ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown Notes and Quotes: Week 6


ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown Notes and Quotes: Week 6

ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown host Chris Berman and analysts Cris Carter, Mike Ditka, Tom Jackson and Keyshawn Johnson previewed today’s week 6 NFL games with insiders Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter. Excerpts from today’s show:

On Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and why he is such a special player …

Jackson: “He’s actually running people open. When he’s not running the ball, he’s buying time for receivers … This is Fran Tarkenton doing the exact same thing many years ago, buying time, eyes up the field constantly. You watch Fran do this, it was spectacular stuff. His ability to run, run, run – endless energy just like Russell Wilson – and then locate people down the football field.”

Ditka: “He’s the best young quarterback in football. To me, he’s the leader of that football team; he’s kind of the face of that organization.”

Johnson: “What makes Russell Wilson really good is the fact that he can keep his eyes and head downfield at all times.”

Carter: “He’s got great instincts, but he’s also one of the few quarterbacks that can graduate from being – and their ego’s not hurt when they come in as a game-manager. And he’s been able to do that. Now being a flat-out just playmaker.”

On the Dallas Cowboys strength running the ball and today’s game with the Seahawks …

Jackson: “What the Dallas Cowboys do is the way in fact that you beat the Seattle Seahawks. … Minus this game being in Seattle, I don’t think you could have a better set-up for the Dallas Cowboys – what they are doing well, how you take advantage of the Seattle Seahawks and give you a chance to win this football game.”

Johnson: “You have to stay patient if you are the Dallas Cowboys. That means running the football. Not necessarily the yards as much as it is the attempts. Because what Seattle will do: they will be patient on defense.”

Carter: “You have to be competitive but not combative when you go to Seattle. They’re going to play with a lot of energy. They get a lot of penalties – can generate a lot of first downs for you. Keep the sticks going.”

On the New York Jets struggles and who’s to blame …

Johnson: “You look at the Jets spending. They didn’t go out and get the players this year that they needed to spend the money on in order to put a team together for Rex Ryan to coach because I believe Rex Ryan is a really good coach who’s going to be around for a very long time in the National Football League coaching somebody’s football team.”

Jackson: “I think it’s been proven that he (Rex Ryan) can win if he’s got the talent. …  This team is $21 million under the salary cap. The only team that has more money under the cap is the Jacksonville Jaguars. … When you don’t spend the money to go get the talent, you are going to have problems.”

Carter: “You blame it on the owner. He hired (Mike) Tannenbaum. He hired (John) Idzik. (Mark) Sanchez getting drafted, and Geno Smith. It’s hard for any coach to recover from two general managers like that and two quarterbacks that they have drafted like that.”

On Jets second-year quarterback Geno Smith …

Jackson: “Two years of not playing well – adds up to you just not being good enough to play.”

On the off-field issues for Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson …

Carter: “When you know that you are under indictment, they give you 50 things when they indict you that you can’t do. How do I know that? I’ve been indicted before. One of the things was alcohol and drugs. Now Adrian and with his future, it’s not up to the Vikings. It’s not up to the Wilf’s. It is really up to Adrian Peterson and how he continues this day forward to the end of the season will determine if he ever wears the purple again.”

On whether the Patriots are back after last week’s big game against Cincinnati …

Johnson: “As long as Bill Belichick and Tom Brady are together, they’re gonna always have a chance to be dominant, but there’s still the X factor that’s there: where are the playmakers as a whole?”

On what today’s game with the Patriots means for the Buffalo Bills …

Jackson: “If you’re going to go anywhere. If you are going to do what the new owner says. If we’re going to win a championship. This is a playoff game for you – a chance for you to do the thing that you have to do in order to take a step towards winning that championship this year or any other year.”

On the Cincinnati Bengals struggles in big situations …

Jackson: “The Bengals have as much team depth as any team in the National Football League. … The biggest thing for them … is the psychology of playing a division champion in the Carolina Panthers and not playing up to par with that standard of a football team. That’s what they’ve proven in the past. There are certain situations – primetime games, division champions, good teams – that they have not played really well.”

On the progression of Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton …

Carter: “He’s answered all the questions that you want when you draft an athletic quarterback. Will he turn into a pocket passer? And the last three years, all you see is the constant development of Newton. … He is totally comfortable from becoming a run veer option quarterback to a pure pocket passer.”


Note: Mortensen reported Sunday that some league owners want NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s role to be modified in handling player personal conduct incidents. Story.



Bill Hofheimer

I oversee ESPN’s pro football PR, including Monday Night Football and NFL studio shows. Other programs I work on include ESPN soccer, Around the Horn and PTI.