Cardinals look to Greisen as Plummer's backup

Monday, August 5, 2002

For the first time since Jake Plummer became a starter in his rookie season, there will be no seasoned quarterback behind him.

Chris Greisen, who has thrown 16 NFL passes in his three seasons with Arizona, moves into the backup role for the Cardinals. The third-stringer is lanky, strong-armed rookie Josh McCown.

Last year, when Dave Brown was the second-stringer, no backup was needed. Plummer was one of two NFL quarterbacks to take every snap. The odds of that happening again are slim.

"Hopefully, Jake doesn't get banged up, but in all likelihood it will happen," Greisen said. "I have to be ready for myself, for this team, to be successful. You look in the past years with Kurt Warner and Tom Brady. Hopefully, I can have that kind of success."

A seven-round draft pick out of Northwest Missouri State, a NCAA Division II school, Greisen has toiled in the obscure world of third-stringers. When the franchise decided not to re-sign Brown, Greisen knew he had moved up a notch on the depth chart.

"The first three years, I know I probably wasn't ready physically and ready to play, but I've really worked hard this past offseason getting myself ready," he said. "I'm ready to play this year."


Broncos

Tony Carter is a veteran at making career adjustments.

Carter has accepted his most recent switch, this time as backup fullback with the Denver Broncos.

"A lot of things are out of my hands, things I can't control," said the nine-year veteran, who made the transition from featured back in college to a blocking back as a rookie in 1994 with the Chicago Bears. "What I learned in my time in the league is not to worry about what I can't control."

Broncos coach Mike Shanahan said Mike Anderson has been the first-team fullback through minicamp earlier this year.

"We have two fullbacks and he (Carter) is second team," Shanahan said.

The setback was the second in as many years for Carter, who signed with the Broncos as an unrestricted free agent on May 4, 2001. He appeared to be the heir to Howard Griffith, whose career was winding down. However, a leg injury on the first day of training camp kept Carter out of all the preseason games last year.

"I've always known I would fit into the system and do what they were asking out of a fullback," Carter said. "I don't have any control of certain things, but I can tell you when Tony Carter is asked to play fullback, I am going to be a heck of a blocker and when they throw me the ball I plan to catch it and move upfield with it."


Titans

There are plenty of reminders of the Houston Oilers in the halls of the Tennessee Titans' headquarters. The same can't be said about the Titans' roster.

Only five players remain from the Oilers team that relocated to Tennessee six years ago.

"Actually, it seems like yesterday," said running back Eddie George, the Oilers' top draft pick before their final season in Houston in 1996. "A long time ago, but it feels like yesterday."

The ex-Oilers include left tackle Brad Hopkins, tight end Frank Wycheck, quarterback Steve McNair and George on offense. Tackle Henry Ford is the only remaining member of the defense.

"It's a blessing to sit around on the same team this long," Ford said. "It's a totally different team now. I miss some of the guys we had around here, though."

The list is much shorter now because the Titans released safety Blaine Bishop, linebacker Eddie Robinson and receiver Chris Sanders in February for salary-cap reasons. Offensive lineman Bruce Matthews, who spent the first 14 years of his 19-season career as a member of the Houston Oilers, trimmed that number with his retirement last month.


Bengals

The Cincinnati Bengals' search for a reliable kicker has been a struggle.

Incumbent Neil Rackers, the Bengals' sixth-round draft pick from Illinois in 2000, pulled a 48-yard field goal wide left during the team's intrasquad scrimmage on Saturday.

After the miss, Rackers -- who made only 29 of 49 field goals during his first two seasons -- brooded behind the team's bench.

Rookie Travis Dorsch, drafted in the fourth round out of Purdue as a possible replacement for Rackers, also struggled, pushing a 41-yard attempt wide right.

The misses allowed the Bengals' defense to beat the offense 12-7.

Coach Dick LeBeau was not pleased.

"The way the offense moved the ball, they could have easily won the game by just making one of those two," he said. "But they have been kicking pretty well in a practice environment.

"That was much closer to a game environment. It's a different rhythm and a different speed and will require some adjustment. But we want to see the kicks go through."

Rackers avoided reporters following the scrimmage, leaving Dorsch to assess their performance.

"I missed that kick, but I feel like I hit it well," said Dorsch, who also had 38- and 51-yard punts during the scrimmage. "I just pushed it a little bit, and that's an easy fix.

"When things are rolling along smoothly, no one even notices the kickers," he said. "But when things start to get a little rough, the kicker usually becomes one of the centers of attention.

"If we're going out and doing our jobs putting points on the board and helping win games, nobody mentions us at all. That's the way every kicker wants it."


CANTON, Ohio (AP) -- The Houston Texans' plan on offense was to give David Carr $46 million to be their quarterback and to pay Tony Boselli $7.5 million to protect their investment.

The design hasn't worked out as planned going into Monday night's preseason opener against the New York Giants in the Hall of Fame game.

Boselli probably will miss the season opener while recovering from shoulder surgery. forcing the Texans to alter their plans.

"People don't expect us to come out and be as good as New England," rookie Chester Pitts said. "They want us to just improve as much as we can. We just have to give our best and work as hard as we can."

Pitts, drafted in the second round, played left tackle at San Diego State and is expected to start at left guard in Boselli's absence.

Now he and Jimmy Herndon have the critical job of protecting Carr's blind side and they don't have long to get prepared.

"You never know how fast you're going to progress, but the most important thing is you continue to progress," Houston coach Dom Capers said. "These guys have been working hard, and now they've got to get ready for the Giants.

"We don't have much time to sit around and evaluate this. We have to look forward to the next game."

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