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Parting Schotts

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NFL Pregame Shows Week 15 Sound Bites: NBC's 'Football Night in America'

By Ken Schott
Sunday, December 15, 2013

Here are the sound bites from NBC Sports' "Football Night in America" pregame show. The quotes are provided by the NBC Sports PR department.

ON BEARS
Rodney Harrison on Cutler: “He likes to throw the ball up and allow those guys to make plays. He was huge on third down. I thought he played with tremendous heart, and in the second half he played well.”

Tony Dungy on Cutler: “In the long run, if he’s healthy and practiced all week, you’ve got to go with him. And he justified their faith.”

Dan Patrick: “You think this decision was based on what’s going to happen in the future for the Bears?”

Dungy: “I think it is down the line and Marc Trestman’s thinking playoffs. He’s not thinking just getting there, but winning in the playoffs.”

Patrick: “So (starting Jay Cutler this week) was based more on the future than it was right now?”

Scott Pioli: “I think it’s a combination of the two things, because (Cutler’s) going to be an unrestricted free agent, and the Bears are going to have a big decision…are they going to stick with McCown? He’s a free agent as well. Are they going to go with Cutler? Or are they going to go with a draft pick? They married into Jay Cutler, talking about (Bears GM) Phil Emery and their head coach, so there’s going to be a big decision to be made.”

Patrick: “Would you give him that big contract, to keep Cutler?”

Pioli: “I would not give him a big contract right now, because I think you’ve got a whole team that you’ve got to put together. I would go with the lesser pick in McCown, in terms of his finances, spread the money around on the team, and pick a quarterback to go with in the future.”

ON COWBOYS
Dungy on Dez Bryant leaving the field before the end of the game: “You cannot do that. I’ve got a problem with that, as a coach, as a teammate. That is something you just cannot do if you want to be a leader on that team.”

Harrison: “I’m very disappointed. I love him as a player, but he’s got to grow up and be more accountable to his teammates.”

ON PACKERS
Dungy on Packers winning the division: “I like Green Bay right now.”

ON DOLPHINS
Dungy on Dolphins’ playoff chances: “I really think they will (make the playoffs). You look at the schedule, and they’ve got a shot. I think they win out and that forces Baltimore to sweep these last three games. I don’t know that Baltimore can do that.”

ON 49ERS
Dungy: “San Francisco can win on the road because of their defense and their running game with Frank Gore. When Colin Kaepernick plays like he played today, moving around, getting out of the pocket, getting everybody involved, putting pressure on the defense, and, more importantly, these deep balls…when he’s on target, they can go into Seattle and win.”

ON REDSKINS
Dungy on decision to go for two: “I like the call.”

Dungy: “I like Kirk Cousins, but we can’t get too excited. We have to remember he was playing against a patchwork secondary, and some of the same problems with the Redskins showed up today, all of the turnovers…but Cousins played well.”

Patrick: “Well (Washington head coach Mike) Shanahan says, ‘Maybe if we display him, we get a first-round draft pick that we gave away with RG III.”

Dungy: “I wouldn’t think first-round pick. I like Kirk Cousins right where he is, as the backup quarterback in Washington.”

ON SAINTS
Harrison: “Drew Brees is a great quarterback, but you still have to at least try to run the football. There’s no reason why they’re passing the ball 56 times. That’s a lot, even for Drew Brees.”

Dungy: “The New Orleans Saints are going to have to start playing some ball on the road. And you better start next week (vs. Panthers) or they may be on the road in the playoffs.”

ON PANTHERS
Harrison on Newton: “Cam Newton really was the difference today. The defense played great, but he got hurt and came back…made some good decisions, didn’t really turn the ball over...just good play from Cam Newton.”

ON SEAHAWKS
Patrick: “Hoping their next road game is at MetLife Stadium for Super Bowl XLVIII.”

ON BENGALS
Dungy on offense: “They’re young, they’re exciting and they’re explosive. I really like Andy Dalton. He’s coming into his own.”

Harrison on Andy Dalton: “There’s no more excuses for Andy Dalton. (The Bengals have a) Good defense, a lot of weapons, it’s on him now.”

Hines Ward: “I don’t trust Andy Dalton. He’s just too inconsistent for me.”

ON STEELERS
Cris Collinsworth on improved play: “The big difference is the play of Le'Veon Bell. He’s come in there and given them the running game they have not had all season. The story with this team really has been the big plays they’ve given up on the defensive side; very un-Dick LeBeau-like for this defense.”

ON INSTANT REPLAY
Mike Florio on replay moving to a central location and out of stadiums: “Momentum has been building. I’m told it could now be in place as soon as 2014. A lot of people in the league hate the current system and want to see it changed.”

ON COLLEGE QUARTERBACKS
Peter King on Johnny Manziel possibly staying in school if he’s not a first-round pick: “I’m not buying it. Johnny Manziel is definitely going to be a first round pick and, in fact, I think the best place for him is in the top 10 to Jacksonville with that imaginative offense.”

King: “The fastest rising quarterback in the first round, should he choose to come out, is fourth-year junior Blake Bortles of Central Florida. I’ve spoken to a team that’s likely to have a top 10 pick, and they like him better than any quarterback in this draft.”

INTERVIEW: JAMES HARRISON WITH BOB COSTAS

On the reception he expects tonight: “To be honest, I don’t know. I’m hoping there’s not too much booing…I guess we’ll see.”

On if he’ll reminisce tonight and visit with former teammates: “There will be visiting after the game, but before the game and during the game, it’s all business.”

Costas: “Starting three years ago, the NFL started cracking down on hits to the head – began trying to change the culture within the game. How much have you been able to change your own style of play to accommodate that?”

Harrison: “All you’ve got to do is lower your target area. But, once you go lowering your target area, you get into areas where you see a lot of guys are getting knees hit, and blowing out knees.”

Costas: “Can you appreciate that the league, for all of its popularity, has some problems on its hands? It just settled a suit for nearly $800 million, they face the possibility that moms and dads of upcoming generations will be reluctant to let their kids play…can you appreciate their concerns?”

Harrison: “Oh, yeah. I definitely understand what they’re going through. They need to protect themselves and protect their players. When you play this game, there’s a certain amount of risk that comes along with playing football. Just as if a guy goes out and he’s a police officer or a firefighter, there’s a certain amount of risk that goes along with...”

Costas: “I understand your own mom was actually reluctant to let you play football. True?”

Harrison: “Very. Very reluctant. My dad, he had to sit down and talk to her. I had to sit down and talk to her; my friends had to talk to her. Even when I got into high school, they wanted me to play varsity my freshman year, and she wouldn’t let me do it. If you ask my mom, none of this would have ever happened.”

Costas: “You have two young boys of your own. Will you encourage them to play football?”

Harrison: “I won’t discourage them; if that’s something they want to do. As far as allowing them to do contact football, I probably wouldn’t allow them to do that until maybe high school.”

On good timing in leaving the Steelers to go to the Bengals: “Definitely. My thought process was to go to a team that could contend to win a championship, and I feel like, right now, we’re putting ourselves in that position to where we can do that.”

To watch the interview, here.

BRETT KEISEL WITH BOB COSTAS

Keisel on if he could ever see himself with another team: “I really can’t, but at the same time, I never thought I would see James Harrison in a different uniform. That was a big deal, but I really can’t (see playing for another team). I’ve been so lucky to be here my entire career, something that doesn’t happen a lot. Playing for the Rooney family and this city, and having as much success as we’ve had, it’s really been an incredible ride.”

Keisel on finding motivation every week despite this season’s struggles: “We have a lot of pride in this building. There’s a reason we have six Lombardi trophies, more than any other NFL team – it’s because of the way we play. Things haven’t gone the way we wanted this year. You’ve got a job to do, and when you strap up that helmet and the national anthem rings, you’ve got to go out and do it.”

To watch the interview, here.

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