by Cale Clinton
MISFIRES IN MINNEAPOLIS
"[Kirk Cousins] made a great read of finding me open, and just didn't complete the pass. It's as simple as that."
"At some point, you're not going to be able to run the ball for 180 yards, even with the best running back in the NFL. That's when you have to be able to throw the ball. ... You have to be able to hit the deep balls."
-- Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen took the podium to express his frustrations with quarterback Kirk Cousins and the Vikings passing game after a 16-6 loss to the division rival Chicago Bears. Cousins threw for 27-of-36 with 233 yards, no touchdowns and no interceptions, but also missed Thielen and fellow wideout Stefon Diggs on multiple open balls that seemingly could have gone for scores. (Chad Graff, The Athletic via Twitter)
"I didn't feel that."
-- Thielen's response when asked how difficult it was to find open space on the field. (Chad Graff, The Athletic via Twitter)
"They always get frustrated. I mean, everybody's frustrated right now. When you lose and you don't play well enough to win, everybody's frustrated. Wasn't just those two guys."
-- Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer addressed his receivers' frustrations with Cousins' less-than-stellar performance through the season's first four weeks. (Chad Graff, The Athletic via Twitter)
"There's truth to all rumors. And what I mean by that, so I can politely explain: there's a lot of speculation about me being frustrated. Of course. Being a receiver and wanting to have success and wanting to win, if you want to win and you're not winning of course you'll be frustrated."
-- Vikings wide receiver Stefon Diggs, prodded with questions and rumors of a trade request, gives a candid answer about his current mental state with the Vikings. Diggs has since missed practice for non-injury reasons. (Chad Graff, The Athletic via Twitter)
"I think the frustration is (from) you guys. It's not us. We're not frustrated. ... I think that's a media thing."
-- Thielen later said that there was no frustration within the Vikings locker room, despite openly claiming to be frustrated in a post-game press conference just days after. (Bleacher Report)
"No, like he said, it's reality. I really want to apologize to him because there's too many opportunities where we could have hit him on Sunday, and postgame when I talk to the media, I always say until I watch the film, it's hard for me to really give you a straight answer. Well, now it's Tuesday night. I've watched the film. And the reality is there were opportunities for him."
-- Quarterback Kirk Cousins delivers an official apology to Thielen for the overthrown balls during the Bears game on Sunday. (ESPN)
WHO HAS TIME FOR THE ARTS WHEN YOU HAVE FOOTBALL TO COACH?
"Hey, not all of Mozart's paintings were perfect, huh? And hey, that end result, though. That sucker's gonna sell for a million dollars."
-- Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid was charged up as he delivered this line to his team following a tight 34-30 victory over the Detroit Lions. Who cares that he thought classical composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was a painter? It's not the wildly inaccurate historical claim that matters, it's the energy with which you make that wildly inaccurate claim. (Mike Kreiger via Twitter)
ALL IT TAKES IS THE FIRST DOMINO TO FALL…
"I hope it destroys the NCAA in general because I think it's corrupt and it's a bunch of people taking advantage of kids, and doing it under a mask of 'fair play.' … Even the things they're suspending these kids for are ridiculous. You're suspending kids for YouTube channels and they're saying, 'Oh it's because other kids can't do it.'"
-- San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman seems to be a strong advocate for the recent Fair Pay to Play Act, a bill in California allowing college athletes to profit off of their names and likenesses. Sherman has long been a champion for student athletes of all kinds, most famously detailing the daunting task of balancing football and academics as a student athlete at Stanford. (East Bay Times)
FROM THE ODELL HAIRCUT TO THE MINSHEW MUSTACHE
"There's a lot of bad mustaches out there … but hopefully we'll get 'em right."
-- As Minshew Mania rolls on, Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew has done more than just inspire on the field. His well-kept upper lip hair is the envy of many a man, apparently inspiring many to grow their own mustache. Just in time for Movember, too. (SportsCenter via Twitter)
THE ART OF WAR: WHEN YOUR OPPONENT EXPECTS YOU TO PREPARE, HAVE NO PLAN
"We don't have [a QB plan] right now."
-- Washington Redskins head coach Jay Gruden has three quarterbacks on his roster, and three days before hosting the New England Patriots, none of them know if they are starting. The Patriots defense boasts the most forced interceptions (10) through four games, while the Redskins are tied for the league high in thrown interceptions (seven combined). (Nora Princiotti, Boston Globe via Twitter)
LEGS MADE OF VIBRANIUM
"I went to Wakanda."
-- New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley was supposed to be sidelined for four to eight weeks with an ankle injury suffered against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, yet has already begun practicing and may be ready to play as early as this week. The solution to his speedy recovery? According to Saquon, he took a visit to the mystical land Wakanda from the film Black Panther. (SportsCenter via Twitter)
THE KISS OF DEATH
"It's a tough thing, because you want to stay safe. I want to stay safe. I wanna make sure that I'm safe out there, and that I'm not gonna die."
-- New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold breaks down what it's like to be on the brink of recovery from mono and the conflicted feelings surrounding a potential Week 5 return. While the mono jokes are easy low-hanging fruit, any hit to Darnold's enlarged spleen could potentially kill him. (SportsCenter via Twitter)
A WISE MAN ONCE SAID…
"A dog that poop fast don't poop for long, man. It's a good division, man. There's gonna be a lot of games we've got to win down the stretch, you know what I mean? But the most important is the next one, you know we can't really watch what's going on too much, "
-- Chicago Bears linebacker Khalil Mack had a colorful idiom to describe his team's "one game at a time" mindset. (SportsCenter via Twitter)
ALWAYS REMEMBER TO LEAVE A TIP
"After practice, [Asante Samuel] pulled out his Louis [Vuitton] bag … and gave me like [a thousand dollars]."
-- Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson was once a ball boy for the Atlanta Falcons at age 14. While reflecting on his days with the team, Watson recalls being given a full $1,000 by cornerback Asante Samuel just for retrieving his mouthpiece. (The Checkdown via Twitter)
THIS WEEK IN SOCIAL MEDIA
I'D TRANSCRIBE THIS, BUT THERE'S NOTHING TO QUOTE
We mic'd up our team's biggest trash talker against the Ravens: Nick Chubb 😅
— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) October 2, 2019
-- Cleveland Browns running back Nick Chubb was mic'd up for the game against the Baltimore Ravens this past week. Unfortunately for fans of trash talk and hot mics, Nick Chubb barely said a word for this entire clip.
WE NEED MORE QUESTIONS THAT LEAD TO GREAT ANSWERS LIKE THIS
Deshaun Watson 1
— Mike Randle (@RandleRant) September 30, 2019
-- Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson gives us all a primer on the ins and outs of the Cover-4 defense after being asked whether he and the Texans could have "manufacture[d] more opportunities downfield."
WE ALL HAVE THAT ONE FRIEND
— The Checkdown (@thecheckdown) October 1, 2019
-- While Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster was mic'd up on Monday Night Football, we as an audience got to listen to him ask just about everyone on his team if they wanted to play Fortnite after the game.
I KNEW THAT NAME WAS FAMILIAR
Cooper Kupp's dad was trying to enjoy the game and then Troy Aikman took a big dump on him pic.twitter.com/L20QcWmcoy
— Barstool Sports (@BarstoolsTweets) October 4, 2019
-- While commentating the Thursday Night Football game, Hall of Fame quarterback Troy Aikman seemingly learned for the first time that Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp is the son of Craig Kupp, who was briefly (very briefly, apparently) a backup of Aikman's in 1991.