I doubt that Roger Goodell reads this column, but I applaud him for taking action against Adam "Pacman" Jones. I'd mentioned last week that he needed to make an example of Jones, for the simple reason that each time you let a player get away with bad behavior (and I'm not talking about panty raids on the cheerleaders' locker rooms here) you send a message to the other young players that they can get away with these shenanigans with no repercussions.
Bully for you commish.
• From the "Jon Gruden Hates Me" department -- last week Gruden played Earnest Graham at fullback for most of the game. Now, I do understand that they were thin at the position, and when Bryan Storer went down it was time for a quick decision, but doesn't he have 20 tight ends on the roster? He could have fed one of them to the Panthers and still kept Graham in for his usual 15 touches. Thank goodness Graham scored a touchdown, but his self-sacrifice, while good for the game, is really hurting my fantasy teams.
I still think Graham could easily have been a top-five running back this year, but with Gruden perfectly willing to use Graham in an Alstott-like role (just block kid and if we get close you can try one of those fancy aerials you've been working on), his fantasy value is getting crushed.
• Speaking of crushed, apparently it wasn't a popular thing to say that Peyton Manning was an early season fantasy bust. But with the previously vicious Baltimore Ravens and their top-ranked defense coming to town, Manning didn't look like he'd be making any serious moves up the fantasy ladder.
Big mistake. Big. Huge.
• If that had been the only faux pas I made last week, I'm certain my inbox wouldn't have overflowed as it did with vitriolic hate mail. But like many others looking at the prospect of Le'Ron McClain rolling into Indianapolis and their 32nd-ranked rush defense, it seemed like a good idea to pimp him as a nice under-the-radar play. John Harbaugh hasn't returned my calls, but I'd really like to know what possessed him to give McClain three measly touches in that game. With Willis McGahee continuing his ineffective ways, Harbaugh decided to go with rookie Ray Rice, who hadn't impressed anyone all year, over McClain, who has done nothing if not proven himself.
Maybe he needs to start reading my column. Seriously.
• Roy Williams to the Cowboys? I'm not rushing out to deal for him. Not yet anyway. Give him two weeks to learn the offense, and after Tampa Bay leaves town and his stats are nestled comfortably numb near the bottom of the bench, his asking price should be more in line with his real value. Frankly, the statue known as Brad Johnson won't look nearly as comfortable in the pocket as Tony Romo did. Romo could move. Johnson ... not so much. The big beneficiaries should be Jason Witten and Marion Barber. Johnson's arm strength was dwindling in '03, and unless he has suddenly started on the Popeye spinach diet, I don't see him chucking the ovoid more than 20 yards downfield on any given Sunday.
• Steve Breaston really impressed me this week. Anquan Boldin's replacement has been a stud the last three weeks, averaging eight receptions and 100 yards in the three games he's started. I watched the game against Dallas, and this kid doesn't act like he's six-feet tall and 189 pounds. There wasn't a single play he was involved in where he went down on first contact. Typically, it was three or four players wrestling him to the ground as he twisted, turned and churned his way to another spectacular performance. It is a shame that he'll lose reps once Boldin returns, but I wouldn't be surprised to see Boldin traded in the offseason.
• I never thought I'd say this, but Trent Edwards looks like a good start this weekend. Edwards practiced fully on Wednesday and his return spells good things for a Buffalo team humiliated by the Cardinals in Week 5. He shouldn't feel bad. It's looking like there is a new sheriff in the NFC West, and he hails from the rootin' tootin' state of Arizona. I expect Buffalo to continue the trend of post-bye week heroics, even though I am not overly impressed with the team. This is the game that Marshawn Lynch needs to make a statement in. As much as I have been deeply on the side of doubters regarding Lynch, if he can step up against the Chargers and give Edwards some room to work, Buffalo could still control the AFC East, and with it their own destiny.
• I realize Charlie Frye will be the starting quarterback this weekend against the Buccaneers, but I'm worried about the game. Like the Rams and Browns this past week, Seattle has its back against the wall. The Seahawks will be playing against a team most will have slated to send them back to the Pacific Northwest with a bag of citrus fruit, Joe Redner's business card and a "thanks for the effort" kick in the butt. Yahoo!'s Brandon Funston and I had discussed a gentleman's bet for this game, but I won't be broken-hearted if he passes. The Bucs should win easily, but then again, the Rams didn't have anyone losing sleep in Washington going into FedEx Field last week, and Redskins faithful are still checking for their collective manhood after being thoroughly abused by the team formerly known as the Lambs.
• Shaun Alexander signed with the Redskins this week. I'm not biting. He hasn't played in a year, and Clinton Portis has that job locked down. If Alexander gets thrust into a starting role due to a Portis injury, Redskins fans can start planning for something other than postseason parties.
• Chris Johnson fans are rejoicing this week as the Titans, another fresh-off-the-bye team, roll into Kaufman Stadium to face the lowly Chiefs. Make no mistake about it ... this is not the Denver Broncos walking into an ambush. The Dynamic Duo of LenDale White and Chris Johnson are going to make much hay in Missouri this weekend, and if you didn't sell high on Larry Johnson immediately following his big game against the Broncos you might as well just suck it up, because it isn't likely a suitor is going to come along and offer you anything of value for him.
• Jerry Jones has been one of the most successful owners in NFL history, but I'm wondering if he and Al Davis have been drinking from the same cup lately. His decision-making is increasingly disturbing, from deciding not to penalize Adam Jones after his latest trip to stupid land, to even considering to let Romo play this week. At the very least, give him a week to heal while his backup QB gets some good game experience against St Louis. The Rams aren't going to beat two NFC East teams back-to-back, no matter what they are smoking in barbecue country. Why risk your entire season on one game? That is exactly what he could be doing if he lets Romo play.
• A final thought. I am trying really hard to like Mike Nolan and his 49ers, but he is looking down the barrel of a 2-5 start when his team travels to play a Giants team still smarting from an embarrassing Monday Night blowout by the Browns. I can't believe I just wrote those words, but it is true. The Hot Seat has been quiet the last week or so. Mike, here is a nice cushioned chair and a beer. We need to talk. But first, do you have John Harbaugh's number? I have a bone to pick with him.