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EAGLES TO START PEDERSON AT QB; DOUGLAS OUT 4-6 WEEKS

After a pathetic 19-5 loss to Tampa Bay, Philadelphia Eagles coach Andy Reid is bound and determined to get his team's meager offensive showing turned around.

Problem is, he's got problems on the defensive side, too.

Reid announced Monday that the team's best defensive player, end Hugh Douglas, will miss the next four to six weeks with a partial tear of the medial collateral ligament in his left knee.

Douglas, who led the team with 12 1/2 sacks last season, was hurt while he and fellow defensive lineman Mike Mamula were rushing Buccaneers quarterback Trent Dilfer. Dilfer took a step back and Douglas' knee collided with Mamula's helmet.

It was the last thing Eagles fans wanted to see, with their offense in disarray. Douglas says he's relieved it wasn't worse.

"Any time you get a knee injury, you think it's more serious," he said. "It's frustrating. Hopefully I won't miss that much time."

Just add the injury to the list of woes plaguing Reid, the Eagles' first-year coach hired to turn around a team that finished 3-13 last year.

His priority has been offense, and he installed a West Coast-style attack to help boost it.

So far, it isn't producing consistent results. Starting quarterback Doug Pederson was 12-of-19 for 100 yards in the first half against Tampa Bay, but he was benched because Reid said he wanted a spark for the offense.

Enter the back-up, first-round draft pick Donovan McNabb, a move that delighted both the crowd and the Bucs defense. In his not-too memorable NFL debut, McNabb was 4-of-11 for 26 yards and was sacked six times in the second half.

"Obviously, it was an embarrassing showing, in particular on the offensive side. We felt outmanned out there by the Tampa Bay defense," Reid said.

The schedule doesn't let up on Philly: they will face the Buffalo Bills in Ralph Wilson Stadium on Sunday.

Reid says Pederson will start, so long as he's healthy. Pederson officially left the Tampa game because of a strained right shoulder and he is listed as day-to-day for the Bills game.

The coach stressed that McNabb could continue to get spot duty.

"It's important that in time, he gets into the game a bit to get used to the speed of the game. He needs to feel that and get a taste of that," Reid said.

On the other side of the line, Mamula, a Lackawanna native, will take Douglas' place in the starting lineup, while Reid said backup tackles Brandon Whiting and Steve Martin will be worked into the defensive end rotation.

"Mike (Mamula) has been doing a decent job with the present job with the pressure package," Reid said. "Now we're going to ask him to play a complete game."

Struggling Broncos lose Mobley

DENVER -- A year after pursuing a perfect season, the Denver Broncos are searching for an identity without their most identifiable player.

"Anytime you lose the greatest quarterback of all time, you kind of wonder where you're headed," linebacker Glenn Cadrez said Monday as the Broncos tried to regroup from their 0-2 start in the post-John Elway era.

"No one's going to feel sorry for the Super Bowl champs. What we need to do is put our rings away, put them in the safe and just go out and play. What we did in the past is what we did in the past," Cadrez said.

The future is not encouraging for the Broncos, who learned Monday that linebacker John Mobley will be out for the season after tearing a ligament in his right knee during Sunday's 26-10 loss at Kansas City.

Mobley was Denver's leading tackler the past two years and his injury is the latest setback for a team that has looked sloppy on both sides of the ball.

"We've got to improve in all areas -- all areas," coach Mike Shanahan said.

Anders out for the year

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- On Sunday, Kimble Anders had the best game of his nine-year career, rushing for 142 yards on 22 carries. On Monday, his season came to an end.

The former Pro Bowl fullback, converted to halfback this season when the Kansas City Chiefs revamped their rushing attack, had surgery on his left Achilles' tendon and was placed on injured reserve.

A skillful blocker and receiver as well as runner, Anders was also a quiet leader of the offense.

"It's tough. It's tough personally," Chiefs coach Gunther Cunningham said. "The football part, those things happen. But it's tough personally because Kimble's done a great job for all of us."

Second-year man Rashaan Shehee is expected to split time with Bam Morris at running back.

Smith prepares for first start

CINCINNATI -- Sooner or later this season, Akili Smith was going to start a game for the Cincinnati Bengals.

Coach Bruce Coslet wishes it was much later than this week.

The rookie quarterback will take most of the snaps in practice this week, preparing to make his first NFL start Sunday in Carolina. Meanwhile, injured starter Jeff Blake will get treatment on his sore passing shoulder and hope that he can be ready for the game.

"Jeff is very questionable," Coslet said. "There's a 25 percent chance that he will play -- that's if everything would go perfect."

That leaves the 0-2 Bengals in a worst-case scenario. Smith, the third overall pick in the draft, missed virtually all of training camp in a contract impasse. He signed a seven-year deal on Aug. 24 and began a crash course in learning the X's and O's.

Around the league

Week Two meant Injury II for New Orleans Saints rookie running back Ricky Williams. The Heisman Trophy-winner sprained his right elbow in Sunday's loss at San Francisco and coach Mike Ditka isn't sure when Williams will be able to play again. "Time? I have no idea. I can't even answer," Ditka said. The Saints (1-1) are off this week, then play at Chicago on Oct. 3. Practice will resume Wednesday.

Stoney Case will be the starting quarterback for the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday against the Cleveland Browns. Case, a fifth-year pro who has seen limited action in his career, replaces Scott Mitchell, who was acquired during the offseason from the Detroit Lions for two draft picks. Mitchell was ineffective in the Ravens' first two games, both losses, going 24 of 56 for 236 yards with four interceptions and one touchdown.

After Mark Chmura lost feeling in his hands and arms for the second time during training camp, team doctors said he was at no great risk of permanent paralysis. But Chmura suffered a third incident of numbness in his upper extremities Sunday, and even his Green Bay Packers teammates are worried whether the Pro Bowl tight end should be playing. Team doctors examined Chmura on Monday to determine whether it's safe for him to continue playing. He was expected to undergo an MRI and other tests before deciding whether to retire, as he has been urged by his wife and agent to do.

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