Watchdog

Neil Best leaves no stone unturned in the world of sports media.

TV types talk NFL; I type their talk

Most Sundays this fall I have been covering NFL games in person and thus unable to watch the network pregame shows.

This Sunday I did not cover an NFL game in person but was I unable to watch the network pregame shows because I was busy selecting my annual carving pumpkin and eating my annual cider doughnuts.

Here is some of what I missed, courtesy of the networks' hard-working p.r. staffs:

From CBS:

►QUICK HITS

(On meeting on Capitol Hill involving Congress, NFL and NFLPA concerning implementing HGH testing)

BOOMER ESIASON: First and foremost, it doesn't surprise me the union is backing off because they have players guilty of using this substance.  I don't care what anybody says.  And there are many who believe it is at least 20% in the league.  And I hope the players are paying attention because, guys, they are going to test you.  And it is coming right around the corner. 

(On Atlanta Falcons)

SHANNON SHARPE: For the Atlanta Falcons, this is a must‑win game.  They go on the road next week to Detroit, and then get New Orleans coming into their building the week after that.  What the Falcons tried to do when they lost that playoff game, they looked at what the Green Bay Packers did offensively…They wanted to be a fast break-type offense.  But they forgot, their offense doesn't play against the other team's offense.  They have to stop somebody.  They don't rush the passer and they do not play the ball well down the football field.  The Atlanta Falcons, if they lose to the Carolina Panthers today, their season's over. 

CHALK TALK

(On Colts Owner Jim Irsay saying he’d consider drafting Andrew Luck if they get No. 1 pick in 2012 draft)

DAN MARINO:  I still would take him because he's the possibility of having another franchise quarterback for a long time in Indianapolis.  Peyton Manning is going to be 36 next year.  Not sure he's healthy.  You can always trade the kid if you have to.  I would definitely take him. 

(On New York Jets)

MARINO:  You look at the Jets on the three‑game losing streak, and Rex Ryan having to deal with the finger pointing in the locker room.  It drives me nuts.  Santonio Holmes talking about the offensive linemen.  We love Rex Ryan, and the press conferences, the sound bytes, but he has the atmosphere like players can say anything they want.  Now as a head coach, he's not working on game-planning, dealing with the Miami Dolphins…He's working on, how am I going to deal with Santonio Holmes.  The locker room is against each other.  So that's a big game for them.  I think they're not going to make the playoffs. 

BOOMER:  I think they are a playoff team…The thing that I sense…they got rid of Derrick Mason because he was an instigator.  He was telling Santonio Holmes, they're not getting you the ball.  You're a superstar.  And Santonio Holmes takes that “C” that's on his chest and completely misrepresents it, and doesn't do it the right way.  And why Rex Ryan would give him the “C” and make him the captain before the season is beyond me. 

SHARPE:  I want to say one thing about Santonio Holmes and I'll move on to the Eagles.  The tongue weighs virtually nothing, but very few people can hold it.  The Philadelphia Eagles, the kind of mistakes they're making get coaches fired.

(On Denver’s Tim Tebow becoming a legitimate NFL quarterback as a starter)

COWHER:  I'm going to say yes if they do what he does best and try to eliminate half the field…Do I think they'll win a championship with him?  No.  I think he's got limitations and I think ultimately he can be a legitimate quarterback.  But they won't win a championship. 

SHARPE:  I agree with you.  Talking to John Elway this week, he said, look, we have to get this guy on the field and see what we have invested in him.  If this guy was a fourth-round draft pick, we would not have the up-swell to get him on the field and play.  But because he was a first-round draft pick, they want him on the field.

►“INSIDE THE NFL” WITH CHARLEY CASSERLY

(On Carson Palmer)

CASSERLY: I talked to the Bengals this morning, and they told me they are absolutely not going to trade him.  As far as they're concerned, he's still retired.

Casserly Discusses Denver’s Tim Tebow

Click to view report: http://www.cbssports.com/video/player/play/nfl_today/TNY1KTVQPgK6AbiMYNhq0d8mDMviXh_5

Casserly on Turmoil in Jets Locker Room

Click to view report: http://www.cbssports.com/video/player/play/nfl_today/dtC_l3OuJWHgw59_CmNbVivCD5oRyuYw

Casserly on Broncos Trading Brandon LLoyd or Eddie Royal before trade deadline 

Click to view report: http://www.cbssports.com/video/player/play/nfl_today/tZ4pqKGuBm_b2gvVNGHGAhV_CnzZg_fi

►DAN MARINO REVIEWS NEW YORK GIANTS’ ROLLER COASTER SEASON SO FAR WITH COUGHLIN, MANNING, NICKS AND OTHERS

THE NFL TODAY’s Dan Marino sits down with New York Giants Head Coach Tom Coughlin, quarterback Eli Manning, wide receiver Hakeem Nicks and other key Giants' players as they get ready to take on the surprising 4-1 Buffalo Bills.  Jeff St. Arromand is the producer.

To view the feature, click: http://www.cbssports.com/video/player/play/nfl_today/DQJR34f5UBZIhMO8NUdgSUlhlc5If8Tp

From NBC:

NEW YORK – October 16, 2011 – Following are highlights from Football Night in America. Bob Costas hosted the show live from the Soldier Field in Chicago and was joined on site for commentary by Sunday Night Football commentators Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth. Co-host Dan Patrick and commentators Tony Dungy, Rodney Harrison, Peter King and Mike Florio covered the news of the NFL’s sixth week live from Studio 8G at NBC’s 30 Rockefeller Plaza studios in New York. Alex Flanagan reported from Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass., on the Cowboys-Patriots game.

Football Night paid tribute to IndyCar Series driver Dan Wheldon, who was tragically killed today during the Las Vegas Indy 300. Wheldon was a member of the NBC Sports Group family, serving as an analyst for IndyCar Series telecasts on VERSUS.

Patrick: “Tragic news out of the racing world today where IndyCar driver Dan Wheldon was killed in a crash at the Las Vegas Indy 300, the final race of the season. The wreck involved 15 cars. Wheldon won his second Indy 500 earlier this year. He was a member of the NBC Sports family, working with us as an analyst. He was a native of England, resided in Florida, married with two young sons. It was the first fatality in the IndyCar circuit since 2006. Dan Wheldon was 33.”

EMBED NBC SPORTS VIDEO: Highlights from Football Night and other NBC Sports programming are available to be embedded at NBCSports.com. Click the following links for:

Bob Costas interviews Bears LB Brian Urlacher:

http://nbcsports.msnbc.com/id/22825103/vp/44923432#44923432

Bob Costas interviews Vikings QB Donovan McNabb and RB Adrian Peterson:

http://nbcsports.msnbc.com/id/22825103/vp/44923461#44923461

Costas, Collinsworth & Michaels on the Jim Schwartz-Jim Harbaugh handshake:

http://nbcsports.msnbc.com/id/22825103/vp/44924256#44924256

Patrick, Dungy & Harrison on the Jim Schwartz-Jim Harbaugh handshake:

http://nbcsports.msnbc.com/id/22825103/vp/44924651#44924651

King and Florio wrap-up:

http://nbcsports.msnbc.com/id/22825103/vp/44924444#44924444

ON SCHWARTZ-HARBAUGH

King: “This, when the NFL investigates, is going to turn into a he said-he said situation.”

Florio: “The NFL will start investigating starting tomorrow and lead spokesman Greg Aiello told me the key issue will be whether, or to what extent, there was physical contact. So, any shoving by either coach, any type of contact, could get that coach in trouble.”

Dungy: “I didn’t think it was that big of a deal. Jim Schwartz should have just let that go…I’ve had some handshakes with some coaches that I didn’t appreciate. When you lose, you just have to go to the locker room.”

Harrison: “Jim Schwartz has to understand that Jim Harbaugh is coming from a college atmosphere; the guy gets excited. He didn’t purposely try to do that…I played with the guy (Harbaugh). He’s a good guy. He’s not that type of person.”

ON 49ERS

Dungy: “They are renewed. They have a different energy and it starts with their head coach Jim Harbaugh. He may need to work on his postgame handshake, but he has these guys playing.”

Dungy on Harbaugh: “(He’s) the difference between last year’s 49ers and this year’s 49ers. They’re doing the same thing, they are running the ball, they’re playing good defense trying to protect Alex Smith. But they believe in this guy, this coach, Jim Harbaugh. He has changed the culture there.”

Dungy: “My big winner is those San Francisco 49ers and Jim Harbaugh. They have gone eight years and only won three games in the East Coast time zone. They have won three in a row (this year) and they are in first place in the West, and they are making the playoffs.”

ON LIONS

Dungy comparing Nate Burleson’s touchdown today with Calvin Johnson’s from last year: “He's out of bounds before he loses the ball. Calvin Johnson last year: same situation. He goes up high, makes a great catch, gets both feet down, loses the ball at the end. What is the difference? When you look at them simultaneously, what is the difference?”

Harrison: “Looks like a catch to me.”

Dungy: “They're both touchdowns. The guys catch the ball, they've got two feet down in the end zone, they should both be touchdowns.”

ON EAGLES

Harrison: “Four straight losses, divisional win, on the road, huge. I believe…they will win the division.”

Dungy on safety Kurt Coleman’s one career INT prior to today: “He probably hasn't played against Rex Grossman enough.”

Patrick: “Do you still believe they are going to win the division?”

Harrison: “Yes.”

ON REDSKINS

King: “We could be looking at a quarterback shake-up in Washington. The Redskins benched Rex Grossman. He was All-World for a while. He threw four interceptions, was subbed for in the third quarter by John Beck. Mike Shanahan, the coach of the team, was non-committal after the game, but I can tell you this: Mike Shanahan and his son Kyle, the offensive coordinator, they love them some John Beck. I think they’re going with Beck.”

ON PACKERS

Collinsworth: “This is the only team that we’re seeing right now that truly looks dominant. You can look around at the other teams that are not bad, but if you are looking for a dominant team, it is only the Packers at this point.”

Patrick: “If there's a football version of batting practice, it looked like it was batting practice for Aaron Rodgers today.”

ON STEELERS

Dungy on Mike Tomlin: “He is not happy. They got Rashard Mendenhall going today, but that wasn’t his type of football. I think that test he is referring to could be the Cincinnati Bengals in a couple weeks. They’re playing good football.”

ON GIANTS

Dungy: “Today, the Giants defensive line stepped up when they needed it. They were after him (Ryan Fitzpatrick) all day and got to him several times.”

ON COWBOYS

Flanagan: “Jerry Jones did tell me today that he has taken some calls regarding a trade for Tashard Choice, the running back. He will, in fact, consider that, if the right opportunity is available.”

ON RAVENS

Dungy on Ray Rice: “He was the best player on the field today...Ray Rice energizes them. He runs, he catches the ball, he breaks tackles, he gives them energy. This guy, he was the best player on the field.”

ON TEXANS

Harrison: “They played hard, but simply they were out manned. When you lose Andre Johnson, you lose explosive plays down the field. When you lose a guy like Mario Williams, although his impact wasn’t really felt today because they managed to put pressure on Joe Flacco, but those two main guys; if you want to compete with the big boys of the league, you need your big weapons.”

ON FALCONS

Patrick: “Is Atlanta going to make the playoffs?”

Harrison: “No… I don’t believe in them.”

ON SAINTS

Dungy on critical fourth-and-two play: “I really don’t like the call. We had it opening night in our [NFL Kickoff opener] game and I didn’t like it then…Tampa had seen this.”

Harrison: “Why did you go out and draft Mark Ingram? Why did you go pay Pierre Thomas, if you are not going to run these guys?”

ON BUCCANEERS

Harrison: “Tampa’s defensive line, they played well against Indy; they played well against Atlanta; and maybe that is the reason because they were putting pressure and they forced Drew Brees into three interceptions today.”

Following are highlights from Bob Costas’ interview with Bears LB Brian Urlacher, and Vikings QB Donovan McNabb and RB Adrian Peterson:

BRIAN URLACHER

COSTAS on Urlacher’s critical comments of the Bears defense made after last week’s game: Do you really think you stink or was that an attempt to motivate your guys?

URLACHER: I was mad after the game. I’m always mad after games. It felt like we played bad, but going back and watching the film, we didn’t play that bad. Big plays are killing us.

COSTAS: There was a scene on Monday night where it appeared that you and Lance Briggs were jawing at one another. You want to clear that one up?

URLACHER: My daughter asked me the same thing. She said, ‘Why are you and Uncle Lance fighting on the sideline?’ I said, ‘What are you talking about?’ She said, ‘You were yelling at Lance.’ I said, ‘I wasn’t yelling.’ … I think it was right after a touchdown, I’m sure, one of the long ones. We were just trying to figure out what happened on the play. Lance and I don’t bicker on the sidelines, we bicker during the game. (laughs) We fight during the game or after a play’s over. We don’t fight on the sideline. We usually talk and try to figure out what happened and then go on to the next play.

COSTAS on the abuse Jay Cutler has been taking: You’ve got to feel for the guy.

URLACHER: I feel bad for him. Jay’s tough. I think everyone’s seen how tough he is. He takes hits, he doesn’t say anything. He keeps coming back for more. He doesn’t complain. He just goes out there. He played great on Monday night. We got to play better on defense and give them some better opportunities to score.

COSTAS: You’re part of a line of great Chicago linebackers: Butkus, Singletary, yourself. What does it mean to you?

URLACHER: Bill George is the first one. Just to be mentioned in…is an honor for me. It’s a great city to play football in, especially defense and middle linebacker. It’s definitely an honor.

COSTAS on New Mexico being the only major school to recruit Urlacher: Are you carrying a chip on your shoulder?

URLACHER: For sure. I feel like I have something to prove every day. I think you have to have that at this level…just to try and get better every day. I know Lance does it. I think there were 12 guys drafted in front of him. That motivates him. I’m the same way.

DONOVAN MCNABB & ADRIAN PETERSON

COSTAS: First three games out of the shoot, you’ve got a halftime lead on San Diego; you’ve got the halftime lead on Tampa; you’ve got a 20-0 lead on Detroit. When you’ve got a running game, like Adrian Peterson represents, usually a team with a ground game doesn’t lose those kinds of leads, right?

MCNABB: Teams usually don’t lose a lead, if you don’t turn the ball over, so we have to be able to close games, and we’ve all discussed that over the weeks and understand exactly what we have to do.

COSTAS to Peterson: How much of a student of the game’s history are you? The only two great ones I can think of who combined power and speed the way you do: O.J. Simpson, Eric Dickerson. Maybe Jim Brown.

PETERSON: You don’t want to throw (Walter) Payton in there?

COSTAS: Walter was not as fast as you, with all due respect.

PETERSON: He was pretty fast…But I agree with those guys.

From Fox:

NFL Insider Jay Glazer reports that Broncos head coach John Fox is not willing to completely tailor their offense to Tim Tebow yet: “John Fox told me he can’t change the whole offense. He said ‘I love Tebow but we can’t completely change our offense. We’ll do some things differently but what about the other ten guys who are out there.”

Analyst Jimmy Johnson on whether Tim Tebow will be a successful quarterback in the NFL: “He will not be successful as long as they force him into this drop back pro-style of offense. Most coaches are hard-headed and don’t like to change but the only way he’s going to be successful is to put him in the shotgun. Don’t ever put him under center.”

Analyst Michael Strahan on the message changing the offense to fit Tebow sends to the rest of the team: “You have to wonder how many people want him to be successful. There’s only so much you can change in an offense, especially after a shortened off-season. All of sudden they have a new quarterback and everyone is yelling to change everything for him. How many players in Denver are really going to accept that? It’s a shot to your ego.”

Analyst Howie Long on Tebow’s biggest obstacle in Denver – the GM: “They underestimated his appeal. Tebow trying to fit into a conventional offense is a square peg into a round hole. Regardless of how successful he is during this stretch, if Tebow is going to be a productive NFL quarterback, it’s not going to be in Denver. The reason is the general manager. Could you imagine John Elway wanting to run a spread offense? That’s not the quarterback he envisions moving forward with this franchise.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

NFL Insider Jay Glazer reports on teams vying for Brandon Lloyd as the NFL trade deadline nears: “The 49ers are the team that’s had the most talks with Brandon Lloyd since they lost their No. 1 receiver this week. Also the New England Patriots and this morning I heard that the Rams are in heavy talks with the Broncos. [Rams offensive coordinator] Josh McDaniels got a lot out of Lloyd last year when he was in Denver.”

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Analyst Jimmy Johnson what the coaching staff shuffle within the Eagles: “The problems Philadelphia is having right now really started when Jim Johnson passed away. There’s been a void ever since. Taking your offense line coach and moving him to defense when he’s never coached a defense weakened both sides. He wasn’t prepared for that job. [Eagles offensive line coach] Howard Mudd did a great job coaching offensive line for Peyton Manning but that’s not the same as for Michael Vick. It weakened both areas when they made that change.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Co-host Terry Bradshaw thinks this year’s Lions are reminiscent of his Steelers: “I think all of us, especially during this recession, have felt bad for Detroit. Entire neighborhoods are now ghost towns. But heck, Detroit is coming back. Can you believe Ford will spend $4.8 billion on upgrading factories, and plan to hire 5,700 more workers? As for today's undefeated Lions, they remind me of a young Pittsburgh team. In the late '60s, the Steelers were awful and drafted Mean Joe Greene. The next season, Pittsburgh was even worse and took some kid from Louisiana Tech named Bradshaw. Now in Detroit, the fans believe again. I'm not saying Suh and Stafford are going to the Super Bowl this season, but the Lions picked the right building blocks. Stafford even went to Bobby Layne's old Dallas high school, and old timers remember Layne was the Lions' quarterback when they won three NFL titles in the '50s. Layne was a character, and the Lions share his spunk. And there's nothing sweeter than seeing a team ignite an entire city. Detroit's been known as Motown and Hockey-town, but it goes by Lions-town now.”

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Analyst Michael Strahan on how the undefeated Lions will matchup today against the 49ers: “The mark of a good team is being able to come from behind and we’ve seen Detroit do that this season. Sometimes you run into a team that’s not going to let you do that. If the Lions don’t get off to a better start and get behind in this game, the 49ers will keep them from coming back.”

Co-host Terry Bradshaw on the key to the 49ers success: “Alex Smith finally gets some love after six years. He’s been beat up, spit out and had everyone always yelling to get rid of him. When head coach Jim Harbaugh came in, he said, ‘this is my guy and I believe in him.’ It’s that belief and confidence that’s gotten Smith going. He’s operating with confidence and that came from his head coach. They finally have their No.1 quarterback playing like a No. 1 quarterback.”

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Analyst Michael Strahan on the key to Atlanta’s offense: “You have to get Michael Turner involved. He’s like a bowling ball. If you drop a bowling ball it doesn’t go anywhere. You have to roll it and then you have a chance for a strike.”

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Co-host Terry Bradshaw on what he expects from Tony Romo today against the Patriots: “You are measured as a quarterback by how well you play in big games. Tony Romo is a guy I turn on the television to watch, he’s exciting and in a different way than Tom Brady. The problem is when you put it on his shoulders he tries to do too much and he makes big mistakes. I think he has learned. I don’t think he’ll do that today against the Patriots.”

From ESPN

ESPN's Sunday NFL Countdown host Chris Berman and analysts Cris Carter, Mike Ditka, Tom Jackson, and Keyshawn Johnson previewed the NFL’s week 6 games with Suzy Kolber, analysts Merril Hoge and Bill Parcells, and NFL Insiders Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen. Some excerpts:
 
On whether the upside is worth the risk with Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo…
Parcells: “If Tony isn’t playing, I don’t think Dallas really could win. He’s a very catalytic player. He’s a guy that can create things on his own. He improvises.  He does all of that. He has to impose discipline on himself in some of these critical situations that are happening near the end of the games.”
Johnson: “You look at the bad, the good outweighs that by far.”
Jackson: “His upside is certainly worth it, but you cannot let him lose games. You have to be willing to do something to help him win a game.”
Carter: “Tony Romo matches up against any quarterback in the league. Tony Romo has what I would call ‘the clutch gene’.”
 
On Denver Broncos new starting quarterback Tim Tebow…
Parcells: “The reservation I have is, can he pass the ball efficiently enough? And that’s over 60 percent, and it can’t all be behind the line of scrimmage. The accuracy, I’m going to have to see that. Every other single aspect, I think he has.”
Jackson: “My attitude is: let’s give it a chance.”
 
On who’s to blame for the Philadelphia Eagles’ struggles…
Johnson: “Whoever was making the decisions to bring guys in. … They made a mistake because these guys don’t fit what they’re trying to do just yet, and the time is running out on them.”
Jackson: “In football, your 53-man squad needs chemistry, and it needs to be built through tough times. They didn’t have a chance to do that, and it’s going to be very difficult to acquire that.”
Ditka: “What they’re doing on defense – and I’m picking on the defense -- is not working.”
Carter: “I got a problem with whoever gave that guy the assignment from being O-line coach to D coordinator.”
Parcells: “Just stop turning the ball over, you’ll win.”
 
On whether the Oakland Raiders are for real…
Jackson: “I’m buying ‘em because they are built in the image of Al Davis.”
Hoge: “The Raiders didn’t get the memo – that this is a passing league. They didn’t get that memo because they run the football on the perimeter better than anybody.”
Parcells: “If they could cut down a little on that recklessness, cut those penalties down, they’re going to go right to the top of that discipline index, and that usually means winning.”
 
On the Atlanta Falcons focusing less on the run and more on the passing game this season…
Parcells: “They just don’t block well enough for the passer to continue that approach. If they continue it, I think they’re going to be short on quarterbacks pretty soon.”
Hoge: “It’s those little things that fall on your offensive line that are not getting done. … it makes it harder to throw the football down the field.”
 
On a potential weakness for the undefeated Green Bay Packers…
Parcells: “If the Packers have one, maybe, visible flaw to me it might be in their secondary. They lost Nick Collins. Don’t underestimate that loss. He’s probably their best secondary player. They’re a little bit short on corners. … Sometimes the next man up’s talent isn’t quite the same as the guy you lost.”
 
On the Buffalo Bills, who have won games and created many turnovers despite its defense giving up a lot of yards per game…
Jackson: “They have given up 450-plus yards for four weeks in a row. The last team to do it was the 1950 Baltimore Colts. … That team did it the last four games of the season -- and they folded! The organization was extinct. I just want to see what happens if somebody doesn’t turn the ball over against the Bills.”
 
On Cam Newton’s rookie success with the Carolina Panthers and how the team has adopted the speed option…
Mortensen: “It’s no longer the college player adjusting to the NFL. It’s the NFL adjusting to a gifted college player.”
 
On his improved relationship with Calvin Johnson after not ranking the Detroit Lions star in his preseason top-5 receivers list…
Carter: (laughing) “Oh yeah, we got it fixed up. We’re big homies now.
 
From NFL Network:

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. 

This Sunday, Faulk will join Eisen and Mariucci on NFL GameDay Highlights at 7:30 PM ET, replacing Deion Sanders who is in Atlanta to receive his Hall of Fame ring at halftime of the Falcons 1:00 PM ET matchup vs. Carolina.

‘Sunday Sit-Down: Michael Irvin 1-on-1 with Patriots WR Wes Welker

Michael Irvinsits down with Patriots WR Wes Welker to discuss his journey from being an undrafted free agent who was cut by San Diego to one the league’s most prolific wide receivers:

“The mind can be a powerful thing. I think just believing in yourself and if you go out there every single play with that mindset of hey, I’m going to make a play here, if I don’t make it, nobody is going to make it, I think ultimately that’s the most key thing about being a receiver.”– Wes Welker on how he is able to have success, despite his size

“I was pretty devastated after that and really didn’t know what was going to happen. I was kind of lost and next thing you know, I was on a plane to Miami. I was going to be on the practice squad at first there and then ended up getting bumped up.”– Wes Welker getting cut by the Chargers and going to Miami

“No, not at all. I thought I was going to return kicks and punts my whole career. I didn’t know that it could become this. At the time, I was just trying to keep a job. I was thinking the more receiver I can play, then they’ll see I can do that and help out there and they’ll keep me around longer.”– Wes Welker on if he thought he matched Jerry Rice’s record-breaking paces

“It’s definitely pressure, but at the same time I love it. I love being that guy and having that attitude that I have to get this done for us and make sure that I’m making the plays necessary for us to win. You know, having No. 12 back there doesn’t hurt either and once you get that first play, it kind of takes the pressure off everybody.” – Wes Welker on the pressure of being the target on the field

“Keep on encouraging him and keep on bringing him along, talking about different routes and telling him at some point, you’re going to have to have a breakout game for us to win. We have all the confidence in the world that’s going to happen.”– Wes Welker on how he encourages fellow wide receiver Chad Ochocinco

To view Irvin’s interview with Patriots WR Wes Welker, please visit:

http://www.nfl.com/videos/nfl-player-interviews/09000d5d823214f0/Sunday-Sitdown-Wes-Welker

Quotes from NFL GameDay Morning:

“He’s playing as well as he ever has. I know everyone looks at the offensive line and he’s running around, getting hit, but in the midst of all that, he’s playing good football.”– Kurt Warner on Eagles QB Michael Vick

“It’s impressive what Jim Harbaugh has these guys doing. Their offense is only ranked 27th, their defense is sitting at (number) 13, but somehow they’ve found ways to win football games.”– Marshall Faulk on the San Francisco 49ers

“The biggest question for Atlanta from me is ‘where’s the defense?’ You have this explosive, high-powered offense that wants to go up and down the field; well, give them the ball. Go out and shut people down, get them off the field, get the ball back to your offense and let them go out and attack people.”– Warren Sapp on the Atlanta Falcons

“Matty Ice, he’s great, he’s fine, but not yet Kurt Warner. He’s not yet in charge of ‘The Greatest Show on Turf.’ He still has a running team that can throw the ball.”– Michael Irvin on QB Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons

“By the definition of what a receiver’s job is – catching passes, first downs, touchdowns – absolutely, without a doubt.”– Michael Irvin on if Patriots WR Wes Welker is the best receiver in the league

“This quarterback, the way that he is playing, he will not lead this team to a Super Bowl… Unless he becomes the facilitator that he is and not the playmaker that he wants to be. Quarterbacks facilitate. Playmakers make plays. When you try to do both, you become a double agent in this business.”– Marshall Faulk on if Cowboys QB Tony Romo will ever lead Dallas to the Super Bowl

“You just continue to run the football because this defense, they’re a collection of talent that is not playing well together as a team.”– Marshall Faulk on how the Redskins should attack the Philadelphia

“This guy is playing football like I’ve never seen before. I thought I knew who Alex Smith was coming into this season. Now, I’m starting to think that maybe I was wrong.”– Kurt Warner on 49ers QB Alex Smith

“They’re going to ask this defense to win this game because Tony Romo cannot. The ball cannot be in his hands at the end of this football game.”– Marshall Faulk on the Dallas Cowboys game plan vs. New England

“The [Detroit] Tigers are eliminated, so it’s all about the Lions.”– Steve Mariucci on the Detroit Lions

“Tony Romo is a great quarterback…But he needs more. It’s not a one-man game; he can’t take them by himself, he won’t win it by himself. This defense has to show up.” – Warren Sapp on if QB Tony Romo will ever win a Super Bowl with the Cowboys

Bold Predictions:

Steve Mariucci: Cowboys QB Tony Romo will have his best game of the season vs. New England

Marshall Faulk: Patriots will rush for 100+ yards on the Cowboys No. 1-ranked rush defense

Kurt Warner: For the first time in NFL history, there will be 12 100-yard rushers this weekend

Warren Sapp: Week 5 bye teams (Baltimore, Cleveland, Dallas, Miami, St. Louis, Washington) will not win today

Michael Irvin: Panthers QB Cam Newton throws for 400 yards vs. Atlanta and Panthers win.

Michael Lombardi’s ‘Front Office View’

On the Aaron Curry trade from Seattle to Oakland:

Right now they’re relying on Hugh Jackson. This trade was in the works before Mr. Davis passed away. They needed a linebacker. They play linebackers that are big, physical, but cannot play in space which is one of the reasons you can run the ball on the perimeter of the Raider defense. So this trade was in the works; they got Seattle to pay off most of the contract, which fits the structure of the Raiders salary cap and the trade was made. Essentially, Hugh Jackson is really running the operation right now.

On Carson Palmer trade rumors:

I reported on Friday in my [NFL.com] column that Carson Palmer has been in contact, phone contact with Mike Brown, but every time they have a conversation, the gap widens. Mike Brown is not going to trade Palmer. This has been a dead issue going back to the summer, it will continue to be a dead issue once the trading deadline passes on Tuesday.

On Brandon Lloyd trade rumors:

I think they have to trade Brandon Lloyd. They knew going in when you put Tim Tebow under center, Brandon Lloyd’s effectiveness within the offense is not going to be there. Plus, his contract is expiring at the end of the season, he won’t be in Denver. I look for the St. Louis Rams, the Tennessee Titans to make a strong play for him. I really believe he’ll be traded by the deadline on Tuesday.

On Brandon Marshall trade rumors:

[The Dolphins] have invested two No. 2 picks into Brandon Marshall along with a huge contract. To me, it seems unlikely they could recoup that and bring the value back to the Miami Dolphins. The Dolphins are short a playmaker. They need Brandon Marshall more than they can get rid of Brandon Marshall.

On Reggie Bush trade rumors:

Reggie Bush has been a disappointment in Miami, partly because they anticipated him to have more of an impact with they’re daily offense. I think if someone made the right phone call they would do something with Reggie Bush. Remember Miami, 0-4, they have to use their assets to put themselves in a better position for next season. Reggie Bush is essentially seen as an asset, I’m not sure he’s a full-time asset.

On Kyle Orton trade rumors:

I think certainly Kyle Orton could be had at the right price, for any price. But who’s going to pick up a quarterback with such a high salary cap number, such a high paragraph five and then he comes into your team and he won’t know what to do to run that offense. I think it would be unlikely he would get dealt at this point of the season.

On the Philadelphia Eagles rumored to bring in a defensive consultant:

They’re not talking about a consultant. There’s this rumor that Eric Mangini was supposed to be involved with this decision, coming in to help them out, but the reality is Eric Mangini is not. Mangini talked to this team back in January and February, they still had not hired Juan Castillo, as potentially being the defensive coordinator. For whatever reason, they did not go in the Eric Mangini direction, but right now this is Juan Castillo’s baby. He went third person on us this week and talked about how in 10 weeks, we’re going to come back and say that he did have a plan. But here is the key component; there is a lot of doubt in that Philadelphia locker room with their players about whether they can actually have the right coaching to turn this thing around.

On NFL.com the following video clips from NFL GameDay Morning are available for viewing:

 

Bold Predictions – Week 6 – The NFL GameDay Morning crew discusses their outrageous predictions for week 6 of NFL action.

http://www.nfl.com/videos/nfl-network-gameday/09000d5d82327228/Week-6-bold-predictions

 

Prime Time Pride – Episode 6 of The NFL Season heads to The Motor City to see how Detroit’s unwavering love from the Lions is finally paying off.

http://www.nfl.com/features/the-season-2011/episode-6

 

Does Romo have what it takes? – Will Tony Romo ever win a Super Bowl with the Dallas Cowboys? The NFL GameDay Morning crew discusses whether or not the star quarterback is championship worthy.

http://www.nfl.com/videos/nfl-network-gameday/09000d5d82327683/Does-Romo-have-what-it-takes

 

Are the Eagles done? – The star-studded Philadelphia Eagles are off to a slow start. Is their season over or can Michael Vick lead this team back to playoff contention?

http://www.nfl.com/videos/nfl-network-gameday/09000d5d823277b5/Are-the-Eagles-done

 

Surprise team of the season – Which team is more of a surprise this season, the Detroit Lions or the San Francisco 49ers?

http://www.nfl.com/videos/nfl-network-gameday/09000d5d82327061/Surprise-team-of-the-season

 

Season of spectacular catches – The 2011 NFL season has been filled with acrobatic receptions. Take a deeper look at how receivers perfect the art of a one-handed catch.

http://www.nfl.com/videos/nfl-network-gameday/09000d5d82326ed5/Season-of-spectacular-catches

 

What will we learn? – What will we learn after week 6 of NFL action? Steve Mariucci discusses trends and topics to watch out for in this week's games.

http://www.nfl.com/videos/nfl-network-gameday/09000d5d82326e8c/What-will-we-learn

 

Most dangerous 3-2 team – Which 3-2 team will be the most successful this season? The NFL GameDay Morning crew discusses which team will thrive by the end of the season.

http://www.nfl.com/videos/nfl-network-gameday/09000d5d82326db3/Most-dangerous-3-2-team

 

Fantasy greats for Sunday – Need to make any last minute changes to your fantasy team? Michael Fabiano and Warren Sapp reveal which players will be fantasy greats this Sunday.

http://www.nfl.com/videos/nfl-network-gameday/09000d5d82326cb9/Fantasy-greats-for-Sunday

 

Rams to upset the Packers? – Will the St. Louis Rams defeat the Green Bay Packers? The NFL GameDay Morning crew discusses how the Rams may be able to upset the Super Bowl champs.

http://www.nfl.com/videos/nfl-network-gameday/09000d5d82326c1d/Rams-to-upset-the-Packers

 

Tags: NFL , CBS , NBC , ESPN , NFL Network , Fox

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Neil Best on Twitter

advertisement | advertise on newsday