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?"
06 Dec 2013
compiled by Rory Hickey
"He’s running around backward, whirly-birding for 20 yards. I guess he’s a little bit quicker than most D-linemen, and I’m one of them." -- San Francisco 49ers defensive tackle Justin Smith, on the speed of Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (NFL Nation Blog)
"I thought that was the greatest thing in the world. Not for the football program. For the football coach. He needed a big serving of humility. He's been Mr. Perfect. He's been Mr. Arrogant. There's no reason for that. Every coach all the way down to Little League knows that you cover that field goal." -- Retired football coach Howard Schnellenberger, on Auburn’s miraculous victory over Alabama in the Iron Bowl (WDRB)
"I hope it snows and rains like a bitch."
"Let 'em play in that weather once, then they'll figure it out." -- Hall of Famer Paul Hornung, saying he has no sympathy for the players who will have to brave the cold during this year’s Super Bowl in New York (TMZ)
"You can tell they changed their scheme in the second half. It just seems miraculous to me how they changed some things on offense that keyed on what we put in this week to stop what they were doing. They did things they never did all year before. It was a specific thing that was important to what we were going to do today, as to how we were going to call the defense. We’d not ever did it before, and they never changed like that before. It just let me know that something wasn’t right."
"Tom Brady and Bill Belichick are among the best at their craft because they put so much into their craft. But you have to be a descendent of ‘Tones-tradamus’ [as Smith calls himself on occasion] to know what we put in this week and to be able to then go change that fast. I got the only crystal ball in existence. I don’t know what it is. Either teams are spying on us or something’s going on." -- Houston Texans defensive end Antonio Smith, wondering how the Patriots had such a good second-half turnaround (Houston Chronicle)
"It’s hurt our football team. Let’s call a spade a spade… our record since I have been here speaks for itself. If they wanna fire me, go ahead." -- Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini, when asked about the rumors about his job status swirling around the team in 2013 (College Football Talk)
"I just can't remember, it's been 10 years. It slipped my mind." -- New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning, on why he forced a trade out of San Diego ten years ago (The Star-Ledger)
"The worse the weather, probably the better for us. Hopefully it’s a big snowstorm and it will give us a great chance to win." -- Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Munchak, hoping for a snowstorm for when his team travels to Denver on Sunday to face the Broncos (The Tennessean)
"He does not have the stereotypical type of athletic professional body. But he’s an unbelievable athlete. An incredible dancer. He’s a music connoisseur. He’s kind of the unofficial team DJ. He’s a pretty loud guy. You can usually hear him when he’s coming. I like to think that’s a little bit how he plays." -- Carolina Panthers center Ryan Kalil, describing Panthers running back Mike Tolbert (Charlotte Observer)
"I was there for five years. Those were five important years in my life -- for myself and my family and all that. But obviously, we've all moved on and I have a job to do here, and that's where my loyalty is -- to Robert [Kraft] and the Patriots' organization and this football team."
"It's no different than how I feel, honestly, about the Colts or the Lions or the Broncos. I feel differently about the Jets. We won't put them in that category." -- New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, when asked if he had any personal affinity towards Cleveland, having coached there for five years (ESPN Boston)
"It’s probably been worse this whole year as a total, not just this team. But I’ve watched a lot of football this year. It’s been the worst that I’ve ever seen." -- Washington Redskins wide receiver Santana Moss, on the state of NFL officiating (Washington Post)
"Let’s not be crybabies, man. I thought the refs kept them in the game to some degree at times. But it’s football, man. It’s about going out there and executing. If they came in here with a different attitude, maybe not so nonchalant, thinking it was going to be a cakewalk… I’m not big on teams sending stuff in, and ‘This is what needs to be called.’ Play the game, dude. It’s football, man. Either you come in and win or you blame it on the refs. Don’t blame it on the refs, blame it on your preparation that week. I’ve never been a fan of coaches sending stuff into the refs unless it was blatant. To me I didn’t think there was anything blatant out on the field." -- Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Cary Williams, asked about Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians sending fifteen clips of refs from the Arizona-Philly game to the league office for review (PhillyMag)
"He’s the starting quarterback for the next 1,000 years here." -- Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly, on quarterback Nick Foles (Twitter)
"He reminds me of one of those names, the Calvin Johnsons, the Andre Johnsons, a bigger guy with little-guy quickness. He can turn an eight-yard curl into a touchdown in a heartbeat. You're getting a guy whose 235 pounds and runs like he's 35 pounds. That's definitely a challenge." -- New England Patriots cornerback Aqib Talib, on the challenge of covering Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon this Sunday (NFL Nation Blog)
"I don’t take any offense to [people who think Kirk Cousins should play the rest of the season]. That’s just outsiders looking in that don’t understand the game of football. When it comes to a time like this, it’s easy for guys to check out. I think it would be real cowardly of me to check out and say, ‘Hey, I don’t want to play these next four games.’ It’s not who I am. It’s not who any competitive football player is. You want to play, so we’re going to finish out the year and you take what’s happened this year, being 3-9, and you face it." -- Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III, saying that anyone who doesn’t think he should finish out the season at quarterback ‘doesn’t understand the game of football’ (Pro Football Talk)
"I'm never chasing points early in games... Riverboat Ron or not,
check the analytics... take the points." -- FOX NFL analyst Tim Ryan, on the CAR-TB broadcast with :30 left, right before the Panthers sent Cam Newton over the top to score a touchdown on fourth-and-goal from the 1 (from broadcast)
"I'm going to do what I'm going to do, I'm going to still play the way I've been playing. And that's my job. At the end of the day, the question is this: either the league is going to take money out of my pocket or the team is going to release you if you can't get the job done. They're going to find somebody else to come in here that can get the job done."
"You're losing money regardless, however you want to look at it. You tell me. However I need to get the job done, I'm going to get the job done. You can't think about it. The league ain't going to give me money. They're not going to pay me to do the job correctly. I've just got to play." -- Tennessee Titans safety Michael Griffin, on playing defense in today’s NFL (NFL Nation Blog)
"It should be a league rule saying that a defender can not tackle a player by his penis. #NFL the most painful thing ever! #NFL" -- San Francisco 49ers tight end Vernon Davis, in a tweet after Rams safety T.J. McDonald made a tackle so to speak (Deadspin)
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