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.
29 Aug 2008
compiled by Peter DeBaz and Mark Zajack
"I would not be surprised if Ronnie Brown sinks."
- ESPN analyst Chris Mortensen on the state of the Miami running back situation, during a segment called "Sink or Swim."
"I wouldn't be surprised if [Brown] ended up on another team this season."
- Mort, being clear
"No chance that we're trading Ronnie."
- Dolphins Head Coach Tony Sparano, being equally clear in the face of speculation
"I need to see more of Ronnie before I make that decision. If I don't see a whole lot more Ronnie, then Ricky will start."
- Sparano, on whether Ronnie Brown or Ricky Williams will start the opener. (Miami Herald)
"I don't know. You never know. It's preseason."
- Cleveland Browns General Manager Phil Savage, after his Browns team looked like children in the hands of the Giants on Monday, August 18. (SI.com)
"I saw something on a blog and I think you have to go to the person who wrote that and interview him. I'll leave it at that."
- Indianapolis Colts Head Coach Tony Dungy, on reports that Peyton Manning has had a second surgery and would be out longer than expected (Terre Haute News)
"It's not the same rehab, it's totally different. This is like a walk in the park."
- Baltimore Ravens running back Willis McGahee, comparing his rehab from his recent knee surgery to that following his devastating knee injury in the Fiesta Bowl in 2003. (Carroll County Times)
"Just trying to be smart .. The preseason is important, but I think the idea is to be ready for when the regular season kicks off."
- New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, explaining that his right foot injury -- no, not the one from the Super Bowl, a different one -- would keep him out of the Patriots' third preseason game against the Eagles. (Boston Globe)
"It's just a question of fine-tuning it, working on timing and all those kinds of things. (These questions) are the same kinds of conversations we had last year when Randy (Moss) wasn't out there, so I think that works to his advantage."
- Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick, explaining his new favorite tactic to mess with handicappers. (Boston Globe)
"At the end of the day, he is the owner... My feelings don't matter... It doesn't matter. It's over. I saw that this was something Mike has wanted to do for a while."
- Bengals Head Coach Marvin Lewis insisting that the decision to bring Chris Henry back was not his.
"This does not undercut me. The owner always has the final say, and if you think it's any other way, you're fooling yourself."
- Lewis insisting that going over his head is not, in fact, the same thing as undercutting him. (New York Times)
"It hurts. That's the main thing that hurts me right now; to see Carson get hit."
- Bengals right guard Robbie Williams, describing his feelings at seeing quarterback Carson Palmer battered and bloodied in Saturday's 13-0 loss to the Saints.
"It's not rocket science... You understand why this is the year. You don't need to go into it in detail. This is the year to make it happen. If it doesn't happen, I think changes are going to be made. I'm not sure what direction, but I see it coming."
- Chad Johnson, not a rocket scientist, describing the rapidly closing window for the Cincinnati Bengals organization.
"I'm lifting my normal weight.. I do everything normal now. Everything. It's been, what? Eight days? I'm back to normal."
- Johnson, describing his Wolverine-like healing powers before dropping down and giving the Cincinnati beat writers 21 pushups to prove he can play through his partially torn labrum.
"That's no different than when Brad Pitt and Angelina are filming a movie and it takes that (amount of) time when they get back together to have kids. It will be the same when we get back on the field together. We're going to produce."
- Johnson, stupendifying us. (Bengals.com)
"I think these guys are embarrassed about the way they played... Why it happened I don't know."
- Chiefs Coach Herm Edwards, who doesn't know these things.
"Well. Yeah. We'd like to score when we get into the Red Zone. That's going to be our deal."
- Edwards, unveiling the keystone of his bold new plan.
"Well, I don't know about that. We have an idea. You're talking now, in my opinion, it's not 53 it's 60. Because of the practice squad. So it's 60 in my mind. It's how do you develop 60 guys. Out of the guys you're going to keep, who is the 53rd guy and then from there, who is the eighth guy that makes up 60?"
- Herm, adding. KCChiefs.com
"The mustache is coming tomorrow -- it's a tribute to my favorite Civil War general. I looked it up on beards.com and it's called The Friendly Mutton Chops, and there's pictures of about a hundred guys, so I know I'm not alone."
- Packers Quarterback Aaron Rodgers, rocking some awesome Ambrose Burnside muttonchops at the end of Packers training camp. For reference, check out this authoritative post on Rodgers' facial hair, featuring the friendly mutton chops at the bottom. (WBAY.com)
"I am thinking it is going to be okay."
- Giants Coach Tom Coughlin's post-game psychic friends network assessment of DE Osi Umenyiora's injury. (Giants.com)
"The doctors have told me that this will be a four-month recovery."
- Coughlin the next day
"A few kind words."
- An unidentified source "close" to retired defensive end Michael Strahan, on what it would take for Strahan to return to the Giants if the team
"If the Giants make a sincere overture, it's a good chance that Strahan would consider coming back."
- The same unidentified source
- Other sources "close" to Strahan weighing in on the likelihood of a return. (NY Daily News)
"I really anticipate that we won't see the gaffes that a lot of people think."
- Falcons Head coach Mike Smith, naming quarterback Matt Ryan the starter for the Falcons.
"He's going to have some mistakes, and we're going to help him out as much as possible."
- Falcons center Todd McClure, who may or may not have been suggesting that the offense help Ryan make his rookie mistakes. (Associated Press)
"If we have the choice of having him for one game or 15, we'll take the 15."
- Redskins Head Coach Jim Zorn regarding his highly quantitative approach to DE Jason Taylor's sprained right knee after the 47-3 loss to the Panthers. (Washington Times)
"I didn't sleep much on it. I lay awake thinking on it."
- Zorn after that same Redskins loss in which the first-team unit was outscored 34-0.
"There are a lot of words we can use. I think we were very soft in our pass protection. In our run game, we had a lack of sustaining one-on-one blocks. .. On the first four passes that Jason threw, he had somebody walked back into him or he had somebody in his face. It is very difficult to play quarterback from that position."
- Zorn on the offensive line, after Jason Campbell was sacked four times and completed 6 of 10 passes for 39 yards.
"I'm just trying to be precautionary right now, not trying to go out there and push it."
- Vikings quarterback Tavaris Jackson on resting his sprained right knee, rather than play Saturday against Pittsburgh.
"In fact he could've played and he could've played a certain way with a certain menu of plays and probably had to stay in the pocket, but that's not the prudent thing to do."
- Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress on Tavaris Jackson. (Associated Press)
"The cardboard with the dot was a signal for the defensive front and the hand signal was for the coverage. They varied the hand signals a little bit from the previous year, but it wasn't real hard to figure out. So we'd look at the piece of cardboard and then at the hand signal and pretty much knew what the defense was."
- Giants offensive lineman Grey Ruegamer, a former backup with the Patriots, on the supreme level of intelligence necessary to decode defensive sideline signals.
"Not exactly complex stuff, but we're talking about defensive guys after all."
- Ruegamer (Yahoo.com)
"The Raider organization, the National Football League, and the world have lost a great man."
- Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis.
"People can say what they want to say about Gene. They didn't like him. He was too brash. He didn't stroke them the right way. But Gene always told you the truth. Gene got the job done when it boils down to it. His legacy will go on forever."
- NFLPA president and Tennessee Titans center Kevin Mawae.
"It's not polite to speak ill of the dead and I hope his soul is at peace in heaven. But he was a mean-spirited man, who disregarded the plight of many of his former colleagues, who sought improved pension and medical benefits. However, he did a lot for the current players. They owe their salaries to Gene Upshaw."
- Attorney James Acho, who represented several former NFL players in grievances against the NFLPA, seeking improved pension and medical benefits. ( Associated Press)
"For me to be told I look like the Donovan of old, what year are you talking about?."
- Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb.
"Those were great years [2000-04] and, hopefully, we can put 2008 in that category, too,."
- McNabb (Philly.com)
"Kyle did a hell of a job in the pocket. He made us look good with his movement. He read the blitzes and made some points."
- Bears center Olin Kruetz after Orton completed 10 of 17 passes for 147 yards with 2 touchdowns, no interceptions and a 126.3 passer rating in his first game since being named the Bears' starting quarterback. (ChicagoBears.com)
- Lindsay Lohan's description of Orton on the dance floor at Crimson Lounge in Chicago. ( Sportscracklepop.com)
"I could give a [bleep]. I could give a [bleep]. If we screwed up, I would tell you, 'We screwed up.' Hey, if we said this was 50-50 and we just rolled the dice, I would tell you that."
- Bears GM Jerry Angelo on a conference call with beat writers to eloquently clarify that the back injury to first round draft pick OT Chris Williams is a new injury, not the same injury as when he was drafted. Although, I don't think he's disputing it's the same back.
"Nobody was trying to pull the wool over anybody's eyes. Nobody is covering their ass."
- Angelo, who perhaps, should have been covering something, maybe the phone? (Chicago Tribune)
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29 comments, Last at 03 Sep 2008, 11:42am by brian