Updated: September 25, 2003, 10:41 AM ETBy By Darrell Trimble | ESPN Insider
Atlanta Falcons: If the team is entertaining thoughts of vying for the playoffs there going to have to win more than one game while QB Michael Vick is out with a broken leg. But right now, the prospects are looking dim based on the play of Vick's understudy, Doug Johnson. Johnson is tied with Green Bay's Brett Favre and Detroit's Joey Harrington for the lead league with six interceptions, but Favre and Harrington have thrown at least 45 more passes than Johnson. Things won't get any easier this week as he faces the Carolina Panthers, who only have one pick but put relentless pressure on the quarterback. However, coaches believe than Johnson can cut down on his interceptions if he just realizes it's okay to throw the ball away. "I don't think it's anything fundamental," quarterbacks coach Mike Johnson told the Atlanta Journal Constitution. "He has to understand, there are 60-65 plays in a game, and we're not going to win every one. You can't make a bad play into a good one if it's not there; just throw it away. When he gets into a pressure-packed situation, just throw it away. He's had two interceptions where everybody has been covered." Jacksonville Jaguars: Backup QB Byron Leftwich was running the first-string offense during Wednesday's practice while starter Mark Brunell was in the training room getting treatment on his swollen left elbow. Brunell fell on the tip of his elbow in the first quarter in Indianapolis last Sunday and the bone broke through the skin. Doctors are now concerned that if he plays too soon, he could risk an infection. "This isn't a sore ankle," Brunell told the Florida Times-Union. "It's an open wound, and I have to be smart. I don't want it to get infected. I don't want to bend it so much that I pop the stitches back open. If I do that and get it infected, then I'm down for a long time. The cut is right on the joint, and if I get any infection whatsoever in the joint, then I'm in big trouble. I have to keep it straight. I have to keep it clean." Brunell is listed as questionable and it's sounding more and more like Leftwich will get the first start of his career, and if he plays well enough he could keep the job.