Saturday's NFL Blog

January 27, 2007 ... New draft feature at ... Eagles ready to remove some warts ... ScoutTV gets you face-to-face with some top college prospects ... Muhsin Muhammad and Peyton Manning talk about the Super Bowl ... final analysis of the South's offensive roster from the Senior Bowl and much more!

Put a handle on that ball:  Despite all the rules that have been put in place to protect quarterbacks, the top seven players in the fumbles lost category were all quarterbacks. Topping the list were Detroit's Jon Kitna and the Raiders' Andrew Walter with nine. Then tied with seven were Houston's David Carr, Cleveland's Charlie Frye, Buffalo's J.P. Losman and Cincy's Carson Palmer. Tampa Bay's Bruce Gradkowski was the seventh quarterback on the list with six.

Get out of the weeds: It's that time of year when gazillions of websites provide pretty much the same draft coverage, wasting your time with lengthy page-long reports that talk about how fluid a player's hips are and whether or not he has a good "bubble" (do we really need to know that....seriously). If you're like me, the bottom line that you want to know is if the prospect is a player or a wannabe. Is he a good guy or a goon? And you want to know about it fast with one quick, fun read so you can amaze your friends and fellow fan forum members with your depth of knowledge that took just 30 seconds to learn. That's the goal of's new Draft File features, like this one on North Carolina State cornerback A.J. Davis. And if you want to get up close and personal with these prospects, check out our subscribers' NFL Draft Q&A features -- like this one with A.J.-- that will help you figure out if he's a good fit for your favorite team.

Wart removal:  Chuck Hixson at our Eagles site expects there to be a number of changes and upgrades in Philly's defensive personnel this offseason. In regards to the linebackers, he says, "[Jeremiah] Trotter's knees are starting to fail him. He was a liability in coverage and doesn't have the run-defending range he once did. [Dhani] Jones was ineffective and likely will be released at some point. The guy Jim Johnson would like to see replace him at SAM is '06 third-round pick Chris Gocong, who spent the entire season on injured reserve." Check out his analysis of the defense and find out where the Eagles might be competing with your favorite team for fresh talent this offseason.

Dolphins DE David Bowens sacks Browns QB Luke McCown (Eliot J. Schechter/Getty Images)
Re-sign or Release? Alain Poupart at our Dolphins site shares his thoughts on whether or not Miami should make an effort to bring back defensive end David Bowens, a good situational pass rusher and special teams player. "Bowens racked up only 19 tackles on defense on the season, but five of those were sacks, which put him fourth on the team in that department. He also had six tackles on special teams and also recovered a fumble," Poupart reports. subscribers can take a look to see if he's likely to be available for your favorite team.

Today's Birthday Bunch:
Texans FS C.C. Brown (24), Falcons DE Chauncey Davis (24), Bucs QB Bruce Gradkowski (24), Packers OG Travis Leffew (24), Vikings LS Cullen Loeffler (26), Ravens K Matt Stover (39), Jaguars RB Fred Taylor (31), 49ers DE Bryant Young (31)

Playmakers needed:
Doug Ritchay at our Packers site takes a look at Green Bay's shortage of talent at the wide receiver position, saying, "Not that the Packers' offense is Baltimore Ravens-like, but Thompson needs to add firepower. What happens if Driver gets hurt? Might as well run the wishbone." subscribers can check out his full analysis at our Packers site.

Did you know?  Five quarterbacks exceeded the 4,000-yard passing threshold this season. Sure, you'll guess a couple of them right off the top of your head, but I'll be really impressed if you can get all five of them. The answer is displayed at the end of today's blog.

Our network's Senior Bowl week coverage was enhanced this year by Miller Safrit's ScoutTV features. subscribers can check out some of his most recent installments with players who will be prominent in this year's draft, such as RB Lorenzo Booker, DE Quentin Moses and DT Amobi Okoye. Check out the rest of the ScoutTV features from the Senior Bowl and the rest of our network's coverage here.

Falcons assistant coach Billy Johnson (Getty Images)
White Shoes: Remember former wide receiver and kickoff returns specialist Billy "White Shoes" Johnson? He broke into the league in 1974 with the Houston Oilers, then played for Atlanta from 1982-1987 before wrapping up his 14-year career with a one-season stint in Washington. Johnson is 55 years old today and can look back proudly on a career that included 25 touchdown catches, an 11.8 yards per punt return average (including 6 TDs) and a 23.9 yards per kickoff return average (including 2 TDs). This week the Falcons announced that they were retaining Johnson as the assistant strength and conditioning coach. He's been part of the player development staff for 12 years in Atlanta.

One more time: Muhsin Muhammad, a former Panthers wide receiver,  is one of the few Bears who have played in the Super Bowl before. "I don't know if I would definitely say it's going to be easier," he admitted. "I would say I know what to expect. It's still going to be a chore. Media Day is still Media Day. You have to talk for an hour straight. There's other things that go on during the week with appearances and media requests and different things like that..." Find out what he had to say and what the Bears are drawing from his experience in this subscriber feature at our Chicago site.

Quotable: "The last time we played them two years ago, he did not play, and believe me, I was not disappointed about that, going into that game because he is a guy that you truly have to account for on every play." -- Colts quarterback Peyton Manning on Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher. Find out what else Manning said to the media this week in this transcript at our Colts site.

That's a wrap:
  Our team in Mobile, Alabama begins wrapping up their practice reports for this week's Senior Bowl with their Thursday notes and final analysis of each player. subscribers can check out the first of four final reports as they break down the South's offensive roster player-by-player.

The answer: Okay, here's the answer to the quarterbacks question I posed earlier in today's blog. The five who passed for 4,000 yards or more were the Saints' Drew Brees (4,418), the Colts' Peyton Manning (4,397), the Rams' Marc Bulger (4.301), the Lions' Jon Kitna (4,208), and the Bengals' Carson Palmer who slipped into the club with 4,035. If you're not a Detroit fan and you knew Kitna made it into that group this year, I'm impressed.

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