THE NFL TODAY analyst Boomer Esiason joined NFL MONDAY QB’s regular roster of quarterbacks on Monday, November 5 (6:30 PM, ET) to recap Week 9 of the NFL season. Esiason, along with host Adam Schein, and analysts Phil Simms, Rich Gannon and Steve Beuerlein discussed Peyton Manning, the Indianapolis Colts and the success of young quarterbacks in the NFL. The show re-airs on CBS Sports Network tonight at 1:00 AM, ET and tomorrow, Tuesday, Nov. 6 at 9:00 AM, ET.
Led by Simms, THE NFL ON CBS lead analyst and Super Bowl XXI MVP; Super Bowl XXXVII quarterback and 2002 NFL MVP, Gannon; and 17-year veteran and 1999 NFL All Pro quarterback, Beuerlein, NFL MONDAY QB brings together an elite roster of quarterbacks providing their unique and compelling opinions, and break-down of the week’s games focusing on how quarterback play impacted the games, key plays, clutch drives, crucial decisions, star performances, winning and losing efforts and much more.
CBS Sports Network Coordinating Producer Drew Kaliski produces. Steve Karasik and Tyler Hale serve as Executive Producers of NFL MONDAY QB.
Following are excerpts from the show.
(ON PEYTON MANNING):
Boomer Esiason: From his third season until now, he is by far the smartest football player that has ever stepped on the field at our position. He can do so many different things and handle so many things at the line of scrimmage. These were the first two picks that he’s thrown in the second half this year and he has the ability to come back from it. I said on THE NFL TODAY, young quarterbacks like Andy Dalton, all they have to do is look across the field at a Peyton Manning and you say to yourself, ‘How can I become like him?’ It takes dedication. It takes time. It takes effort. And it takes heart. And that’s exactly what Peyton Manning has plenty of… He may only be at 90 percent, but I’ll take a 90 percent Peyton Manning over 95 percent of the other quarterbacks in the NFL.
Phil Simms: When you watch him practice, he’s changing the coaches in Denver. He’s giving them hope. He’s giving them more passion than they’ve ever had for the game. Because he does drive people. It is not an overstatement. What really impresses me about their offense, he directs it of course, but he has many plays for every situation. You can show him certain coverage, and he just goes through the rolodex and says, ‘Well I have ten plays to pick from. Let’s see, this week, it’s going to be this one.’ And he throws it to whoever he decides to get open. That’s what is really impressive when I look at Denver.
Steve Beuerlein: I keep waiting for Peyton to slow down a little bit and show signs of some kind of stalling in his production. I still think the ball is not coming out of his hand as well as it normally does, back when he was playing two, three, four, five years ago. But the bottom line is the ball is getting to where it is supposed to get. It is getting there on time. He is always going to make the right decisions. And he’s always going to give his players the chance to make yards after the catch as well. I guess I have to finally concede the fact that it’s not going to happen. He’s going to show up every single week no matter what.
(ON CHUCK PAGANO AND THE INDIANAPOLIS COLTS):
Esiason: One of the best off season hirings may have been Bruce Arians as offensive coordinator. You saw what he did with Ben Roethlisberger when he was a young player. And you see what he’s doing with Andrew Luck right now. And not only is he doing that, he’s the interim head coach in replace of Chuck Pagano until Chuck comes back. You have a seasoned veteran coach in Bruce Arians who understands the quarterback position. Andrew Luck is playing great. That team has really been inspired by the Pagano fight. And all of a sudden you have a team on the precipice of being a playoff team halfway through the season. I don’t think anyone thought that would be the case…
Beuerlein: When you have so many new pieces, you have the quarterback, so many pieces that weren’t here last year, something has to bring them together. And this unfortunate episode with Chuck Pagano has brought this organization together. These guys are now 100 percent family. They believe they’re in this thing for the long run. Together they’re going to help each other and support each other through it. They believe they’re unstoppable right now and they’re playing like it as well. It’s an awesome story to be witnessing first hand.
Simms: To me, coaching is everything in the NFL. Yes you need talent, but you need a coach to make you a star. Bruce Arians, when I did their game against the Jets, he said, ‘We put the whole playbook in. We gave them everything.’ You can see they can handle it. These young quarterbacks are being processed very well. They’ve learned in the college ranks. But these teams are doing the right thing by how they handle them.
(ON SUCCESS OF YOUNG QUARTERBACKS):
Esiason: I don’t know about the other two guys, but during my rookie year, I was completely lost. I had no idea what I was doing. I started four games. And I remember Cris Collinsworth, as my teammate, say, ‘Oh my god, we drafted this guy? What is he going to turn into?’ And then you watch these guys like Andrew Luck. You watch how all of a sudden he has just picked it up.
Beuerlein: I remember when I came into the league, I think everybody all agreed that it was a three-to-four year process before you really felt like you knew the offense and how to apply it versus all of the different defensive looks out there. In 1996 when I came to the Carolina Panthers, Kerry Collins was the starting quarterback. And he told me after we went to the NFC Championship game that year, he looked at me and said, ‘I have no idea what I’m doing out there. I don’t know what I’m doing.’ But we were in the NFC Championship game. And I think that was pretty common back then. But Andrew Luck looks like he’s in complete control to me. He’s making good decisions. I’m really impressed.
Simms: Every team, all these quarterbacks we’re talking about, they built offenses around who they have. Look at Josh Freeman. I don’t know what they were doing before, but now he’s in kind of a Giants offense where they fire the football down the field. It suits who he is. Russell Wilson out in Seattle, they’re not asking him to drop back, stay in the pocket, make the throws. It’s a multiple offense. He gets to move around with play actions. It suits his talent. How about Robert Griffin III? I watched his game last week against the Pittsburgh Steelers, it resembled no NFL offense that I’ve ever seen. Fake the reverse, fake the handoff. It looked almost like what I saw when he was at Baylor. So that’s another big thing. Teams build around the talent. You don’t have to come in and fit the team anymore. And I give all of these offensive coordinators a lot of credit.
* * * * *
Follow us on Twitter: @CBSSportsGang and @NFLMondayQB