On how the postponement of Giants at Vikings game will affect both teams …
Jackson: “Advantage Minnesota Vikings. Maybe, Brett Favre has a chance to play football. For the New York Giants, the further this goes, the longer you have to wait to play and, the shorter your week is leading into a big Divisional matchup with Philadelphia.”
Carter: “I believe the advantage is with the Giants, especially with the injuries the Giants have suffered. If you look at Hakeem Nicks and Steve Smith, both of these injuries are going to be better … Those extra 30 hours are going to help those guys compared to helping Brett (Favre).”
Johnson: “It is a disadvantage to both football teams, just sitting around waiting to play a football game that you’ve been preparing for all week long. You’ve got the New York Giants sitting in Kansas City in a hotel room. What could they possibly be doing? You know the coaches are going crazy right now.”
Ditka: “There’s no advantage to anybody … The coaches are already preparing for next week.”
On how the change in routine will affect Giants and Vikings players …
Jackson: “Let’s talk about the biggest issue here – Brett Favre. It’s a sternoclavicular strain. It’s a four- to six-week injury in terms of recouping and recovery. It affects his ability to throw the football whether he’s on pain-killer or not. He (Favre) said that he could not play today. I don’t think the 30 hours is going to make a difference as we get to game-time tomorrow night. The biggest issue is not going to be where they’re playing, it’s going to be who’s going to be playing quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings. I doubt, even with the 30 hours extra, that it’s going to be Brett Favre.”
Ditka: “Who gives you the best chance to win a football game? That’s all that matters – play the guy … First of all, you’re kind of indicting (Vikings quarterback) Tarvaris Jackson. Play the guy and take your chances.”
Colts or Jaguars – Which team will win the AFC South?
Jackson: “I can judge who you are by looking at your past. The Jags were 7-5 last year and they ended up 9-7 … When I start looking at the way these teams are going to finish … I’m taking the Colts.”
Carter: “The Jaguars. The most consistent thing between these two teams this year is Maurice Jones-Drew and what he’s doing running the football.”
Ditka: “The Colts have one of the best players, maybe the best player, in football. The Jags have a much better football team. If one man is better than a whole team, then, the Colts deserve to win it. I don’t think they are. I think the Jags are better as a team and that’s why they’ll win it.”
How will weather and field conditions impact Patriots-Bears game?
Ditka: “It is going to affect the kicking game … Here’s the other thing, fourth down if you’re around midfield, no use punting … It’s going to change strategy a lot.”
Jackson: “As a defensive player, you actually like this. It’s the sliding, it’s the wind, it’s the snow, it’s all of the things that will impede people from playing good offense, especially when you like to throw the football as much as the Patriots like to throw the football. Now, it comes down to tackling, running the ball, and we know this, every hit hurts a little bit more when you’re playing in cold weather like this.”
Will Jason Garrett (Dallas) and Leslie Frazier’s (Vikings) success lead to more NFL midseason coaching changes?
Johnson: “This is a copycat league … These are special circumstances. The Dallas Cowboys were picked to go to the Super Bowl, as well as the Minnesota Vikings. These two coaches, in Frazier and Garrett, they landed in pretty good situations. Josh McDaniels’ (Denver) team, not so good. I’d say to the owners, look to do it earlier in the year so you would have a chance. If Minnesota did this earlier in the year with Brian Childress, maybe you’re in the playoffs and would have a legitimate chance, as well as the Dallas Cowboys.”
Ditka: “If you fire your coach during the season, the problem is, the only person you can hire is from within the organization. It is tough to go out and bring somebody else. Basically, you had somebody in place in Dallas. You had somebody in place in Minnesota … Maybe Eric (Studesville – Denver) would get the job done. The thing in Denver that came down was not football, it’s personnel decisions. They don’t have the people that they used to have when they won.”
Johnson: “Good football teams like Dallas and Minnesota, good teams that are supposed to win, they have good staff. So you can pick somebody off their staff.”
Who’s at fault: Redskins coach Mike Shanahan or suspended defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth?
Carter: “A player is a commodity in this business. If you have the player, you need to get the best out of the commodity. … when you don’t have the player performing, you rob the rest of the team of his talent. They paid a lot of money for his (Haynesworth’s) skill. Looking at ownership, Daniel Snyder can sure enough take a lot of blame. Albert Haynesworth, totally unprofessional. Mike Shanahan, how he handled that commodity, played a role in everyone losing in this situation.”
Johnson: “I look at the organization and the head coach. The reason is, you pay a guy a lot of money, you need to learn how to get along with this player to get him to do what you need him to do for you. Somehow, when you pick up the phone and you tell him, you’re going to play the nose tackle position for me and you’re going to do it this way, you have to handle guys differently. This isn’t the 1960s and 70s in football. This is totally different now … (Bill) Parcells, 1997, he comes in from the New England Patriots, very stern coach. Everyone in New York said, ‘get rid of Keyshawn, he’s a problem.’ All he said to me was, ‘do what I ask you to do and you’ll be fine.’”
Jackson: “There’s blame to go around. When you’re Daniel Snyder and you sign a defensive tackle to a $100 million contract, you have now given him power to say no. The power to say, ‘I won’t play nose tackle,’ the power to say ‘I won’t go in in this particular situation.’ So that’s where the blame begins. Then you have coach Shanahan attempting to embarrass this kid at the beginning of the year. So public, was made his physical testing that it became something that Albert said ‘now, I’m not going to play for you at all.’ … Your job as a coach is to get the most out of the commodity. When you look at the entire year for coach Shanahan, this has not been what the Washington Redskins expected when they hired him as a head coach.”
Ditka: “Albert Haynesworth suffers from a disease called JDGI – just doesn’t get it. He doesn’t get it. If you’re paid that kind of money, you shine shoes, you park cars, you do anything to justify making that kind of money. Did they handle it properly? Forget that. He handled his life improperly.”
Johnson: “How many different personalities in your (Ditka’s) coaching days did you handle?”
Ditka: “You have one set of rules, but you treat people differently.”
Carter: “One thing needs to be cleared up. Key (Johnson), you didn’t decide not to work. Albert’s refusal to work is totally unacceptable.”
Are the New York Jets better for the 45-3 defeat by the Patriots?
Jackson: “You’re never better when you get beat 45-3. The real concern for Rex Ryan is that the team was built as much on swagger as they were the X–Os that they do on the field; which is the reason you heard him say, as soon as that game was over, ‘we’re still feel confident, we’d like to play them again right away.’ … The real story of that game – the quarterback and the head coach. The game seemed too big for those two people and everybody else took that on as that game went on.”
Will the Cowboys spoil Eagles season again?
Ditka: “Two things have changed in the last four weeks. They lost the head coach, they lost the quarterback … This team has gone to running the football a lot more than they did when they had (quarterback Tony) Romo.”
Carter: “The reason why I wouldn’t want to face Dallas, especially, two times coming down the stretch, is because we know they are still very talented. But right now, they have what very few professional athletes have and that is fear of the organization and the coach. (Owner/GM) Jerry Jones reestablished that when he fired (former head coach) Wade Phillips.”
– 30 –