“To me, it takes a village – coaches, other people in the organization – to make sure everyone’s mentality is right to perform at their best.” – Jason Garrett on the importance of players’ mental health
“We talk about how strong these players are, but the ultimate strength is just asking for help when you need it.” – Maria Taylor
“(The Jets) had a rough week, (but) Mike White came in on a white horse and saves the day.” – Garrett
“They’re getting back to their formula…run the ball, pound it, and just waves of people coming at you on defense starting with that front four.” – Tony Dungy on the 49ers
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STAMFORD, Conn. – Nov. 27, 2022 – NBC Sports’ presentation of Week 12 of the 2022 NFL season continued tonight from Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Penn., with Football Night in America leading into coverage of the NFC-leading Philadelphia Eagles and Jalen Hurts hosting two-time reigning NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers on Sunday Night Football on NBC, Peacock and Universo.
Maria Taylor hosted FNIA from NBC Sports’ Studio 1 in Stamford, Conn. She was joined by Hall of Fame head coach Tony Dungy, former NFL head coach Jason Garrett, former NFL quarterback Chris Simms, and fantasy sports industry pioneer Matthew Berry. Two-time Super Bowl winner Rodney Harrison joined co-host Jac Collinsworth at the site of the game. NFL Insider Mike Florio provided reports from his home studio.
In advance of tonight’s game, Eagles OL Lane Johnson spoke to NBC Sports’ Michael Smith and discussed the importance of mental health, being a team leader, and more. Click here for a link to the entire interview.
Mike Tirico (play-by-play), Cris Collinsworth (analyst), Melissa Stark (sideline reporter) and Terry McAulay (rules analyst) are calling tonight’s game. Tirico also reported from the field during FNIA.
Following are highlights from tonight’s edition of Football Night in America on NBC and Peacock:
Garrett on the importance of tonight’s game for both teams: “It’s the ultimate backs against the wall game for Green Bay. But for Philadelphia, as well as they’ve played, don’t think they don’t know how well the Cowboys are playing. The Cowboys are coming fast and playing as well as anybody, so it’s a must-win for Philly as they go down the stretch.”
Harrison on newly-acquired defensive linemen Linval Joseph and Ndamukong Suh: “You better believe these guys did not come back and play football because they need money. They felt like this was the best opportunity for them to win a Super Bowl.”
Harrison on safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson: “He (has) versatility, can play anywhere around the field. He’s a playmaker and has great instincts, but the intensity and passion he plays with, I love it.”
Garrett on Packers QB Aaron Rodgers: “I’ve never seen a guy with as good an arm throw the ball as accurately as (Aaron) Rodgers and we have not seen that lately. Receivers running wide open and Aaron Rodgers missing badly. I do think the thumb is a factor because that’s not who Aaron Rodgers is.”
Harrison on the struggles of the Packers’ defense: “It’s defensive coordinator Joe Barry. At the beginning of the season, I thought this was going to be one of the top defenses in the National Football League. You look at their secondary, just miscommunication, blown coverages, a lot of frustration, and too many veteran players back there to make those mistakes…On the defensive line as well, they have to do a better job of fighting off those blocks, being physical, and making those tackles and stopping the run.”
ON MENTAL HEALTH
Eagles OL Lane Johnson to Michael Smith: “Everybody thinks that they have a lot of control over certain situations and you really don’t. You have control over your actions and how you treat people, how you work, and letting go of things that will drag you down.”
Garrett on NFL players’ mental health: “It is a big topic. When you think about it, ever since these guys were (young), they had dreams of playing in the National Football League. They’re highly compensated, but they’re people too. They have the same issues that everybody else has off the field and then they have a pressure to perform on the field, day after day, week after week, with a big spotlight. Years ago, there was a stigma about mental health in our society and in football. Now every team has a clinical psychologist, a sports psychologist, and teams are encouraging players to talk about this. When Lane Johnson and Dak Prescott step up and talk about it, that’s a really good thing.”
Dungy: “As a league, we are doing better. My first 20 years in coaching, no player would come in and have a conversation like Lane Johnson. But my last few years, I was getting that. Guys coming in and saying, ‘I am a little uncomfortable, Coach. I need to see our psychologist.’”
Garrett: “For me, it’s not just the fringe players. It’s the star players. Troy Aikman, Michael Irvin, Emmitt Smith…the coaches did an amazing job with these guys who had so much confidence, constantly reinforcing them, ‘You’re the best.’ To me, it takes a village – coaches, other people in the organization – to make sure everyone’s mentality is right to perform at their best.”
Taylor: “We talk about how strong these players are, but the ultimate strength is just asking for help when you need it.”
Simms on Jets QB Mike White’s performance in New York’s win over Chicago: “He was awesome today. He made a lot of big-time throws, spread the ball around to all the weapons, whether it was Elijah Moore or Garrett Wilson. The offense was really good in sloppy conditions in New York.”
Garrett: “(The Jets) had a rough week, (but) Mike White came in on a white horse and saves the day.”
Garrett on head coach Robert Saleh’s decision to start Mike White and bench Zach Wilson: “Sometimes as the head coach, you have to play checkers and not chess. You have to do what’s best for your team right now…Mike takes advantage of the opportunity, the team responds to him, continue with this and then make your best decision as you go down the stretch. They needed to win, stay in the hunt, and this was the right decision.”
Dungy: “This is the quarterback position and the guy you drafted with the second pick. Now, if you’re telling me we’re playing checkers and trying to win this game, and the best chance for us to win is to put that second pick in the draft on ice…that’s sending a message to me as a player in that locker room.”
Simms: “(49ers defensive coordinator) DeMeco Ryans and that 49ers’ defense, wow, they are kicking some butt right now. Four straight games with no points (allowed) in the second half? This is the NFL, this isn’t high school football…Fred Warner, arguably the best linebacker in football. We know the pass rush is always in the face of the quarterback…Nick Bosa, maybe the best pass rusher in football. They’re a team that’s well-coached, creative, and they’ve got studs all over the field.”
Dungy: “They’re getting back to their formula. If you remember their Super Bowl year, run the ball, pound it, and just waves of people coming at you on defense starting with that front four. They can alternate guys in, aggressive secondary. I like what I’m seeing from the 49ers right now.”
Harrison on the Bengals’ win over the Titans: “Huge win on the road in a hostile environment without your star players Ja’Marr Chase and Joe Mixon…I really felt like Joe Burrow was the difference…(he) is doing a better job of utilizing his legs and making plays.”
Simms: “D.J. Reader is one of the best run-stopping defensive tackles in football…The Bengals are good on all three levels — linebackers, safeties, they got everything on defense. That’s why they were in the Super Bowl last year.”
Dungy: “We were concerned about their offensive line and protecting (Joe) Burrow. He’s getting protection and defensively, they did the job today up front on the defensive line.”
Garrett on TE Travis Kelce: “He makes it look awfully easy. It’s like he is in high school and everyone else is in grade school.”
Garrett: “They have four losses, two-score leads in all of those games that they blew. They did it again today to Jacksonville. They have to get that right down the stretch or they’re not going to be playing in the playoffs.”
Garrett on Broncos QB Russell Wilson’s performance in Denver’s loss to Carolina: “Russell (Wilson) struggled the whole game long. A lot of three-and-outs, a lot of confusion, and a lot of frustration in Denver.”
Florio on head coach Nathaniel Hackett: “Plenty of fans would love to make a coaching change right now, but (with) these owners there is no track record, no history, no guidance for what they are going to do. But know this, they are very smart, methodical, and they are not panicking. They understand what is going on this season. Lot of close games, players injured, and they are still playing hard. It would be extremely unlikely for a change to be made before the end of the season.”
Garrett: “I was surprised — coming back from the Germany game, I thought Tampa was on their way…Cleveland did a good job of controlling the game by running that rock.”
Dungy: “We thought they were getting healthy on defense. Played over in Germany and looked good, but Nick Chubb found (open) seams consistently.”
Simms on QB Trevor Lawrence: “We’ve been wanting that big-time, take over the game type of moment from the number one pick…Guess what, Jacksonville? You got it today. Made a lot of wow, big-time plays to win the game.”
Dungy: “I love what Doug Pederson has brought. This ‘never say die’ attitude. They fight, hustle, until the whistle blows.”
Garrett: “Taylor Heinicke continues to win…the NFC East is tough, and they are staying in the fight.”
Peacock Sunday Night Football Final, an NFL post-game show produced by NBC Sports, streams exclusively on Peacock following every Sunday Night Football game during the 2022 season. The show is hosted by NBC Sports commentators Kathryn Tappen and Chris Simms, who provide instant reactions to each Sunday game along with highlights and interviews. Football Night in America co-host Jac Collinsworth and analyst Rodney Harrison also provide recaps and insights into the day’s biggest moments from the site of each week’s SNF game. NFL Insider Mike Florio provides injury and news updates. Matthew Berry provides fantasy football analysis and an early look at the fantasy waiver wire.
— Football Night in America —