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NOTES & QUOTES FROM WEEK 4 EDITION OF FOOTBALL NIGHT IN AMERICA ON NBC

“I can’t remember a guy who’s changed the outlook or just an absolute aura of an offense more than Stefon Diggs has with that trade in the off-season.” – Chris Simms on Bills WR Stefon Diggs

“He’s that leader they’ve been missing. He’s big, he’s physical, he takes up a lot of space and does a lot of things that doesn’t necessarily show up on the stat sheet.” – Rodney Harrison on Colts DT DeForest Buckner

“I’m crying because I see coaching mistakes. No safeties in the middle of the field, all-out blitzes anywhere on the field, three-deep zones with nobody deep. Play some fundamental defense, please.” – Tony Dungy on poor defensive play early in the season

STAMFORD, Conn. – Oct. 4, 2020 – NBC Sports’ presentation of Week 4 of the 2020 NFL season began tonight from Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., with Football Night in America leading into coverage of Eagles-49ers on Sunday Night Football on NBC.

Mike Tirico hosted FNIA from NBC Sports Group’s Studio 1 in Stamford, Conn., and was joined by Pro Football Hall of Fame head coach Tony Dungy and former NFL quarterback Chris Simms. Due to COVID-19 precautions, two-time Super Bowl-winner Rodney Harrison and NFL Insider Mike Florio joined Football Night remotely from studios in their respective homes. Liam McHugh co-hosted the show on-site from Levi’s Stadium and was joined by Sunday Night Football analyst Cris Collinsworth.

In addition, McHugh interviewed Eagles head coach Doug Pederson and NBC Sports’ Jac Collinsworth interviewed 49ers TE George Kittle. Former Eagles and 49ers WR Terrell Owens set the stage for tonight’s’ game.

Al Michaels (play-by-play), Collinsworth (analyst), Michele Tafoya (sideline reporter) and Terry McAulay (rules analyst) are calling tonight’s Eagles-49ers game.

***

Following are highlights from tonight’s edition of Football Night in America on NBC:

ON COVID-19 IMPACT ON NFL

Florio: “No new positives for either the Patriots or Chiefs. They each have one player that has tested positive, but more testing is being done and more results are being awaited. Negatives continue to need to come in, in order for this game to proceed as scheduled. I’m told the Patriots tomorrow will actually take two planes to Kansas City – one plane taking roughly 20 people who had been in close contact with quarterback Cam Newton, who has tested positive, and the other plane with everyone else to keep people separated because of that incubation period that we still need to be concerned about. It takes time for the positives to come forward. One more thing, I’m told the NFL is already investigating the Patriots to see if there was a protocol breach connected with Cam Newton’s positive.”

Harrison: “The players need to do a better job of handling this responsibility. They need to do a better job of following the protocol at home or at work. Guys on the sideline need to do a better job of wearing their mask, social distancing and not hugging each other. If the players want to ultimately and truly finish this season, they have to take it upon themselves to do the right thing.”

Simms: “I don’t know that I really trust the players to do the right thing. We saw this week a certain team out at a charity event and all that. It’s spreading everywhere in the country right now…How are we going to make it through without starting a bubble? I think we have to start a 32-team bubble.”

Tirico: “You think it’s realistic?”

Simms: “I do. We’ve heard that the NFL has come to some of the teams and the NFLPA already and said they’d pay for the hotel. You go to practice, you go back to the hotel…to me, that seems to be the only realistic way we really make this happen.”

Dungy: “The coaches that I talk to, they’re saying, ‘I know it’s not going to be perfect. We are going to lose guys…We’ve got to get ready for it to be flexible. We’ve got to think about traveling on the day of the game, if we have to. We’ll make it work. No excuses, no explanations, just be flexible.’”

Tirico: “Certainly there has been complacency. I think all the players and owners and GMs will be called out on it with a call with the league coming up tomorrow.”

ON LACK OF DEFENSE

Simms: “The defenses are far behind the offensive side of the ball. No off-season, it’s really hindered them. I don’t see a lot of complicated defenses and I see a lot of defensive mistakes, missed tackles and things.”

Dungy: “I’m crying because I see coaching mistakes. No safeties in the middle of the field, all-out blitzes anywhere on the field, three-deep zones with nobody deep. Play some fundamental defense, please.”

ON EAGLES

Cris Collinsworth on QB Carson Wentz: “Maybe he is trying to do too much. Maybe he’s going, ‘All my wide receivers are hurt, all of my offensive line is hurt and it’s up to me to try to make plays and if I can’t, who does?’”

McHugh: “The negative for the Eagles: they don’t have a win. The positive for the Eagles: they win tonight, they’re in first place in the NFC East. Membership has its privileges.”

ON 49ERS

Cris Collinsworth on QB Nick Mullens: “This is a run-first team, play-action pass off of that and Mullens proved it. Nearly a perfect game he played last week, but it was interesting talking to head coach Kyle Shanahan about Mullens. We asked him, ‘describe him (Mullens), tell us about him and the whole thing?’ Shanahan said, ‘I don’t know how to talk about him without making fun of him.’ I mean the team absolutely loves him, they chanted his name in the locker room after the game last week. They all have jokes about him, but when he gets in the huddle, he’s every bit as competitive in the huddle as (49ers TE) George Kittle. Kittle loves him, the team loves him, and I think he will play big tonight.”

ON BROWNS

Tirico: “Cleveland ran for 307, 307! That’s not a Big 12 game.”

Dungy on head coach Kevin Stefanski: “He didn’t come in and feel like, ‘Oh, I’ve got to get Baker Mayfield a thousand yards passing and be a genius. Instead, I can pound the ball. I’m going to run it’ and his team responded.”

ON COWBOYS

Harrison: “This is a selfish defense. Everyone doing their own thing, trying to make plays outside of the scheme. And the thing that really frustrates me with their defense is just the lack of effort. You see guys stepping up, missing tackles. Xavier Woods, I don’t know what he’s doing as a free safety and if you are defensive coordinator Mike Nolan, what are you doing having Daryl Worley on Odell Beckham Jr. one-on-one without any safety help playing outside technique? I just don’t get what they are doing on the defensive side of the ball.”

ON BILLS

Simms on WR Stefon Diggs: “I can’t remember a guy who’s changed the outlook or just an absolute aura of an offense more than Diggs has with that trade in the off-season.”

Simms on QB Josh Allen: “They’ve given him the keys to the Ferrari, and he continues to drive it fast and not put any dents in it. They’re on fire right now.”

ON SAINTS

Simms: “Jared Cook’s not there. Michael Thomas is not there. Who do you think they’re going to go to? Alvin Kamara, the best dual-threat running back in football.”

ON SEAHAWKS

Dungy: “With all the scoring and all these touchdowns, they’ve needed every single one because they’re always in one-score games.”

ON COLTS

Harrison: “Their defense is legit… they have been great. DeForest Buckner, he’s that leader they’ve been missing. He’s big, he’s physical, he takes up a lot of space and does a lot of things that doesn’t necessarily show up on the stat sheet. He’s really affected Xavier Rhodes because last year Xavier Rhodes completely lost his confidence and this year he’s playing on a different level. So the Colts defense is legit.”

ON BEARS

Dungy on QB Nick Foles: “We’re used to seeing that Foles magic, but the timing just wasn’t there with his receivers all day today.”

ON BUCCANEERS

Simms on deep throws today: “We’re seeing the Bruce Arians effect finally take off with Tom Brady in Tampa.”

ON CHARGERS

Simms on QB Justin Herbert: “He’s got big-time ability.”

Tirico on Herbert and Bengals QB Joe Burrow: “These guys look like they belong.”

ON BENGALS

Florio on speaking with QB Joe Burrow: “The one thing that drove him crazy was losing and he finally got his first win. He got the game ball. You get the game ball for the first win, so what do you do? Put it in the trophy case? Put it on the mantel? He put it back in the bag of footballs that they use on offense. He (Burrow) said, ‘It was a really good football. You don’t want to lose it when you have a good football.”

Tirico: “This was the Joe Mixon show. He got paid (in the off-season), it’s paid off for the Bengals.”

Simms on Mixon: “He’s a top-five running back in football. He’s just not on a top-five team.”

–FOOTBALL NIGHT IN AMERICA–