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ESPN Insider Peep Show October 17th


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Peep Show

By Darrell Trimble

ESPN Insider


StrahanNew York Giants: With CB Will Peterson possibly shelved for the season with a fractured vertebrae, the Giants need someone on defense to elevate their level of play. That someone could be DE Michael Strahan, who missed the entire preseason because he broke his pinkie to not once, but twice, and was criticized for getting off to a slow start last month. But he benefited greatly from the team's bye week, and since then has three sacks in his last two games. "I feel better than even last year's Michael," Strahan told the Newark Star-Ledger. "I feel good. Oh man, it was phenomenal. Just to have that week off, not putting the stress and pressure on it definitely helped me feel better. When I came back that next week, I felt fine. Ever since then, it's gotten better every week. It's to the point now where I don't even think about it and I've even taken off a lot of the stuff that I do to protect it."

New York Jets: DT Josh Evans, who is currently serving a suspension for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy, could be available to play as soon as Nov. 9 against Oakland. The New York Times reports the Jets could know by the end of the month if the league will reinstate the repeat offender. Evans was the team's best interior lineman last year and his presence would be a welcomed addition to a defensive line that finally looks like it might be playing up to its potential.

Washington Redskins: G Dave Fiore is scheduled to undergo arthroscopic surgery today on his right knee. Fiore said he hopes to return to the Redskins' lineup for their Nov. 2 game at Dallas. "We're trying to make it a situation where it's a little more functional and I can play in a couple weeks," Fiore told the Washington Post. "There's been a lot of deliberation over this, a lot of different discussions. It was really a close call over whether to wait it out and try other medications or get the 'scope. But if we waited and the medication didn't work and I had to have the 'scope three weeks from now, we would have been that much further down the road." Because the Redskins have a bye next week, Fiore could miss only one game before returning.

Minnesota Vikings: The prospect of RB Michael Bennett coming back to play this year got a boost Thursday when Bennett, who began running last week, added full-speed change-of-direction drills to his workouts. "There's no pain, so the biggest thing for me is the mental side of it now," Bennett told the Minneapolis Star Tribune. "I just have to get the confidence to convince myself that [the foot] is OK and that it's not going to get hurt again." Bennett could begin participating in parts of practice as early as next week, and he has targeted the Nov. 2 game against the Green Bay Packers for his return. "If I don't have any setbacks," Bennett said, "I'll be on the field for that game."

Denver Broncos: Though Denver is tied for second in total defense and tied for third in sacks, they were hoping to get even better when DT Daryl Gardener rejoined the lineup. Gardener after suffered ligament damage to his wrist in the offseason and on Thursday it became evident that he won't be close to 100 percent at all this year. "I'm striving and I'm shooting for this year," Gardener told the Denver Post, referring to when he'll be all the way back. "But to be 100 percent in terms of using my hand, it's next year. Because it's a physical game and you use your hands a lot. Being that my right hand is not the same as my left, it's going to be tough." He was credited with two tackles in his Denver debut against the Pittsburgh Steelers, but defensive coordinator Larry Coyer said he could tell a difference between the Gardener he studied on videotape last offseason and the one he has coached this season. "You see that he won't use that hand - not consistently," Coyer said. "But he's better than he was. He's improving. I'm sorry to hear him say (he will not be back to full strength this year), but a man's got to heal. We're working hard to help him with that situation."

ParrellaOakland Raiders: DT John Parrella disclosed Thursday that he tore his groin muscle off the bone while chasing down Chicago Bears quarterback Kordell Stewart on Oct. 5. He is listed as doubtful for Monday night's game against the Kansas City Chiefs. "It was kind of a fluke deal," Parrella told the Contra Costa Times. It remains to be seen how long the injury will sideline him, but Parrella insists his recovery time is half that of others. "As soon as the scar (heals) over," Parrella said, "I'm ready to roll. If I can play Monday night and not have a risk of more injury to that area, then I'll play."

New Orleans Saints: Perhaps no team in the NFL has dropped more passes than the Saints have this season, and the problem still lingers. Offensive coordinator Mike McCarthy said he has addressed the issue with his receivers. "It's not an inordinate number of drops, but they seem to be coming at inopportune times," McCarthy told the New Orleans Times-Picayune. "The bottom line in our business is, when you're 2-4, everything becomes magnified. Frankly, I think guys are thinking about dropping a ball instead of thinking about catching it. We don't have guys who have bad hands. I would not classify any one of our perimeter people as having bad hands." QB Aaron Brooks added: "We got great receivers. I know our receivers will bounce back from this. There's nothing I can do. That's something they have to fix. I can only keep my confidence in them, keep throwing the ball as much as I can, play my game and make sure I don't come out of my game."

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