Quote of the Week I
"Disappointment is too much an often-used word when talking about Cedric."
--Chicago general manager Jerry Angelo, said during a Saturday press conference, following the reports of running back Cedric Benson being arrested for driving while intoxicated early Saturday morning in Austin, Texas.
I'm beginning to think Benson has a death wish for his career. And I'm beginning to think the Bears should never, ever take a running back in the first round again.
Quote of the Week II
"We are always trying to find ways to evolve as a team and evolve as an offense. I am not going to tell you [what those ways are] because I don't want the Jets to find out. But there is plenty for this team to improve on."
--New England quarterback Tom Brady on Saturday, in his first comments of the offseason to the assembled New England media.
Factoid of the Week That May Interest Only Me
I love this one:
Super Bowl hero David Tyree has a faith-based autobiography, More Than Just a Catch (Strang Book Group), coming out this September. One of the two forewords is by Rodney Harrison, the New England safety who will be inextricably linked forever with Tyree. (Eli Manning wrote the other.) Harrison, of course, played great defense on Tyree and was as close as you can be to separating a receiver from the ball when Tyree made the greatest catch -- "the greatest play," NFL Films poohbah Steve Sabol says -- in Super Bowl history.
(I've said it a hundred times, and I'll say it again: It wasn't the defense Harrison played that allowed Tyree to make the catch. It's the defense that a jogging Asante Samuel, trailing the ball, didn't play that allowed the catch to be made. Just watch it again. Watch Samuel let up instead of going in like a torpedo to break up the play from the opposite side of Harrison. Had Samuel done his part, Tyree and the ball almost certainly would have been separated.)
Harrison, through his time in the NFL, has been a lightning rod and a player of sometimes over-the-top intensity. But with rare exception, one thing he always has been in victory and defeat is a guy who will congratulate the other guy after the game and live by the result. So I asked him why he wrote the foreword for Tyree. He will, after all, be the Ralph Branca to Tyree's Bobby Thomson for the next 50 years.
When you lose, Harrison said via text message Sunday, learn from it, congratulate [the opponent] and move forward. They won. They beat us. It's part of the deal. God has blessed me through the whole ordeal. I think the message of faith, belief and trust in God needed to be heard. That's why I did it.
"Who better than Eli and Rodney to bring perspective on this monumental play?'' texted Tyree. "Both have faith in Christ as well.''
Aggravating/Enjoyable Travel Note of the Week
There was a woman ahead of me in the snack car on the Amtrak Acela train Saturday from Boston to Newark. She was on her cell phone, telling everyone how excited she was to be on such a nice, clean, fast train -- the Acela, traveling the Northeast Corridor, hits speeds up to 150 mph in areas of southern Rhode Island. When it got to be her turn in a long line, she looked at the rather limited menu of lunch items. One of the items: a small, personal pizza.
"I'll take a slice of that pizza,'' she said.
The male attendant said: "Do you want the personal pizza?''
She said: "No, I'm not that hungry.''
The thing was the size of a small Frisbee.
"I can only sell the personal pizza. I don't have slices,'' the attendant said.
"But I can't eat that whole thing,'' she said.
The attendant was speechless. He held his hands out, as if to say, There is nothing I can do here, and you're going to have to suck it up and buy the pizza or buy the greasy dog instead. Then he looked at the 10 or so people behind her in line.
Finally she said, "Well, OK. Give it to me. But I can't eat that whole thing.''
You supply your own moral to the story. I can think of a few.
Stat of the Week
Cincinnati's Marvin Lewis, hired after compiling an impressive defensive résumé in Pittsburgh, Baltimore and Washington, is entering his sixth season as head coach of the Bengals. Rarely in NFL history has a coach toiled so long in one place and had the side of the ball opposite his area of expertise outshine his for so long.
Check out the offensive and defensive comparisons, in yards and scoring, for the Cincinnati offense and defense since Lewis' rookie season in Cincinnati in 2003:
This is becoming cruelly similar to Brian Billick's tenure in Baltimore. The amazing stat about Billick is that he got the Ravens job from Art Modell in 1999 because of his offensive proficiency in Minnesota. But in nine years as head coach, Billick never had an offensive unit ranked better in points or yards than the Baltimore defense ranked in points allowed or yards allowed.