Short-yardage passing had a good year, except at the end of the Super Bowl. We look at the return of quarterback runs, the rise in pass-happy strategy, and 2014 success rates for offense and defense.
09 Mar 2007
by Alex Carnevale
"We do not feel like character is an issue here. We think he's exceptional from that standpoint."
-- Titans head coach Jeff Fisher, after drafting Adam "Pac-Man" Jones in 2005. An alleged member of Jones' entourage is accused of opening fire at a strip club during NBA All-Star Weekend.
"It's hard being where we're from. He had to kind of bring his self up. I did, too. He has his boys in the street, and I might have friends in the street. But I had brothers that if it went too far, they were definitely there to check me. Pac didn't have those checks -- checks and balances."
-- fellow Titan Keith Bulluck
"We were unaware of what happened over a year ago."
-- Fisher, referring to Jones' February 2006 run-in with police.
"What does [Urbanski] get for a hard day's work? A bullet in the spine because of a jackass athlete. It's the most tragic thing I can imagine ... all because of some athlete acting like a spoiled child in our club."
-- club owner Robert Susnar
"Everywhere he's been, good people have covered up for him. Everything has been bought and paid for. Well, that's not doing justice for him as a player -- or a person. But even if you live on the edge and people say it's OK, you've still got to be accountable. There's been none of that in his life. No one has ever said 'no' to Pac-Man."
-- Jones' first agent, Gary Wichard
"The organization feels the need to be able to trust each other, its players, and once that trust is violated on a repeated basis, then one could come to their own conclusions."
"I'd like people to take pause, and rather than the mob mentality kicking in, I'd like for them to sit back and say, 'Hey, he didn't do these things. He's been in the wrong situation, yeah.' But he is almost snakebit a little bit. He's been trashed in every possible forum publicly â€” television, the newspaper â€” and all for what? It is almost like there's an open call for anyone who wants to say anything negative about Adam. That's what this has become.''
-- Jones' attorney, Manny Arora (The Tennessean)
"How is it possible to be in the wrong place at the wrong time so many times?"
--Players Association executive director Gene Upshaw (ESPN.com)
''Hopefully he'll see the light. He'll see the opportunity in Denver of being part of a great football team, great organization and being opposite the side of Champ Bailey. Hopefully he'll come around and say, 'Hey, this is where I want to be.' ''
-- Broncos coach Jim Bates, on Dre' Bly, acquired from the Lions and rumored to be on the move again.
"I look at the cornerback market and see the guy [Clements, who signed with San Francisco for eight years and potentially $80 million with $22 million of it guaranteed] get the big money and he is not an elite corner. Now he gets the highest paid contract in the history of the world. You wonder what's going to happen when Champ Bailey, who is the best corner in the history of the world, wants a new deal."
-- anonymous NFL pro personnel director
"This is Year Seven for me, and I've never even had a taste of the playoffs... I'm a competitor by nature, and I just want to get a taste at that next level."
-- new Niners CB Nate Clements, on his new organization on the rise. (ESPN.com)
"Different organizations look at things differently. There was a very similar situation where Kevin Greene was released and Jason Gildon stepped in, and Kevin Greene came to Carolina and led the league in sacks the next year. We were able to pick up a football player who was still very productive -- went to the Pro Bowl."
-- Dolphins defensive coordinator Dom Capers, on new acquisition Joey Porter.
"You would say then, 'Why did that happen?' So you never really know."
"Certain teams, when they've been running schemes as long as they have up there in Pittsburgh -- 15 years it's been the same scheme. So they've had a long line of the Kevin Greenes, the Jason Gildons, the Joey Porters -- Pro Bowl players at those positions."
-- Capers (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
"I've never agreed with that terminology, that term: mentor. My role is to be ready to play at any moment, and my role will be defined in time."
-- new Cowboys QB Brad Johnson
"They drafted Jay in the first round and he is the franchise. They want him there for the next 10 years. He is loaded with potential and talent and they are looking for more of a mentor kind of role. That mentor thing, I really kind of disagreed with that."
-- Johnson, on an opportunity with the Broncos.
"I'm not there for my health."
"He already has a quarterback coach. He doesn't need another coach. My thing is to work hard in practice and have a great relationship with Tony and hopefully he has the best year of his life."
"I had to get X-rays of my foot because of the minor turf toe injury, and the guy who rolled his ankle in first grade had to get an X-ray on that, too."
-- former Wisconsin offensive lineman Joe Thomas, in his combine blog. (The Sporting News)
"I think the interviews that night went well. Everyone seemed really nice and interested in what I had to say and was very complimentary. That felt great."
"Yes, I did have to answer the famous question, "Would you rather be a cat or a dog?" I don't know what difference that makes, but I'm not revealing my intentions now!"
"I didn't come here to be flashy, I didn't come here to stand in front of the cameras. I came here to lead by example."
-- new Falcons wideout Joe Horn
"I'm going to call them cats and talk to them. I want to get some words across to them and let them know where my heart is first. I want them to know: 'I'm not here to shine on you, man. I came here to help. I came here to be a part of something new, something that's going to take off to the next level.' "
"Mike is the leader of this football team. I know that, but I'm going to let him know that I'm here to help him. He's been here. He knows what it takes to win."
"I'm going to bring some of my professionalism to Mike, and I know he will take it inside. I'm not going to push myself or make someone do things just because I'm here. No, I want to be a brother to these guys and when I say something I want them to say, 'You know, I trust Joe.'"
-- Horn (ESPN.com)
"They've made tremendous improvements. But dealing with the pressure that comes with this job isn't easy to teach. Nobody really understands it until you're in it and it's happening."
-- 25-year-old former Notre Dame kicker Nicholas Setta, on his trainees, Chinese natives Gao Wei, Ding Long and Shen Yalei, who the NFL hopes will represent their nation in an exhibition game.
â€œIf anyone misses this, we'll do 20 100-yard dashes. And we'll do them if you just tap it over the bar."
-- Setta, on three extra point kicks.
"They're being thrown into one of the most pressure-filled jobs in the world. I want them to see what kind of focus they need."
-- Setta (The New York Times)
"It wasn't really about the money. It was where I wanted to live my life. It just came down where we wanted to live, it just happened to be right here."
-- new Cowboys offensive lineman Leonard Davis, on his new contract with the Boys.
"It's a reflection of supply and demand. There are only so many guys who are quality offensive linemen in the NFL. I think the offensive line is the most difficult position to come in right out of college and play."
-- Packers General Manager Ted Thompson (Washington Post)
"You just don't see very often the combination of natural ability and size that Leonard brings to the table. You don't get a chance to get a six-year veteran to only be 28 years old, to look at the future. It just glares out at you, the flexibility his skills give us, in marking what we want to do in our offensive line. All of this came to play."
-- Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, on Davis.
"They grow them bigger in Texas than anywhere."
-- Cowboys head coach Wade Phillips (DallasCowboys.com)
"I want to be the LeBron James of the NFL in that LeBron was the youngest to come into the NBA and I hope to have as much success as he's had coming in. He carried himself pretty well, and his play has been pretty special. The advantage I have over him is that I've had four years of college."
-- 19-year-old defensive line prospect Amobi Okoye of Louisville.
"He didn't want Harvard. I said, 'What's wrong with the Ivy League?' He said, 'They don't play football too well.'"
-- Augustine Okoye, Amobi's father.
"He said, 'If I go to Louisville, I have a good chance of going to the NFL. Do you know an NFL signing bonus is more than some doctors make and could help build a children's hospital?'"
-- Augustine Okoye
"You hate to use the word overachiever. But Amobi is a guy who is always looking to achieve. I could see Amobi going to Harvard for his law degree after he's done playing football."
-- former coach John L. Smith
"He's very mature for a 19-year-old. But can he come into a locker room with 30-year-old guys? That has yet to be determined."
-- Vikings vice president of player personnel Rick Spielman (USA Today)
"We looked at football this year because a lot of us around the office are big football fans. We knew Edwards was a big public speaker, so he seemed like a perfect choice."
-- Director of Constituents and Economic Relations of Fayetteville State University Emily Dickens, on Herman Edwards' upcoming speaking engagement.
"He talks about leadership and team work, and those are the types of things our students can really use. But he is not just here for our students. As the speaker series is open to the general public, we try to ensure that all speakers can attract a wide variety of individuals. Nine times out of 10 the people who attend these events aren't even students."
-- Dickens (Up & Coming)
"He's been in the big game, the Super Bowl. We talked a little about that and he said, 'I thought it was easy. My first year I get in the Super Bowl and the next thing I know I haven't been back.' I said, 'Yeah, I know. That's the feeling I had back in '80 when I went and now I haven't been back, either.'"
-- Herman Edwards, on new Chiefs linebacker Napoleon Harris. (KCChiefs.com)
"The Patriots would want to make sure they give their sponsors first crack. I would imagine somebody like a Dunkin' Donuts would seem to be a natural fit, with him working all hours of the night and them pushing their coffee."
-- talent marketer Brian Nelson, on Bill Belichick, who recently started his own corporation.
"You tend to judge the speakers on the way they speak rather than the way they coached football. It's a different skill set and you've got to devote yourself to it. But he's a very successful man. I wouldn't put anything past him."
-- talent agent for a speaker's bureau (The Patriot Ledger)
"The more he worked, the more I worked on my script. I was never so well prepared. I went in and nailed the show that day. It's usually, 'Thank you very much. We'll call you.' And I owe it to Bill Belichick. He's a stickler."
-- comedian Lenny Clarke, on a plane ride next to BB. (Boston Globe)
"We have Bible study class every Wednesday after practice. We have Bible study once a week in the off-season and do the same thing. A lot of guys liked the book."
-- Cardinals wide receiver Anquan Boldin
"Our coaches like us to stay active and there is no easier way to stay active than basketball. It is also a form of plyometrics and we build camaraderie with the players on our team."
-- Anquan Boldin, on playing basketball in the off-season.
"I have never had alcohol."
-- Boldin (The New York Times)
"He was a person that definitely added a lot of levity to the press conferences, even though he asked a lot of very difficult questions. He had a unique way of phrasing some of his opinions and questions, but he certainly added a flavor to the conferences that was very unique and I think we all came to appreciate his sense of humor, which at times was self-deprecating, but also he could definitely be tough and put you on the spot, which he did many times to me, but in a respectful way."
-- Belichick, on recently deceased Hartford Courant writer Alan Greenberg (Boston Herald)
"I was supposed to fly in and fly out without anybody knowing."
-- kicker Mike Vanderjagt, on a meeting with the Saints. (NOLA.com)
"I saw some great receivers out there on the women's [national flag football] team. The Patriots could use a few good receivers."
-- Patriots owner Bob Kraft, announcing the first Israeli professional football league. (Jerusalem Post)
"I'm always going to be a scout. I said at the press conference, 'I will always be a scout.' You will never lose me as a scout. What I know is scouting. But so much more goes into being the general manager than just being a scout. That's how I grew up â€“ as a scout. That's what I know. So you will never lose me in that capacity. I'll always scout to a degree. You obviously can't scout as much as you would like to. But I'll always be a scout at heart."
-- new Giants general manager Jerry Reese (Giants.com)
"I know on the outside it looks like we want to dismantle the team. It has nothing to do with that. We want to keep this the best possible football team that we can. And that's what we're trying to do."
-- Bears GM Jerry Angelo (Minneapolis Star-Tribune)
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83 comments, Last at 16 Mar 2007, 2:38pm by Pats Hater