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ESPN Insider Peep Show 12-16

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Peep Show

By Darrell Trimble

ESPN Insider

Jacksonville Jaguars: In what will be his final home game as a member of the Jacksonville Jaguars, QB Mark Brunell will be introduced before the game against the New Orleans Saints and will serve as a team captain. However, that move likely won't affect his playing time. According to the Florida Times-Union he will remain the third-team quarterback and probably won't play unless both Byron Leftwich and David Garrard are injured. When asked if Brunell might get some mop-up time if the Jags took a big lead, coach Jack Del Rio said, "After the way, they [saints] played against the Giants [in a 45-7 victory Sunday], we just want to make sure we're not behind by a couple of touchdowns."

Detroit Lions: Coach Steve Mariucci is considering using last two games of the season to give backup QB Mike McMahon more playing time, according to the Detroit News. "We have to talk more about it," Mariucci said. "I would like to play him (McMahon). We'd like to see him play. He deserves to play. He's a good quarterback and really hasn't had a chance much, other than the one game. It's not because we're disappointed in Joey at all. It's because it'd be good to see a backup quarterback get some snaps."

Washington Redskins: CB Champ Bailey has been much more vocal about issues with the team this season and didn't hesitate to offer his two cents when asked to discuss how free agents from other teams might be cautious of signing with the Redskins because of the team's growing track record of futility. "It's hard to get free agents if you're not winning," Bailey told the Washington Times. "People want to go win games. ... I wouldn't want to go to an organization where teams are just losing and don't have potential to win." But when he was asked whether such thinking makes him less likely to re-sign, he was eerily silent, saying only, "No comment." Bailey is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent at season's end, but the Redskins could use the franchise tag on him. But they might want to work out a deal to trade him because of his growing frustrations. Bailey has lamented the number of defensive coordinators the Redskins have recently employed, and he longs for more stability. Washington has had five defensive coordinators during his tenure, and with George Edwards on the hot seat there could be a sixth in six years in 2004.

Pittsburgh Steelers: C Jeff Hartings has been battling with chronic knee problems that were so bad that many questioned whether or not he would be able to return next year. But the veteran lineman made it clear Monday that he intends to play in 2004. "I pretty much know that I want to try to play next year," Hartings told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. "I think this year I've held up well." But is it wise for the Steelers to continue to depend on him? Hartings is scheduled to earn a base salary of $3.7 million next season, with his total deal counting $4.978 million against the salary cap. That's high for someone with bad knees that could flare up and possibly cost him playing time. One option for Pittsburgh is to release him. If the Steelers released Hartings, who is signed through 2006, it would cost them $3.6 million, but they would save his $3.7 million base.

Minnesota Vikings: Veteran P Leo Araguz was in town Monday and worked out for team officials. Araguz came to the Twin Cities because rookie P Eddie Johnson has bobbled snaps in three consecutive games, two of which proved costly. Araguz apparently was impressive enough and the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports he is expected to sign a contract today. Johnson, a sixth-round draft pick last spring, will remain on the roster and compete for a job in 2004, coach Mike Tice said. "I really like Eddie," Tice told the Star Tribune. "It's just a shame he's put the ball on the ground three times. We have to win two football games, and if we have an area that we can help ourselves in, then we'll look to do that." To make room for Araguz, the Vikings likely will cut DL Cedric Killings.

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