Quotable NFL GameDay Morning: Is Monte Kiffin joining son Lane at Tennessee?

NFL GameDay Morning, the first information-packed show on the air Sunday mornings, checked in at 9 a.m. ET on the only network entirely dedicated to football. Warren Sapp, Marshall Faulk, Adam Schefter, Alex Flanagan and host Spero Dedes bring fans the latest news, injury reports, pregame analysis and game previews on NFL Network.

Quotes from NFL GameDay Morning:

“Monte Kiffin told the boys he was going to go to Tennessee this week.” — Warren Sapp on Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin telling the team he would join his son, Lane, the new coach at the University of Tennessee after the season.

“It’s possible for the first time ever, that all divisions will have new division champions. All of them. That’s called changing of the guard.” — Steve Mariucci.

“That’s Obama — that’s change.” — Marshall Faulk on having eight new division champions.

“Every game is now for the money and for the ring. I want to see if (Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco) can handle the pressure of that.” — Mariucci on instant expectations of rookie quarterbacks

“I don’t think Ken Lucas gets enough credit. He could have made this thing a lot worse than what it was, but he told [Steve Smith] it was OK” — Spero Dedes on Steve Smith and his training-camp altercation with Panthers teammate Ken Lucas.

“He is such a contributor to that team. He makes everyone around him a tough guy.” — Mariucci on Steve Smith.

“They need to put a sign up that says, ‘Loose lips sinks ships.'” — Mariucci on the Dallas Cowboys’ locker room.

“His confidence in T.O. isn’t there.” — Faulk on Cowboys QB Tony Romo.

“I know it’s the Dallas Cowboys, I know they wear the star, but there are lot of stars (on this team). And when it’s time for guys to shine, they’re not there.” — Faulk on the Cowboys and the lack of leadership in their locker room.

“They’ve had this situation once before with Stephen Davis and DeShaun Foster, who got them to the Super Bowl. They’ve rebuilt it again, got their offensive line strong, and I like where they are right now.” — Faulk on the Panthers’ running game with DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart.

“They don’t rush the football as well when Plaxico Burress is not around.” — Mariucci on the Giants.

“You are the front-runner. You want to continue running the race. Don’t look in your rearview mirror.” — Faulk on the Giants heading into the playoffs.

“They keep it in between the lines. Everything they do, the Ravens, Hines Ward and the Steelers, it’s nothing dirty.” — Faulk on the physical matchup between Baltimore and Pittsburgh.

“I like the way Jon Gruden handles quarterbacks. They’re just like us, they’re football players — why do they need to be burped? He treats them like football players and expects them to have thick skin.” — Faulk on Bucs coach Jon Gruden.

“They’ve got more players on their first contract than anybody in the league. That’s how they manage the salary cap. They do it very well for the future.” — Mariucci on the Giants.

One-on-one with Panthers’ Smith

Sterling Sharpe 1-on-1 with Panthers WR Steve Smith: NFL Network’s Sterling Sharpe sat down with Panthers WR Steve Smith to talk about his growth as a player and a person:

“I’m the poster child of what you don’t do.” — Steve Smith on his preseason actions.

“The easiest thing is to act like nothing happened. The hardest thing is to stand up and say, ‘I made a mistake.'” — Smith on his training-camp altercation with teammate Ken Lucas.

“I play with an edge, where I don’t want to go back with my hands empty.” — Smith.

“You’re taller than I thought.” – Smith on the best compliment he has been given.

“I get emotional because this is my dream, this is all my eggs in one basket. … I want to be one of the best.” — Smith on where he measures up against other wide receivers in the Hall of Fame.

Bob Papa 1-on-1 with Giants General Manager Jerry Reese:

“The one thing that bugged our players was that people thought that the Super Bowl was a fluke, so they wanted to prove that this thing was not a fluke. They worked hard and did things to get to this point. We’re in a good position now at 11-2, and we’re not finished.” — Reese on the players’ mentality this season.

“It was difficult, but that’s part of my job. Any general manager in this league has challenges and situations that arise. You have to try to make the best decision, keep a level head about what you’re doing and try to make the best decision for your organization.” — Reese on dealing with the Plaxico Burress situation.

“We talked about have some poise and don’t have a Super Bowl hangover.” — Reese on what they told the players in the off-season.

“We like guys who are smart, have a strong skill set for the position and are team-first people.” — Reese on the type of players he looks for when building the team.

Adam Schefter‘s News Reports:

  • Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford, who just won the Heisman Trophy, is an underclassman, but if history is an indication, he stands a very good chance of one day playing for the Detroit Lions. If you go back and look, you’ll see that no team has liked Heisman winners more than the Lions, who have had 12 on their roster over time, including eight that they’ve drafted. Everybody remembers Andre Ware (1989), Billy Sims (1978) and Barry Sanders (1988).
  • The Buffalo Bills gave coach Dick Jauron an extension that runs through the 2011 season. So for a cash-strapped team like the Bills, firing Jauron would be a difficult thing to do because they would have to pay off his contract. This is a franchise that moved one of its home games to Toronto for money. It’s similar in Jacksonville, where coach Jack Del Rio has a contract extension that has upwards of $20 million remaining on it. It will be difficult for a cash-strapped team like the Jaguars to fire Del Rio and eat all the money remaining on his contact. According to multiple league executives, teams will try to save money in the future by following the model that the New York Giants used last season to win the Super Bowl. The Giants were some $20-plus million under the salary cap. With the salary cap scheduled to be at least $123 million per club in 2009, look for more cash-strapped teams to spend far less.
  • Speculation continues to mount that Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren might be willing to take another head-coaching job next season. Yet those that know Holmgren best are as adamant as ever that he will deactivate himself next season and take a sabbatical from the league. Holmgren’s friends say he promised his wife, Kathy, and his family that he wouldn’t coach in 2009, and Holmgren will not go back on his word. Where Holmgren surfaces in 2010, and in what capacity, are questions that right now don’t have answers.
  • There’s something about quarterbacks losing their fathers and then playing the Raiders. Brett Favre did it back in December 2003, when one day after his father, Irv died, he threw for 399 yards and four touchdowns during the Packers’ victory over the Raiders. Now Patriots quarterback Matt Cassel, who lost his father Greg on Monday, is preparing to do the same.
  • Vikings DT Kevin Williams has a clause in his contract that states if he’s voted to the Pro Bowl, he makes an extra $500,000. The Pro Bowl teams will be announced Tuesday, and had Williams been suspended before then, he wouldn’t have been eligible to go to Hawaii. Remember the “Shawne Merriman rule” that says any player suspended during the season isn’t allowed to go to the Pro Bowl. Williams hasn’t been suspended, and no decision will be made on his case until after the season, so he’s eligible to go to the Pro Bowl.
  • When Arizona beat St. Louis last Sunday, it locked up the NFC West title for the Cardinals and a $500,000 incentive for QB Kurt Warner. Warner’s contract calls for him to earn the money if the Cardinals play on wild-card weekend, and he would receive $1 million if the Cardinals play on divisional-playoff weekend. Warner also could make $1.5 million for playing in the NFC Championship Game, $2 million for playing in the Super Bowl and $3 million for winning the Super Bowl. But the Cardinals capped Warner’s incentives at $2.5 million, so some of the other ones would become moot points if Arizona can keep winning.
  • No offseason in recent memory, and maybe ever, has provided the quantity of intrigue that this one will regarding quarterbacks. A handful of high-profile quarterbacks are scheduled to be unrestricted free agents. Other well-known quarterbacks could be traded. Another talented but troubled one could be reinstated. Some have warts, some have age, but all together, the collection of quarterbacks will create one of the most fascinating offseasons in NFL history. Check out the list of quarterbacks who could be available this offseason:

Philadelphia’s Donovan McNabb
Arizona’s Kurt Warner
Cleveland’s Derek Anderson
New England’s Matt Cassel
Tennessee’s Kerry Collins
Tampa Bay’s Jeff Garcia
Atlanta’s Michael Vick
Detroit’s Jon Kitna
Chicago’s Rex Grossman
Tennessee’s Vince Young
Arizona’s Matt Leinart
Seattle’s Matthew Hasselbeck
St. Louis’ Marc Bulger
Buffalo’s J.P. Losman
San Francisco’s Alex Smith

Extra points:

  • New York Giants vs. Dallas Cowboys will stream live on Sunday Night Football Extra on NFL.com and NBCSports.com. Complementing that stream will be a number of extra features to enrich the viewing experience, including additional camera angles, in-game highlights, picture-in-picture technology, live statistics and other interactive elements. Sunday Night Football Extra also will include in-game studio updates from the NBC Football Night in America team and NFL Network talent.” Tuesday, Dec. 16 at 4 p.m. ET, NFL Network will air a special one-hour Pro Bowl Selection Show, exclusively revealing the list of All-Pros headed to Hawaii. The Pro Bowl Selection Show is hosted by Derrin Horton, with analysis from Solomon Wilcots, Jim Mora and Terrell Davis.
  • Thursday Night Football on NFL Network travels to Jacksonville and Dallas for its final week of the 2008 season. The Colts travel to Jacksonville to face the Jaguars on Dec. 18 at 8:00 PM ET, and the Cowboys play host to the Baltimore Ravens in the last regular-season game at Texas Stadium on Dec. 20 at 8 p.m. ET. Bob Papa calls the action alongside Cris Collinsworth from Jacksonville, and Marshall Faulk and Deion Sanders join Papa in the booth in Dallas. NFL.com also will offer exclusive analysis from Jamie Dukes and Rod Woodson and live look-ins to the game on NFL.com LIVE.

NFL GameDay Morning begins the NFL Network schedule on Sundays, which will now be called NFL GameDay. Following NFL GameDay Morning will be NFL GameDay Red Zone at 1 p.m. ET, NFL GameDay Scoreboard at 4 p.m. ET and NFL GameDay Final at 11:30 p.m. ET.

NFL Network airs seven days per week, 24 hours per day on a year-round basis and is the only television network fully dedicated to the NFL and the sport of football. For more information, log on to www.nfl.com/nflnetwork. NFL.com is the exclusive Internet home of NFL videos and NFL Network.

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