We look back at Atlanta's worst games this year to see what weaknesses New England might exploit. Those weaknesses include pretty much everyone on defense, but is there a secret to stopping the Falcons offense?
21 Aug 2008
compiled by Vince Verhei
"It's pretty bad when J.T. O'Sullivan is outdoing you."
-- An anonymous NFL scout after Aaron Rodgers' poor showing in a preseason contest against San Francisco
"I'm just glad we're not in that situation."
-- Another unnamed scout, from "a team with an established quarterback"
"He had pretty good time. He was looking downfield, but it was like he wasn't really seeing."
-- Yet another nameless scout, referring to Rodgers' four sacks in 20 dropbacks
"Garbage. Awful, awful, awful, awful. We're not scaring anyone and we feel like we have an offense that should scare anybody."
-- The decidedly not-anonymous Donald Driver, on Green Bay's offensive ineptitude
"God, is he bad."
-- A scout from Parts Unknown on Green Bay nickelback Jarrett Bush, who was beaten for completions of 27 and 22 yards, appeared to be at fault for a blown coverage that allowed a 59-yard touchdown, and was also called for a pass interference penalty in the end zone to set up a first-and-goal (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
"In principle, it's agreed to."
-- Rams running back Steven Jackson on the new contract he had been seeking
"We just had two different ways -- how we were thinking, where we wanted to go on a contract. And the Rams, the way they were thinking. Their philosophy. That's where it came to a standstill."
-- Jackson, placing the blame for his holdout at the feet of the Rams' "philosophy"
"Things really got hot and heavy (Wednesday), and that's when I booked the flight. When you're talking about this kind of money, there's going to be some kind of gripes and concerns. In negotiations, no one gets 100 percent what they want, so it was just the two of us coming to an agreement on some things."
"Especially for a running back."
-- Jackson on the brief careers of NFL players, particularly those at his position
"It's definitely something I'm proud of and I can live with."
-- Jackson on his new deal
"I've been working out, keeping a low profile -- staying away from sports radio and talk and all that kind of stuff. I was in Vegas the entire time -- at mom's and dad's house, taking in their love."
-- Jackson, with information on his recent whereabouts that must have made Rams officials throw up in their mouths until they got to that last part (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
"At the beginning of camp, I hadn't asked for a trade. As of recently, we did."
-- Cardinals wide receiver Anquan Boldin
-- Boldin, when asked if he believes his standoff with Arizona can be resolved
"It's a tough situation, especially when you come into a working environment. But my job is to stay professional. I'm going to do what I'm supposed to do."
-- Boldin, who is still practicing with the team, on what practices are like
"If I'm not going to be treated fairly, if my hard work and loyalty isn't going to be rewarded here, then let me go somewhere where it's going to be rewarded. That's how I feel."
"Honestly, I think it should be completely separated. I think that's why we have a department that deals with that."
-- Boldin, after implying that negotiations with the team fell apart after coach Ken Whisenhunt got involved
"We've been communicating. If communicating is talking, that's what we have been doing at practice. As we go forward, I don't know. I don't foresee anything changing. If it does, it's in his court."
-- Whisenhunt, on reports that he and Boldin had not been communicating (NFL.com)
"They saw I was disgruntled, they saw that me sitting to the side and watching and we know it wasn't going to work out well for either of us."
-- Former Falcons wide receiver Joe Horn, whose wish was granted when the team released him on Tuesday
"We made the right decision. They allowed me to go and I'm just happy to know that I'm leaving with good character."
"I talked to Smitty [coach Mike Smith] and I talked to [general manager] Thomas Dimitroff. We shook hands and we wished each other the best."
"Arthur Blank is one of the biggest reasons I came to Atlanta, him and Michael Vick. Michael Vick had a lot to do with that. By Mike Vick being incarcerated, I knew my career wouldn't go that well in Atlanta."
"I'm disappointed that Joe didn't get a chance to compete because of his (hamstring) injury in training camp and because he didn't choose to come to [offseason workouts]. So he didn't get a chance to compete. We're going to move forward. We feel very comfortable with the receiving corps that we have. I wish Joe the best of luck as he moves on."
-- Falcons coach Mike Smith
"It's a business so I understand how things were handled. What if some of their receivers went down? They would have had me around to help. I knew that and understood."
-- Horn, explaining why he doesn't bear a grudge against the team for making him wait for his release
"If I couldn't play I would retire, but I know I can still play."
-- Horn (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
"I talked to Coach Smith about that before and that's exciting to go get out there right away. We're going to have a good week of preparation and hopefully play well Friday night."
-- Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan on his first professional start this weekend against Tennessee
"We want to give everybody an opportunity to work with the first unit and that's still the plan."
-- Falcons coach Mike Smith, who started Chris Redman against Jacksonville and Joey Harrington against Indianapolis, and will likely start D.J. Shockley in the team's preseason finale against Baltimore
"I really was impressed with the way he handled the two-minute situation before the half last Saturday night. He did throw the interception but he moved well in the pocket. He avoided some pressure and he got rid of the ball. He's got to make plays. That's what really counts in this league, making plays and doing what everyone expects him to do. He obviously has the ability to do that, now he just has to go do it."
-- Falcons right tackle Tyson Clabo on Ryan's performance against Indianapolis last weekend (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
"I never really got comfortable. We just weren't playing real smart to start the game."
-- Former Bears starting quarterback Rex Grossman, after going 9-of-15 for 74 yards with an interception and a sack against Seattle
"Not really pleased with what many of our offensive guys did early. We didn't get a lot done. Rex was a part of that."
-- Bears coach Lovie Smith, foreshadowing a switch in his quarterback depth chart
"I don't know any more than you all do. I thought I executed the offense all right, and the bottom line is we just need to find more ways to score points."
-- Former Bears backup quarterback Kyle Orton, after the Seattle game (Chicago Sun-Times)
"You [media] guys can get negative about quite a bit of stuff, but this is the preseason. In some areas we've done well. In some areas we have struggled. But all and all, as a unit, I think we're getting better. And I think we're really going to show that in the next few weeks."
-- Orton, shortly after being named starting quarterback
"We take a lot of things into consideration. But in the end, it comes down to a gut feeling you have. I feel good about Kyle leading our team."
-- Smith, whose decisions on whether Orton or Grossman would start have been made via gut feelings, coin flips, and "no rhyme or reason"
"Is it over? Nothing is ever over at any position. We don't name any guys starters for a lifetime."
-- Smith, ensuring a fun, fun season in Chicago one way or another
"We're going to be a good offense."
-- Orton (Chicago Tribune)
"I was scared to come through. It's good to be back."
-- Former Titans quarterback Steve McNair, returning to the team's facilities for the first time since a messy split in the 2006 offseason
"This organization has been great for me, they gave me an opportunity to play 11 years and take care of my family. I still don't have any animosity toward this organization, especially the coaching staff. The coaching staff is like family."
"A business decision."
-- McNair, describing his departure from the Titans
"I scratched mine. If I get the itch I go ahead and scratch it."
-- McNair, putting any thoughts of a comeback to rest
"You always want to kind of go out on a high note, but at the same time when you're as competitive as Brett [Favre] is, and you've got the ability and the mindset to continue to play, he just wanted to continue to play. He's got the opportunity with the Jets and he's happy and I'm happy for him."
-- McNair on another quarterback who underwent a messy NFL divorce
"My career is over and this is a great opportunity for me to give back and help more kids here and in the state of Mississippi. It should be a lot of fun."
-- McNair, on his Oct. 31 retirement ceremony (The Tennesseean)
"I just think he needs to play, and he's shown he can play. He had a good game last week and needs some more."
-- Cowboys head coach Wade Phillips on Adam Jones, who will make his first start since Dec. 31, 2006, this Friday against Houston
"I'm just happy to be out here competing and I'm getting a chance. Whoever comes out there, I'm ready to compete. Let's see what happens on Friday."
-- Jones (Dallas Morning News)
"Two, one, I'm not sure where they are right now."
"It's hard to tell. Chad [Pennington] hasn't had a lot of work right now. But I feel really comfortable with Chad Henne and my evaluation of where he is. I think he's developed a bunch since the start of rookie camp. All of a sudden the game is starting to slow down, and he's playing a little bit more comfortable in the pocket, starting to see the field a little clearer and making some faster decisions out there in critical situations. This guy is really showing me great poise."
"If he's the best guy, I'll play him."
-- Sparano, referring to Henne (South Florida Sun-Sentinel)
"Same side of the body, and same leg, but not the same injury."
-- Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, comparing his current unknown injury to the injury to his right ankle during last postseason
"I spent some time this weekend getting treatment on it, and hoping that it responds quickly like it usually does."
"It's going to be up to Coach, what he wants to do. I think he's been coaching long enough to know that the first game in September is the most important game for us."
-- Brady, on whether he would play Friday night against Philadelphia (Boston Globe)
"I'm giving Jacoby [Jones] every chance I can to work out of this and clean these mistakes up. At the same time, our team has to know what direction we're going if somebody's back there putting the ball on the ground, (so) David and Andre are getting a lot of work this week."
"That is my goal, to be ready for that first game ... it has been my goal all along. Hopefully it continues to progress up until that point."
-- Colts quarterback Peyton Manning, conceding that he may not be ready to play the team's regular season opener against the Bears on Sept. 7
"I've had a tough month. It's truly been a challenge for me, certainly something totally different than I've had to ever experience. Just constant rehab."
-- Manning, who has started every game for the Colts since he was drafted in 1998 (Indianapolis Star)
"New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has won more or less than two Super Bowls?"
-- Matt Gallant, host of NFL Cheerleader Playoffs on NFL Network, asking a question during a trivia game
-- Catherine, Tampa Bay Buccaneers cheerleader, getting the question wrong
"He's like a bowling ball with butcher knives on it."
-- Chiefs coach Herm Edwards on rookie running back Dantrell Savage (Kansas City Star)
Thanks to Kevin McKinley for the contribution this week. Send in your favorites (including those you think we may have missed) to quotes-at-footballoutsiders.com, and please remember to include a link to your source.
43 comments, Last at 22 Aug 2008, 6:38pm by The Hypno-Toad