ESPN NFL Sunday Countdown Pregame Notes – Week 14

From ESPN – 


ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown Notes and Quotes: Week 14

 
ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown host Chris Berman and analysts Cris Carter, Mike Ditka, Tom Jackson, and Keyshawn Johnson previewed today’s NFL’s week 14 games, along with Suzy Kolber, analysts MerrilHoge, Bill Parcells, Herm Edwards, and NFL Insiders Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen. Some excerpts:
 
On Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett icing his kicker vs. the Cardinals last weekend:
The three former coaches – Parcells, Edwards and Ditka – discussed how Cowboys Jason Garrett can rebuild credibility with the team …
Parcells:  “You have to be accountable.  Everybody knows what happened.  You have to stand up.  You have to reiterate to them, ‘Listen, I made a mistake.  This is a game that’s not without human error.’  But this situation goes back to situationalfootball.  You have to prepare for it in the summer.  Go over these kinds of things repeatedly during summer and then on Fridays, periodically during the season, you have to take time to review them.”
Edwards:  “When this situation occurs and the game is lost, as the head coach, you don’t wait until the middle of the week.  When the game is over, as soon as it is over, you come to the locker room and you gather your football team together andyou tell them this:  ‘Look, I hold you guys accountable to play and preparation during the course of the week.  I hold myself accountable as to what happened today.  I didn’t manage the clock correctly.  I screwed it up.  It was all me.’  Then you go throughthe process, basically, of what you were thinking and why it happened … You want to hit it right after the game.  That let’s your team know, I’m accountable to you guys as well as you guys are accountable to me.”
Ditka:  “You can’t undo what happened.  You’ve got to go to your football team, you’ve got to tell them very simply, ‘My bad.  Here’s what I’m going to do from now on guys.  I’m going to trust you because you are the players on the field.  I’m goingto put you in the best position I can for you to play your best football.  I’m going to trust you to win the football game because players win football games.’”   
 
More Garrett and the Cowboys late-game failures:
The three former players – Johnson, Jackson and Carter – discussed how the Cowboys can improve in late-game situations …
Johnson:  “You have to start with the head coach.  He must turn the keys over to Tony Romo in two-minute situations.  He is the quarterback of the football team … Tony (Romo) is the head of the football team.  He’s the leader.  He’s the quarterback.Third and 11, he shouldn’t be jogging down the field looking for a response from the head coach, trying to figure out if whether there’s another time out.  There should be plays that are called for every situation.”
Jackson:  “I think they are both equally troubling.  This is one game situation.  There were games that led up to this.  I think that he (Romo) had the keys to the car, and he crashed the car.  The Jets and the Lions, he wrecked the car.  You hada Jason Garrett, who, against New England, is afraid to let him drive at the end of the game … One of the most important things that I learned as a player, from the coach, is that I have to know my personnel.”
Carter:  “This is what I’m concerned about – six years as a player, seven years there as a coach. Since 2008, he’s been the assistant head coach … I’m concerned about his (Garrett’s) management skills … Are you really the guy for the Dallas Cowboysjob?  That should be a special coach.  It shouldn’t be just anybody.”
Berman:  “He and Romo better be on the same page.  They have to be.  Does it look like Tony was afraid … If I call a time-out, am I going to hear about?”
Johnson:  “He (Romo) didn’t know what to do because he is waiting on Jason Garrett to make the decision for him.  In situational football, all 11 of us on the football field should know.”
Jackson:  “Don’t they have the technology that even if he was looking to the sideline to tell him to call timeout.”
Carter:  “You can’t do that when you’re scared.  He (Garrett) had taken the keys away from Tony Romo.  That’s why the confusion was there.
Jackson:  “I believe that it is distrustful.  I think that he’s (Romo) not so much scared as he is distrustful.”
Carter:  “Tony Romo has been playing too long in the league to have 25 seconds and two timeouts not to know I’ve got to burn one right here.”
 
Tim Tebow’s impact on opponents …
Parcells:  “When you have one of these kinds of players on the other side and I’ve been on the other side of several of them – the Joe Montanas, the Steve Youngs, the John Elways, and one of my nemeses, Randall Cunningham – that can do things withtheir legs as well their arm, it poses a dilemma.  The way I think you have to combat these guys are that the first and second downs in a four-down sequence are the most important downs … If I was playing against Tebow, he’s not going to beat me running, ifI can help it.  He’s going to have to throw.  He is going to have to execute.”
Hoge:  “There are always two sides to Tim Tebow.  There’s the person and player who has passion and work ethic and desire.  When you see that, there’s nobody who does more with less … When you look at the quarterback skillset, which I’ve been stronglyevaluating, it still has massive flaws.  Why are they able to win?  They hide those flaws … One thing that stands out, that allows them to be successful and control his flaws – their offensive line.”
Parcells:  “As a defensive coach, if the guy under the center does not scare you, you feel pretty good.  Right now, Tebow got them scared.”
 
Pressure on Packers to go undefeated …
Carter:  “I don’t think pressure creeps in for Green Bay.  The main reason is the people they have making decisions in Green Bay, they make good decisions.  Look at the transition they made from Brett Favre to Aaron Rodgers … At some point, we haveto believe in what they are doing.”
Johnson:  “There’s no pressure.  Their goal and mindset is to win the Super Bowl … If you look at the football team, they have a lot of confidence.  They are not arrogant about what they’re doing.”
Jackson:  “The difference between this football team than the other teams that have approached this is that they embrace the fact that ‘we might go undefeated.’  They see it as motivation, a bonus, ‘something that we could do.  If we don’t get itdone, we still have our goal in front of us winning the Super Bowl’ … They have the right approach.”
Ditka:  “There are a lot of different pressures.  First of all, the pressure going into the season is to repeat.  That was their goal.  To do that, you’ve got to win your division.  That pressure is off, they won their division.  What’s the secondone – get home field advantage. Close, not yet.  That pressure is off.  They have five of the last six games, if they are going to go to the Super Bowl, are in Lambeau Field.  That’s pretty friendly to the Packers up there in December and January.”
 
Parcells on Detroit Lions discipline …
“I was raised in football that a 100 yards of field position, no matter how you acquire it, equates to seven points … I had a sign up in my locker room, and this applies to coaches as well as players, it said: ‘Dumb players do dumb things.  Smart playersvery seldom do dumb things.’  These two things that the Detroit players did may well have cost the other 51 guys and coaching staff, the playoffs.  It’s a team game, right?  We win and lose as a team.  But you can get beat on individual mistakes.  Those areindividual mistakes.”
 
Herm Edwards and Mike Ditka on NFL Coaches “No Huddle” …
On Harbaugh brother more likely to make it to the Super Bowl…
Edwards:  “(Ravens) John Harbaugh – veteran football team.  They’d probably win their division and have some home games (in the playoffs).”
Ditka:  “I agree, only for one reason, because Jim (Harbaugh) has to come through Green Bay.”
 
On Ryan brother more likely to miss the playoffs …
Edwards:  “Rex (Jets).  The Dallas Cowboys actually will win their division.”
Ditka:  “Right now, the Jets.  I don’t know who they are.  Everybody talks about how great their defense is.  They are not playing great defense right now.”
 
On coach on hot seat that deserves another year …
Edwards:  “Andy Reid (Eagles) – too much money invested in this football team to throw it away in one season.  Let Andy Reid fix it.
Ditka:  Steve Spagnuolo – I like him as a coach.  They don’t have the personnel down there to get the job done.”
 
On coach facing the most pressure today …
Edwards:  “I’ve got two of them – Jim Schwartz.  He’s talking of cleaning up the fouls.  Clean them up.  The next guy is Jason Garrett, with the Dallas Cowboys.  He’s got the chance to win his division.  They play the Giants today.”
Ditka:  “With all the turmoil in Dallas the last three or four weeks, it’s got to be Jason Garrett.”

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