“[To be] an elite quarterback, he’s on that verge but he’s got to win in the playoffs.” – Kurt Warner on Falcons QB Matt Ryan
“We lost our way and we’re going to correct those things, and we’re going to prove to everybody that we do belong in these playoffs.” – Broncos CB Champ Bailey on Denver’s three-game losing streak
“Whoever he hires is going to be a lot less experienced, probably have far less power than Bill Polian did.” – Jason La Canfora on Colts owner Jim Irsay’s GM search
NFL GameDay Morning is the FIRST pregame show on the air Sunday morning at 9:00 AM ET, taking viewers straight up to kickoff. Host Rich Eisen joins analysts Michael Irvin, Warren Sapp, Marshall Faulk, Steve Mariucci and new analyst Kurt Warner to bring fans the latest news, injury reports, pregame analysis and game previews.
Broncos CB Champ Bailey, RB Willis McGahee & LB Elvis Dumervil Interview with Michael Irvin
NFL Network analyst Michael Irvin sat down with Denver Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey, running back Willis McGahee and linebacker Elvis Dumervil to discuss the season for the AFC West champions and to preview their game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
On his thoughts when he heard about Tim Tebow being named the starting quarterback:
Willis McGahee: “You don’t ever know when it’s going to be your turn, and it was Tebow’s turn and we couldn’t do anything but wait and see what he can do. When he brought us back for that Miami game and won, it felt like we might have a little shot here. And then we won another one, and we just got on a little roll.
On the six-game winning streak:
McGahee: “It was crazy. I was never a part of anything like that. But the good thing about it was everybody was having fun; in the locker room everybody was happy. We were just loving it.”
Champ Bailey: “It was a good experience. It was obviously what put us in the position we’re in now, but we did a lot of things that caught up to us. I feel like we weren’t hard on ourselves enough [in the games before the winning streak]; people were running the ball pretty effectively on us sometimes and we were giving up plays here and there. We were pretty much a big part of why we were winning, and when we don’t play well on defense we’re not going to win games.”
On how much pressure the style of play the offense runs puts on the defense:
Bailey: “It all depends on how well they execute it. If they’re moving the ball down the field, it’s great for us; that clock is ticking and ticking. And if they’re not converting third downs and this and that, it puts pressure on us. That’s when good defenses rise up in adverse situations. If that’s what it calls for, that’s what we have to do.”
On the reason for the three-game losing streak:
McGahee: “Starting out with that New England game, I didn’t finish the game because I had a little injury that just kept nagging with me and I really couldn’t run the way I wanted to run, and I went out. It just sort of went downhill so I blame it on me. The past two games, there was a difference in the whole offense that we really couldn’t move the ball like we’re supposed to.”
Elvis Dumervil: “We just have to tackle better, we have to get to the quarterback – we have to do a better job of that. And we have to create turnovers.”
Bailey: “Turnovers. Absolutely. It’s not just us giving it to them; it’s us taking it away as well and we haven’t done that either. It goes both ways.”
On who the real Denver Broncos are:
Bailey: “We’re going to find out this week. We lost our way and we’re going to correct those things, and we’re going to prove to everybody that we do belong in these playoffs. I don’t like going in like this [on a three-game losing streak]. You don’t want to depend on anybody else to give you another shot: you want to earn your shot yourself. We’re in it and we did some things throughout the year to earn this, but I just want everybody to know we have to pick it up.”
On why the Broncos can defeat the Pittsburgh Steelers:
Dumervil: “We’re a tight team and we’ve been through a lot of adversity. We’ve been prepared in a lot of close battle games, and at the end of the day I feel like we have some solid players to compete with anyone.”
Bailey: “If we get better at what we do, the sky is the limit. But every guy has to believe in it and keep getting better as well.”
To view Irvin’s entire interview with Bailey, McGahee and Dumervil, visit:
Quotes from NFL GameDay Morning:
“When you see something, you have to trust it and you have to let the ball go. That’s where Tim Tebow struggles: he trusts his legs more than he trusts his arm. When he sees something, he’s not fully sure that he’s going to make the throw or that he sees what he thinks he sees.” – Kurt Warner on Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow
“He’s really done everything they’ve asked of him, everything they wanted him to do: been the No. 1 seed, they’ve been in the playoffs. But that one thing hangs over his head. [To be] an elite quarterback, he’s on that verge but he’s got to win in the playoffs.” – Kurt Warner on Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan, who is 0-2 in the playoffs in his career
“Of these 12 playoff teams, nobody is in the top 10 in both offense and defense. You’re either one or the other; you’re either the great offense or the great defense.” – Steve Mariucci on the teams in the playoffs
“This is the team of the future. They’re a young team, they’re an up-and-coming team…When they have a running game and they add to that secondary, the Lions will be a very, very good team next year.” – Steve Mariucci on the Detroit Lions, who fell to the New Orleans Saints 45-28
“My long-term confidence is a little bit higher than my short-term. I believe he has a place in this league.” – Steve Mariucci on Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow
“I’m impressed by what I saw from Arian Foster and this offensive line: they did not put it in [T.J.] Yates’ hands. Yates was cool, calm and collected, and he did his job.” – Marshall Faulk on running back Arian Foster and the Houston Texans
“They added Julio Jones and they have all of this big play capability, but to me the Atlanta Falcons are the same team that they were last year. They get more big plays, but their big plays don’t come by throwing the ball down the field.” – Kurt Warner on the Atlanta Falcons
“The Giants have been inconsistent because when you have as many guys injured and you have guys shuffling in and out, it’s hard to be consistent when you run the type of offense that Kevin Gilbride runs and the type of defense that Perry Fewell wants to run. They had to simplify everything just to get to this point.” – Marshall Faulk on the New York Giants this season
“[Atlanta] can’t get behind because they don’t have that big play, throw down the field. That’s where that pass rush comes into play. When [the New York Giants] can get them behind schedule, that’s when this team struggles.” – Kurt Warner on the Atlanta Falcons facing the New York Giants
“It can’t be all left on Tim Tebow pulling the ball out when they run the spread option. I believe Willis McGahee must do one thing: keep them in good down and distance situations…You have to have small goals against the Pittsburgh Steelers because they’re going to attack you, they’re going to hit you in the backfield.” – Marshall Faulk on what the Denver Broncos must do against the Pittsburgh Steelers
“Sean Payton has proved to us that he’s the new riverboat gambler. Every possession means something to him, he’s going to go for points. He understands how to win in the playoffs and management is behind him: take every chance, we want another championship here in New Orleans.” – Marshall Faulk on New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton
“This is where the game is going to be won and lost. Ben [Roethlisberger] is not going to be able to run out and create; he’s going to have to stay in the pocket, you’re going to have to run the football, you’re going to have to protect on the edges. This is probably where they’re most vulnerable; they’ve given up 42 sacks – one of the worst teams in the league in protecting the quarterback – and they don’t have Ben [Roethlisberger] being Big Ben.” – Kurt Warner on the Pittsburgh Steelers’ offensive line
“This thing – whatever we call that ‘Tebow Magic’ – has been about believing in each other as a team. Now, they’ve just put a dent in that armor by saying, ‘I don’t know.’” – Michael Irvin on the reports that Denver Broncos backup quarterback Brady Quinn has taken first-team snaps during practice
15 Modern-Day Finalists Revealed for 2012 Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement:
Tim Brown – WR
Cris Carter – WR
Andre Reed – WR
Cortez Kennedy – DT
Charles Haley – DE/LB
Bill Parcells – Coach
Edward DeBartolo, Jr. – Owner
Aeneas Williams – CB/S
Jerome Bettis – RB
Curtis Martin – RB
Dermontti Dawson – C
Willie Roaf – T
Will Shields – G
Chris Doleman – DE/LB
Kevin Greene – LB/DE
*Jack Butler – CB
*Dick Stanfel – G
* senior nominees
“No one gave Charles a ring; Charles gave people rings five times.” – Michael Irvin on five-time Super Bowl champion Charles Haley
“A lot of the owners in this league have taken this man’s philosophy and made the team more like family. It started with that man.” – Michael Irvin on San Francisco 49ers owner Edward DeBartolo, Jr.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2012 will be announced exclusively on NFL Network Saturday, February 4 at 5:30 PM ET during a one-hour NFL Network special, live from Indianapolis, Ind.
To view the unveiling of the 15 Pro Football Hall of Fame finalists, please visit:
Bengals WR A.J. Green 1-on-1 Interview with Michael Irvin
On Saturday’s edition of NFL GameDay Morning, Cincinnati Bengals rookie wide receiver A.J. Green sat down with NFL Network analyst Michael Irvin for a one-on-one conversation.
On what his expectations were for his rookie season:
“Just coming in, just helping my team out. Coming from Georgia hearing a lot of things about the Bengals; they said we’re not going to make the playoffs or we’re going to win four games. I just came out of there with that mindset that I’m going to be the best guy on the field and work hard as I can to put my team in the position to win every game.”
On his thoughts when Carson Palmer said he was going to retire:
“I didn’t pay any mind. I got to the draft and people were like, ‘You need Carson’s number, you need to call him to get him back here.’ But I feel like if you’re going to be that great receiver, you have to deal with whoever the quarterback is, you just have to make plays whenever. But I did say when I came on one of my visits, Jay [Gruden] said who do you want? I said you have to take that Andy [Dalton] from TCU…I told him I want Andy Dalton because he’s a winner and he can fling that thing.”
On if he wants to prove the Bengals made the right decision to draft Andy Dalton every time he takes the field:
“Oh yeah, definitely. It’s the receiver’s job to protect the quarterback no matter what. I feel like whenever he makes a throw, I don’t care who is around me I’m going to make the play.”
To view Irvin’s entire interview with Green, visit:
‘Front Office View’ with Michael Lombardi
On the Indianapolis Colts search for a General Manager:
They’re going to need experience because they have some really tough decisions ahead of them. They have to build a structure in terms of improving the talent base of the team and then they have to deal with some of the situations in terms of the contracts. Peyton Manning: that is going to require some skill, that’s going to require some statesmanship to negotiate if in fact you want to keep him on the team and how you’re going to handle that, and how it’s going to move forward. You’re going to have to reconfigure this football team differently than it’s ever been before since the Tony Dungy era. Bill Polian was really responsible for what they wanted to do offensively and defensively. That’s all going to change now so it’s really a giant task for somebody to come in. An inexperienced guy will struggle as he moves forward. Maybe perhaps that’s why Jim Irsay wants to hire somebody so he can do a lot of the work.
On Josh McDaniels being named Patriots offensive coordinator:
Josh McDaniels returns to New England today to start the preparation for whether it will be the Steelers or his former team, the Denver Broncos. His role will be simply to be a part of the process, but Bill O’Brien will still call plays even though he’s taken the head coaching job at Penn State. The game will still run through O’Brien. It will still be set up structurally just as it has all through the season.
On quarterback Matt Ryan’s future with the Atlanta Falcons:
It’s the hardest contract to do; he’s 0-2 in the playoffs, he’s a .500 quarterback on the road, he’s very good at home – 26 wins at home, only five losses. So how do you do this? This is a huge game for Matt Ryan today because he’s going to go outdoors and play against a very good football team with wind and all of the element factors. The Falcons, to help his contract negotiation, they need some substantial element to move forward. Joe Flacco in the same draft: four playoff wins, three losses. Matt Ryan: two playoff games, two losses. You’re going to have to sign him, but you’re also going to have to make sure you don’t overpay him because you’re going to have to make sure the team around him is as good. This is the most difficult contract. It’s easy to pay the great players; it’s hard to pay the players just in the middle of the road, and Matt Ryan today needs to distinguish himself and show that he is a great player.
Lombardi and Jason La Canfora analyze the Indianapolis Colts’ search for a new General Manager:
‘Inside Slant’ with Jason La Canfora
On the Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coaching search:
[Mike Sherman’s] interviewed for it, and really only a couple of people have interviewed for it. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if he’s named their head coach by the middle of next week. He’s very different than Raheem Morris, it’s a very different message. He has 60 NFL wins, he’s been to the playoffs, he was there when they drafted Aaron Rodgers. They’re trying to groom a young quarterback and believe Mike Sherman will be the guy.
On Jeff Fisher:
He’s waiting to make a decision. It’s a two-team race, it has been a two-team race: the St. Louis Rams and the Miami Dolphins. A lot of people are advising him the Rams is a better job; the Dolphins might be more money. This is often the conundrum. But he has a quarterback in St. Louis; there are issues about a quarterback in Miami, a lot of uncertainty in Miami. A little less uncertainty in St. Louis, but again sometimes money talks. He’ll have a decision to make and really within 48 hours we should have this decision.
On the Jacksonville Jaguars head coaching search:
They’re waiting on Mike Mularkey. They’ve conducted a bunch of interviews, it’s clear there it’s all about the offense and getting Blaine Gabbert right. Everybody they’re talking to is an offensive minded guy. They’d like to keep interim head coach Mel Tucker on the staff as a defensive coordinator; if nothing else, Mularkey and Tucker happen to have the same agent. Gene Smith interviewed for the Atlanta job a few years back and thought about hiring Mike Mularkey then had he gotten that job in Atlanta. We know the Falcons are playing today, we’ll see what the outcome is there. Miami wants to talk to Mularkey as well, but based on what I’m hearing Jacksonville could be the spot for him.
On the Indianapolis Colts search for a General Manager:
Jim Irsay is the kind of guy who beats to his own drummer: he’s not going to do things the way other people do, he’s not your standard owner. He’s going to talk to people of all walks of life; younger guys, people within his building, people outside, people in the Canadian Football League. The one thing I took from his press conference and what I continue to hear from people around the league is he seems to be taking back his franchise. With Bill Polian, there was a certain culture there where Polian was kind of the dictator and Polian was going to say what goes in marketing and on the football field, and every piece of that enterprise. Irsay is taking it back and I think whoever he hires is going to be a lot less experienced, probably have far less power than Bill Polian did.
For more of La Canfora’s ‘Inside Slant,’ visit:
On NFL.com, the following video clips from Sunday’s Wild Card edition of NFL GameDay Morning are available for viewing:
Lombardi’s Wild Card Sunday Pregame Speech – The past meets the present as Vince Lombardi delivers a pre-game speech for the Atlanta Falcons, New York Giants, Pittsburgh Steelers and Denver Broncos.
Stepping up in Denver – NFL GameDay Morning says Tim Tebow’s other targets need a big day if the Broncos want to play with the Steelers.
Has Tebow Time Run Out? – NFL GameDay Morning says Tim Tebow needs to be more aware of where he is in the pocket.
What we will Learn – Steve Mariucci believes Denver’s top-ranked rushing offense will be stomped on Sunday by the Steelers.
Inconsistencies in New York – The New York Giants have had an up-and-down season with big wins and bad losses. Will they be able to put it all together against the Atlanta Falcons? NFL GameDay Morning discusses.
Does Defense Matter? – The two worst defenses in the league are the top seeds in each conference. NFL GameDay Morning believes defenses can help, but don’t win championships in the quarterback-driven league.
The Marshall Plan – Marshall Faulk believes the key to wins on Sunday starts in the running game.
Players Only: Is Playoff Experience Important? – NFL GameDay Morning debates whether or not previous playoff experience is an advantage.
On NFL.com, the following video clips from Saturday’s Wild Card action, as well as NFL GameDay Final analysis are available for viewing:
Lombardi’s Wild Card Saturday Pregame Speech – The past meets the present as Vince Lombardi delivers a pre-game speech for the Cincinnati Bengals, Houston Texans, Detroit Lions and New Orleans Saints.
Let’s Go Primetime – Deion Sanders counts down the top 5 plays from Saturday’s wild-card showdowns.
Foster-ing Smiles in Houston – NFL GameDay Final catches with Houston Texans running back Arian Foster following his huge performance in the win over the Cincinnati Bengals.
Yates on Houston’s Big Day – Houston quarterback T.J. Yates speaks with NFL Network’s Michelle Beisner about the Texans’ first playoff victory in franchise history.
- ‘The Catch’ – Dallas Cowboys vs. San Francisco 49ers 1981 NFC Championship Game Full Game Re-Air: On the 30th anniversary to the day, NFL Network presents a full game re-air of the San Francisco 49ers’ thrilling victory over the Dallas Cowboys in the 1981 NFC Championship Game on Tuesday, January 10 at 12 Midnight ET. In a matchup of teams with the best regular-season records in the NFL, the 49ers hosted the Cowboys on January 10, 1982. In one of the most iconic plays in NFL history, 49ers receiver Dwight Clark caught the game winning six-yard scoring pass from Joe Montana with 51 seconds remaining in a play that came to be known as ‘The Catch.’ The 49ers won Super Bowl XVI two weeks later – the first of San Francisco’s four Super Bowl titles in the 1980s. The NFL Classic Game full game re-air features the complete CBS broadcast with announcers Vin Scully and Hank Stram calling the action along with the network’s original graphics.
- NFL GameDay Scoreboard & NFL GameDay Final Provide Complete Analysis of Wild Card Weekend: At 4:00 PM ET on NFL GameDay Scoreboard, host Paul Burmeister and analysts Jamie Dukes and Tom Waddle provide comprehensive highlights, postgame interviews and expert analysis of the Atlanta Falcons-New York Giants game, as well as a preview of the upcoming game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Denver Broncos. On NFL GameDay Final at 8:00 PM ET, host Rich Eisen is joined by analysts Steve Mariucci, Deion Sanders and Michael Irvin to provide a recap of Wildcard Weekend and the first preview of the Divisional matchups next weekend.
- Divisional Weekend NFL GameDay Schedule: NFL Network is the go-to destination for Divisional Weekend analysis and information, with 20 hours of live playoff coverage. On Saturday, January 14 at 12 Noon ET, host Rich Eisen and analysts Steve Mariucci, Marshall Faulk, Kurt Warner, Warren Sapp and Michael Irvin preview the weekend’s upcoming games on NFL GameDay Morning with expert analysis and on-site reports. At 7:30 PM ET, host Paul Burmeister and analysts Jamie Dukes and Tom Waddle provide highlights from the first game of the day on NFL GameDay Scoreboard, and at 12 Midnight ET, host Fran Charles and analyst Deion Sanders wrap up the day’s action on NFL GameDay Final. On Sunday, January 15 at 9:00 AM ET, NFL GameDay Morning airs in its regular timeslot, followed by NFL GameDay Scoreboard at 4:00 PM ET. At 8:00 PM ET Eisen, Mariucci, Sanders and Irvin give the final say on Divisional Weekend and look ahead to Championship Weekend on NFL GameDay Final.
NFL Network airs seven days a week, 24 hours a day on a year-round basis and is the only television network fully dedicated to the NFL and the sport of football. For more information, log on to www.nfl.com/nflnetwork. NFL.com is the exclusive Internet home of NFL videos and NFL Network.
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