NFL GameDay Morning is the longest, most comprehensive NFL pregame show on TV that aired Saturday at 2:00 p.m. ET and will be back Sunday at 9:00 a.m. ET. Warren Sapp, Marshall Faulk and Steve Mariucci alongside hosts Spero Dedes and co-host Alex Flanagan with news reports by Adam Schefter, bring fans the latest news, injury reports, pregame analysis and game previews on NFL Network. Special player correspondents Willie McGinest and Rodney Harrison provide additional analysis from playoff sites.
NFL Network’s Adam Schefter sat down with former Broncos coach Mike Shanahan to discuss the departure from Denver, his relationship with Broncos owner Pat Bowlen and his future plans. Schefter has some of the highlights on his blog.
- Chargers RB LaDainian Tomlinson has a detached tendon in his groin area. The injury is so severe that doctors recommended this week that he have surgery. If he had this injury at the mid-point of the season, he likely would have had to shut it down for the remainder of the season. It will be up to the Chargers to make that decision tonight. Clearly, if LT can play, which is hard to imagine, he will be largely ineffective. This is a very severe injury and is not what Tomlinson would have wanted. Last postseason Tomlinson played with the knee injury that shut him down against the Patriots in the AFC Championship Game and was questioned after that. Now Tomlinson has to deal with this groin injury hanging over him.
- It’s a real busy day for Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo. He is interviewing with the New York Jets this afternoon in New Jersey, then drives to New York City to interview with a contingent of Broncos officials. An interesting note about the Jets search — they started it on Friday with Brian Schottenheimer and Bill Callahan from their current staff. However Jets owner Woody Johnson was not there for the interviews and was not present today to interview Spagnuolo. Johnson is on vacation and will be back on the job next week.
- Also a busy day for Titans defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz. With the Titans on the bye, Schwartz is taking advantage of that. He is interviewing with the Detroit Lions and the Cleveland Browns today. A lot of people believe that Cleveland would be a dream job for Schwartz. He would love to go back to the city where he once coached.
- Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels had a great three-hour interview on Friday with the Cleveland Browns, during which time they told him that they have no problem hiring a head coach before they hire a general manager. That’s very interesting coming from Cleveland. On Sunday morning, McDaniels will interview with the same contingent of Broncos officials that are in New York City to interview Spagnuolo.
- In Oakland, Raiders owner Al Davis has been in and out of the hospital for the past 30 days with a knee injury. The knee is very swollen and has made it hard to conduct a head coaching search and a lot of people believe that interim head coach Tom Cable is the favorite. However on Saturday, according to a Giants source, the Raiders did receive permission to interview Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride. It looks like Gilbride will become the first candidate that Davis interviews over the phone about the Raiders vacant head coaching job.
- Mike Shanahan and a potential coaching position with the Dallas Cowboys makes a lot of sense. The Cowboys and Broncos have practiced together in training camp for the last two years. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and Shanahan know each other. Shanahan went to Eastern Illinois where Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo played college football. Romo and Shanahan would work great together, but in talking to people in Dallas, Jones is not going to do that this year. It looks like Wade Phillips is going to be back as coach of the Cowboys next season as Jones has said. It sounds like the Cowboys are open-minded, perhaps exploring Shanahan in 2010 if things don’t work the way they want next season.
- Cardinals QB Kurt Warner is in the last year of his contract, so if the Cardinals lose today, this could be his final game with the Arizona Cardinals. The two sides have not had any significant contract talks, so there’s a long way to go to bridge their differences. The Cardinals could always slap their franchise tag on Warner, who would like to stay in Arizona, but the truth is they remain far apart in their talks for a new contract.
- The Denver Broncos are also planning to interview Cowboys coordinator Jason Garrett for their head coaching position Tuesday, followed by Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive coordinator Raheem Morris and Broncos offensive line coach Rick Dennison Wednesday.
- If the Falcons win today’s game vs. the Cardinals, Falcons QB Matt Ryan will get a $100,000 incentive. He’s got a $200,000 incentive in his contract if he wins a divisional playoff game, a $400,000 incentive for a conference championship win and a $1 million incentive to win the Super Bowl.
- There’s been some speculation that Broncos owner Pat Bowlen, who has two degrees from Oklahoma, would contact Sooners head coach Bob Stoops about interviewing for the Broncos head coaching position, but Stoops told reporters that he is not a candidate for the Broncos job, he has not been contacted and he will not be jumping to the Broncos job or a job in the NFL anytime soon.
Quotes from NFL GameDay Morning:
“You have to try to play; you have to try to go. If there’s a small opportunity for you to play, you play. It’s the Playoffs.” — Faulk on Tomlinson.
“I don’t see how he’s going to be able to play. Even if he really wants to go out and play in this game, it’s going to be hard for him to cut. I’ve been through this injury, I tried to do everything I could and played one play and I was done for the whole game.” — McGinest on Tomlinson injury.
“This Cinderella story for the Miami Dolphins comes to an end this weekend because this Baltimore team is built for the playoffs.” — Mariucci
“It’s the big mistake that really matters and sometimes you really worry about the young quarterbacks.” — Mariucci on comparing veteran to rookie QB’s in playoff games.
“I will never question his toughness. The veteran he is in this league, you don’t last that long if you’re not a tough guy.” — Mariucci on Tomlinson.
“I was a little surprised, but we had heard that they were going to play their guys to get them ready for the Playoffs, but are you kidding me? That’s big Ben Roethlisberger. He’s one of the hardest guys to take down … That is their $100 million guy, so they’re going to make sure he’s alright. He’ll be ready to go.” — McGinest on his Week 17 sack on Roethlisberger and the Steelers decision to start him.
“If you look at our team right now, there are a lot of moving parts and a lot of question marks, but I don’t think you can ever question Bill Belichick, who is the brains and the mastermind behind the entire organization.” — Harrison on the current state of the New England Patriots.
“Bill Belichick is the guy. We’ve figured this out. We’ve seen Romeo Crennel go to Cleveland and not be successful there, we’ve seen Mangini’s struggles with the Jets and even Charlie Weis’ struggles at Notre Dame, so we’ve figured out that the guy is Bill Belichick. He’s put it all together … his thumbprint is on this team.” — Faulk on Patriots coach Bill Belichick.
“They call him ‘Matty Ice.’ I don’t know if deserves that name yet, but I do like him.” — Faulk on Falcons rookie QB Matt Ryan’s nickname.
“The Chargers are tired.” — Sapp
“You’re not going to win in the playoffs if you can’t run the football. They don’t have a glimpse of a run game.” – Faulk on the Colts.
“Whatever coach comes into that system is going to have to crack the whip and get them organized. There’s a lot of talent on that team, you just have to put it all together.” — McGinest on the head coaching position in Cleveland.
Cris Collinsworth joins NFL GameDay Morning crew: NFL Network and NBC game analyst Collinsworth joins Mariucci, Faulk, Sapp and Dedes from University of Phoenix Stadium for a preview of Falcons-Cardinals and Colts-Chargers …
“Darren Sproles is about as exciting a player as there is in the NFL.” — Collinsworth
“I like the Baltimore Ravens to make a run. If you look at all the teams in the playoffs, the way they throw the ball with Joe Flacco, run the ball with their three backs and especially the way they play defense, they look to me a lot like the way the New York Giants looked a season ago when they started on their run.” – Collinsworth
Sunday’s edition of NFL GameDay Morning expands to 4½ hours starting at 9:00 AM ET for a recap of Saturday’s games and a preview of Sunday’s matchups that will solidify this season’s playoff brackets. NFL GameDay Morning Sunday includes part two of Schefter’s interview with Shanahan, plus Faulk one-on-one with Vikings RB Adrian Peterson and analysis from special player correspondents on site.
- Word on the Street, part I: Wes Durham of the Falcons Radio Network gives insight into Saturday’s NFC Wild Card Game.
- Word on the Street, part II: Dave Pasch of the Cardinals Radio Network provides insight into Saturday’s Wild-Card game.
- Colts vs. Chargers report: Lindsay Soto and McGinest have the latest on the AFC Wild-Card game.
- History of the Arizona Cardinals: A look at the history of the Cardinals as they host their first home playoff game in 61 years.
NFL GameDay Morning begins the NFL Network schedule this weekend. Following NFL GameDay Morning will be NFL GameDay Scoreboard at 7:30 PM ET Saturday and 4:00 PM ET Sunday, and NFL GameDay Final Saturday at Midnight ET and Sunday at 8:00 PM ET.