– Despite the obnoxious secrecy games and three card Monty being played with the injury report, it appears that Laurence Maroney will return to action this week. If he does play, you’ll want to be sure to start him against one of the worst rushing defenses in football. As always, though, when you own a Belichick player be sure to check the news on Sunday morning.
– Anquan Boldin returned to full practice Wednesday and is set to resume his usual starting role this week. You have to start him, but it’s not a fantastic situation with Tim “Turn Away from the TV” Rattay behind center and the Redskins defense likely forgoing their Saturday meal to save room for the main course on Sunday.
– Speaking of Cardinals quarterbacks, as ugly as it looked Kurt Warner is not expected to miss more than a week. He could even see some playing time against Washington if things get especially bad, or if Rattay somehow keeps them in the game and Ken Whisenhunt thinks Warner can push the offense over the hump.
**UPDATE** NFL Network’s Adam Schefter is now reporting that Warner is probable to start. Praise the Lawd!
– In other Bird-related quarterback news, Falcons HC Bobby Petrino has made the switch from Joey Harrington to Byron Leftwich and says the move is permanent. It’s the right call–this offense has been stuck in neutral for what feels like a century, and while he seems like a nice enough guy, Harrington is not and never has been starting material in the NFL. Now if Petrino could only wipe away the rest of the crust in his eyes and bench Warrick Dunn, who looks awful out there, in favor of the much more explosive Jerious Norwood, we’d pat him on the back with even more fervor.
– Trent Dilfer, we hardly knew ye. While ETB was looking forward to cracks about Dilfer’s pot belly and affinity for cream-filled anythings throughout the season, it looks like incumbent starter Alex Smith will return to the starting lineup this week against the Giants, barring any setback. The tight end whose nuts we were most riding in the preseason, Vernon Davis, is also set to go after sitting out a few weeks with a banged-up knee. Wait a week on both before thinking of starting them.
**UPDATE** It now appears Dilfer will get another start. Expect something like 350 yards passing, 6 TDs, and 0 INTS.
– Andre Johnson could play sparingly this week, but don’t be tempted to start him yet. The stud WR just started running a week ago and won’t get enough snaps to make him a better option than his two counterparts, Kevin Walters and Andre’ Davis. By the way, don’t start Walters either.
– After a few weeks off with swelling in his surgically repaired knee Javon Walker could play this weekend, but he’s going to be very limited and it’s a terrible matchup. Don’t start him unless you’re in dire need. If Walker posts decent stats, it may be time to sell high on a name brand. The knee is going to be a concern all season, Jay Cutler hasn’t taken the strides we expected he would, and Brandon Marshall has emerged as the clear go-to guy in the redzone.
**UPDATE** The Denver Post reports Walker will have arthroscopic knee surgery on his right knee and will be out for at least four weeks. Up to you whether to drop him or not; we can’t see a full recovery this season.
– Mercifully, the JP Losman era is over in Buffalo. Trent Edwards will get the call this week despite Losman being healthy. This is good news for Bills fans, but perhaps bad news for Lee Evans owners. Edwards has displayed remarkable poise for a rookie and has a much brighter future than Losman, but he’s more conservative and doesn’t figure to connect with Evans on any 200-yard, 3-TD days anytime soon.
– Despite having one of the most prolific offenses in football, the Bengals backfield is a mess. It’s so bad that they’re playing the hapless Jets defense this week and we want no part of their running game. Chris Perry has returned to practice, Rudi Johnson may or may not have a serious hamstring injury, and either way Kenny Watson has clearly been their best RB this season.
– Every sports site out there has addressed this one, so we feel obligated to throw our hat into the ring as well. The Chris Chambers trade really doesn’t do much for us, but we see it like this: 1) Chambers will see far fewer looks, but he’ll have a far better QB and be in a far better offense (one that he already knows) so his value remains pretty much the same– likely fewer receptions, but more opportunities for TDs; 2) Antonio Gates is still the best TE on the planet, but may have 1-3 fewer total TDs this year; 3) Vincent Jackson’s stock goes down, but he’s still a great redzone option and a fine start versus weak secondaries; and 4) Miami has gone into rebuilding mode, and will be leaning on Ronnie Brown even more– but opposing defenses will be focusing on him as well.
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