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?"
13 Dec 2013
compiled by Rory Hickey
"If [Robert Griffin] missed two offseasons in a row, that would be the hardest thing … that would be devastating to him."
"Dan [Snyder] could care less about the other positions."
"What I’m trying to do is be as honest as I can [with the media], and I don’t normally do that." -- Washington Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan, in a press conference explaining why quarterback Robert Griffin will be inactive for the rest of the season (Pro Football Talk)
"If I would’ve hit him up high, there’s a chance I was going to get a fine."
"It’s kind of being caught between a rock and a hard place. It’s a decision you have to make, but you have to follow the rules at the same time. When they set the rule, everyone knew what was going to happen. This can happen if you have those types of situations. It’s pretty much inevitable, and they forced our hand with this one." -- Cleveland Browns safety T.J. Ward, on the hit that tore Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski’s ACL and MCL (Boston Globe)
"You just have to find a different formula. That’s the important part. Gronk provides a certain margin of error because of how talented a player he is. The other guys play different roles for us. Those roles are going to have to just shift, kind of what we did on the last two drives of the game. We ended up going four wide receivers at points. [At] different points, we had more with [James] Develin and [Matthew] Mulligan on the field. We’re going to have to make due. Whatever the combinations are, if Gronk’s not out there, then we have to try to figure those out." -- New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, on how the Patriots will move forward without tight end Rob Gronkowski (Boston Herald)
"Whoever wrote that narrative can shove that where the sun don't shine." -- Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, on the narrative of him not playing well in the cold, after the Broncos put up 51 points on Sunday (Eye on Football)
"Are you trying to be funny?" -- San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh, when asked about the possibility of taking the University of Texas head coaching job (San Jose Mercury News)
"If I actually win the Heisman Trophy, I’ll chop it up into equal pieces and [my offensive linemen] can all take a piece of it home." -- Boston College running back Andre Williams, on what he would do if he wins the Heisman Trophy (Lost Lettermen)
"No idea. Coach Haley's over there. You can ask him." -- Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, when asked why the Steelers didn’t run as much in the second half (Twitter)
"We beat Dallas last night before the game started. When it was [receiver] Alshon [Jeffery], myself, Earl Bennett and some of the other guys outside warming up pregame, there was only a handful of Dallas players. I looked around and I said, 'Man, we've got these guys.'"
"The elements were already in their heads. So pregame, I believe that we won. I'm pretty sure there [would have been] more guys out there if it wasn't colder, but they weren't out there. For us, once you start putting on sleeves and start doing things differently, you buy into the elements and the game is over." – Chicago Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall, on the Cowboys’ inability to acclimate to the elements in Chicago (ESPN Chicago)
"Thank you commissioner, thank you Super Bowl committee for putting us in New York. And we all know why we’re in New York, it’s because they were paid for that stupid stadium in New Jersey … By the way, not a gorgeous stadium either."
"It’s freakin’ outside in New York, are you kidding me? Not even New York — New Jersey. It’s not like Minnesota, it’s a dome. It’s not like it’s Detroit, it’s a dome. It’s not like it’s Indy, it’s a dome. I don’t want it to be bad, cause I’m there. I want it to be nice, but I don’t think you should be putting Super Bowls in northern cities in the winter time."
You should be in Florida or California or Arizona, where there is no excuses. What if the Saints make it there? What if Seattle… Teams that run the football will have a bigger advantage than teams that throw the football. What if we get two passing teams? What if they get Denver there? What if it’s pouring down snow? You get a bad game. – Hall of Famer Terry Bradshaw, on the Super Bowl being played in cold weather this year (CBS New York)
"I don’t want to sit here and make excuses about anything. We’ve played well at times and we haven’t played well and today is as bad as we’ve played this whole season. It’s really embarrassing to be a part of it. We were like the Bad News Bears out there today. In saying that, I do want to give credit to our offense. They just kept fighting today and really gave us a chance to still be in the game. Defensively we went out there and basically peed down our legs." -- Oakland Raiders safety Charles Woodson, on why the Raiders defense struggled against the Jets (Inside Bay Area)
"They've got the worst fans in the NFL. [They were] throwing snowballs the entire fourth quarter, like kids. It was a bad feeling, a bad feeling." -- Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, on Ravens fans following the Vikings 29-26 defeat to the Ravens (ESPN)
"He's pretty old, so I don't know how physical he'll be. He's a big guy, but he's older. I guess when they get older they're not going to be as physical; you know what I'm saying? We're going to have to be physical, make him uncomfortable." -- Baltimore Ravens rookie safety Matt Elam, on how the Ravens plan to defend Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson (ESPN)
"I'm getting old. It's all good. I'll show him what that old man's strength [is] about, though… He can talk all he wants. He plays [defensive] back. I don't see him every play unless I run past him." -- Johnson, in response to Elam’s comments (ESPN) (Eye on Football)
"It's going to be awfully hard to take Josh out of there right now the way he's playing. In my opinion, he should be the guy; he should be the starting quarterback of the Bears, even if Jay Cutler is healthy. You can't take a guy who's this hot out of the football game. If I was on that team, I would have a hard time with them taking him out." -- Former Chicago Bear and current FOX analyst Brian Urlacher, weighing in on the Bears current quarterback situation (Eye on Football)
"You turn on the tape and guys we count on week in and week out didn't show up. I don't know what it was, but we didn't get it done, and I've got to believe we can do better than that."
"They've all got to be better Sean Lee has got to be better. Brandon Carr has got to be better. Bruce Carter has got to be better. Jason Hatcher has got to be better. We've all got to be better. We've got to do a better job when we do have injuries of having better players to get up and be there. It's an organizational thing. You just have to do better on the defensive side of the ball. If we want to get to where we want to get to we can't play that type of defense." -- Dallas Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones, calling out the Cowboys’ defense (Shutdown Corner)
"I was playing like a robot. Everything is not ideal on the field. Sometimes you’ve got to improvise." -- New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith, on processing information in his first year in the NFL (New York Times)
"Sitting on the bench, I guess." -- Interim Houston Texans head coach Wade Phillips, on how third-string quarterback T.J. Yates got injured (Houston Chronicle)
"I didn't know Jadeveon's car that could go that fast. He doesn't have a pretty car like those FSU guys used to drive." -- South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier, commenting on Jadeveon Clowney’s speeding ticket. Clowney was clocked at 110 MPH (Dr. Saturday)
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