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ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown Notes and Quotes: Week 15


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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 insiders Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter. Some excerpts from today’s show:

On recent quarterback decisions…
Jackson on the Redskins: “I feel like I’m watching the phony signer for the deaf who was on the stage at the Mandela tribute because it looked rational, it looked like something reasonable, but it was actually gibberish… It just doesn’t make sense.”
Ditka on the Packers: “If they win this week and they need to win those last two games to get in, I think you’ll see Aaron Rodgers on the field.”
Carter on the Redskins: “I believe this is the best decision for his (Robert Griffin III) career, but I would have loved a united front.”
Berman on the Bears: “To quote Billy Joel, it’s a matter of trust. We get coaches who waffle. Marc Trestman said when he’s (Jay Cutler) ready, he’s going to be my starter. Imagine, a coach that kept his word.”  

On Marc Trestman’s decision to start Jay Cutler…
Ditka: “It’s a result-driven decision. You get good results, nobody will say a word.”
Johnson: “I think in this situation, when you look at it, it’s not broke, so why even bother trying to fix it?”
Jackson: “He’s got a golden arm. He reminds me of Jeff George – one of the most gifted throwers in the history of the National Football League. That’s what Jay Cutler is, and yet there’s always been – it’s a vague term – something.”

On the Dallas Cowboys: can they turn it around?
Carter: “They got bad players in Dallas. So how do you turn it around? You can’t turn it around with bad players.”
Johnson: “It’s too late. Their shot was last week against the Chicago Bears… Tommy mentioned it – three times this year they’ve given up over 45 points.”  
Ditka: “That is the worst defense in the history of the Cowboys organization.”   

On the decision to bench Robert Griffin III…
Jackson: “Taking him off of the field now is a hard sell to anybody, and I would think especially to Daniel Snyder.”
Ditka: “Tough times don’t last, tough people do last. You got a Ferrari. You’re goin’ down the highway and the spark plug blows. You replace the spark plug. You don’t get rid of the car. That’s what I’m gonna say. This guy is too good. He’s got nine months to heal. Let him play the game. Let him get the respect of his teammates back.”
Carter: “I think it’s actually the best thing for RG III… I’d play (Kirk) Cousins. Next year both him and Cousins are goin’ into the third year of their contract; all these rookie contracts now are four years. So at the end of that third year, you have to make a decision. Play him now, put him out there for trade bait, trade him away, try to get back some of those picks and RG III will move forward in the offseason.”
Johnson: “What you’re telling us as fans is you’re not putting out your best effort by benching one of your best players because there’s some disagreement. But you took 13 weeks to make this decision when you felt he was healthy the whole time.”

More on RG III…
Carter: “Buddy Ryan, when he cut me, he said this to the media: All he does is score touchdowns… I listened to what Buddy said. I analyzed my game. I was a one-trick pony. I could only do one thing well, but I took that and I looked at myself and I got better. Now RG III needs to take the criticism, work on his game and come back as a complete player. Because that’s what it’s about in the National Football League. It’s about player development. And sometimes you need a coach to tell you the truth.”

On the Cowboys: can they win with Jerry Jones?
Ditka: “I spent 15 years in that organization. Great organization… It was driven by a defense that could stop people. It was called Doomsday. They don’t know how to play defense.”
Jackson: “You have to have a coach that you trust in, not only to coach the team but to help you pick the talent on both sides of the ball.”
Carter: “First of all, I believe the problem is in the personnel department. And I believe that they haven’t selected the right players over the years. And it’s going to be hard for them to get better and the reason why – the head of their personnel department is Stephen, alright, Jerry’s son. He’s worked for the organization for 24 years. He runs up their pro personnel department.”

Note: Chris Berman anchored a special segment in remembrance of the children and educators of Sandy Hook Elementary School who lost their lives one year ago yesterday. He relayed a message from the community of Newtown, Conn., asking people to perform an act of kindness in honor of the 26 victims.