Quotes from Around the NFL: Pre Week 3
by XL Staffer Derek Tonn
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Here are some interesting quotes from around the NFL during the past seven days, along with my take on the situation.
"Based on people we've talked to, opinions we trust, I'm sure there's no question he's going to be able to compete. At the level he competed before? There's very few of us that can do things as well as we did before. At 50, I can attest to that. But what he will bring to the table for us will be substantial."
– Baltimore Ravens head coach Brian Billick, commenting on the return of defensive back Deion Sanders to the National Football League.
My Take: I actually was one of those people who thought “Yeah, right” when rumors first started to circulate regarding the potential return of Neon Deion to the NFL. However, Deion Sanders is apparently proving me wrong, assuming he passes a team physical on August 31, and his new head coach seems confident in his ability to contribute to an already-stellar Baltimore Ravens defense. If anything, it should be fun to watch some Ravens games and flash back to the 1990’s and see periodic clips of all those crazy hair-dos and clothes that Deion has worn. As a fan of professional football, it will be fun to such a reknowned shut-down cornerback be able to illustrate even a portion of his previous ability. My only hope is that he doesn’t embarrass himself, as it would be a shame to have people’s memory of his on-field dominance be tarnished by a 37-year old who is choosing to fight an early mid-life crisis in front of millions of fans.
"I never got in a groove. I made bad decisions, I made mental mistakes. I've got to learn from this and get better."
- Rookie quarterback Eli Manning commenting after struggling through a 4-of-14 passing, 20 yard, 2 interception, 2 sack and one fumble performance against the New York Jets on August 27.
My Take: Okay Eli Manning owners: stop, calm down, and take a deep breath. Your dynasty fantasy football team’s franchise quarterback just had an incredibly ugly pre-season performance, and Kurt Warner was just named the Week One starter by Giants head coach Tom Coughlin. Believe me though, Eli Manning will be starting for the New York Giants sooner rather than later. He simply has too much talent for Warner to keep him on the bench for very long. That, coupled with the fact that the Giants will likely struggle to compete for a playoff berth, has many individuals assuming that #10 will be the Giants primary signal caller in the not-too-distant future.
"I feel sick. He's one of the toughest guys I've ever played with. You hate to see him laying down there."
– Quarterback Jake Plummer commenting on a season-ending injury to Broncos fullback Mike Anderson during their 31-17 pre-season win over the Houston Texans on August 27.
"The disappointing thing is that he wasn't supposed to be in there. We had a couple guys go down; one guy goes down and he goes in there and it's a little bit of a freak accident, especially at that position, one of the safer positions on that punt team."
– Denver Broncos head coach Mike Shanahan, commenting on the same injury to Anderson.
My Take: Wow. How many of you were quietly keeping an eye on Mike Anderson this pre-season, both as a potential vulture to Quentin Griffin’s goal-line carries and as a potential starting running back for the Miami Dolphins? With one seemingly insignificant punt with two minutes remaining in a seemingly insignificant pre-season game, Mike Anderson goes from a potential contributor on many of our fantasy football rosters to the NFL’s injured reserve. It is a shame, as Anderson had looked very good in Broncos Training Camp and their pre-season games this season. At 31 years of age, it will likely be tough for Anderson to fully recover from such a difficult injury, which is reported to be two muscles torn away from the bone in his groin. Count me as at least one guy who wishes Mike Anderson all the best and a speedy recovery over the next 3-4 months. I would hate to see Anderson’s career effectively ended on a cold, wet AUGUST night in Denvr.
"That's what we need, explosiveness and the ability to cut it back and score."
– Tennessee Titans quarterback Steve McNair, commenting on running back Chris Brown’s impressive 18-yard touchdown run against the Dallas Cowboys on August 30.
My Take: “Not-so-news” flash, for those of us who have been hyping Chris Brown since the 2003 post-season: The Tennessee Titans will get along just fine without running back Eddie George on their roster in 2004. I happened to be watching the Titans/Cowboys game on August 30, and it was clear that Chris Brown was the best running back on the field for either squad (Eddie George and Julius Jones included). Not only has Brown been able to maintain a near-6.0 yards-per-carry average in the pre-season, but he also delivered one of the better stiff-arms of the pre-season against the Cowboys, knocking Pro Bowl safety Roy Williams on his back en route to an 18-yard touchdown run. Brown’s average draft position as the 20th overall running back selected in XS/XL drafts is far too low compared to the potential and ability that Chris Brown is showing this pre-season. If you wait too long to grab Brown in any remaining fantasy football drafts over the next week, you will be sorely disappointed. Go out and get this guy on your roster…now!
"I have been saying that I am not worried about it. All I can control is what I do on the field. It's in the coach's hands."
– Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Chris Simms, when asked about his competition with Brian Griese for the chance to back-up quarterback Brad Johnson.
My Take: Normally, I wouldn’t be very excited about watching a pre-season competition between quarterbacks vying for the second- and third-string positions on their roster. However, the situation in Tampa Bay is different. Chris Simms, a second-year pro out of the University of Texas, has the tools to be a solid starter in the NFL, and could assume the starting job for head coach Jon Gruden and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as early as 2005. If you are playing in a re-draft league, Simms likely has little value to you this season. However, if you are playing in a dynasty league and have an open roster spot or two, I would recommend going out and getting Simms before others in your league beat you to it.