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Monday, December 24
Inside the Huddle: Warner's stats among best

By John Clayton

Kurt Warner
Not only is St. Louis Rams quarterback Kurt Warner jumping ahead of this year's pack of MVP candidates, but his statistics rank among the best in the 27 times quarterbacks won the honor since 1959.

Warner's near 300-yard-a-game pace is topped only by Dan Marino's 5,084-yard season in 1984. Only the 70-percent completion seasons of Joe Montana in 1989 and Steve Young in 1994 can top Warner's 67.3 percentage. In the six weeks since getting a cortisone injection to ease pain of the right thumb injury suffered in the Rams' opener, Warner has thrown for 1,882 yards and 16 of his 30 touchdowns.

What's hurting Janikowski
Raiders kicker Sebastian Janikowski suffered a severe left hip flexor injury when he slipped trying to tackle Chiefs kick returner Dante Hall on Dec. 9. It's an injury that led to his three missed field goals in Saturday's loss to the Titans.

The injury affects Janikowski's unique, more erect kicking style in which he generates most of his power from his hip. The injury has shortened his kickoff stride from six to four steps, prevented him from practicing and may force the Raiders to consider using another player for kickoffs until the problem calms down.

George finally back in step
Eddie George
Titans halfback Eddie George said it's taken almost a year, but his surgically reconstructed toe is finally starting to feel normal, which he predicts should allow him to bounce back strong next season from this year's disappointments.

George needed tendon surgery in the toe, and doctors wouldn't let him run until June. During Saturday night's game against the Raiders, George didn't have time to compare notes with Raiders cornerback Charles Woodson, who may face surgery himself for a turf toe injury that forces him to get weekly injections to play.

Shedding some light on new replay idea
The next possible owners' expense for instant replay could be placing a light on scoreboards to indicate that a play is being challenged from the press box. That's one of the upgrades that may be discussed to prevent the confusion that led to last week's replay-induced bottle throwing incident in Cleveland.

John Clayton is a senior writer for

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