“Misfortune might be around the corner, but not this week. And maybe not for a while with a quarterback who’s determined to be Payton’s long-term answer at the position.” – King on Jameis Winston and the Saints
“There wasn’t a bigger statement in the NFL today than our win, right here.” – Saints head coach Sean Payton to his team after beating the Packers
“I look at Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert and think: Are both going to the Hall of Fame, or just one; and if one, which one? So confident at such a young age.” – King
STAMFORD, Conn. – September 13, 2021 – Peter King recaps NFL Kickoff weekend and speaks with Saints head coach Sean Payton and quarterback Jameis Winston following New Orleans’ 38-3 victory over Green Bay in this week’s edition of Football Morning in America, available now exclusively on NBCSports.com. King also hands out his Week 1 awards, discusses tonight’s Ravens-Raiders matchup, and more.
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The following are highlights from this week’s edition of Football Morning in America:
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
Peter King on QB Jameis Winston’s Saints debut in Week 1: “In many ways, Sunday was the biggest game of Jameis Winston’s athletic career. At 27, he has plenty of NFL life left, but only if he cuts out the turnovers that were so ruinous in his five Tampa seasons…You know that Winston rose to the first challenge. In the shocking 38-3 rout of the Packers at their Hurricane Ida-caused temp home field in Jacksonville, Winston threw five touchdown passes and ran for 37 yards.”
Saints head coach Sean Payton to his team after beating the Packers: “There wasn’t a bigger statement in the NFL today than our win, right here.”
Winston to King on which play he was most proud of in the Week 1 win: “Imma tell you! Fake wide zone to the left, late in the first quarter. I think we were at the Green Bay 37. I threw the ball away… One of the great things I learned from playing with Drew (Brees) last year was decisions over results. Sometimes the right decision is a play that gains nothing. Just keep making good decision after good decision, and the game’s going to go okay.”
Winston on the play: “We had this same play called the other day in practice, and I was trying to make a play, and I threw it, and [Saints linebacker] Kaden Elliss intercepted it. So I just said to myself, If we call that play in the game this week, and it’s not there, I’m gonna throw it so high out of bounds that Shaq can’t pick it off. And that’s what I did.”
Payton to King on Winston throwing the ball away: “I love that. I really love it. When people say, ‘Throw it away!’ what does that mean exactly? There’s more to it than just know when to throw it away – it’s got to fit in everything that you do. That play at the 37 that he threw away is a winning play. He knows we’ve got other plays that are going to work well and are coming.”
Winston on if his attitude in a game is to not turn the ball over: “You can’t play that way. I never said that in Tampa either. I never go into a game thinking, don’t throw a pick. We’ve got such an amazing defense, with great weapons all around me, and a franchise back [Alvin Kamara], that it’s a privilege for me to just play my part in all of it.”
Payton: “[Misfortune in the NFL] is always around the corner. But I do know this: The next time we have a quarterback who leads the league in interceptions will be the first time.”
King on the Saints’ win: “A complementary quarterback with a good supporting case and a tight defense won for the Saints on Sunday. Misfortune might be around the corner, but not this week. And maybe not for a while with a quarterback who’s determined to be Payton’s long-term answer at the position.”
King on the Chargers: “What hit me watching the Chargers was this: They played a team, Washington, with a top six or eight defense in the league, 3,000 miles from home, with a new offense and a new defense…and Justin Herbert was the perfect deodorant when he was most needed…That plus resolute performances by Derwin James and Joey Bosa on defense got new coach Brandon Staley off right.”
Chargers head coach Brandon Staley to King on Herbert: “Justin makes a lot of things go right. He just has such a great belief in himself. His location with the ball today was just fantastic. I know he was 31 of 47, but if we help him out a little there he’s got 36, 37 completions.”
King on the Texans: “(Tyrod) Taylor may not have the electric arm of (Deshaun) Watson, and he’s not going to put up 37 points every week, but there’s something to be said for playing turnover-free and avoiding the big sack…All of it sounds like such a cliché, but with a coach (David Culley) who preaches it and a quarterback who espouses it, who’s to say it can’t work?”
King on Steelers wide receiver Diontae Johnson: “The last time Johnson was in Buffalo last December, he dropped two balls and was benched for most of the first half by coach Mike Tomlin…The Steelers need the Johnson they saw Sunday to make a strong run at the division title. His quickness and speed make him invaluable to (Ben) Roethlisberger, who will keep going to him.”
King on the Ravens’ injuries: “We’ll see if a playoff team, with so many monumental losses before the first game of a 17-game season, can survive… (Ravens head coach John) Harbaugh is good at managing disaster. He has another thing going for him. He has vets like Calais Campbell, Alejandro Villanueva, Justin Houston and Jimmy Smith who’ve been around disasters before and can carry his message onto the field tonight. But this is a horrible way to enter a season.”
King on Ravens QB Lamar Jackson: “It’s curious that the Ravens seem content to wait till after this season to get a contract done with Jackson. Curious, but I don’t think it’s wrong. I say that because of Jackson’s postseason performance…It’s easy to say it’s just four games and you can’t draw any conclusions on the small sample size. Maybe not. But can you eliminate the four most important games a player has played when you’re discussing paying him $43 million a year for the next six years? I don’t think so.”
KING’S WEEK 1 AWARDS
Offensive Players of the Week: Tyrod Taylor, Houston, Dak Prescott, Dallas, Russell Wilson, Seattle & Kyler Murray, Arizona.
King on Taylor: “What I liked about Taylor’s performance in throttling the Jags was that he didn’t try to play like a superstar – he just made the plays that were there…Lots of good signs for the Texans on Sunday, none better than their itinerant quarterback.”
King on Murray: “Perhaps the best all-around offensive performance of Week 1 was Murray’s in Nashville.”
Defensive Player of the Week: Chandler Jones, Arizona.
King: “Jones stands alone in Week 1 after arguably the best game of a starry career. Jones, often playing opposite a good tackle, Taylor Lewan, had a career-high five sacks, three in the first quarter, and forced two fumbles in the Cardinals’ rout of the Titans in Nashville.”
Coach of the Week: David Culley, Houston.
King: “It’s clear that Culley and his staff got this team, against many odds and the longest shadow cast by any player in the league this year (Deshaun Watson), ready to play a very good game in the first game of his head-coaching life. Kudos to Culley.”
Goat of the Week: Jamie Gillan, Cleveland punter.
King: “Browns up 29-27, 8:42 to play in the fourth quarter, Gillan hasn’t punted all day…The snap is perfect, and for some reason known only to the fates, Gillan botches it. It falls to the ground, and he picks it up and does the Keystone Kops version of trying to run for 12 yards and a first down against an oppressive punt rush. No chance.”
NEWS & NOTES
King on Rams QB Matthew Stafford: “I think the gaudiest number of the weekend was 12.35. That’s the yards-per-attempt for Matthew Stafford in his Rams debut. Seeing that 8.0 is good to very good, 12.35 is ridiculous (26 attempts, 321 yards). I expect the Rams to have Stafford throw more than 26 times in just about every game this year.”
King on Arizona’s defense: “I loved watching the Arizona defense play against Derrick Henry on Sunday. When the game was still a game, Henry ran nine times for eight yards – that was his first-half total.”
King on the Chiefs’ win over the Browns: “It’s pretty easy, week after week, to focus on the genius of Patrick Mahomes when you watch Kansas City play…But the biggest play of the game was made by a safety who toils in the shadow of Tyrann Mathieu, Daniel Sorensen, and a cornerback the Vikings didn’t re-sign, Mike Hughes.”
King on Chargers QB Justin Herbert and Bengals QB Joe Burrow: “I look at Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert and think: Are both going to the Hall of Fame, or just one; and if one, which one? So confident at such a young age.”
King on the Buccaneers: “I think the most noticeable point about the Bucs’ opener was Tampa Bay’s offensive depth…(Cameron) Brate, (Scotty) Miller and (Tyler) Johnson averaged 57 combined snaps per game in the four playoff games last year. The fact they played only 29 against Dallas tells me they, plus (Jaelon) Darden and (O.J.) Howard, will have lots left in the tank when needed.”
The following are additional highlights of NBC Sports’ NFL coverage:
- PFT Live with NBC Sports’ Mike Florio and Mike Golic (Mondays) and Florio and Chris Simms (Tuesday-Thursday) streams live on Peacock from 7 a.m. – 9 a.m. ET on weekdays, followed by The Dan Patrick Show at 9 a.m. ET, The Rich Eisen Show at Noon ET, Brother From Another at 3 p.m. ET, PFT PM at 5 p.m. ET. At 6 p.m. ET, Chris Simms Unbuttoned streams Tuesday-Friday.
- ProFootballTalk.com continues to provide the latest news and updates.
- NBC Sports EDGE’s A Good Football Show continues the NFL discussion and Bet The Edge Podcast provides daily betting insights.
A new “Football Morning in America” posts every Monday morning exclusively on NBCSports.com through the NFL season. It was announced in May 2019 that King signed an exclusive agreement with NBC Sports Group that included writing a weekly Monday morning NFL column for NBCSports.com; making regular appearances on PFT Live with Mike Florio; and continuing to contribute to Football Night in America, the most-watched studio show in sports.