Peep Show

Updated: November 13, 2003, 10:14 AM ET
By By Darrell Trimble | ESPN Insider
Denver Broncos: Coach Mike Shanahan wasn't pleased with the play of former Pro Bowl CB Deltha O'Neal last year and he benched him for a brief period. This year, Shanahan's opinion of O'Neal hasn't improved. Asked Wednesday if signing former San Diego CB Ryan McNeil is a reflection of his unhappiness with O'Neal, Shanahan said simply, "Yes." Asked if his unhappiness stemmed from O'Neal's play in Denver's loss to New England or whether it was a season-long issue, including O'Neal being beaten for five touchdown passes, Shanahan said, "A season-long issue." Shanahan went on to imply that O'Neal will not play Sunday against San Diego, and the cornerback will not be activated until he proves worthy of a spot on the active roster. "My son's a great guy, but I don't want him playing on Sunday," Shanahan told the Denver Post. "You've got to make the tough decision. If a guy's not playing consistently, what's the best thing for the team? That doesn't mean the guy doesn't have the chance to get back if he practices at a certain level. If he plays at a certain level, then he's got a chance to come back and play. But right now, I've got to give that opportunity to other players on our team. And if they prove that Deltha is a better player after they get reps, then Deltha will go back in there. But right now, other guys will get opportunities to play." O'Neal was benched last year for his sub-par play.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Despite drawing three drive-killing penalties in last week's loss to the Carolina Panthers, coach Jon Gruden had a fair amount of praise for LT Kenyatta Walker. "I looked at the tape again and you know what, there were a lot of good things there that were really overshadowed by the penalties,'' Gruden, referring to Walker's performance told the Tampa Tribune. Gruden also said that Walker did a more-than-adequate job of opening holes for his tailbacks and protecting QB Brad Johnson. But it was his hands and lack of emotional control that got him into trouble. Instead of driving his hands into his opponent's chest and punching, Walker dug his hands into his opponent's face mask. To help combat that, the team ran Walker through a brief fundamentals refresher course, one in which he was reminded to pick out a target on his opponent's chest and zero in on it.

Philadelphia Eagles: LG John Welbourn's inflamed knee has forced him to miss another practice Wednesday, and he's listed as doubtful for Sunday's game against the New York Giants. For the second straight week, coach Andy Reid said that OL Artis Hicks would start if Welbourn is unable to play. "He's done a nice job since he's been here," Reid told the Philadelphia Inquirer. "It's a great opportunity for the kid if [Welbourn's injury] is serious." Hicks has yet to play on the offensive line in a regular-season game.