NFL Pre-Game Notes: Week Three

Rushing the ball is an essential part of the game that has been forgotten in certain cities across the NFL and each of those teams would like to establish the ground attack early on this week.

Atlanta Falcons

The coaching staff would like to get the ball down field more to second-year WR Michael Jenkins and rookie WR Roddy White. If QB Michael Vick's injured hamstring doesn't limit him in Sunday's game at Buffalo, look for them to take their shots down field to the two young players.

Buffalo Bills

Look for a stronger commitment to the running game in Sunday's matchup against Atlanta. On film, Seattle ran well to the perimeter against Atlanta last week so look for Bills to attack the edges.

Cleveland Browns

Ten-year veteran DE Orpheus Roye is off to a fast start in 2005. Despite playing with a sore knee, Roye has been very active and has 15 total tackles and a sack. Roye is a very good fit for the 3-4 scheme which is why the team decided to bring him back for another season.

Dallas Cowboys

The coaching staff is down on veteran RB Anthony Thomas so look for rookie RB Marion Barber to be active for Sunday's game at San Francisco. Thomas hasn't run well in any of their first two games and could wind up being released or traded.

Houston Texans

Look for a renewed commitment to the running game under new offensive coordinator Joe Pendry when the team returns from their bye next week. Pendry is an old school playcaller who likes to set up his offense with a solid rushing attack. This will be quite a change from former pass happy offensive coordinator Chris Palmer.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Second-round pick OT Khalif Barnes saw extensive practice time this week at left tackle in place of Ephraim Salaam and is expected to be active for the first time this season. It's not out of the question that he starts Sunday's game at the New York Jets or rotates in with him.

Minnesota Vikings

Most close to the team say if head coach Mike Tice is fired, the most viable candidate to replace him is defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell, whom the players are very fond of. Cottrell lost out on the San Francisco head-coaching job to Dennis Erickson.

Oakland Raiders

Look for the coaching staff to come out and try to establish their rushing attack early in Sunday's game at Philadelphia. The team believes that the way to beat the Eagles is to pound the football at them and run with a physical, tough style. The Eagles' one weakness on defense is stopping the run and the Raiders have a good, physical runner in LaMont Jordan.

The coaching staff is very pleased with the play so far with rookie LB Kirk Morrison who was selected in the third round. Morrison had a terrific training camp and has supplanted veteran LB Tim Johnson for a starting job inside.

Philadelphia Eagles

If RB Brian Westbrook's bruised knee, which he suffered in last week's game, is an issue, look for rookie RB Ryan Moats to be active for Sunday's game against Oakland. Moats has been inactive the first two games. If Moats were inactive, then if would be assumed that the team isn't worried about Westbrook's injury.

San Francisco 49ers

Second-year WR Rashaun Woods still has not impressed the coaching staff enough to be active on game day. Woods has been one of the team's eight inactives in each of their first two games. What makes matters worse is undrafted free agent WR Otis Amey is ahead of him on the depth chart. It makes you wonder if the team has totally given up on Woods.

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