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.
09 Jan 2009
compiled by Mark Zajack
"You still love football. Just because you ain't in the playoffs don't mean you're gonna stop loving football."
-- Redskins cornerback Fred Smoot, on whether he would watch the playoffs.
"NFC East of course. Why not? Like, when we won the Super Bowl last year, it just proved we had the toughest division in football. Why not root for my guys that I have to play against two times a year?"
-- Smoot, on who he would root for in the playoffs. (D.C. Sports Bog)
"He's a character. He'll make a play and it ignites the fans and it ignites us. It sends a surge through us to see how much passion he plays with. That's one of his gifts."
-- Cardinals defensive end Antonio Smith, regarding the talents of defensive tackle Darnell Dockett, whose nickname is "Fart Box." Yes, "Fart Box."
"He takes these protein shakes where he's trying to keep himself healthy, but when it comes out we all suffer. It's nasty."
-- Cardinals defensive tackle Bryan Robinson, regarding Dockett's other talent.
"He's definitely a ball of energy."
-- Robinson, on Dockett.
"He hit me in the head like 15 times. I watched a replay and he was going so crazy a referee literally had to pick him up and pull him back. When we got to the sideline, I said, 'Man, what are you hitting me in the head for?' He's like, 'Man, I was just excited.' I told him I had a headache and to leave me alone."
-- Smith, who suffered a celebratory attack from Dockett, after recording a safety against the Falcons last week. (East Valley Tribune)
-- Chargers defensive tackle Jamal Williams, who as one of the Chargers captains, gave his midfield prediction after winning the overtime coin toss against the Colts. (Fanhouse.com)
"You can't go 0-16 and expect to keep your job. But I really believe the time to buy stock in the Lions is now. This thing hit bottom, and I think there's a good base of talent here."
-- Former Lions head coach Rod Marinelli, on the lack of job security with 0 wins. (Detroit News)
"I wasn't real happy with probably the last quarter of the season, I kind of got in a slump."
-- Titans punter Craig Hentrich, on his ESPN blog.
"I usually go through this once a year, but it's never lasted this long, I can usually fix it in a week or so. I just got into a funk and I was really, really struggling."
"I'm hopeful we've turned things around. I was having trouble with my drop. Even after 30-some years of kicking the football, you still work on a basic thing like getting the drop right, and that's 90 percent of a good punt. I was just dumping it inside, losing the nose, the nose was dropping down and when that happens, things go haywire, you start cutting across the ball and doing all kinds of weird things. If I can just get this drop straightened out I'll be OK..."
"My confidence level the last couple games has just been horrible. To go out there not knowing where the punt's going to go is pretty scary because I've really never had that problem for this long."
"I told Chad Pennington that he's my guy, and that we believe in the guy wholeheartedly. I couldn't thank him enough for what he's done for us. The guy's a real trooper."
-- Dolphins head coach Tony Sparano, regarding his quarterback after the Ravens game.
"I love Chad. It's not Chad's fault we lost this game. It's our fault as a team. Chad is the reason we're at this point. He's the reason we made it."
-- Dolphins linebacker Akin Ayodele.
"The backbone of our team."
-- Dolphins defensive end Vonnie Holliday, on Pennington.
"I can't say enough about these guys. They've been unbelievable. They've supported me since the first day I walked into this locker room. It's been magical. That's why it hurts even worse."
-- Dolphins quarterback Chad Pennington. (ESPN.com)
"I mean, right now, it's easy to just sit around and say, 'Oh, the Lions. They stink,' and kick them when they're down. But if you take a look around this league right now -- in fact, we're going to watch one [Saturday] -- Atlanta had four wins a year ago, one in Miami. I mean, it's doable. Is there enough talent up there in Detroit? Absolutely. You've got one of the top receivers in the league right now in Calvin Johnson. You've got a good, young running back. There's some pieces in place in the offensive line. Defensively, do they need some help? Yeah, they need some help. But it certainly can be done."
-- NBC talking head and former Lions president Matt Millen, possibly overstating the talent base of his former team. (ESPN.com)
"Their punter, that guy is unbelievable," Saturday said. "He gets five game balls. They put us inside the 10 at least three or four times, inside the five once or twice. That's a long way to tote it against any defense."
-- Colts center Jeff Saturday on Chargers punters Mike Scifres
"Hall of Fame game."
-- Colts president Bill Polian on Scifres (ESPN.com)
"Best punter in the league."
-- San Diego receiver Chris Chambers, on Scifres.
"He plays a lot bigger than he is."
-- San Diego fullback Jacob Hester on Darren Sproles. (ESPN.com)
"I think the Eagles are the hottest team in the NFL right now. They may be the sixth seed, but they sure aren't playing like it."
-- Giants defensive end Justin Tuck. (Journal News)
"No, and to be honest with you, I didn't push for Patrick Willis, either. I really didn't, and I told Patrick this. I put the film on, I saw him and I thought, 'There's a chance we may draft this guy?' I was disappointed from what I saw the first time I saw him, I really was.'"
-- 49ers head coach and Hall of Fame linebacker Mike Singletary on his star linebacker
"And I looked at him again and said 'Scot [McCloughan, 49ers General Manager], you really like this guy?' He said 'Mike, I'm telling you. I know what you're saying, but this guy is really good now. He's really going to be good.'"
-- Singletary (San Francisco Chronicle)
"A lot of people, coming into this game, said that we were the worst playoff team to ever get in ... and I think we rallied around that."
-- Cardinals Coach Ken Whisenhunt.
"We heard it all, from, `Same old Cardinals' to `They should have to give up their playoff spot.' But what happened today shows ... I can say this now: We are who I thought we were."
-- Cardinals defensive end Bertrand Berry (Washington Post)
7 comments, Last at 10 Jan 2009, 9:01am by Harris