“Sunday NFL Countdown” Notes and Quotes – 2010 Wild Card Weekend Edition
ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown host Chris Berman, analysts Cris Carter, Mike Ditka, Tom Jackson and Keyshawn Johnson reviewed yesterday’s NFL Wild Card games and previewed today’s action. Highlights:
More surprising team from the last two weeks: Eagles or Cowboys?
Carter: “I’m surprised at just how much better Dallas, as far as coaching, has been, especially when you are looking at coaching up their defense … And Tony Romo, in his ability to play quarterback at such a significant difference from the quarterbacking that Philadelphia is getting between (Donovan) McNabb and (Michael) Vick.”
Jackson: “When you shut a team out 24 to nothing, there’s not a lot of adjustments to make for you. I was surprised a little bit that Philly didn’t adjust in terms of gameplan – You had those 10 carries for 37 yards that you got shut out. You come back with 13 for just over 50 in the next game. You are going to struggle again to score. You’re going to struggle for balance and your quarterback is going to be under fire the entire time. That’s what happened to the Eagles.”
Johnson: “Where’s their swagger. What happened to this team prior to those two weeks. You’ve seen a lot of swagger – DeSean Jackson making plays, they’re making plays on defense, doing things. But they stink now. They need to figure out how to get that smell out of their system. That will come next year. A lot of penalties, a lot of sloppy plays … it just didn’t look right, like a Philadelphia Eagles team, a Andy Reid coached team.”
Jackson: “I would argue with you that that gameplan has not changed for six or seven years. I would argue with you that they are constantly with the quarterback throwing the ball, not running the football, and it always results with Donovan (McNabb) having to be superman in order for them to win football games.”
Ditka: “About four or five weeks ago, Wade (Phillips) stepped in and, whatever he did with the defense, he put his stamp on it. The good thing about it is, they’ve got the talent to do it.”
Jets Playoff ride – how far can they go?
Jackson: “They (Jets) are going to be a tough out. I believe in running the ball, a checkmark for them. I believe in playing great defense, a checkmark for them. And I believe in a quarterback that doesn’t make mistakes. If Mark Sanchez can keep those turnovers down or eliminate them completely, I think they can go a long way in the playoffs.”
Carter: “I don’t care how good you play defense or run the football, the passing game has to be apparent. The confidence factor with the Jets – same thing we saw two years ago, when the New York Giants, … played the New England Patriots, getting a feel for that team, propelled them to Super Bowl Victory.”
Quicker impact in NFL return: Shanahan or Carroll?
With the Redskins hiring Mike Shanahan as coach and the Seahawks reportedly close to a deal with USC’s Pete Carroll to coach the team, Countdown analysts discussed who’d have the quicker impact on their respective teams.
Jackson: “Coach Shanahan. He knows every element of building a winning football team. He is one of the great play-callers to ever stand on the sideline, and he’s got a quarterback to work with in Jason Campbell – somebody he can build on in that offense.”
Johnson: I think it is coach Shanahan because they have more to work with in Washington.”
Carter: “You’ve got to look at it like building a house … It is about location. Do you want to be in the NFC East? I wouldn’t want to be in there. Dallas, look what they have going on – Romo and Jerry (Jones); Eli (Manning), good quarterbacking situation; Philadelphia with Andy Reid, they’re going to win there. I’ll take my show out West, if I was going to build it. I’d rather go against Arizona and their lack of stability in their franchise, St. Louis and San Francisco. If I was going to build an empire, I’ll take it out West in Seattle.”
Ditka: “I like Mike Shanahan. I think he has more talent there. The thing that’s going to be interesting to me is, I want to see if he can get Clinton Portis and Albert Haynesworth to start earning their salaries.”
How did Saturday’s games affect your view of the playoff picture?
Carter: “It affected me in how I look at it. When you look at the New York Jets, I have to look at one unit and that’s that offensive line. They can run the ball against anyone. We watched the game last night – seven, eight, nine guys – they can run the ball. They are going to be a formidable foe against anyone left. If you look at the Dallas Cowboys front seven, going against the Minnesota Vikings offensive line, that’s a tough matchup. Both teams that advanced yesterday have great matchups going into the divisional round.”
Jackson: “I’m not surprised. It didn’t change my mind about the Dallas Cowboys, completely balanced every area of the football field – offensively and defensively. I didn’t know if Mark Sanchez could do what he did yesterday … I know he had to protect the football, could he make plays downfield? Looks like Rex (Ryan) trusts him a little more than I would have thought. Now, he’s got that first win under his belt. He’s going to feel comfortable and they will be a difficult out for anybody on the AFC.”
Ditka: “I’m going to make it simple. There were two games played yesterday – the Jets won one, the Cowboys won the other one. I’m going to say this honestly, if you’re going to beat these two teams, you better bring your ‘A’ game. These are two good football teams.”
How much will the Patriots miss wide receiver Wes Welker?
Carter: “In the playoffs, they (Patriots) give the ball to people they trust. (Julian) Edelman … they won’t make him have the responsibility that Wes Welker did. Look for people we’ve seen in the past, (Kevin) Fault, (Benjamin) Watson, other people who haven’t necessarily played a big role thus far, they are going to play a bigger role today.”
Jackson: “Where you are going to miss (Wes) Welker is in the yards after catch … If you throw him a 10-yard pass, you get 15. Throw him 15, you get 25 every now and then. (Julian) Edelman, I don’t think will be able to do that.”
Johnson: “Edelman will do fine. He’ll get his catches. But it (Welker’s absence) will have some effect on the game and the gameplan … When Tom Brady is looking to throw the football, he is going to have to hold it because he (Edelman) is not as quick as Wes Welker in and out of the break. I played the position. I know what that means to the quarterback. Randy Moss will have to do more. The tightends will have to do more. He’ll (Edelman) get his catches, but it won’t be as effective. ”
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