Indy .500? It's hard to believe that Peyton Manning, Edgerrin
James and Marvin Harrison could be home for the holidays. But
barring an unlikely three-game winning streak (at Jets, Bills, at
Dolphins), that's where the 7-5 Colts will be.
The Titanic? Tennessee has lost two of three and can't seem to
get its offense untracked. "We need to find our edge, and find it
quickly," cornerback Samari Rolle said after a 16-13 loss to the
Jaguars. Quarterback Steve McNair has been banged up, and the
Titans are struggling to grasp first-year offensive coordinator
Mike Heimerdinger's system.
Late Out of the Gate Used sparingly as Baltimore got off to a
5-4 start, rookie first-round draft pick Jamal Lewis (below) was
finally unleashed. He has run for 565 yards in his last four
games, all Ravens' wins.
My Two Cents
If I'm Patriots owner Bob Kraft, this is what I'm thinking: I
didn't hire Bill Belichick to lose at Cleveland, to need a field
goal at home with three seconds left to beat the Bengals and to
get my clock cleaned against a slightly-better-than-average Lions
team.... Whispers in Washington are that the big money has dulled
running back Stephen Davis's desire. Davis is averaging 4.1 yards
a carry, down from his 4.5-yard mark of a year ago.... The Marty
Schottenheimer-to-coach-the-Giants rumors have started. New York
(8-4) probably has to win 11 games, or a playoff game, to save
Jim Fassel's job.
An AFC pro scout sizes up Eagles linebacker Jeremiah Trotter,
whose stock continues to rise.
"Only one middle linebacker is having a better year, and that's
Ray Lewis in Baltimore. When Trotter was coming out of college
[Stephen F. Austin] in 1998, a lot of teams shied away from him
because of a bad knee, but it looks like we were all wrong. For a
big man [261 pounds], it's amazing how many plays he makes on
each sideline, which shows what speed he has. On short-yardage
downs he throws himself into the line like a bowling ball hitting
pins. He is everything you want in a middle backer--strong and
gutty, with the speed to chase down plays."
Inside the locker of which NFL player?
Ten pairs of practice and game shoes; the books Winning Every
Day by Lou Holtz and Roads: Driving America's Great Highways by
Larry McMurtry; a 1999 Notre Dame football media guide; one
National Geographic ("for the john," the player says); a silver
cross; a broken rosary; a wide strip of adhesive tape on which
he keeps track of the kangaroo court fines of his teammates; his
team's schedule magnets for every season since 1993; a framed,
autographed photo of childhood hero Norm Bulaich, the former
Colts, Eagles and Dolphins running back.
A. Chiefs center Tim Grunhard
B. Giants tackle Luke Petitgout
C. Steelers running back Jerome Bettis
COLOR PHOTO: PETER READ MILLER
The Last Word
"A high school team has more base offensive plays than we do. We
used to dog the hell out of [Mike] Shula, but I'll be the first
one to tell you I miss him."
--Bucs defensive tackle Warren Sapp, criticizing the conservative
game plans of offensive coordinator Les Steckel, who replaced
Shula this season