Once again, it's time to gear up for this week's slate of NFL games with analysis from the best in the business -- Greg Cosell of NFL Films and ESPN's "NFL Matchup." As he did so well last year, Greg will give you a sense of the week's upcoming games you won't get anywhere else, based on his conversations with players and coaches past and present, and his OCD-level evaluation of coach's tape. Here's the Week 3 schedule in order of games discussed for your edification, and since the podcast was recorded on Friday this week, we started by reviewing the New York Giants' Thursday night win over the Carolina Panthers.
But before anything else was discussed, Greg shared his thoughts about the late Steve Sabol, who he had worked with at NFL Films since 1979.
Here are the Sunday and Monday games, in order of discussion:
Sunday, September 23
St. Louis Rams at Chicago Bears
Buffalo Bills at Cleveland Browns
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Dallas Cowboys
New York Jets at Miami Dolphins
San Francisco 49ers at Minnesota Vikings
Kansas City Chiefs at New Orleans Saints
Cincinnati Bengals at Washington Redskins
Detroit Lions at Tennessee Titans
Jacksonville Jaguars at Indianapolis Colts
Philadelphia Eagles at Arizona Cardinals
Atlanta Falcons at San Diego Chargers
Houston Texans at Denver Broncos
Pittsburgh Steelers at Oakland Raiders
New England Patriots at Baltimore Ravens
Monday, September 24
Green Bay Packers at Seattle Seahawks
A few words of wisdom from Mr. Cosell:
On Steve Sabol, and the genesis of the "NFL Matchup" show, which basically invented advanced football analysis: "He came into my office in 1984 and said, 'I think I have an idea for a show, and you're the guy. It was 'Monday Night Matchup' at the time; that's how it started. But it was a matchup concept, dealing with football from an Xs-and-Os standpoint -- a little more technical. And don't forget -- the time was 1984. ESPN had only been in existence 4-5 years, and they had not gotten into the football business quite yet. Cable had just really started, so it was an entirely different world. People were seeing halftime highlights based on my uncle [Howard Cosell] doing them for Monday Night Football. Steve just figured that maybe I was the guy to do that. I guess it turned out okay after 28 years of doing a Matchup show without a break.
"But you're talking about Steve's vision. He always took the approach that it's better to fail in a big way than to not try anything at all."
On Cam Newton's struggles against the Giants: "Here's my general thought process when watching the Panthers. We now have Cam Newton. We now have Robert Griffin III. We have these quarterbacks with an option background of some kind. And all I could think about last night was that when all is said and done, in the National Football League, quarterbacks have to pass well to be elite players. You do that primarily from the pocket. It's okay to run around once in a while, but it's done primarily from the pocket. What you've got to do, sooner or later, is maximize the situations, the attributes, and characteristics, and the traits that allow quarterbacks to be successful throwing the football. And I'm thinking, 'You know, are we starting to get to the point where it's becoming all this scheme stuff, and we're mitigating against a Cam Newton really learning and refining the attributes that are necessary to be a high-level quarterback?"
On New England's young linebackers: "Nobody plays downhill in the run game better than Brandon Spikes. That guy is a violent, physical, take-no-prisoners player. We'll see how Baltimore chooses to play, but Spikes is terrific in the run game. Chandler Jones has been in a two-point stance and a three-point stance. Moving around. Bill Belichick is starting to get some players he feels pretty good about. Dont'a Hightower doesn't jump off the film, but he's been solid."
As with everything involving Greg Cosell, this podcast is a must-listen for those fans of advanced tape analysis. Subscribe to the Shutdown Corner iTunes link (in iTunes, go to "Advanced/Subscribe to Podcast," and paste this link in: http://ysportspods.podbean.com/category/shutdown/feed/). You can also use the link below to either left-click and listen, or right-click to save to your computer.