NEWS, NOTES & QUOTES FROM CBS SPORTS’ “THE NFL TODAY” WITH JAMES BROWN, DAN MARINO, SHANNON SHARPE,
BILL COWHER AND BOOMER ESIASON FOR WEEK 15 ON DECEMBER 20
► QUICK HITS
(On New Orleans losing last night for their first loss of season)
SHANNON SHARPE: At the beginning of the season, you say you want to win your division, get home-field advantage throughout with a chance to be in the playoffs and go to the Super Bowl. Even though you lost one game, all is not lost because you lost that one game. I understand it is a magical ride, but it is over now. Regroup, refocus and get to the ultimate goal.
DAN MARINO: I hate to say it, but this is disappointing. Looking at this football team, a team that went to the Super Bowl last year, there are a lot of things. It’s not just one thing. They don’t play well on special teams. They haven’t been able to finish games. They’ve been inconsistent offensively. I look at it with Ben Roethlisberger, it was so disappointing last week watching him get sacked eight times against Cleveland. They are so inconsistent. They need to have more rhythm offensively.
(On NFC East Playoff race)
SHARPE: The Dallas Cowboys, with that win last night, not only played themselves back into the Wild Card, but they are thinking the division because they get Philly at the end of the season. I do believe that Philly will win this division. They have too much offensive firepower for Dallas or the Giants to do anything in this division. But I do believe the Cowboys will be the Wild Card at 10-6, and the Philadelphia Eagles will win that division.
(On Cincinnati playing with heavy hearts due to Chris Henry’s death this week)
BOOMER ESIASON: They have been through this before. Remember Mike Zimmer, the defensive coordinator, lost his wife unexpectedly a few weeks ago. Against the Baltimore Ravens the Bengals came out to play really inspired football for their defensive coordinator. This is a different story…After talking to a number of people within the organization this week, they were completely down over this whole thing. Forget about what Chris was off the field. This is him as a teammate and a part of their family. There is no question that they are adversely affected by this…It is playing for the memory of Chris Henry. They’ll do okay but I don’t necessarily know that they can get through this.
(On whether New England’s Randy Moss gave up last week)
MARINO: I will say he did and it is very disappointing. He is an incredible player and an incredible receiver. But sometimes when you get double coverage, you have to go hard no matter what, for the integrity of the pattern. The other players on the field are trying to get open. Tom Brady, as a quarterback, has to rely on the receiver to do that sometimes. If you get double coverage, you still have to go hard. He is a great player and will overcome it, but that was disappointing last week.
(On should Indianapolis try to go undefeated)
BOOMER: Absolutely, yes…They have a couple of days off to get those guys rested; a couple of guys banged up. They will get the treatment that is needed. The other thing Peyton said is that they have a bunch of competitive guys in that locker room. They can do something that very few teams have ever had the opportunity to do. Peyton owns pretty much every record. He has done everything; MVP, Super Bowl MVP, Super Bowl ring – 19-0 would be something to shoot for. He’s the guy to get it done. I say go for it.
BILL COWHER: I would take 18-1 as long as one of those wins is the last game. If they go into Week 16, I would not jeopardize health for the sake of a record. I’m looking for a championship.
►“INSIDE THE GAME” WITH CHARLEY CASSERLY
(On Washington hiring Bruce Allen as new General Manager and future of Jim Zorn)
CASSERLY: He said he has a completely open mind coming into the organization about Jim Zorn‘s future for next year as the head coach. In his agreement, he has total control over the draft, and he will pick the coach for next year. Of course, the owner has to agree to it too, but that is common in any general manager’s contract.
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