Our offseason Four Downs series ends with a look at the NFC West's biggest remaining holes and their most notable UDFA signings. The Rams and 49ers have to kick-start their passing games, Arizona's offense lacks a big dimension, and the Seahawks continue to rely on Russell Wilson's magic tricks.
25 Oct 2007
compiled by Ben Riley and Vince Verhei
"There is always truth in something. Always. There's always truth to something."
-- Bengals wide receiver Chad Johnson, responding to rumors that he's on the trading block
"Did that come from anyone here? Is there a source inside this organization? Not the last time I checked. I don't think there are any sources inside this organization."
-- Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis, responding to those same rumors
"I cannot perform at a high level and not be Chad. It's impossible. It's impossible. I cannot and I will not change. Perception is not reality."
-- Johnson, continuing with his very un-postmodern take on himself
"Everything I've done has always been positive, it's always been fun. It's never been a 'me, me, me' thing. It's how Chad plays the game. We knew that before Chad got here."
-- Johnson, speaking in the third person (Cincinnati Post)
"What you see on TV is not me. That's nothing but entertainment."
-- Chad Johnson, reacting to questioning from Keyshawn Johnson about his (Chad's) decision to stop celebrating after scoring a touchdown
"The fact that you are pulling back with your celebrations, that has nothing to do with you being 1-4?"
-- Keyshawn Johnson
"What is there to celebrate about? Nothing. There's nothing."
"You don't want to move to another city, take your act on the road?"
-- Chad, incredulously
"I would call it an act, because that's basically what it is. You act, you put on a premeditated celebration. I would call that an act."
-- A remarkably coherent Keyshawn
"Isn't that the point, to score?"
"The point I think is to win."
"As soon as we start winning, I'm going back to me."
"You see them [fans] say, 'He thinks this is a joke?'"
"Do I approach this game on Sunday like a joke? Do you think my game is a joke? Do you think when I talk trash about somebody trying to stop me and embarrassing them it's a joke? It's not a joke, I'm just smilin' with it."
"Perception don't win no games here in Cincinnati."
"Is it about Chad or is it about the team?"
"What does that have to do with the way ... that's the way I play the game. Period. I don't care what people think ... I am who I am because of you."
-- Chad Johnson (from ESPN Sunday Countdown)
"It was as frustrating for you as it was for me. As far as decisions, you have to let Willis McGahee touch the ball on one of those plays."
-- Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis, complaining about coach Brian Billick's decision to have the Ravens throw the ball three times on second-and-1 with less than two minutes to play against the Bills
"We knew [McGahee] should have touched the ball when you have a fourth-and-1. Old-school football is old-school football. If there is a yard I need to get, there is a running back, a fullback and an offense that is meant to get that."
"You can't make oranges be peaches."
-- Lewis (Baltimore Sun)
"There's frustrations, and I don't know that he's not right. I don't know if I agree [with Lewis about running the ball] on the second-and-1 and third-and-1. I definitely agree on the fourth-and-1 call. I certainly don't find any fault with Ray being honest and straightforward."
-- Ravens head coach Brian Billick (Baltimore Sun)
"You've got to remember, I'm coming in from Baltimore. People there wanted the limelight, people sought out the limelight, starting with the head coach. It was a star-studded system. Here it's about as different as you can get. Everybody here shies away from being the star guy. Nobody on this team beats his chest. They just all go about their business. And win."
-- Patriots linebacker Adalius Thomas, making a seemingly innocuous comment about his former team and teammates (Sports Illustrated)
"When you take a shot at men that you claim to love to go to war with, I call those cowards. If you got something to say privately, you don't have to go to a newspaper. If you got something to say to a man, speak it."
-- Ray Lewis
"You don't become a Super Bowl champion in this business without having character and dignity for what you do for your teammates. We won a Super Bowl without Adalius Thomas. The New England Patriots won three Super Bowls without Adalius Thomas."
"As far as calling me a coward I think that goes to something personal. I don't like it. I will address that with him personally myself."
-- Thomas, before coming to his senses
"I don't think I recall any of the conversation I had, I don't think what I said came out that way. I could be totally wrong."
-- Thomas, backtracking
"Like I said, it was a compliment of the Patriots. I never downed the Ravens."
-- Thomas, still backtracking
"Nothing that I said was a comment or shot at the Ravens, or none of the players. Actually, I said I had a chance to play with Hall of Fame players that was not in that quote. I went on to name names. Ray Lewis was one of the names I named."
-- Thomas, backtracking to save his life (Baltimore Sun)
"[Monday Night Football] isn't what it used to be.''
-- Peyton Manning, offering some unexpected criticism of the new MNF crew
"I enjoyed watching [Eli] play on Monday night because I got a chance to see him play live on TV, and being able to watch the game in mute. Because it's an easier way to watch the game than hear some of those broadcasters.''
"I'm sure it was the heads-on-sticks segment I did before the game. You think that upset him? Really? I thought it was very funny. I think most people thought it was hysterical."
-- Tony Kornheiser, responding to Manning's comments
"That wasn't me saying those funny, mean things about Peyton. That was Eli. That's the whole idea behind heads-on-sticks. I was just saying what Eli wanted to say. Like, 'What a raving egomaniac; he sent me a DVD of his Saturday Night Live appearance.' It was the perfect marriage of [Pardon The Interruption, the show on which Kornheiser does the bit] and Monday Night Football."
"C'mon, that was funny. Wasn't it?''
-- Kornheiser. The answer is no. (Indianapolis Star)
-- Hall of Fame linebacker Nick Buoniconti on the current status of his former team, the Miami Dolphins
''Trent Green is starting to shape up as a pretty good move, huh? And Jason Allen has really fulfilled expectations.''
''Embarrassing to the franchise."
-- Legendary Dolphins running back Jim Kiick, evaluating the 2007 Miami squad
"We feel for the current players. It hurts. [But] I couldn't believe how bad they were. The defensive backfield is terrible. They're at least three or four years from [contending].''
"They're not beating Buffalo -- 0-16 is very possible. The odds are better than 50-50.''
-- Hall of Fame center, former Dolphin Jim Langer
"It's just sad."
-- Legendary Dolphins defensive lineman Manny Fernandez
"The whole off-season was pathetic. The Dolphins get ... Joey Porter, who's got a big mouth and never delivers."
-- Buoniconti, accurately assessing the Dolphins' off-season and Joey Porter
"The Dolphins should have gotten rid of Chris Chambers last year instead of getting rid of Wes Welker. They get rid of the only guy who can play and keep the one guy who can't play. Totally ridiculous.''
-- Buoniconti, showing that the game has not passed him by (Miami Herald)
"I couldn't find London on a map if they didn't have the names of the countries. I swear to God. I don't know what nothing is. I know Italy looks like a boot. I learned that."
-- Dolphins linebacker Channing Crowder
"I know (Washington Redskins linebacker) London Fletcher. We did a football camp together. So I know him. That's the closest thing I know to London. He's black, so I'm sure he's not from London. I'm sure that's a coincidental name."
-- Crowder, either joking, showing he doesn't own any Seal records, or both (Palm Beach Post)
"The Lions are 4-2, media! You can kiss my ass!"
-- Forgotten Lions wide receiver Mike Furrey, yelling aloud after the Lions defeated the Buccaneers on Sunday
"He was just fired up."
-- Lions center Dominic Raiola, offering an explanation after Furrey's outburst generated some local controversy
"I think that was just an emotional statement, basically. I mean, I never take anything seriously after games, hence Dan Orlovsky saying that he would rather have Jon Kitna than Peyton (Manning) or Tom Brady."
-- Lions quarterback Jon Kitna, offering another explanation (Detroit Free Press)
"I dangled a little carrot in front of them Saturday night and told them the bye week was one where they would come in on Tuesday and Wednesday, but it can always be changed if you help me to help you. They won the game, and now I'm helping them."
-- Chiefs head coach Herm Edwards, explaining why he was giving his team some time off during the bye
"He's been hit some. I'm not going to give you the body parts, but he's sore."
-- Edwards, describing the elusive soreness of quarterback Damon Huard
"Be a pro, stay out of bad places where bad things happen. No one should be on SportsCenter because we don't play. By Thursday, wherever you're at, get up, go outside, walk, jog, run, whatever to get some exercise. Don't sit around the house all week feeling good about yourself and eat."
-- Edwards' bye-week advice to his team (Kansas City Star)
"It had nothing to do with anything but football. It was just the way we wanted to go. We felt like for our best opportunity to win games, the next nine games that we played, this was the right move to make and that's really all there is to it."
-- Falcons head coach Bobby Petrino explaining why the team surprisingly released defensive tackle Grady Jackson (ESPN.com)
"I don't know what kind of message it sent to let Grady go."
-- Falcons cornerback DeAngelo Hall
"Coach [Bobby Petrino] didn't address anything with us. You guys probably know more than we know. You guys just talked to him. We don't know nothing. We're going to have to wait and read what y'all put out."
"We had a team meeting today, kind of thought the team meeting was to talk about that; didn't say one word about it. Had a defensive meeting, didn't talk one word about it. Had practice, broke down practice, didn't talk one word about it."
"We kind of don't know what the reason was, why, what's the next step.We don't know anything. I'm going to read your article tomorrow and see what he had to say."
"If that's the case they need to cut about 52 [players], they can cut me too, they can cut all 53 of us. Ain't nobody playing the way they should be playing right now. Obviously. We're 1-6. To single out Grady is asinine. It's ridiculous."
-- Hall, when told that Petrino called Jackson's release a football decision
"To sit there and single Grady out and say that's the reason why, that's ludicrous. If you've got something else better and more concrete to go off of, I'd love to hear it. I'm not buying that one."
"We all that are in this locker room, we felt what Alge was saying and we kind of agree with him. Obviously, we don't think that was the right way to go about it, but we pretty much agree with Alge was saying."
-- Hall on teammate Alge Crumpler's earlier criticism of the coaching staff
"It's tough to go out there and lay it on the line when you feel as though no one else is laying it on the line. As far as not players, obviously the players are going to play as hard as they can. When you feel like you're not getting -- I don't want to say coached 100 percent -- maybe they are thinking of something else. It's kind of hard for other guys to play 100 percent ... knowing that everyone's not on board, from the front office on down."
"I didn't just sign a lucrative deal where I can sit around and watch this ship sink."
-- Hall, likely referring to Petrino's lucrative deal
"I got one more year left on my deal. I feel I can go out and get a ton of money, whether it's here or somewhere else."
-- Hall, saying goodbye and good luck to Falcons fans (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
"We had Norv Turner (last year); he's been doing this for a while. Whenever he said something, we wanted to do it. Now I feel a lot of people when (offensive coordinator Jim Hostler) calls something, it's in the back of their head, did he call the right play? That's all it is.''
-- 49ers running back Frank Gore (New York Post)
"Receivers have their shots, too. Out wide, they act so innocent in their little paradise. But in reality, sometimes these cats are like snipers. The wideouts use a technique called a cut block. It's complete BS. I call it's a coward's block ... Guys like the Colts' Marvin Harrison and the Steelers' Hines Ward -- the guys who are seen as classy -- are two of the worst snipers. They take those kinds of shots often. Players hate them on the field. Don't grin and smile in our faces, then dive at our knees when we aren't looking.''
-- Michael Strahan, in his new book Inside the Helmet: Life as a Sunday Afternoon Warrior (as quoted in Sports Illustrated)
"Well, heck, I mean we probably would have won this game 35-7 if [Schaub] stayed in. It was good to knock him out I guess, but he's going to come back and I don't think there'll be any kind of quarterback controversy because they pay that guy a lot of money."
-- Titans defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth, discussing the fate of injured Texans quarterback Matt Schaub (ProFootballTalk.com)
"They told me I tweaked my oblique, which is awesome because I didn't know I had any obliques It's good news, honestly. It's in there somewhere, so I am really happy about that. I'm going to go home and tell my wife."
-- Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck (Everett Herald)
"Right now I am grateful that God has blessed me to be a Ram, but right now I am very embarrassed to be one."
-- Rams tight end Randy McMichael (Tacoma News-Tribune)
"I don't get paid to make those decisions. I'm a pawn."
-- Jaguars running back Fred Taylor on whether or not he's being properly used by coach Jack "Kasparov" Del Rio (Florida Times-Union)
"I'm actually a phenomenal guitar player."
-- Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo after losing to Carmen Electra at Guitar Hero III (Fort Worth Star-Telegram)
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103 comments, Last at 30 Oct 2007, 6:20pm by Alex