"Obviously we cannot play as a team. We appear to not be able to handle adversity or finish games. Individual and team confidence appears to be going south.''
-- San Diego GM A.J. Smith, to Kevin Acee of U-T San Diego, on the state of the increasingly dysfunctional Chargers.
Gotta love Smith when he gets going. He also told Acee: "In the next 10 games, we will either rally and see a slow, steady rise from the ashes to a division championship, or the beginning of a new era in Chargers football.''
Uh, someone had better tell Norv Turner.
"He's really willing to do anything, absolutely anything. No matter what it is. And ... and I kind of like that. I like somebody that doesn't look at us in the morning when we're holding a Speedo and saying, 'We need you to put this on right now,' and he goes, 'Okay.' "
-- Kelly Ripa, the co-host of Live With Kelly and Michael, on her new co-host, Michael Strahan, in an HBO Real Sports story on Strahan to air Tuesday at 10 p.m. on, of course, HBO.
"He wants to be a fan. He wants to tailgate. He wants to be a dad. Do I think we've seen Ray's last game? I think so.''
-- Bob Angelo of NFL Films, who filmed and produced the documentary Ray Lewis: A Football Life, for which he miked and followed Lewis for the entire 2011 season, on my Sports Illustrated NFL podcast last week.
"These results sadly confirmed what we had expected all along.''
-- Statement from the Andy Reid family, after an autopsy confirmed that son Garrett died in August of a heroin overdose.
Very big game -- very explosive game, potentially -- Sunday night: New Orleans at Denver.
Teams call pass plays of 20 yards or more "explosive plays.'' The two teams with the most 20-yard-plus plays, per game, in the passing game through seven weeks (entering tonight's Detroit-Chicago game) are the Drew Brees-led Saints, and the Peyton Manning-piloted Broncos ... the supposedly spaghetti-armed Manning coming back from four neck procedures in the previous two years.
After Sunday's games -- the Broncos had the Week 7 bye -- here are the leaders in pass plays of 20 yards or longer in the NFL:
Each week, thanks to play-by-play game dissection by ProFootballFocus.com, I'll look at one important matchup or individual performance metric from one of the Sunday games.
This week, with the Eagles having their bye week, I asked PFF founder Neil Hornsby to examine the ball-control issues of Michael Vick, who has 13 turnovers in six games. PFF assigns blame to each fumble and interception in their game tape dissection. This season, Vick has eight interceptions and nine fumbles, five of which have been recovered by the opposition. But because who recovers a fumble is most often luck of the draw, I asked Hornsby to assign blame to the 17 times Vick either fumbled or threw an interception.
Of the nine fumbles, PFF assigned Vick the blame on eight. On the eight interceptions, Vick gets the blame for six. The 14 major quarterback errors were by far the most among NFL quarterbacks through the first six weeks of the season.
On the eight fumbles where Vick was at fault, three came while scrambling, two came on botched snaps, one was on a designed run, one was on a strip-sack, and one when he didn't secure the ball in the pocket and it was knocked away.
Of the six interceptions where PFF faulted Vick, he had more than enough time to throw on every one: 3.4 seconds or more. Four of the throws PFF had as forced throws to unopen receivers, with two coming because of inaccuracy.
Interestingly, PFF has only 15 percent of Vicks's passes as negative throws or poor decisions. That's the same as Drew Brees, and only 1 percent worse than Tom Brady. The inference is that Vick is not consistently careless, but when he is, it's often a doozy.
The bottom line, and you probably already know this, is that ball-security remains a constant concern with Vick. He knows that, the Eagles know that, and it's something Andy Reid won't be able to stand much longer if it continues.
Chick out this live blog where the ProFootballFocus staff gives out nuggets from premium content.
Las Vegas Locos coach Jim Fassel, not pleased with the lack of marketing budget for the 2012 United Football League season, paid $30,000 out of his pocket to place ads for the current season.
That season was cut short Saturday, when the cash-strapped, four-team UFL announced it was suspending operations for the season and would return in 2013. That seems a dubious vow now, but we shall see.
"It's really disappointing," Fassel told me from Vegas Saturday. "I've poured so much of myself into this league. I put four years of my life into it. It's not about the quality of play on the field; I've had NFL people who've watched our games tell me the quality is good, and there are players in this league who definitely can play in the NFL. It's the business model. It's the funding. If they weren't sure we had the funding, why'd we start the season? Now we've got airplanes paid for, hotels paid for. I wanted to be part of building something great, so this hurts.''
The Locos were 4-0. "I've got a lot of guys,'' said Fassel, "who I know could have played for me with the Giants."
Vikings past and present, take note: Antoine Winfield's son, Antoine Winfield Jr., is a freshman cornerback for Eden Prairie (Minn.) High. He is coached by Mike Grant, the son of former Minnesota coach Bud Grant.
I moved from Boston to Manhattan last fall. Last Wednesday, I had a noon appointment with my dermatologist, Dr. Suzanne Grevelink, in Boston. (Why, you ask, would I live in New York and have a Boston dermatologist? Because I've had melanomas carved out of both forearms in the last four years, and when you find a keeper of a dermatologist, who examines you with a ridiculously fine-toothed comb to make sure you don't die of this insidious disease, you can take the inconvenience of traveling 195 miles to be examined three times a year.)
I got on a subway in Manhattan for Penn Station at 7:25 a.m. Departed New York on the Acela at 8:03 a.m. Arrived Boston Back Bay Station at 11:40 a.m. Got into cab. Arrived at derm office at 11:55 a.m. Taken into exam room at 12:07 p.m. Examined and had slight procedure done. Finished at 12:55 p.m. Got into cab. Arrived Boston South Station at 1:10 p.m. Got on 1:15 p.m. back to New York. Arrived at 4:55 p.m. Got on subway at Penn Station. Arrived home at 5:25 p.m.
In Boston: 95 minutes. With doctor: 48 minutes. Interviews by cell while in transit: four. Peace of mind: the next four months, sort of.
"Pats won the game, but they've been outscored 34-6 in 4th quarter the last three games.''
-- @wingoz, ESPN NFL Live host Trey Wingo, after the Patriots eked out the overtime win over the Jets.
"Brandon LaFell: 'If we keep playing like this, we're not gonna make the playoffs.' *cue Jim Mora clip''
-- @billvoth, freelance TV guy reporting from Carolina after the Panthers, and wide receiver LaFell, fell to the Cowboys ... and to 1-5.
"Elmo still need a job. Hear Yankees need an ss. Elmo more clutch than arod."
-- @FireMeElmo, a parody site (let's hope) started in the wake of the PBS funding debate and started by someone who appears to be disenchanted with the play of Alex Rodriguez.
"Today's locker room laugh from practice was hearing how Paul Ryan looked Colt McCoy dead in the eye & said "great job at Oklahoma State' ''
-- @scottfujita99, the Cleveland linebacker, after Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan got Colt McCoy mixed up with the real McCoy, Browns starter and Oklahoma State product Brandon Weeden, on Wednesday while on a visit to the Browns practice facility.