Published: December 28th, 2008 | Tags: Brett Favre, Buffalo Bills, Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys, Detroit Lions, Jared Allen, Kansas City Chiefs, Minnesota Vikings, New Orleans Saints, New York Jets, Philadelphia Eagles, San Francisco 49ers
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.
Adam Schefter‘s news reports:
- Scott Pioli‘s name keeps coming up in connection to job openings, but very few people have tried to hire the New England Patriots’ vice president of player personnel. There was talk that the Detroit Lions would hire Pioli, but they never did. The only two jobs Pioli has ever been offered were with the Seattle Seahawks in 2005 and the New York Giants in 2007. He has been tough to get out of New England, but the fact is he hasn’t had too many opportunities. For the right price and the right situation, Pioli could be pried from the Patriots. Cleveland would be a logical landing spot. It’s expected that the Browns will part ways with general manager Phil Savage, who hasn’t represented the organization well in the eyes of some people in Cleveland. If that’s the case, Pioli, who has worked in Cleveland, would be a logical target for the Browns.
- Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones was adamant this week that Wade Phillips will be his coach next season. So either Jones is telling the truth and will prove everyone wrong or he’s this year’s version of Nick Saban. The scenario to watch in Dallas now that Phillips is presumably safe for this season is Mike Holmgren coaching the Cowboys in 2010. Holmgren is the big fish on which other teams will focus after next season.
- In Philadelphia, Eagles QB Donovan McNabb‘s request for a new contract is all about commitment and security. McNabb plans to sit down with Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie and coach Andy Reid after the season to get answers to some questions that have been asked since he was benched during the Nov. 23 game against the Baltimore Ravens. If the Eagles can commit to McNabb that he will be their starting quarterback without any questions being asked and they give him the contract extension that he wants, which is an issue of security, he most likely will stay. If not, the possibility of a trade for McNabb opens wide, and he could become next offseason’s version of Brett Favre.
- Raiders-Buccaneers was going to be the “Kiffin Bowl,” but former Oakland coach Lane Kiffin took the head-coaching job at the University of Tennessee and will take his father, Tampa Bay defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin, with him. The two will not square off today, but it will be Monte Kiffin’s last regular-season game with the Bucs. Raiders owner Al Davis didn’t make the trip to Tampa for today’s game, and it’s one of the rare road games that he has ever missed. Davis’ knee and ankle have bothered him after a fall he took in San Diego earlier this month. Doctors told Davis it’s not a good idea to get on a cross-county flight.
- There’s no real feeling on whether Tom Cable will or will not be back as the Raiders’ coach. Cable definitely has some support within the organization, and ultimately, Davis will decide whether or not he wants to bring back Cable, but there will be changes in Oakland. 19 of the 20 assistant coaches all have contracts that expire after today’s game. James Lofton is the only Raiders assistant coach under contract with the team for next season.
- There are real questions in New York on whether this will be the final game for Jets QB Brett Favre and also coach Eric Mangini. There were discussions within the organization this week about how to handle Mangini’s future. There was even some consideration given on whether to give him a one-year extension. The fact that the extension didn’t go to Mangini this week is an ominous sign for the coach. There’s a growing feeling within the organization that Mangini didn’t connect with the players. If you look at the loss last week to Seattle with the Jets’ high-priced defensive line going up against a backup Seahawks offensive line and not producing any sacks of a backup QB, this could be the final game for Mangini in New York if the Jets don’t make the playoffs.
- I’ve been told that Bill Cowher isn’t mentally ready to return to football in 2009, despite the fact that there are repeated calls for him to be hired in Cleveland and other cities. Cowher just isn’t ready to come back to football yet. 2010 is the soonest that we would see Cowher coaching on the sidelines.
- All the talk about 49ers interim coach Mike Singletary keeping the job in San Francisco is expected to become official this week. The two sides are discussing a four- or five-year contract extension.
- The future of Kansas City Chiefs coach Herm Edwards all depends on who they hire as general manager. That search is ongoing right now. Some of the names you’ll hear come up with that job are Jimmy Raye from San Diego and Mark Dominik from Tampa Bay. Any number of candidates could come in as the GM in Kansas City. That man will decide whether Edwards stays or goes, but Edwards already has told his staff to start looking for jobs in 2009.
- In Detroit, now that the Lions are bringing back Martin Mayhew and chief operating officer Tom Lewand, it would be very difficult to bring back the coaching staff. The guess there is that all the coaches will be gone after this disastrous season. In Buffalo, coach Dick Jauron signed a three-year extension, and it will very difficult for the Bills to eat that money now. They aren’t in a financial position to do that.
Quotes from NFL GameDay Morning:
“They’ve got to get rid of that revolving door. They’ve got to have some continuity with staff, front office and player personnel in order for that team to grow and get better from year to year.” — Mariucci on the Lions.
“When Matt Millen took over the team eight years ago, he took over a 9-7 team. He dismantled that team, and he dismantled the front office. He wanted to take that team to the next level, but in starting over, those pieces weren’t put in place yet.” — Mariucci on the Lions under former GM Matt Millen.
“Talking about the draft, you have to have a certain batting average in the draft. You don’t hit on everybody. Of the five top-10 draft picks they’ve had in the past, a quarterback and four wide receivers, only one is still with the organization — Calvin Johnson. That’s a lot of salary-cap dollars wasted. … It’s just culminated into not having enough weapons, not having enough good players, not enough depth compared to other teams, and here we are at 0-16. They need to rebuild at every level.” — Mariucci on the Lions.
“This is what they do best. Run the football and stop the run. Their play-action football lives off this.” — Mariucci on the Giants’ running game.
“Brian Westbrook is the most complete back in football right now.” — Mariucci.
“Arthur Blank is a great owner, and he deserves this.” — Faulk on Falcons owner Arthur Blank, whose team has clinched a playoff berth and has a chance to win the NFC South division title.
“It shows you what a difference a year can make. Last year, Tom Coughlin and the Giants had to play because no one expected them to win. Now they’re the favorite and are resting guys.” — Faulk on the Giants choosing to rest players against the Vikings.
“Bad weather is the great equalizer.” — Mariucci on the weather in Buffalo.
“The Buffalo Bills have one of the biggest offensive lines in the league. It doesn’t matter who the running back is when you have a big offensive line.” — Faulk on the Bills’ running game having the advantage in inclement weather against the Patriots, despite the loss of RB Marshawn Lynch.
“I believe Donovan McNabb (is out) in Philadelphia, but not in a bad way. He gets it in a good way because he gets to leave. The Philly fans are the ones that are going to be suffering because they don’t know what Kevin Kolb has, and he’s the quarterback of the future.” — Faulk on whether McNabb or coach Reid is the odd man out in Philadelphia after the season.
“He’s just trying to carry too much of the load. With Gus Frerotte out, he feels as if he has to carry the load, and when he runs as hard as he does, the ball will come out at some point in time. He just needs to play his role and allow Tarvaris [Jackson] to do what he needs to do.” — Faulk on Vikings RB Adrian Peterson‘s recent struggles.
“This team is dangerous. Matt Cassel is a legitimate starting quarterback in the National Football League. They have weapons galore on both sides of the ball. If this team gets in, they should do some damage in the playoffs.” — Mariucci on the Patriots.
“I’ve said this about three or four years in a row — it could be (Favre’s last year). Watching him play this year, I don’t know if it’s been as much fun in his new surroundings.” — Mariucci on Favre.
“That’s why Green Bay is OK with being 5-9 right now. They don’t have to answer that question anymore.” — Faulk on the Packers not being asked about former QB Favre.
“When you talk about the strength of their ballclub, you have to start at the top with Peyton Manning.” — Sapp on the Indianapolis Colts.
“There’s two things that Jets fans want to know — how and when? How does our season end, and when does it end?” — Sapp on the New York Jets.
“They did make progress. Enough progress? We’ll see.” — Mariucci on Jets coach Mangini’s future after doubling the number of wins from last season to this season.
“This is the reason why a young rookie quarterback can play in this league because the running game is a rookie quarterback’s best friend. Michael Turner for MVP.” — Mariucci on his MVP pick of the season, Falcons RB Turner.
“He has no franchise quarterback, he has no Pro Bowl wide receiver. It’s just him.” — Faulk on his MVP pick of the season, Vikings RB Peterson.
“I hope he plays today because he needs to get back in the saddle.” — Mariucci on Titans QB Vince Young.
“The one bright spot is Calvin Johnson. He’s the best receiver in the game, but the bad part is that it’s easy to be the best receiver in the game when you’re on the worst team.” — Faulk on the Lions and WR Johnson.
“They have been mentally healthier.” — Mariucci on the Chargers’ success late in the season.
NFL GameDay Morning analyst picks for MVP, Coach of the Year and All-Disaster Team:
MVP: RB Michael Turner, Falcons
Coach of the Year: Tony Sparano, Dolphins
All-Disaster Team: QB Vince Young, Titans; RB Edgerrin James, Cardinals; WR Roy Williams, Cowboys
MVP: RB Adrian Peterson, Vikings
Coach of the Year: Mike Smith, Falcons
All-Disaster Team: Jon Kitna, Lions; RB Tatum Bell, Broncos; WR Jerry Porter, Jaguars
MVP: QB Peyton Manning, Colts
Coach of the Year: Mike Smith, Falcons
All-Disaster Team: QB Carson Palmer, Bengals; RB Larry Johnson, Chiefs; WR Plaxico Burress, Giants
Flanagan’s one-on-one with New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton, who shares his team’s motivation and mindset in Week 17 with QB Drew Brees closing in on Dan Marino’s single-season passing record:
“I said at the beginning of the week that I’m not certain that those two things go hand-in-hand: Us winning the game and achieving that record. Our main objective is to get this ninth win, and I think Drew would tell you the same thing.” — Payton on Brees being 402 yards shy of Dan Marino’s single-season passing record.
“They understand that this is an opportunity for us to get to 9-7 and win six of our last eight games. I think there’s a lot riding on this game in regards to taking what we’ve done at the end of this season into next season. With the amount of injuries and some of the things we’ve had to face, I think our players are looking forward to this game. This is the one team that we did not play well against earlier in the year prior to London. We’ve had a great week of practice, and I think our guys are eagerly awaiting this opportunity to get a rematch.” — Payton on the motivation his players have against the Carolina Panthers.
Kara Henderson’s one-on-one with Vikings DE Jared Allen to talk about his unique persona and playing style:
“There’s no greater feeling. It’s my version of scoring a touchdown.” — Allen on sacking the quarterback.
“I look in the mirror every morning wondering, ‘What should I make of this guy?’ I often wonder the same thing.” — Allen on what he makes of himself.
“Your past is what makes you. It builds character. I’d like to say that I regret the stuff I did, but I really don’t. Everyone has something that they wish they could take back, but it made me the man I am today.” — Allen on having regrets of past transgressions.
“With the Vikings, it was, ‘Like me or love me, make your decision.’ I’m not going to sit here and beg and plead with you. This is where I’m at, this is who I am. If you don’t like it, I will go somewhere else, that’s fine with me. If you do, let’s do business because I will give you everything I got on the field.” — Allen on his trade to the Vikings.
“I explained to (Commissioner Goodell) that I am not a dirty player. I play this game hard, I play this game for the respect of the players that played before me.” — Allen on sharing his playing style with Commissioner Roger Goodell.
- The Broncos-Chargers game 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.
- NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell will answer your questions during a live chat on Tuesday, Dec. 30 at 2 p.m. ET. Ask a question now and then come back to see if it gets answered. Visit www.nfl.com to participate.
On NFL.com the following video clips from NFL GameDay Morning are available for viewing:
- Video: Patriots-Bills report
- Video: NFL beat writers, radio analysts provide reports
- Video: Bakay believes there’s a Flutie curse
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.
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