Who's Hot / Who's Not

October 31, 2005

WHO'S HOT

Mark Brunell
Since taking over as the Redskins' starter in Week 2, the rejuvenated QB has thrown 12 TDs and just two interceptions while helping Washington--30th in yards gained last season--become the NFL's second-best offense. After the Skins stomped the 49ers 52--17, he suggested, "Maybe this gives us some confidence."

Hot Feet
Boom! Minnesota's Paul Edinger won a game with a 56-yard field goal. Bam! Josh Brown kicked one through from 50 to lift Seattle. The Giants' Jay Feely (52 yards) and the Lions' Jason Hanson (50) each also helped secure narrow wins with a big boot.

Scarlet
Perennial Big East doormat Rutgers is nearing a bowl at 5--2, the team's best start since 1991. The result, according to Scarlet Knights coach Greg Schiano: "Every win is getting us closer to something exciting."

Thomas Jones
Bears RB is so little known that last week Ravens coach Brian Billick called him "Terry." Then, playing with a brace on his painful right knee, Jones ran over Ravens for 139 yards--his fourth 100-yard game. Bears' Brian Urlacher: "I'll bet Billick knows his name now."

WHO'S NOT

Trent Dilfer
Since throwing three TDs in Week 2, the struggling QB has tossed just two scoring passes, been picked off six times and has guided the Browns to the NFL's 26th-ranked offense. Of his performance in the Browns' 13--10 loss to Detroit, Dilfer assessed, "I played a stinker."

Cold Feet
Oops. Chargers' Nate Kaeding had his 40-yard field goal try blocked and returned for a game-deciding TD. Uh-oh, Dallas's Jose Cortez missed a 29-yard chip shot in a three-point loss--then got waived. And, ugh! Auburn's John Vaughn flubbed a 39-yarder in OT (also four other kicks, two of 41 yards or less) in a loss at LSU.

Orange
Perennial Big East power Syracuse has no shot at a bowl: at 1--6 they're assured of their second losing season since 1986. The problem, according to coach Greg Robinson: "We're losing too many in a row."

Ricky Williams
Dolphins RB is so well-known that he had a segment devoted to him on 60 Minutes last month. But since he came out of early retirement, his spirit hasn't run free: In two games (both losses) he has carried 11 times for seven yards.

SI PLAYERS POLL

Which starting QB has the strongest arm in the NFL?
Brett Favre, Packers 27%
Michael Vick, Falcons 24%
Daunte Culpepper, Vikings 21%
Peyton Manning, Colts 7%

The weakest arm?
Chad Pennington, Jets 25%
Drew Brees, Chargers 7%
A.J. Feeley, Chargers 7%
Joey Harrington, Lions 5%

FAST FACTS Poll was taken just before the season.... Pennington is out for the year with a torn rotator cuff; Feeley (traded from Miami) and Harrington are now backups.... Baltimore's injured Kyle Boller tied for fourth in the "weakest" poll.... Only 14% of QBs selected Vick as having the strongest arm.

[ Based on a survey of 357 NFL players ]
For an expanded version of the poll, go to SI.com/Players.

PHOTOCHRIS GARDNER/AP (DILFER) PHOTOJEROME DAVIS/ICON SMI (ORANGE) PHOTOTOM DIPACE (PENNINGTON) PHOTOHEINZ KLUETMEIER (FAVRE) PHOTOJEROME DAVIS/ICON SMI (KNIGHT) PHOTOBRIAN KILLIAN/WIREIMAGE.COM (FEELY) PHOTODAVID DUROCHIK/SPORTSPICS (BRUNELL)

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)