Mike Ditka On the New England Patriots: It’s Not an Explosive Offense

ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown host Chris Berman and analysts Cris Carter, Mike Ditka, Tom Jackson, and Keyshawn Johnson previewed the NFL’s week 10 games with Suzy Kolber, analysts Herm Edwards, Merril Hoge and Bill Parcells, and NFL Insiders Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen. Some excerpts:

On Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson being deactivated for Sunday’s game after reportedly missing a team meeting…

Johnson: “Drew Rosenhaus is his agent. Drew Rosenhaus players do hold out and miss a lot of things and become disruptive.”

Carter: “Ninety nine percent of all excuses on why guys are late, they’re typically true. A hundred percent of them though aren’t unacceptable because you only have one job.”

Ditka: “He’s got a job. He’s being paid to do that job. He doesn’t show up on time, he should be fined.”

Jackson: “DeSean Jackson believes that this is the best way to get what he wants. … I don’t agree necessarily with his method but certainly I understand that he believes it’s right.”

Berman: “He and the coach are good. That’s not a problem. … There’s a time and place for everything. This ain’t the right time. This ain’t the right place. He has a job to do, and he’s not playing.”

On Jackson’s contract situation with the Eagles. …

Carter: “He’s in the fourth year of a $3 million dollar deal. Now, it is a good deal, but what he’s looking at is long-term and it’s affected him mentally. Now, I don’t care what you say about your contract, but you can never let it affect you and your performance. It’s affected him on the field, which in turn now he’s starting to affect other players because he’s starting to come late. Andy Reid did the right thing because as a coach you control the playing time. If you lose control of the playing time, you lose the players, especially with wide receivers.”

On the resurgent Chicago Bears…

Parcells: “They changed their costume completely. They’re a team that has figured out…how they have to play to be successful. … One of the key things that I don’t think anyone notices: their defense is a little better rested and so later in the game their pass rush is better.”

On Albert Haynesworth, who was released by the Patriots and picked up by the Buccaneers…

Jackson: “He has become the poster child for the guy who gets paid and then doesn’t play.”

Edwards: “Hello! He doesn’t like football. That’s the problem. You have to like this football. … You have to be available and he’s never available. And when he is available, motor runs on idle. … That’s not good if you want to be a football player.”

On whether the Pittsburgh Steelers are in trouble…

Ditka: “I think they are in a lot of trouble. The Bengals look more like the Steelers than the Steelers look like the Steelers. I only say that because they run the football effectively. They stop the run. They take the football away from the other team.”

Johnson: “They will be in trouble if they can’t fix their inability to create turnovers. When you look at this football team, that’s what they live by on defense.”

On Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton…

Berman: “He’s just one of those guys, I think we’re going to start to say this: he wins. … He’s a winner.”

Hoge: “When I’ve studied him, he looks like a veteran with his anticipation.”

Parcells: “This guy is surprisingly aggressive with the ball. He’s kind of a fearless kind of guy. … Past performance – his college record – usually equals future achievement. … Confidence is gained from demonstrated ability. … If they win this one today, you better watch it.”

On the Baltimore Ravens, coming off their big win last week against the Steelers…

Parcells: “I wouldn’t be getting my Super Bowl tickets yet, but they are in good position. The other night should really help them.”

On whether the New England Patriots have lost their swagger…

Jackson: “Swagger is built on the defensive side of the football. … I would say Tedy Bruschi, Vrabel, McGinest, all of the guys, Lawyer Milloy, Seymour, all of the guys they had on the defensive side of the football, that’s where their swagger was. They have lost it…because they’re last in defense in the National Football League.”

Ditka: “There is a lot of doubt right now. If you look at their offense, it’s not an explosive offense. It’s kind of a methodical offense. … This team is searching for answers. The recipe has been put out there how to beat them. Can you execute? That’s the whole deal.”

Carter (citing recent Draft failures): “It ain’t about swagger. I believe they miss Scott Pioli.”

Berman: “They can’t score more than 20, all their warts are going to show.”

On the Dallas Cowboys and the success of rookie running back DeMarco Murray…

Jackson: “I always say the Cowboys should be running the ball more and here’s the proof of it.”

Johnson: “He can only enhance your game.”

Carter: “You guys have to rely on Murray. This guy is going to be a star in the NFL.”

On the Bears and Mike Martz making offensive adjustments by better utilizing Matt Forte…

Carter: “They can’t drop Cutler back 45 times in passing. … That’s what you have to do with Mike Martz. You have to bring him into the principal’s office and tell him, ‘hey, man, we’re going to run the ball’.”

Jackson: “He made a great adjustment. Last year it took him almost to midseason – week 7. … This is the way they have to go.”

Following a feature on Rex Ryan playing a Patriots fan in an upcoming Adam Sandler movie…

Ditka (on whether he would ever wear Packers clothing): “Are you kidding? Halas would roll over in his grave.”