“The Sky’s the limit for us to go play the best 60 minutes we can play. If we do that, we’re a very difficult team to beat.” – Ravens LB Ray Lewis.
“I love to hear what I can’t do.” – Panthers RB DeAngelo Williams.
“That’s the ultimate goal. I’ve accomplished a lot of things that I’ve set out to do, but that’s the one thing that I haven’t accomplished yet and I’d certainly like to get back there.” – Titans QB Kerry Collins on winning a Super Bowl title.
“This is a secondary that has made a lot of interceptions (this season) and have been overlooked.” – Player correspondent Trent Green on the Titans defense.
NFL GameDay Morning is the longest, most comprehensive NFL pregame show on TV airing Saturday at 2 p.m. ET and Sunday at 9 a.m. ET on divisional weekend. 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 Trent Green and Keith Brooking provided additional analysis from Saturday’s divisional game sites. In addition, Ty Law and Antwaan Randle El previewed Sunday’s games.
NFL Network’s Warren Sapp sat down with Ravens LB Ray Lewis for a candid discussion on what keeps him at the top of his game after 13 years in the league:
“Rex (Ryan) gives us a lot of flexibility in playing football.” – Lewis on defensive coordinator Rex Ryan.
“That’s why a lot of people don’t realize that we play better on the road. We can hear.” – Lewis on the Ravens defense, which receives tremendous crowd support at home making it difficult to hear.
“Rookies only get caught if everything is put on their shoulders. Everything isn’t on his shoulders. I told him, ‘Just go be Joe. We got your back.'” – Lewis on Ravens rookie QB Joe Flacco.
“It’s not about the wins and losses. It’s about the opportunity of someone challenging me.” – Lewis on his motivation to play.
“I would never want to go back to my 20s. Never.” – Lewis on embracing being a 13-year veteran in the NFL.
“Every day I see (Ravens director of player development) O.J. Brigance and I say, ‘Wow. You can smile and go through ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) and talk about a game.’ There’s nothing I’ll give up, there’s no play I’ll take a break on. If a man can fight for life, then I can go out and fight for a game.” – Lewis on his perspective and motivation.
NFL Network’s Marshall Faulk sat down with Panthers RB DeAngelo Williams to discuss his playing style, the success of the team’s two-back system with Jonathan Stewart and sharing the company of NFL legend Jim Brown.
“I can’t do the spin moves that Barry (Sanders) did and break guys down. I don’t have the hips that you did (Marshall). I just took the simpler things that each one of you guys had and use it to my advantage.” – Williams on being compared to Barry Sanders and Marshall Faulk.
“All year I’ve been hit with ‘he’s too small to be an every-down back’ or ‘he’s not strong enough in the passing game to hold up; he’s a third down back.’ I just use that as motivation because I love to hear what I can’t do.” – Williams on what motivates him.
“I know you’re going to ask about Jonathan Stewart being drafted as the 13th pick, so after they drafted him, I thought, ‘I’m going to do the same thing that DeShaun did to me. I’m going to welcome him in with open arms and work with him and we’re going to make this thing work.'” – Williams on the Panthers acquisition of Jonathan Stewart.
“I guess it’s patience. It gives you an extra set of eyes out there. That’s what I really like about Jonathan — we talk all the time.” – Williams on the advantages of a two-back system with Stewart.
“I just want to win. Whatever it takes to win. If I need to fill water bottles and we win, I’ll fill water bottles.” – Williams on his desire to win.
“I didn’t know about it until a couple of people mentioned it. I don’t really keep up with stats. My mom said something, although she didn’t really know what was going on. She said, ‘so you’re hanging out with Jim Brown?'” – Williams on being mentioned in the same conversation as Jim Brown.
NFL Network’s Jennifer Allen sits down with Titans QB Kerry Collins to discuss the ups and downs of his career that have brought him full circle:
“I had to check the football player at the door and work on me as a person. Obviously I had some issues I needed to address and I think I did.” – Kerry Collins on his stint in a rehabilitation clinic.
“I opened the door for him to blame other people and blame circumstances, but he didn’t do that. He accepted responsibility for everything.” – Former Giants head coach Jim Fassel on bringing Kerry Collins to New York in 1999.
“I have been able to learn from my mistakes.” – Collins on the ups and downs early in his career.
“I am more confident because of the things I’ve gone through.” – Collins on his success this year.
- Former Lions head coach Rod Marinelli agreed to become the assistant head coach/defensive line of the Chicago Bears. In Chicago, Marinelli will be reunited with his former roommate in Tampa Bay, Bears head coach Lovie Smith. While there is excitement in Chicago, there is disappointment in Seattle and Houston, which also had interest in hiring Marinelli.
- Titans defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz and Ravens defensive coordinator Rex Ryan are garnering a lot of attention for vacant coaching spots. Schwartz is a viable candidate for the Detroit Lions job and Ryan is expected to interview for the St. Louis Rams head coaching position Friday. The New York Jets also are looking to speak with Ryan as soon as possible.
- The Kansas City Chiefs have done a great job of keeping things very quiet in regards to their General Manager search. The Chiefs have interviewed at least six candidates for the position and Patriots VP of Player Personnel Scott Pioli is the headliner. The talks between the Chiefs and Pioli are still going on, but nothing is immediate. The Chiefs have also spoken to former Broncos GM Ted Sundquist, former Titans GM Floyd Reese, former Chiefs coach Marty Schottenheimer and Chargers director of player personnel Jimmy Raye.
- On Thursday, Broncos COO Joe Ellis spent 5 ½ hours with Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels in Massachusetts. The Broncos, who are narrowing down their list, have now interviewed McDaniels twice and he is near or at the top. Denver should have a decision by early next week.
- This could be the final game for RB Edgerrin James with the Arizona Cardinals. If the Cardinals release James during the offseason, which he has requested, it will free up $5 million worth of salary cap room for Arizona. Speaking of money, this is the million-dollar game for QB Kurt Warner. Warner had an incentive in his contract that if he got the Cardinals to the divisional round of the playoffs, he would get $1 million.
- Gus Bradley, the Buccaneers former linebackers coach, will be named Seattle’s new defensive coordinator, a league source said Saturday. Seattle also had spoken with former Lions coach Rod Marinelli, but he agreed Saturday to become Chicago’s assistant head coach/defensive line.
- Watch Schefter report these stories and more from around the league.
Quotes from NFL GameDay Morning:
“Philadelphia at the Giants is the most evenly match contest of the weekend. These are two teams that are built for the Playoffs.” – Steve Mariucci on Eagles vs. Giants.
“Philadelphia has to come into this game with a lot of confidence. They know (the Giants).” – Warren Sapp on Eagles vs. Giants.
“When you can run the football, you can play-action, and when you can play-action with Kurt Warner, you can get the ball down the field.” – Marshall Faulk on the Arizona Cardinals offense.
“Very quietly Steve Breaston is becoming one heck of a player.” – Steve Mariucci on the Cardinals second year WR.
“It’s the maturation of a man and a process that this league can do for you. He can lead my team, I’ll put him on my team. I got to spend some time with him in Oakland and he’s an absolute treasure to have on your ball club.” – Sapp on Kerry Collins.
“The guy is a survivor and maybe this example of him fighting through can be an example for Vince Young, who was also a high draft pick and has had some ups and downs in his life.” – Mariucci on what Kerry Collins can do for Vince Young.
“It’s amazing how they become so offensive minded when they get a turnover on defense.” – Faulk on Ravens defensive players picking up return yards and scoring touchdowns after a takeaway.
“The four-man defensive line pressure – That’s why Tennessee is an awesome defensive team.” – Mariucci on Tennessee’s defense.
“Their defense is much better with Ron Rivera calling the plays.” – Faulk on San Diego’s defense.
“It’s not just the plays he makes in the passing game, but the physicality he brings as a run-blocker. He’s a warrior.” – Player correspondent Keith Brooking on Panthers WR Mushin Muhammad being the ex-factor against the Cardinals.
“Steve Smith may be the most complete wide receiver in the National Football League.” – Mariucci on the Panthers WR.
“He believes he can make every throw. You’ll never see the ball thrown out of bounds with Kurt Warner in the game.” – Faulk on Cardinals QB Kurt Warner.
“He throws one of the best deep balls in the game.” – Sapp on Titans QB Kerry Collins.
“Joe Flacco will be the first rookie to win two playoff games.” – Faulk
Sunday’s divisional playoff edition of NFL GameDay Morning expands to 4½ hours starting at 9 a.m. ET for a recap of Saturday’s games and a preview of Sunday’s matchups that will determine this season’s Championship Sunday matchups. NFL GameDay Morning Sunday includes Kara Henderson’s discussion with Giants RB Brandon Jacobs and analysis from special player correspondents Ty Law and Antwaan Randle El.
NFL GameDay Morning begins the NFL Network schedule this weekend. Following NFL GameDay Morning will be NFL GameDay Scoreboard at 7:30 p.m. ET Saturday and 4 p.m. ET Sunday, and NFL GameDay Final Saturday at Midnight ET and Sunday at 8 p.m. ET.
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