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.
07 Nov 2008
by Mark Zajack
"She is no longer with the squad."
-Patriots spokesperson Stacey James on the dismissal of Caitlin Davis for Facebook photos posing with a Sharpie near a graffiti covered passed out dude with the words "penis," "I'm a Jew" and a pair of swastikas clearly visible on his face, neck, arms and torso. (Boston Herald)
"At the time I had jumped in the picture with the kid, I didn't realize what had been drawn on him, which I take responsibility for not being alert."
-Davis. (Boston Herald)
"Whether you agree with it or not, it was called. One of these days, (the officials) are going to let us play this game."
-Patriots offensive tackle Matt Light, regarding a personal foul penalty on tight end David Thomas that may have cost them the game. This, after the Pats were not called for a single penalty over the course of seven quarters. (Indy Star)
"I couldn't [bleeping] hear him."
-Redskins center Casey Rabach, on telling Jason Campbell they would have to use a silent snap count due to the invading hordes of Steelers fans at FedEx field.
"It was definitely a strange environment. We had to go silent count in third-down situations and shotgun situations. Having to do that at home, that's unbelievable. It's the first time we've had to go silent count in our home stadium."
-Rabach. (Associated Press)
"Never. First for me."
-Redskins guard Randy Thomas, when asked about using a silent count at home.
"I'm like, 'Are those yellow towels for us or for them?' I really scratched my head about it, because I've never seen it done, especially at FedEx, to have someone come into our home and almost have more fans than we did."
-Redskins wide receiver Santana Moss.
"It was something we discussed on the sidelines. Like, 'Damn, are we giving away free towels tonight or something?' ... For a [visiting] team like that to be able to get a hold of tickets, I mean, how can you do that?"
"It sounded like 50-50 from the noise they were making. I'm disappointed. FedEx has never had that many other teams' fans. I don't know, it kind of shocked me when I seen all those Terrible Towels. I know Pittsburgh ain't but a couple miles away from here, but we've got to keep them out of our place. I'm not disappointed on the fans, but somebody let 'em in there. It wasn't me, and I know it wasn't [owner] Dan [Snyder], so somebody let 'em in there."
-Redskins cornerback Fred Smoot, who apparently wants bouncers at FedEx Field.
"I mean, that's not the reputation or the expectation I had of the fans here, but who am I to begrudge somebody from making a profit by selling their tickets? I'm playing for money, and they're watching, and it's their right to do what they want with their tickets."
-Redskins guard Pete Kendall, with a far more cogent analysis than most. (Washington Post)
"I was just waiting on the safety to make a play. It just looked different. I really can't explain it."
-Cowboys cornerback Mike Jenkins, on his apparent lack of interest in trying to tackle Giants running back Derrick Ward on a fourth quarter touchdown.
"That's what it looked like. That's your eyes. If that's what you seen, that's what you seen."
-Jenkins, on whether he was trying to avoid contact on the play.
"I wasn't the only one there. Everybody's pointing it out like it was me, but there was a safety back there, too."
-Jenkins, graciously volunteering safety Courtney Brown to share in some of the non-tackling love.
"I'd say go get the tackle. That'd be the right answer."
-Jenkins, proving he's a quick learner, when asked if he'd do anything differently if the situation presented itself again. (Dallas Morning News)
"That's a play we put in this week. On the first play I split out and the guy didn't respect me (as a receiver). Then the coach came right back and called it. It was a good call by him. The coach has seen me catch the ball. I don't drop that.""
-Chiefs quarterback Tyler Thigpen, on catching a touchdown pass in the second quarter. (KCChiefs.com)
"We practiced it this week. Actually [Thigpen] dropped it in practice and then we came back the next day to make sure he wasn't going to drop it. "
-Chiefs head coach Herm Edwards reveals that Thigpen does, in fact, drop that.. (KCChiefs.com)
"No. I figured you guys would figure that out. Wildcat sounds good to me, as long as it keeps producing points. It's good, it's okay. Whatever you guys want to call it."
-Herm, on naming the offensive set with Thigpen split out wide.
"Sometimes you get pigeon-holed as a coach. Well this guy thinks like this. I think this, I want to score points, I've always said that. How you do it is how you do it. If you can throw it around the yard and don't throw it to that other guy too much, I'm okay with that. But you still have to be able to run and that's what I liked about last week, we were able to run the ball. It's funny because, everything we did last week, we ran the ball more than we passed it. We had more yards running than we did passing. You see a couple gimmick plays and you a couple passes and some great catches and you think, well, they're throwing it all over the yard. Really, you've got to think, he had what, 167 yards passing? We had 188 yards rushing. So everyone thinks we're magical. I don't know about that. "
-Herm, on whether he's changed his 'run-em-into-the-ground' philosophy since arriving in Kansas City.
"As I said, there could be some more guys that surface here, shortly. Sooner than later, I would think there would be some more guys."
-Herm, when asked if he has enough corners after experiencing more injuries.
"You're asking the guy to come in, and when he comes, he looks at you and you go okay, you've got three days to get ready because you've got to play in the game. The guy kind of looks at you like you're kidding, and I say, I'm not kidding, you've got to go play."
-Herm, on having to sign guys "off the street" because of injuries.
"Until you win games, you have to be competitive all the way through games. I think you can't win them on luck. You want to be competitive. We played two good football teams that if the playoffs were today, they'd both be in. I just think that we're getting better. We still have to learn how to finish the game. We have to make plays in certain parts of the game that you need to make. I think that comes with some experience. I think we're gaining that as we play. The team to me is coming together a lot more now, because of what they've gone through. Sometimes you travel this road. It's tough. You have two tough losses in a row, but they had an opportunity. And that's what you've got to keep preaching to them; if you keep playing this way consistently, eventually the ball's going to bounce your way. You're going to get that bounce and you're going to win that kind of game. They believe that, they understand that. That's where we're at right now. "
-Herm, on not winning with luck, but winning when the ball bounces your way. (KCChiefs.com)
"I really try to be honest with you guys about injuries and what is happening, but it must appear to you like I am crazy, because I think guys are going to play, and then they can't play."
-Seahawks head coach Mike Holmgren, on the baffling injury situation that continues to derail guys like Matt Hasselbeck, Nate Burleson, Deion Branch, Leonard Weaver, Lofa Tatupu and Patrick Kerney from playing.
"They're trying hard. It breaks my heart."
"The players and coaches, they are a good group of fellows, they really are, and hopefully we get some of the injured guys back and have a little more fun than we have had so far."
"My grandmother told me something a long time ago. If you're going to run up on a lion, make sure you're going to sneak up on him. Don't tell him you're coming. ... Right now we're the best defense in the NFL [against the run]. Nobody is going to run the ball."
-Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis, who took exception to Browns running back Jamal Lewis saying he planned to have success running against the heart of the Ravens' defense. (ESPN.com)
"I could try to act smart and say there's some super special technique we had for that, but I mean, jeez, go get the ball. If you're in the backyard, that's what you'd do. You have to go make the play."
-Packers offensive coordinator Joe Philbin, on tight end Jermichael Finley's clumsy attempt to make a catch on the goal line.
"I think he should have led me a little more, well a lot more. Really he didn't throw it good at all, to be honest. He knows my game, coaches know my game. I'm more like a run and jump (receiver). I'm really not no back shoulder or whatever he had going on back there. They just have to know what kind of player I am and use me in that aspect of the game."
-Packers rookie tight end Jermichael Finley, with his own humble thoughts regarding quarterback Aaron Rodgers' throw on the play in question.
"I don't agree with the tight end's quote, Jermichael. But we were expecting man in that particularly situation. It's a hot situation for that particular play. Jermichael had a poor release. He was too high, and Aaron was trying to back-shoulder him. It's a play that we practice all the time. It's a common throw in our offense."
-Packers head coach Mike McCarthy. (Green Bay Press Gazette)
"I told all the guys the last thing we're ever gonna do here is be a joke -- a punk -- to somebody. We gotta come out and fight and prove we are men."
-Bengals guard Andrew Whitworth, during Saturday practice before Sunday's game against the Jags. Whitworth was kicked out for fighting with Jags defensive tackle John Henderson .
"Man, that was two 340-pound guys, both of them 6-foot-7. That's a lot of beef. That's two brahma bulls going at it."
-Bengals offensive tackle Levi Jones, describing the rumble in the jungle.
"It was like watching the UFC."
-Bengals wide receiver Chad Ocho Cinco. (Springfield News-Sun)
"Right now, all these kids are the same. They're OK, but they're not guys that you think will control the game. You don't have the great ones, the guys that every time they touch the ball you look for them to break it. And I don't know why that is."
-Former NFL running back Jim Brown, on how today's running backs measure up against past greats.
"You would think he would have tore the league up, but he didn't. It's not too late. It's a matter of breaking through."
-Brown, on Saints running back Reggie Bush.
"Portis is leading the league. But he's not a superstar. He's a good runner. That's not who leads the league in the old days."
-Brown, on Redskins running back Clinton Portis.
"Does he dominate? Sometimes they let him fade into the sunset. He might get numbers, but ..."
-Brown, on Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson.
"If he doesn't get hurt, that's exactly what I'm talking about - that kind of flash."
-Brown, on Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, as the one running back today who can be as dominant as the greats in the past.
"And you see all the guys that are sacrificing their careers because they want to go to bars and strip clubs, or get into fights."
-Brown, on the negative influence of money.
"People talk about speed and size, but I see these little bitty cornerbacks (today) weighing 175-180 pounds and I'm laughing to myself. When I'm real close to these guys I don't see a difference in size - except the bulky guys, the offensive and defensive linemen weighing around 330. But about 50 pounds of it is fat, so I'm thinking, 'Why do these guys need to be this big?' Well, that's the way they play now because they block differently. They do that sumo wrestling blocking, using their hands and arms. They don't use their shoulders."
-Brown. (Rocky Mountain News)
"If you want to put the blame on me (for why the offense struggled), well, I don't care. Oh, I know everyone's going to say it's my fault. They're going to say I'm throwing off my back foot or crap like that. But you know what? I don't care what people say. All I care about are what my teammates and my family says. Everyone else? I don't give a damn."
-Rams quarterback Marc Bulger, on media criticism after his pair of interceptions that turned into 10 points for the Cardinals. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
"I voted a while ago in my mind."
-49ers head coach Mike Singletary, when asked by reporters whether he voted on Tuesday. (Pro Football Talk)
"We talk so much ... my wife thinks sometimes I'm having an affair with Coach Haley."
-Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner, on his relationship with offensive coordinator Todd Haley .
-Haley, indicating his wife is onto them as well. (The Arizona Republic)
"It's a sad day for me. I'm a McCain supporter. There is nothing I can do about it now. Our paychecks will be cut in half."
-Vikings defensive end Jared Allen, on Obama's proposed 4% tax hike for people in Allen's tax bracket. (ESPN.com)
30 comments, Last at 12 Nov 2008, 6:39pm by anon