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.
15 Aug 2008
compiled by Vince Verhei
"If we would keep four quarterbacks, I would think we could keep five running backs."
-- Patriots coach Bill Belichick, suggesting his team may carry five running backs into the regular season this year. In 2001, Belichick and the Pats carried four quarterbacks: Tom Brady, Drew Bledsoe, Michael Bishop, and John Friesz
"From our standpoint, (having all of us here) benefits our team. We can all do different things. We're our biggest cheerleaders."
-- Patriots running back Sammy Morris, who may regret those cheers if Belichick changes his mind and Morris winds up behind Laurence Maroney, Kevin Faulk, Heath Evans and LaMont Jordan (Boston Herald)
"I probably should clarify things right now as far as the starting running back position is concerned."
-- Titans coach Jeff Fisher, making fantasy football players sit up and take notice
"We're going to use a number of running backs, and the starter, as far as I'm concerned, will be the guy that plays the first play in the game, not because one has earned the privilege to start over another. It'll be based on what we decide to do as an offensive staff to start the game."
-- Fisher, making fantasy football players slap their foreheads and moan
"They're going to play, and obviously, we're going to have two players, and as it looks right now, it's going to be LenDale [White] and it's going to be Chris [Johnson], and we're going to interchange them throughout the game and back them up with the other guys."
-- Fisher, making fantasy football players weep softly (Nashville City Paper)
"If there is a situation that comes up, I will definitely look at it, but it has to be something with the Pats. There is no sense in me going to another locker room when I have my guys in that locker room that are going back and hopefully trying to finish what we started."
-- Currently retired linebacker Junior Seau, considering returning to the field once he has fully recovered from offseason shoulder surgery (Boston Globe)
"He passed his physical this morning, and he is a Raven."
-- Ravens coach John Harbaugh, announcing that fullback Lorenzo Neal, formerly a member of the Chargers, will play in Baltimore this year
"The thing about him is that the players all know him. They all respect him. All of our linebackers have been hit by him. [Defensive tackle] Kelly Gregg has been hit by him. As a matter of fact, he threw off Kelly Gregg's facemask a few years back. Kelly still has the facemask in his den."
-- Harbaugh, describing the feng shui nightmare that exists in the Gregg household (Baltimore Sun)
"What, are you crazy?"
-- Ravens cornerback Chris McAlister, when asked if he would be undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery before the season
"Nope, I've never been under the knife, and I'm not going under the knife."
-- McAlister, who apparently only practices reliable, time-tested medical practices, like perhaps leeches (Baltimore Sun)
"It's day-to-day right now, it's a little bit more in-depth than you've been hearing about. I can't really explain it at this point because I've been researching it myself, but I figure I might be all right."
-- Ravens safety Ed Reed
"We'll see, man. We'll see."
-- Reed, on whether he will be ready for the season opener against Cincinnati
"I'm not doubtful [that Reed will play against the Bengals] at all, based on what we've been told by the doctors ... We've got plenty of experts working on it."
-- Ravens coach John Harbaugh (Carroll County Times)
"Don't put any stock in NFL.com. I don't think (the story) has any legs for any reason."
-- Bengals coach Marvin Lewis, responding to a report that the team was interested in re-signing Chris Henry, who is currently suspended by the league (Cincinnati Enquirer)
"I think we can win without him and I think we can win with him. Chris can play football. I don't want to get into it that much because I think it's unfair to a certain degree. It would mean somebody who has busted their tail and been here the whole time would be out of a job. I guess what it boils down to is (the other receivers) have to play. If they show the team they can make plays, there'd be no need to bring him back."
-- Bengals receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh, on a potential Henry return (Bengals.com)
"We feel like it's important that we deal with a little short-term misery and put that element of his injury behind us."
-- Steelers coach Mike Tomlin, explaining that cornerback DeShea Townsend will skip the team's preseason contest with Buffalo so his nagging groin injury will have a chance to heal (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)
"I was impressed simply by the fact he was a quick study. He was able to step out there and step in the huddle, spew the verbiage out, get people lined up and actually get the ball around."
-- Steelers coach Mike Tomlin on new quarterback Byron Leftwich, signed only after incumbent backup Charlie Batch went down with a broken collarbone
"Any time you put on shoulder pads and helmets for the first day, it's always tough. I haven't had a chance to put this stuff on since November when I got hurt, so it's good to be out here and good to be part of an organization like this."
-- Byron Leftwich (ESPN.com)
"I texted him to congratulate him on his contract and getting back into the league. I knew he'd be fine. I'm happy to see him back out there. He definitely has the skills to be an NFL quarterback. That's definitely not a question. I was just happy to see him get a job."
-- David Garrard, who took Leftwich's job in Jacksonville (Florida Times-Union)
"It's something that will get fixed, I promise. Because whoever's going to be back there is going to protect the ball."
-- Texans coach Gary Kubiak after his punt returner Jacoby Jones fumbled a return against Denver, leading to a Broncos field goal
"[Jacoby] needs to learn to just get his foot in the ground and turn upfield more. He's got to quit playing street ball."
-- Texans specials teams coach Joe Marciano
"The sad part about it is we've addressed it over and over in practice. It's not like we didn't see this coming. He wasn't even hit (on the turnover against the Broncos). He just dropped it."
"I'm going to have a conversation with him before he goes on the field â€” every time. He'll be the last one to find out what the return call is. He'll have to come to me and get it, and then we'll go over everything he needs to be thinking about."
-- Marciano, the good cop
"We're going to change him. We're tired of talking about it. We've been teaching softly, and now it's going to get a little harder. He's still swinging the ball around, and we can't have that. The bottom line is he's not going back there anymore if he turns the ball over."
-- Kubiak, the bad cop (Houston Chronicle)
"I don't want to push it too much in the preseason and set myself back, so I'm going to be careful with it. But I want to be out there."
-- Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey, who may miss Saturday's preseason game against Dallas (Rocky Mountain News)
"Right now it hurts when I walk. It definitely hurts breaking on the football. I'll continue to be limited in whatever I'm doing but I don't think it's a big issue."
-- Raiders cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha after X-Rays of his right foot came up negative (Contra Costa Times)
"It looks better than it feels ... It's not as comfortable as it looks. I got through it. The pain is tolerable."
-- Chargers tight end Antonio Gates on the status of his left big toe
"My goal is to start the season and finish the season. I refuse to come back early and fall short in the regular season, fall short in the postseason."
-- Gates, vowing to stay off the field until he feels his body is ready (San Diego Union-Tribune)
"There's no rhyme or reason why we're doing this in this direction."
-- Bears coach Lovie Smith, referring directly to his decision to start Kyle Orton at quarterback in Chicago's preseason opener, and indirectly to virtually every quarterback decision the Bears have made since Jim McMahon left town
"No coin flip, we didn't want to do that again -- no rock, paper, scissors."
"It's where receivers go to die."
-- Panthers wide receiver Muhsin Muhammad on his former team, Chicago (Sports Illustrated)
"[Former Bears lineman Tank] Johnson didn't seem to care that a journalist and several fans were well within earshot. Johnson called Grossman brittle and, in so many words that can't be repeated, he also called him soft."
-- CBS Sports columnist Mike Freeman (CBSSports.com)
"Bobby Wade came here and developed, got better and if he hadn't developed and gotten better, the Titans wouldn't have wanted him. Minnesota wouldn't have wanted him ... Justin Gage, the same way. If he hadn't have come here and gotten better, he wouldn't have gone there (to the Titans) and gotten $14 million. Bernard Berrian, if he hadn't developed, he wouldn't have got $42 million with Minnesota."
-- Bears wide receiver Darryl Drake, trying to defend his team by pointing out that plenty of marginal receivers have gotten the hell out of town at the first opportunity
"I don't pay attention to any of that. I don't really have an opinion or a comment on that. They have their own reasons why they need to talk about things. I just do my job and keep quiet."
-- Bears quarterback Rex Grossman
-- Bears quarterback Kyle Orton
"Anytime anybody says something about guys on this team, you take offense to it."
-- Bears Offensive coordinator Ron Turner
"I thought those guys were my friends."
-- An anonymous source identified only as "a miffed Bears Pro Bowl player" with an early candidate for quote of the year (Daily Herald)
"I don't know. Yeah, I suppose he can. Competition's all over this place. You never know how it's going to work out."
-- Packers General Manager Ted Thompson, when asked if seventh-rounder Matt Flynn could beat out second-rounder Brian Brohm for the team's backup quarterback job
"I don't think we've decided who's who yet. That's how they entered the game (Monday night), but I'm not sure we're at that stage with a lot of positions."
-- Packers offensive coordinator Joe Philbin on the Brohm-Flynn duel (Wisconsin State Journal)
"I'm even contemplating giving some money back to further this thing along. I'm ready to get it solved and move on. The longer I stay here, the worse it's going to get."
-- Falcons wide receiver Joe Horn, who wants to be traded and is "contemplating" returning money if it will help
"I'm healthy. It's frustrating to sit to the side. I tweaked a little hamstring. It's nothing major. I know I can still play, and I'm ready to go. It's just frustrating sitting out here and dealing with this."
-- Horn, who has not practiced, claiming that he is ready to go
"Joe is under contract, and it's our policy not to discuss particulars of his contract."
-- Falcons General Manager Thomas Dimitroff, not discussing Horn's contract (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
"I've come out a couple of times and actually played defense and chased him down and made him work to explode and cut."
-- Buccaneers coach Jon Gruden, on the recovery of running back Cadillac Williams
"He's getting really close. I can't tell you how excited we are about how far he's come in such a short period of time. I have to keep it in perspective, but we're going to be very smart here and I'm not going to do anything until the trainers give the green light. Right now we're still on yellow and we're still working hard. There's a little bit of caution but boy, he's looking good and we're excited and happy for him."
"Thrilled. I was gushing with thrill."
-- Gruden, when asked how he felt about his team's long list on injured players (Pewter Report)
"The ball comes out on time. If you ask every guy what we see out of Chad, that ball comes out on time. Receivers turn their heads and it's almost hitting them in the face sometimes. It's amazing to see that on day one."
-- Dolphins cornerback Andre Goodman after new quarterback Chad Pennington's first practice with the team (CBSSports.com)
"Whatever route you have, you better run it hard because the ball could be coming. If you're not looking, you may get hit in the head."
-- Jets receiver Jerricho Cotchery, explaining how his new quarterback is such a great upgrade over his old one (Lowell Sun)
"Kind of that 'Gong Show' deal. It kind of goes to show you, you miss some guys in the draft; you miss some guys in free-agency."
-- Kansas City head coach Herm Edwards, drawing some kind of bizarre correlation between The Gong Show and free agent rookie running back Dantrell Savage
"I can't tell you that for sure. And I don't want to say for sure. Generally, when you say that, things happen, and then I'm on television saying this is what you said a month ago. Right now, they're our quarterbacks."
-- Herm, not explaining the team's quarterback situation
"Not to my knowledge. I don't answer my phone. I have one; I don't even have the number."
-- Herm, assuring reporters asking questions about Brett Favre that he does own a phone, although he doesn't know his number (Kansas City Star)
"I probably wouldn't want to listen to it. There are probably a couple words I don't want to hear."
-- Herm, on the amateur rap music produced by Chiefs tackle Tank Tyler (Kansas City Star)
78 comments, Last at 19 Aug 2008, 12:38pm by Marcumzilla