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?"
10 Jan 2008
compiled by Ben Riley
"I want to just say right now that we want the ball and we're going to score. Is that OK? I said it, I mean it, thank you."
-- Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck's first comment during his postgame press conference this past Saturday after the Seahawks beat the Redskins, 35-14. The Seahawks will play the Packers again this Saturday, four years after the infamous overtime Seahawks-Packers playoff game where, after Seattle won the coin toss in overtime, Hasselbeck famously declared "We want the ball and we're going to score!" Hasselbeck then threw an interception to Packers cornerback Al Harris that was returned for a touchdown. (Tacoma News-Tribune)
"I really think it's out of the mind of everybody -- Matt [and] here in our building. We're not thinking about it."
-- Al Harris
"It was a big moment in my life, in my career, but I wouldn't define my career by that play."
"It was called 'Thriller Blitz.' [Then-Packers defensive coordinator] Ed [Donatell] called it, [and] it was a 'population' blitz, which means that we're sending more than they can block."
-- Veteran Packers defensive end Aaron Kampman
"And sure enough Al just sat right there, the pressure came, [Hasselbeck] had to throw the ball and it went right to him."
-- Kampman (Wisconsin State Journal)
"Ahman [Green] was one of them out for the coin flip and he comes over on the sidelines and I didn't even hear what was going on. I'm thinking 'Overtime, oh boy.' Ahman comes over to me and he says, 'Did you hear what Matt just said?' I'm thinking, 'Heads, tails?'"
-- Packers Brett Favre, describing his reaction to Hasselbeck's prediction
"I think he makes that team go and I like his confidence that he brings to the game, I really do, and I thought it was pretty funny myself. I was thinking, 'Boy, we better stop him.'"
"People can call it what they want, but I thought it was pretty neat. I wouldn't do it, but I'm not saying that negatively."
"I'm sure he felt like they would get the ball and they were going to score."
-- Favre (Tacoma News-Tribune)
"They were throwing stuff at us: chicken wings, cans. It was terrible."
-- Redskins fan Dino Russo, describing his experience at Seattle's Qwest field last Saturday
"I expected the crowd to be docile, and this was the opposite. Philly is supposed to be the worst, but this doesn't compare."
-- Fellow Redskins supporter Bruce May
"I went to Philly and New York this year, and this is worse."
-- Ted Abela, yet another traumatized Redskins fan
"He was right up in my face, and I'm only 16!"
-- Ashleigh Miller, 16, describing the behavior of another "boorish" Seahawks supporter
"I've never seen people so classless."
-- Redskins supporter Raza Ali
"You gotta hold your own and let them know what time it is."
-- Seahawks supporter Kyl Uecker, 24, who was described by the Washington Post as "a beer-swilling Seattle resident plastered in blue and black face paint"
"I just want to get out of here alive."
-- Redskins fan Genna Henry, frightened for his life (Washington Post)
"Why am I going to get mad over something like that? Jesus came and saved the whole world and he still got persecuted."
-- Patriots cornerback Ellis Hobbs, reacting to the "persecution" he's endured from critics in the media, including ESPN Radio's Mike Felger
"What is me talking to guys like your Felger, your whatever, going to do? It's not going to change their opinions or thoughts or whatever. They're just looking for criticism. It's almost like rappers. They're looking for their beef, their controversies. The more I emphasize him, the better he gets."
"Obviously I'm still getting paid. He's still getting paid minimum."
"Obviously, when people talk about the defense, and weak links, how weak can you be with a defense like ours, being ranked statistically in a lot of categories in the upper echelon?"
"What you guys say, and what everyone else says, I take it to the wind, because first off, can any of you do my job? And second of all, probably, the guys who are talking are the ones who didn't get picked when they were little. So I don't worry about that stuff. I don't tell you how to do yours, so you shouldn't tell me how to do mine."
-- Hobbs (Boston Herald)
"Everybody talks about us not running the football and when we ran it 25 times or more we won, and that's just a little bit hard for him to do."
-- Lions wide receiver Roy Williams, describing former offensive coordinator Mike Martz's white-whale-like relationship with running the football.
"I don't know if [the Lions offense] gave up on him, because he has that reputation and his offense can put up points at any moment, even though we didn't."
"He just has that go about himself that he can make this miraculous play call that's going to work and we're going to put up 21 points in the quarter, which, it didn't happen."
"We had a lot of problems offensively."
-- Williams (Detroit Free-Press)
"Probably the rain."
-- Chargers head coach Norv Turner, explaining why his eyes were noticeably red during the press conference after the Chargers defeated the Titans on Sunday
"He was brought here in an odd situation. It was: Either get us back to the playoffs and win a game, or you're a failure."
-- LaDainian Tomlinson, describing the pressure on his head coach
"Norv was given the raw end of the stick."
-- Tomlinson (CBSSportsline.com)
"When you're at UCLA, you have to have your passion bucket full when you play USC."
-- New UCLA Bruins head coach Rick Neuheisel, on Dan Patrick's morning radio show (DanPatrick.com)
"When you look at our season, it started off with our inability to score points."
-- Chiefs head coach Herm Edwards, explaining why his team finished 4-12
"Our inability to run the ball put a big burden on our offense especially at the quarterback position."
"We didn't take [the ball] away enough."
"Special team-wise we weren't very good in punt returns and kickoff returns -- kickoff returns especially."
"When you're not a very productive offense you're not going to be able to score a lot of points. That puts you in the punting category."
"All those things are factors when you don't have a successful season."
"The trigger man is the key. No doubt."
-- Herm (describing "the quarterback position")
"I'm not going to deviate from my philosophy too much either because that's what I believe in."
-- Herm (KCChiefs.com)
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