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ESPN Insider Peep Show 11-4


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Peep Show

By Darrell Trimble

ESPN Insider


LynchTampa Bay Buccaneers: The team lost backup S Jermaine Phillips Sunday for at least four weeks with a broken right forearm, but there is a silver lining to the team's injury cloud in the secondary. Safety John Lynch, whom Phillips had been replacing, has been upgraded to probable and should be able to play against Carolina this week. But that might be the only good news. Linebacker Ryan Nece is questionable with a sprained ankle, LT Roman Oben missed Sunday's game with a broken hand, and WR Joe Jurevicius suffered a slight setback in practice last week and remains questionable with a knee sprain. And the injuries, as well as the team's 4-4 record, are starting to wear on coach Jon Gruden. "We've got to give Jurevicius a kick in the butt," Gruden told the Tampa Tribune, "and get Lynch back and hopefully Roman Oben and some others to generate a little bit more consistency in terms of executing a master plan, as we had coming into this season."

Jacksonville Jaguars: Though coach Jack Del Rio considered yanking QB Byron Leftwich after he fumbled on consecutive series in the fourth quarter Sunday in Baltimore, he stuck with him. "I was real frustrated when I saw the ball come out on some of the sacks. So I can't pretend that [yanking him] didn't enter my mind," Del Rio told the Florida Times-Union. "In the end, those are just situations where we can be better around him and he can be a little smarter with the way he holds the ball, but I just don't feel it was justified to pull him at that time." That theme will continue this week, as Del Rio said that Leftwich will remain under center for Sunday's game against the Indianapolis Colts and that coaches will work with him on his fumbling problem. "For Byron, what we're going to work on, he has to do a better job of fundamentally protecting the football. He can't allow the ball to get away from his body and put it in a vulnerable position. Those are things that are correctable. What you can't coach is a guy to have that kind of arm, that kind of decision-making. I think the future is awfully bright for him. So I remain encouraged about Byron and about his future."

Detroit Lions: RB Artose Pinner, who was chosen in the fourth round of this year's draft, will begin practicing for the first time Wednesday. Pinner broke his left leg in the Senior Bowl and was put on the non-football injury (NFI) list before training camp began. Beginning Wednesday, the Lions will have three weeks to decide whether to add Pinner to the 53-player active roster or leave him on the injured list, meaning he would not be eligible to play this year. Pinner will be activated, but probably after the full three weeks. The broken bone has healed, but he has had problems with a tight Achilles tendon. The Lions have had trouble with their ineffective ground game, but Pinner won't be expected to contribute too much right away. "We have to decide what he looks like in practice," coach Steve Mariucci told the Detroit News. "We're going to bring him into the action gradually. He's not going to carry the ball 25 times the first game."

Washington Redskins: LB LaVar Arrington called out his teammates by questioning their heart, and the coach is under siege because the quarterback is under attack, so it's not as though the Redskins need any additional drama. Apparently, that fact was lost on DE Bruce Smith, who threw another log on the fire Monday when he expressed frustration with his benching prior Sunday's loss at Dallas, saying he felt he was singled out by coach Steve Spurrier and the rest of the Redskins coaching staff for the club's recent poor play. "I want to know what their intentions are," Smith told the Washington Post. "I have goals that I'd like to achieve myself, team goals and individual goals. And at some point in time in your career, you have to take a stance and be a little selfish. . . . I just didn't play very much. I don't know what the game plan was so far as the coaching staff was concerned, but this was the decision made by Steve Spurrier and that's what happened." Spurrier responded by saying DE Regan Upshaw had played as well or better and deserved a chance to start. He also said that if the defensive coaches say Smith played better than Upshaw in Sunday's loss that the 40-year-old vet will get the nod.

Minnesota Vikings: LT Bryant McKinnie injured his left ankle in Sunday night's 30-27 loss to the Green Bay Packers, but an MRI showed it was only a sprain. While he could still miss Sunday's game at San Diego, the injury does not appear as serious as once feared. Coach Mike Tice told the Minneapolis Star Tribune he considers McKinnie "really questionable" for the game, but the team will continue to evaluate him as the week progresses. If McKinnie can't start, he will be replaced by veteran OL Everett Lindsay.

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