“With a healthy quarterback and a pressure D, it’s not just Jerry Jones’ sunny-sidedness that gives Dallas legit optimism for a deep playoff run.” – King on the Cowboys and QB Dak Prescott
“When you have a bad play or an interception and the game changes right there, you gotta have the water-down-a-duck’s-back mentality. Let it go…Mac’s got that. I really like what I see out of him. He’ll be a good quarterback for a long time.” – Prescott on Patriots rookie QB Mac Jones
“In my 38 seasons covering the NFL, I’ve never seen a class of quarterbacks as good as this one.” – King on the NFL’s quarterbacks this season
STAMFORD, Conn. – October 18, 2021 – Peter King speaks with Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott following Dallas’ 35-29 overtime victory over the Patriots yesterday in this week’s edition of Football Morning in America, available now exclusively on NBCSports.com. King also ranks his top-12 quarterbacks in the NFL right now, speaks with Cardinals assistant receivers coach Spencer Whipple – who called the plays in Arizona’s win yesterday – discusses Jon Gruden and Dan Snyder, hands out his Week 6 awards, and more.
Across NBC Sports this week, Pro Football Talk streams live on Peacock at 7 a.m. ET every weekday and re-airs at 9 a.m. ET on NBCSN. In addition to Pro Football Talk, Peacock offers daily sports programming on the NBC Sports channel for free, including shows Safety Blitz, Chris Simms Unbuttoned, The Peter King Podcast, The Rich Eisen Show, Brother from Another, and The Dan Patrick Show. To learn more about the NBC Sports on Peacock channel and how to sign up, click here.
The following are highlights from this week’s edition of Football Morning in America:
DAK PRESCOTT & THE COWBOYS
Cowboys QB Dak Prescott to King following Dallas’ Week 6 win: “I think what we’ve shown now, six games in, is we can win games on offense or defense. We’re feeling pretty good about ourselves.”
King on the 5-1 Cowboys: “Who saw any team with a three-game lead in the NFC East after six weeks? … With a healthy quarterback and a pressure D, it’s not just Jerry Jones’ sunny-sidedness that gives Dallas legit optimism for a deep playoff run.”
King on Patriots rookie QB Mac Jones after he threw a pick-six late in the fourth quarter vs. the Cowboys: “I said to Prescott how impressive it was that Jones, on the very next snap, threw a 75-yard touchdown pass to get New England back in it, and how impressive it was that Jones took three or four brutal shots on the day and just kept playing Rocky Balboa. He kept coming back for more.”
Prescott on Jones: “Those two things that you just said, honestly, are the two most important things to be really good at this position. You gotta be able to take a lick and not flinch and make the play when the hard hit’s coming. And when you have a bad play or an interception and the game changes right there, you gotta have the water-down-a-duck’s-back mentality. Let it go. It’s over. Mac’s got that. I really like what I see out of him. He’ll be a good quarterback for a long time.”
King on Prescott’s performance vs. the Patriots: “Prescott is playing with such confidence. With Gillette Stadium at a fever pitch, he was perfect on the last drive of the game. Five of five, each ball thrown in the perfect spot, the last one against Cover Zero.”
Prescott on the game-winning touchdown pass in overtime: “It was a designed roll out. Great call by (offensive coordinator) Kellen (Moore). He’s just been on fire all year long, honestly. Just for him to give a formation that we ran out of couple times, a condensed formation, and to allow me to run the naked out of it (a bootleg right) … Playmakers win, and we’ve got the playmakers.”
King on the Cardinals: “Usually after a big win, the head coach speaks in the locker room and the players cheer and someone gets a gameball. In the age of Covid, sometimes there’s a wrinkle. The 6-0 Cardinals stayed the last unbeaten team in football Sunday with a statement game – a 37-14 win at Cleveland. Afterward, the coach was in the locker room, sort of. Kliff Kingsbury was actually in the room virtually, on FaceTime, watching from his home 2,060 miles away in Arizona, quarantining with the coronavirus.”
King: “Spencer Whipple, the assistant receivers coach, got the nod from Kingsbury on Friday to call the plays into Kyler Murray’s helmet. Seems that Whipple’s even demeanor and encyclopedic knowledge of the Kingsbury offense appealed to the head coach.”
King on the Cardinals in Week 6: “The NFL’s lone unbeaten team didn’t just survive in Cleveland. The Cardinals buried the Browns.”
King on the Cardinals play-calling in Week 6: “Run-game coordinator Sean Kugler would ID the best running plays for situations, and when a run was called for, he’d be on the headset to Whipple, telling the play, and Whipple would tell Murray. On pass plays, Whipple would make the call. Both men knew there’d be times a run or pass might be the call, and in that case, they’d basically think, WWKC? What would Kliff call?”
Whipple to King: “Kliff put me at ease. When he told me what was going on, he just got right into it, instead of talking about how different it would be or how hard it would be. So I never really thought of the magnitude of it.”
King on calling plays for the Cardinals’ offense: “As special teams coordinator Jeff Rodgers told Whipple: ‘It’s not like you’re going to be driving a minivan. You’re taking the keys to a Ferrari in this game.’ … The Ferrari, of course, was Murray, off to a great start.”
King: “The Cards had 352 yards, scored on seven of 10 possessions, and it all seemed just too good to be true. When you’ve got a good plan and good player to execute it, dream days like this can happen.”
King: “I am not going to defend Gruden in any way – his emails are indefensible, and now that the sun has shone on them, he absolutely should not be coaching an NFL team. But I am going to ask this: What’s worse: An NFL owner running his team like a sixties frat house for at least a decade, with 40 women coming forward to decry sexist treatment by Snyder or his employees, lives and professional dreams shattered in the process; or a Neanderthal coach sending a slew of terrible emails?”
King on next steps to take: “Transparency. The league claims it can’t release the emails because it promised confidentiality to the women interviewed in the probe. There’s a compromise. Hire a neutral party with an impeccable reputation to run an investigation of the 650,000 emails.”
KING’S WEEK 6 AWARDS
Offensive Players of the Week: Jonathan Taylor, Indianapolis, Kyler Murray, Arizona, & Adam Thielen, Minnesota.
King on Taylor: “The 41st pick in the 2020 draft is turning out to be one of the best Colts GM Chris Ballard ever made.”
King on Murray: “He’s a frenetic ball of fire on the field, but Murray is pretty damn efficient too.”
Defensive Players of the Week: T.J. Watt, Pittsburgh, Maxx Crosby, Las Vegas, Markus Golden, Arizona.
King has Watt: “The Steelers are 3-3 this morning in large part because of what Watt did in overtime as the midnight hour approached in the ‘Burgh…Two sacks, seven tackles, and three passes blocked/deflected by Watt in a typically brilliant game.”
Special Teams Players of the Week: Matthew Wright, Jacksonville, Frankie Luvu, Carolina, & Luke Gifford, Dallas.
King on Wright: “For five games and 56 minutes, the Jaguars were 0-for-2021 in field goals. Hadn’t made a field goal yet. Wright, the former Steeler and Lion, active because of Josh Lambo’s ineffectiveness, picked a very good time to get Jacksonville off the schneid.”
Coach of the Week: Urban Meyer, Jacksonville.
King: “With so much heat on Meyer, it was a very nice way to win the first game of his NFL coaching career, and his first coaching win in 1,018 days.”
NEWS & NOTES
King on NFL quarterbacks in 2021: “So many good quarterbacks now. In my 38 seasons covering the NFL, I’ve never seen a class of quarterbacks as good as this one. Try to make a top 10 right now, for how quarterbacks are playing right now. Not who are the best, but how they’re playing right now, this month. It’s fruitless, but here goes:
|1. Kyler Murray||7. Justin Herbert|
|2. Josh Allen||8. Patrick Mahomes|
|3. Dak Prescott||9. Matthew Stafford|
|4. Lamar Jackson||10. Kirk Cousins|
|5. Tom Brady||11. Derek Carr|
|6. Aaron Rodgers||12. Joe Burrow|
King on Dallas defensive end Randy Gregory: “I think defensive end Randy Gregory is having an impact in Dallas…As many times as the Cowboys were criticized for sticking with the troubled Gregory, now that he appears to have his life in order, the combination of Gregory and rookie Micah Parsons on the front seven is gold for the Cowboys’ front.”
King on Tampa Bay running back Leonard Fournette: “I think it’s impressive to see what Leonard Fournette has become in the Tampa Bay offense – considering how he was discarded like some undrafted free agent by the Jaguars less than 14 months ago…And now look at Fournette, as vital a part of the Super Bowl champions’ offense as Mike Evans.”
King on Miami: “We’re two weeks before Halloween, and the Dolphins, who were supposed to be competitive with Buffalo in the AFC East this year, are already four games behind them in the loss column. Nothing seems certain with this franchise, including the futures of Brian Flores (16-22 in year three) and Tua Tagovailoa.”
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.