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.
01 Nov 2007
compiled by Ben Riley
"I think I'm definitely a better person now because I have more money."
-- Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, discussing (with tongue firmly in cheek) his new six-year, $67.5 million contract ($30 million guaranteed)
"We looked at some numbers, tried 'em on, wore 'em around here for a few months."
-- Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, on how the Cowboys and Romo agreed to the $67.5 million figure (Dallas Morning News)
"It was substantial."
-- Romo's agent Ken Kremer, describing the difference between Romo's asking price in August and the recently completed deal
"Yeah, well, that's of course what he's going to say."
-- Cowboys chief negotiator Stephen Jones (Dallas Morning News)
"We were at the same place. I wasn't partying with her, though. That's for sure."
-- Romo, switching gears and responding to rumors that he partied with Britney Spears in Los Angeles last Friday (San Antonio Express-News)
"I tell you this, Tony. Sometimes they can smell fresh cash."
-- Jerry Jones (Dallas Morning News)
-- Britney Spears, when asked whether she was partying with Romo (from Ryan Seacrest's radio interview of Spears on KIIS-FM radio)
Note: This is news, but it doesn't have to take over the comment thread. Really.
"I said something to [Belichick] after the game. I told him, 'You need to show some respect for the game.' You just don't do that. I don't care how bad it is. You're up 35 points and you're still throwing deep? That's no respect."
-- Redskins linebacker Randall Godfrey, expressing mild irritation over the Patriots' offensive game plan
"They're up 30-some points and they're throwing deep. That was blatant disrespect. I hope we can see them again, definitely."
"You don't see Joe Gibbs doing that. You can't even imagine that kind of stuff coming from him. Joe Gibbs. Bill Walsh. Bill Parcells. This isn't like college going for power rankings. This is the pros. You show some respect, show some class."
"What did you want me to do, kick a field goal? We're just playing."
-- Bill Belichick, defending his decisions
"When I was coaching defense it was my job to keep the score down, not theirs. When you're playing defense it's your job to stop them. It's not [the offense's] job to not score."
"It's like I tell the offense, what the ([expletive] do you think I send you guys out there for? To punt?"
"I have no problem with anything they did. No problem with me."
-- Redskins head coach Joe Gibbs (NBC Sports)
"They have one objective. They whoop people's asses. If you understand that, it answers all your questions. They might not lose."
-- Redskins cornerback Shawn Springs (Washington Post)
"And, to me, I guess I look at it like when I was in high school and it was Frazier against Ali. Ali was the people's champ and he had been the greatest and all of a sudden Frazier comes along. But they said now Ali's back and he's better than ever. And it was, it was just an unbelievable situation and I think this is the same thing."
-- Colts head coach Tony Dungy, offering his analogy for "The Game" this Sunday
"This might be, if this was cartoons, this is Godzilla vs. Megalodon."
-- Former Broncos tight end Shannon Sharpe, offering a slightly less poetic analogy (Sirius Radio via the Boston Globe)
"It's a problem that started all the way back in camp. We've done X-rays, bone scans, MRIs, cat scans and this week I flew to Pittsburgh and met with a specialist. He confirmed what the team told me, that they think it's an arthritis type of thing. The thing that's so frustrating is there is no clear-cut solution to give me relief. I just have to deal with the pain."
-- Bears linebacker and new Fox Sports blogger Brian Urlacher, revealing that he is suffering extensive back pain. For reasons that aren't quite clear, Urlacher is refusing to talk to the local Chicago media.
"But I decided to open up about this because the media didn't like my answers and started saying I was doing a disservice to the fans. But the fans aren't the ones getting ticked about my answers. The fans aren't the ones who I'm trying to avoid. I just don't want to talk about an injury where there are no answers. But when the media throws the fan angle in, I'm talking. That's what I'm doing now. Don't use the fan excuse with me."
-- Urlacher (Fox Sports)
"To me, you guys wanted Brian to talk. The fans would like to know exactly what was going on with Brian. Brian chose that forum to go over it. I thought that was a good thing."
-- Bears head coach Lovie Smith, offering some tepid support for "Blogging with Brian"
"Personally, I don't know why we would put that much information out there. But this is what Brian chose to do. He wanted to clear everything up."
-- Smith, withdrawing said support (Chicago Tribune)
''Obviously, everybody knows I really don't care.''
-- Bears center Olin Kreutz, when asked about Urlacher's blogging
''My whole approach on that is you can't make another man speak if he doesn't want to speak. These are men here, so if I'm the commissioner or anyone, who am I to say you have to go talk to him? You're not my dad. I am a grown man. I should be able to say: 'No, I don't want to speak.'"
-- Bears cornerback Charles Tillman (Chicago Sun Times)
"I've been hearing a lot of people criticize and talk stuff. They're not watching the games or the plays. They're just throwing out criticism."
-- Bears running back Cedric Benson, lashing out at critics who dare question his two-touchdown, 3.1 yards-per-carry performance this year
"Do I need to run with more of a burst? No."
-- Benson, who needs to run with more of a burst
"And [expletive] them. So I guess I'm getting to the hole and walking through the hole, right?"
-- Benson. To be fair, he typically falls down around the vicinity of the hole, rather than walking or running through it.
"I only got 13 carries today [on Sunday, when he totaled 50 yards]. Ten more and I probably could have got 100. Eight more and I probably could have got 100."
-- Benson. Probably not.
"This is like my rookie year, this is like my first time starting and being 'The Guy.' Nobody said it was just going to all of a sudden take off."
"You're not going to have these great games every game."
-- Benson, who has not had a great game all year
"I don't appreciate all that criticism coming my way. I can understand if I'm tugging the ball for 18, 20 carries and still getting 50 yards. But what am I doing that's so bad? I don't understand."
-- Benson (Chicago Tribune)
''That's why they're 5-2 and we're 2-5. Good teams put it in the end zone. Teams like us kick field goals.''
-- Bengals wide receiver and TWIQ-favorite T.J. Houshmandzadeh, questioning whether Bengals head coach should have gone for it on fourth-and-1 from inside the 2-yard line against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Bengals kicked a field goal and went on to lose, 24-13.
''In hindsight, we probably should have gone for it."
-- Marvin Lewis, offering a succinct post-game thought on his decision (Chicago Sun Times)
"I still feel we're going to possess the ball three more times, by taking the points. We have an opportunity to stop them, get the ball back before halftime then have the ball coming out in the third quarter. So I'm probably going to still kick the field goal at that point with where we were in the game. It was a good yard that way. I have to go with how I'm getting information. We weren't sure, we had a little bit of rundown on the play clock because they didn't get the ball spotted exactly right away. If you look at the tape, once I called timeout, it was a little bit further. But again, I have to go with what is there. It's easy to look back on it now, particularly after they score a touchdown, and think that makes a difference ... It was important to get points."
-- Lewis, apparently retracting his post-game admission (Cincinnati Enquirer)
"A lot of the guys on the team remember what happened. It's far enough removed that you can laugh at it now."
-- Lions quarterback Jon Kitna, defending his controversial decision to go as "Naked Joe Cullen" to a Halloween party hosted by Lions wide receiver Mike Furrey. Joe Cullen is the Lions' defensive line coach who was arrested last year for driving on a public street while naked after ordering from a Detroit-area Wendy's restaurant. According to published reports, Kitna's costume "involved a bodysuit, a T-shirt with a bare chest stamped across the front and a thong." Oh, and Kitna's wife went as a Wendy drive-through attendant. (Detroit Free Press)
"Instead of talking to the media, why don't you go watch some film?''
-- Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith, interrupting an interview Panthers wide receiver Dwayne Jarrett was giving to the local Charlotte media in the locker room
-- Smith, in a "strong tone," after Jarrett gave a slight smile and continued with his interview (Charlotte Observer)
"He's been more mentally tough than I anticipated."
-- Herm Edwards, describing Chiefs quarterback Damon Huard
"At times, it's not very pretty."
-- Edwards, still describing his quarterback
"But then all of a sudden, like in the Raider game in the fourth quarter, we needed to make some plays. And he made a couple of really nice plays under duress."
"There are so many highs and so many lows. It's never as bad as you think. It's never as good as you think. You just keep fighting the fight. That's what it is."
-- Damon Huard
"I'm sure everybody in Kansas City wants Damon Huard to put up Tom Brady numbers. You know what? If Tom Brady comes to Kansas City, he's not going to put up very good numbers."
-- Phil Simms, supporting Huard while burying the Chiefs wide receivers
"Listen man, bring your own salt and pepper when you come. 'Cause none of the food ... it's a little bland."
-- Giants cornerback Sam Madison, offering some advice when visiting England (As shown on Inside the NFL)
"It puts the team in dishevel.''
-- Mike Ditka, offering his unique take on playing a regular-season game in England (on ESPN's NFL Countdown)
"I'm going as the Burger King Guy."
-- Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, describing his Halloween costume (Tacoma News-Tribune)
"I apologize for my gesture at today's game."
-- 49ers placekicker Joe Nedney, who was caught giving one of the Niners faithful the proverbial bird after Nedney booted the ball out of bounds on a kickoff. The NFL later fined Nedney $7,500. (San Jose Mercury News)
"You've got to look at all three of the teams we've beat. They're not the cream of the NFL. You have to say it is what it is."
-- Chargers fullback Lorenzo Neal, trying to temper enthusiasm over the Chargers' recent resurgence. Incidentally, "it is what it is" is this year's hot sports clichÃ© -- look for it in a sports section near you. (San Diego Union-Tribune)
"You can either give it to us on the 40, or you can pitch to Barry Bonds."
-- Bears cornerback/wide receiver/kick returning mastermind Devin Hester (Sports Illustrated)
"It's very frustrating because he's our leader. We feel comfortable with Sage, though. He's a leader, too."
-- Texans wide receiver Kevin Walter, expressing his sentiments regarding the frequent injuries to quarterback Matt Schaub and his trust in backup Sage Rosenfels (Houston Chronicle)
"Whirlpool, hot tub, ice, cold tub, ultrasound on there and whatever else they can think of."
-- Panthers quarterback Vinny Testaverde, describing treatment proscribed by Panthers' trainers for his strained Achilles' tendon
"Probably some ribs, some chicken.''
-- Jaguars running back Fred Taylor, when asked what quarterback Quinn Gray "brings to the table" for Jacksonville (Sports Illustrated)
"With any team, not just Minnesota, that might need a quarterback, I would hope someone would overlook what happened 10 years ago, or whoever they got their information from, and just give me an opportunity. You don't have to sign me. But it won't hurt to bring me in and take a look."
-- Jeff George, still hungry to play football
"Probably maybe go to a fantasy camp or something like that."
-- Brad Childress on how George could play for the Vikings again
"Downside would probably be -- I think -- kind."
-- Childress, when asked if George is on the downside of his career (St. Paul Pioneer-Press)
Remember to send your quotes to quotes-at-footballoutsiders.com. By the way, English food is better than you think.
145 comments, Last at 06 Nov 2007, 9:38am by Sid