10 Quotes and a Cloud of Dust: Week 17

The New England Patriots wrapped up their fourth straight AFC East championship with a 24-21 win in Jacksonville on Christmas Eve. It was a nice present for the players and the fans, but everyone's hoping for a gift that will arrive three days after Groundhog Day.

Just one more game remains before the second season begins. This week the Patriots are on the road visiting another AFC South foe. This time it's one of the hottest teams in the league, the Tennessee Titans. With a possible playoff berth hanging in the balance for Tennessee, the Titans will give the Patriots one final test before the playoffs.

It was a week spent recapping the Christmas Eve game, looking forward to the New Year's Eve match-up, and discussing the big hit that Tom Brady walked away from.

Here are the top 10 quotes of the week, heading into Patriots-Titans:

10. "We were trying to spread it around as best we could. The guys who were open were getting the ball."

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady
Translation: "Brady. Tom Brady. I throw to the open receiver. That's what I do."

9. "And at the end there, there is an arm moving forward and the ball knocked out and that's by definition an incomplete pass. It wasn't ruled that way. That's what I saw. Maybe I'm looking from an angle full of hope, I don't know. It's clearly not an unbiased view."

Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio on David Garrard's fumble that essentially ended the game
Translation: "What about the Tuck Rule? Where the hell was the Tuck Rule when I needed it?"

8. "We are one of the best teams out there. No one can really hang with us but we keep stopping ourselves."

Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew
Translation: "We're not that good. We look good sometimes, and then we lose to Houston twice. We're not going to the playoffs."

7. "The safety split and Tom put it in a spot where I could get it. It was a great throw by him and you just have to catch those."

Patriots tight end David Thomas, on his first career touchdown catch
Translation: "Can you believe I get to catch passes from Tom Brady? I mean another team could have drafted me and I'd be stuck trying to catch throws from guys like Cleo Lemon, Andrew Walter, or David Garrard. I'm the luckiest guy in the world right now."

6. "When you are trying to make plays, it can look like that. But if I do something big, it's a good play. If it's the flip side, I'm trying too hard. There can be times that every player in the league tries too hard. I just have to do a better job of not having the turnovers."

Jaguars quarterback David Garrard, when asked if he thought he was trying too hard
Translation: "Yeah, sure, I'm trying too hard. No wonder Bill Belichick doesn't like you guys. You ask dumb questions."

5. "If you weren't playing them, it'd be a lot of fun. If you didn't have to defend it, it would be entertaining."

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, when asked if it is fun to watch film of Vince Young
Translation: "Do you think it would be fun to watch film of Michael Jordan if you had to guard him? Or of Wayne Gretzky if you were a goalie? Now, I'm not comparing Vince Young to those guys yet. But you understand what I'm saying, right? It's not fun. Not at all. But stopping him sure will be fun."

4. "We're thinking about the playoffs, but at the same time we just need to finish the season and let everything fall in place from there. We're thinking about it, but not as much as everyone thinks that we are."

Titans quarterback Vince Young
Translation: "We're the 'team nobody wants to play' in the playoffs. Now if we can only get there."

3. "We're going to approach this game just like we do every other game. We're going to prepare for it and prepare to win, and go down there and try to play our best football game…The rest of it, whatever else goes on next week, we'll worry about that next week."

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, when asked if he planned to rest any players this week since the team has clinched a playoff spot
Translation: "We're going to lose this one on purpose this week so that we can play Jacksonville in the first round again. What's that? The Jaguars might not make the playoffs? And we have no idea who we'll be playing next week? Fine. It is what it is."

2. "It's the first time I've seen him take a shot like he took today and stay down. He got up. Matt came in for one play, but to see number 12 go back in there after one play fires us all up as a team."

Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi
Translation: "I thought the season was over when he was lying on the ground. Tom's tough, though. He could probably play defense. That's how tough he is."

1. "I rolled over and, once I realized I was okay, I just said, 'All right, well I'm going back in, so let me hang out here for a little bit and catch my breath,' rather than get up and rush to the sideline and be out for a few plays. So I just ended up laying there, taking a little bit of time, then getting up and going back in."

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady
Translation: "You call that a hit? My sisters hit harder than that! There's no way I was letting Cassel in for any more than one play. And I told Coach he better call a running play. Who do you think I am, Drew Bledsoe?"


One more game and then it's playoff time. The Patriots' first round opponent might very well be a familiar foe: the Broncos or the Jets. But with the way this NFL season has gone, it might end up being an unexpected team. Possibly even the Titans. But one thing's for sure. Patriots fans should set aside some time next weekend. The Patriots will be hosting an opening round playoff game. This weekend's game is simply a dress rehearsal.

Darren is a regular contributor to Patriots Insider. You can find him in the forums under the name: DestinationSuperBowl. You can also find archives of his columns on the Insiders by searching for "Darren Kelly"

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