Bill Connelly takes a look at the early-season S&P+ outliers and whether his eyeballs agree or disagree with the stats. Spoiler: Alabama is underrated. Alabama! Underrated!
24 Nov 2006
compiled by Alex Carnevale
"We are especially thankful after another huge victory for the Titans."
-- Tennessee Titans DL Travis LaBoy, in his newspaper column after the Titans' win over the Eagles this past Sunday.
"We could be at home right now with our families, but we've been blessed to play a game for a living."
-- Broncos LB Al Wilson, before Thursday night's Chiefs-Broncos game. (The NFL Network)
"I figured out that I've been fighting for this for 37 years. That's my understanding. And I would not want it any other way. I'm not seeking for us to get a priority right, like Dallas and Detroit have. But I am seeking that those teams not have that priority right."
-- Lamar Hunt, owner of the Kansas City Chiefs, on the fact that the Thanksgiving night game will rotate between NFL teams.
"We have to find a way to correct it. That's the bottom line. I talked about this earlier in the season; if you don't have balance you can't win in the NFL. A disproportionate amount of teams that win, win it by running the football. That's football. It's not complicated. This is something that teams and kids and coaches do from 12 years old to college and beyond. It isn't rocket science."
-- Tiki Barber, on the Giants abandoning the run in a Monday night defeat at the hands of the Jaguars.
"Yeah, it's a challenge, but we are not scared of anyone. We have played against the best defenses in this league, against the run and overall, and we've run the ball. We've done effective things. We have executed in the pass game."
"We got away from it early and never got back to it because we felt like we weren't executing or finding any type of rhythm, but we never got back to it. I felt insignificant for the first time in my career -- I should say this season -- and it was frustrating."
"So I think you put yourself halfway to failure to say we can't do something because of another team's personnel. It's a slap in the face of me and a slap of my front five guys. We don't take to that very kindly."
"I am not here to be a cheerleader, someone who fades into the background. My job is to help this team win. The opportunities I get will dictate that."
"You say you have a couple of negative plays you just can't do it any more? That's a cop-out. The one thing you have to do as a team, whether it's passing the ball or running the ball is establish an identity and believe in something and have faith in it and do it over and over again. In some ways dare a team to stop you. We haven't done that. I think that's why we've faltered these last couple of games."
-- Barber (New York Post)
"Obviously, in this business, you need the courage of your convictions. I'm totally convinced by Eli's ability. I have the same conviction about him I always did and so does everybody in this organization. All the hysteria doesn't mean a thing to me."
-- Giants general manager Ernie Accorsi
"Eli's a concern. When you talk about nine dropped balls you are not talking about a very good performance. Everybody around him has to play better."
-- Giants coach Tom Coughlin
"I have faith in Eli. I think he will find a way to correct the mistakes he has been making. He can shore up his mechanics and become the leader we saw earlier this season. I really do believe that."
"Fred Taylor's an outstanding running back."
-- Coughlin (WFAN.com)
"We feel like he's got to play better. We feel like we've got to get more consistency ... the interceptions are just killing us."
-- Coughlin, backing up his franchise quarterback.
"Your quarterback has to play well for you to have the opportunity or the chance to win. So many of us are so dependent on how the quarterback plays.... There's no doubt he has to play better."
"We didn't play well enough, we didn't execute real well, and we got to fix that. We got to make plays. We got to keep the defense on the field. Every quarterback goes through a phase when he's not playing great football. You can't lose your confidence. You can't be gun-shy. I haven't played well in two games. That doesn't mean I have to change everything."
-- Giants QB Eli Manning (New York Daily News)
"He needs to worry about right now and next year will come. Let's go ahead and take care of this year and then, if he feels that way, then we'll address that at the end of the year. But right now, we're trying to win football games. He's a part of the football team. I expect him to try to help us win football games.''
-- Raiders head coach Art Shell, on Moss
"You're not going to get him to understand that there's 57 other guys in here trying to get this job done, too, so, if you have an issue with upstairs or whatever the hell it may be, you have a month and a half. That's six weeks."
-- Raiders DT Warren Sapp, on Randy Moss (ESPN.com)
"Sit down, shut up and let's play football, and then go talk to those people about whatever you got going. But you're not going to get that.''
"I assume he's putting forth every effort to be successful when he's running his routes and trying to get open. That's the assumption, and let's hope that that's happening. He's doing that. He's trying.''
"I stay away from that drama. You can't be buying into a lot of the hoopla going around from certain individuals.''
-- Raiders QB Aaron Brooks
"It's still a matter of us believing the price is too high and that NFL Network should be part of a sports tier so the price of the network isn't spread to all our customers. It should go only to those who wish to subscribe to the channel."
-- Time Warner Houston spokesman Ray Purser, on the conflict between the NFL Network and major cable systems over carrying the network.
"It's the most valuable programming a cable company can offer, and a cable company not carrying live NFL games is like a grocery store not carrying milk."
-- NFL Network spokesman Seth Palansky (Indianapolis Star)
"It worries me a little bit because my son is the head coach down there. But he's a great athlete, my son likes him a lot, he's a good kid. But he's not a passer. And you need a passer at quarterback to be successful consistently in the National Football League. And he ain't getting it done in that category."
-- NFL Network analyst Jim Mora, on his son's franchise quarterback Michael Vick.
"He regrets it."
-- Falcons coach Jim Mora Jr., on his dad's comments.
"I'm a huge Mike Vick fan. I always have been. I love the guy. He's a great player and I think he's a better person. I don't care what anybody says about Mike. If I was starting a franchise and I could pick one guy all-time, I would pick Mike Vick. That's how I feel about it."
-- Jim Mora Jr.
"Honestly, I don't even know what to say. I think it was inappropriate. But, hey, when you're commentating, I guess you've got a right to say what you want to say. I just keep playing football. At the same time, it's crazy."
-- Falcons QB Michael Vick
"That's bull. Obviously, I won't say anything to Brian because he didn't hit me and the guy is on the opposite team and I'm not taking up for that guy. But if you look at the nature of the game, they always complain when we put our hands on them or cut block."
-- Braylon Edwards, on the hit Browns DB Brian Russell put on Chad Johnson last week.
"But yet you have a play like that where Chad Johnson clearly wasn't going to catch the pass, Leigh Bodden already intercepted it and Brian just leveled him. You see it time and time again. It's a rough game and we choose to play it, so it comes with the territory."
"But at the same time, protect the players. We're trying to do the same thing those guys are."
"I don't see the need for those two plays. I really don't."
-- Edwards, on that play and the Houshmanzadeh hit from the week before.
"I'm going to try to hit anybody I get a chance to, if it's a clean shot. If I get a chance to hit somebody this week it's going to happen."
-- Hitter Brian Russell
"It's football. I don't care about hits. It's going to happen. It's part of the game."
-- Hittee Chad Johnson (MSNBC.com)
"I think we're all looking forward to it, but right now I think the most important thing is just getting ready for the Bears. No matter what field you play them on, or play them in a parking lot or whatever, they're a great football team. So we need good preparation. We need to be on top of everything. We'll let the people that are working on the field worry about the field and we'll just worry about the Bears.... If we can get on it later in the week, we probably will."
-- Bill Belichick, on the new FieldTurf at Gillette Stadium (Patriots.com)
"I guess the easiest way to put it would be that those numbers signify how many players are in the deep part of the field. So in Cover-2 you have the two safeties that are in the deepest part of the field and basically five players in the underneath zone. In Cover-3, you have three players in the deep part of the field and basically four players in the underneath zones. And in 4-coverage, you have four players potentially in the deep part of the field if they send four receivers deep; if they only send three receivers deep then you'd only have three and if they only send two, you'd only have two. But it's how many players defend the deep part of the field and that, naturally, is reciprocal to how many players you have defending the underneath areas. So if they're throwing short, you'd like to be Cover-2 and have that extra guy down there. If they're throwing deep, you'd like to be in Cover-4 and be able to carry four vertical receivers. If you want to be somewhere in the middle, then that's kind of Cover-3. So that's sort of where that comes from."
-- Bill Belichick, on the difference between cover schemes.
"I think he's a good player. I think he's a really good player. I think he's having a really good year. I think he's done a really good job for us. He does a lot of things well. He rushes well. He covers well. He plays the run. He's a smart player and hardly makes any mistakes. I think he's a real solid guy."
-- Belichick, on DL Rosevelt Colvin
"Those are your children. That's where your heart is."
-- Olivia Manning, on watching her kids play football. (CBC.ca)
"The father will go to the game or the uncle or anyone else, and they'll watch the son, but they'll watch the play. The mother will not take her eyes off the son."
-- John Madden
"It's extremely hard watching him."
-- Sheryl Carr, whose son David has been sacked a whopping 232 times so far in 4 1/2 seasons with the Houston Texans.
"If Don would catch a pass or get tackled, he'd be on the ground for a short amount of time. In the stands I'm thinking, 'You're OK. You're a big tough guy, you can handle this. When it's your own child out there, this is somebody you've cared for. It's been your responsibility their entire life. It's kind of hard to just turn that switch off."
-- Betsey Hasselbeck
"With Peyton, as he's gotten older and I know he's in command of his team and situations, I think it's easier to watch him than Eli, who's in his third year and still making some younger-player mistakes."
-- Olivia Manning
"They're still our little boys."
-- Wilma McNabb
"I'm not saying I'm losing patience, but you have to look at it for what it is. Right now, it needs to get better."
-- Cowboys head coach Bill Parcells, on the struggles of the Cowboys kicker.
"We have to make those field goals. He's the most accurate kicker in the game, but that hasn't shown like, hopefully, it will. He's got to get some confidence and knock those balls through like he has his whole career."
-- Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, on Vanderjagt.
"It doesn't make any difference if I know what it is. I don't have a Dr. Livingstone's frozen elixir. I don't know what I can do. This guy is 36 years old and has been kicking for a long time. He has his way of doing things. Hopefully, things get a little bit better."
-- Parcells (Houston Chronicle)
"He gets it. He has that. The good thing about this football team is, their sensitivity level is pretty well gone by now. They can say anything to each other."
-- Parcells, on LB Bradie James (Cowboys.com)
"He's managing the game well. And that's what he's supposed to do. He's a football guy and he's interested in playing well. But we've got a ways to go here. So put the anointing oil away, OK?"
-- Parcells, on Tony Romo's five-TD performance on Thanksgiving.
"I'm just thankful for that afternoon during the combine that Herman [Edwards] said 'How about that UCLA guy?' How about him, we got to draft him.'"
-- Chiefs defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham, on S Jarrad Page. (KCChiefs.com)
"Basically, yeah, because they were in field goal range. But I just felt at that point we were going to go for it and I'm glad we did. We talked about it and everybody was kinda saying, 'What should we do?' I said, 'Let's go for it. Here's the game. We'll see what we are.'"
-- Chiefs head coach Herman Edwards, on a crucial fourth down decision in Sunday's win over the Raiders.
"That's why he's our quarterback and why he's been a great quarterback, to be quite honest. He's the guy at the end when you need seven games -- and it's a seven-game series for us -- that he's the guy who enables us to win football games. He did that and he did that with help. That's why you bring a guy like that back. I'm a firm believer that there are reasons guys are starters. It's not by accident."
-- Edwards, on QB Trent Green.
"Matt's not down here playing football, we are. If they want to chant 'Fire Millen,' they should be chanting to fire the whole damn team. All Matt does is bring in players, and every year we talk about how much talent we have. So it should be on us. This isn't about Matt."
-- Lions LB Boss Bailey
"For whatever reason, sometimes you have a tough time. I don't know if it's something he ate, something he drank, a different hairdo. You can't really explain it."
-- LB Marcus Washington on teammate Sean Taylor's ineffectiveness this season.
"He's not a guy that's going to be loud or talkative -- unless somebody's in his face. They took that away from him this year. Getting in people's face, that was his game."
-- Philip Daniels, on the effect of the NFL's crackdown against taunting on Taylor's play.
"Sean's been in there every play, and we think he's playing at a high level. When you're not doing well as a team, it reflects on everybody. He's one-11th of what's going on over there."
-- Skins head coach Joe Gibbs
"That would be too easy to use that as an excuse. Because at some point, he's the fifth pick, he's got to be able to do it all. The fifth pick, you've got to be smart, you've got to be athletic, you've got to be able to hit, you've to be able to cover."
-- Skins DB Shawn Springs
"Everybody's struggling on the team, not just Sean. A lot of guys are not playing the same way they did last year, you can see it in the results."
-- Skins CB Carlos Rogers
"I'm just happy that he's changed. He's got a family. Anything on the field, he can correct. I'm just satisfied with him being a better guy that way."
-- Daniels (CBC.ca)
"It stinks. I'm not real excited about that. I don't know why they decided to do it right now. He's been a great player for our team, and he's done a good job for us. We're going to miss him. He's a fiery guy. He has a good time out there. We're all good friends with him on defense, and we're gonna miss the personality in the locker room because he's not going to be around this week. It stinks, man. Like I said, I don't know why they did it this week, but that's the NFL for you."
-- Bears LB Brian Urlacher, on the NFL suspending Ricky Manning Jr. for his drunken anti-Semitic assault.
"I can't really talk about it. It's a decision Ricky made; we'll live with it. We knew it was coming. We didn't exactly know what it would be. Now we know, and we'll move on from here."
-- Bears head coach Lovie Smith
"We have had some good games, we have had some average games, and we have had some poor games on offense."
-- Broncos head coach Mike Shanahan
"I've been on the hot seat all year. If I have one good game, it doesn't mean I'm off it."
-- Jake Plummer
"We are just going to keep on working to get better. A lot of people, a lot of components that make it work and hopefully we can improve a little bit in that area because we are off a little bit, especially in our drop-back passing."
"Just making decisions, making the right decisions. I don't like my completion percentage. If we complete the ball more, it's just more chances for guys to make plays."
"For all of you who have never played a game, everything doesn't work perfectly at times. But you've got to fight through those times. Eventually, things go your way."
-- Plummer (MSNBC.com)
"When did he tell you that? Today?"
-- Bills running back Willis McGahee, on head coach Dick Jauron saying he's a game-time decision. (ESPN.com)
"I guess. To tell you the truth, I don't even know. I would like to."
-- McGahee, on whether or not Jauron's assessment was realistic.
"[An official] said that [Williams] made contact within the [5-yard limit] and it was before the ball was thrown. I said, 'I find it hard to believe my quarterback would throw to a guy who's on the ground and just throw it right to someone on defense.'"
-- Colts coach Tony Dungy on Manning's first INT Sunday to Dallas Clark who may have been pushed down (ESPN.com)
"You get your food poisoned. They don't want you out there on Sunday. You don't think about it. It just got crazy."
-- Warren Sapp, on malicious evildoers trying to poison him before games.
"I know it's real, especially in Philly, come on."
"I know what Warren's talking about. If you were Warren, a lot of people may target you.... When I was in Jacksonville, Tom [Coughlin] said, 'Don't eat anything outside of what we're served as a team.'"
-- Chargers wideout Keenan McCardell
"We have been wanting to do some community service and had been praying about it, and the Clubhouse seemed like the perfect place because it helps so many people have an outlet for support."
-- Brandy Myers, wife of Denver Broncos DT Michael Myers (Clarion Ledger)
"I think it's important that I have the confidence from Coach Reid that I am the guy, that this team knows who the quarterback is going to be."
-- new Eagles starting quarterback Jeff Garcia
"Watching them play last year, I thought they had the best left side in football that I saw live, in the games that I participated in last year. I don't think it's the same this year."
-- Packers coach Mike McCarthy, on the Seattle Seahawks.
"We don't think of ourselves as a bunch of deadbeats."
-- Bucs head coach Jon Gruden, whose team was obliterated on Thanksgiving.
"It was away from the ball. I sent it into the league to ask for a clarification. I don't know that I would classify it as illegal or dirty. I think it's avoidable. I'd like to see the competition committee look at it just to take it out. The league has done a great job making this game a little bit safer, taking away some of the unnecessary exposure from guys. I don't know there's a rule against what I saw on tape, but I think we can avoid it."
-- Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio, on the hit that took out DB Donovin Darius for the season (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)
"I feel a lot better. I feel like I changed sexes. I feel like I'm a different human being. Changed sexes. I'm a different human being right now."
-- Bengals DT Sam Adams (Cincinnati.com)
"It's not always going to be peachy for you where the quarterback does a bootleg and falls down. But you have to be able to change and go with the flow and not get uptight and get bent out of shape when things aren't going your way."
-- Chad Johnson, on DL Adalius Thomas defending him last November. (Sports Illustrated)
"On a personal level, you feel terrible for him ... He finally gets the opportunity to play and that happens to him."
-- Mike McCarthy, on the plight of the now-done-for-the-season Aaron Rodgers (RealFootball365.com)
29 comments, Last at 27 Nov 2006, 6:06pm by Bobman