ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown host Chris Berman and analysts Cris Carter, Mike Ditka, Tom Jackson, and Keyshawn Johnson previewed the NFL’s week 9 games with Suzy Kolber, analyst Merril Hoge and NFL Insiders Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen. Some excerpts:
On the Dallas Cowboys – what is their biggest problem?
Hoge: “Are they a running team? One week. Are they a passing team? One week. In critical moments what are they? They are so inconsistent in all those phases – that’s their biggest issue right now.”
Jackson: “Romo lost the Jets game, the Lions game outright. Indirectly he loses the New England game because Coach has no confidence in him.”
Ditka: “The coach has lost confidence in the quarterback to make plays in critical situations. This is a problem.”
On Tom Brady and the Patriots vs. Eli Manning and the Giants…
Johnson: “He (Brady) never puts two stinkers together.”
Ditka: “Everybody’s talking about the injuries on the Giants. I say humbug.”
Jackson: “They have more sacks than anybody in the league – the Giants – after seven games.”
On Tim Tebow – have we seen enough of him?
Johnson: “I’m tired of hearin’ excuses about – from the fans especially – that the Denver Broncos and Coach John Fox and John Elway, they’re setting him up for failure. This offense right now is tailor-made for him.”
Hoge: “All the sacks he’s had – I will guarantee you that over 60 percent of those sacks are on him, not the offensive line… he does the most odd things from the pocket. He has no awareness. He has no feel.”
Jackson: “If he plays today the way he’s played the last two starts, then they’ll see a new starter.”
On the Ravens’ blowout win in week one – does it mean anything now?
Carter: “The Pittsburgh Steelers – they’re the standard for the National Football League. So to be able to sweep them this year, it would mean something.”
Ditka: “The only thing that matters to me is the Steelers know that they got whooped in that game. But here’s the difference. They ran for 62 yards in that game. Since then, they’ve doubled that per game.”
On Philip Rivers and the San Diego Chargers…
Carter: “With San Diego, I mean, it’s a lot of blame…they’re an average football team and their best player who is a superstar is having an average year. That’s the story of the Chargers.”
Johnson: “They’re frauds – and they break your heart.”
Ditka: “Mental toughness. Maximum performance under maximum pressure. They don’t do it.”
How do the Bucs match up against the Saints?
Berman: “If LeGarrette Blount plays today, they’re going to be formidable.”
On the Packers – is it good or bad to remain perfect?
Ditka: “I don’t recommend losing to anybody.”
Carter: “It (losing) gives the opposition the recipe on how to defeat you.”
More on the Packers – do they win today?
Jackson: “I think the Packers are almost the antithesis of the Chargers.”
Johnson: “I can’t pick the San Diego Chargers ‘cause they can’t figure out what type of football team they have.”
On Ravens vs. Steelers – who wins and why?
Jackson: “They (Steelers) won’t repeat the mistakes that they made in the first time around.”
Carter: “Ben playin’ some of the best football we’ve seen I believe gives ‘em the edge.”
Berman: “I think Baltimore has been waiting for this moment.”