Mike Ditka on the New York Jets: Weren’t a Very Good Football Team

ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown Notes and Quotes: Week 4 – ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown host Chris Berman and analysts Cris Carter, Mike Ditka, Tom Jackson and Keyshawn Johnson previewed today’s NFL action with Suzy Kolber, analysts Merril Hoge and Ron Jaworski and NFL Insiders Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter. Some excerpts from today’s show:

On the return of NFL officials…

Johnson: “It’s like riding a bike for them. You fall, you get back on and you keep going. I mean, they had an opportunity to talk to each other. They were in shape, they were working out, they were doing the right things. So you just plug ‘em in and you go.”

Ditka: “Professionals need professionals. The best needs the best. And I tell you, it’s good to have these guys back.”

On Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton…

Johnson: “This is the first time that he’s had to face real adversity on the football field… his completion percentage is up from a year ago. His problem is touchdown interceptions. He has to cut that down and he needs to run the football a little bit better like he was doing a year ago. And if he can do that, then I think he’s fine. Okay, I think he’ll be great.”

Ditka: “I love Cam Newton, but actions speak louder than words. And you know, this guy’s got to be the leader of this football team on and off the field. And there’s no sulking in football. I mean, your body language tells a lot.”

Carter: “Image is everything in this league, Boom. You know, how a guy looks, the confidence he’s exuding. You know, I mean, if you’re the leader, you got to always look like you’re in control.”

Can the New York Jets survive losing Darrelle Revis?

Carter: “I don’t think so. For one, (Antonio) Cromartie, he’s delusional if he thinks he’s the best corner in the NFL, which he said he is now that Revis is hurt.”

Ditka: “If one man – losing one man brings down your whole football team, then you weren’t a very good football team in the first place.”

Jackson: “They’re inconsistent in almost every area.”

Johnson: “When you break down that roster, you look at the 22 guys that are on that football field, there’s probably seven guys that can actually start for other teams… the bottom line is that, they don’t have a lot of talent, so don’t be fooled by the bravado.”

On the Denver Broncos and quarterback Peyton Manning…

Jackson: “I look at the big picture. Last 10 regular-season games, Peyton has 22 touchdowns and 16 interceptions. So, you know, I think, as he says, it’s a work in progress. But I want to see the rest of the team guys play better, with that sense of urgency that they played with when Tim Tebow was on the football team.”

Johnson: “This is a different football team than a year ago. The defense is playing different. They don’t feel like, Jaws, that they have to have a turnover, make a big play because Peyton Manning’s their quarterback.”

Jaworski: “A year ago it was different. You know, you had Tim Tebow at quarterback. You know, the games were tight. Offensive teams were not being aggressive against Denver. It’s a whole different ballgame now. The mentality is different when you play the Broncos with Peyton Manning.”

Game picks: Buffalo Bills vs. New England Patriots…              

Ditka: “Adversity either brings out the best or worst in a team. And I really think the Patriots are going to respond positively. I think it’s too good a coached team, too good a football team.”

Berman: “It’s Armageddon in Buffalo, folks. It’ll be a scene if the Bills win. I like scenes. I’m goin’ with the Bills.”

On NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell…

Johnson: “The commissioner has done a great job since taking over six years ago. You can’t argue that. Okay. The bottom line is the bottom line. He answers to the owners. The owners are the ones making the decisions. He’s delivering the message from the meeting rooms from the owners.”

Jackson: “Best commissioner in any sport. And I think that as you look back on the things that get mismanaged, they are few and far between… no one has done for any sport more than what Roger Goodell has done for the NFL.”

On Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick…

Jaworski: “For 25 years, I played the quarterback position. I have a pretty good idea of what it takes to be successful and what is going through a quarterback’s mind. And when a quarterback is hot, you can just tell: they’re focused and they see the field with great clarity. They know what the defense is doing. Right now as I study Michael Vick, I know what he’s going through. He is not seeing the field with great clarity.”