The league's northern divisions pose a number of meaty questions, such as: "Is the Bears' offense due for a repeat performance?" "Why do the Lions have such pronounced splits?" and "Has Johnny Manziel made the Cleveland brass even crazier?"
27 Sep 2007
compiled by Ben Riley
"A lot of guys get nervous, some even puke before games. How you handle the nerves is important, though, and [former Oklahoma State quarterback Bobby] Reid hasn't always managed them well. He has gotten off to some extremely slow starts, putting the Cowboys in some holes. Some, they dug out of, with Reid often wielding the biggest shovel, and some, they couldn't."
-- Jenni Carlson, columnist for The Oklahoman, questioning the "intangibles" of OSU quarterback Bobby Reid, who the coaching staff had recently benched in favor of Zac Robinson
"I get sweaty palms. I get the butterflies in my stomach. I sweat a lot. I've been playing this game for 15 years. And I can honestly say every game I've played in, I've been nervous. It's not so much me being scared; I just get to a point where I start worrying about a lot of things I can't control."
-- Bobby Reid, as quoted in Carlson's column
"Or does he want to be coddled, babied, perhaps even fed chicken? That scene in the parking lot last week had no bearing on the Cowboys changing quarterbacks, and yet, it said so much about Reid. A 21-year-old letting his mother feed him in public? Most college kids, much less college football players, would just as soon be seen running naked across campus."
-- Carlson (The Oklahoman)
"That's why I don't read the newspaper! Because it's GARBAGE! And the EDITOR who let it come out is GARBAGE! Attacking an amateur athlete for doing everything right!"
-- Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy, reacting to Carlson's column
"Are you KIDDING ME? Where are we at in society today? COME AFTER ME! I'M A MAN! I'M 40! I'M NOT A KID! Write something about ME!"
"Don't write a kid that does everything right, that's heart is broken, and then say the coaches say he was scared! THAT AIN'T TRUE!"
-- Gundy, not exactly helping Reid's cause
"Who's the kid here? Who's the kid here? Are you kidding me? That's all I've got to say. It makes me want to puke."
"Rex Grossman is our quarterback."
-- Bears head coach Lovie Smith, Sunday, September 23
"Rex is my guy. Rex is my guy until the end. He didn't have his greatest game [against the Cowboys], but if you ask me Rex is my guy."
-- Bears tight end Desmond Clark, Monday, September 24
"Rex is our quarterback. One-hundred percent."
-- Bears center Olin Kreutz, Monday
"He's the starting quarterback. He's the guy taking the snaps. He's the guy handing me the ball. He's been the guy every Sunday. He's probably going to continue to be the guy."
-- Bears running back Cedric Benson, Monday
"Will Rex Grossman start Sunday? Well, our evaluation process is going on right now. And if you come out to practice Wednesday, you'll have a better idea of who will be starting at all positions."
-- Smith, Monday
"Has Rex been our starting quarterback? Well, yes, I'll say that."
-- Smith, also on Monday (Chicago Tribune)
"It's not one person. I just think we need a breath of fresh air. I'm excited for Brian [Griese]. He brings a lot of experience. He's anxious to go. Our team will back him 100 percent."
-- Smith, mercifully ending the Rex Grossman Experiment and announcing Brian Griese as the Bears new starting quarterback, Wednesday, September 26
"Of course, decisions like this are not made overnight."
-- Smith (Chicago Tribune)
''In one ear and out the other."
-- Bears running back Cedric Benson, describing his reaction to the attempts of the Chicago Bears' coaching staff to instruct him how to be a more effective runner. In related news, Benson is averaging 3.2 yards per carry this year. (Chicago Sun-Times)
"My junior year of college, I started getting into this need-for-speed type thing. Then it developed into, 'OK, I want to be good at this.'"
-- Benson, describing his plans to take racing-certification classes during the off-season so he can race his track-ready BMW M3
"The fastest I've ever gone? About 170 miles per hour. But on the track, there's no limit."
"It bothers Cedric when people are critical of him. It crushes him."
-- John Parchman, Benson's high school coach and mentor
"Who is Cedric Benson? I'm nobody in particular. I'm just a Southern boy who's old school. I like to be at home with my two Rottweilers. I like things to be real simple."
-- Benson (Chicago Tribune)
"He didn't complete the pass as a catch. You have to get two feet clearly down and make another football move. If in the process of making the catch, he gets hit and goes to the ground, then he has to hold on. When he hit the ground and the ball hit the ground, it popped out."
-- NFL referee Gerry Austin, offering a convoluted -- and almost surely incorrect -- explanation for his ruling (after video review) that a key pass to Vernon Davis was incomplete during the 49ers-Steelers game
"One foot and a toe."
-- Austin, when asked whether Davis got both of his feet down
"He [Austin] said that he had to be clear that two feet were down. I offered him my sunglasses because they're prescription."
-- 49ers head coach Mike Nolan (Santa Rosa Press Democrat)
"Don't cry about the ball and then not catch the ball."
-- Nolan, offering some unrelated advice to tight end Vernon Davis (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)
"I have always known that teams get excited to play against my offensive line and me, because my stats have been really, really [good], so that brings out the excitement to come stop that anyway."
-- Seahawks running back Shaun Alexander, describing the statistical motivation of the defenses the Seahawks play against (Cincinnati Enquirer)
"When you get it taken away from you for so long, like I had last year -- and never having that happen before -- you're just excited to be out there and you want to go out there and do great things, even more than I did before."
-- Alexander, with characteristic modesty (ESPN.com)
"That's probably something I'm going to get yelled at [for] a little tomorrow. But it just kind of happened. [Randy Moss] was there, I felt like it was safe, we had the possibility to score."
-- Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker, explaining why he decided to lateral a pass to Randy Moss during the Patriots-Bills game
"Unfortunately, Randy wasn't able to finish for me."
-- Welker (joking)
"I don't know what they were doing, those two. Maybe Wes learned that in Miami. I've never seen it around here."
-- Patriots quarterback Tom Brady
"I don't think that was the best play that I've ever seen. Let's put it that way."
-- Patriots head coach Bill Belichick (Boston Globe)
"Rocky's the quiet storm. Fletch is like the rock in the middle. And Marcus is just a wild child -- anything goes."
-- Redskins defensive lineman Kedric Golston, describing linebackers Rocky McIntosh, London Fletcher and Marcus Washington
"You've got a quiet assassin, so to speak, in Rocky. Marcus is insane and an extremely intense player, very physically gifted. And me, I guess you could say I'm the cerebral one. Maybe a little bit of a mix of both. I want to be quiet, but there's a side of me that's like Marcus, so that's a battle within."
-- London Fletcher (ESPN.com)
(Remember, click here to play track nine.)
"I'm sorry I haven't been able to come talk to you guys. But I just read a book, 'Patton: How to be a better defensive leader.' General Patton was a great leader and everybody talked about him. I did finish that book, I have a lot of notes from it and I'm going to try to use them this week."
-- New York Giants linebacker Antonio Pierce, explaining why he refused to talk to the media after the Giants lost to the Cowboys in Week 2
"You know what, I was actually looking for applications from some guys who know anything about how to play defense. If there's anybody here ... I guess y'all have all the Xs and Os and answers for us and you know what our problem is, everybody knows what our defense runs, so we're asking the media and the fans: If you can please help out the New York Giants defense, we'd gladly appreciate it. Fan mail can be sent to Giants.com."
-- Pierce, mocking the media in General Patton-like fashion
"Did you write that book: 'How to cover the tight ends?' We don't have the answers in here, so I guess we're asking the fans, the media and everybody else that has the answers to help us out. Please, we are in need of it."
-- Pierce, responding to a reporter's suggestion that the defense cover the tight ends (New Jersey Star-Ledger)
"I know that I'm not a risk. I'm a highly intelligent person and I take pride in a lot of things I do in life."
-- Suspended Cowboys defensive tackle Tank Johnson
"Just like any other human being, I'm going to make mistakes and I've made mistakes."
"We're going to welcome him just like guys welcomed me."
-- Terrell Owens (Arizona Republic)
"The Sports of The Times column on Friday, about the National Football League's punishment of the New England Patriots for videotaping an opponent's signals, misidentified a player whom Commissioner Roger Goodell suspended for conduct off the field while the player was with the Chicago Bears. He is Tank Johnson -- not Tank Williams, who plays for the Minnesota Vikings. (Tank Johnson signed a two-year contract on Tuesday with the Dallas Cowboys, but will not play until he completes his eight-game suspension.)"
-- Correction in the September 20, 2007 edition of The New York Times.
"We have a pretty good idea of what he likes. Sometimes it's a matter of if he likes door No.3, door No.2 or door No.1. He likes all three doors, but you got to pick, which door do you want?"
-- Buccaneers head coach Jon Gruden, describing quarterback Jeff Garcia's apparent affinity for doors
"It's, 'Do you like this, do you like that, do you like this?' He has some opinions of his own. It is just an area where we have to continue to grow."
"Some teams have had the same quarterback for five or six years, seven years, 10 years, whatever years. We have had our guy for two weeks. We have to continue to communicate and work through some situations."
"He's a barbed-wire kind of guy. He's not the biggest, most menacing guy, but he has a bite to him."
-- Gruden (The Ledger)
"I learned a long time ago about coaches. They're always going to do what they want to do. It's usually an ego thing rather than trying to be better or trying to get better or trying to listen to input."
-- Chiefs running back Larry Johnson, expressing his frustration over head coach Herm Edwards' determination to run him into a wall until he snaps in two
"It's just hard to change a coach's perspective or change an offensive coordinator's plays when this is what they've been used to doing ever since they came into the league."
"Football is easy. It's not a chess game. It's checkers. When they're looking for the run, you pass. When they're looking for the pass, you run. When they put nine in the box, you pass. When they overload one side, you run to the other side."
"A lot of times, players are looking at something way different than what coaches are seeing. They think it's this and all of a sudden they come over to the sideline and they see the pictures and they say, 'Oh, it wasn't that.' That's emotion. We've been sitting on that powder keg for about two weeks now."
-- Herm Edwards (NFL.com)
"I'm all right with that as long as you don't cross the line. It's all in a competitive environment, and it happens all the time. This has gone on in sports forever. The thing that makes it kind of unique now is there are so many cameras. Twenty-five years ago, this thing went on ... but it wasn't on television."
-- Edwards, when asked to react to Johnson's "checkers" remark
"What's happened is when you go three-and-out it's hard to get rhythm as a play caller, it really is, and that's been our problem. I think some people fail to realize we can miss a play, or there's a penalty, then what do you call? The first play of the game, we've got a guy wide-open but we don't hit it. People forget about that."
-- Edwards (Kansas City Star)
"Mike [Solari, the Chiefs' offensive coordinator] is like any other second-year coordinator who's never done the job. They learn as they go."
-- Edwards (Kansas City Star)
"I keep the back of my head to you. You don't see the stitches back there."
-- Bengals defensive coordinator Chuck Bresnahan, when asked how he kept from banging his head into the wall over the Bengals' defensive performance against the Browns two weeks ago(Cincinnati Enquirer)
"I need to gain about 15 pounds and I can be an undersized tight end like [ex-Bengal Matt] Schobel was."
-- Bengals wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh, indirectly commenting on the number of times he's run shallow routes this year (Dayton Daily News)
"I didn't get to the quarterback. I suck right now. So there. There's your headline.''
-- Dolphins defensive end Jason Taylor, reacting to the Dolphins' loss to the Jets in Week 3 (Sports Illustrated)
"If I did it for Jimmy Johnson and for football, how can I show up unprepared to meet God in prayer?"
-- Shlomo (formerly Alan) Veingrad, offensive lineman for the Dallas Cowboys in the early 1990s, describing his intensive prayer preparation as an ultra-Orthodox Jew (Dallas Morning News)
"Now, is [backup quarterback] Cleo Lemon going to run down on [a] kickoff? He might. We're going to do whatever we think we need to do to win a football game. If that's what it takes, that's what we'll do.''
-- Dolphins head coach Cam Cameron, announcing his controversial "Let's See if We Can Get Cleo Lemon Killed on Special Teams" plan (Miami Herald)
"I felt like I was on the bad end of the stick. I felt like a lot of calls could have gone either way. They all went against me."
-- Falcons cornerback DeAngelo Hall, who was penalized three times for 67 yards during a critical drive in the Falcons-Panthers game. The Falcons lost, there are rumors that Hall was attacked by his own teammates after the game, and Steve Smith accused him of being a cheap-shot artist. (Winston Salem-Journal)
"Shoot, drunk guys aren't too hard to tackle."
-- Kansas City Chiefs mascot "K.C. Wolf," explaining how he was able to bring down a drunken Chiefs' fan who got onto the field (Kansas City Star, and we demand you click the link to at least see the picture)
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91 comments, Last at 29 Sep 2007, 10:53am by Independent George