Our offseason Four Downs series ends with a look at the NFC West's biggest remaining holes and their most notable UDFA signings. The Rams and 49ers have to kick-start their passing games, Arizona's offense lacks a big dimension, and the Seahawks continue to rely on Russell Wilson's magic tricks.
08 Nov 2006
compiled by Alex Carnevale
"I will never forget the moment of meeting him."
-- San Diego Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson, on meeting Cleveland Browns advisor Jim Brown outside the locker room in Qualcomm Stadium.
"My goodness, that's Jim Brown."
-- Tomlinson, on the first thing he thought.
"I've never met him before, so the first thing I did is just go to shake his hand, just to say, 'I appreciate you inspiring me to be a runner...' To me he was the best combination of power and speed. He was phenomenal."
"Well, one thing we'll take care of in the draft. We are going to get a back. This guy from TCU. I've watched him a lot and so have our scouts. This guy is the real deal."
-- former Browns coach Chris Palmer, speaking about Tomlinson in 2000.
"This guy may be the next Emmitt Smith. But he's an option back who doesn't fit what we want to do and we need to help our defense."
-- next head coach Butch Davis, before selecting Gerard Warren with the third pick in the 2001 draft.
"Their job is to block and block their man. All I have to do is run and anticipate where the hole is going to be and if it's not there then I have to have my second option trying to find out where the hole is going to be after the point of impact. I'm not going to gauge what one new guy does or what another new guy does. We all block the same scheme and we're all running the same scheme. That's how we get things done."
-- Chiefs running back Larry Johnson, on his offensive line
"I'm having a little bit more input on what we do as far as the running plays and things I like and things I don't like. I'm having more input now than I've have since I've been here, talking it over with the offensive lineman and finding out what they like and what they don't like. I think that's what's making this thing work."
"I just have jerseys of different guys who are in the Hall of Fame or are about to be in the Hall of Fame stitched into the seats of my truck. I've got Walter Payton, Lenny Moore, D.J. Dozier, Ernie Ladd, Ed Sprinkle, Tony Dorsett, Eric Dickerson, Jim Brown... the list goes on and on."
"Were all of those guys your childhood heroes?"
-- the follow-up question
"They couldn't be my childhood heroes because I wasn't around when those guys were done playing. Basically, NFL Films made it possible for me to learn more about NFL history than I have in other aspect of the sport. There was so much that NFL Films did, like Steve Sabol putting those tapes out there. Without those tapes I don't think I would have known Tony Dorsett or Dickie Post or anybody who played before me. I think a lot of players need to go back and take a look at that history."
"Do you have a whole library of NFL Films highlight tapes?"
-- the next question
"I don't have a whole library."
"Herm came in and was on the same page as me and is trying to get done the same things that I'm trying to get done. That's how everything gelled together and worked. That's how we can have little skits where I'm making fun of him or he's making fun of me because we're on the same page."
"It was just a spur of the moment thing. I was just hanging out in the Public Relations Department and I just thought the idea would be cool to dress up as Herm and kind of mimic him. That would be my little fun for the year."
-- LJ, on impersonating Herm for Halloween.
"We play to win the game. My wife comes up to me, who's going to be our starting quarterback? But that's OK."
-- Larry Johnson's Herm Edwards impersonation (MissouriNet.com)
"We're a team. I don't want to say we're a defensive team because we're not. We're a football team."
-- Chiefs head coach Herman Edwards (KCChiefs.com)
"Everybody panicked. And I said, 'What am I going to do?' Well, I'm going to get them focused and I'm going to give them a plan of how to beat Denver. That's the thing I talked about the next day. I never even mentioned Trent's name in the team meeting. I said, 'Here's the deal, here's what we're going to do to play Denver.' And I started talking about Denver. It got them thinking about that, and then we kind of got going."
-- Herman Edwards, on his team's turnaround after Trent Green went down with a concussion.
"Now I can hear him hollering. And he was mad it took us three plays to score down there on the 2. We scored a touchdown, and he was mad. Why'd it take us three plays to score? He's hollering that at the players. And I say, 'Mike, they can't hear you.'"
-- Herm, on offensive coordinator Mike Solari
"Yeah, but you still have to win even if you go 5-3. You've still got to win games. We talked about that but I gave them one more (stat), too: 2-5. I was 2-5 (with Jets) one time and did it. So, you can use stats however you want to use them."
-- Edwards, on did he think he'd be at 5-3 after starting 0-2.
"I want to be a good football team. I want to have the same identity that people talk about when they talk about the New England Patriots, when they talk about the Pittsburgh Steelers, teams that consistently go to the playoffs. None of those teams have been No. 1 at this or that. They just play good, solid football consistently, week in and week out. That's something every player has kind of been jealous about with New England."
-- Herman Edwards
"I go by the chart."
-- Cowboys head coach Bill Parcells, after an early 2 point conversion attempt gone wrong played a part in this Sunday's 22-19 loss to the Redskins. (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)
"Our chart says to do what we did. So that's what we did."
-- Bill Parcells
"Hey fellas, you guys are trying to pick out plays. It's the last one, that's the one you need to be focused on. That was the game-loser."
-- Bill Parcells (SI.com)
"When you've got your leader as maybe one of your best competitors -- your quarterback -- one of your best competitors on your football team, that's what you want because that's in your leadership position. He rallies those guys around him. He's our Joe Kapp. He's that type of guy. â€¦ He's got some of that same fiber, that same intensity."
-- Rod Marinelli, on Lions QB Jon Kitna
"I love how positive he is and how good he feels about those things. That's a positive. â€¦ I keep kind of refocusing back in on practice. My thing today was, watch this film, accept the criticism of the film, how do you improve off of the film? Let it go. We've got to become a team, a franchise, that's consistent and expects to win. We've got to learn to accept it, not celebrate for two weeks here."
-- Marinelli, on WR Roy Williams
"As opposed to just being a whisper in the locker room, guys finally came out and said it, and I think it was good for this team."
-- Cardinals WR Anquan Boldin (Arizona Republic)
"Because I don't like them. I don't like their attitude. I don't like their approach to the game, and I don't like their actions on the field."
-- Cardinals DL Bertrand Berry, on cancers in the locker room.
"We win as a team, we lose as a team."
--Berry, on Oct. 29
"It's the players' game, and the players have to understand that if you have a guy in the (locker room) and he's next to you and he feels you're not working as hard as you should be, that's what the players should do. I think the good teams, that's what they always insist on."
-- former Cardinals head coach Dennis Green
"Some of the things Bertrand said, it's not necessarily that he doesn't like one particular person as a man. It's more like he doesn't like the way certain people around here do things, how they take their job. I can agree. It's like we're losing and we get on the plane and it's OK. That's one thing that shocked me when I first came out of college. I came here, and we lost, and it was like, 'OK, we get our paycheck.' "
-- Cornerback Eric Green
"If you just get up there and say things and it's going to be a bunch of blank words or words that don't mean anything to anybody, then it's a moot point. I hope we have the guys in this locker room that take it to heart and it changes them, and then you have a quality meeting and one that was much-needed."
-- Cardinals QB Kurt Warner
THEY SAY THAT PRIDE COMES RIGHT BEFORE A FALL / I HAVE FALLEN AND I WASN'T PROUD / YOU KNOW THAT I HAVE FALLEN FURTHER BEFORE / I JUST CANNOT STAND FALLING NO MORE
"We went through it last year, and that helps. Our guys know it's really not about unbeaten seasons."
-- Tony Dungy, Colts coach.
"This is a different team. We're not playing quite as sharp as we did last year, but we're finding ways to win. We're in a lot more close games, and it just seems like every week it's someone else, some other unit and whatever it takes that particular week. So that's good. I like that about our guys."
-- Tony Dungy
"Even the great Ravens team I was on that won the Super Bowl (in 2000) had its flaws. Great defense. Jamal (Lewis) was running well. But we weren't as strong at quarterback with Trent Dilfer, and we didn't throw the ball as well as we liked to."
-- Vikings WR Travis Taylor
"Don't bring that up again. Go away!"
-- Colts general manager Bill Polian, on undefeated talk.
"This year is totally different. Hopefully that's a sign of a championship team."
-- Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne
"Yeah, but the good teams always find a way to win, no matter what. Maybe the Colts can't stop the run, so they claw their way to more points and win anyway."
-- Vikings TE Jim Kleinsasser (San Jose Mercury News)
"I think I like where we are better because it is more of everybody and it's more like the real NFL, where you've got to really play and you've got to make plays in the fourth quarter and you've got to really assert yourself down the stretch. And we seem to be doing that."
"[He] let me down. . . . I was hoping they would continue to win so they would get all that focus."
-- Tony Dungy (Washington Post)
"They're a good team. We'll cross paths again."
-- Patriots linebacker Junior Seau, on the Colts.
"As important as anything in building a championship team is that you've got to move on. I'm not keeping players hanging around to serve my own ego. That's a dangerous, dangerous thing."
-- Chargers general manager A.J. Smith
"You've got to think in advance. You've got to look out in front. We can't control injuries and that torments me. All I can do is prepare. What if he's gone and he's gone and he's gone and he's gone? What do you have behind them? Get good football players as fast as you can and hope you've evaluated them correctly."
-- A.J. Smith
"I try to be cautiously aggressive. You've got to take chances."
-- A.J. Smith (San Diego Union Tribune)
"He was obviously upset because he wasn't making plays. He was trying to get out of the situation."
-- Seahawks tight end Jerramy Stevens, on getting kneed in the business by Raiders DE Tyler Brayton
"The officials told me what he did; I missed that part. He will be disciplined by the league for sure."
-- Raiders head coach Art Shell
"I could hear him, 'Don't do anything to hurt the team.' That's five years playing for him. He was definitely right."
-- TE Jerramy Stevens, on the 15 yard taunting penalty he received on Monday (Seattle Post-Intelligencer
I still don't know what happened. He apologized to me. I told him that the ball boy was standing right next to him, and I usually toss the ball to the ball boy after I get up off the ground. It's what I've done my whole career. Later on at the end of the first quarter, he apologized to me."
-- Patriots WR Troy Brown, on the penalty he received after attempting to flip the ball to a ballboy and having it hit a Colts player (Patriots.com)
"He said, 'if I made a mistake, then I apologize,' and I said, 'You did.' I don't know the reason for it. For me to get up and throw a ball at somebody ... common sense would tell you that a player's not going to just stand up, look at the ref and throw the ball right at the player's head."
"It wasn't a good call, but I guess he was just doing his job."
-- Troy Brown
"I don't call plays. I run whatever plays are called. Coach has a philosophy that he goes by, and we've been the No. 1 offense in the league. He has a method to his madness, and whatever he calls, I just want to run the plays better."
-- Eagles running back Brian Westbrook (Philly.com)
"Twelve years down the road, whoever I'm playing for, I'm going to get him. Promise you. Promise you."
-- Lions center Dominic Raiola, on Falcons CB DeAngelo Hall.
"I promise you, if I see him on the field again, I will try to take his head off. That's all I have to say about that. I'm ready to go back and play right now."
"I might tackle him out of the stands. I might get him if I see him on the street, I don't know. That was definitely cheap. There is no reason. (Kitna's) in a defenseless position. His head was down. Obviously, he was trying to take Kitna out and inflict more pain."
"Go ahead, put them up in the locker room. I couldn't care less. DeAngelo Hall? The least of my worries."
"It's one thing if someone uses the N-word on the field. It's terrible, but it's a private matter. To use the PA [to play a Hitler speech] is another thing entirely. It's really hard to fathom in this day and time."
-- N.C. High School Athletic Association spokesman Rick Strunk, on a soccer team that used a Hitler speech as its entrance music. (Deadspin.com)
"There was heavy early volume on the home dog. When the line hit 7.5, there was some buyback on the Ravens, but that was followed by more Titans money, some of which was sharp."
-- a Pinnacle sports representative (Covers.com)
"It actually scares you a little bit. With a guy like Tom, if he turns the ball over like that in one game, you know in the next game you're going to get his best."
-- Jets LB Victor Hobson (The New York Times)
"We're 4-4 at the halfway, which is as average as average can be. At times good, at times bad. I understand there are eight more to play, but just in case somebody is putting that in the box and writing the Vikings off, we have everything to play for."
-- Vikings coach Brad Childress
"It's when you peel ... You're busting down. You're taking your shirt off. In case you got to bust down! So we stay in the weight room. All my guys work out now just in case we're somewhere and have to bust down. You don't want to bust down and not look right. You can't go to certain swim functions. You can't be on South Beach in Miami. The goal is to be right."
-- Raiders wideout Jerry Porter, on "busting down" (AOL Sports Blog)
"People just associate the Denver Broncos with always playing big games," Winning and playing big games - that's the national appeal of the Broncos. In this particular case, first place is at stake, and that's what flex is all about."
-- Fred Gaudelli, producer of NBC Sports. (Denver Post)
"Rent everything. That's what I should have done."
-- Jets offensive lineman Na'Shan Goddard, on being cut by the Giants. (The New York Times)
"One word: powerful ... with a nice, pleasant pepper finish."
-- Bill Hanson, Midwest region vice president for Costco, which will carry Mike Ditka wines (Chicago Sun-Times)
21 comments, Last at 13 Nov 2006, 4:22am by Sid