Cincinnati Bengals – One of the more surprising stories is the progression of rookie LB Rashad Jeanty. The former CFL refugee not only won a job on the final roster, he started last week's game against Kansas City on the strong side in place of oft injured LB David Pollack. A team source said Jeanty was one of the best players on the field on either side of the ball during training camp practices.
Detroit Lions – Look for veteran WR Az-Zahir Hakim to see time in the slot once he's in game shape. Hakim was one of the better slot receivers in the league at one time under then St. Louis Rams head coach Mike Martz who is now Detroit's offensive coordinator. Hakim works very well in space and has a knack for finding open spaces in zone defenses.
New England Patriots – The club was one of the two teams trying to acquire WR Donte' Stallworth but lost out to the Philadelphia Eagles. A league source indicated that Philadelphia won out because they had a linebacker to throw into the deal to the linebacker poor Saints. New England is very light on depth at linebacker due to the wrist injury to ILB Tedy Bruschi.
New Orleans Saints – One of the brighter stories for the club this year has been the play of seventh-round pick WR Marques Colston. One of the biggest reasons why he fell so far in the draft was many teams saw him as a "tweener" meaning they weren't sure if he should play tight end or receiver. One of the reasons why the club traded WR Donte' Stallworth was because of Colston's solid training camp and preseason game performances.
New York Giants – One of the biggest reasons why the coaching staff has shown confidence in second-year RB Brandon Jacobs is because he's learned to get pad level lower. Jacobs knows that he just can't get by with his large size any more like he did in college. A league source who has watched the coaches' tape from the pre-season and last week's game said it's very noticeable on film that he's learned to run with his pad level lower.
Philadelphia Eagles – The next few games could be very important for fourth-year CB Roderick Hood who is set to start for injured CB Lito Sheppard. Hood will become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season unless the club signs him to a new deal.
League insiders believe Hood is good enough to start for over half of the league's teams.
Seattle Seahawks – The acquisition of WR Deion Branch has drawn many a curious eye around the league for one big reason. The club now has three receivers being paid big money. Some wonder if WR Darrell Jackson, who is coming off his second knee surgery in less than 12 months, will be a candidate for a contract restructuring. Jackson signed a six-year, $25 million contract with a $8 million signing bonus back in March of 2004.