Quote of the Week I
"Being in the league for 15 years, I got to know what Gene Upshaw did as a player, which was great, obviously, and what he did for the players with the union. Everything he did, he did for the betterment of today's players. He knew how far he could push the owners while keeping us on the field. His attitude was not to go in and try to take everything, but to get as much as he could while keeping us out of litigation and out of the courtroom and on the field, where he knew we belonged.''
Quote of the Week II
"The Bengals re-acquired a capable wide receiver. All it cost them was their soul. ... It'd be nice if the Bengals stood for something, other than losing.''
The signing comes in the same year that twice the Bengals said publicly they would definitely not re-sign Henry -- and after they have been hit with several injuries to receivers in camp, including to starters Chad Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh.
The signing is ridiculous and reprehensible, and Daugherty is overwhelmingly correct. But read the message boards in Bengal Land, and you get a different story. This from "XElitist03,'' on the newspaper's Bengals forum: "paul daugherty should quit his job before he gets fired. he is miserable. he is more miserable than chris henry. i would much rather have chris henry in cincinnati gang-banging than paul writing another article for the newspaper.''
Thanks for that fine bit of perspective, XElitist03.
Quote of the Week III
"Some guys love playing in the NFL. Some guys love football. Brett loves football.''
Stat of the Week
Five of my favorite meaningful stats from this year's indispensable Pro Football Prospectus 2008, courtesy of indefatigable writer/researcher Aaron Schatz:
1. New England was the first team in NFL history to use the shotgun on more than half of all offensive plays last year. Shotgun snaps in the league rose from 19 percent in 2006 to 27 percent in 2007.
2. Chad Pennington had eight passes dropped by his receivers, meaning 3.1 percent of his passes were dropped, the lowest percentage in the NFL. Eli Manning had a league-high 9.3-percent drop rate by his receivers -- 49 in all.
3. Indianapolis led the league in single-back formations for the third straight year in 2007.
4. The Steelers didn't abandon the power-run under Mike Tomlin. Not at all. In 2007, 48 percent of Steelers plays were carries by backs, the highest percentage in the NFL, including a league-high 60 percent of plays on first down.
5. The Chargers could be in big, big trouble without Shawne Merriman if he chooses to have knee surgery for two torn ligaments. You wouldn't guess this, but last year San Diego was the only defense in the AFC that hurried the opposing quarterback on less than 10 percent of all pass plays.
Aggravating/Enjoyable Travel Note of the Week
As I exited my row on a United Airlines flight from Newark to Chicago at O'Hare Friday, preparing to change planes to go to Seattle, a fellow in the row behind me said, "You work for ESPN, don't you?''
I said, "No, I work for Sports Illustrated.''
He said, "You look just like the ESPN guy. Anyone ever tell you that?''
I didn't know what to say, and so I just shrugged.
Factoid of the Week That May Interest Only Me I
I finished my summer tour of NFL camps Saturday, seeing the Seahawks. That was my 16th team in exactly one month. In those 16 camps, I saw close to 1,000 players, either on the practice field, in locker rooms, strolling campuses or practice facilities, or in dining halls.
Some old vets -- Favre, Joey Galloway -- have hair or beards flecked with gray. I found it interesting that I saw only one player, the backup center for the Giants, with predominantly gray hair.
Factoid of the Week That May Interest Only Me II
At the Hudson Newsstand/General Store (don't know what else you'd call those all-in-one stores) at Newark Airport's Terminal C Friday, there were 51 pieces of athletic apparel for sale. No Jeter jerseys, no Eli Manning jerseys, no A-Rod jerseys. All 51 items for sale on the sports rack were Favre Jets jerseys.