by Cale Clinton
EARLY CANDIDATE FOR TWIQ ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
My rating? I've got an 80 on [Madden] Ultimate Team, so I'ma go play with myself today, see how it feel … that came out weird.
-- New York Jets rookie defensive tackle Quinnen Williams may be in his first year playing professional football, but he can already crack jokes at the podium like a savvy veteran. (SNY Jets via Twitter)
"It's like playing Madden, but IN Madden."
-- Williams' description of what it's like to play through training camp, presented in away only Quinnen Williams could. (12UP)
JON GRUDEN WAS TAILOR-MADE FOR 'HARD KNOCKS'
"Everybody has dreams right now, don't they guys? Alright, everybody in the NFL, 'I have a dream of making it in the NFL,' 'I got a dream of winning a Super Bowl,' 'I got a dream of being in the Pro Bowl.' I'm really not into dreams anymore, OK? I'm into f***ing nightmares. … You've got to end somebody's dream. You've got to take their job, you've got to take their heart."
-- The Oakland Raiders have the "honor" of hosting HBO's Hard Knocks this season, and head coach Jon Gruden has taken center stage. Combine this quote with the show's orchestral score and you'll be hard pressed to find a brick wall you can't run through. (Viral Sports via Twitter)
GETTING IN PLAYERS' HEADS, EVEN IN RETIREMENT
Steve Smith Sr.: "Cam, can you come here real quick? So I've got him on my [fantasy football] bench, D.J. Moore. I ain't benching DeAndre Hopkins, should I let John Brown [inaudible]?"
Cam Newton: "That's kinda disrespectful. John Brown, he ain't no asset. He got a lot of choice selections. I'm giving you insider trading so don't report me."
Smith: "No I'm just saying. So, should I take [Moore] off the bench? Because currently he's on the bench."
Newton: "Yeah, yeah, yeah, you gotta start him."
Smith: "What if I just flex? What if I put him at flex?"
Newton: "I don't understand that."
Smith: "That just mean an extra guy, right?"
Newton: "Yeah, yeah, yeah."
Smith: "So put him at flex? Because he's not a real wide receiver yet. He's just kinda developing, "
Newton: "I wouldn't say all that now!"
Smith, to Moore: "Should I start you or John Brown? It's a legit question, is it not?"
Moore, who stood directly next to Smith during this entire exchange: "Start me."
Smith: "Start you? You give me two points, I'll slap the s**t out of you."
-- Retired wide receiver and Hall of Fame trash talker Steve Smith Sr. may have left the league several years ago, but he still knows how to get under people's skin. Just ask Carolina Panthers wide receiver D.J. Moore, who stood next to Smith while he contemplated fantasy moves with quarterback Cam Newton (Coach Coleman via Twitter)
KNOWING YOUR OPPONENT GOES BEYOND THE SCOUTING REPORT
"Say I was playing a big receiver at whatever school. I would look up his Instagram and slide in his girlfriend's DMs before the game."
-- Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey sought out every competitive advantage he could against his opponents in college. If that meant stealing their girl in the process, so be it. (Barstool Sports via Instagram)
HEMORRHAGING CAP SPACE
"Picture you were a driver of a car and you had a wreck and your hand was almost severed off, but you don't understand your anatomy. You look down, you're spurting blood, you open the door, and run to the woods, and either die bleeding to death or shock. The educated man looks down, knows his anatomy, squeezes and knows his best chance is to wait for help. That's because he's been there a lot and done that. So I'm squeezing and waiting for help."
-- Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones gives an oddly specific and very graphic analogy to illustrate his team's current contract negotiations with quarterback Dak Prescott, running back Ezekiel Elliott, and wide receiver Amari Cooper. (Jon Machota, The Athletic via Twitter)
THE PEOPLE'S QUARTERBACK
"I'm up for anything that's gonna get the fans as loud as possible. Maybe slash some beer prices or something, would be a good idea."
-- Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers wants Lambeau Field to be especially loud this season. His solution? Slash beer prices, which were priced at $8.25 for a 16-ounce can of domestic beer. (ProFootballTalk)
WEAPONIZED PILLOW FIGHTS
"It's the competitive nature of the guys. Yesterday to me was a little bit more of a pillow fight. Today I thought was a little bit, just like I said, it's disappointing."
-- Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy has an interesting definition of the term "pillow fight," as he uses the phrase to describe an in-camp brawl between guard Kyle Long and rookie defensive end Jalen Dalton, where Long took Dalton's helmet, hit him with it several times, and threw the helmet downfield. (FTW/USAToday)
SWAMPY UNDER CENTER
"Well I'm gonna take it back to how much he sweats, again. He promises that it's not a problem in games, and it remains to be seen because his shorts today were soaked. And, uh, he says it's not a problem on gameday, so the moment of truth Friday night. But apparently, you know, when they keep those domes air-conditioned and you get a break on the bench and you sit with the cooling fans, I'm hoping that really helps. So that's a big thing I'm gonna take away from Friday night, is how tough was it to grip the ball after he snaps it to me. Uh, if it is tough we might be in pistol and shotgun all year, which coach [Gary] Kubiak and Kevin [Stefanski] wouldn't like very much."
-- Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins is working with a new center, rookie Garrett Bradbury. One of the things Cousins has had the most trouble adapting to is just how much Bradbury's undercarriage sweats under the hot sun of training camp. (Deadspin)
FIND A BOSS THAT GIVES YOU THE JOB SECURITY JOHN MARA GIVES ELI MANNING
"I hope Eli [Manning] has a great year and Daniel [Jones] never sees the field. I mean in an ideal world, you'd like to see that, but again, at the end of the day, it's gonna be a decision by the head coach as to when or if Daniel plays this year. … I'd be very happy about [Daniel not playing in his rookie season], because it means we're having a great and Eli's having a great year."
-- Despite New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones' promising first looks in preseason, team owner John Mara isn't ready to say goodbye to the 38-year-old veteran Eli Manning. (Ralph Vacchiano, SNY via Twitter)
'IF SOAKING YOUR FEET IN PEE IS COOL, CONSIDER ME MILES DAVIS'
"On a conference-call tonight with reporters, Colts' GM Chris Ballard said Andrew Luck's calf strain has turned into a high-ankle issue."
-- ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter reports that the calf injury Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck was diagnosed with in April has now become a high-ankle injury.
"Adam, i soaked my ankle in warm urine to heal all my lower extremity injuries, notice i was never injured my entire career. Please pass along my message, it's a home remedy."
-- Retired wide receiver Chad Johnson offered his own … unconventional methods to healing lower body injuries. (Chad Johnson via Twitter)
MOTHER KNOWS BEST
"I don't want to be the bearer of bad news, but Minkah Fitzpatrick isn't playing well."
-- South Florida Sun-Sentinel beat reporter Omar Kelly reported that Miami Dolphins defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick was not playing very well one day in Dolphins training camp.
"No you would never want to do that maybe it's because he is not a [strong safety] and is being used to suit other people skill set not his own . But you know let's just keep ripping him because we know it breaks your heart to do that"
-- Minkah Fitzpatrick's mother, Melissa Fitzpatrick, took to Twitter to defend her son, claiming that the second-year player is currently being played out of position. (Melissa Fitzpatrick via Twitter)
"She's not wrong. Coach has asked me do something right now. I got to do what they ask me to do. If we have to have some discussions in the future, we'll have those discussions."
-- Minkah corroborated his mother's claims, but did so while stating it was something asked of him by head coach Brian Flores. (NFL.com)
THIS WEEK IN SOCIAL MEDIA
THERE CAN NEVER BE TOO MANY GRUDENS
-- Impressionist Frank Caliendo and Oakland Raiders head coach John Gruden in the same room together? I'll tell ya what, man …
OUR LONG NATIONAL NIGHTMARE IS OVER
-- After posting about it all last season, it's finally happened: Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley got his first cat.
-- Cleveland Browns defensive end and dinosaur enthusiast Myles Garrett dons a visor in camp that features the T-rex scene from Jurrasic Park