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WEEK 5 in the NFL


October 08, 2006|Sam Farmer

Leinart Doesn't

Miss the Bright Lights

When the Cincinnati Bengals drafted Carson Palmer, the former USC standout talked about how excited he was to leave Los Angeles.

Evidently, fellow Trojans quarterback Matt Leinart was itching to leave too.

"I couldn't wait to get out of there," said Leinart, who will make his debut as an NFL starter today when his Arizona Cardinals play host to the Kansas City Chiefs.

Even though he said he loves Los Angeles, he said he was bothered by the media exposure and hype surrounding USC football.

"I don't know how it can get much worse than that unless you're in New York and play for the Jets or the Giants," he said in a conference call with Kansas City writers. "I don't feel any added pressure."

Make no mistake, the pressure will come on the field. Of the last nine Heisman Trophy-winning quarterbacks making their first professional start -- Palmer, Chris Weinke, Danny Wuerffel, Ty Detmer, Andre Ware, Vinny Testaverde, Doug Flutie, Pat Sullivan and Jim Plunkett -- only Palmer and Flutie finished with passer ratings better than 90.0.

As for Leinart, he sounds ready to get on with his life in Arizona. He still bristles at the suggestion he's Mr. Hollywood. And deep down, he seems to believe that notion was a big reason he slipped to 10th in the draft.

"SC is the No. 1 football team in the country, almost an NFL team in L.A.," he said. "And when you have high-profile people like myself and Reggie Bush, that's what it came to. It was like Kobe Bryant and Shaq and the Lakers. They were huge figures, and we were the big figures in football.

"That's something that just came. It's not what we asked for, it's not what I asked for. Anyone in my shoes probably would have done the same thing, probably would have done worse. I've got a good head on my shoulders, so I don't get caught up in that stuff."

Not Bush-League Ball

Four games into his rookie season with the New Orleans Saints, Bush has yet to score a touchdown. He has been brilliant at times, less so at others. He had a 32-yard catch and carry against Carolina last Sunday -- his longest play of the year -- but he also fumbled on the 20. He's averaging a respectable 83.5 yards per game in combined rushing and receiving.

"I'm probably pressing," Bush said. "Just because I know myself, and I know what type of competitor I am. I'm a very competitive person. Obviously, I want to score points and be in the end zone and make plays. But sometimes it goes beyond that. It's about putting the team before you and not forcing the issue when it's not there."

What a Bunch of Zeros

Chicago has been amazing, giving up only one touchdown in 45 drives, and none since the third quarter in Week 2.

STATS LLC points out that's zero touchdowns in 133 offensive plays spanning 145 minutes 20 seconds. In home games, dating to last season, the Bears have gone 322 pass plays without giving up a touchdown.

Ancient History

ESPN's Mike Tirico apologized to Philadelphia fans for his goof on "Monday Night Football" during the Eagles-Packers game. When the network cut away with a scenic shot of William Penn's statue atop City Hall, Tirico said: "Ben Franklin, high atop the city of Philadelphia."

It was an understandable error, one that no one on ESPN's production team caught at the time.

"I'm the one who made the mistake," Tirico told the Philadelphia Inquirer, "and when you are wrong you have to stand up and admit it."

Shrugging It Off

Seattle defensive end Bryce Fisher doesn't put too much stock in the fact that the Seahawks were stomped by the Bears, 37-6. It's too early to be concerned about that, he said.

"I don't think people understand that this is the pros," Fisher said. "I mean, those things don't matter until December and January. You play games in September and October so you can play games in December that matter.... I think every team in the league would take 3-1 through four games."

Except, of course, the Bears.

They're 4-0.


-- Sam Farmer

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