Week Five NFL Insider

Scout.com's Adam Caplan breaks down several interesting situations and developments around the league in this week's version of the NFL insider.

Cincinnati Bengals - First-round pick WLB Keith Rivers has done a decent job so far but he hasn't provided a noticeable impact for their defense.

It's possible that Rivers' role will increase as the season progresses, but a team source notes Cincinnati didn't have the former USC linebacker as their first player on their draft board.

The source notes Cincinnati had targeted Glenn Dorsey first and then Sedrick Ellis second. They were looking for an impact player to be added to their front four who could come in and play right away. Since that didn't happen, the source adds to look for the team to target a defensive tackle high in next year's draft.

Dallas Cowboys - Amid the latest complaints from Terrell Owens not getting the ball enough in the passing game last week, a league source notes that Owens was shut down for the most part by CB Shawn Springs, who was physical with the star receiver.

Apparently, Washington tried to get a jam on Owens within the allotted five yards by the rules and that threw Owens off his route on several plays.

Should Owens' complaining continue the rest of the season, Dallas could always decide not to pick up his $3.1 roster bonus which is believed to be due in March.

Detroit Lions - According to a league source, it shouldn't be any surprise that rookie RB Kevin Smith has lost the starting to veteran Rudi Johnson. The source notes that Smith looks slow and sluggish and somewhat robotic in his movements. While it's possible Smith gets involved again in the running game, don't be surprised if the team selects another running back high in next year's draft. The team clearly lacks badly needed speed at the position.

Jacksonville Jaguars - A league source notes that Charles Spencer could wind up being the swing tackle (first backup at RT and LT) soon. Spencer has been working his way back into shape during practice since the team signed him back on September 4. Spencer has been  a weekly inactive but that could change since the team doesn't have a true backup at right or left tackle.

Jacksonville was the only team to offer a Spencer an active roster spot instead of a practice squad contract after he was released by the Carolina Panthers.

The New York Giants and San Francisco 49ers wanted to work Spencer out prior to his signing with Jacksonville. Both teams only would give Spencer a shot to be on their practice squad so he chose to sign with the Jaguars. The New England Patriots, Cleveland Browns, and Miami Dolphins also showed interest in the former third-round pick of the Houston Texans.

Spencer still had practice squad eligibility left because he had only spent two games on Houston's active roster in his rookie season. He spent all of last season on injured reserve.

In a related note, the team hasn't had any recent contract discussions with LT Khalif Barnes. A league source notes the former second-round pick met certain playing time parameters which enabled him to void the final season (2009) of his original five-year rookie deal.

Kansas City Chiefs - First-round pick Glenn Dorsey is starting to perform at a higher level than he did in his first few games. A league source notes that Dorsey is starting to show a much better burst at the point of attack. Dorsey still isn't quite where he needs to be but the source notes he's getting there.

Another league source notes the first of their two first-round picks can void the final year of his contract if he plays in just 35% of the offensive snaps in any of the first five years of his six year deal and if he remains on the roster for 12 days after the 2012 season ends.

Miami Dolphins - A team source notes the defensive coaching staff is elated with the play from rookies Phillip Merling and Kendall Langford.

Merling, who fell out of the first round likely because of surgery for a sports hernia which was done early in 2008, has started two out of Miami's first three games at RDE.

Langford, a third-round pick, has started all three games. A league source notes that the coaching staff sees him in talent like Jay Ratliff of the Dallas Cowboys. Like Ratliff, they believe he has the growth potential to go over 300 pounds.

Minnesota Vikings - According to a league source, the front office hasn't had any contract discussions with starting C Matt Birk for over a year and no discussions are on the horizon.

Birk is carrying a base salary of $5.32 million for this season (his contract will expire in March) with a cap value of just over $6 million.

It's believed the former sixth-round pick out of Harvard University wants to play about three more seasons.

New York Jets - How bad has it gotten for first-round pick Vernon Gholston?

The former Ohio St. University Buckeye did not have a tackle in his first two games and according to a league source, he looks "lost" and "doesn't know where to go."

The problem, the source notes, is Ghoston lined up in college mostly with his hand down and he's having problems adjusting to playing standing up at the next level.

Philadelphia Eagles - While he has yet to appear in a game, a team source notes rookie DE Bryan Smith is making good progress.

Smith, a third-round pick, continues to practice well with the scout team and the source notes he could challenge LDE Juqua Parker next year for playing time.

What also has been noticeable, the source notes, is that Smith has been able to put on at least 10 pounds of muscle since he was drafted.

Pittsburgh Steelers - While many believe contract discussions ceased many weeks ago between the team and LT Marvel Smith, a league source said both sides talked until right before the first game of the regular season. In fact, the source adds both sides could resume discussions again before the season ends.

The source also notes that the team had contract discussions with RT Willie Colon back in August but nothing was close to getting done. Colon is set to become a restricted free agent in 2009.

St. Louis Rams - One of the reasons why former head coach Scott Linehan decided to bench QB Marc Bulger two weeks ago was possibly because Linehan didn't want Bulger in the first place.

A league source believes Linehan wanted the team to select QB Jay Cutler back in the 2006 draft. However, Linehan's move got rebuffed by the front office and the team traded down four spots with the Denver Broncos, who wound up selecting Cutler with the 11th overall pick overall. St. Louis wound up selecting CB Tye Hill.

Tennessee Titans - According to a league source, the team is looking to extend the contract of TE Bo Scaife.

Both sides have been discussing an extension that but the team has issues with paying Scaife more per season than veteran TE Alge Crumpler.

The source notes Crumpler signed a two-year deal that averages about $2.4 million per season.


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