“Burrow’s steely mentality and his right arm are putting him on the path to greatness. I wouldn’t bet against him.” – King on Bengals QB Joe Burrow
“Henry is the offensive Aaron Donald, on his way to the Hall of Fame even though he’s still very much in mid-career.” – King on Titans RB Derrick Henry
“Once it’s resolved whether Aaron Rodgers stays in Green Bay or goes (by next February, presumably), and once there is clarity on when Watson can play, the losers in the Rodgers derby could make the bidding for Watson intense.” – King on teams potentially trading for Deshaun Watson
STAMFORD, Conn. – October 25, 2021 – Peter King speaks with Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow and Titans running back Derrick Henry in this week’s edition of Football Morning in America, available now exclusively on NBCSports.com. King also discusses Deshaun Watson trade scenarios, hands out his Week 7 awards, and more.
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The following are highlights from this week’s edition of Football Morning in America:
JOE BURROW & THE BENGALS
King on the Bengals: “17 games into the Joe Burrow Era, you’d better have a healthy respect for the Bengals. They’re coming. They’re crashing a party a year or two before anyone thought they’d be joining it…At 24, Burrow is going to be around for a while, and as long as he’s around, the Steelers and the Ravens (and the Browns, now) can’t treat the Bengals like a Homecoming game anymore.”
King: “If half of their free-agents on defense were even good (and the haul has turned out great so far), and if Burrow could stay healthy, I thought they’d be okay…Now, after seven weeks, it’s clear I underestimated them. The Bengals might not beat Tampa or Arizona right now, but they’d be competitive with them.”
Bengals QB Joe Burrow to King on facing the Ravens’ defense following Cincinnati’s Week 7 win: “I knew exactly what to expect from the game. You gotta play physical against them, you gotta play intense against them. Otherwise they’re gonna drown you…I knew exactly what was gonna happen coming in, where I was gonna take hits and I was gonna have to keep coming back. That’s exactly what we did. That’s exactly what I did, just stay patient and hang in. And that’s why we won the game.”
Burrow: “What Baltimore does on defense is they put you in one-on-one situations. They say their guys are better than our guys…We just kept putting our guys in positions we knew they could win, and we started making those plays. When we started making a few those plays, they got out of that zero blitz, blitzing every snap. Eventually, we got back into the normal flow of our offense”
Burrow on playing in full NFL stadiums compared to SEC stadiums in college: “We were ready for it. Playing in the SEC definitely, definitely helped. Gets way louder in the SEC than in any of these NFL stadiums.”
King on Burrow’s 82-yard touchdown pass to rookie wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase in the third quarter: “Think of the hours and the routes Burrow threw with Chase to make that 82-yard touchdown happen. I’m reminded of the slick comeback routes to Chris Hogan and Malcolm Mitchell that Tom Brady threw in the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history – the routes where the receiver would sprint 18 yards downfield, suddenly put his foot in the ground and turn back three yards.”
Burrow on beating Baltimore and Pittsburgh on the road this season: “We know exactly what the future holds. We’re gonna have to come back and beat both these guys again, play them on our home turf. They’ll be excited to come in and try to end our season early. We’re gonna have to keep getting better each week. I know it sounds cliché but we really just gotta keep getting better.”
King: “Great players walk into loud stadiums and have hardships against very good teams, and great players find a way to beat those odds and survive and win. Burrow’s steely mentality and his right arm are putting him on the path to greatness. I wouldn’t bet against him.”
DERRICK HENRY & THE TITANS
King on Titans running back Derrick Henry: “Henry is the offensive Aaron Donald, on his way to the Hall of Fame even though he’s still very much in mid-career. At 27, he is on his way to being the fifth player to lead the NFL in rushing three straight years.”
Henry to King following the Titans’ Week 7 victory: “As a running back,” he said, “I just gotta go out and do my job and hit the holes my teammates make for me. They’ve been fantastic. I give all my credit to them.”
Henry on his touchdown pass in yesterday’s win: “Kinda similar to the pass I had in the playoffs against the Ravens in 2019. Try to get the defense to suck up and do whatever … and it ended up in a touchdown.”
King on Henry and the Titans: “It’s within reach that Henry could be the most dominant rusher over a three-year span that there ever was – and what makes that all the more notable is the fact that we’re in an age of reduced rushing. Vastly reduced rushing. Good for the Titans that they recognize the value of traditional football and put it in the offensive game plan of a 5-2, division-leading team.”
KING’S WEEK 7 AWARDS
Offensive Players of the Week: Joe Burrow, Cincinnati, Kyle Pitts, Atlanta, D’Ernest Johnson, Cleveland, & Tom Brady, Tampa Bay.
King on Pitts: “The fourth pick in the 2021 draft, who gets covered by corners as well as safeties and linebackers, had seven catches for 163 yards, including an eye-popping one-handed catch in heavy coverage on the sideline. Pitts is becoming the target Matt Ryan cannot live without.”
King on Johnson: “Johnson, from the football hotbed of Immokalee, Fla., understands he may not get many chances in the NFL as an undrafted, unloved college free agent. He made the most of his first one…All of a sudden, the losses of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt do not seem fatal for Cleveland.”
Defensive Players of the Week: Rashan Gary, Green Bay, & Yannick Ngakoue, Las Vegas.
King on Ngakoue: “A consistent disruptive force for the (now) AFC West-leading Raiders, Ngakoue has toiled in Maxx Crosby’s ample shadow for the first six weeks, until Sunday. Ngakoue sacked the mobile Jalen Hurts twice, had two more tackles for loss, and broke up two passes in his best performance since leaving Jacksonville 14 months ago.”
Special Teams Players of the Week: Jack Fox, Detroit, & C.J. Moore, Detroit.
King on Fox: “The former high school quarterback was part of the Lions using every trick in Dan Campbell’s bag early at SoFi.”
Coach of the Week: Kevin Stefanski, Cleveland.
King: “Stefanski showed that a coach can win a game with his head as much as with his players.”
NEWS & NOTES
King on potential Deshaun Watson suitors: “A collection of bad games by needy QB teams could crowd the field – making it very good for the Texans to get more than one team bidding for Watson. I do hear that Miami owner Stephen Ross is not pushing his football people to deal for Watson right now. Which is smart. It makes zero sense for a team to deal huge assets for a player when the team doesn’t know when the player will be able to play.”
King on quarterback needy teams: “Once it’s resolved whether Aaron Rodgers stays in Green Bay or goes (by next February, presumably), and once there is clarity on when Watson can play, the losers in the Rodgers derby could make the bidding for Watson intense.”
King on Watson: “The NFL, I hear, won’t tell any franchise what it intends to do if a team trades for Watson and tries to activate him…Ian Rapoport reported Sunday it’s expected that Watson, if traded, would be allowed to play while his case is adjudicated. All that adds up to clouds—plus the fact that the fan base for a team that acquires Watson might protest the acquisition of a player with such legal and moral issues hanging over his head.”
King on the upcoming trade deadline: “Big deals, I doubt. Just not enough teams with enough cap room to absorb big players dreaming of big deals. The player who could be had at a need position, though his star is tarnished: cornerback Kyle Fuller, who’s been benched in Denver but who could be a good stretch-run get, cheap, for a contender.”
King on the Broncos ownership situation: “At some point soon, there’s going to be a resolution to who will own the Denver Broncos. If the seven children of Pat Bowlen cannot agree on a succession plan, the franchise trustees are likely to sell the team. Now I’ve heard that at least four individuals of means have been actively digging around to discover if said purchase will be smart…As for all of those (Robert Kraft and Jerry Jones, among others) who’d love to see Jeff Bezos get involved in ownership of an NFL franchise, I hear he’s not interested. At least now he’s not.”
King on the Browns: “I think there was so much to admire about the extremely unglamorous win by the Browns on Thursday night…Teams that play close attention to the bottom of the roster get rewarded when the team is crushed by injury, and GM Andrew Berry and his staff deserve credit for the care and feeding the full roster.”
The following are additional highlights of NBC Sports’ NFL coverage:
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- 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.