Briefs also include NFL whispers on the Bengals, Buccaneers, 49ers, and fantasy buzz.
The Way We Hear It: Bigger not necessarily better for Cowboys’ offensive line
Pound for pound, inch for inch, the Cowboys might have the biggest offensive line in football. But what they have not been this season is the best — in fact, far from it. There are myriad factors for why WR Terrell Owens and others have not flourished and why the run game has ground to a halt, but OL play is a big culprit. “They look slow on tape,” said one NFC personnel man who recently watched tape of the Cowboys. “They aren’t turning their hips very well and aren’t adjusting to speed rushers and counter moves. They can be had on a good (pass) rush.” Dallas’ size has held up well against bigger fronts, such as the Browns’ in Week One, but since then, quicker D-lines have given them trouble. Left guard has been a revolving door because of injuries, and OLT Flozell Adams is starting to show his age. And, after strong starts, ORG Leonard Davis and ORT Marc Colombo have leveled off, especially Colombo.
BENGALS: RB Chris Perry hasn’t carried the ball in the last three games after being passed by Cedric Benson on the depth chart. Head coach Marvin Lewis has said that Perry remains in the Bengals’ game plan, but it appears he could struggle to get much work down the stretch, especially if Benson (24 carries, 104 yards, one TD in Week Nine) plays well. Perry could help his cause by improving in pass protection, according to a source close to the club.
BUCCANEERS: Sources in Tampa don’t expect Bucs FS Tanard Jackson to be affected much by the loss of SS Jermaine Phillips, who suffered a broken forearm in Week Eight and could be done for the season. Jackson won’t have the comfort of knowing he has a reliable cushion behind him in Phillips, but the second-year player has a high level of confidence and stays cool under pressure. He’ll be playing alongside the new starter, Sabby Piscitelli, another second-year player, who has limited NFL experience.
49ERS: Word is 49ers interim head coach Mike Singletary is eager to get some playing time for LB Ahmad Brooks, whom the team claimed off waivers at the end of August after cutting LB Dontarrious Thomas. Brooks, who had his moments as a middle linebacker with the Bengals (he was Cincy’s third-round pick in the 2006 supplemental draft), has been inactive since the Niners obtained him.
The Fantasy Buzz
Falcons RB Michael Turner continues to abuse poor run defenses while falling short against good ones. He now has had big days versus the Lions, Chiefs, Packers and Raiders, but he hasn’t run for any TDs or more than 58 yards when his opponents featured stout defenses. The bottom line here: Start Turner each week, but only expect big numbers in very favorable matchups.
With Texans QB Matt Schaub out for at least a month with a torn MCL, all his owners — and anyone in need of a QB, for that matter — should be sure to pick up Sage Rosenfels. The Texans’ backup QB has proven to be very capable when called upon to start; all you need to do is look at his stellar 2007 numbers. The drop-off from the No. 1 QB to the No. 2 in Houston is minimal.
Coming off yet another solid effort, rushing for 117 yards and a TD against the Cowboys, Giants RB Brandon Jacobs’ value continues to rise. The powerful back now has 680 yards and seven scores on the season, but things are about to get a whole lot tougher. Beginning this week with Philly, the Giants do not face another soft run defense for the remainder of ’08. Plus, given Jacobs’ past injuries, it’s a bit of a surprise that he has stayed healthy this deep into the season. It will be nearly impossible for him to maintain this level of play, so get as much as you can for him now.
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