2009 “Sunday NFL Countdown” Notes and Quotes – Week 9
ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown host Chris Berman and analysts Cris Carter, Mike Ditka, Tom Jackson and Keyshawn Johnson previewed today’s of NFL action. Highlights:
How will Cowboys handle “Big Game” stage?
Carter: “The Cowboys are judged differently than a lot of other NFL teams. They are judged a lot like the BCS in college because they have to get style points. This is a great opportunity for this football team, but you don’t want them going into a big game with a wide receiver, another wide receiver, crying for the football. Talked to the wide receiver coach there, Sherm (Ray Sherman), he told me that the motto for the wide receivers this year is ‘shut up and get open.’ They are not concerned with who’s getting the ball. Whoever is going to get open in Dallas is going to get that football.”
Jackson: “Human nature made Roy Williams speak out – ‘I make $45 million, I need to tell you that I am the number one receiver because the catches by Miles Austin indicates something different.’ I think that this is another defining moment for the Cowboys. I love that I hadn’t heard a peep from them for about a month. All of a sudden, here it is, the week of this game against the Philadelphia Eagles.”
Johnson: “Now you have Roy (Williams) saying exactly what he believes – he’s the number one receiver, he should get the football … You remember me in my rookie year. I remember I wanted the football badly. I felt that. What I was trying to do was discredit (former NY Jets teammate) Wayne Chrebet, but it wasn’t him. It was me as a player. You (Carter) had an opportunity to talk to me on the field and teach me and said Keyshawn, ‘run the routes this way, stop looking like all that landing gear ‘ … That’s part of the problem. Look at yourself and say – ‘run the right routes, catch the football and the targets will be there.’ Miles Austin is doing that. If Roy wants to be the number one guy, he should step up to the plate and do that.”
Ditka: “When you look at Dallas right now, everybody is saying ‘wow, look at all the talent they have.’ I don’t think they have anymore talent than Philadelphia. I think Philadelphia matches up with Dallas in every area.”
Carter: “One thing that is different in this tripping than the other tripping that came from the other receiver is, last year, it caused a divide between the teams. T.O. had a lot of friends on the defensive side of the ball. Key (Johnson) you know, we’ll be doing the show, people will be texting us saying what T.O. was saying. They don’t have that yet in Dallas.”
Which group is under more pressure – Bengals or Ravens?
Jackson: “I think the offensive line, to repeat what happened in Week 5, opening up the holes for Cedric Benson. The more you run him, the more you take pressure off of the quarterback. 34 carries for a 142 yards, that’s what won that game in Week 5.”
Ditka: “I think its Carson Palmer and his receivers. I think they’ve got to get a vertical game. They’ve got to push the ball down the field. They’ve got to get the Ravens out of stuffing the box with eight guys.”
Carter: “I think it is the Ravens secondary. If you look at the amount of people that they are going to try to put on the line of scrimmage to take out that running game and the beating they took the first game – how many players can they commit to pass coverage? A lot of young players back there, a lot of inexperience, a lot of pressure on that secondary.”
Johnson: “I think it is the front seven. When Ray (Lewis) steps up to the plate with (Terrell) Suggs, I think you get something. It protects that secondary, as we had an opportunity to watch against Denver Broncos last week. They had an opportunity to win that game because they made Kyle Orton somewhat one-dimensional – not going down the field, kept everything in front of them, and created some turnovers. If they can do that, their secondary will not look average.”
Is “Wildcat” offense a dying breed?
Johnson: “You have a whole year of coach (Bill) Parcells, who now runs the team, here at ESPN asking me and Tommy (Jackson) all the time, writing down this thing – “This is going to work, this is going to work, I know a lot of football …” Also, you have a quarterback coach David Lee, who ran this as a coordinator in Arkansas … Then on the flip side, you have Dan Henning, who was my coordinator in Carolina. We ran it against the Atlanta Falcons about 60 times – some variation or formation. They understand the keys. They understand the angles, the snap counts … When you look at it, they’re committed to it. The rest of the league, they haven’t figured it out yet. They’re going into some sort of half-bird, half-cat situation.”
Ditka: “It’s a copycat league. People are going to try it. If you are coach of a football team, the Wildcat, can it make us better? The first thing you say, will we commit the time to it? And do we have the personnel to operate it? It is not for everybody, but it is a big change up. Because, what you do, you put tremendous pressure on the defense.”
Carter: “I think the rest of the league has made some type of commitment to the Wildcat, or some half-dog, half-cat, you’re talking about. But they haven’t made the commitment of the Miami Dolphins. The icing on the cake is that they drafted (quarterback) Pat White. We have not seen the effect of Pat White, but that is a steep price for an organization to pay to try to have the Wildcat …”
Jackson: “Because you have a guy taking direct snap does not mean that it is Wildcat. Michael Vick last week took a direct snap, he ran a sweep, that is not the Wildcat. You talked about Pat White, I think that guy has to take that snap, has to be able to run in-between the tackles. He’s got to have enough strength to take the punishment to do it. I don’t know if Pat White can do that.””
Ochocinco’s ‘gifts’ to Ravens defense: Good idea?
Reporting from Cincinnati, Rachel Nichols said that Chad Ochocinco sent deodorants to some members of the Ravens defense. Nichols quoted Ochocinco as saying he sent the deodorants because ‘the Ravens have had troubles covering him in the past and this (the deodorants) was to help them get closer.’ Following Nichols live report, Countdown discussed Ochocino’s gifts:
Carter: “It’s all part of the act. To me, I don’t care. I’m only concerned abut Chad’s focus when he is with his teammates. And, is he in shape? Because, when he is focused, with his teammates, and he’s in shape, he’s going to play well. How can I get upset? The head coach should say something to him.”
Jackson: “It is about if the Ravens get upset. The last game that they played, at the end of that football, there was a personal foul by Ray Lewis, when he may have thought about taking it out on Ochocinco. That cost him a personal foul that led to the winning touchdown. You can’t let it get to you. That’s the key.”
Johnson: “Child please! If you stink, you stink. That’s the bottom-line. Secondary is not very good and he feels that way, then, you stink.”
Ditka: “He’s the only guy in the league doing it. If it was the right thing to do, everybody else would be doing it. Let me say one thing, I guessed I played in another era, but I know Tommy (Jackson) played and I watched him play. I know if he did that to Tommy, he’d get a big does of this (… hits fists together). I’ll be honest with you, you got to try to knock the guy out. I know that’s brutal.”
Berman: “Some people call him Ocho-stinko. Here’s the proof, deodorant.”
Team in more trouble making playoffs – Chargers or Giants?
Carter: “San Diego – lack of consistency and the team they are chasing, the Denver Broncos. The Giants, we give them a lot of credit for the way they play hard and we don’t believe that Dallas or Philadelphia will run away with that division.”
Jackson: “I look at the Giants and I look at their signature – the ability to rush the passer, not giving up big plays, which they’ve done that last three games. Those problems will be hard to fix, because the personnel is going to be hard to fix. If they can’t fix those things, they are going to have a hard time being the Giants we know to be five-and-0.”
Johnson: “It is the San Diego Chargers. It is simple to me, LT isn’t LT and Shawne Merriman isn’t Lawrence Taylor. Their two best players from a couple years ago, what happened to them?
Ditka: “I think it is the Giants. We expected more out of the Giants. They are in a tougher division. This is a must-win game for the Giants. If they don’t win this, their season is slowly slipping away.”
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