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.
23 Aug 2007
compiled by Ben Riley
"80; 1,193; 7."
-- Buccaneers wide receiver Michael Clayton, recalling his halcyon season of 2005
"How does your mind go from 80 [catches] and seven touchdowns, how does your mind say 'I'm going to be scratching and clawing to make the team?'"
"I'm definitely making this team."
"I'm going to take it back. I won't even say I'm definitely going to make this team. I don't know if I will."
-- Clayton, reconsidering
"It's the hardest ball to catch. The wide open ones by yourself, you know you just can't drop those, you just know."
-- Clayton, perhaps honing in on the reason why he doesn't know if he'll be making the team
"I had well over 100 attempts my rookie year. I have no idea about last year. But it was nowhere near 100. Look it up. It's a stat."
-- Clayton (We looked it up. He was targeted 65 times last year.)
"I'll drop a ball in one-on-ones, one ball, and in the paper it's 'He's dropped four balls. Michael Clayton has slipped back.'"
"I think I had one of my best seasons last year ... I had a hell of a season last year if you take away three drops."
"I'm a man."
-- Clayton (The Tampa Tribune)
"He's here, but I haven't seen him."
-- Kansas City Chiefs spokesman Pete Moris, when asked where Priest Holmes was during the Chiefs-Dolphins preseason game
"He's here somewhere."
-- Kansas City Chiefs spokesman Bob Moore, when asked the same question during the game
"He was here. I think he might've been up (in a suite) because he didn't want to do any interviews."
-- Herm Edwards, responding the same question after the game ended (Kansas City Star)
"He went home for the preseason game Thursday. I talked to him during the day. I didn't anticipate him going home."
-- Edwards, a few days later
"I thought he was going to the game."
"He went home to see his family. I told him the next day, `All you have to do is tell me so I know where you're at.'"
"Priest Holmes has not been a distraction."
"For him to do what he's trying to do, I applaud the guy. Now we've got to see if it's going to work out. But he has to make this team. He doesn't make this team because he's Priest Holmes."
-- Edwards (ESPN.com)
"You can wear jewelry, but you don't have to have the whole 'Mr. T' starter set on there."
-- Herm Edwards, advising his players on the Chiefs' policy regarding traveling with jewelry
"I don't have the 'Mr. T' starter set. I'm not big on bling."
-- Chiefs quarterback Brodie Croyle (from the HBO "Hard Knocks" documentary)
"There's a difference between those guys. There's no doubt."
-- Herm on the difference between Croyle and Damon Huard
"If you're one of those guys who turns the ball over every game, that's not good."
"When they turn it over, you can't let them score."
"I don't care who your quarterback is. Every once in a while, you're going to turn the ball over. That happens in football. When it does, can you put the fire out? It's a little brush fire now. Keep it a brush fire. Don't let the thing turn into an inferno."
-- Herm (and we're still not done folks)
"You stop them and you hold them to three and you take your medicine, but you don't give them seven points."
"You can survive two of those and it's only six points. You're still OK. But it's catastrophic if you turn it over and they score seven and then turn it over again and allow them to score again. That's how you get into trouble."
-- Herm (Kansas City Star)
"Some coaches will tell you it's just right and some would say it's too much and some would say we want to go back to six."
-- NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, pretending that there is at least one coach in the league who actually wants six preseason games
"I find the preseason exciting."
"There's a concern about pricing in any case. We obviously want to be careful not to overprice our fans and make sure we're responsive to our fans.''
-- Goodell (MLive.com)
"I think his milk is going bad."
-- Anonymous Giants veteran, alluding to Plaxico Burress possibly "milking" his ankle injury to avoid training camp
"It's fine. But when I get back on the football field, when I get back out there and back to being No. 17 and making plays, everybody's going to shut up and get in line."
-- Burress, when informed about the milking allegation
"You think I'm not out there because I don't want to? That would be crazy to think that. Everybody's entitled to their opinion. If they think that, then good for them. But when it comes time to strap it up on Sunday, I'll be one of the best players on the field."
"I thought I was having one of my best camps until I got hurt."
-- Burress (New Jersey Star-Ledger)
Note: The following is taken from a November 2006 interview between "SportsHollywood" -- whatever that is -- and aspiring actress Tracy Phillips. Given the rumors about her father Wade Phillips' lax training camp regimen, the interview remains relevant today.
"I wouldn't call him a disciplinarian at all!"
-- Tracy Phillips, when asked if her dad was a disciplinarian as a father, and if so, if it helped her in becoming a dancer and actress. In a related story, Tracy Phillips is looking for work in commercials.
"Oh God ... since I like to work, I'll say the NFL wide receiver."
-- Phillips, when asked who had "faster hands," an NFL wide receiver or a Hollywood casting agent. For the record, Phillips also denied being hit on by John Elway or Doug Flutie. (Clink on the link to Sports Hollywood to judge Tracy Phillips' hotness for yourself.)
" Not really. It's hard to explain. He's really not a bad kid. But you know some people just have to have certain things. I think he's one of those; he has to have certain things."
-- Bill Parcells, denying that his retirement from the Cowboys was the result of, well, you know who
"He's a pleasant enough kid. He's not mean-spirited; he's not vulgar. He's really OK in that respect."
"He didn't have anything to do with me (retiring) at the end of the day."
"All the GM does is deal with problems: salary cap, injuries, player replacement and holdouts. That's all life is."
-- Parcells, perhaps lacking perspective (Albany Times Union)
"If he has to carry 500 times for us to win a lot of games, he'll carry 500 times."
-- 49ers head coach Mike Nolan, describing his plans to run Frank Gore into the ground this year (Santa Rosa Press Democrat )
"Holy smokes, you don't always just get to run with the ball. You have to block people and do stuff like that. They were bad."
-- Seahawks head coach Mike Holmgren, describing his frustration with the Seahawks' offensive line after their loss to the Green Bay Packers (Tacoma News Tribune)
"Seneca [Wallace, the second-string quarterback], I think he's a brave guy, and a very tough guy, because he got hit like no one should get hit in that game, and he bounced right back up. Goodness gracious, the walls collapsed on him a couple times."
-- Holmgren (ESPN.com)
"He's healthy. Why the hell would he go on IR?"
-- Buccaneers head coach Jon Gruden, when asked if Chris Simms would be placed on injured reserve
"I don't understand why he's practicing."
-- Gruden, one sentence later
"I'm not trying to mislead anyone although I have to be honest at times and say we've cleared him to practice."
-- Gruden, yet another sentence later ( St. Petersburg Times)
"The worst day of my year was always that last day of my summer. I would sit on the dock at my house on Whitefish Lake with my legs dangling in the water before I would fly back on the plane to training camp."
-- Drew Bledsoe, describing his enthusiasm for the football season
"The best day of my year was always the day after the season when we landed in Whitefish and I could feel myself exhale."
-- Bledsoe (from the inaugural issue of "The Whitefish Review" and as quoted in the Patriots Daily)
"Man, did I do a nice job of acting ... I had to fool the coaches and the team's medical department into thinking the injury had occurred on that play. Otherwise, the Steelers would have had their reason to cut me and my salary."
-- Detroit native Jerome Bettis, describing how he faked an injury to avoid being cut (from Bettis' new book and as quoted in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
"It's one of those deals; I'm not going to lose any sleep (over) what Tiki has to say. I guess I could have questioned his leadership skills last year with calling out the coach and having articles about him retiring in the middle of the season and (how) he's lost the heart. As a quarterback, you're reading your running back has lost the heart to play the game and it's about the 10th week. Well, I could see that a little bit at times. But I'm not going to get concerned and I'm going to go out there and play ball."
-- A furious Eli Manning, unleashing on his former running back ( New Jersey Star-Ledger)
"I think it was the weather, the surface, people in his face. The approach the Patriots took defensively, which was a unique approach."
-- Titans head coach Jeff Fisher,
making excuses for explaining Vince Young's performance in the Titans-Patriots preseason game (ESPN.com)
"There have been so many times over the years that I've taken needles over my wife's objections, my family's objections, even my agent and my doctors. If another situation like that would present itself, I would really have to think twice about risking further serious damage and/or permanent injury."
-- Disgruntled Jets guard Pete Kendall (NY Daily News)
"He's not going to make or break us. If you don't make or break us, you're irrelevant to us. We're a unit. We're a unit that runs together. I see my eight. My eight's been here since I first walked in the door and I said, 'There's my eight.' ... And he never came into that picture until I walked into the job this morning. I don't see him cracking that eight."
-- Warren Sapp, welcoming his new teammate Gerard Warren to the Oakland Raiders (Vallejo Times Herald)
"I put him through workouts that would make a billy goat puke."
-- San Diego State track and field coach Rahn Sheffield, describing his work to help Vikings linebacker and special teamer Heath Farwell make it to the NFL ( St. Paul Pioneer Press)
"'Thanks for ruining my season last year?'"
-- Matt Hasselbeck, when asked if he had anything to say to Vikings' linebacker E.J. Henderson regarding Henderson's "contact" with Hasselbeck's knee during the Hawks-Vikings game in October 2006, which led to Hasselbeck missing four games (The Sporting News)
"Leonard Little killed someone [while drunk driving]. Jamal Lewis went to prison [in connection with] selling drugs. Are you telling me that killing eight dogs is worse than killing a human being?"
-- Former Packers GM Ron Wolf, putting it all in context (Yahoo! Sports)
Send your quotes to ben-at-footballoutsiders.com. And remember: Never show weakness; the only pain that matters is the pain you inflict.
61 comments, Last at 30 Aug 2007, 8:20pm by mshray