.

LB Joey Porter finally came alive. He led the team with seven tackles and had his first sack, and drew praise from coach Bill Cowher on Monday for having his best game of the season.

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