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FOOTBALL NIGHT IN AMERICA – WEEK 2 NOTES & QUOTES

He hasn’t gotten the hype of some of the other quarterbacks, but what he’s doing in his second year in the pocket is amazing.” – Tony Dungy on Ravens QB Lamar Jackson

“I love the way they’re utilizing Todd Gurley. They’re not overusing him, they’re saving him. There’s no need. Who cares about the numbers? Save Todd Gurley for later in the season.” – Rodney Harrison

“Congratulations to the Bills, MetLife Stadium champions for 2019.” – Mike Tirico

“As we all know, the red zone is 20 yards. When [DeSean] Jackson is on the field, the red zone is like 70 yards.” – Al Michaels

STAMFORD, Conn. – Sept. 15, 2019 – Mike Tirico hosted the Week 2 edition of Football Night in America tonight from NBC Sports’ International Broadcast Center in Stamford, Conn., in advance of the Sunday Night Football matchup between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Atlanta Falcons. Tirico was joined on the set by analysts Tony Dungy, Rodney Harrison, and Chris Simms, as well as NFL Insider Mike Florio.

Liam McHugh co-hosted Football Night in America from a new outdoor set that captured the excitement outside Mercedes-Benz Stadium. He was joined by SNF analyst Cris Collinsworth, with Al Michaels and Michele Tafoya also reporting from inside the stadium.

McHugh interviewed Eagles head coach Doug Pederson and Falcons QB Matt Ryan, and Atlanta native and former heavyweight boxing champion of the word Evander Holyfield.

FNIA also included highlights, analysis, and news from around the league.

Following are highlights from Football Night in America on NBC:

ON EAGLES

Michaels on DeSean Jackson: “He’s thrilled to be back and he told us he trains like an Olympic sprinter, not like a football player. And at age 32, he looked as fast as ever last week…As we all know, the red zone is 20 yards. When Jackson is on the field, the red zone is like 70 yards.”

Collinsworth on QB Carson Wentz’s Week 1 performance: “Maybe the most impressive part to me was Carson on the quarterback sneaks. He didn’t go in there like a quarterback who had been injured in the past. He went in there like a fullback, and he picked up three-for-three on those quarterback sneaks. And the Falcons last week struggled to stop that very play.”

DOUG PEDERSON TO LIAM MCHUGH

On DeSean Jackson: “He just brings another element that I think we missed the last couple of seasons, and obviously the speed is real, the quickness is real. His leadership ability really in that room, too, has, from what I’ve seen now over his 11-year career, has really matured. He’s grown as receiver, and we’re excited to have him.”

On stopping the Matt Ryan-led offense: “It starts with pass rush, number one. We’ve got to be able to control the line of scrimmage, we’ve got to be able to disrupt and can’t just let him sit in the pocket. That’s with any quarterback, but the good ones, that’s what you have to do.”

ON FALCONS

Harrison: “Atlanta is a very streaky team, so they need to play with a lot of energy, a lot of motion, a lot of passion. And that’s what they didn’t do last week. They’re at their very best when they’re playing physical, when they’re flying around. That’s what I expect from them tonight if they want to win.”

Harrison on Deion Jones: “He’s back, he’s healthy. He’s the leader on that defense. He’s a fast, undersized linebacker, and the one thing the Eagles do when they play him, they run directly at him to try to neutralize a lot of his speed and his quickness.”

Dungy: “Fletcher Cox and that D-line are going to be a handful for the Falcons. But what they have to do is take some of the pressure off that offensive line by running the football. Devonta Freeman, this was their Super Bowl formula. They have to get him going early in the game.”

ON NEW PASS INTERFERENCE/REPLAY RULES

Florio: “Any time they change the rules, what do we hear? We hear about unintended consequences, and nobody was expecting offensive pass interference for downfield blocking when that rule was changed after the NFC Championship Game, but that’s what we saw today.

“Here’s why, there’s no subjectivity involved, there’s no judgment involved. If there’s a block thrown by an offensive player, it’s clear and obvious by definition. It’s down the field. When the pass is thrown -- and there’s some pushing and shoving by the receiver and the defensive back -- that’s when it becomes a classic judgment call, so the bar for that seems to be a lot higher.”

Dungy on being frustrated with the calls: “I really am. It started last week. We saw one in the Tampa game that looked to me like it was obvious pass interference. It wasn’t overturned. Now, this week, we have some that are a little bit closer, they do get overturned. We saw Antonio Brown with two hands in the back that didn’t not get overturned. If I’m a coach, I don’t know what to challenge now. I don’t want to waste timeouts, but I don’t want to give up big plays either. I thought it was going to be a disaster when it started, and I believe it is.”

Tirico: “The offensive part is not what this was put in for, and that’s becoming the story.

ON PATRIOTS

Harrison: “You guys are talking about offense, but it really comes down to defense. I think they’re better than what they were last year.”

Florio on Antonio Brown situation: “League investigation gets moving tomorrow. The accuser who sued Antonio Brown last week for sexual assault will be interviewed by the NFL tomorrow. That lawsuit mentions another football player, but doesn’t name him. I’m told that the other football player, who may be a witness to some of these incidents, is Antonio Brown’s cousin, [Ravens WR] Marquise ‘Hollywood’ Brown…So, we’ll see how it unfolds, but the league would like to move fairly quickly and talk to anyone who has knowledge. No accusations against Marquise Brown, but he may be a witness.”

ON SAINTS

Dungy on fumble-return for TD that was called back: “Here we go again, Saints fans. This should be a touchdown for the Saints. Big play, obvious fumble. It was called an incomplete pass. They bring it back.”

Tirico: “They blew it dead. You can’t blow it dead in that situation.”

Dungy: “Referees are taught to let this go, sort it out in replay.”

ON RAMS

Harrison on Gurley: “I love the way they’re utilizing Todd Gurley. They’re not overusing him, they’re saving him. There’s no need. Who cares about the numbers? Save Todd Gurley for later in the season.”

ON COWBOYS

Harrison on QB Dak Prescott: “I just love this new look offense because Dak seems so comfortable in it. He’s throwing the ball down the field. Playing with a lot of confidence.”

Dungy on Prescott: “Look at how accurate these balls have been. He’s putting them right on the money.”

Harrison on Prescott’s rushing ability: “This is the thing that really makes him dangerous. He’s such a big guy, he’s athletic. We know he can throw the football down the field, but when he’s running, he’s helping that offense out.”

ON STEELERS

Harrison: “The problem is defensively, they’re doing too much, all these different blitzes, leaving so many different open gaps. I don’t like what they’re doing defensively. It seems like it’s too complicated. I would expect them to simplify the defense and allow these guys to play.”

ON PACKERS

Harrison on 2-0 Packers: “It’s not even about Aaron Rodgers. He’s not putting up big numbers, but that defense is real.”

ON VIKINGS

Harrison on running game: “I don’t understand why Kirk Cousins is struggling. Last year, he didn’t have a run game. Now he has a running game and he’s still struggling…He looks like he’s a rookie. He’s not playing like a veteran.”

ON RAVENS

Dungy on QB Lamar Jackson: “He hasn’t gotten the hype of some of the other quarterbacks, but what he’s doing in his second year in the pocket is amazing.”

Simms: “He’s looking to pass first, that’s the aspect of the game I like. And then, yes, when he gets out on the edge, he can turn the corner and run with the best of them.”

Simms on Jackson’s 3rd-and-11 throw in the fourth quarter: “It’s indefensible. I don’t care if it’s Rodney Harrison, Deion Sanders, whoever it is [in coverage]. When you put the ball on the outside shoulder of the receiver like that, that’s pinpoint accuracy. Perfect defense can’t stop it.”

ON CHARGERS

Dungy on fumble at the goal line: “This is vintage Chargers. This is what we’re used to seeing from them in the past. Blown opportunities.”

ON CARDINALS

Harrison on QB Kyler Murray: “He’s given them an opportunity to win in the fourth quarter, and that’s what you want from a young quarterback.”

ON COLTS

Florio on Adam Vinatieri: “He didn’t talk after the game. He said he will be talking tomorrow, and that has sparked speculation that Adam Vinatieri will retire on Monday. I’m told that that is a safe assumption. But the Colts aren’t ready to give up. They’re going to try to talk him into staying. They expect to have an answer by tomorrow afternoon.”

ON JAGUARS-TEXANS

Tirico on Jaguars’ failed two-point conversion at the end of the game: “Notice the (camera) angle here. It’s not down the front of the goal line, not down the front of the plane, either angle. There’s not a clear look here. It’s one of the big flaws in replay.”

ON BILLS

Tirico: “Congratulations to the Bills, MetLife Stadium champions for 2019.”

Tirico on QB Josh Allen: “Sam Darnold is out with mono, Eli’s (Manning) getting booed. Josh Allen’s been the best quarterback in that building the first couple of weeks.”

ON 49ERS

Simms on Jimmy Garoppolo: “He is playing well. They’ve got a run game…They’ve got a good offensive line. Their defense was much improved last year with a few additions. 49ers, watch out for them. 2-0.”

Florio: “One thing that stands out about Jimmy Garoppolo, his ability to move the chains with his legs. When things break down, when the offense isn’t working, he can take off and run. And he’s avoiding contact, unlike last year. He’s getting on the ground, he’s not taking the hit. That’s what got him in trouble last year. He’s not doing it this year.”

–FOOTBALL NIGHT IN AMERICA–

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