Sample daily updates (2006)
Original information will appear in black letters (Monday-Tuesday) with updated info in green lettering (Wednesday and Thursday) and further updates in blue lettering (Friday-Saturday). This way you can skip the stuff you've already read.
The team hardly threw at all on Sunday accounting for the receivers’ painfully low reception totals. Steve Smith had no catches. Chris Weinke completed 4-of-7 for 32 yards and one touchdown. DeAngelo Williams lined up at quarterback in a shotgun formation at times. They'd snap the ball to him and let him run. He had 82 yards on 21 carries helped by the blocking of Brad Hoover. "We put that little package in this week with him and it worked, so we kept going back to it," Weinke said. "We didn't know how many times that we would use it, but we felt that in third-and-short situations it could help us. It gave us the element of surprise."
Jake Delhomme (questionable, right thumb) took snaps and threw a little bit at practice on Wednesday for the first time since suffering the injury Dec. 4. But even if he does play, he would likely be limited somewhat with a glove on his throwing hand. "I've never believed in one," he said. "I've never worn one. But for gripping reasons, I needed to try it. It helped a good bit." Gripping the ball had been a problem since the injury.
QB J.T. O'Sullivan was added to the practice squad.
Jake Delhomme practiced all week and was upgraded to probable. He hasn't played since suffering ligament damage in his right thumb on Dec. 4 at Philadelphia. Drew Carter (questionable, ankle) did not practice all week.
Javon Walker suffered a wrist injury on Sunday. "It was kind of scary," said Walker, who was nursing a mild left shoulder separation. He had x-rays afterwards.
Tatum Bell needs 23 yards to reach 1,000 for the first time in his career but he seems to be running tentative the last few weeks. "I've been trying to find (the hole) instead of hitting it up in there like I used to," he said. "It looks like I'm tiptoeing." Two fumbles the past two games also have contributed to the lack of aggressiveness and he has been losing carries to Mike Bell. "We're just going with who the hot guy is," assistant head coach Mike Heimerdinger said. "The thing is, it's gone back and forth."
Ron Dayne credits health and regular duty with his success the last four games. "Being able to carry (the ball) like they've been giving it to me, it's just been fun," he said. "It's not like I couldn't run the ball; I just never got the opportunity to run the ball this many times, week after week." Dayne's 612 rushing yards this season are more than his previous three seasons combined (449). "The Texans believe in me and they gave me the opportunity. I know I can run the ball; it's not like if something happened to me where I couldn't run the ball (before). The line is doing great. As long as they keep doing their job, I'm going to do mine." Dayne’s turf toe hampered him in the first half of the season. "I couldn't really give them everything I had, but I wasn't going to lay down and say I was hurt. I would get out there and go. It was kind of a blessing in disguise when coach (Kubiak) deactivated me where I didn't play for three weeks. It just got me healed up all the way, and I feel great."
Owen Daniels (questionable, shoulder) missed practice on Wednesday. Defensive end Tony Weaver has a torn rotator cuff and won't play in Sunday's finale against the Browns.
Ron Dayne (probable, ankle) missed a portion of practice all week but practiced fully on Friday.
New Orleans Saints
Joe Horn missed Sunday’s game. Terrance Copper suffered a sprained ankle.
With a playoff bye clinched, the Saints could reduce the playing time of Drew Brees, Marques Colston, Deuce McAllister, Reggie Bush and a handful of defensive starters. They likely will rest to players nursing injuries, including Joe Horn.
One of the biggest reasons for Reggie Bush’s recent success is his improved health and, as a result, improved confidence. His ankle is 100% and he has a better understanding of the playbook and of opposing defenses. "I think it's just due time, just a matter of time," he said. "Me adjusting to the game, just getting in the flow of things, getting into a rhythm, finding my identity on this team.”
Joe Horn (doubtful, groin) and Terrance Copper (questionable, ankle) missed practice Thursday.
Sean Payton could decide to rest some of his starters during the regular-season finale against Carolina. Veteran backup QB Jamie Martin is rookie tailback Jamaal Branch, who spent the first 15 weeks of the season on the Saints' practice squad, could see action. Branch, who was undrafted out in 2005, signed with the Saints after an impressive showing in NFL Europe in 2006. He also looked good in the preseason, carrying the ball 39 times for 171 yards and two touchdowns. But at 6-foot and 225 pounds, he was a half step slower and lacked the finishing speed to be a big-time threat.
Joe Horn (doubtful, groin) missed portions of practice all week. Mark Campbell (knee) was downgraded to doubtful. Terrance Copper missed practice all week and was downgraded to doubtful.