We look back at Atlanta's worst games this year to see what weaknesses New England might exploit. Those weaknesses include pretty much everyone on defense, but is there a secret to stopping the Falcons offense?
28 Dec 2006
compiled by Alex Carnevale
"I thought about going for two. But that doesn't matter now, does it?"
-- Marvin Lewis, Bengals head coach, on the botched PAT attempt that gave the Broncos the one point win on Sunday afternoon.
"That only happens on PlayStation games. I'm sitting there amazed."
-- Broncos lineman Kenard Lang
(Ed. note: Does Lang even play Madden? Has anyone ever blocked a Madden extra point, ever?)
"The snow came along at the right time, I guess."
-- Broncos receiver Rod Smith
"When the ball is a little slick like that, there is always an opportunity for that to happen, especially when the pressure is on."
-- Broncos coach Mike Shanahan
"We've done it a thousand times. We didn't execute. It had nothing to do with a wet ball or conditions. We work on this every day in practice. I reached for it. The bottom line is we need to work together as a unit."
-- Kyle Larson, Bengals holder (Houston Chronicle)
"Bad character to a teammate is different from what bad character is to the outside world. All teammates think is, 'Can you help us win or not?'"
-- Bengals wideout T.J. Houshmanzadeh
"It has not made one bit of difference to them. To the guys in there, the coverage is almost comical. The most important thing to me when you say the word 'character' is the locker room. The problem is, there's no way for the outside world to evaluate the kind of character that's important to players."
-- Marvin Lewis (ESPN the Magazine)
"This is where things get interesting. In football, you need a mix. You can't win with 53 choirboys. This can be a grimy, nasty sport, and you need people who are a little grimy and nasty."
-- Panthers DE Mike Rucker
"Statistically, where we rank in the top 10, there's that feeling. I'm not going to argue with you. There's that fear that we're not typically synced out. That's something that you constantly work on."
-- Falcons coach Jim Mora Jr., on his team's offensive performance. According to DVOA, the Falcons are the 18th ranked offense in football.
"This team has to keep fighting and has to keep pushing, but we've got to figure out what's going on, and I'm tired of going through it on a week-to-week basis. You know, guys questioning themselves and what we need to do. It needs to get done, and how we're supposed to, you know, coaches have to be coaches and players have to be players. That's the way it is."
-- Falcons QB Michael Vick, on the 7-8 Falcons. (Philadelphia Inquirer)
"We've got first-round guys, we've got guys that have been in the Pro Bowl offensively and defensively, guys who've been in the scheme for two to three years. You know, the talent level is there, and I just think it's a question that needs to be answered. I don't know what it is, but we're too good to be losing these games."
-- Vick, on the state of his offense.
"You just can't come out there and just try to wing it. I'm not saying we did that, but either we've got to come out and throw the football or come out and try to establish the run."
-- Vick (Indianapolis Star)
"When talking with Mike through the year, I know he's very happy with the offense. He's rushed for over 1,000 yards and thrown a career-high touchdown passes. We were ranked in the top 10 going into that game in total offense, so we've been doing some good things offensively."
-- Mora Jr.
"I've been fine. It's not just me, it's most coaches in this season. I'm not worried about that. What I'm most proud of is the fact that our body of work over three years is impressive."
-- Mora Jr., on criticism that has come his way.
"I didn't expect them to cheer us. It's Christmas and everyone wants to be merry. They are obviously upset with us and they have a right to be."
-- Giants center Shaun O'Hara, on fan reaction to his team's loss to the Saints on Sunday.
"I feel badly for all Giants fans to come here on Christmas Eve and then for us to lose the game the way we lost it. It's embarrassing."
-- Giants head coach Tom Coughlin
"Today was awful. We never had anything quite like this. We've had some tough games and games where we didn't finish well, but today, we didn't do anything."
-- Giants QB Eli Manning (Sioux City Journal)
"I don't have the slightest idea what's going on. Sure, I have voiced my opinion. I'm frustrated with how this season went. I don't think that's too bad of a thing to say. I don't know how [Childress] took that or anything else that has happened this season. I don't know if his feelings were hurt or he felt slighted or what have you."
-- former Vikings wide receiver Marcus Robinson, on his relationship with the head coach of the Minnesota Vikings, Brad Childress.
"We really didn't have a relationship whatsoever where we just talked back and forth. That's not typical. Normally, head coaches make decisions and do certain things. But at least they talk to you. I mean, look at today. I'm a 10-year veteran being released a week before the season is over. I wasn't told a reason. I just got a phone call..."
-- Robinson, on his former coach Childress.
"He's building a foundation of his type of offense, and that's fine. But all offenses cater around their players. You can run your offense, but you want to cater to the talents of the players you have."
"That's what's frustrating about the communication. As a veteran, you can see certain things on the field. You're not a coach and you don't call plays, but I can come to the sideline and voice my opinion on what I see out there and hope you respond to it. With [former offensive coordinator Scott] Linehan, you'd come to the sideline and say certain things, and they would take advantage of that. I guarantee you, if you look at Peyton Manning, if you look at those guys Linehan has with the Rams, those players are giving a lot of input."
-- Robinson (San Jose Mercury News)
"You know what? I'm not sure why I took it. I think I took it because it fit perfectly with my schedule and my lifestyle... There was no reason not to."
-- NFL network play-by-play man Bryant Gumbel, on the four year contract he signed with the NFL Network.
"The only person, the only person at the NFL who had a problem with it was the outgoing commissioner. Absolutely nobody but nobody at the NFL had a problem."
-- Gumbel, on his comment about "Gene Upshaw's leash."
"If you start second-guessing yourself, you only weaken the final product. You nitpick yourself, then you go into the next one worried about it. And you miss the big picture."
-- Gumbel, on not watching his games after he does them.
"I'll cringe and I'll go, 'How could you be so stupid?' The only thing I really hope is that when I watch them I'll be able to say, 'Our last game, Giants-Redskins, the guy sounded a lot different than he did doing our first game.'"
"If you watch any NFL broadcast you can nitpick on minor mistakes. We hired Bryant because we thought he could bring a fresh approach to broadcasting NFL games."
-- Matt Loomis, producer for the NFL Network.
"I fully expect to do the four years, and I'm hoping that each year will be more enjoyable than the one before."
-- Gumbel (The Press-Enterprise)
"Unofficially, we're the best in the West. Even though we don't get a chance to go to the playoffs, we know we have the best divisional record, and that's big."
-- Cardinals running back Edgerrin James, clearly full of holiday spirit, on the team's NFC West division-best 4-2 record. (Kansas City Star)
"Under the circumstances, it means a lot. At first I didn't look at it as a big deal, but then you realize what's happened around here and how rare it is, and being that it's my first year here, it's a big accomplishment."
-- Cardinals RB Edgerrin James, on reaching 1,000 yards this season.
"I don't know if I'd call it my sweetest [1,000-yard season], but this was definitely the most interesting. The first six weeks, we had five different offensive lines. How could I tell the right tackle what I want him to do on a certain play when the next week he's at guard? It was crazy, but we learned from it. Once we decided this is our unit we're going to play with, we started to roll."
-- Edge (The Dispatch)
"This always happens. When I was in New York, I remember, and we had some seasons that weren't very good about the 10th game they were already asking what's going to happen at the end of the year... Winning a division and a championship is my thinking, is Carl's thinking I know. That's what we'll try."
-- Chiefs head coach Herman Edwards
"Now, you put yourself out there when you do that and a lot of guys don't want to do that in today's world. All the cameras are watching you now. Back when I played there were only maybe two and it wasn't even color. But it's a little different now. Players don't want to be embarrassed. It takes a heck of a guy to do that."
-- Edwards, on leadership in the locker room. (KCChiefs.com)
"All I care about is getting to 9-7. Truthfully, do I think we're going to get in? No. A lot has to happen for us to get in at 9-7. If we do, it's a miracle."
-- Chiefs DE Jared Allen
"I've never been involved in a season like this. The way we're playing and the record we have, it's unbelievable. There's frustration, but we know those guys want to win as much as we do. They're working hard. They're having meetings. They're not going out there to fumble the ball.''
-- Raiders safety Stuart Schweigert, on his resentment towards the Raiders offense.
''It's like cleaning up your room all day long, and somebody just comes in and messes it up. How would you feel?''
-- Raiders linebacker Kirk Morrison, on his team's turnovers. (The New York Times)
"I'm going to do it for as long as I can. You can't always be a cheerleader, so you might as well do it while you still have it in you."
-- Dolphins cheerleader Megan Danforth
"There's pressure. We all take it in stride. We're not pushed to do anything we don't want to do. We choose to look good and eat healthy and do cardio, so it just makes the practices that much easier."
-- Danforth (Maine Morning Sentinel)
"My acting coach said it would be hard for me to act because I didn't have negative life experiences to draw from."
-- Tiki Barber (ESPN the Magazine)
"He is a hot commodity right now, and there is interest from other networks. We're trying to entice him to stay with us. He has a great future in television."
-- Fox senior VP of programming Bill Shine
"To me, the celebration is drawing attention at the end of the play. People have seen the play and did the, 'Ooh! Ah! Wow!' Then, when you get into the end zone, there is no need to do any more 'Ooh! Ah! Wow!' to me because you are drawing attention to yourself."
-- Chargers running back LaDanian Tomlinson, on end zone celebrations.
"A lot of times, it seems like guys [think] it's all about me. 'Hey, look at me!' I don't know, man. Maybe I am just different. Maybe that is the way I think."
"I think my Pop Warner coaches, even my high school coaches, were like, 'Son, we don't do that.' They felt like it was making fun of your opponent after you scored by dancing, and it was never right. I think at a young age my coaches really made it clear to me what it was all about."
-- LT (Orlando Sentinel)
"That really messes up the [New Year's Eve] plans. My brothers were coming to the game with me and we were going to a family party afterward. This is going to mess up the whole night."
-- Chicago Tribune reader, Chris, on the NFL's moving the Bears-Packers New Year's Eve game to the flex slot on NBC. (Chicago Tribune)
"The worst offenders are the defensive line. And Gibril Wilson is the ringleader of the group. They're taking out the girls, bringing them to parties and making them skip work. [They have] been practically living at the club and picking the girls off a lot more than they've been picking off passes. They're here all the time and I'm sick of them. I hope they read this and get pisseed off and stop coming."
-- unnamed source at the Headquarters Gentleman's Club, on the antics of Giants players. (New York Post)
"As time wore on I just saw what a genuine, real person he was and how he believed in me. He became a friend ... I just looked at him as a great person who was willing to stand by my side. In return, I never wanted to let him down."
-- Eagles QB Jeff Garcia, on Bill Walsh. (San Jose Mercury News)
"They had three cameras on the field. One to film your upper body, one to film your lower body and one to film the result of the pass. I felt like I was on a reality TV show. After we were done, we spent two hours watching the film of each pass. I was always just, 'Drop back and throw it.' But after that, I thought, 'Wow, this is big time.'"
-- QB Brett Elliott, on Chargers rookie camp. (The Oregonian)
"We're starting to form together as a team and find ways to win ballgames. We are creating our destination. We are just going to go out there and keep playing hard and let it work itself out."
-- Titans receiver Brandon Jones. The Titans have not lost since Week 10.
"That's that German in her. She's tough. She sits in the same seat all the time. They take care of her pretty good over there, too. She went there five times with the Jets, so she's OK. They know who she is."
-- Herm Edwards, on his 81-year-old mother, Martha, who attended Raiders games against the Jets when Herm was coach.
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41 comments, Last at 03 Jan 2007, 1:14am by Ben