Former 'Cane faces Bucs (Phillip Buchanon)

Phillip Buchanon admitted to having perhaps his worst of four NFL seasons last year, his first with the Houston Texans.

Now the former University of Miami cornerback has set a goal to be even better than in 2003, when he averaged 13.6 yards per punt return, had six interceptions, 40 tackles and four touchdowns for the Oakland Raiders.

At 8 tonight, Buchanon and Houston will face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the final preseason game for both teams.

"Last season was one of the worst seasons for me playing in the situation that I was in," Buchanon said during training camp. "Unfortunately it happened, but it's part of life.

Can rookie Jennings play way into starting DB spot?

KIRKLAND - Try as they may, Seneca Wallace and Maurice Morris have very little to prove tonight.

D.D. Lewis, Niko Koutouvides and Jordan Babineaux feel the same way.

In fact, almost all of the players who will suit up for the Seattle Seahawks in tonight's preseason finale against Oakland have absolutely no chance of playing their way into, or out of, a starting spot.

Ken Dorsey Update

QB Ken Dorsey. Dorsey is the most experienced QB in camp, but he has had some bad experiences. He was 2-8 as a 49ers starter, with a weak 63.7 rating. He has lit a couple of fires this preseason, but has just a 59.0 rating. If the Browns become convinced that Derek Anderson isn’t too slow and gangly, his preseason pizzazz could make him the backup to Charlie Frye.

Rolle Update

CB Antrel Rolle, the team's 2005 first-round pick who missed most of his rookie year to a knee injury, is coming back strong. He had an interception to set up a touchdown in a preseason game at Chicago. Rolle said later he thought the Bears were testing him.

Rolle impressing in his return to game action

Cornerback Antrel Rolle had most of his rookie season wiped out by a knee injury, but he has shown no signs of hesitancy during the Cardinals’ first three preseason games.

Rolle is coming off his best game of the preseason in the team’s win over the Bears. He recorded five solo tackles and made up for a questionable pass interference call with an interception of quarterback Rex Grossman.

“I knew I would be OK,” he said. “I tested my knee some before I was able to get back on the field. When I went back out there I was full go.”

It was Rolle’s physical nature that led the Cardinals to draft him with the eighth overall pick in the 2005 draft. His five tackles against the Bears and four solo stops a week earlier against the Patriots indicated he has lost none of his tenacity.

Brock Berlin Cut By Dolphins

Berlin was part of the 14 players cut from the Miami Dolphins on Tuesday.


McDougle Update

Eagles defensive tackle Darwin Walker and end Jerome McDougle also returned to practice on a limited basis after being sidelined the past couple of weeks with broken ribs.

"It felt good, it’s another step," said McDougle adding that he wants to play in the preseason finale Friday against the New York Jets.


Bryant McKinnie Update

Left tackle Bryant McKinnie will wear a small wrap on his injured left hand Thursday. That is a big improvement from earlier in the preseason when he was forced to wear a club-like device to protect the injury. McKinnie, who suffered a fracture around his middle finger in a training-camp practice, plans to play without any wrap on his hand during the season opener at Washington.

Pat Burrell Update

Burrell invoked his no-trade clause when the Phillies had a deal to send him to Baltimore for Rodrigo Lopez,

Butler still work in progress

He walked off the practice field Monday morning carrying the helmets of some of the veteran offensive linemen. This is Rashad Butler's role these days, and it's a far cry from when he was a star offensive tackle for the Miami Hurricanes.

"I love the role right now," said Butler, a rookie reserve for the Carolina Panthers. "But, eventually, I'm going to be ready to step out of that role and into another role."

A third-round draft pick in April, Butler is stuck behind
Travelle Wharton and Jordan Gross, who are firmly entrenched as the starters for this season. If one of them were to get injured in the near future, Todd Fordham likely would be the fill-in for the short term.

But the Panthers didn't draft Butler for the short term. It was well-known around the league at the draft that Butler might be a bit of a project. The consensus among scouts is that the 6-foot-4, 305-pounder needs to bulk up before he's ready to handle the NFL's elite pass rushers.

Martin Bibla Update

Martin Bibla was cut from the Denver Broncos.

Walker, McDougle are back in action

Eagles defensive tackle Darwin Walker and defensive end Jerome McDougle returned to the practice field yesterday after being sidelined by rib injuries. Both said they hoped to play Sept. 10 in the regular-season opener in Houston against the Texans.
Walker had been sidelined since suffering a fractured rib Aug. 8 in practice. McDougle suffered a rib injury during a live scrimmage Aug. 12. He tried to return the next day but left the field after a brief period. It was later revealed that he had two broken ribs.

Sinorice Moss Update

Second-round wide receiver Sinorice Moss took yet another step backward in his recovery from a thigh strain. As training camp broke, Coughlin thought Moss might get clearance to return to practice today. But his inability to put together consecutive sprint workouts without severe pain led the medical staff to hold him back. "I've probably told you we expected him back at practice four times this (summer)," Coughlin said. "It just hasn't been the case. At this point, I'm pretty much just going to wait until he's out there." Asked if he's resigned himself to not having Moss for the opener, Coughlin said, "I'm not giving up anything."

Portis Update

Meanwhile, injured running back Clinton Portis continues to make progress in his rehabilitation from a partially dislocated left shoulder. Portis ran sprints during practice yesterday, and Bubba Tyer, the team's director of sports medicine, said he likes what he has seen.
Will Portis be back for the season opener Sept. 11 against the Minnesota Vikings?
"It's two weeks from tonight," Tyer said. "We've got a shot at it."

Dan Morgan Update

MLB Dan Morgan missed Carolina's third preseason game because he was suffering from a "minor head injury." While the Panthers aren't officially calling it a concussion, our sources tell us to keep a close eye on the situation because of Morgan's injury history. Morgan, the Panthers' most indispensable linebacker, has suffered multiple concussions in his five-year career and has never stayed healthy for all 16 games in the regular season.

Packers: McCarthy putting the heat on oft-injured Davenport to play

GREEN BAY - Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy sent a not-so-subtle message to oft-injured No. 2 running back Najeh Davenport on Thursday: Get back to practice or you might not be here.

Davenport missed his second straight day of practice Thursday after dropping out of Tuesday night's workout with a strained hip flexor. The fifth-year running back also missed six practices earlier in camp with a calf injury.

When asked whether Davenport will play in Monday night's exhibition game at Cincinnati, McCarthy replied, "Player injuries I really can't control. Obviously, you want to see him out there. He's competing for a roster spot.

"Am I concerned? I'm concerned about what's best for our football team. We like the things Najeh has done, but he needs to get out there and play and make our football team just like everybody else."

Kenard Lang Update

Lang was signed as a free agent this offseason after Cleveland cut him in a salary cap purge. He became the fifth member of the "Browncos," joining Brown, Warren, Ekuban and Myers as former Browns in Denver. He's moved back to his natural position after switching from defensive end to linebacker last season. Now, he's glad Cleveland's in his rearview mirror and he's eager to put Denver's D-line on the map. "Every team that I've been on, the defensive line has been the dominant group," said Lang, a 10th-year pro out of the University of Miami. "When you take pride in your group, you want your group to be the best. That's what our D-line is trying to do. Everybody talks about how good the linebackers are and the secondary, but you all rarely talk about the D-line here, right?" He's out to change that.

Wilfork learns how to get better

In his two seasons as a starting nose tackle with the New England Patriots, Vince Wilfork has known nothing but success.

The 24-year-old from Miami started as a rookie on the Super Bowl XXXIX title team and last season led all Patriots defensive linemen in tackles and was second on the team overall. With such a positive career path, you'd think Wilfork could rest on his laurels a bit and be happy.

Hawk Notes: Same position, different challenges (Kelly Jennings)

CHENEY — They share both a first name and a position, but Kelly Herndon and Kelly Jennings have different challenges in the eyes of coach Mike Holmgren.
"One is very inexperienced," Holmgren said, "and one has to be a little more consistent."

Darrel McClover Update

"Special teams can win games, defense can win games. That's just the way it is in the NFL," said Darrell McClover, who showed how when he returned his own blocked punt 26 yards for the Jets' only score. Suddenly, a certain defeat had become a potential stolen victory with the deficit sliced to 13-7 and more than five minutes to play.
McClover is the first Jet to return his own blocked punt for a TD in any game since Chris Burkett did it against Miami in the 1991 regular season.

Changed Wilfork leads 'D'

FOXBORO - Vince Wilfork describes himself as a "hands-on guy," which is a much more beneficial approach for a chiropractor than a nose tackle.

Wilfork's aggressiveness actually limited his production during the first half of the 2005 season. He lined up too close to the ball at the line of scrimmage, therefore he couldn't properly read plays before the snap.

An intervention by Patriots head coach Bill Belichick in October helped Wilfork correct his mistakes. After the 6-foot-2 nose tackle modified his technique, the Patriots rose from 25th in run defense to seventh by the end of the season and won six of their final eight games to clinch their third consecutive division title.

"I was too aggressive," Wilfork said Wednesday. "My mindset was totally different from the last part of the season. I went into the season saying, 'I want to be dominant. I want to just push people over.' I definitely had the capability of doing it, but they didn't allow me to. A lot of centers snatched me down or jumped out of my way, so they used my strategy against me.

Nose tackle plays big role in defense

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) -- You won't hear Vince Wilfork's name mentioned often in talk about the Patriots top defensive players.
But the third-year nose tackle has emerged as a consistent performer.
Wilfork started just six games as a rookie in 2004 after being drafted with the 21
st pick out of Miami.