Dockett has stood out most for Cardinals
Posted Oct. 03, 2009 @ 10:10 a.m.
By PFW staff
• So who has been the best Cardinals player so far this season? "Larry Fitzgerald is still great," said one veteran daily team observer. "But I've got to go with (DT) Darnell Dockett. He has played really well. He wasn't himself against the Colts (in Week Three) after spraining his ankle early in the game. But he has caused trouble for everybody he's gone up against. He's been very consistent and hasn't missed a practice."
• Jim Mora turned some heads Week Three with his harsh criticism of PK Olindo Mare following Mare's two missed field goals in the Seahawks' 25-19 loss to the Bears. We're hearing that despite Mora saying he regrets publicly calling out Mare, it might have been a calculated move to show his players that if a team captain and veteran like Mare can be targeted then everyone needs to step up their level of play.
• OLT Brandon Frye is quickly earning the trust of his Seahawks teammates and the coaching staff. After just three weeks on the job, third-stringer Frye filled in admirably in Week Three despite playing most of the game with an injured groin. Seattle was out of options because OTs Walter Jones and Sean Locklear did not dress and OLG Rob Sims, the next option at the OLT spot, went to the sideline with a strained oblique. When asked if he could play with the injury, Frye responded, "Tape it up and go."
• We're told the Rams believe they should be able to weather the storm sufficiently at strong safety with Craig Dahl replacing the injured James Butler (left knee, out 2-4 weeks). "Very solid," Rams head coach Steve Spagnuolo said of the job Dahl did replacing Butler in the Week Three loss to the Packers (team-high seven tackles). "It was kind of nice to know that you could put a guy in there with limited reps."
• Rams head coach Steve Spagnuolo continues to rave about the leadership role that RB Steven Jackson has taken on. "I have seen nothing but great things," Spagnuolo said. "And I am going to tell you what, his greatness in that regard, is shining right now when it is not the best of times, and the results haven't been what we want."
• Our Niners insiders couldn't help but notice the off game OLT Joe Staley had in the Week Three loss to the Vikings matched up against DRE Jared Allen. "I was surprised because Staley has been so good for a while now. Allen just killed him; he was just too quick. It might have been more a matter of Allen being really good." It's also possible the injured quad that limited Staley's practice time this week might have been hindering him.
• Cowboys ILB Keith Brooking on the progress of rookie OLB Victor Butler
, who is making the transition from college defensive end but who flashed with a two-sack performance against the Panthers in Week Three: "You saw the athletic ability immediately when he first came here. He kind of went through that learning curve in the preseason and the first couple of games of the season. But he got that chance against an offense that had been on the field all game, and he comes in there fresh and makes the most of the opportunity."
• The Eagles are working with rookie RB LeSean McCoy on holding the ball closer to his body to prevent fumbling. So far, he has made progress, though head coach Andy Reid said there were a few occasions in Week Three where McCoy got a little sloppy and allowed the ball to get off his body. Still, the team likes his progress in this area and expects him to play a significant role as the season goes on, allowing chronically injured RB Brian Westbrook to rest at times.
• The Giants don't appear to be too concerned about PK Lawrence Tynes' short FG misses this season, from 21 and 29 yards, and believe he should be fine, mainly because Tynes says he's physically OK. He has chalked up his miscues to not using his practice habits on game days, but he plans to revert to this.
• Redskins SS Chris Horton, last year's seventh-round surprise, has been benched for Reed Doughty. But the move appears temporary. Horton has had a few mental miscues, namely in the loss at Detroit, but Greg Blache said he thinks Horton just needs to refocus and get back to basics. Blache also said that Doughty has played well.
• Could Lions rookie LB DeAndre Levy replace injured Ernie Sims, who had started 50 straight games before missing Week Three, as the starter when Sims is healthy? Maybe. Levy had a smashing debut as a starter against the Redskins, including a key goal-line tackle on Redskins RB Clinton Portis, earning praise from head coach Jim Schwartz. Keep an eye on this interesting midseason battle.
• We have seen Vikings S Tyrell Johnson up in the box a lot more lately, hoping to spur a run defense that hasn't quite been itself leading up to Monday's game against the Packers, after leading the NFL statistically the past three seasons. Johnson also is a blitz factor when he's up close to the line of scrimmage, and he has played well in that spot.
• Are there any starters in particular responsible for the apparent lack of cohesiveness on the Bears' offensive line in the early going this season? "Frank Omiyale hasn't impressed anyone," one team insider said a few days before the Bears' Week Four game vs. Detroit. "He almost looks out of position at left guard." We hear the master plan is for Omiyale to eventually replace Chris Williams at right tackle, with Williams taking over at left tackle for Orlando Pace, who is nearing the end of the line.
• While Packers ORT Allen Barbre appears to be making progress, word is the same can't be said for his primary backup at present, second-year pro Breno Giacomini. While team insiders like Giacomini's big body, intelligence and feistiness, they say it's apparent he still has a lot of catching up to do after missing the entire offseason while recovering from ankle surgery.
• The Panthers' Charles Godfrey has the tools necessary to become a quality free safety, but we hear he has not shown the kind of improvement Carolina expected from him this season. Godfrey, a second-year veteran, seems to get caught out of position in coverage too often and his tackling leaves a lot to be desired.
• Sources say the Panthers, who are desperate for help at defensive tackle, were happy to find Hollis Thomas available heading into their bye week. Thomas, a 14th-year veteran, is well beyond his prime, but he's exactly the kind of tackle — a big widebody — that Carolina has been looking for since Maake Kemoeatu suffered a ruptured Achilles during the first practice of training camp. Thomas made two tackles in three games before being released by the Rams on Sept. 29.
• Byron Leftwich was yanked from the Buccaneers' starting lineup and demoted all the way to third on the depth chart, but he's still a team captain and all indications are he took the move in stride. Leftwich is still looked up to by his teammates and will continue to serve as a mentor for developing QBs Josh Johnson, who replaced him in the starting lineup, and Josh Freeman.
• Saints PK John Carney has made his last five field-goal attempts after his first attempt of the season was blocked, but his job could be in jeopardy when Garrett Hartley returns from suspension for violating the league's substance-abuse policy after Week Four. Saints head coach Sean Payton has a difficult decision to make, as Hartley was 13-for-13 on FGs last season.