Wednesday, October 10, 2007

NFL Rankings: Between The Lines

Coaches are trained not to give out any information. Which is why journalists are trained to make up information. A good NFL coach knows how to give the fans what they want without giving their opponents any insider details. Could you imagine Tony Dungy saying during a post game press conference, "Well, luckily they didn't blitz Peyton, because that would have caused us problems, especially on his blind side"? Manning would be sitting beside Bob Costas pretend-laughing at Keith Olberman's jokes by Week 8. However, if John Madden has taught us anything - besides his video games showing how easy it is to coach a football team - it's that stating the obvious can sometimes give us insight.

1. New England Patriots
After covering a 16 point spread, Bill Belichick responded with this: "Got to do a better job in all three phases of the game. We can do better than that." Your 2007-08 Super Bowl champions, folks.

2. Indianapolis Colts
Tony Dungy on winning with backups: "I have been proud of our team on many, many occasions, but this is one of the best". Talk about having a short memory. They did win the whole thing last year, right? And I actually think this is a good thing.

3. Dallas Cowboys
Wade Phillips on icing the kicker with a last-second timeout: "I mean, I don't know why you wouldn't. It's unfair, but everybody is using an unfair rule against you." He doesn't like it, but almost has to do it. Can we change this frickin' rule, please? Wade, you're my new favorite coach.

4. Pittsburgh Steelers
Mike Tomlin on not giving his team a week off during their bye week: "We do understand that we are beat up in some areas. A lot of the teams are. That is the nature of this football season. ... We will be smart. We will regenerate and energize ourselves. Somewhere along the line, we have to keep an eye on getting better, because we expect our opponents to do the same." I love how first-time head coaches think they have a master plan that is better than everyone else's. Let's hope that this doesn't turn his players against him.

5. Jacksonville Jaguars
Jack Del Rio talking about not having emerging receivers: "Each week has been a little bit different. I like the way we're approaching things right now. Those are individual concerns, which are not as important to me as team concerns. I'm really more concerned about us being successful." Why would he be concerned with every little detail? I mean, as long as they win, everything should be alright. This is why I don't like Jack Del Rio.

6. Green Bay Packers
Mike McCarthy on not running the ball late in the game: "I've told you this before, you don't really sleep after games when you call games, because you think about this play and that play". Good to know that the Packers' head coach second guesses himself. Maybe - and correct me if I'm wrong - but maybe he shouldn't be calling the games. Just food for thought.

7. Washington Redskins
Joe Gibbs on the game against Green Bay next week: "It's one of the toughest places to play, and they're red hot — their quarterback, it's hard to believe the guy's 38." And it's easy to believe Gibbs is 67. His memory fails him, as the "red hot" Packers just got beat by a team led by Brian Griese at Lambeau. Somebody get the man some Ovaltine.

8. Tennessee Titans
Jeff Fisher on Vince Young: "I thought he managed the ball game well". Young threw for three picks and no touchdowns. Managed the game well? Somewhere, Rex Grossman's agent just booked a flight to Nashville.

9. New York Giants
Tom Coughlin on come-from-behind victories: "There is great confidence that comes out of that. But as I told them at the end of the game, we certainly don't need to spot the other guy a 17-7 (lead)." Coughlin is actually growing on me. Because, up until this point, I'm not sure Eli actually knew that not doing good in the first half of games was a bad thing. Now that's coaching.

10. Seattle Seahawks
Mike Holmgren on mis-managing the clock: "I could have saved 12 seconds, probably, somewhere in there. He got sacked. Look, I would like to tell you, I got really mad, like I got seeing-red mad. And so I just kind of flamed out for a second there. I came back." Wow. That is the worst comment I have ever heard from a coach, except for "We're 10-2 with Rex as our quarterback". If it weren't for Brett Favre and Shaun Alexander, would this guy have ever sniffed a Super Bowl?

11. Baltimore Ravens
Brian Billick on a struggling offense: "I hope our fans can appreciate how hard it is to win in this league." Um, no, they don't. They want to win, and they don't care how hard it is. You know, considering it's your job and all. And that your struggling players make more in an hour than most fans do in a whole year.

12. Detroit Lions
Rod Marinelli when asked if his team needs a kick in the butt: "How do you know what is a kick in the butt? What does that mean?" I love this guy. He doesn't take crap from anyone. He routinely snaps at reporters and tells them they don't know anything, which they don't. Plus, he looks like a well fed James Carville.

13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
John Gruden on the loss to the Colts: "They had two deep safeties and they were really deep; and their middle linebacker plays right down the middle; that's the Tampa 2, baby, and their rush is in your face in a hurry". I know it's a cliche to say that you got beaten at your own game, but Chucky, you got beaten at your own game. Maybe Dungy was getting revenge for Gruden winning the Super Bowl with his old team. That Bucs could do worse though, when you remember that they almost hired Steve Spurrier or Marvin Lewis.

14. Arizona Cardinals
Ken Whisenhunt on Matt Leinart being out for the season: “It’s a test for him mentally to stay up with the team and stay focused. We don’t want to lose ground … as far as the strides he’s made since the first game.” Yeah right. Matt Hollywood will be taking body shots off of Jessica Alba by Saturday night. He just hopes Kurt Warner doesn't do too well, because you know, he still digs football.

15. Houston Texans
Gary Kubiak on Trent Green's block: "Maybe something is done down the road about those types of plays taking place behind the line of scrimmage. I don't know, but I would like to see them just take a look at it." You mean the type of plays where a quarterback ends his career because he can't block? What would you suggest, blocking-sensitivity training? Perhaps the competition committee can make a rule that quarterbacks can't touch people without the ball, at which point they won't even need helmets or pads.

16. Carolina Panthers
John Fox on Jake Delhomme being out for the season: "Any time you lose your starting quarterback, it's a blow." Especially when your backup is David Carr. Then add to it that Carr almost had a season ending injury on Sunday, and you really got problems. With all of the quarterback problems in the NFL, Rex Grossman might be busier than Scott Boras and Senator Craig's campaign manager combined.

17. Cleveland Browns
Romeo Crennel on shutting down Randy Moss: ''Moss has been killing people. We didn't want him to kill us, so we died by the hand of somebody else.'' It's always nice to pick the way you want to die. Crennel is like the Jack Kevorkian of NFL coaches. Then you remember that his name is Romeo, and you start laughing for about an hour. Unless you're a Browns fan, that is.

18. San Diego Chargers
Since I'm not convinced that Norv Turner is an actual coach, here's Ladainian Tomlinson's take on him: “He comes in, he's got this very talented team. He's like, 'Look at all these toys'". Toys haven't been used in a worse way since Sue Johanson. Not to mention one toy can't hit his receivers and another toy refuses to hit anybody. I picture Turner's bedroom being full of doll heads, like a scene out of a bad horror movie. The title could even be "San Diego Chargers: 2007-2008".

19. Chicago Bears
Lovie Smith, with the most ironic quote ever: "It all starts with the quarterback leading our offense." I don't even need to mention why this is funny. But now that the Bears are getting good quarterback play, guess what? Their defense is playing poorly. With the Cubs getting swept and now this, I now understand why the people of Chicago are the way they are. My apologies.

20. Oakland Raiders
Here's a dual quote. First, Lane Kiffin: "Being in first place right now means absolutely nothing." Then, offensive tackle Barry Sims: "Yeah, it means we're headed in the right direction". Watching this conference is like that scene out of A Clockwork Orange where they play Beethoven in the background while showing WWII clips. Except I don't feel like murdering anybody. Well, maybe there is somebody...

21. Kansas City Chiefs
Herm Edwards! Let's backtrack, shall we: "First of all, I don't even have the Internet. I wouldn't even know how to use it." Now, back to Sunday, where Herm talks about Trent Green: "Damon has talked to him, I’m going to send an e-mail to make sure he’s OK." Jets fans are laughing at us right now the same way Raiders and Redskins fans laugh at San Diego.

22. San Francisco 49ers
Mike Nolan on the lack of offense: "Our mistakes, our errors thus far, I believe are correctable. But do I have them exactly identified yet? No." Thank God for bye weeks. But in Nolan's defense, how can he find the time to figure out his team's woes in between picking out suits?

23. Denver Broncos
Mike Shanahan on Denver fans leaving early in protest: "I would've left, too". Yes you would have. It was obvious when Shanahan went for on fourth down inside his own twenty earlier in the year that he has lost his mind. But when you consider off-season deaths and his starting running back turning into Ricky Williams, can you blame him? The real question though is when the Rockies play the Diamondbacks, who will Jake Plummer root for?

24. Philadelphia Eagles
Andy Reid was unavailable to comment this week, which speaks volumes. After all, when your team is in the dumps, just make your players answer all the questions. Nice work, Andy.

25. Atlanta Falcons
Bobby Petrino on his QB situation: "It's in our best interest and gives us our best chance to succeed to stay with Joey. He understands our offense. He knows what we want to do, what we want to execute." Which completely explains why he took out Joey Harrington in favor of Byron Leftwich on Sunday. The failure of this team is not Harrington's fault. This guy's career has had as bad of luck as Ben Affleck's.

26. Minnesota Vikings
This one came from an anonymous Vikings player about Adrian Peterson: "He came in here the next day, bowing to the porcelain gods all morning. Welcome to the NFL." I am officially putting AP on the trading block in my fantasy league. When he pulls a Pacman Jones in a couple of weeks, I'll be able to sleep at night.

27. Cincinnati Bengals
Marvin Lewis on the bye week: "The negative of the bye is that when it comes if you haven't won the week before it's two weeks until you get the opportunity to come back and play again". Actually, it's been four weeks since you've won a game, so maybe the extra time will help. Unfortunately you won't get a bye every time you lose three in a row, so that's one you're going to have to figure out for yourself.

28. Buffalo Bills
Dick Jauron on Monday Night's collapse: "That hurts." What else can you say? He might want to save that sentence for the end of the year, when Marv Levy pulls a Donald Trump and yells, "You're fired!"

29. New York Jets
Eric "The Rat" Mangini on the inconsistent Jets: "Having the Jekyll-and-Hyde approach that we've had is not going to give us the results that we're all looking for." You know that approach, when you're really good one season and really bad the next. When you go from a beloved "Mangenius" to tattle-telling on your former boss. You know, the Jekyll-and-Hyde approach.

30. New Orleans Saints
Sean Payton on yet another loss: "This was one where I think every man in the room felt like we were in a position to win and yet we still didn't." The same feeling a lot of gamblers probably have at the moment. Right after their mock funeral for last season, the Saints already need to hold one for this season. Drew Brees was let go to waivers in my fantasy league, and nobody is picking him up. Not even the guy who started Joey Harrington last week. Ouch.

31. St. Louis Rams
Scott Linehan on his job security: "I control what I control, which is doing the best I can do. If that's not good enough, then so be it." You heard the man, folks. I haven't disliked a head coach this much in a long time, and it's good to know that he may be jobless by the time January rolls around. See, Rams fans, it's not all bad.

32. Miami Dolphins
And finally, Cam Cameron on his QB situation: ''We're going to play the guy that gives us the best chance to win today.'' The Dolphins have no chance to win today. Or tomorrow. Or a month from now. Or two months. Or six months. Or a year...



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