NEWS, NOTES & QUOTES FROM CBS SPORTS’ “THE NFL TODAY” WITH JAMES BROWN, DAN MARINO, SHANNON SHARPE, BILL COWHER AND BOOMER ESIASON FOR WEEK 13 ON DECEMBER 5
Boomer Esiason on Finnegan and Johnson: “They both should have been suspended at least a game.”
► QUICK HITS
(On inconsistency of fines for illegal hits; and Cortland Finnegan and Andre Johnson fines)
BILL COWHER: In terms of fines, it needs to be structured. I do believe there should be a difference between first time and second time and repeat offenders. The other thing…it should also be proportional to their salary…a first offense, 1% of their salary; a second offense, 5% of their salary. In the case of the fight, that was done appropriately because it was a repeat. If Cortland Finnegan throws a punch, he should have been ejected. It was the first time for Andre Johnson.
In regards to the hits, I know there's a lot of confusion out there. What's happened is over reaction by the league to one bad weekend in October. Over reaction. There's a lot of confusion amongst players, coaches, and officials right now. Right now there's inconsistencies being made.
BOOMER ESIASON: These guys ripped each other's helmet off. In the case of Finnegan and Johnson, they both should have been suspended at least a game. It's ridiculous. The NFL does not want those guys throwing haymakers like that on the field. Those players should have sat out this weekend. I don't care what anybody is saying. On the fine thing, especially what Hines Ward is saying…he's saying you can't protect the players. Yes, we can protect the players because we know what can happen later on in life if the players aren't protected from themselves. I would much rather have a team lose a game than a player lose his life or lose his ability to walk. That’s what the NFL is trying to do here.
SHANNON SHARPE: I agree with you Boomer. Cortland Finnegan and Andre Johnson should have been suspended for one game. This is an image-conscious league. You don't want the perception we condone this type of behavior. The fine system, James Harrison gets fined $75,000 one week, $25,000 the next week, some weeks $30,000. I agree, Coach. If you do this, this is what it's going to cost you.
If you do that, that is what is going to cost you…What Hines Ward is trying to say, when you play football, this is a very physical and violent game. To try to fine that out of the game is going to be very difficult. It's called assumption of the risk. You know when you play this game there's possible knee injuries, concussions, and long-term effects. We can't change that now, Boom. You signed on for that when you sign your name on the contract.
DAN MARINO: They are targeting James Harrison because of his history. I think they are. That hit in Buffalo against Fitzpatrick last week, I mean, I thought it was a good hit. How are you going to stop? How are you going to stop yourself when you're that close to a quarterback and not hit him?
COWHER: Bottom line…You may not agree with it, but you have to accept it. A quarterback in the pocket is going to be protected. You are going to have to slow down. Now, that makes it hard when you're playing Ben Roethlisberger and playing Michael Vick because those guys, they can get out of there. So you're going to have to understand, within the pocket, there is a degree of rules that you cannot use your helmet.
Everything is going to be subjective because it is different when you talk about Michael Vick or Ben Roethlisberger and you have Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. They are pocket passers. Let the game unfold the way it is, and you may have to cater to it particularly each week.
(On Jets-Patriots game on Monday night)
COWHER: For the New York Jets, they've got to come out throwing the football early. You've got play action. You don't want to get in a situation that's a must throw. The running game is something you can rely on late. Then you can keep Tom Brady off the field. You have to score points early in this game, so come out throwing. For New England, stopping the big play is the big part of it. The only difference in this game, to me, is it comes down to the New York Jets are coming off a ten-day rest, almost like a bye week. The last time they came off a bye week, they got shutout against the Green Bay Packers…An offense is based on rhythm. I think this Thursday game may have played against them.
► “INSIDE THE GAME” WITH “NFL TODAY GENERAL MANAGER” CHARLEY CASSERLY
(On Brett Favre investigation)
CASSERLY: Look for the matter to be concluded this week. That's what the NFL has told me.
(On this year’s draft)
CASSERLY: One thing I've learned, this is the weakest group of senior first round prospects in a number of years. The best player here is offensive tackle Nate Solder of Colorado, a fine pass protector. The most controversial senior offensive prospect, quarterback Jake Locker of Washington. What I like about him is his athletic ability and his skills to throw the football. The questions on him are accuracy and decision-making – two big problems at the quarterback position. He's a complete wild card where he'll go in the first round. People also might talk about him as a running back. Over on defense, look at Marvin Austin from North Carolina. To me, he's this year's Dez Bryant.