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.
02 Aug 2007
compiled by Ben Riley
"He had some things he needed to talk to me about and I had some things that I needed to talk to him about. I won't share any personal information that we shared with each other."
-- New York Giants general manager Jerry Reese, describing his ongoing dialogue with absentee DE Michael Strahan, who announced his "retirement" in late July after the Giants declined to increase his $4 million salary. In an unrelated story, Strahan was ordered in January to pay his ex-wife Jean $15.3 million plus $18,000 per month in child support. (New York Daily News)
"I told him we would love for him to come back, but only if he wants to be here 100 percent and to be a great teammate like he has always been."
"There is no time frame for right now. He could be here tomorrow. He could be here whenever. Who knows? I don't know if he is coming. He didn't commit to say that 'I am coming.' He didn't say: 'I wasn't coming.'"
"That man has to come and play the game, and his heart being in the right place is the whole circumstance. If it is, there is no question about the quality of the player. Expectations will be very high. No one can come in and play this game with their attitude not being 100 percent about what is going to take place on the field."
-- Giants head coach Tom Coughlin on
Barber's Strahan's return.
"The most impressive thing about Michael for me is that he always came out like a kid. He practiced like a young kid. And if came back with that frame of mind and that love of the game, then naturally he will be a big part of our team."
-- Coughlin (ESPN.com)
"This is not about money."
-- Anonymous source who's allegedly spoken to Strahan (as quoted in the New York Daily News)
"I'm a right end. I've been successful at right end. I don't feel the need to move to a different position. That's kind of crazy."
-- Giants DE Osi Umenyiora, advising the Giants' front office to think twice about signing free agent Simeon Rice
"I mean, Simeon Rice is an outstanding pass rusher, but that's what he is. So I don't think it resonated with us that Simeon Rice is coming in. We have good players in here; we'll be all right."
-- Umenyiora, continuing to roll out the welcome mat for Rice
"I'm not going to go so far as to call him what a lot of other people have called him. I'm not going to go that far. But I'm not sure. They say he's not the best run player and I guess people gave him that reputation for a reason."
"But as far as him coming over here, I don't know where he's going to play. I know he can't play left defensive end because they run the ball there. He can't play right defensive end. Well, he's been a right end . . . (but) I'm not moving to the left side. Absolutely not. Not even a question."
"I'm not going to move to left defensive end if they sign Simeon Rice, is what I'm trying to tell you. If the team asks me, 'Okay, we need you to move to left defensive end because we need you at that position,' I will. But I'm not going to move to that position because Simeon Rice is coming in. I won't do it."
-- Umenyiora, clarifying his position (Newark Star-Ledger)
"I enjoyed working with Tony [Kornheiser] and Mike [Tirico]. It was fun and challenging to start something new, from scratch. Anyone who says Tony and I didn't get along, that would be a complete fabrication, totally not true on any level.
-- Underemployed ESPN analyst Joe Theismann, denying that his complete lack of on-air camaraderie with Kornheiser was in any way related to ESPN firing him from Monday Night Football.
"In the middle of the season, Tony wanted to quit. I encouraged him to stay with it. And if people didn't like what we were doing, why did the ratings go up like that? I'd tell you if there was an issue. There was never an issue between us, and whoever concocted that story is totally out of line."
"The Redskins keep me busy for now. The preseason is no different than it's ever been. But in the fall, it's all going to change. From Friday to Monday, it won't be the same. There won't be forty hours a week of preparation. Now, I'm going to have all that time to myself, and in a way, I'm looking forward to it."
-- Theismann (note: Theismann will continue to write his "Cup O' Joe" column for ESPN.com)
"It's been a lifetime since I've been able to be a normal person."
-- Theismann (Washington Post)
"That's bad. That's bad. That's real bad."
-- Titans QB Vince Young, expressing remorse for punching Titans' safety Donnie Nickey in the head with his throwing hand after Nickey laid out WR Courtney Roby during practice.
"My preference is not to see my quarterback throwing punches with his throwing hand."
-- Titans head coach Jeff Fisher
"Someone comes at me, I'm not going to back down. I don't care if it's Vince [or] President Bush."
-- Donnie Nickey, presumably unaware of U.S Code, Title 18, Part I, Chapter 41, section 871 ("Threats against President and successors to the Presidency").
"At least not with your right hand man. Jab with the left and wait for the cavalry."
-- Nickey (SportsIllustrated.cnn.com)
"Right before camp, I didn't have no hair on my head, so I was like 'I've got to do something.' I figured it would be a first. I knew the guys would get a kick out of it."
-- Redskins fullback Mike Sellers, describing his two-toned blonde beard.
"It fits him, a light-skinned guy. A dark-skinned guy couldn't get away with that."
-- Redskins defensive lineman Phillip Daniels
"I'm not into the blonde type of thing, but it looks hard. It looks like he wants to kill somebody."
-- Redskins guard Randy Thomas
"It's European. It's just a worldly haircut. It expresses my personality. It's different, and nobody else wears it. Nobody has, ever. I've never seen an individual with this haircut, ever."
-- Redskins wide receiver Brandon Lloyd, describing the round mound of hair on the front of his own head.
"I don't know, that ain't my cup of tea. I couldn't go home with that."
-- Thomas, referring to Lloyd's European mound (Washington Post)
"I'd love to be there competing for the starting job. But it's a long contract, and I have to make sure it's fair in the event I become the starter."
-- Brady Quinn, Ohio native, explaining why he has yet to sign with the Cleveland Browns (Cleveland Plain-Dealer)
"In the same neighborhood, but not on the same street."
-- Browns general manager Phil Savage, describing contract negotiations with Quinn's agent, Tom Condon.
"If anything, it's given Charlie and Derek the chance to get more reps, and that's a positive."
-- Savage, describing his fallback options (USA Today)
"He agreed to rip off hundreds of fans, young and old alike. He hasn't even signed with the team yet. That sure ruined his image."
-- Former Quinn enthusiast distraught over having to pay between $75 to $139 for Quinn-related memorabilia just so she could obtain Quinn's autograph during a recent signing session at Cleveland's Great Northern Mall.
"There's a premium associated with an athlete like that and I don't think the city was quite prepared for that. To the same extent, that didn't stop them from getting in line and paying for some of this stuff."
-- Wendell Robinson, CG Authentics (sponsor of event)
"If we could do this for free, we would and we can't. Unfortunately, there is cost and pricing associated with it, so we try to do what we can to make the athlete as accessible to the public as we can."
-- Robinson (NewsNet5.com)
"Two of football's biggest stars are here with us tonight to help us sing this next song. Let me say this: I've watched a lot of college football . . . You know who I'm talking about! Please welcome [inaudible] Mr. Brady Quinn! Mr. Ryan Tucker!"
-- Bret Michaels, moments before launching into the most awkward version of "Nothin' But a Good Time" Poison has ever played (video courtesy of AOL's Fanhouse).
"He'll be ready for the latter part of preseason, but his participating in the preseason, we'll wait and see on that."
-- 49ers head coach Mike Nolan, on the broken hand of Niners running back Frank "Am I the New Fred Taylor?" Gore.
"I always like to see a silver lining in whatever happens. This is going to give Michael Robinson, Hicks and the rookie an opportunity to get more reps and see what they can do."
-- Nolan (ESPN.com)
"I'd like to see him at least in the last week. I don't want to downgrade the importance of the preseason. It's important. It's to get your timing down. You have to get the feel of things."
-- Nolan (San Francisco Chronicle)
"Do you think it was a bigger feat to break 2,000 yards in one season, or slice two necks in one night?"
-- Question posed by caller to O.J. Simpson during Simpson's ill-advised online interview with MN1.com (video available here via TMZ.com)
"I'm having a little trouble, Kevin, hearing you."
-- Simpson's response
"Hackett has the inside track now. Right now if we were lining up to play a game Hackett would be there, but he hasn't played long enough and in enough games to say this is done."
-- Seahawks head coach Mike Holmgren describing wide receiver D.J. Hackett's hold on the starting job on day one of Seahawks' training camp
"That was yesterday. The receiver thing is going to be interesting. (Deion) Branch will start, (Bobby) Engram will play and we will see what goes with the rest."
-- Holmgren, day two
"[Hackett] could be a father at any second here. So he had to leave because his wife phoned him. Of course, I wasn't sure if I was going to let him go."
-- Holmgren, day three (Tacoma News-Tribune)
"There are two sides to the game. There's a physical side to the game and there's a mental side to the game. And you've got to be able to master both of them."
-- Broncos general manager Ted Sundquist, griping about banged-up Broncos WR Brandon Marshall
"There have been a lot of upside physical receivers who never quite accomplished what people expected them to because of the mental side."
"We're counting on Brandon. We put a lot of time and effort into coaching him, getting him ready, but ultimately on a Mike Shanahan team you've got to go out on the field and perform. You're never going to be a finely tuned Ferrari quarter to quarter to quarter. At some point in time, your timing is a little off, there's a little wear on the tread and your oil is going to be low . . ."
-- Sundquist (Denver Post)
"He doesn't always finish the routes out the way you want and he's not always the first guy in line to listen, but he has always produced."
-- 49ers Vice President of Player Personnel Scot McCloughan, describing the practice habits of newly acquired WR Darrell Jackson.
"OK. It's just OK as in okey dokey."
-- Mike Nolan, describing Jackson's approach to practice
"It hasn't been bad, but it hasn't been to my expectations . . . It's that way with a few of the other guys. I like to think that a guy has to earn a right to be on a team. We're not asking you to do anything that won't make you better. I'm not too nitpicky. I just ask that you finish the drill because that's how you play the game."
"Eventually enough is enough."
-- Seattle Seahawks president Tim Ruskell, explaining why he dumped Jackson on the Niners for a fourth-round pick (Yahoo! Sports)
"I came to San Francisco and I found another father: Bill Walsh."
-- Jerry Rice
He loved to be . . . able to see the future of a person. He knew me well before I knew myself."
-- Steve Young
"This is just a tremendous loss for all of us . . . Outside of my dad he was probably the most influential person in my life. I am going to miss him."
-- Joe Montana
"The essence of Bill Walsh was that he was an extraordinary teacher. If you gave him a blackboard and a piece of chalk, he would become a whirlwind of wisdom."
-- Roger Goodell
"What he represented to professional football, and what stands out there today, is just unparalleled, whether it be George Halas or Paul Brown."
-- Al Davis
"The world lost a great man in Bill Walsh. He had a tremendous impact on me, both personally and professionally. Bill's development of the minority coaching program at the collegiate and professional levels literally changed the face of football."
-- Tyrone Willingham
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17 comments, Last at 03 Aug 2007, 6:33pm by Matt