Laurence Maroney’s season is over

The Patriots have placed Laurence Maroney on IR.

Maroney, now in his third season, missed Sunday’s game against the Chargers with a shoulder injury. He also missed the team’s Week 3 loss to the Dolphins with a shoulder injury.

Maroney totaled 28 carries for 93 yards this season. A first-round draft choice in 2006, he is signed through the 2010 season.

Look for Sammy Morris to get the bulk of the work with LaMont Jordan out. Kevin Faulk will be the main RB in the Pats’ passing game. Once Jordan returns, I wouldn’t be surprised if the three form a committee, with no player having a ton of value. Morris currently appears to be the team’s favorite goal line back.

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NFL Week 5 Quick Recaps: Ocho Cinco fails to kiss Dallas star

Chad Johnson– Chad “Ocho Cinco” Johnson said earlier this week that he would kiss the Dallas star if/when he scores a touchdown against the Cowboys on Sunday. But Dallas held him to only 43 yards on three catches in their 31-22 win over the Bengals, so the only kiss he got to plant was on head coach Marvin Lewis’s face. You know that kid at a birthday party who does a couple of funny things, gets people’s attention, but then eventually becomes annoying? That’s where I’m at right now with Ocho Cinco.

– After getting destroyed by the Jets last Sunday, the Cardinals had one hell of a bounce back this week, beating the previously undefeated Bills 41-17. But ‘Zona has got to do something about its secondary. They gave up 56 points and allowed Brett Favre to throw six touchdown passes last week, and then proceeded to allow J.P. Losman to complete 15 of 21 passes for 220 yards and a touchdown today. That’s brutal. Losman hasn’t played in over a year and even when he did he was downright atrocious in most of his games. When J.P. Losman shreds you through the air, something’s up.

– Seven carries, two yards. That’s what Carolina held Chiefs’ RB Larry Johnson to in its 34-0 win Sunday. This coming just one week after LJ rushed for nearly 200 yards against Denver. Rightfully so, everyone talks about the Vikings’ run defense being so good, but take a look at what the Panthers have done against some of the best running backs the past couple of weeks: LaDainian Tomlinson – 97 yards. Adrian Peterson – 77 yards. Michael Turner – 56 yards. Larry Johnson – 2 yards. Wow.

Jay Cutler– Out of their three victories this season, the Broncos can be most proud of their 16-13 win over the Buccaneers on Sunday. They beat a quality opponent (unlike their Week 1 win over the Raiders), they didn’t need a controversial call to go in their favor (unlike their Week 2 win over the Chargers) and for the first time all year, they didn’t surrender 30-plus points defensively.

– So…who’s the real J.T. O’Sullivan? The one that threw for over 300 yards, a touchdown and no interceptions in a win over Seattle or the one that played Sunday and threw three picks against New England? (Although in O’Sullivan’s defense, he did throw three touchdowns in the Niners’ 30-21 loss to the Pats, too.)

– Did Laurence Maroney kick Bill Belichick’s cat one time at a team barbecue or something one time? For the life of me I can’t figure out why Sammy Morris continues to get more carries than Maroney.

– Gutsy, gutsy performance by Big Ben on Sunday night. The Jags couldn’t get any pressure on him early on, but when they started to get to him in second half, he hung in tough and delivered a huge win the Steelers. Just when you think Pittsburgh is going to crash with so many injuries in the backfield and along the offensive line, they step up and play a complete game like they did in Week 5. The final score wasn’t a good indicator of how much the Steelers actually dominated the Jaguars.

The Patriots are down but not out in the AFC

Have you noticed people on the streets lately with more spring in their step, exchanging high-fives with one another, or smiling in your direction? No, they’re not trying to flirt with you. They’re probably a fan of an AFC team that doesn’t play in New England.

A story came out this week that George Lampman was taking advantage of the season-ending injury suffered by New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady to earn some money. He owns a silk-screening printing company in Pittsburgh and decided to unveil a t-shirt lauding Kansas City Chiefs safety Bernard Pollard’s hit on Brady that knocked him out for the year. For $19.99, you can become an honorary member of the Pollard fan club with a commemorative t-shirt.

Not so fast football fans. Do not plan a traditional Irish funeral just yet for the Patriots. No need to sprinkle dirt over the casket and raise your glass in honor to of the end of their legacy. It’s too early to count the Pats out of the hunt for the Super Bowl.

We have talked ad nauseam about the impact of Brady’s injury on the balance of power in the AFC, but I can give three reasons not to give up on the Patriots just yet: Bill Belichick, the offense, and their schedule.

Coach Belichick is masterful in managing games on both sides of the ball and should be able to create a game plan to minimize Matt Cassel’s inexperience at the quarterback position. He will shorten the game by using the Patriots’ depth in the backfield (Laurence Maroney, Sammy Morris and LaMont Jordan) to run the football. The Patriots coaching staff will never ask Cassel to try to win the game on his own. Instead, they will ask him not to lose games by making costly mistakes.

In-game adjustments are critical for any team to have success in the NFL, and Belichick has a knack for devising schemes to either fix problems on the field immediately or attack weaknesses he has noticed in the first few series of a game. No NFL coach can adjust better to the flow of a game than Belichick.

And let’s not forget Cassel is taking over the reins of one of the top offenses in NFL history. They gave the impression last season that they could score points at will without breaking a sweat. The passing game will be revised to exploit Cassel’s strengths, and it doesn’t hurt to have Randy Moss and Wes Welker lining up at the wideout positions.

Plus, on paper, the Patriots have one of the easiest schedules in the league. The Pats will face the Niners, Rams, Raiders, and meet the Dolphins twice during the course of the season. Ten wins and a playoff berth are still within reach.

By Sunday night, we should have a better idea about the state of the AFC. We will see how the Patriots react to life in A.B. (After Brady) and also have a better understanding of how Cassel will adjust to his new reality. If they can get good play from their new quarterback, the Patriots will still be a factor in the AFC.

Waiver Wire Watch: Week 2

Every week, I highlight a few players that you should target in waivers. This week is especially important as owners everywhere will be scrambling to pick up the league’s surprise performers. With Tom Brady, Vince Young and Brodie Croyle missing significant time, QB is especially important this week.

I’ll use the ESPN league data when filtering players, so the only players eligible for discussion here are those that are available on the waiver wire of at least 50% of ESPN’s leagues. I’ll list each player’s percentage-owned after their name so you have an idea of how available they are in leagues around the country. I’ll always try to mention a few players that are available in 90% of leagues for those of you in 12-team leagues or leagues with big rosters. I’ll rank them in the order I’d pick them up in a league with a high-performance, PPR scoring system.


1. Matt Cassel (0.2)
Clearly, this is the pickup for Brady owners. They’re probably behind the eight ball and they might as well gamble with the guy taking Brady’s place. Can he play? Who knows, but he has a load of weapons around him.

2. Vince Young (46.8)
Yes, he’s hurt, but he doesn’t belong on the waiver wire in deep leagues.

3. Jeff Garcia (25.9)
Garcia is steady and a solid bye week fill in.

4. Trent Edwards (8.7)
Edwards is beginning to look like a starting NFL QB. I can see starting him against weaker defenses.

5. Matt Ryan (14.1)
Ryan played pretty well against a bad Lions secondary. He’ll have his ups and downs.

Read the rest after the jump...

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