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News » Interpreting the latest spin from every NFL team

Interpreting the latest spin from every NFL team

Interpreting the latest spin from every NFL team
As part of FOXSports.com's Decision '08 preseason preview, we've set up our own "No Spin Zone."

FOX News show host Bill O'Reilly can consider it an homage or blatant rip-off. Of course, we prefer homage. But as the O'Reilly Factor front-man would say, that's our spin.

In the past month, representatives from every NFL team have raised eyebrows or generated eye rolls with some of their comments. FOXSports.com senior NFL Writer Alex Marvez has read between the lines and offered his take on what was said and what it actually means.

NFC East


The spin: "Yes, he does." — Cowboys coach Wade Phillips when asked whether strong safety Roy Williams plays like a Pro Bowl performer, July 25.

Marvez's spin: Clearly, Phillips is standing up for a player who has faced criticism from both media and teammates because of his coverage skills and work ethic. Phillips, though, pointed out that Williams is doing something right to land in his fifth consecutive Pro Bowl last season. Still, expect the Cowboys to use Williams less in nickel and dime situations if Adam "Pacman" Jones gets reinstated and/or 2008 first-round draft pick Mike Jenkins develops quickly. That would allow the Cowboys to shift cornerback Anthony Henry inside to safety on passing downs.


The spin: "We have talent. If we get everyone on the same page, there's no limit to what we can do." — Browns wide receiver Braylon Edwards, July 31.

Marvez spin: Offensively, it's hard to argue with Edwards considering the firepower and dominating offensive line that general manager Phil Savage has assembled. But the Browns aren't a lock to improve upon last season's 10-6 record. While the defense's front seven was greatly improved with the acquisitions of nose tackle Shaun Rogers and end Corey Williams, a young secondary could become a liability if the Browns aren't able to better pressure the quarterback. Coach Romeo Crennel also must guard against overconfidence by a team that enters the season surrounded by high public and media expectations.


The spin: "I have spent my entire life devoted to the Pittsburgh Steelers and the National Football League. I will do everything possible to work out a solution to ensure my father's legacy of keeping the Steelers in the Rooney family and in Pittsburgh for at least another 75 years." — Steelers chairman Dan Rooney in a released statement about the team's ownership situation, July 8.

Marvez spin: Notice no guarantees were made. The thought of the franchise being headed by someone other than Rooney and his son Art is as hard to fathom as a Steelers home game without Terrible Towels. But it could very well become reality unless Dan Rooney can buy control of the club from his four brothers. This has the potential to become an off-field distraction that second-year coach Mike Tomlin will have to deal with.

AFC South


The spin: "At some point, you lose so much that you don't become as valuable. We're not there yet, but it's time to get into camp." — Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio on unsigned rookie defensive end Derrick Harvey, July 30.

Marvez spin: Del Rio's comments didn't serve their intended purpose, as Harvey's holdout continues. This is bad news for a team that traded up 18 spots in the first round to draft Harvey with the belief he could make an immediate impact as a pass rusher. An early-entry junior, Harvey needs all the preseason practice time he could get. The more training camp he misses, the greater the likelihood that Harvey may only be used initially in a limited capacity this season.


The spin: "He's had a really good camp ... It looks like he's getting ready for a big (season). I think all of us know we need a big one out of him." — Houston Texans coach Gary Kubiak on running back Ahman Green, Aug. 6.

Marvez spin: Getting too excited about Green in the preseason may lead to major disappointment. Four days after Kuibiak offered such high praise, Green tweaked his groin during the preseason opener against Denver. Despite his injury history, the Texans signed Green to a free-agent contract last offseason that included $12.5 million in the first two years. Green never fully recovered from a knee injury suffered in the 2007 season-opener and is 31-years-old entering this season. If Green can't stay healthy, the Texans need former Tennessee Titans starter Chris Brown or the unheralded Darius Walker to pick up the slack.


The spin: "." — Colts wide receiver Marvin Harrison.

Marvez spin: Mums the word from one of the NFL's all-time leading wideouts. Harrison is refusing to speak with the media about his recent return from a serious knee injury as well as his interviews with police regarding a May shooting in Philadelphia (he hasn't been charged). While he has always been reticent to address reporters, Harrison may chirp soon enough. Under NFL rules, Harrison will be subject to fines if he doesn't begin fulfilling his media obligations.


The spin: "He's confident, making good decisions and throwing with accuracy." — Titans coach Jeff Fisher on quarterback Vince Young, Aug. 7.

Marvez spin: Is Fisher talking about the same Young who threw nine touchdowns and 17 interceptions in 2007? We should know soon enough whether Fisher is merely trying to boost his confidence or Young really is making significant strides under new offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger.

AFC East


The spin: "We were told that it's a quarterback competition." — Dolphins quarterback John Beck on Miami's signing of Chad Pennington, Aug. 9.

Marvez spin: John, here's what Dolphins brass didn't tell you: You're only competing for a third-string spot now. By adding Pennington and using a 2008 second-round pick on Chad Henne, it's clear a new administration doesn't care that Beck was drafted in the second round last year as Miami's "quarterback of the future." Beck will have to beat out journeyman Josh McCown to secure a roster spot.

New York Jets

The spin: "All of my preparation was going toward ... being the starting quarterback in '08. It is what it is. The positive is that I can take out of it is the opportunity to learn from Brett Favre." — Jets quarterback Kellen Clemens on the team's acquisition of Favre, Aug. 8.

Marvez spin: Within the past nine months, Clemens has squandered two chances to cement himself as a Jets starter. He may not get a third. Clemens also should hope he can develop a better rapport with Favre than Aaron Rodgers, who never spoke with his predecessor while the Green Bay quarterback drama was unfolding this offseason.

New England Patriots

The spin: "It seems like a very competitive group right now. Everyone is right in the mix." — Patriots coach Bill Belichick on the state of his secondary, July 28.

Marvez spin: When "everyone" was in the mix entering the preseason, that meant nobody had emerged as sure-fire replacements for free-agent departures Asante Samuel, Eugene Wilson and Randall Gay. Not much has changed since. This unit took another hit Saturday when safety/linebacker Tank Williams was placed on injured reserve with a knee injury. The Patriots must hope this isn't a repeat of 2006, when shaky secondary play helped doom New England in an AFC Championship game loss to Indianapolis.


The spin: "If I can continue to stay healthy, I'm definitely confident that I can make it back. I've got a lot of good years left in me." — Bills defensive tackle Marcus Stroud to the Associated Press, Aug. 1.

Marvez spin: Let's take it one season at a time, Marcus. Wracked by injuries and a steroid suspension the past two years, Stroud's slide from the ranks of elite interior linemen led to his offseason trade from Jacksonville to Buffalo. The 30-year-old Stroud has impressed in practice so far, but let's see if his motivation level remains as high at season's end.

AFC West


The spin: "We're not going to miss the playoffs." — Broncos coach Mike Shanahan on Denver radio station KKFN, Aug. 1.

Marvez spin: Maybe Shanahan thinks he's coaching the 1998 Broncos instead of the 2008 version. From a talent standpoint alone, Denver ranks third in the division behind San Diego and Oakland. The Broncos have serious questions at running back following Travis Henry's release, a rookie left tackle in Ryan Clady and their top wide receiver (Brandon Marshall) is suspended for the first three games. Defensively, the Broncos will be in big trouble up the middle if unproven linebacker Niko Koutouvides and defensive tackle Dewayne Robertson, a New York Jets castoff, don't come through. The only way Denver backs Shanahan's pledge is if quarterback Jay Cutler begins showing some Elway-esque talent in his third NFL season.


The spin: "When you take this job you realize who the owner is and you realize most guys don't last very long. It is what it is." — Raiders coach Lane Kiffin when asked about his job security, July 24.

Marvez spin: What's remarkable about this statement is how Kiffin didn't try to sugarcoat his tempestuous relationship with owner Al Davis. Media accounts out of Oakland essentially categorize Kiffin as a glorified offensive coordinator lacking pull with both the front office and Rob Ryan's defensive coaching staff. Kiffin seems ready to enter the growing graveyard of former Raiders head coaches if this dysfunctional approach doesn't work.

San Diego

The spin: "There was so much hype last year and so much expectation. All training camp it was, 'Super Bowl,' and we weren't afraid to talk about it. I fell in that trap, too ... We have an understanding of what it really takes." — Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers comparing the past two preseasons, July 25.

Marvez spin: Rivers isn't blowing smoke. During two preseason visits I made to San Diego last preseason, I detected a sense of entitlement among some players who thought a 14-2 campaign in 2006 would automatically translate to similar success the next year. A 5-5 start brought the 2007 Chargers back to earth. This year's squad should better handle the hype.

Kansas City

The spin: "I told him just because we're going in this direction doesn't mean you can't win." — Chiefs coach Herm Edwards on his conversations with tight end Tony Gonzalez about the team's rebuilding process, July 28.

Marvez spin: What else can Edwards tell Gonzalez? The star tight end has never won a playoff game in 11 seasons with Kansas City. The Chiefs gutted their roster this offseason, and Brodie Croyle has yet to prove he's the answer at quarterback. At this point, hope is the only thing Edwards has to sell.

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: August 12, 2008

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