Week Nine NFL Notes

Just as former Giants running back Tiki Barber learned to correct his fumbling issues, the Texans are hoping their running back Steve Slaton can do the same.

In fact, last week Texans running back coach Chick Harris made a video of Barber's nearly fumble-proof running style to show Slaton, who now has lost five fumbles in the past eight games.

Barber's numbers were similar. During 2002 and 2003, Barber lost six fumbles, including three in one game against the Eagles on Dec. 28, 2002. After that, Giants head coach Tom Coughlin taught Barber to hold the ball vertically rather than horizontally, and the next season, Barber had only two fumbles.

Now the Texans are hoping Slaton can do the same and improve the fumbles that have cost the Texans the football and Slaton his starting job. If Harris succeeds with Slaton, maybe he can be as productive as Barber was at the tail end of his NFL career, when he turned into one of the league's top running backs.

Kokinis underground

After Cleveland and George Kokinis parted ways, the Browns announced that their former general manager was not escorted out of the building.

However, multiple sources said Kokinis was ordered to clean out his office and, as he did, he had Browns security hovering around him. The same security team also confiscated Kokinis' cell phone, which could be part of the evidence the Browns are seeking to fire Kokinis with cause and not have to pay him the remaining time on his contract.

But sources said from the moment the Browns and Kokinis knew they were divorcing, Kokinis was not let out of sight of team officials until after he was off the team's property and away from its training facility.

Since then, a number of people around the league have reached out to Kokinis, but he hasn't responded. Many believe it is because he no longer has his cell phone.

Right now, Kokinis has gone underground and out of touch.

Injury problems for Owen Daniels and Leon Washington

For every Albert Haynesworth or Asante Samuel that plays out his contract, reaches free agency and then hits it big, there is an Owen Daniels or Leon Washington.

Both Daniels and Washington turned down lucrative contract extensions before the season began, only to suffer season-ending injuries once the season kicked off.

Daniels is said to have turned down a five-year extension worth well over $30 million. Washington is said to have turned down a five-year extension worth well over $20 million.

Now, Daniels will spend his off-season rehabbing the anterior cruciate ligament he tore this past Sunday, while Washington will be recovering from the fibula he fractured the previous Sunday.

Daniels and Washington now are the anti-Samuel and anti-Haynesworth examples of the gambles players take if they pass up extensions their teams are offering.

Each player thought he would be worth more on the open market, and each might have very well been right. But now it's going to take a little longer than either player would have liked to hit the payday he was working for.

There are those around the league -- smart minds and men, too -- that believe Owen Daniels was the Texans' best and most dangerous offensive weapon. They think he meant more to Houston's offense than even Pro Bowl wide receiver Andre Johnson.

Their argument was that no one got better separation from the defense than Daniels, no one was tougher to cover than Daniels and no one made more plays than Daniels. Many consider Johnson the league's best wide receiver, so the fact that some believe Daniels was more valuable to the Texans' offense speaks to Daniels' skills.

Now the Texans have to figure out a way to replace them as they try to win their first game ever in Indianapolis.

<h3 style="padding-bottom:0px;" / Ryan Clark returns to Denver?

Last time Steelers safety Ryan Clark played in Denver in 2007, his sickle cell trait reacted negatively, he wound up having his spleen and gall bladder removed, losing 30 pounds and not playing the second half of the season.

But many forget that Clark previously played in Denver back in 2005 as a member of the Washington Redskins, and had another similarly scary experience. Clark suffered what doctors thought was a bruised spleen that caused him to miss his team's next game against the Kansas City Chiefs.

The second time Clark played in Denver, he experienced a much more adverse reaction, to the point that afterward he said he would not play in Denver again unless he was certain there would be no problems.

Clark also is scheduled to become a free agent after this season, and he has a wife and three children. In his current circumstances, those that know him will be surprised if he plays Monday night at Denver.

Chance for Panthers to knock off Saints?

Carolina might have a better chance to pull an upset of unbeaten New Orleans than some think. For starters, the Panthers have won their past seven road games against the Saints. Part of the reason is that Panthers quarterback Jake Delhomme, born and raised in Breaux Bridge, La., usually plays some of his best football in his home state. Delhomme is 6-0 as an NFL starting quarterback in Louisiana, including 5-0 at the Louisiana Superdome, where the Saints will be hosting the Panthers on Sunday.

Trouble with drops

After Kansas City claimed Chris Chambers on waivers Tuesday, it gave the Chiefs three wide receivers that have struggled to hold on to the football this season. Three of the top 10 receivers with the most drops this season now play for Kansas City -- Dwayne Bowe, Bobby Wade and Chambers. Had Bowe and Wade held on to some of those passes, Matt Cassel's numbers might be better, and so might the win-loss totals of Kansas City.


• The Patriots' inactive list Sunday is expected to include Jarvis Green, Sammy Morris, Fred Taylor, Matt Light, Jonathan Wilhite and Julian Edelman. It will not be easy for New England to overcome the loss of that many players.

• With 19 passing yards Sunday against Houston, Colts quarterback Peyton Manning will become the first player in NFL history with 40,000 passing yards in one decade.

• Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo now has thrown a career-best 120 straight passes without an interception. Those who know Romo insist he is more comfortable, more at ease, not forcing throws and playing some of the best football of his career. But he and Roy Williams are still trying to develop their chemistry. They spent time together after practice, pitching and catching, hoping to improve their connection and their communication.