Sunday NFL Countdown: J.J. Watt – Nothing Given; Frank Gore and Andre Johnson Reunite; and More
ESPN Sunday NFL Countdown host Chris Berman, with analysts Cris Carter, Mike Ditka, Tom Jackson and Keyshawn Johnson will preview NFL week 4 on October 4 at 11 a.m. ET. Reporter/host Wendi Nix will host select segments, NFL insiders Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter will report the day’s headlines and news, with senior analyst Matthew Berry and special contributor Stephen A. Smith. The two-hour program will include updates on NFL’s first matchup of the 2015 season at London’s Wembley Stadium between the New York Jets and the Miami Dolphins.
The live pre-game program will be preceded by a one-hour NFL Insiders: Sunday Edition at 10 a.m. featuring host Trey Wingo, NFL Insiders Mortensen and Schefter and NFL Front Office Insider Louis Riddick.
Reporter game assignments for week 4:
- Giants at Bills (Sal Paolantonio)
- Eagles at Redskins (Britt McHenry)
- Chiefs at Bengals (Bob Holtzman)
- Vikings at Broncos (Josina Anderson)
- Cowboys at Saints (Ed Werder)
- J. Watt – Never Given: In a special feature for E:60, ESPN’s award-winning newsmagazine, Chris Connelly explores how the Houston Texans Pro Bowl defensive end came from humble beginnings in Waukesha, Wisc., to become one of the NFL’s most complete players.
- Frank Gore and Andre Johnson Reunite: Wide receiver Andre Johnson recruited Frank Gore, then a high school standout running back at Coral Gables High School in Miami, Fla. Fifteen years later, the tables turned as Gore, who moved to the Colts from the 49ers in the off-season, recruited one of his best friends and former teammate Johnson to join him at Indianapolis in a quest for a Super Bowl trophy, reports Countdown’s Jim Trotter.
- Soundtracks – Sean Payton: Saints head coach Sean Payton, wired for in-game audio during his team’s week 2 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, is the subject of this week’s Soundtracks.
ESPN’s Monday Night Football: Detroit Lions vs. Seattle Seahawks
Russell Wilson and the 2014 NFC Champion Seattle Seahawks host Matthew Stafford and the Detroit Lions on ESPN’s Monday Night Football on October 5 at 8:15 p.m. The MNF commentator team of Mike Tirico, Jon Gruden and Lisa Salters will call the game.
Leading into the game, Berman and Suzy Kolber host Monday Night Countdown at 6 p.m. on ESPN. NFL analysts Carter, Ditka, Jackson and Johnson and Insiders Mortensen and Schefter will review Sunday’s games and preview the Monday Night Football matchup with Berman in the studio in Bristol, Conn., while Trent Dilfer, Ray Lewis, Steve Young and Kolber offer analysis from CenturyLink Field in Seattle.
MNF is available on ESPN Deportes and will be streamed live on WatchESPN for fans with video subscriptions from affiliated providers. Highlights:
- Gruden’s Grill Session with Doug Baldwin: Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin visits with MNF’s Mike Tirico, who is filling in for Super Bowl-winning coach and MNF’s Jon Gruden, in this week’s edition of “Gruden’s Grill Session.”
- Ray Lewis Conversation with Calvin “Megatron” Johnson: Countdown’s Ray Lewis sits with Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson ahead of the Lions game against the Seahawks and their vaunted “legion of boom” defensive secondary.
NFL Sundays on ESPN Radio: Jaguars at the Colts
ESPN Radio’s national coverage of Sunday afternoon NFL regular-season games continues its third year with the Jacksonville Jaguars and Blake Bortles visiting Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts on October 4 at noon. Marc Kestecher, analyst Bill Polian and reporter Ian Fitzsimmons will call the action. ESPN Radio will broadcast a one-hour pre-game show at noon before each week’s game.
NFL Matchup: Denver’s Defense; Arizona Cardinals Double-a-Gap Pressure; and More
NFL Matchup host Sal Paolantonio and analysts Ron Jaworski and Merril Hoge preview the weekend’s NFL matchups via X’s and O’s analysis Saturday, Oct. 3, at 8:30 a.m. on ESPN2 (re-air on ESPN, Sunday at 4 and 6:30 a.m.). Highlights:
- “Disaster Down” – Minnesota at Denver: Hoge and Jaworski explain how the Broncos defensive blitz and stunt combination in week 1 vs. the Ravens offense forced quarterback Joe Flacco to throw the ball quicker than he wanted to. Their analysis focused on Aqib Talib’s timely anticipation that led to the Broncos cornerback intercepting a throw and returning it for a touchdown.
- Louis at Arizona: No team in the NFL plays with seven defensive backs as much as the Cardinals do. It gives them speed in their pressure schemes and coverage. Jaworski shows how the Cardinals “double-a-gap” pressure scheme led to two rushers vs. one blocker and forced 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick into rushing his throw which resulted in an interception returned for a touchdown by cornerback Justin Bethel.
- “Matchup Vision” – Houston at Atlanta: Offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan’s creativity has the Atlanta Falcons offense soaring with creative play design and concepts resulting in favorable matchups and angles. Hoge shows one example how Shanahan’s play design sprung running back Devonta Freeman for 17 yards.
E:60: Fall Season Premieres Wednesday, Oct. 7 at 8 p.m. with Access-Driven Profile of Le’Veon Bell
On Thursday, Sept. 10, the Pittsburgh Steelers opened the 2015 NFL season against defending Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots. But one superstar was not at the game – Pittsburgh’s 23-year-old running back Le’Veon Bell, who was serving the first of his two-game suspension. While his team was playing in Foxborough, Mass., E:60 cameras were granted unprecedented access to the Steelers All-Pro running back as he spent the day in his hometown of Columbus, Ohio, discussing his suspension and more.
In August 2014, when Bell was arrested for possession and driving under the influence of marijuana, many predicted his NFL season would be a bust. He felt he had disappointed Steelers fans, his teammates and received the most stinging reaction from his mother – also a life-long Steelers fan who had sacrificed so much for her son.
Determined to once again make his mother proud, Bell would have a breakthrough year – earning all-pro honors, setting franchise records and helping lead the Steelers to their most prolific offensive year. Bell shares his story with E:60 correspondent and MNF sideline reporter Lisa Salters.
ESPN The Magazine: Don’t underestimate Mark Davis, or the Raiders
Just live up to your Dad’s name and solve the NFL’s L.A. Problem, Baby!
In the upcoming issue of ESPN The Magazine (on newsstands Friday, Oct. 2), Tim Keown profiles Mark Davis, owner of the Oakland Raiders and son of one of the league’s most legendary owners, Al Davis. The profile – published on ESPN.com today – explores how Davis “must decide if saving the Raiders — and creating his own legacy — means leaving Oakland behind.” Highlights:
- The situation is “very emotional for me,” Davis says. “I tell people, ‘Find me one time where I said I didn’t want to be in Oakland.’ They can’t. We’re not playing games. We’ve got $500 million to invest on that site to build a stadium. We’re here. You’ve got us. Help!” – Davis on reports he is moving the Raiders from Oakland
- “My dad was the greatest,” Davis says. “I didn’t deserve to be treated the way I was, and I mean that in a good way. He was the greatest father anybody could have, but he focused 99 percent of his time on the football team.” – Davis on his legendary father, Hall of Famer Al Davis