Quotes of the Week
“He looked good. He looked good. If we can have him practicing on Wednesday and we feel that he’s good enough and mentally ready to play, then he’s going to play [against New England in Week 1].”
—Bills coach Doug Marrone on Sunday, after watching rookie quarterback E.J. Manuel do individual drills at practice for the first time since minor knee surgery two weeks ago.
And so, apparently, ends the Jeff Tuel Era in Buffalo.
“It probably wasn’t fair to Vince. We threw a lot on his plate and the fault is probably mine. I probably should have had him in here earlier.’’
—Green Bay GM Ted Thompson on Sunday, after releasing quarterback Vince Young over the weekend. Young was signed Aug. 5, and couldn’t assimilate to the Packers offensive system with the proper mechanics in time to earn the backup job to Aaron Rodgers.
“Players don’t want to be reminded about their concussions. They don’t want to be known as the guy who went down with one. They downplay it. Then it happens to me and I start wondering how these guys go back to being hit, taking all that punishment, a week or two later.”
—FOX sideline reporter Pam Oliver, who suffered a concussion when hit by an errant pass from Colts quarterback Chandler Harnish during warmups before an Aug. 18 preseason game, in a New York Daily News column by Bob Raissman Sunday. For days Oliver said “the sun was completely my enemy’’ and she had to stay in darkened rooms. She hopes to return for the network’s opening regular-season nationally televised game Sunday, Green Bay at San Francisco.
“Pretty much every facet of my life was in turmoil, and I was basically waging war against myself at that time. I didn’t realize that the battle was within me. It was a lot easier to blame everybody else. And it was a lot easier to be mad at everybody else and not be mad at myself. I placed blame anywhere blame could be placed. It was a coward’s way out.”
—Miami guard Richie Incognito, to NFL.com’s Jeff Darlington, in a superb piece about how Incognito has gotten his life under control—or, at least more under control than it was when he first entered the NFL.
Stat of the Week
Last season broke a 16-year streak of at least five new teams qualifying for the playoffs. Only four new teams—Indianapolis, Minnesota, Seattle and Washington—made the postseason in 2012.
You can see the number of new playoff teams per season over the past 10 years to the right.
Thus: In 10 years, 61 of 120 teams—almost exactly half of the total playoff teams—have made the playoffs after being out of the postseason the year before.
Factoid of the Week That May Interest Only Me
It’s likely New England coach Bill Belichick will one day walk into Canton wearing a yellow jacket. But it won’t be because of his drafting acumen in the secondary. Belichick drafted seven defensive backs in the first two rounds of the six drafts between 2007 and 2012, and of those seven, only one is a starter today: Devin McCourty, and not at the position he was drafted to play. McCourty, a corner taken in the 2010 draft, will open the season as the starting free safety.
The ignominious seven:
Now, to be fair: Belichick has gotten Stevan Ridley, Rob Gronkowski, Brandon Spikes and Sebastian Vollmer in the top three rounds since 2009 too. It’s just that, clearly, the defensive backfield is a blind spot for Belichick, which is very strange, considering his career as a defensive maestro.
Counting the game coming Thursday, three of Denver’s most recent five games have been against Baltimore.
Mr. Starwood Preferred Member Travel Note of the Week
I went to Boston Tuesday night to catch a Red Sox game. Nothing of great substance happened, other than a good night out with some friends and family. And a wonderful meal—at Eastern Standard, around the corner from Fenway Park on Commonwealth Avenue. If you like a place with a fine menu and a better beer menu—and a place where the wait staff can talk about the beer the way Italian waiters can talk about wine at a restaurant in Italy—Eastern Standard’s the place for you.
Tweets of the Week
“@profootballtalk there is no conspiracy. I pulled the plug.”
—@JedYork, the 49ers’ CEO, after the Pro Football Talk piece about Ray Lewis saying he didn’t think it was a coincidence that there was a blackout when the Ravens were spanking the 49ers in the middle of last year’s Super Bowl.
That, by the way, might be the silliest thing I’ve heard a player say in a long, long time. And that encompasses a lot of silliness. Lewis said he had no facts to back up his accusation, made in the NFL Films’ America’s Game show, which will be shown tonight on NFL Network. “But,’’ Lewis says on the show, “you cannot tell me somebody wasn’t sitting there and when they say, ‘The Ravens [are] about to blow them out. Man, we better do something.’ … “ Lewis doesn’t need advice from me, but he should have stopped at, “I’m not going to accuse nobody of nothing.”
“Drake Nevis released by the Colts, claimed by the Chargers. Goes from Chuck Pagano to John Pagano”
—@brian_mcintyre, an NFL writer for Yahoo! Sports, after a defensive tackle cut by the Colts and head coach Chuck Pagano got picked up by the Chargers and defensive coordinator John Pagano.
“This experience has shown me a piece of life that was once taken, and where things (football wise) would have been if it wasn’t for the 10 years of life loss.”
—@BrianBanksFREE, the Atlanta free-agent linebacker, who was waived by the team Friday. Banks, a star high school linebacker on the verge of accepting a USC scholarship, was imprisoned for five years on a rape charge that was later proven false.
“@TimTebow ; Stay the course brother, your day will come & the crow feast will be glorious! #prevail”
—@KyleTurley, the former NFL tackle, after Tebow was cut by the Patriots Saturday.
“Do I have a football problem if I am sitting at a middle school football game and none of my kids are playing? I paid”
—@chris_spielman, the former Lions, Bills and Browns linebacker. I assume he meant “I paid” for a ticket.