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Big Blow: DL Shaun Smith Downgraded to Doubtful

Although it was tough to see DL Robaire Smith go down for the season several weeks ago, we at least had backup Shaun Smith capable of stepping in as a starter (while also subbing for DT Shaun Rogers).

Before the bye week, Smith had surgery on his left hand, with the projection that he would be healed just in time for the Giants game. According to the Plain Dealer, his check-up on Friday apparently did not go too well, because he has now been downgraded to "doubtful" for Monday's game. At the moment, there is only a "25% chance" of him playing. He would be replaced by backup Louis Leonard. Not only is that a dropoff at defensive end, but it removes the experienced depth at nose tackle beyond Rogers.

How do QBs like Charlie Frye, Luke McCown, and Trent Dilfer get a starting opportunity before Tim Couch ever did?

Right tackle Kevin Shaffer was also downgraded to doubtful, though his diagnosis is less surprising. It was already rumored that the returning Ryan Tucker would take his spot in the starting lineup. Tucker will have his hands full in his first game of the season, as he'll have to go up against Justin Tuck.

Also, TE Kellen Winslow remained in the hospital Saturday afternoon with an undisclosed illness (Internet rumors have reported it as being "swollen testes").

Watch out for the Seattle Seahawks' game against the Green Bay Packers tomorrow. With quarterbacks Matt Hasselbeck and Seneca Wallace ailing, head coach Mike Holmgren has stated that former Brown Charlie Frye will probably make his first start. Wouldn't it be ironic if on the week that Derek Anderson [potentially] loses his job to Brady Quinn, Frye makes his next NFL sart?

Yesterday, I mentioned that I had a little piece scheduled to appear Saturday morning on the New York Times' NFL website. You can now view my paragraph prediction about this Monday's contest.