From ESPN –
ESPN NFL Analysts React to the New Orleans Saints Bounty Suspensions Announced Today and to the Tim Tebow Trade to the New York Jets
ESPN NFL analysts react to the two major NFL stories that broke today.
On the Saints Bounty suspensions that were handed down by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell…
VIDEO: ESPN Insider Adam Schefter’s one-on-one interview with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
“The message was sent to everyone in football – from the Pop Warner level all the way up to the National Football League: player safety and integrity of the game are the two most sacrosanct areas in football today, and if you violate either of those dictums – and, in this case, basically all of them were violated – then you’re going to get a severe, severe penalty. … What really affects the field this year is the loss of the heart and soul of the team, the head coach, who had his fingerprints on every facet of the organization.” — NFL analyst Bill Polian
On the year-long suspension of head coach Sean Payton …
“I was fairly shocked. I figured it would be six games maybe reduced down to four, but suspended for the year – absolutely shocking to me. … Obviously, they still have an outstanding corps of football players. Football players are still what wins you games in the long run, but when you lose that leadership and when you lose some of that, you can rally the troops together, but you can’t play 16 weeks on adrenaline. You can’t play 16 weeks by rallying the troops. You’ve got to have some substance there. And that’s going to be very difficult. You lose your head coach, you lose the leader of your organization. You lose the guy that sets you straight and puts you in line…calls the plays, does everything within that organization. That’s going to be one tough thing to overcome. I think they’re going to struggle. Now they have talent – they’re going to win some games — but all of a sudden they go from the definitive favorite in that division to, gosh, are they going to be a playoff team, are they going to be an 8-8 team, are they going to win 10 games to sneak into the playoffs. This is an incredibly stiff punishment and it really is going to affect this team.” — NFL analyst Mark Schlereth
“The guy that I worry about the most is Jonathan Vilma because he was named in all of this, about the $10,000 bounty and everything. If I’m him, you have to be worried as to what’s going to happen to him as a player. … I had the pleasure of playing against Sean Payton when he was with the New York Giants, and he was a great tactician as far as offense was concerned. … This is a guy (Payton) that really was really instrumental in the Saints getting to the Super Bowl, and winning a Super Bowl. When you’re losing a guy like that, you still have Drew Brees, but there’s going to be those times when you’re playing when his input would be crucial and you’re not going to have it. And regardless of the guys who have been around Sean and think they know how he’s thinking, he was the kind of guy who you never really had a full grasp of what he was going to come out and do. And it’s going to be tough to overcome that, but these guys will have to pull together.” – NFL studio analyst Hugh Douglas
On the Tim Tebow trade to the Jets …
“I think it’s a perfect fit because they had a ‘wildcat’ package with Brad Smith, which they really ran quite well, but he is not a power runner. The power part of it, the ability to run up between two pulling guards – which is, by the way, one of their base running plays – was not available there. They were great at the option, great at the sweep. Now, I think they’ve got a guy that can run the power, who can run the counter, who can run the sweep, who can run the quarterback sneak in short yardage and goal-line, and most importantly run the option on short yardage and goal-line, which is the most difficult play to defend for a defense. So they’ve got themselves a guy who can do it all in this package and we haven’t even talked about throwing the ball.” — NFL analyst Bill Polian
“The ground and pound theory may take this to a whole new level, however, this is where I think it’s an absolute disaster for the Jets: Mark Sanchez came off one of his worst years period, just emotionally and mentally. He’s probably got zero confidence, probably one of the most fragile players we saw towards the end of last year. In fact, played scared in a lot of aspects. So he has no confidence. This doesn’t boost it at all. The second he has a bad game, how are you going to control that environment because you can’t control the fans, I don’t know how you’re going to present it to the media. … The second Mark Sanchez has a bad game, and we know he’s going to, it’s going to be crazy. They’re going to want Tebow.” — NFL studio analyst Merril Hoge
“I don’t think it’s a good move for the New York Jets. I’m a big believer in harmony in the locker room, that you win in the locker room first. There’s no question that when you bring in a powerful personality like Tim Tebow, there’s going to be some division, some of the players taking sides. I know there’s a good football aspect to it, the package he can bring, what he can do from a leadership standpoint, but if you are Mark Sanchez, you are going to lose some of the guys in that locker room, quite honestly. … I don’t believe he (Tebow) has the skill-set to be the consistent 60-snap NFL quarterback play-in-and-play-out, but there is a need for a quarterback that has the skill-set of Tim Tebow, but I think it’s a limited package role.” — NFL studio analyst Ron Jaworski
“Personally, you look at this situation, I think for the Jets, this is a disaster. … From an intangible standpoint, you can’t do better than Tim Tebow. He’s as good as it gets in this league: hard-work, passion, all those different things, and you can establish that and say ‘this is how we’re going to use you’. The fans don’t care. I live in Denver. I watched it happen. … I’ve seen this happen. You already have a quarterback in New York that’s fragile, that’s mentally beat up, that didn’t play well last season. What happens week 1 when Mark Sanchez throws two picks? You can’t stop the fans from chanting ‘Tebow, Tebow’. You can’t stop the pressure as to what’s going to happen to you as a franchise. You can act like you’re not listening. You can think you’re plugging your ears, but it is deafening.” — NFL analyst Mark Schlereth