Ditka on Roethlisberger: “Big Ben’s in More Trouble”

ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown Notes and Quotes: Week 3 ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown host Chris Berman and analysts Cris Carter,Mike Ditka,Tom Jackson, Keyshawn Johnson and Ray Lewis previewed today’s NFL action with Insiders Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter. Excerpts:

On the Ray Rice case… 

Lewis: “This is one of those situations that – it’s family. I’ve spent 17 years of my career at this one place. I’ve known Ozzie Newsome now over 19 years of my career, of my life. That’s half of my life. I’ve known Steve Bisciotti over 15 years of my life. And each one of those men – bottom line – has never lied to me, once. They’ve given me an opportunity at life to change not only my life but my family’s life as well as my kids’ life. If this incident, what we’re dealing with, if they could do this all over again, they would.”

Jackson: “Until these men in these offices on Park Avenue really care about the women involved in these incidents we are not going to have real change. The good part of this – public pressure, political pressure, corporate sponsorship – I don’t care why it happens. They are going to be brought kicking and screaming to the table – to the table of resolving this problem.”  

On Adrian Peterson and what’s next for the Vikings…

Carter: “For me, the best thing for Adrian Peterson is not to be on the football field and to work on this case and to work on the relationships that he has with his kids… I hope Adrian gets the help that he needs because if he doesn’t, he will never put the purple on. You talk about the sponsors, you talk about the fan pressure, also the Vikings – the former Vikings players also have called that office and voiced their disappointment with the overall situation. And the reason why is because there was once an organization that cared about the players, on and off the field. And to me, this Adrian Peterson thing has been a Band-Aid now that needs an operation.”

On the Commissioner’s comments at Friday’s press conference…

Jackson: “I thought it lacked substance. I thought that it was a lot of what I had expected. I knew that the questions that were going to come were going to be very difficult. Unanswerable when you have handled the situation as ineptly as it had been handled up to that point. So, we heard a lot of – and you know, it’s always nice to hear somebody say I made a mistake and I’m sorry, but I didn’t think that there was any substance as to what we are going to really do going forward to change what happened over the course of the last few weeks and what happened over the course of the last few weeks is not over yet, and he knows that.”

Johnson: “I wasn’t satisfied. To me it was like a dance show. Felt like I was looking at a heavy politician, reading notes and a script that was given. It was very – he was like robotic. This is what you say, stay to the script. I think when you look at that and we’re all looking for answers – there were some answers, there yeah – we’re going to do some things, we’re going to have some things in place by the time we get to the Super Bowl, but by the time you get to the Super Bowl, how many other problems are going to come up?”

More from Jackson: “I do think that the women who are now – Lisa Friel and company – the women who are in the league office, I think that I already see their influence, because the advice he got up until the press conference this week has been definitively better than the advice he got before that.”

Carter: “I like the apology, but I’d like to see a little more emotion about all the people that we had hurt being associated with the National Football League the last couple weeks. I didn’t see any empathy for the victims.”

On the biggest challenge for the 2-0 Buffalo Bills who face the San Diego Chargers today…

Lewis: “Their biggest problem is actually their quarterback and that is, can he manage these games with this much talent around him?”

Jackson: “I think the biggest challenge is to stop the San Diego Chargers from running the football… that’s the problem the Bills will have today: how often will you have the football?”

Johnson: “I know Philip Rivers is the quarterback, but [Antonio] Gates is the key. The Buffalo Bills have to figure out how to neutralize him.”

Ditka: “One play, one game at a time; that’s their biggest challenge right now. Don’t get ahead of yourself. You’re 2-0. I don’t care who you beat. You want to win this football game, you gotta do certain things. You gotta play good, solid defense. You gotta put some pressure on Rivers. Rivers is playing quarterback as good as anybody in football right now.”

Carter: “And they must take advantage of home field… Also as young players, which you guys mentioned, the consistency week in and week out. Will they be able to maintain that?”

On quarterback Colin Kaepernick and the San Francisco 49ers vs. the Arizona Cardinals…

Lewis: “Colin Kaepernick, he’s a great athlete. Probably one of the greatest quarterbacks that we’ve seen athletic-wise, but he had the same three picks that he threw [against] Chicago that he threw in the Championship game last year against Seattle.”

Jackson: “Until the decision making goes with the athletic ability, I think that things are going to be problematic for him [Kaepernick].”

Johnson: “The secondary can confuse him [Kaepernick]. When they start changing things and that’s where those interceptions come into play. He tries to create things that he shouldn’t with his feet. Okay, we all know he’s a great athlete, he can run around. But he has a ton of weapons around him. He has to utilize those guys and allow them to win the football games for him, like the great quarterbacks if he wants to be considered that. And the only way the San Francisco 49ers are going to get back to the championship game or win the division, it has to start with him making smart choices at the quarterback spot.”

Ditka: “The first thing Arizona has to do – keep him [Kaepernick] in the pocket. Make him beat you with his arm. I don’t think he can.”

On Peyton Manning vs. the Seattle Seahawks Defense…

Jackson: “It’s such a tremendous psychological test for the Denver Broncos. Yes, it begins with Peyton Manning. But everything they did in the offseason was about adding toughness to this football team. And I don’t want to take the pressure off of Peyton Manning, but he is not going to have success if they run the ball for 27 yards the way they did in the Super Bowl and become as predictable as they did throwing the football.” 

Lewis: “You’re talking about one of the most physical defenses that we’ve seen play football in a very long time… If you want to attack the Seattle Seahawks, the way the San Francisco 49ers do, you must run the ball in between the tackles.”

Carter: “Denver is better offensively, but this is the truth – that 12th man, it’s real. Alright. And they will play a factor in this game. But also, Seattle’s offense is better. Alright. Their receivers are better.”

On quarterbacks Cam Newton of the Carolina Panthers and Ben Roethlisberger of the Pittsburgh Steelers – are they in trouble against the defense today?

Ditka: “Big Ben’s in more trouble, there’s no question about it. This front seven of the Carolina Panthers is really good. And they don’t have to blitz to get after you.”

Jackson: “I think Cam Newton, not a 100 percent. Doesn’t have the weaponry around him… And Ben Roethlisberger, let’s remember – two rings and a third appearance in a Super Bowl because he creates his own offense and his feet right now – he’s healthy and he’s moving those feet.”