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» Defense and Rest Time

Do defenses really wear out over the course of a game? Do defenses benefit from long drives that give them more time to rest on the sideline? Guest columnist Ben Baldwin investigates.

05 Jan 2010

The Week in Quotes: January 5, 2010

compiled by Rory Hickey


"Man, look here -- me and Revis is better than [Manny] Pacquiao and [Floyd] Mayweather. Period, case closed. I don't care what anybody is doing Sunday night; if you don't tune into the game Sunday, you have no life -- you have no life. You [have] never seen a matchup like this ever before, from my understanding. My friend Darrelle Masterlock -- I call him Masterlock -- Darrelle Revis couldn't cover me in a brown paper bag on the corner of Manhattan Street inside a phone booth. It's impossible."

-- Bengals wide receiver Chad Ochocinco, prior to Sunday night's matchup with the Jets and cornerback Darrelle Revis. Ochocinco finished with as many catches as I did. (The Huddle)


"There's so much stuff out there that is so inaccurate that it's comical. Who's been wrong more than Charley Casserly since he left the Redskins? His percentage is like a meteorologist. He has no relationship to this team. I'd say less than zero. He's never at a practice, never at a game. At least he put his name on it. I'll put my name on it, too. He's 100-percent wrong."

-- Patriots coach Bill Belichick on a CBS report by Charlie Casserly saying that quarterback Tom Brady has been playing with three broken ribs. (Boston Globe)


"My agent and upstairs, that's something they've got to take care of. ... I need to get Bud Adams' number or something like that."

-- Titans running back Chris Johnson on the possibility of getting a new contract after he completed the season with 2,006 rushing yards, making him the sixth player to run for at least 2,000 yards in a season. (NFL Nation)


"Would I have loved it if we came out here and scored 41 today? I mean, yeah. But is it worth the risk?"

-- Saints quarterback Drew Brees on sitting out Sunday's game against the Carolina Panthers after clinching home field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs. (Sun Herald)


"Well, we brought Usain Bolt in. We signed him to our practice squad."

-- Seahawks coach Jim Mora on how his team was game planning to stop Titans running back Chris Johnson's speed. (The Tennessean)


"Usain doesn't follow the NFL too closely and is not really familiar with all of the players. He likes [international] football and cricket. But more importantly, he has a schedule and a coach to follow and there is no chance that we would set up this type of event."

-- Usain Bolt's agent Ricky Simms shooting down the rumors of a possible race with Titans running back Chris Johnson. Just so we're clear, Bolt would obliterate him. (Universal Sports)


"It was embarrassing. They wanted it more than we wanted it, and it showed up on the field. Kansas City, yeah, they're competitive, but there's no way you're telling me that we should have, in this game, against this team, lost 44-24."

-- Broncos defensive end Vonnie Holliday on the team's effort against the Chiefs. Denver's loss eliminated them from the playoffs. (Denver Post)


"Got smashed by them cowboys 2daaaaaay sheeeeesh its all good we gonna sting they ass next week lil buddy."

-- Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson after Sunday's loss to the Cowboys and his prediction for their rematch in the playoffs on Saturday night. (Pro Football Talk)


"You've got to get some humble pie, you know? It's kind of weird. It's something that didn't happen all year."

-- Eagles wide receiver Jason Avant after the Eagles' 24-0 loss to the Cowboys. (Delaware Online)


"I don't think coach ever played in the NFL, so for my hamstring to be feeling the way it felt, it's tough for me to go out there and expect to play at a high level."

-- Broncos wide receiver Brandon Marshall speaking out about coach Josh McDaniels benching him for saying he wouldn't be able to play. (Denver Post)


"Trying to deal with this bogus charge of DWP..driving with Pizza."

-- Saints defensive end Bobby McCray, addressing his DUI arrest on the morning of December 29 by disputing the charge. McCray later took the comments off of his Twitter. (Sports by Brooks)


"Cincinnati is probably going to go into New York and lay down for the Jets and not play them hard, just because they don't want to see Pittsburgh in it, because they know if we get into the playoffs, we're a dangerous team. All of them will lay down. No one wants to see Pittsburgh in it. That's just how it is. Like I said, everybody knows that we're a dangerous team once we get into the playoffs. No matter how we played throughout the whole year, once we get in the playoffs, Pittsburgh Steelers is a playoff team."

-- Steelers linebacker LaMarr Woodley on the Bengals and the Patriots not playing their starters because they didn't want to see the Steelers in the playoffs. (The Pittsburgh Channel)

"I can tell you this. We didn't lay down against the Steelers, so I think LaMarr Woodley should worry about what concerns LaMarr Woodley and the Steelers and not worry about this great franchise in the Bengals."

-- Bengals defensive tackle Tank Johnson on Woodley's comments (Bengals.com)


"I thought you were going to say overweight. I was thinking, 'Accurate, probably the whole staff.'"

-- Browns coach Eric Mangini responding to a reporters' question about whether he was stressed out by being overworked. (National Football Post)


"Dear guys, no bus rides to Hartford."

-- Mangini, when asked if he had any New Years' resolutions, referencing a ten-hour bus trip to Hartford that the Browns' rookies were forced to take to work at his weekend football camp, drawing complaints and criticism from around the league. (National Football Post)


"When you compare the ‘09 Colts to the '07 Patriots. I am going to say something that a lot of people are thinking but aren't saying: At least the '07 Patriots had the guts to go for it. That's what they did, that's what the Indianapolis Colts didn't do, and that's their problem."

-- ESPN analyst Tedy Bruschi's thoughts on the Colts resting their starters to end their run a perfect season. (ESPN Boston)


"No disrespect to the fans, but how many fans were here at the games? I don't know how to respond to that."

-- Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew, when asked about fans criticizing the team, after the Jaguars were in the driver's seat for a playoff berth only to lose their last four games. (Jacksonville.com)


"I can't even stand to watch you f*cking stumble around, giving a sh*tty f*cking effort like you've f*cking accomplished something."

-- Recently fired Texas Tech coach Mike Leach supposedly yelling at wide receiver Adam James during spring practice in video that surfaced on Friday. It was Leach's alleged treatment of James that led to him being dismissed. (College Football Talk)


"Haven't we beaten them the last two years?"

-- Texas Longhorns quarterback Colt McCoy commenting on Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops being invited to Alabama's practice, presumably to give Nick Saban some tips on beating the Longhorns. (The Statesman)


"[The Lions defensive line] broke through like they were at airport security in Amsterdam."

-- FOX announcer Chris Myers making an ill-conceived attempt at an analogy after the Lions got good pressure on Bears quarterback Jay Cutler. (Detroit4Lyfe.com)


"That's a lot of head-between-your-legs action!"

-- CBS analyst Dick Enberg on Chiefs center Casey Wiegmann's consecutive start record. (Twitter)

send your quotes to quotes-at-footballoutsiders.com

Posted by: Rory Hickey on 05 Jan 2010

78 comments, Last at 06 Jan 2010, 6:43pm by DrewTS


by Independent George :: Tue, 01/05/2010 - 1:29pm

Seeing as how Drew Brees once went down with a serious shoulder injury in a meaningless Week 17 game just as he was set to enter the free agent market, I think he's entitled to his opinion.

by Sophandros :: Tue, 01/05/2010 - 5:39pm

Not only that, but one would think that FO would be the last place to find talk about "momentum" and the like...

Sports talk radio and sports message boards are the killing fields of intellectual discourse.

by Tundrapaddy (not verified) :: Tue, 01/05/2010 - 6:00pm

I read that ('not even for momentum?') as a sarcastic parody of (most or all) other sports writers/pages/sites.

by Sophandros :: Tue, 01/05/2010 - 6:09pm

Good point. I have to admit that I was somewhat shocked to see the "m-word" on this site...

Sports talk radio and sports message boards are the killing fields of intellectual discourse.

by Rory Hickey :: Wed, 01/06/2010 - 12:48am


"You play to win the game" - Herm

by Independent George :: Tue, 01/05/2010 - 6:06pm

On the other hand, the injury also spared him the Nick Saban era in Miami...

by Eddo :: Tue, 01/05/2010 - 1:33pm

Didn't Bruschi say, a few weeks ago, that he was prouder of his Super Bowl wins than the undefeated season? Seems like quite an about-face now.

by Mello :: Tue, 01/05/2010 - 1:43pm

How? Of course he's more proud of his Super Bowl wins. They didn't win the Super Bowl in 07. He can still talk about the Colts for not trying. I'm sure he would have been most proud of their undefeated season if they won the Super Bowl. There's no guarantee or much evidence that sitting players instead of going undefeated would have won them that Super Bowl.

by patriotsgirl :: Tue, 01/05/2010 - 1:45pm

His statements are only inconsistent if you accept as your basic premise that the Pats' strategy to "go for it" in 2007 cost them the Super Bowl, and/or if you accept that the Colts' decision to rest starters will necessarily benefit them in the Super Bowl run. As we've seen, there's plenty of disagreement on that front.

by DrewTS (not verified) :: Tue, 01/05/2010 - 5:31pm

Oh, I don't know. If his first statement implies that winning the Super Bowl is more important than going 16-0 (which I believe it does), then to criticize someone for resting up for the playoffs at the expense of a shot at 16-0 does seem a little inconsistent.

by BigCheese :: Wed, 01/06/2010 - 4:05am

It's not a shot at 16-0, it's a shot at 19-0. That last game makes all the difference in the world.

- Alvaro

by C (not verified) :: Tue, 01/05/2010 - 1:39pm

Bruschi taking shots at the Colts. I don't think it was the Colts players ( wimping out)... Those core guys have already been champions, but their head coach hasn't. He's more worried about winning a ring than making history.

Bellicheck being testy of late. I sort of like him taking shots at other people, then again I'm a jerk.

by The Ninjalectual :: Wed, 01/06/2010 - 1:03am

Why is being "more worried about winning a ring than making history" a good thing? Goddammit I want to see history being made!!!

"Just look at that pumpkin."
-John Madden, looking at the moon.

by Johnny (not verified) :: Tue, 01/05/2010 - 1:58pm

I don't have anything against the Colts, and I can care less about the AFC race, but the Colts fans are the most sensative bunch in the league. The can criticize the Pats to no end, call them and Billichick cheaters, etc. But when anybody says anything about them, they all cry foul and get emotional. Too insecure, imo. If you lie down and throw the undefeated season away, you deserve all the criticism that comes with it the same as if you play your starters and someone gets injured, or the same as if you go for undefeated and lose in the super bowl like the Pats did. They want the best of both worlds at all times.

by Purds :: Tue, 01/05/2010 - 2:34pm

You hurt my feelings. Take it back, you big bully.

by Strange/David (not verified) :: Wed, 01/06/2010 - 10:36am

While I freely admit to wanting the best of both worlds at all times, I would disagree that Colts fans are the most sensitive. (And I can say that without whining. Usually.)

The most VOCAL Colts fans are sensitive, but I assure you that most of us here in Indy are just as critical of these decisions as the media. Most of us HATE that Caldwell pulled the team. We've booed and hollered and Bill Polian even cut short his weekly radio show because of how much we laid into him for the decision.

I will admit that we have a bit of an inferiority complex. We probably wouldn't care as much about 16-0 if the Pats hadn't done it. And now Caldwell is in a no-win situation; if we win the Super Bowl, we'll complain that we could have been 19-0. With any other outcome, we'll complain that "at least" we could have had a perfect regular season.

But I'd argue that the most sensitive NFL fans are the Raiders fans, who seem to think that any criticism of their team suggests that there's a conspiracy against them. And, as someone who roots for the Packers in any game that the Colts aren't in, I'd put Packers fans as a close second. The biggest difference between fans of the Raiders or Packers and fans of the Colts, as far as I can see, is that the Colts fans still don't have that die-hard "we'll turn it around" determination when we screw up.

I have no stats to back up my theory.

by patriotsgirl :: Tue, 01/05/2010 - 2:02pm

I've enjoyed following Pocket Hercules ever since he was a Bruin, and every quote I read just makes me appreciate him more. My head would explode (in a good way) if he ever suited up as a Patriot.

(And about Mangini: every time I see him, I'm shocked by the weight gain. Look at some of the images from his early Jets tenure, it's crazy.)

by Johnny (not verified) :: Tue, 01/05/2010 - 2:04pm

MJG isn't the smart guy in the world. Entertaining, yes. Smart, no.

by TomC :: Tue, 01/05/2010 - 3:16pm

MJG isn't the smart guy in the world.

No, the "smart guy in the world" is clearly you.

Who is MJG, anyway?

by Hurt Bones :: Tue, 01/05/2010 - 4:03pm

Maurice Jones-glutamate?

by Sophandros :: Tue, 01/05/2010 - 5:41pm

"Who is MJG, anyway?"


"Comin' straight from Tennessee, sippin' on some Hennessy..." <--real 8ball and MJG lyric!
Sports talk radio and sports message boards are the killing fields of intellectual discourse.

by Roger Cossack (not verified) :: Tue, 01/05/2010 - 3:49pm


by tunesmith :: Tue, 01/05/2010 - 2:08pm

Wiegmann plays for the Broncos now, not the Chiefs. That's probably not what Dick was thinking about at the time, though.

by Hurt Bones :: Tue, 01/05/2010 - 2:25pm

An announcer should be thinking with their brain not their…

Enberg will turn 75 on Saturday (Happy Birthday). It's time for him to stop broadcasting football and move to bocce.

by San Marcos Landlord (not verified) :: Tue, 01/05/2010 - 8:20pm

he's doing padre baseball next year.

by Balaji (not verified) :: Tue, 01/05/2010 - 2:20pm

I take issue with Tank Johnson's notion that the Bengals are a "great franchise".

That said, the Steelers stunk this year and deserved to miss the playoffs.

by Tundrapaddy (not verified) :: Tue, 01/05/2010 - 6:07pm

I take issue with Tank Johnson's notion that the Bengals are a "great franchise".

You, and everyone other than Tank Johnson and Mike Brown.

by CADman (not verified) :: Tue, 01/05/2010 - 2:49pm

Anyone catch the comments about the stadium in Dallas at the beginning of the game? Not sure which one said it but the stadium was referred to as a monstrosity followed by a second or two of silence then something positive to say. Oops.

by peterplaysbass (verified?) (not verified) :: Wed, 01/06/2010 - 10:17am

I noticed that, too.

It had to have been Buck. I can't see Aikman saying something like that.

by DrewTS (not verified) :: Tue, 01/05/2010 - 2:51pm

The Colts have certainly opened themselves up to a lot of this criticism lately with their decisions. But my issue with Bruschi's comment is that he seems to be suggesting that the 07 Patriots and 09 Colts seasons both occurred in a vaccuum. The 07 Patriots had a scandal hanging over their heads and a massive chip on their shoulder as a result. They were clearly on a revenge mission, and out to stick it to anyone who got in their way. The 09 Colts don't really have that edge, and other than a 16-0 record (which has a lot less mystique around it now than it did in 07), they had nothing to play for in their final 3 games. The Patriots did have that extra piece of motivation, and it wasn't guts, it was spite.

Now, regardless of whether or not it's better to have that killer instinct, Bruschi's comment also brings to mind another fact -- they don't give out trophies for "guts". But they do give out trophies for winning the Super Bowl. If the 09 Colts win the Super Bowl, they'll always have that over the 07 Patriots perfect season. If they don't, and especially if they flame out in the first playoff game, this criticism will always linger.

I guess it all boils down to when you think you've proven your point. Polian apparently believes that clinching the #1 seed is sufficient, and that the playoffs are the only thing that matters after that. Belichick in 07 seemed to be of the opinion that it's necessary to crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their women. Both viewpoints have merit, but to suggest that one team doesn't have "guts" because they choose to keep their eyes on the real prize instead of going for style points is a bit out of touch, in my opinion.

by Tundrapaddy (not verified) :: Tue, 01/05/2010 - 6:11pm

Thanks for burning the image of Belicheck's head on Schwarzenegger's body into my brain. Now I'm trying to avoid picturing him getting gropy with Sandahl Bergman.

Too late...

by The Ninjalectual :: Wed, 01/06/2010 - 1:21am

So style is nothing? It doesn't matter how you win, just that you do? Yeah that's nice and all, but I LIKE my football players to have swagger (or at least think that they do). Maybe the 2007 Patriots were the Chris McCandless story of football--they went big but fell frustratingly short at the very end. That would be INTERESTING. I don't want to believe that consistent meticulous effort beats improvisation and strength. I would rather watch Dirty Harry than Mr. Rogers. Who knows if Bruschi's storyline is what happened or not. Maybe he's just a blowhard, but it's a nice idea.

"Just look at that pumpkin."
-John Madden, looking at the moon.

by Independent George :: Wed, 01/06/2010 - 1:41am

Sometimes, you just have to say, "Yes, I want extra mayonnaise on that sandwich!"

by DrewTS (not verified) :: Wed, 01/06/2010 - 9:35am

I wouldn't say style is nothing, but consistent meticulous effort does frequently beat improvisation and strength.

by Go Pats (not verified) :: Tue, 01/05/2010 - 3:20pm

Yes i am sure that the Colts will get a lot of style points when they get bounced out of the playoffs after their first game. Chip or no chip, the Colts are hypocrites. On the one hand they want to "rest" their players so that they don't get hurt and 16-0 does not matter yada yada yada but the most wins in a decade do (by the way the Colts could not hold a candle to the 49ers of the 1980's or 1990's) but then why do personal records matter?? why was manning playing in Buffalo?? There was just as much chance that he would get hurt there (maybe more) as he would have had he continued to play in the Jet's game, but of course he had to keep his consecutive game streak alive against the Bills. What a load of crap.

by Johnny (not verified) :: Tue, 01/05/2010 - 3:43pm

Exactly. Polian is full of shit. 16-0 doesn't matter, but getting Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark a 100 catches does during a blizzard in Buffalo.

by MCS :: Tue, 01/05/2010 - 4:57pm

Maybe there are contract escalators.

by peterplaysbass (verified?) (not verified) :: Wed, 01/06/2010 - 10:19am

I was thinking the same thing. If so, the team owes the players the chance to hit those incentives.

by patriotsgirl :: Wed, 01/06/2010 - 10:38am

I'm pretty sure it doesn't, as long as it's not done in bad faith to specifically prevent the players from making those incentives.

Put another way: if the players can't make their incentives because they're benched in a 34-0 game, or if Wayne can't make those incentives because they run for three quarters or decide to get Austin Collie some work, the players have no basis for a grievance. How is benching starters to avoid injury any different? (Particularly in frigid conditions.)

The best argument is the morale one, I think.

by peterplaysbass (verified?) (not verified) :: Wed, 01/06/2010 - 11:09am

I would think that the contract experts would be able to dream up clauses to get around those kinds of situations anyway (award bonus if team has a first round bye clinched and player was on pace for incentive).

I'd still like to see a 19-0 season.

Maybe one day a division will produce two 16-0 teams (or a conference will produce three) so that one would have a shot at 20-0 if they made and won the SB. Surely that will never happen though.


by Theo :: Wed, 01/06/2010 - 11:12am

That's the thing, the Colts had a good chance and threw it away.
As a player I'd be furious if my coach would do that.

by White Rose Duelist :: Wed, 01/06/2010 - 12:03pm

A division can't have two 16-0 teams, since they play each other twice. Two 14-0-2 teams is a possibility.

I think the most possible 16-0 teams is four - one in division A, which plays all the teams in division B, and one in division C, which plays all the teams in division D, per conference.

by Hurt Bones :: Wed, 01/06/2010 - 12:37pm

Four: Conference A: one in division A, which plays all the teams in division B, and one in division C, which plays all the teams in division D.

The team in Division A also must have finished in a different place than the team in Division C in the previous season.

Conference B: one in division E, which plays all the teams in division F, and one in division G, which plays all the teams in division H.

The team in Division E also must have finished in a different place than the team in Division G in the previous season.

Division A must play Division F or H in interconference play.
Division C must play Division F or H in interconference play.

This season the quartet of the Chargers, Colts, Saints, and Vikings fits those conditions.

by peterplaysbass (verified?) (not verified) :: Wed, 01/06/2010 - 12:53pm

Wow, good stuff. But that quartet would all have byes during wildcard weekend, so 20-0 is still an impossibility for all.

Is it possible to have 3 16-0 teams in one conference (other conference be darned)? I would think so. That would be the only way to do it, and the (un)lucky undefeated team handed the 3-seed would have to knock off a wildcard team before winning the divisional round, conference championship, and superbowl for 20-0.

by Eddo :: Wed, 01/06/2010 - 1:05pm

"Is it possible to have 3 16-0 teams in one conference (other conference be darned)? I would think so."

No, each division in a conference plays another division in full, and every team in a division plays all other teams in that division twice. Therefore, you can only have teams from two divisions in a conference be undefeated.

by Arkaein :: Wed, 01/06/2010 - 1:33pm

The 16-0 teams would all get a first round bye, then meet in the Conference Championship games at 17-0.

So you could have four 17-0 teams, two 18-0 teams, and one 19-0 team. 20-0 is impossible in the current system, because it would require a team to go 16-0 but not get a first round playoffs bye.

by peterplaysbass (verified?) (not verified) :: Wed, 01/06/2010 - 12:51pm

Wow, yeah. Good call. I don't know what I was thinking with that.

Is it possible to have 3 in one conference though?

by Hurt Bones :: Wed, 01/06/2010 - 12:52pm


by DrewTS (not verified) :: Tue, 01/05/2010 - 5:09pm

I'm not sure "hypocrite" is the right word. The Colts have been very consistent with their behavior over the years. They come down on the side of rest over momentum (as almost every team other than the 07 Pats has also done). They do, however, acknowledge that personal milestones matter to players and they give those players the oppotunity to reach them in the "rest" game, IF they're already very close. They force the ball to said player, and then they pull them. This is what they did with Wayne and Clark. Whether or not you agree with this approach (I personally don't), I don't see how it's hypocritical.

Back on the subject of allowing players to play in meaningless games in order to reach milestones... it's obviously a risky proposition. However, the alternative is what the Browns did to Brady Quinn -- letting him play until he gets close, and then pulling him and preventing him from getting it. Lest we forget, players often have stat-based incentives in their contracts, and benching someone right before they reach a bonus is bound to create some tension. For better or worse, the Colts are a star-driven team, and a small concession to make a star happy is probably worth it, so long as they don't blow out their ACL. I also expect that little things like that don't go unnoticed by prospective players as well. Jacob Lacey, for one, specifically stated that he came to the Colts because Melvin Bullitt told him the Colts do right by their players.

by patriotsgirl :: Tue, 01/05/2010 - 5:31pm

I wouldn't say they're hypocrites, but I don't buy what they're selling.

The rationale for resting their starters for just over a quarter in Week 16 was to avoid injury, and they stated that the main goal was to win a Super Bowl. That is, Super Bowl > 16-0.

Fair enough; I defended their consistency, even though I thought that the execution was poor (i.e. if they were THAT worried about injury, play them only for a short time).

But once Manning played over a quarter in frigid Buffalo (I live not far from Buffalo, and it was absolutely freezing; in the morning, local news was speculating it might be the coldest day at Ralph Wilson), and Wayne and Clark played long enough to get their records, they lost me. They might have had legitimate reasons for playing their stars (avoiding grievances, keeping them happy, etc.), but by doing so they're essentially saying that they're willing to throw caution to the wind when it comes to those reasons and for individual records, but not for team ones.

Thus, for the Colts, individual records > 16-0.

by DrewTS (not verified) :: Tue, 01/05/2010 - 5:57pm

Agree 100% that the execution was poor, particularly agains the Jets. For the life of me, I can't figure out why it's OK to play for 3 quarters, but not 4. Playing 1 quarter in the Buffalo game, I didn't have too much of a problem with. You want to at least get them out there and get the blood pumping a little bit, just for the sake of routine. But yes, my thought has always been either play them all-out, or rest them all-out. Half playing/half resting is weird, and it sends a confusing message. That, more than anything, is what made the fans mad.

I think what the Colts are saying in regard to 16-0 is that they think it's meaningless. Every year they lay out a list of goals, and it's always the same -- make playoffs, win division, win home field, win Super Bowl. 16-0 is no where on the list. It might sound strange, but just because some juicy new target presents itself, that doesn't mean you should necessarily start adding mission objectives once you're underway. 16-0 is strictly an option goal, and should be abandoned the instant it begins to endanger the primary goal. I can't help but think it was a distraciton for the Patriots.

by John (not verified) :: Tue, 01/05/2010 - 7:21pm

I read a "once in a lifetime" comment about the Colts missed opportunity this year, and that struck me as particularly humorous.

First, the Colts had this "once in a lifetime" opportunity in 2004. Second, the Patriots had this "once in a lifetime" opportunity in 2007.

Even for the short career span of most players in the NFL, this clearly isn't "once in a lifetime."

by Purds :: Tue, 01/05/2010 - 9:50pm

You can disagree with Polian on this point, but he does make sense. Here he is from this week's radio show:

“First of all, personal milestones are important in that they play a vast role – perhaps too much of a role – in Hall of Fame, All-Decade teams, things of that nature,” Polian said Monday on his weekly radio show on 97.1 Hank FM in Indianapolis.
“So, for players and for posterity and for that player's individual ranking within posterity, it plays a role. I guess as a football purist I'd rather that it didn't, but the fact is that it does.”
Polian, who helped build the Buffalo Bills into a four-time Super Bowl participant as general manager in the early 1990s, said former Bills RB Thurman Thomas twice opted to sit out late-season games to ensure he would be at full strength for the postseason. Each time, Polian said the decision cost Thomas a league rushing title.
“We subsequently made the Super Bowl in each of those years,” Polian said. “I worried terribly it would be held against him (in Hall of Fame voting). Fortunately, it was not. That's why those things are important. (Colts Head Coach) Jim Caldwell told the team that if in the regular flow of the game you could reach a couple of those milestones – in this case it happened to be (TE) Dallas (Clark) getting 100 catches, which has only been done once by a tight end in history. So, it's a very rare achievement.
“And (WR) Reggie (Wayne) getting 100 catches, which of course is a milestone for any receiver and would be a tremendous milestone for Reg, who in the early part of his career was the companion to (former Colts wide receiver) Marvin (Harrison), who is a first-ballot Hall of Famer."

by patriotsgirl :: Tue, 01/05/2010 - 11:38pm

Put another way, it's what I said before - to Polian et al, personal milestones for individual Colts outweigh the injury risk. To me, that undermines a lot of their reasons to rest their starters in Week 16 (like why not let them get their milestones in a dome, rather than in freezing Buffalo?), but I guess it's a matter of priorities.

Interestingly, it confirms that the Colts would almost certainly have played Welker, because 2 catches would have given him the second-most ever; another reason why Welker's a poor example for this discussion.

by whatyousay :: Wed, 01/06/2010 - 1:53am

Welker is a perfect example for this dicussion. People are getting too caught up in the specifics of when he got hurt, saying it was on the very first series so of course he would be in the game blah blah whatever

It's a reminder that every single play is dangerous -- an opportunity for injury. People are trying to construct the Colts' hierarchy of priorities and contend that their actions don't make sense. This isn't clearly defined strata of "we will always prioritize A before B before C ..." There are many factors to consider at all times that influence the decisions, not a strict set of rules to consult. In this instance, the Colts wanted to get the starters SOME reps in, they wanted to achieve the milestones, but they also wanted to limit the snaps because every single snap carries that tiny % of injury. So, they decided that, since they were close, it was worth it to play for those milestones before they pulled the guys.

Also, someone asked this question earlier, and I think it bears repeating. Is there any evidence of guys being more susceptible to injury in colder weather?

by Purds :: Wed, 01/06/2010 - 8:34am

So you've never even considered the difference between total rest and minimal activity? Clearly, the Colts wanted their starters to get in some action in week 17. Doing that a week earlier for longer, and then shutting down completely the following week, did not serve a purpose to them. For them, it was not a question of total amount of work over those two weeks, but the desire to get in some work both weeks, but not more than enough to stay sharp. If we're going to compare it to the Welker situation, the Pats clearly took a different stance: they thought they would work guys all game, as Brady played in the 4th quarter. Had Welker not been injured in the first series, BB would have had him in there long enough to get injured later in the game.

by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Wed, 01/06/2010 - 9:33am

"they thought they would work guys all game, as Brady played in the 4th quarter"

Um, wrong.

They pulled Brady in the 2nd quarter. He came back in specifically because of Welker's injury, and to get some time with Edelman. If Welker doesn't go down, Brady plays pretty much only the first quarter, as does, most likely, Welker.

by Purds :: Wed, 01/06/2010 - 2:00pm

"He came back in specifically because of Welker's injury, and to get some time with Edelman. "

Rich, congratulations. I didn't know you were put on the staff of the Patriots, and that you knew "specifically" what BB thought. So, the Pats "specifically" took Brady out of the game in the 2nd quarter, after the Welker injury. "specifically" to do what?

by patriotsgirl :: Wed, 01/06/2010 - 10:32am

All Welker's injury tells us is that people get injured. Well, duh. His injury was an absolute fluke. If you're basing your entire franchise philosophy on trying to avoid a non-contact injury like Welker's, you might as well not practice during your bye weeks.

And as Conley says below, we have no idea what the Pats would have done without Welker's injury. Maybe he plays the whole game, maybe he doesn't.

If the Colts thought the risk of injury was THAT high, their players should have been nowhere near the football field, at least beyond a series or two. "Keeping sharp" for a quarter-plus in frigid conditions in Buffalo wouldn't be worth it; you're just minimizing a risk that you already think is too high, and Welker's injury shows that injuries aren't more likely in the 4th Q than the 1st Q.

(If anything, I wouldn't be surprised if the Colts' injuries to their stars are more likely in the 1st Q, because they're forcing balls to specific players. I doubt that's verifiable, though.)

ETA: And not to mention that "keeping sharp" wasn't the Colts' rationale. It was the pursuit of individual records, which is entirely different. How long would they have left them in, I wonder, if the Bills had blanketed Wayne and Clark?

by Purds :: Wed, 01/06/2010 - 2:07pm

Well, duh, non contact injuries are ONE possible way to get injured -- you see, in games, they actually hit one another. So the Colts were trying to minimize the potential of all types of injuries. See how that works -- just because your little Wes got hurt without a hit doesn't mean that's the only way to get injured. Just ask Tommy Boy there about the other way. The Colts were clearly attempting to minimize the chance, but not eliminate it.

Nice of you to project your thoughts and tell us what the Colts thought. You and Rich prove there is some impressive mind reading going on up there in NE.

by patriotsgirl :: Wed, 01/06/2010 - 2:51pm

Whoa, Purds, not sure what the tone was for, since we've always had rational discussions in the past.

I have no idea what you meant by "mind reading". As you wrote a couple of posts above, Polian himself said that they were playing Wayne and Clark to get the 100 catch milestones. And Polian has also said that the reason they pulled the starters is to reduce the risk of injury. There's absolutely no mind reading necessary to see where the Colts were coming from.

The Colts decided to run their last few games to try to balance a bunch of needs - RWayne/Peyton's desire to play against Jacksonville (well-documented), trying to get a win for the fans/players for the first three quarters against the Jets, Polian's own worry of injury, and the milestones of Wayne and Clark. I'm sure "keeping sharp" was in there somewhere, as well, but the way the Jax/Jets/Buf games were managed, taken together, raises questions about whether it was a priority.

Which is fine; it's their franchise, I wasn't that up in arms about it, and even defended some of their decisions. But when Manning and the starters play 8 out of 12 meaningless quarters, injury prevention is obviously not exclusively at the top of their agenda, and it's insulting that the Colts can point to Welker and say "see?". They just got lucky that it didn't happen to them.

by PatsFan :: Wed, 01/06/2010 - 2:56pm

Whoa, Purds, not sure what the tone was for, since we've always had rational discussions in the past.

[Mentally insert hyperlink to the comment either upstream here or in QR about overly-sensitive Colts fans.]

by Purds :: Wed, 01/06/2010 - 4:09pm

This snarky bracketed comment just lends to the atmosphere you created earlier. I was using "well, duh" after you chose that language in commenting on my quotation of Polian. Perhaps that was not meant for me.

Look, I just find it bizarre that Pats fans construe the injury to Welker as being proof that the Colts organization is hypocritical, philosophically wrong, etc. It's an amazing jump, really, in the NE mindset: If NE plays that game without injury, it proves the Colts are foolishly cautious; if the Welker gets injured, it also somehow proves that the Colts are wrong. In fact, anything that happens to the Pats proves the Colts are wrong, according to some of the Pats fans here. It's inane. Why can't it just prove that Welker was injured, and leave Indy out of it? Look carefully at this thread; the Colts organization did not connect Welker and the Colt strategy as some type of proof. You did.

Polian was asked about Welker's injury, and he said this: “You hate to see anybody get hurt, No. 1. This is a game in which unfortunately injury plays a large role. When you have a player like Wes Welker, you really, really hate to see him get hurt. He's such an asset to the game and he's such a good player. But obviously, it is part of the problem we run into in this game. I heard some discussion – just a snippet – Monday and someone was talking, 'Well, in basketball they rest people, and in baseball, they rest people. They clearly do in baseball, with the 40-man roster at the end of the season, but those are long seasons and football is not a long season.' Of course, what was missing in that discussion clearly is the fact that injuries play such a critical role in our game. We have probably at least 10 times as many injuries as baseball and 25-to-50 times as many as basketball. It's just a completely different situation and that comparison I don't think is really germane."

by patriotsgirl :: Wed, 01/06/2010 - 6:06pm

I think we're talking past each other, because it sounds from your last post that you think there isn't a strong connection between Welker's injury and the Colts' decisions. I agree; this dispute started when I mentioned that Welker was a "poor example" for this discussion - meaning that his injury didn't prove much of anything wrt the Colts' philosophy, other than the fact that people can get injured at any time. (Hence the "well, duh," which wasn't directed at you; it was meant to convey that we all know that part. My bad.)

But the Welker-Colts connection was not imagined in Pats fans' heads; it has been all over the media, in at least one other thread on this board, and I read some of it into Polian's comment (although I'm the first to admit that I'm not impartial to Polian, as he helped solidify my status as a Pats fan when I lived in the WNY market in the Bills' heyday).

Anyway, even though some Pats fans hate the Colts, and some have called them hypocrites, not all of us do. We ain't the Borg. (For example, the bracketed snarky comment? Not by me.)

by DrewTS (not verified) :: Tue, 01/05/2010 - 5:18pm

"once we get in the playoffs, Pittsburgh Steelers is a playoff team"

Technically speaking, truer words were never spoken. The rest of the quote is idiotic though.

by Squirrel (not verified) :: Tue, 01/05/2010 - 9:01pm

I have a suspicion that the entire statement was a failed attempt at phychological manipulation. Accuse a team that was planning to roll over (for any reason, even ones to their own advantage) that they're going to lose on purpose to prevent team X from reaching the playoffs, and maybe you light a fire under them to "prove you wrong".

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 01/05/2010 - 5:44pm

Based upon leaked e-mails, it doesn't seem that anyone thought Adam James' talent level was very high, nor did they think he had good work habits. Many apparently considered him an a-hole. Now, lemme see......here I am, Mr. Head Coach, working my 18 hour day in my office. There is a knock on my door, and I say, "Yes?". In walks my untalented, lazy, a-hole receiver, who also has a father who is driving me nuts, as I am reminded of, looking at my phone messages. The untalented, lazy. a-hole receiver says, "Coach, I'd like to be released from my scholarship". For some reason, instead of saying, "Son, that would be fine, and let me buy you a milkshake!", thus sending him on his way to become a headache for one of my competitors, I instead say, "NO, you lazy, untalented a-hole whose father is driving me nuts! You will stay here! Got it!?"

I guess I don't understand pirates.

by DrewTS (not verified) :: Tue, 01/05/2010 - 6:04pm

It's the Colonel Jessup syndrome. I'll teach him, even if it kills him. (Yes, I know, he wasn't going to kill him...)

There's also a general pigheadedness that says I'm not going to let some punk tell me how to run my team, even if he's telling me to do what's actually best for everyone involved. I'll do the opposite, just to prove I'm in charge.

by Marko :: Tue, 01/05/2010 - 6:16pm

I have to admit that I laughed at Chris Myers' joke about airport security while watching the game. However, I did not laugh at his incompetence. For example, on the opening kickoff, he called Devin Hester "Devin Harris." He also said a penalty on the Bears on a kickoff return was on "Number 29, D.J. Moore." Which would be fine, except that D.J. Moore is number 30. The penalty was on the original Adrian Peterson, who is number 29.

by DrewTS (not verified) :: Tue, 01/05/2010 - 6:29pm

Well, to be fair, Devin Hester is a very obscure player. Surely, no one can be expected to know who he is. Next you'll be expecting him to know who James Cutlery and Vance Griggs are.

I remember Al Albert, in his first year on the job as the local TV guy for the Indiana Pacers, referred to Reggie Miller as Reggie Williams, and Rik Smits as Rick Smith. He did this many times. This is the LOCAL guy, mind you, not some national TV guy who sees the team once a year. If that's not bad enough, the players in question are not bench scrubs; they were all-stars.

by C (not verified) :: Wed, 01/06/2010 - 10:24am

The best was Bryant Gumbel who kept calling Frank Gore Al Gore ( he did this at least 3 times), the play clock the shot clock, and lots of other stupid things. You wonder if the guy ever watched football before or if he was cramming football vocabulary for an exam or something.

by Temo :: Tue, 01/05/2010 - 10:00pm

Woodley's comments seem like a very juvenile attempt at reverse psychology. "I KNOW you don't want to face us again, you wimps! Just you go and lay down like we all know you will."

by Tim (not verified) :: Wed, 01/06/2010 - 9:41am

I thought you guys were supposed to stat-boys or something. Here's a little project for you. Go back and break down the playoff records based on record over the last five games of the regular season.

When you do that you will find that there is NO, none, nada, zip correspondence between "being hot" and "having momentum" and winning in the playoffs. It just doesn't matter. 2-3 does just as well as 5-0.

Sorry to burst your bubble, but facts are troublesome things. So don't pick against the Saints because they stumbled down the stretch. They may or may not win, but that won't be why.

by peterplaysbass (verified?) (not verified) :: Wed, 01/06/2010 - 10:28am

Read almost *any* other content on this site and you'd have realized that Football Outsiders thinks momentum is hogwash.

Heck, read the comments above before posting and you might've saved yourself some embarrassment.

Oh, and just to get your goat: the Saints won't make it to the Superbowl.

by Tim (not verified) :: Wed, 01/06/2010 - 3:49pm

So I should be embarrassed because they headline a comment in a way that makes it seems like they believe something that secretly they know to be hogwash? Huh???? Why headline it that way if you don't believe it?

I looked and couldn't find your secret content about momentum being hogwash. (I didn't look to hard though, because, you know, I have a life.)

Not sure what you mean by sports-radio false confidence comment about the Saints. I didn't make a hyperbolic prediction that I don't really even believe myself just to be provocative. That's your gig.

I only come to this site to laugh at its illogic and silliness. I loved the article that in one paragraph denigrated "magical thinking" by "proving" something was "lucky". Classic.

by peterplaysbass (verified?) (not verified) :: Wed, 01/06/2010 - 4:18pm

My "secret content" was in last week's Quick Reads. I linked to it in my name in this comment, but since you likely have too much of a life to click AND read it (but not too much to find and respond to my comment?), I'll paste excerpts of the pertinent section here:

"...the idea of momentum...is a crock. [...] The 2006 Colts went 2-3 in December [...] In 2007, the Giants supposedly picked up momentum when they played the undefeated Patriots to an extremely close game...but it was preceded by a 3-3 stretch that saw the team lose to the Vikings by 27, the Redskins by 12, and narrowly pull out victories over mediocre teams in Detroit (six points), Chicago (five points), and Philadelphia (three points). [...] Last year's Cardinals ... finishing 2-4, the Cardinals lost to the Giants by eight and the Eagles -- the same team they'd beat in the NFC Championship Game -- by 28. It got worse in December. Playing two playoff-caliber teams, the Cardinals lost by 21 to the Vikings and the Patriots by 40. The idea that they had momentum is absurd..."

Oh, and provactive statements are MY gig?

"I only come to this site to laugh at its illogic and silliness."

I strongly suspect you come to this site to make your own provactive statements ("I thought you guys were supposed to stat-boys or something. Here's a little project for you.") and then check back to see if you were able to elicit a response. I've posted this rebuttal for the benefit of any intelligent readers who happen to stumble upon this exchange, but I will not make a habit of feeding the troll. Good day.

by Go Pats (not verified) :: Wed, 01/06/2010 - 4:22pm

What if Manning had gotten hurt on the first series in Bufallo trying to keep his silly consecutive games streak going, what would Pollian have to say then? Injuries can happen at any time, but there is something to be said about momentum and keeping sharp. The Colts will go almost a month without any real game action and there is a very good chance they get bounced the first game they play. Too bad it wont be against the Pats and will probably be against the Bengals. Teh same goes for the Saints (current injuries aside). I am glad the Pats went for 16-0 back in 2007 and if it were not for that fluke catch by Tyree would have been 19-0.

by DrewTS (not verified) :: Wed, 01/06/2010 - 6:43pm

There is a decent chance the Colts will have some trouble in the first playoff game. The Ravens are a tough team. They played a close one earlier this year, so I expect something similar in the rematch.