Football briefs: Negotiations with WR Evans ‘very positive’

Pro Football Weekly staff

The Way We Hear It

With QB Trent Edwards absorbing much of the spotlight in Buffalo’s blistering 4-0 start, the superb play of WR Lee Evans has gone a bit under the radar. Through four games, Evans has caught 14 passes for 332 yards, ranking seventh in the league. More impressively, his 23.7 yards per reception is tops in the league amongst receivers with double-digit catches.

The standout play has only furthered the Bills’ belief that they need to lock up their star receiver to a long-term deal before he enters the free-agent fray this offseason, the way we hear it.

According to a source directly involved in the negotiations, talks are “very positive,” even though negotiations between agent Ben Dogra and Bills senior VP of football administration James Overdorf have having been going on for nearly six months.

“We want to get something done ASAP,” the source continued. “It’s extremely important for Lee to stay in Buffalo. He loves it there.”

NFL Whispers

BEARS: Our Bears sources continue to shake their heads over how much of a nonfactor DRE Mark Anderson has become, dating back to last season. “He’s been really invisible,” one team insider said of Anderson, who burst on the scene as a rookie with 12 sacks but had only one sack in his final 10 games of 2007 before missing the last two due to a knee injury. “He’s a physical freak who appears to have benefited from what was an exceptionally good defensive line in his first season.”

PATRIOTS: The Dolphins have exposed weaknesses in the coverage ability of the Patriots’ linebackers. Word out of Foxborough is that as instinctive as they are, the ’backers have difficulty playing the pass if they’re reading run first. The most athletic linebacker they have, rookie ILB Jerod Mayo, has been caught out of position too often, even though he has racked up a lot of tackles.

STEELERS: Whether the Steelers can retain CB Bryant McFadden, a free agent at season’s end, figures to be a topic of discussion around Pittsburgh in the months to come. McFadden has played very well since Deshea Townsend left the lineup with a heel injury. McFadden, who turns 27 in November, figures to be one of the better players available at his position in free agency, and he’ll command starter’s money and a starting job. 

The Fantasy Buzz

If the Buccaneers mimic the Chiefs’ game plan against the Broncos, RB Earnest Graham should have a big game Sunday. Denver is allowing 132.8 yards per game on the ground and is giving up 5.0 yards per rush. Since Larry Johnson just ran all over them for nearly 200 yards, Graham could do the same if given the opportunity. He is gaining 5.9 yards per attempt.

QB Matt Schaub broke out last week against the Jaguars, but his fun could quickly come to an end Sunday vs. the Colts. Indy has been one of the best teams against the pass, allowing 141 yards per contest. The Colts also have yet to surrender a touchdown through the air. Schaub already has thrown five picks, and another one or two here wouldn’t be a surprise.

Similar to Minnesota, the Ravens have been extremely tough on guys trying to run up the gut on them. That could lead to very tough sledding for Titans RB LenDale White, who is strictly a between-the-tackles runner. Baltimore gives up a paltry 70.7 yards per game on the ground; expect much of that to come from the speedy Chris Johnson on the edges.

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