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by Ken Schott

Parting Schotts

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NFL Pregame Shows Week 15 Sound Bites: 'FOX NFL Sunday'

Here are the sound bites from FOX Sports' "FOX NFL Sunday" pregame show. The quotes are provided by the FOX Sports PR department.

NFL Insider Jay Glazer unveiled another exclusive video this week, this time showing Miami Dolphins special teams coach Darren Rizzi on the field of play during last week’s game as the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Troy Polamalu returned a short field goal attempt. This occurred just one week after Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin was fined for interfering with a play on the sideline and the NFL put out a strong warning to teams and officials: “If there’s ever a game where this rule would be enforced and the officials make sure they call it right, you’d think it would be in Mike Tomlin’s next game. Steelers against the Dolphins last week in the last play of the first half, the Dolphins are going for a field goal. It’s short, and Troy Polamalu gets it. Now, watch the Dolphins sideline. That is special teams coach Darren Rizzi – he’s on the field. He’s not on the white, he’s on the field. He runs into the official and the official never calls it. If there’s a game you’re going to call it, that would be the game. Had he properly thrown the flag, the Steelers would’ve had an untimed play from the Dolphins’ 25-yard line to go for a touchdown or field goal, and remember, the game ended by six points.

“Mike Tomlin said this happens all the time. The NFL fined him $100,000 – they didn’t think it happened all the time. Well, it happened in their next game, and the NFL, I’ve learned, has fined Darren Rizzi in the $10,000 range.”


Analyst Jimmy Johnson said head coach Mike Shanahan has the right to bench the entire team: “This team has won three games. He can bench the whole team as far as I’m concerned. As far as RGIII goes – 11 fumbles, 12 interceptions, 38 sacks – let’s be honest, he hasn’t played very well, and so their whole team is struggling. One thing Shanahan’s looking at, these backup quarterbacks around the league are not turning it over and winning games. He wants to see what Kirk Cousins can do and he wants to make a point to RGIII – you’ve got to play better.”

Analyst Howie Long said if Robert Griffin III is healthy, he should play: “My question is, is it a performance based decision, is it a power play, or is it a health decision? If RGIII is healthy, RGIII should play. For an example, I go no further than Cam Newton. How did the Carolina Panthers finish the year last year? Cam Newton, with nothing left to play for, wins four straight, and in many ways sets up the season that they’re having this year.”


Glazer reported that Washington head coach Mike Shanahan is trying to get fired: “He’s trying to get fired. And he’s trying to get fired with all of his pay. One of the misconceptions out there is Dan Snyder doesn’t want to fire him because he doesn’t want to pay him – Dan Snyder doesn’t care about that, and this week the two of them have been working together and Shanahan is now trying to put out word that he’s going to be fine, he wants to actually come back there. No. This right now is just one big game of chicken between Shanahan and Snyder.”


Co-Host Terry Bradshaw said the Bears are wrong to start Jay Cutler over Josh McCown: “I would leave McCown right in there and let him quarterback. He and Alshon Jeffery have hooked up, their rhythm is perfect. He is playing as good of football at quarterback as anybody in the NFL. Leave him. If he struggles today against Cleveland, it’s easy to bring in Cutler off the bench. Not a problem, everybody’s happy. On the other hand, if you start Cutler, what if he has a couple of picks? You’re trying to get in the playoffs. What if he throws two interceptions? Are you going to bench him?”

Analyst Michael Strahan added that benching a healthy Jay Cutler may create a bigger controversy: “If you’re a head coach, this is really a tough decision to make. It’s a gutsy move to make to put Cutler in that spot because if he struggles, do you replace him? That creates a bigger controversy. But, is it a bigger controversy to have him in that locker room knowing he’s healthy and not on the field? I think there’s a little bit of fear of Jay Cutler in that locker room.”


Glazer said that everyone he talked to in the Bears organization disagreed with the decision to start Cutler: “Everybody you talk to inside the Bears, they were against this decision. McCown, right now obviously he’s the hot hand, but he’s also like a coach in that huddle, he’s a coach in that meeting room, he’s even the guy that got Jay Cutler more involved with some of the younger players at the team hotel. I’ve talked to several people on several different levels inside the Bears, and not one of them agreed with this decision at this point in time.”


Long said that given the circumstances of the season, this year might be New England head coach Bill Belichick’s best coaching season: “The job that Belichick and [Tom] Brady have done this year with the cast of characters they have, it may be his best job yet.”


Strahan said that the Seattle Seahawks are using today’s game against the Giants as preparation for Super Bowl XLVIII: “I think the Seattle Seahawks are going to use this day today at MetLife Stadium as a dress rehearsal for the Super Bowl.”


Host Curt Menefee sat down for a 1-on-1 interview with Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh this week. After the interview, the analysts weighed in on Suh’s reputation and what kind of player they believe he is.

Strahan said he understands where Suh’s reputation comes from and hopes the public will give him the chance to change it: “He’s played well enough to be in the Defensive Player of the Year conversation, but most people remember him for his bad transgressions on the field more so than his big play ability. If I didn’t know him, I wouldn’t like him either. I would think this guy is the worst guy ever to play in the league as far as these penalties and the stomping, but I do know him. I do think he’s an aggressive player, I do think he’s trying to make that change with his attitude and the decisions he makes because he realizes now they affect everyone on the team. I just hope that publicly, people give him the opportunity to change their perceptions of him.”

Long added that he hopes people can see the entire package of who Suh is: “It’s a shame because I think that has become the narrative. He’s an enigma. What we saw there in that interview to me is a good guy who has a social conscience, who gives back to his community, articulate, smart – he’s the kind of guy you want on your football team. And then there are the moments he has like on Thanksgiving a couple years ago and you say, I don’t get that. And we’ve all done things as players – I know I have – that we would like to have back. My thing with him is, own what you do, move forward and learn from it. I think he’s a great player, and I think it’s unfortunate that’s the label that he has. Hopefully people will start to see him for who he is – a dominant, disruptive player.

Bradshaw said that all Suh needs is the right ad campaign: “All he needs is a Coca Cola commercial like Mean Joe Greene got. The minute he threw that jersey to that little boy, America fell in love with him.”


Johnson said several teams would take Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston with the first overall draft pick if he were eligible, but personally thinks the quarterback needs more time to develop: “Physically, without question, there would be teams that would draft him with the first pick. Personally, I’d like to know him a little bit more, and see if he is going to be mentally ready to be the face of the franchise.”


Menefee asked the analysts who their picks were for the season’s best rookie coach.

Johnson: “Chip Kelly.”

Long: “Chip Kelly and Marc Trestman.”

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