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Week 15 in the NFL

Quick Snaps

December 16, 2007|Sam Farmer

A clean sweep?

Tennessee center Kevin Mawae says he's sorry he injured San Diego's Shawne Merriman last Sunday but insists it was unintentional. Merriman suffered a sprained left knee and later suggested he was a targeted cheap-shot victim.

Mawae denied that.

"You know what? I've been called dirty, I have been called a cheap-shot guy," Mawae told the Tennessean newspaper. "The thing is, I have found out in 14 years that if you are doing it to somebody else it is a 'cheap shot' but when they do it to you it is 'tough football.'

"The game is a violent game and I understand guys can get hurt playing this game. Therefore I would never intentionally try to hurt somebody."

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Self-made man

Jacksonville's Fred Taylor is having a good season. He has run for more than 100 yards in each of his last three games, his first such streak since 2004, and he's 56 yards shy of his seventh 1,000-yard season in 10 years.

Not only that, but he got at least 10 Pro Bowl votes last week.

He's sure of that, because he voted for himself 10 times.

"Why not vote for yourself?" asked Taylor, who has never made the Pro Bowl even though he's 18th on the all-time rushing list. "Why not try to better my chances?"

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Forgotten man

Raiders running back LaMont Jordan was among the league's rushing leaders after four games. But then he suffered a back injury and, when he returned, his role was greatly reduced because of the effectiveness of Justin Fargas.

Jordan talked to reporters last week for the first time in a month, venting his disappointment and frustration with the situation.

"I can't wait for the season to be over, just to get a fresh start, whether it's here, whether it's somewhere else, or wherever the case may be," he said. "I'm just ready to get this year over with. I'm not going to sit here and make it seem like I'm OK with everything. That's not the case at all. I'm not happy. It's just one of those things."

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Standing by his safety

It was a boneheaded move for Pittsburgh's Anthony Smith to guarantee a victory over the Patriots. And New England Coach Bill Belichick, in turn, was snide in his postgame criticism of the second-year safety.

"We've played against a lot better safeties than him, I'll tell you," Belichick said, adding of the Steelers in general: "Well, again, the safety play at that position was pretty inviting."

Informed of Belichick's comments, Pittsburgh Coach Mike Tomlin stood up for Smith.

"I don't care what Coach Belichick has to say after the games regarding our performance," Tomlin said. "I compliment them for a great game and we move forward. His opinions are irrelevant to us, because we focus on what it is we do and how we prepare in moving forward. Do we need to get better play? Absolutely, but it won't be because he said it."

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Now it can be told

In interviews with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, several Falcons players said Bobby Petrino -- who quit last week after only 13 games to take the University of Arkansas coaching job -- seemed to intentionally put them in positions to fail.

"We would spend hours practicing plays, a ton of plays, during the week," tailback Warrick Dunn said. "He'd add a bunch more during walk-through [practice, the day before the game].

"We'd be in the game and he'd call plays we might have practiced once or talked about once since that Wednesday, if then."

Said quarterback Joey Harrington: "That's messing with our livelihoods. Not just ours but our families."

-- Sam Farmer

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