Five different teams from last year's DVOA top eight rank in the bottom half of the league through four weeks of 2014. What can we learn from other teams with similar starts in the past?
10 Mar 2014
compiled by Rory Hickey
"I don’t feel like a trailblazer. I feel like Michael Sam." -- Openly gay NFL Draft prospect Michael Sam, addressing the media at the NFL Combine (USA Today)
"I think it’s absurd. I understand Roger Goodell and his safety council, or whoever they are, they’re trying to do this with good intentions. … Maybe. But, if you look at it, the only people who say the N-word on the football field are African-Americans. Whether whoever wants to agree with it or not, we have turned it kind of into a term of endearment."
"So, for the rule to specifically to hone in on one word, it’s kind of odd to me when there’s so many other things that are more offensive that have been said on the football field. That word, like you’ve heard many guys say, they’ve never heard it towards them in a disrespectful way (on the field). It’s more of a term of endearment. Never heard it from the opposite race, so the only people they are really going at are African-Americans." -- Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin, opposing the NFL’s proposed ban of the N-word (The News Tribune)
"Our approach is we make them comfortable and we do that by talking football. We get them to relax by saying, ‘Hey this is all about football. We’re going to show you pictures and film of what you do. Tell us everything about the play. What’s the play call, what’s your responsibility, what are the checks? So they loosen up and are thinking, ‘Oh they’re not asking me about my mom, my dad.’" -- Buffalo Bills general manager Doug Whaley, on interviews at the NFL Scouting Combine (BuffaloBills.com)
"My stomach doesn’t stick out as much. That’s kind of nice. I enjoy that part of it. My thighs got a little smaller. I just feel sexier." -- Former Notre Dame defensive tackle Louis Nix, boasting about a reformed diet that cut out Five Guys and Cajun fries and resulted in the shedding of 23 pounds (Boston Herald)
"The year before, we were third in the league in turnovers. And the offense was number one in the league; they only turned it over 14 times. So if that ratio comes up, you’re gonna win a lot of games. Yardage? People look at that. That’s kind of for losers. Because the teams that are winning and got big leads, you give up yards at the end of the game. Offenses that aren’t very good, they get yardage at the end of the game, so they can rank high. That’s not the object. The object is to get the ball back for the offense, let them score points. Offense, [the object] is obviously to control the ball, keep us off the field, don’t turn the ball over so we’re on the field 15, 18 possessions like the last game of the year, and then win games." -- Washington Redskins defensive coordinator Jim Haslett, saying that looking at yardage is kind of for losers (D.C. Sports Bog)
"I got a chance to meet Jerry. I didn’t know him. To get a chance to sit there and talk with him – the guy is an absolute football fanatic. I really enjoyed meeting him. Until my mouth was sore from talking, and my ear was tired from hearing all of it, we sat there in his suite at Cowboys Stadium and talked for hours. It was awesome to see how he really is, how passionate he is about everything. Me growing up as a Cowboys fan – I was born at halftime of a Cowboys game – that would almost be a folktale in the correct direction. We’d have to call that Johnny something else. I don’t know what it would be." -- Former Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, on meeting Jerry Jones and being born at halftime of a Cowboys’ game (Star-Telegram)
"That’s the first thing Jay told me: I know you like to cover this route, but I’ll tell you what, in training camp you’re gonna get every route known to man. This offense is gonna run ‘em all." -- Washington Redskins cornerback DeAngelo Hall, relaying what new head coach Jay Gruden told him (D.C. Sports Bog)
"He’s the No. 1 guy… white-haired party animal." -- Seattle Seahawks linebacker and Super Bowl XLVIII MVP Malcolm Smith, on whether coach Pete Carroll was partying after the team won the Super Bowl (Seattle Times)
"I don't want to be a role model. I want to be an inspiration. And so I want to inspire kids to start stepping out of the box to do things that are creative." -- Chicago Bears tight end Martellus Bennett, on being honored as Bear of the Year (CSN Chicago)
"They're trying to downgrade our value versus continuing to put an emphasis on kicking. They're trying to minimize the importance of kickers. I'm a traditionalist. If it's not broke, don't fix it." -- Indianapolis Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri, on the proposed changing of extra points (USA Today)
"I never had a season like he had this year. He'll be fine. The trajectory is like this, 9-7, 10-6, 11-5, 22 touchdowns, 27 touchdowns, 33 touchdowns. The guy is a really good player. Everyone just has to calm down." -- Former Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Boomer Esiason, saying that everyone needs to calm down about current Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (Eye on Football)
"Jason Garrett is tied with Wade Phillips for 56 games as the @dallascowboys head coach. Phillips: 34 - 22; Garrett: 29 -27. #suprisesMe" -- Former Dallas Cowboys head coach Wade Phillips, pointing out that he had a better record through 56 games as Cowboys head coach than current head coach Jason Garrett (Twitter)
"I'm a big believer in Nick Foles, but who knows? Manziel may fall. I'm not crazy about him, to be honest with you. I've only looked at five games. I wouldn't take him in the first three rounds. That's my opinion. It's incomplete right now. But he has not done a whole lot to me." -- ESPN analyst Ron Jaworski, claiming that he would not draft Johnny Manziel in the first three rounds of the NFL Draft (Eye on Football)
"I'm gonna tell you. I said Johnny Manziel is… I don't like his antics. I think he's an arrogant little prick. I've said that and I'll say it again. He's a privileged kid, he's embarrassed himself, he's embarrassed his teammates, his program. He's embarrassed his coach. And they'll all have to defend him because they have to coach. I know that. I spent 40 years in the damn game so I know how it works."
"He's the best I've seen. I've never seen a quarterback in college football take control of a game like he does and put up the numbers he does. It's fantastic what he's done against good competition. Game after game after game the numbers he puts up are staggering. And when you watch him, you think he's a running back. You can't get to him, he's quick, he has more quickness than he does speed. He's elusive. You can't touch him. ... Strong arm. You watch him on film and tape and I've watched him enough -- the guy is oblivious to the rush. He lets you think you're going to touch him and then he disappears and he gets away from you and buys time. When a guy does that, guys are going to separate. I don't care how good you are in pro football, you can't cover for more than five seconds. Then they're going to be free. And Johnny Manziel gets the ball to people. He's the most dominant, most dynamic college quarterback I've ever seen." -- Former head coach Barry Switzer, calling Johnny Manziel both an ‘arrogant little prick’ and ‘the most dominant, most dynamic college quarterback he has ever seen’ (Eye on Football)
"I wish they could trade up for me. But I hope I don't fall to No. 6. I like Atlanta -- a lot. They're pretty good. They've got some guys from South Carolina on the team, also. And it's close to home." -- Former South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, wishing that the Atlanta Falcons would trade up for him (NFL Nation Blog)
"I'm better [than Jadeveon Clowney]. Let's put it like this. People like to talk about size all the time. Size is pretty much overrated in my eyes. You can look at guys like Robert Mathis, Elvis Dumervil, Von Miller. These are 6-2 guys and under. People are just looking at the fact that he's a physical specimen. Honestly if you watch the film, he plays like a blind dog in a meat market basically." -- Former Auburn defensive lineman Dee Ford, saying that he is better than Jadeveon Clowney and that Clowney 'plays like a blind dog in a meat market' (Eye on Football)
" I feel like I've been disrespected my whole college career because I won. That's usually the knock on me: the deep ball and that I won. And I won behind NFL talent. Which is crazy. It's not like we didn't play anybody. We played in the SEC. To me it's the best conference in college football. I played against 40-something guys that have been drafted that are still playing in the NFL "
The last time I made a comment like that I got criticized. I don't think you can compare anybody to anybody. When it comes to similarities I think from body build to how we were talked about coming out of college, I think Tom Brady. I think we play the game the same way. -- Former Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron, on feeling disrespected and choosing Tom Brady when asked for a pro comparison to his game (Eye on Football)
"It was a little bit off."
"First off, you get there with a lot of great players, they make you wait two and a half hours under a tent for the draft at the Pro Bowl" -- Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown, on not enjoying the 1st ever Pro Bowl draft (Pro Football Talk)
"They’re the type of team that they’re very, very aggressive. I think they teach, ‘Listen, they’re not going to call the P.I., so just grab and hold as much as you can.’" -- New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham, on the Seattle Seahawks defense (Pro Football Talk)
"There is no such thing as discount. This isn't Costco, this isn't Walmart; this is real life." -- Free agent defensive end Michael Bennett, on remaining with the Seahawks through a hometown discount (NFL.com)
"Has all the physical tools, but inconsistent in the clutch. Mostly due to a lack of poise. He’s not comfortable reading defenses and consequently locks onto a favorite or pre-determined target that may or may not be the right choice. The less he’s asked to see the better he is. A better half field general, than a full field one." -- Ex-Bears general manager Jerry Angelo, on Bears quarterback Jay Cutler’s play in 2013 (The Sideline View)
"Wes Welker say he wanted us? Demaryius say we don't hit? Decker say he wanted some? Boy you ask for a storm you gonna get it!"
"Don't you ever say you want 1-on-1's with us!" Sherman said. "Don't you ever say that!" -- Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman, to his defensive teammates on the sideline during Super Bowl XLVIII (Eye on Football)
(Ed. Note: We weren't sure about whether quotes regarding discussion of the "n-word" penalty would cause problems with our general policy of staying away from politics or the culture wars. But if it is going to be costing teams 15 yards at a time, that makes it a football issue. Just please do us a favor and if you want to discuss it, discuss it in that context: What happens on a football field, and what should or should not draw a penalty flag. Thanks. -- Aaron Schatz)
20 comments, Last at 24 Mar 2014, 11:23am by Belauom