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Nfl Week

December 10, 2006|By Alex Marvez | Alex Marvez,South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Ten items causing buzz around the NFL:

One

Martin Gramatica -- The kicker capped his Dallas debut with a 46-yard field goal with one second left to give the Cowboys a 23-20 win over the Giants last week. He replaced Mike Vanderjagt, who was released Nov. 27. Gramatica said Vanderjagt called after the game to congratulate him.

Two

Willis McGahee -- The Bills running back has rushed for 538 yards and four touchdowns in his past four games against the Jets, giving him ammunition in his trash-talking battle with New York linebacker Jonathan Vilma, his former college teammate at Miami. "Once we meet on the field, he makes his little tackles and starts running his mouth," McGahee said.

Three

Darrell Jackson -- The Seahawks receiver is predicting victory for his alma mater, Florida, against favored Ohio State in the Bowl Championship Series title game. "I heard someone on TV talking nonsense about no matter who [the Buckeyes] play, they've got it," Jackson said. "When you play the [Southeastern Conference], man, we don't play that. We're going to ... shock the world."

Four

Grady Jackson -- The Falcons defensive tackle has proved to be a free-agent steal, leading the NFL in tackles for losses with 12. "He's not just a big guy who stands there and mauls people," coach Jim Mora said. "He has good vision, good lateral quickness. When he gets ahold of those guys, they don't often get away."

Five

Jon Kitna -- Despite his team's 2-10 record, Detroit coach Rod Marinelli said he expects Kitna to return as his quarterback in 2007. "He's going to come in and finish this because he brings everything we want," said Marinelli, whose team may be in position to land Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn in the draft.

Six

Michael Strahan -- The defensive end's absence because of a foot injury is a major factor in the Giants' four-game losing streak. Since 2004, New York is 1-11 when Strahan isn't in uniform. He is listed as doubtful today.

Seven

Bruce Gradkowski -- The Buccaneers' rookie is on a short leash after throwing nine interceptions and compiling a 3-6 starting record. "I don't foresee a quarterback change, although if we continue to throw interceptions, that will be an obvious change we will need to make," coach Jon Gruden said.

Eight

Marcel Shipp -- The Cardinals running back ended a streak of 505 rushes or receptions without a touchdown by scoring three times in last week's 34-20 win over St. Louis. "I can still play the game," said Shipp, relegated to a backup role behind Edgerrin James.

Nine

Warrick Dunn and Michael Vick -- The Falcons' Dunn (952 yards) and Vick (929) are set to become the NFL's first running back/quarterback duo to each rush for 1,000 yards.

Ten

John Elway -- The former Broncos quarterback said retirement has been kind to his Hall of Fame legacy. "When you retire, you get a lot better," Elway said. "I never lost a Super Bowl, never threw a pick, never got sacked. ... I did all that. We just forget."

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