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tv   Meet the Presss Press Pass  NBC  September 7, 2014 11:30am-11:46am EDT

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and we can do the same for you. call 1-800-dentist today. ♪ this week on "press pass," football fever as the new season gets under way, but statement there -- at the same time there is no shortage of politics on the gridiron, from injuries and the conflicts surrounding the nfl's team name. he's also a regular contributor to nbc's sunday night football. mike, welcome to "press pass." >> good to be with you, chuck. >> let's go right to the concussion issue, for instance.
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we already had the big thursday night opener. eddie lacey, packers running back, he's facing an issue with concussion, could end up costing him some playing time. where is the nfl on this, has the nfl totally gotten this concussion policy right or have they figured it out? >> i think the nfl ak nojcknowl there is a lot of work to be done, but also there has been work done on this. concussions from helmet-to-helmet hits, there's been a real emphasis on getting some types of helmet-to helmet hits down to 23%. but the nfl acknowledges there are still many things that can be done to make the game safer and they're constantly trying to find ways to make the game safer. >> when you're in a cloud of
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dust or two downs in three running plays, you weren't full speed. the spread offense is full speed now, a lot faster. doesn't that style of play contribute to this concussion crisis? >> that is one of the factors, chuck, and one play in particular they've tried to minimize is the kickoff return. because of the fact you have players going at each other full speed, one one direction, the other the other direction, and increased risk of head injuries, and now the kickoff back to the 35 where it was years ago, a lot of balls go in the end zone, and fewer concussions. >> ray rice dominated the off-season, domestic violence. it sure looks like roger goodell almost in hindsight admits he got the ray rice deal wrong,
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even though he won't admit it, because he introduced this new domestic violence penalty. >> in introducing the penalty, the league did admit they got it wrong with ray rice. it was nearly unanimous the criticism of the nfl for the handling of the ray rice situation. it can be adjusted upward or downward based on the circumstances. that second offense is really going to be the one where this new policy has significant teeth. minimum banishment of one year for a second offense, no formula that could reduce it, so for a second offense a very serious penalty coming up, ask now tnd nfl going forward seems to have gotten the message from the public loudly and clearly. >> let's go to what's dominating washington politics when it comes to football right now, and that is the fight not to change the name of the redskins. i know there is a whole slew of media, including tony dungie,
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who will not use the team nickname. the nfl basically does a bargain with the redskins. they say you change your name, you get to keep your revenue ala the redskins. is that where it's headed? >> i think dan snide snider vie name as furndi ifunding for a s. he's already talked about a plan for a new stadium. the name is going to change at some point in the future. the question is, will dan snider treat it as a business deal, something he can get in return, or will he take it away voluntarily. either way it will change at some point. >> the city council has said the redskins are not welcome back to
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the city until the name changes. i appreciate it, mike. after the break here, we'll be back with more "press pass." we're going to talk a little bit about on the field issues.
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welcome back to "press pass" where we're gearing up for the new nfl season. joining us now to give us his outlook on the field, former two-time super bowl champ rodney harrison, now, of course, an nbc sports analyst. rodney, welcome to "press pass."
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>> thanks for having me. >> let me start with the debacle, at least as far as i'm concerned, what i saw on thursday night, but what it might mean for sort of, i think where we're going, this is two days in a row that the seattle seahawks, if you count the super bowl and you count opening night, have basically said to the two most prolific quarterbacks in this decade, peyton manning and aaron rodgers, that defense can trump these high-powered performers. does this mean the defense might be coming back? >> with the rule changes, you probably wouldn't expect that, but i think when you look at seattle, they have a complete team. it's not just the defense, i think the offense complements the defense, and if you look at what they did in the super bowl and just continue on that right now what they did against the green bay packers, i think you have to put them in really an elite class of the group. just once again, a complete team. russell wilson was to impressive, marshawn lynch, just
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an addition of percy harvin. they're only getting stronger, faster and better. the teams in the nfc, they better watch out. >> i guess what i find interesting is here we thought they did something a little bit different in trying to stop these spread-out offenses. your form of defensive back, obviously to me that's the heart and soul of what they are, their defensive backfield. what is it that they're doing that you expect other nfl teams to start copying? >> well, first of all, it comes down to personnel. they have the personnel up front. you have to be able to rush the passer with four guys. they have that ability. they have two great defensive ends. they can drop seven guys into coverage. they have one of the best cornerbacks in the national football league. they have the best free safety. they have the biggest, hardest hidden strong safety in the league. it's not just about getting pressure, it's not just about creating defenses, but you have to have the personnel to make it work, and they definitely have
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that personnel. >> you don't think it's a scheme, per se. look, you're going to drop these guys back, you just have to have four amazing pass rushers. >> it's not just about scheme with these guys, because if you look at their defense, they're pretty basic. they play some covered three, man-to-man coverage, they play cover four which is like quarter, quarter, quarter across the board. they're not very exotic in their schemes, but their defensive quarter has said we're going to play defensive coverage, we have the personnel. we're going to hit you in the mouth if you pass the ball, we're going to get the passer. >> first of all, what teams do you expect -- obviously, as a packer fan, i kind of hope the packers could be close to seattle. they're not. if the packers aren't close to seattle, is anybody? who is close to potentially taking down seattle, if anybody is? >> i would have to say probably the new orleans saints. i think that's the team that if i'm seattle, i'm really
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concerned about, because they have that prolific offense. the offensive line is a lot better. they're trying to implement the running game. but defensively, they have a different attitude. they have rob ryan, who is a former linebacker coach. when i played under him, and he's a very creative defensive mind. the guys get excited about playing for this guy and they're very hard hitting and aggressive. >> your former division, the afc east, is it now the weakest division of football? i grew up in miami. i remember the days of miami, new england, the jets. it was a dominating division and now it looks like the weakest one. >> the afc east is really weak. when you look at that division, very disappointed with the jets. they have a good defense, but the offense is very disappointing. buffalo hasn't been close to the offense in 15 years. miami in and out, and they've
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been a sdamdisappointment, but england is really the class of that division. >> is it minneapolis, new england and denver and really nobody else? >> i think maybe a surprise team might be the steelers. i don't think cincinnati is mature enough to get over that hump. it comes down to their quarterback play. but you also have to include the baltimore ravens. i think that's one team that people need to pay close attention to. >> you just pointed out the ravens. some of us are overlooking them a little bit and they only won the super bowl a couple years ago, we should remember that. >> i know. >> who else do you think is being overlooked? there's always that one team. last year it was the kansas city chiefs, right? >> let me tell you this. it's definitely not the kansas city chiefs because they're not very good. i mean, alex smith, he's -- they call him a game manager. i think he's a decent quarterback. he's nothing great. nothing that i would ever be afraid of going against. they have one playmaker on
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offense pretty much is jamal charles, and dwayne bowen in the outside position. defense, we saw what happened last year when pass rushers got hurt. they couldn't cover anyone in the secondary. this team is in trouble. >> they may take a step back, but who was bad last year that you might think, they might win 10 or 11 games and shock us. >> those teams that were really bad, they might improve a little bit but nothing where they're going to make the playoffs. one team i really like is the arizona cardinals. they were 10-6 last year. i think it comes down to carson palmer and his play, but if you look at their talent, and i'm not saying talent necessarily guarantees you a playoff spot, but if you look at their talent, talent alone they have a chance. but it comes down to a consistent quarterback play. >> and if they were in another division, we would be calling them a division champ being
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behind san francisco? >> you could say "if" all the time, but "if" doesn't work in football. >> rg 3, a political show sometimes, a lot of redskins fans. are we going to have a quarterback controversy by the end of the year, or are watchers going to have rg 3 fever again? >> he's been an exciting quarterback to watch, but he's been pretty up and down, he's been inconsistent. part of that is his personality, part of that is his frustration with his injury. now they have a coach they really like, he seems to get along with him, but it comes down to his personality and what rg 3 shows up. is he the guy that engages everyone that's excited about playing football, or is it the one that complains and makes excuses? >> they look like an interesting fantasy team on offense sometimes. the question is, is it going to be a

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