“This is a mistake in not starting [Alex Smith]. He needs to be the guy.” — Kurt Warner on the San Francisco 49ers QBs — News & Sound Bites from Week 12 Editions of NFL Network’s ‘First on the Field’ & ‘NFL GameDay Morning’

“Jay Cutler hides those problems, but no one can cure those problems.” – Michael Lombardi on the Chicago Bears’ offensive line

“This is the team to beat.” Steve Mariucci on the New England Patriots


Quotes from First on the Field

Every Sunday morning at 7:00 AM ET, NFL Network is First on the Field with Melissa Stark, LaDainian Tomlinson, Sterling Sharpe and Michael Lombardi providing the first analysis of the day’s games.

“The Chargers are in a downspin. I’m concerned that Norv Turner is losing this team.” – LaDainian Tomlinson on the San Diego Chargers

“He has thrown eight interceptions in two games, but the Falcons won both games. Matt Ryan is going to take some chances. I like his mental approach and his toughness. It’s like a pro golfer: you’re going to make some bogeys but you have to find a way to make some birdies.” – Michael Lombardi on Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan’s recent play

“Jay Cutler hides those problems, but no one can cure those problems.” – Michael Lombardi on the Chicago Bears’ offensive line

“It’s all about Tampa Bay’s toughness. It takes mental toughness to come back the way they did against Carolina. This team has bought in all season long and they’re continuing to buy in.” – Michael Lombardi on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers

“The team in Jacksonville isn’t very talented and so Gene Smith could be on the hot seat. Blaine Gabbert’s lack of development could ultimately be what causes Gene Smith his job.” – Michael Lombardi on Jacksonville Jaguars general manager Gene Smith


Quotes from NFL GameDay Morning

 NFL GameDay Morning is the most comprehensive pregame show on Sunday morning, airing at 9:00 AM ET on NFL Network and taking viewers straight up to kickoff. Host Rich Eisen joins analysts Steve Mariucci, Marshall Faulk, Kurt Warner, Warren Sapp and Michael Irvin to bring fans the latest news, injury reports, pregame analysis and game previews.

“Week 12 of a season is not the time that you start playing with potential; potential is for training camp, preseason, for figuring out during that period of time, ‘Does he allow us the opportunity to win?’ Alex Smith, what he’s done over the last two years for this football team, this is a mistake in not starting him. He needs to be the guy and it’s going to be tough if [Colin] Kaepernick doesn’t play well today and now you’re coming back saying, ‘Alex, we’re going to put you back in there.’” – Kurt Warner on San Francisco 49ers quarterbacks Colin Kaepernick and Alex Smith

“This is the team to beat. They proved it again on Thanksgiving.” – Steve Mariucci on the 8-3 New England Patriots

“He has to play a perfect game because he’s not only helping his offense, he’s helping his defense as well. He has to put the pressure on Colin Kaepernick.” – Marshall Faulk on New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees facing the San Francisco 49ers

“The affect he has on the game is on every down…He’s just the overall pass rusher: speed, power, anything you want. He has it all.” – Warren Sapp on San Francisco 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith

“I used to think that the Pittsburgh Steelers had the best group of linebackers in the league. I’m changing my mind…This linebacker group is big-time in San Francisco.” – Steve Mariucci on the San Francisco 49ers’ linebackers

“What the Giants’ problem is right now is they’re not using their screen game effectively…Their screen game will help their down the field passing and also their running game.” – Marshall Faulk on how the New York Giants can improve their running game

“He has now taken the next step in learning how to run the ball between the tackles…That discipline now has gotten him the starting job.” – Marshall Faulk on Buffalo Bills running back C.J. Spiller

“He’s powerful, he’s strong and he can catch the football, but it’s his durability that makes the Tampa Bay Buccaneers offense dangerous.” – Marshall Faulk on Tampa Bay Buccaneers rookie running back Doug Martin

“You tell Plax go to the corner and play some basketball during the football game. We’re tossing it up, you catch the ball. That’s what he can do.” – Michael Irvin on the impact wide receiver Plaxico Burress can have for the Pittsburgh Steelers


Front Office View with Michael Lombardi

On why the Chicago Bears can’t fix their offensive line struggles:

“The Bears put two first-round picks [into the offensive line]. Chris Williams from Vanderbilt a few years back – he’s no longer on the roster. They misevaluated him. And then [Gabe] Carimi from the University of Wisconsin, he was supposed to be the left tackle and they’ve kept him at right tackle. Now he’s been benched for Jonathan Scott. So it’s an evaluation. They signed Chris Spencer as a free agent – they’ve put resources into the line, they just have not evaluated the offensive line correctly. Always evaluate the evaluator and that’s going to be the key to lead whether they are having success [or not]. This has been a problem. When you have a quarterback as good as Jay Cutler, you better make darn sure you evaluate those offensive linemen because if he is not able to play, the Bears are in a lot of trouble. We’ve seen what’s happened with the backup quarterback.”

On San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick:

“He has improved 1,000 percent. When you watched him at Nevada-Reno, he could run, he was athletic, he had a gun, but he was inaccurate and he was all over the place. Up until that game against Chicago, he displayed some of those limitations in preseason and the regular season; more run than pass. But against Chicago, Jim Harbaugh and Greg Roman, the offensive coordinator, they did a great job of constructing the offense that suits his talent, made him throw the ball up the field and he did it with accuracy – something he didn’t do all of the time in college. Colin Kaepernick deserves a ton of credit for improving in that area and really ultimately overcoming any limitations he had. Now the sky is the limit.”

On NFL.com the following video clips from First on the Field & NFL GameDay Morning are available for viewing:

Buccaneers’ Doug Martin Taking NFL by Storm LaDainian Tomlinson traveled to Tampa Bay to meet with Buccaneers rookie running back Doug Martin and discuss his transition to the NFL:


Denver Broncos’ High Speed Offense Wreaking Havoc Sterling Sharpe breaks down how big and fast targets are helping Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning tear apart opposing defenses:


Depth Chart Dilemma: Steelers’ Quarterbacks Putting Pittsburgh in a Bind Michael Lombardi and Sterling Sharpe discuss how the Pittsburgh Steelers’ quarterback situation is putting the team’s playoff chances at risk:


Who’s on the Hot Seat? Michael Lombardi and Sterling Sharpe examine which coaches and general managers may be on the hot seat if things continue to go downhill:


NFL GameDay Morning Goes Birdwatching – The cast of NFL GameDay Morning checks in on the birds of the NFL:


Week 12 Bold Predictions – The NFL GameDay Morning crew gets bold with their Week 12 predictions:


Who Makes the Playoffs in the NFC? NFL GameDay Morning examines the NFC playoff picture. Which two teams will fight their way to a wild card berth?


Who Makes the Playoffs in the AFC? Steve Mariucci and Michael Irvin debate which two teams will fill out the AFC playoff picture:


More Valuable: Ben Roethlisberger or Jay Cutler – With both Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler banged up, NFL GameDay Morning debates which player is more valuable to their team:


Colin Kaepernick’s Potential vs. Alex Smith’s Production – Which quarterback is a better fit for the San Francisco 49ers, Colin Kaepernick or Alex Smith? NFL GameDay Morning debates:


Coach’s GameDay Decisions – How will the Denver Broncos replace running back Willis McGahee? Will the New York Giants shut down the Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers? Steve Mariucci discusses:


Biggest Weakness for Playoff Contenders – The NFL GameDay Morning crew identifies the Achilles heel of teams capable of making the playoffs:


The Marshall Plan Marshall Faulk weighs in on how the New York Giants can improve their running game and more:


Importance of the Left Tackle – How important is the left tackle position to the offensive line? Kurt Warner and Steve Mariucci break it down:


Seattle Seahawks Road Woes – Why can’t the Seattle Seahawks win on the road? Rich Eisen and Steve Mariucci discuss:


What is the Level of Concern in the Steelers Locker Room? – With an injury stricken team, how concerned is the Pittsburgh Steelers locker room? Our players have the answer:


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