ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown host Chris Berman and analysts Cris Carter, Mike Ditka, Tom Jackson, and Keyshawn Johnson previewed the NFL’s week 12 games with Suzy Kolber, analysts Trent Dilfer and Merril Hoge and NFL Insiders Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen. Some excerpts:
On Ndamukong Suh being ejected for unsportsmanlike conduct Thursday…
Kolber: “We don’t know what burns inside of people, what makes them who they are, but we do know is on the field, you have to maintain some sort of control.”
Jackson: “He crossed the line… this league is very conscious of perception.”
Hoge: “The person that I know and that incident that we saw are different people.”
Dilfer: “Sometimes behind the curtain is very ugly in the National Football League.”
More on Ndamukong Suh – is he out of control?
Jackson: “The sign that it’s out of control for him is that he’s gettin’ ready to miss football games. He hurt his team in a crucial situation on Thanksgiving Day.”
Johnson: “A lot of times athletes, actors, actresses, when they get out of control, Boom, fellas, they start to play their character… You look at Lindsay Lohan and Mean Girls – I don’t know if you had a chance to see that movie – out of control as a teenage girl, out of control in real life.”
Carter: “I did things when I was playin’ that I wasn’t proud of. Wouldn’t be proud that my family saw me, or my mother saw me. But, at the end of that game, I knew what I was doin’. So this theory that guys go out there and this is such a tough game that they don’t know what they’re doin’ – that’s a myth. Matter fact, that’s a lie. He knows what he’s doin’.”
Berman: “It’s turning a lot of people against them and a wonderful story.”
On the Chicago Bears – can they weather the storm without Jay Cutler?
Ditka: “Yes – they are not the Colts… You gotta light bulb that burns out. You gotta put another light bulb in. You put a new light bulb in. Just a little smaller light bulb, that’s all. But it’ll work.”
On the Denver Broncos – how much longer can they ride the Tim Tebow wave?
Jackson: “Offensively, I’m waiting to see what happens when somebody puts up 24 points, when you put up 30 points. Because the reason that Tim is able to do this at the end of games is because the Broncos are clearly in those games. It is a team game.”
On Ben Roethlisberger…
Dilfer: “Most of us growin’ up understand the difference between pain and injury. And then the great players play great with pain. Ben takes it one more step. Ben has now proven he can play great when he has pain, nuisance like his thumb is, but also through major injuries. Ben is truly one of the tough guys in this league.”
On Jets vs. Bills – can either save their season?
Jackson: “I don’t think so, Boom. I think you look at both teams – same problem: running game and consistency.”
More on Jets vs. Bills – who wins and why?
Jackson: “I think the Jets. The Bills are one-dimensional without Fred Jackson.”
Johnson: “Big injuries and like Stevie Johnson said, the early success I think hurt this football team. And I gotta go with the Jets.”
On Houston quarterback Matt Leinart…
Dilfer: “He will be successful because all Matt Leinart will have to do is play within the Xs and Os.”
On New England tight end Rob Gronkowski…
Jackson: “Gronkowski gets a lot of credit for his size… he is athletic as well. So give him credit for what he does.”
Ditka: “Physically he is a specimen.”