Should Nick Foles Be Named the Philadelphia Eagles Starting Quarterback?

ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown Notes and Quotes: Week 11 – 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. Some excerpts from today’s show:

On what’s wrong with Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice…

Lewis: “When you talk about Ray Rice, you have to talk about the totality of what the Baltimore Ravens are doing right now. And right now they’re just not very good up front… Whether it’s Ray Rice or Bernard Pierce, before they could make their cut, there’s already penetration in the backfield. And when you think about the balance that they don’t have – Joe Flacco is right now averaging 38 attempts a game. That’s sixth in the NFL right now. There’s no balance on offense.”

Berman: “Give opposing defensive coordinators a lot of credit here. I think that Baltimore faces run blitzes more than any team in football.”

On Nick Foles – should he be named the Philadelphia Eagles starting quarterback?

Johnson: “I think he should be named the starter… I had a conversation with Bill Belichick back in the day about Drew Bledsoe versus Tom Brady. You got a guy with a hot hand, you might as well go with it. You know, and look – it’s turned out pretty good for the New England Patriots.”

Carter: “I think that sometimes when you put the backup in and you have an established starter, that they play well and the coaches – they end up with fool’s gold because they’re a backup. But I believe in Nick Foles what they have found is real gold.”

On San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick…

Lewis: “If anybody is criticizing you, the only way to change it, is go get better. Don’t get sensitive. Just get better. Make yourself better, which will ultimately make your team better.”

Carter: “You have to develop as a football player. All of us played a long time in the league, but at different junctures in our career, we had to add things that people said to us to our game that maybe if you’re not as sensitive, you look at it.”

Berman: “He is not running with conviction that he did last year. But we do have to keep one thing in mind – it’s his first full year as a starter.”

On the Kansas City Chiefs vs. the Denver Broncos…

Jackson: “Contrasting styles make great fights. So we got this offense. Can Peyton Manning score 28 points and could Alex Smith match it? I don’t think so. Can the Kansas City Chiefs hold the Broncos under 17 which they have every team in the league that they’ve played this year? That is the huge question. But if you look back historically – Super Bowls XLII, XLVI, XXXVI, XXV – the Buffalo Bills, the Rams, the Patriots, the high-scoring Patriots, those teams lost every time to the defensive strength of their opponent. And, for the Denver Broncos, that is really the challenge.”

Carter: “Tommy, that is true. And all of those things were in championship football games. But in the second half of the season, there’s four times in the history of the league that we’ve had number one offense versus number one defense in the second half of the season. Three out of four times in the regular season, alright, defense does win championships, but offense wins games. The offense has won. And this is a regular season game, and you don’t have the extra week to prepare. So what I think is going to happen that the big-time offense in Denver and Peyton Manning I believe it will win out over the defense.”

On head coach Andy Reid and the Chiefs’ turnaround…

Ditka: “Good coaches don’t forget how to coach. Now he inherited some good players, but he actually put a scheme in that fit them more than his own scheme.”

Carter: “When he took over that locker room, the guys in the first meeting – now I’ve talked to several of their Pro Bowl players, and they could not believe how much Andy Reid, his battery was charged.”

Berman: “I think any good coach understands the big picture. Who you are. Who you’re not. 

On the Kansas City Chiefs vs. the Denver Broncos: can Kansas City get in a shootout?

Carter: “Absolutely not. I mean, let’s look at Andy Reid and what they’re doing. I mean, they run the football, they play great defense. Alex Smith’s making great decisions with the football. This is the last thing that they want to happen because if they do get in a shootout, that means Denver has gotten ahead of them.”

Johnson: “I think they can get into a shootout… Denver’s defense is not the Baltimore Ravens or the Orange Crush.”

Lewis: “Alex Smith is exactly what the Kansas City Chiefs need to run that type of offense… You go back in 2000, we had the same thing where we had this awesome defense, we had a great run game, we had Trent Dilfer that we didn’t need a lot of passes down the field. All we needed you was work the ball down the field.”

On how it feels when the end of your career is near…

Jackson: “Frustrating. Exacerbating… When I got to maybe my 12th, 13th year, I knew everything that you could know about what was going on on a football field, and yet I could not get to the plays.”

Lewis: “I think I’m the total opposite… I started having so much fun with the game. Just like you said, I was able to dissect the game from such a broader vision once I got older. Once I got older, I started to appreciate what work felt like coming to. I started to appreciate the essence of what real grass smelled like.”

Johnson: “When you look at a guy like Ed Reed, I don’t know why he’s still playing. I mean he has all the accolades, he’s won a Super Bowl, been to a number of Pro Bowls, going to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, no question asked. But he may just love the game and want to be around the locker room.”

Ditka: “The mind is willing, the body is not able.”