ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown host Chris Berman and analysts Cris Carter, Mike Ditka, Tom Jackson, and Keyshawn Johnson previewed today’s NFL action with Suzy Kolber and other analysts Bill Parcells and Merril Hoge and NFL Insiders Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen. Some excerpts:
On the Bears and Packers – will Chicago be able to slow Green Bay’s quarterback Aaron Rodgers?
Jackson: “They’ve already slowed him (Aaron Rodgers). The seven times that he’s played them… his numbers have been very pedestrian.”
Parcells: “It’s a very, very simple, patient system that the Bears are using, and they’ve given the Packers a very, very hard time with it over recent years.”
On the New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles – does either team change their approach?
Johnson: “If you’re the Philadelphia Eagles, you do not change Michael Vick’s approach.”
Carter: “If I’m a wide receiver and I’m playing with Michael Vick, I change up my approach… If I catch a short pass, I’m trying to get as many yards after the catch in this game to help out my quarterback.”
Parcells: “Why would you play a player that had a built-in excuse for not performing well? So the fact that Michael Vick’s playing leads me to believe that Andy Reid and their coaching staff feels he’s capable of doing everything that that offense requires. And I think that’s what you’ll see today. It’ll be the same Michael Vick.”
On Houston and New Orleans – can the Texans play with the Saints?
Carter: “That (Houston’s) offensive line doesn’t get a lot of credit. It’s one of the best in football.”
Johnson: “They’re (Houston’s) not quite ready to play with the big boys yet.”
Ditka: “If not now, when?”
On AFC East matchup – New England @ Buffalo:
Parcells: “I don’t see how anybody in their right mind could decide to get in a shootout with Tom Brady. Based on what I’ve seen, that’s a recipe for disaster. Now the Bills have one asset I think better than the Patriots: their running backs. If they can keep Brady off the field somehow and hold it close till the fourth quarter, I think they might have a chance.”
Carter: “When they (New England) lose, teams run the ball well against them and also, Tom Brady goes on the ground… I’m not trying to say hurt him, but you have to make him uncomfortable.”
On players faking injuries:
Jackson: “I think it’s a form of cheating.”
Johnson: “If a guy went down, who am I to say whether or not that player is actually injured?”
Parcells: “This kind of stuff… has been going on in the NFL for quite some time. But it takes all different forms.”
Schefter: “It’s a very difficult thing to regulate. How are you going to enforce this?”
On Blaine Gabbert and Cam Newton – can Gabbert do what Newton has done?
Ditka: “Nobody in the history of the game’s ever done it I don’t think… and it’s not like Cam Newton has the greatest surrounding cast, guys. He doesn’t. That’s why they’re 0-2 right now. A little better surrounding cast, it’ll be unbelievable what this guy can do.”
Carter: “It’s not every day that you see a guy (Cam Newton) that has the size, the football IQ, the charisma and the ability to be able to go through controversy and still be successful.”
Johnson: “They have one thing in common. They were drafted the same year.”
Parcells: “I think he’s (Blaine Gabbert) demonstrated that he’s got real good potential… but fellas, we gotta get the Huggies off both of these guys before we start passing judgment.”
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