THIS WEEK IN EAGLES QUARTERBACK 'CONTROVERSY'
"Obviously, I'm going to continue to have Jalen [Hurts] start this week. I'm focused on only this week."
-- Philadelphia Eagles head coach Doug Pederson confirms that quarterback Jalen Hurts will continue his role as starter after posting 338 passing yards and four total touchdowns in a loss to the Arizona Cardinals. (Jeff McLane, Philadelphia Inquirer via Twitter)
"I try to stay away from the rat poison."
-- Hurts' response to a question regarding rumors, reports, and social media posts about Philadelphia's quarterback situation. (Les Bowen, Philadelphia Inquirer via Twitter)
PUTTING THE 'TERRIBLE' IN TERRIBLE TOWELS
"I don't blame them. When you play like poo, you deserve to be talked about like that. ... that's on me, I need to be better."
-- Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger addresses the outside chatter claiming his career may soon be over. Roethlisberger and the Steelers have lost three straight games after starting the season 11-0, averaging 17 points through their last four games. (Brooke Pryor, ESPN via Twitter)
"I'll just let media people tell me, I guess. They seem to be coming up with all kinds of stories -- not from my people or my camp."
-- Roethlisberger's response when asked how he'll know when it's time for him to "hang it up." (Brooke Bryor via Twitter)
MR. TIKTOK GETS CLOCKED
"I seen 19 [laughs]. Nah, we had a call that freed me up, [I was] reading Ben's eyes, and I just said, 'man, let's go make a play.'"
-- Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Vonn Bell walks through his explosive tackle and forced fumble on Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster following Monday Night Football. Smith-Schuster drew ire from Bengals players after dancing on the "B" at midfield prior to the game for his TikTok account. (Ben Baby, ESPN via Twitter)
"We have the Ravens this weekend. It's going to take everything we have to beat them and they're the only thing that matters to us right now. Look, with all due respect to Christmas, let's forget about Christmas for a little while and focus on the Ravens."
-- New York Giants head coach Joe Judge has no time for presents or caroling this Christmas season, because he's locked in on his team's upcoming matchup against the Baltimore Ravens. (NFL.com)
US? TANK? NEVER!
"No one's advised me anything different than to go out there and win. I mean I was young growing up and had a favorite team and was excited to see where they were going to pick. I look back and I understand, but, I mean ... we're trying to win. I mean, we're doing everything we possibly can and that's my job right now and I owe it to the coaches and players.
"None of us are going to look at this and the future. No one knows what's going to happen tomorrow, never mind at the end of the year. But I do understand the question and appreciate it."
-- While the Jacksonville Jaguars have fallen into the front-runner position in the race for Trevor Lawrence following the New York Jets' win over the Los Angeles Rams, head coach Doug Marrone is still focused on winning his team's last two games of the season. (ESPN.com)
G.O.A.T.S BUTTING HEADS
"I'll put myself first, I'll put T.O. second. I would put Jerry probably third or fourth. I'm talking about dominating the game and changing the game of football. I don't live on statistics because if you live on statistics and live on championships, that's all political. You've seen guys released or cut from a team just by a couple words in the media. You've seen guys given contracts or you've seen guys not given contracts just because of the color of their skin. You've got to throw politics out of the game of football, and look at the impact of what each individual was able to make in the game of football."
-- Hall of Fame wide receiver Randy Moss makes his argument for why he is the greatest wide receiver of all time, slotting Jerry Rice behind himself and Terrell Owens. Moss also added he did not want to diminish the accomplishments of Jerry Rice, nor stir up any unnecessary controversy, because "Jerry was at the top" during his era. Rice responded to the quote in a now-deleted Instagram post where he posted his statistics side-by-side with Moss', accompanied with the caption "You just got MOSSED." (Terrell Owens via YouTube)
PLAYOFFS ARE A STATE OF MIND
"Our playoff this week is against the Raiders.
"We're in a one-game season. … It's good to kind of go through that and realize you're still playing meaningful football."
-- Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores knows that he and his team are in win-or-go-home mode heading into the final two weeks of the regular season. (Palm Beach Post)
MARQUEZ VALDES-SCANTLING, WELCOME TO ANALYTICS TWITTER
"I don't even know what DVOA is but being number 1 gotta mean something right?"
-- Green Bay Packers wide receiver dips his toe into the world of analytics after Zach Krause of The Packers Wire posted a side-by-side of stats belonging to Packers tight end Robert Tonyan and Giants tight end Evan Engram, who was recently selected for the Pro Bowl. Among the statistics was each respective tight end's DVOA ranking. Out of 43 eligible tight ends, Tonyan ranked first, while Engram ranked 40th. (Marquez Valdes-Scantling via Twitter)
HOUSTON, WE HAVE A BELIEVER
"It's tough, but I'm not going to lose my spirits in this organization and what we can do. My confidence in my level of play and leadership is going to continue to grow. ... Nobody wants this to happen but you gotta go through tough times before you get to the brighter ones."
-- Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson is optimistic about the organization's long-term success despite currently sitting at 4-10. Watson signed a four-year, $156-million extension with the Texans in early September. (Rivers McCown, Football Outsiders via Twitter)
CLEARED FOR TAKEOFF
"Hell yeah! That's a hell of a feeling, man! I'm sorry I'm not used to this guys, forgive me. I know you guys are used to Seattle always going to the playoffs. I'm not used to this. I'm used to sending my cars home by this time. You know, 'Hey, I'm already packing up, learning where I'm going next. Where's the vacation? When am I seeing family?' Sorry to cut you off, brother, I'm just excited."
-- Seattle Seahawks safety Jamal Adams couldn't hide his excitement at the podium following a clinched playoff berth. (Seattle Seahawks via Twitter)
THIS WEEK IN SOCIAL MEDIA
HANG THIS COMEBACK IN THE RAFTERS
"I'm never putting Tom Brady ahead of Peyton Manning, so the best he can be is two. Because Peyton was my guy, so the highest he could ever get is two. Then I start thinking of, OK, who gave me real problems?' John Elway. You could do everything right, have the perfect defense, he's going to move around and make something happen and kill you, and he killed me enough. He was difficult. Steve Young was the same way, those mobile quarterbacks. So that's who I put ahead of Tom: Aaron Rodgers, John Elway, Steve Young, guys who could move. Not to say Tom wasn't great -- he is great -- but that extra dimension meant something to me. So that's why I would only put him at six."
-- Hall of Fame head coach Tony Dungy doubles down on his claim that Tom Brady was the sixth-hardest quarterback to coach against, citing the mobility of other quarterbacks as an added element he was forced to scheme against. (Club Shay Shay via Twitter)
— Tom Brady (@TomBrady) December 22, 2020
-- Brady's comeback? Simply a picture of the "2014 AFC FINALIST" banner hanging at Lucas Oil Stadium, referencing New England's 43-22 victory over the Indianapolis Colts in the 2014 AFC Championship Game. It should be noted that Dungy left the Colts in 2008.
COUPLE OF SPECIALISTS IN FOOTWORK
Dance off 🔜!? pic.twitter.com/1eiRNir1sx
— Green Bay Packers (@packers) December 23, 2020
-- Who wins this dance-off? Davante Adams may be the heavy favorite, but my money's on David Bakhtiari.