NFL

CZAR: Too many teams scoff at Brunell

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The continue to deny they are interested in trading quarterback . The say they are fine with , subbing for injured , and Joe Namath seconds their emotion. The don't need Brunell? The say they prefer to Brunell. The Baltimore , who have a defense worthy of the playoffs, continue to deny the inadequacies of and the slow progress of first-round pick . These teams are nuts! Granted, Brunell is no longer a top 10 quarterback, but he still has the arm and brains to give the , and a chance at the postseason. Of course, Brunell would have to come down off his high horse and accept a huge salary reduction from the $6.5 million he's due this season. None of the three needy teams would consider paying him more than $2.5 million. With opening day still a week away, this story will remain hot because the are going nowhere with Brunell. The suspension of star receiver has ensured that. In fact, owner Wayne Weaver should actually consider removing Smith from his roster, too. Yet in America we always give cocaine users a second chance. But Smith is guilty of denying his addiction and then being outrageous enough to hold out last summer until he received a $10 million signing bonus. Weaver has grounds to rid himself of Smith for lying to him, and ultimately taking money from him under false pretenses. But in the NFL, teams would line up to sign Smith once he was released. These two players are huge salary-cap headaches for Jacksonville. The Jags can't win with them, but they are better off without them.

won't run

Last season, with a rookie quarterback much of the season, coach Steve Spurrier still passed the ball on 56 percent of his plays from scrimmage. That total figures to go up this season because Spurrier still doesn't have a strong running back with the release of . His best runner might be , but Spurrier probably will start ex-Rams RB . could evolve into a third-down back, figuring more as a receiver. If Spurrier doesn't start Watson, he pretty much is saying he is thinking pass-pass-pass with . The might be OK on offense, but their defense has been collecting defensive tackles ever since was released. They upped their offer to $900,000 to acquire this week. The will receive a sixth-round pick next April if Dalton plays 45 percent of the snaps. The Dalton deal probably will mean that probably will lose playing time, and the will only collect a seventh-round pick.

look ready

We were counting the out when they lost running back for at least half the season, but they have a nice stable of runners in and rookie and could lead the NFL in rushing once again. Bennett's replacement, , has a bad ankle at the moment, but he should be ready in a couple weeks. Minnesota's offensive line dominated the ' first team last weekend. Meanwhile, quarterback and appear in sync, the two combining for two touchdowns against cornerback . Culpepper seems to have learned to throw the ball away instead of forcing it into double coverage. If he cuts his turnovers in half, Culpepper could lead the to nine wins and a possible playoff spot. They remain questionable on defense, but they are improved and could be the best rookie defensive linemen in the league. With George O'Leary calling the defensive signals, the ' front should make more plays than last season.

Notes and thoughts

  • The will be a huge favorite in the NFC East if they don't trade RB .
  • The really believe that OT will eventually wear out his welcome in St. Louis. But, for now, the have a real good line with back in the lineup.
  • However, there are concerns in St. Louis that they don't have a fullback and a solid tight end.
  • There is a new battle cry to reduce preseason games from four to two games because of the Pennington injury. But the bottom line is that injuries are part of football and owners aren't going to reduce the preseason schedule when they earn regular-season ticket prices for the exhibitions.
  • The are counting on a big season from 37-year-old tight end .
  • The Bucs might have an interest in WR Andre Rison, who still owes the NFL a four-game suspension if he signs.
  • ' DT believes that is overrated and can be outmuscled.
  • The are trying to sign CB to a long-term contract, a good move.
  • Many personnel scouts believe the could give the a run in the West and all give the credit to Ray Rhodes, the new defensive coordinator. Mike Holmgren hasn't had a top coordinator since Fritz Shurmur.
  • Tagged: Bills, Cowboys, Broncos, Lions, Packers, Raiders, Rams, Vikings, Saints, Jets, Eagles, Seahawks, Redskins, Panthers, Jaguars, Ravens, Texans, Antoine Winfield, Charles Woodson, Orlando Pace, Randy Moss, Moe Williams, Michael Bennett, Daunte Culpepper, Martin Chase, Chad Pennington, Duce Staley, Stephen Davis, Mark Brunell, Jimmy Smith, Chris Redman, Lional Dalton, Patrick Ramsey, Kenny Watson, Onterrio Smith

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