Possibly the closest Super Bowl matchup in history also poses the question: how much does it mean when certain aspects of an NFL team improve dramatically in the second half of the season?
04 May 2007
Compiled by Alex Carnevale
"On Friday, I called Tom Condon (Quinn's agent). I'd heard some stuff in the press that he might be negotiating with the Raiders for Brady to be picked at No. 1. And I had so much respect for Brady through this process. He's a great kid, and he's worked so hard, and he's done everything through the draft process exactly the right way. I told Tom I didn't know if the Raiders were going to take Brady or not, but I wanted to let him know that we'd decided not to take him at No. 3; so if he was talking to the Raiders, he'd know he didn't have us to fall back on."
--Browns GM Phil Savage, on the lead-up to the draft.
"I'd heard Brady talk about having two dreams -- being the No. 1 pick, or playing for the Browns. And I didn't want to see his heart broken twice. We weren't going to take him, so I wanted Tom to be able to do whatever he could to get a deal done with Oakland, if that's what was happening.''
"Well, that was a surprise."
--new Browns quarterback Brady Quinn, caught in the green room by cameras after the Dolphins took Ted Ginn, Jr.
"I wasn't shocked or confused. I was more shocked about the ninth pick. At the same time, you can't believe what everyone says to you because there are smoke screens that are put up. I knew about the Cleveland situation going into it and I told everyone not to get their hopes up. I guess you really never know until it happens."
--Brady Quinn, on going to the Browns.
"We have Charlie (Frye) and Derek (Anderson) and like I said, if we went into next season with those quarterbacks, I would have been content with that. In reality, we weren't ready to bring Brady Quinn to this team without the talent of someone like Joe Thomas. I felt like Joe Thomas with Charlie or Derek would have been good enough. The way it plays out those guys might battle for a position. We don't know how it's going to play out. I think we had a chance to get a quarterback when it was a reality. If Brady was there at seven, eight or nine, nobody thought he would go further than nine at Miami. He did. Once that happened, that changed gears for the teams interested in getting a quarterback."
"When you give up a future No. 1, I think the quarterback position is the one you are willing to do it for. I could give you some names of quarterbacks who might be in the draft next year, but at the same time, we are getting Brady Quinn now. Where will he be a year from now relative to other quarterbacks we might try to get next year? It seemed like it was worth the loss of next year's first-round pick to get the quarterback now. Let's get it together now with some legitimate players. There was enough of a feeling for Brady at that point in the draft to get the player. I love scouting and there is nothing worse than not having a No. 1 pick, but honestly, I feel like I could have a little bit of a break. I think our scouts can now dig in to find us players in the following rounds. I'm certainly content to wait for next year's second round if you were to tell me we would have got Brady Quinn and Joe Thomas."
"You have to get the best players."
--Chiefs head coach Herman Edwards, on the Chiefs' draft strategy.
"You don't want to reach all over the board and say we need this guy. We're going to stick to the board and let the board weigh out."
"Our first three players, I know one thing: they're going to make an impact on this football team right away. The game's not too big for them. They played in big games. They will compete for positions on this football team."
"All of a sudden the Michael Bennett trade makes sense. We traded this year's fourth-round pick for him last year. He's a fourth-round running back along with Kolby Smith. We've got another running back to add to the mix. We went down the list and filled some needs."
"I want to say we might have cut him sooner if it hadn't been for Hurricane Katrina."
--Seahawks head coach Mike Holmgren. Holmgren cut safety Terreal Bierria "the day after he left to help his family in New Orleans."
"Once I saw that everybody was back in their homes and totally getting back to their everyday lives, I was like, OK, I don't have anything to go back to."
--Terreal Bierria, New Orleans native.
"It's not like I left football because I wanted to go party, go do certain exploits. I left it because of one of the greatest tragedies in American history."
"I can in all honesty say no. Would he still be in the league? I don't know. Katrina was a horrible thing, but it had nothing to do with him being released."
--Holmgren (Page 2)
"When I first got this job and I knew we had the fifth pick and we were at the Combine doing all the interviews with the players, I took a special note of Alan Branch in my early prep because I thought strongly that this could be a guy that we consider with the fifth pick. He was No. 12 on our entire board. So we got a proposal together with Oakland for pick 33 overall, contingent of course on our player still being there. Certainly we were waiting with bated breath when Indianapolis was on the clock at 32. He was there. We made the trade. And I just think it was an outstanding move."
--Cards head coach Ken Whisenhunt
"I don't know. Maybe there was an undercurrent of questions before the draft. Maybe some of that got out and the teams started talking. And when he slipped past the first 10 to 14 picks, maybe there was this undercurrent of 'What's wrong with Alan Branch?' I can tell you there is nothing wrong and we are thrilled to have him."
--Whisenhunt, on Alan Branch's sweet descent.
"When it came our turn to pick, we had Adrian Peterson and Levi Brown rated right there together. In fact, Joe Thomas and Gaines Adams were in that group, too. And they came off the board. Certainly we felt comfortable with either player and I think that both Levi and Adrian are going to be outstanding players in this league. From my philosophy, from having been in Pittsburgh and having seen the importance of the offensive line, I felt very strongly that it was important that we build a core of this team which is the O-Line and D-Line. And that's why we took Levi over Adrian in that position."
--Whisenhunt, on passing on RB Adrian Peterson.
"I saw very talented skill position players. I saw guys who played hard that thought they were talented enough to win but maybe didn't have enough direction in what they thought they should do. And the area I thought we needed to improve was the offensive line. I thought they played hard at the end of the year, but we did not have great depth there. And I think that was the area we addressed in free agency and certainly the draft."
--Whisenhunt, on his team.
"I don't really have any preconceived ideas about him. I met with him, I talked to him over the phone. I understand he's a bottom-line type of guy. He's a guy who loves to win and I think I'm a guy who loves to win, too."
--Patriots first rounder Brandon Meriweather, on Pats head coach Bill Belichick.
"Me and Coach Belichick, we sat down and talked about it and I basically told him it was a dumb decision by me. I should have known better to make that decision to have a gun, so I think he understands that. We're trying to get on with building a football team."
"I had no idea until I got a call from the Patriots."
--Meriweather, on whether he knew was going to be drafted.
"I haven't had any phone calls from anybody yet. I've just only been answering phone calls that were from the Patriots."
"I think the best safeties are corners."
--Meriweather (Boston Globe)
"Tom does what he can in order to win."
--Don Yee, Tom Brady's agent, on restructuring his deal to bring in Moss.
"I've always been a big fan of Tom Brady. From the time that he took over the starting job from Drew Bledsoe, I knew that was a blessing [for] Tom."
--Patriots wideout Randy Moss
"I saw him play a little bit in college and then by him coming in and taking grasp of being the starting quarterback of the New England Patriots and winning three Super Bowls, I think that was just something that, as a fan of the game, that I always paid attention to."
--Randy Moss (Boston Globe)
"We wanted to have everyone in the organization understand the decision-making process that took place."
--Dolphins Enterprises spokesman George Torres (Miami Sun-Sentinel)
"Both [Cameron] and Randy explained the weekend, so everyone is completely knowledgeable about the plan and strategy so when we talk to season-ticket holders or anyone else, they can explain what happened, what transpired and the thinking about it."
--Torres, on the Dolphins' selection of Ted Ginn Jr. with the ninth pick in the draft, passing on Brady Quinn.
"Brad Johnson was a ninth-round pick, they don't even have the ninth round anymore. The draft is for organization, the draft has become one of the big money makers in pro football. It lasted 12 hours, I think, the first round. There's a commercial, I think next year they're going to give us an hour to pick in each round. They have an analyst in every locker room. It's really something."
--Bucs head coach Jon Gruden
"We were rumored to trade all our draft picks up to take an offensive player and we picked a defensive player in each round. That's what some of the analysts have to explain today, just like I had to explain why I went 4-12 last year."
"Ranked 17th is yards. When you measure defenses, number one defense, number four defense, number 30 defense, you are talking yards. That is a disgraceful way, I think, of evaluating how you are doing. You have to knock the other quarterback down. You have to create turnovers, three and outs and establish field position on defense. We were last in the league in sacks, I don't believe we generated an interception for four, five or six weeks in succession, which is totally uncharacteristic of this defense. Total yardage is a statistic."
"It's not really fair to judge your second-day picks or your draft class as rookies. I don't care if I'm right or wrong, this has just been my opinion over 15-20 years in the NFL -- if four or five rookies start for you, you're not very good."
"Speed was a priority, it's always a priority. You can't coach it. You can't find a strength coach or a speed coach that can improve speed with these guys that are 22 or 23 years old. Some will say they can and some might do it, those guys I'm sure will send me their resumes tonight."
"I did expect it. The one trip I took in spring was out there to San Diego, but I had about five personal workouts in Baton Rouge. (San Diego) was the only team I visited with. I did have a feeling that it was an area I thought I would go to because of the need in receivers and the offense. It's a real complete team.â€?
--former LSU wide receiver Craig Davis, on coming to the Chargers.
"I think I can do anything. I'm sure I can't play O-line or D-line but I'll throw it in there and try my hardest and hopefully good results will come. I'm just a guy that loves football, will do anything for the team, gives effort and wants to win."
--new Chargers safety Eric Weddle
"I followed San Diego, but Dallas was my team. Troy Aikman went to UCLA and I followed him to Dallas, but I've always been a fan of the Chargers because they're a local team. They were the closest teams since the Rams left us. I've always been a fan. This is a dream come true."
"No disrespect toward UNLV, but coming from a school in the spotlight like USC to a smaller school like UNLV, made it hard for me to mentally stay focused. I had a stronger desire to win than some of the other guys. It was just an unfortunate situation."
--new Cleveland Browns corner Eric Wright
"If not for the off-the-field incident at USC, I probably would have been the top cornerback in the draft. As it was, I still got picked in the second round and was the fifth cornerback taken."
--Wright, who transferred to UNLV. The charges from his sexual assault incident were dropped.
"Everybody you talked to about me would tell you that I'm a high-character guy and a good person. It took somebody to take a chance on me to pull the trigger."
"I look forward to the next thing that (the media) complains about. (The media) complained for the longest time about not drafting a wide receiver in the first-round. Well they've gotten that done, so I'm just waiting for the next thing for (the media) to complain about."
--Chiefs wideout Eddie Kennison
"I don't know about that. I don't look at it that way. I know that he's a heck of a football player and I know that he brings a lot to what we need as a receiver group on offense. He's a big guy that will bring a lot of excitement."
--Kennison, on whether first round pick Dwayne Bowe is more talented than he was coming out of school
"I think it has a lot to with a single man's character. Change is good. Whether it is your best friend or a player on the other side of the ball you have to be able to adapt to change, you have to move forward and you have to be able to see the vision that the organization is going. You have to see Herm's vision and the direction that he's going and you just have to focus on that and build on that. If Herm says it a certain way then we have to see it a certain way. If we don't buy in to what Herm is saying this organization will be unsuccessful."
"When you constantly take a shower with a guy for four or five years, blood, sweat and tears on and off the field, it's hard to see him go. You get an opportunity to get to know his family, his wife and his kids and you hate to see him go because you know what kind of person he is and family man he is."
--Kennison, on Eric Hicks' departure. (KCChiefs.com)
"At no time should competitive issues override medical issues. Safety comes first."
--NFL commissioner Roger Goodell (Boston Globe)
"We're protecting the players against the players."
"This is the day the franchise turns around."
--Lions offensive coordinator Mike Martz, on nabbing Georgia Tech wide receiver Calvin Johnson. (Sports Illustrated)
"There's not a lot of skilled Canadian running backs so I think that dramatically increases my value."
--former Kansas running back Jon Cornish (Burnaby NewsLeader)
"The only thing I was disappointed in with the young man, and I hold his agents responsible for this, was to me, when you walk out on stage in front of millions and millions of people, that's a job interview. You don't go to a job interview chewing gum. And I felt like he could have presented himself in a much more professional manner. It looked like his tie was the first time he ever tried to tie one. It looked like his hair, he had just walked out of a shower, and he stands there, relieved as all get-out, chewing gum. And to me, that's not a professional image. And maybe I'm reading into it, but when it comes to drafts, when it comes to analyzing players, I think you have to look at everything."
--Joe Theismann, on Brady Quinn. (Michael David Smith, AOL FanHouse)
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64 comments, Last at 21 May 2007, 8:50pm by fxstc111