Explore our insightful interview with NFL icon Cris Carter, where he delves into the latest NFL season, discussing team performances, player futures, and coaching dynamics. Carter also shares his perspectives on the transition from pro sports to retirement and the influence of personal relationships on player performance. A concise yet comprehensive look into the NFL through the eyes of a seasoned expert.
It is a disappointment when you look at their season overall with the talent that they have and the team they had coming back, with the additions it is a disappointment. But if you look at injuries, they weren't able to overcome those. The good teams are able to overcome most injuries but there are injuries you can't overcome. And I would say the assessment as far as losing to a team like Tampa Bay, overall on the road. Not having that game at home. All those things, a very disappointing season for the Eagles.
Well every year 20 to 25% of players are new on every team. So every experience is totally different. Every year there are teams that get off to a fast start. Typically they just don't have the veteran nucleus that Philadelphia has when they can't get turned around. So we've seen teams do it before, typically not a team that has gone to the Super Bowl. But if you look at the teams that have gone to the Super Bowl and lost, they have not been very successful that following season. So the mental anguish of losing the biggest game in the world. A shorter offseason. Those things have not led people to success. If you look at the recent Super Bowl losers, they just don't bounce back. Philadelphia now is in that category.
No, I think Nick's done a good job. Of course, he's a young coach, you gotta make some adjustments. But when you lose your offensive coordinator, which they did before the season, you know there's gonna be some type of adjustments. They fired the defensive coordinator. So that's him saying that yes, I think we underperformed. I'm gonna make changes in how I'm going to run the defense and I’m going to bring a new voice into that side of the ball. So I think those types of adjustments are what you want to see from a coaching staff.
I think the fans have less to do with what the players are thinking about than anything else. Every team has their own fans. So Philadelphia fans, a lot of fans on the east coast in the United States. They're all Eagles fans, Giants fans, Patriots fans, all people in that part of the United States, they have a passion for their sports and they don't mind sometimes not supporting their home team. By saying some things, they think they know football better than a pro athlete. So for me, I never worried about it. I know they don't know how to play football better than me. If they did, they'd be out here playing so they have less influence in these things.
Well, it depends on what you prepared. Have you done anything else that makes the transition a little smoother? There is no other job like playing in the NFL, especially for a long time, and playing at a high level, you have to understand that and realize there is going to be some type of career after the NFL. And you know, I did a lot of broadcasting in NFL Europe, hosting my own shows, volunteering at the Super Bowl for the major networks to get some reps, and doing TV shows before I retired. So I already have a resume, and I think he'll do well. He and his brother got a nice brand. They got a great podcast. He's doing some commercial things. I'm sure he's gonna do well for himself.
It is always hard to replace a great player but the communication between the center and quarterback, I believe the center is probably the second most important offensive line besides the blindside tackle with whoever's gonna protect the backside. It allows the line to have more flexibility, more things they can do. And then ultimately the mental toughness. It's hard to be a great football team without being mentally tough, and having a mentally tough center that you could run behind. That's allowed the Eagles to be able to be very, very productive offensively throughout his career.
I mean, I don't know why they wouldn't sign him. He hasn't done anything that doesn't warrant a long-term contract when they traded for him.
Well, if they compensate him as one of the best receivers, then he should stay. I think that for Philadelphia he's the only number one receiver they have on the team so they don't really have another option.
Yes, absolutely. That's why they signed him to a long-term contract, he's definitely gonna be one of the best quarterbacks, he's still growing. You could see this year when he got hurt, his knee got hurt, his ability to run the ball lessened. It made the offense less effective than we've seen him. But yes, he's definitely one of the elite quarterbacks in the league.
When you do shows like this it's just so easy to ask questions like, ‘Hey, just trade this guy. Hey, do this.’ What are you gonna get back for him? I don't like answering hypothetical questions, because it's really not fair to who you're saying it against. No, I wouldn't trade him. He didn't do anything that would warrant him being traded. He went to the Super Bowl last year. They signed him for a long term contract, you know his ability to lead a team at an elite level is there so, no.
He's done amazing, with yardage per game, an NFL record in his first four seasons, the Vikings love him. He's doing all the things right on and off the field. So they're gonna sign up to a record-breaking contract within the next five or six months, before the season starts and so he can continue that great career he started there in Minneapolis.
Well, the top two quarterbacks got hurt, then the third quarterback got hurt. So looking at it long term, they're gonna have to get a quarterback, probably going to be Kirk Cousins. The teams in the division are going to be better. I don't look for a long road for them to be back, but it's going to be a very tough division. If you look at the young quarterbacks they have in the division with Campbell in Detroit with Goff, Chicago is definitely going to get their situation to improve with the high draft picks they have and the talent they already have. And Green Bay - impressive. Impressive this November, December into the postseason, youngest team in the NFL, so it's gonna be a battle in the north.
Well they've done a good job as far as drafting at the position. We have a great tradition as far as wide receivers there. And, you know, Justin Jefferson was able to continue that great tradition. So their scouting department has done a great job as far as looking for guys and then being able to develop guys that they can have long careers there. So it's what they do and what they're looking for.
Well, I mean, it's hard to replace the productivity that Kirk has had. It's obvious they need to get younger at that position, so as far as having a suitable backup, even if they signed Kirk, I'm sure they're gonna look at some other players as backup but I think their option is to sign him.
I think that those players will become available. I think they do have talent. I think that from a coaching standpoint, the Vikings head coach has done a great job with the quarterbacks that he had as replacements even when Kirk was hurt, and I think those guys you mentioned got a lot of upside to them. I believe that Russell has a lot of good football left in him, and I believe Justin Fields has a long, long career and he can be a star in the NFL.
Well, I think those things change if they decide to sign Kirk Cousins because they might have to get a quarterback at the top of the draft if they're not going to sign Kirk Cousins. If not, I'll look for them to potentially get a rush end. Another offensive lineman to beef up the offensive line, they could also use another linebacker. So those three positions besides quarterback - tackle, offense and defense, interior lineman, and linebacker.
I would say, well, Green Bay, once they got the quarterback situation you know, we battled, it's always Green Bay and Chicago. I would say usually Green Bay and Chicago through those years.
No not for those two teams, no.
Offensively, the talent they have around him they have more this season. So they have the ability to diversify their offense and not just rely on his running ability. I believe this is their best opportunity, playing at home. Baltimore, man, a tremendous home-field advantage, a tremendous crowd there. So yes, this is definitely the best chance. I believe he's gonna get a second MVP announced soon. So it's gonna be a great game, he's going up against the modern day GOAT of quarterbacks in Patrick Mahomes. But this is Lamar and Baltimore's best chance since he's been here.
Well, it's a tough matchup for them. You know, Baltimore, they still had the bye. They’re still gonna be fresher against Kansas City who's played two weeks in a row. They are battle-tested. They do have the best player on the field, that is Patrick Mahomes going into the game. You know, can Lamar not turn the football over? This sets up for him greatly, Kansas City's had so much success in the playoffs. Outside of Travis Kelce, can other players step up and make plays? So it's going to be a great game, it's gonna be a great, great football, I believe it's as evenly matched of a game as we've seen in the championship game of all time.
Of course, they probably got the best roster top to bottom. They'd like to take back to the NFC Championship from last year when their top two quarterbacks got hurt, they didn't get a chance to go to the Super Bowl, so it's no surprise San Francisco is right there. They've had a great season. They've been relatively healthy with some bumps and bruises. Deebo Samuel, will he participate in the game? I believe that that helps Detroit if he's not part of that offense. It takes away a lot of the variable things that they like to do with him as a multi-threat as a wide receiver and a running back. So San Francisco yes, they were one of the favorites from the beginning with Philadelphia to be able to return to the championship game and they were able to get there with Brock Purdy having the best season of his career.
Well, it is very, very rare, history points to that. I think that the type of roster he joined in San Francisco really helped his growth and I believe he's an underrated passer of the football. His journey, when you don't have high expectations becomes a little bit easier, but he did play better than all quarterbacks that they've had playing there the last several years and their ability to throw the ball now is real compared to that being the most suspect part of the offense previously.
I wouldn't say they've exceeded everyone's expectations. If you go back to last season, the regular season ending, then being out of the playoffs, they went to Green Bay and beat Green Bay. And Green Bay if they win that game, Green Bay's in the playoffs. That also happened to be Aaron Rodgers's last game with the Green Bay Packers. They start the season in Kansas City opening night, they beat Kansas City in Kansas City. So if you look at the way Dan Campbell has built this team, they traded for Jared Goff.
Their offensive defensive lines are dominant. They're a physical team. They love to run the ball but their passing attack is underrated. So that's how they built it over the years but I wouldn't say that everyone is surprised by Detroit. I mean, Detroit is a talented football team, and the people that have been watching have seen those results. And they understand that wow. You know, this is a Detroit team. It's very, very different from the one I've seen. Absolutely.
They have to be able to stop the run, and they have to be able to run the ball more effectively. Does it sound that simple? Yes. That's the problem the Dallas Cowboys have. They cannot run the ball on a regular basis. Their passing game, is very, very effective. Defensively, good linebackers. Great secondary play, but they can't stop the run. So when people carry the ball at them, they're going to have problems. That's the reason why they struggle - there are very, very talented teams in the NFC now too. If you're not formidable on both sides of the ball, then you're not going to be making it to the championship games and that's what the Cowboys are suffering from.
Any type of jump in pro football is a huge jump. So, for our best players who play college football, we see it every year, we see players struggle. So, for anyone who has not come through the normal system, the jump is going to be even more drastic than that. It's hard to be an NFL player. Only 24,000 people have played in the NFL in 103 years. Only 14,000 of us have played more than four years. So it is not cut out for everyone to do. Those are the types of odds that he has to overcome.
Well, I think that there's an opportunity, but there are only a few sports that can mimic the skill, you know I think that Australian Rules Football there's some crossover. In professional soccer, there is some crossover in the kicking game,and then the last one is basketball. If a guy is typically between 6ft 4in - 6in, and he wants to play tight end, that is probably the best transition into being a tight end in the NFL. Those are the only sports that I've seen to transfer.
I'm not certain that he will get a job. If he doesn't go to Atlanta, I don't see a soft landing for him. You know, there's no guarantee he will be coaching. I know he wants to coach but I think for what he wants to do and his style, it is not a style that you can just get anywhere.
Well, I think he's a good choice for a leader. I think that if you look at Robert Kraft, I think you have Pete Carrol, Bill Parcels, Belichick, and now Jerod Mayo. So I'll take his judgment on who he wants to lead his football team, he and his son Jonathan do a great job there. It's nice to see that they're going to continue that tradition of Bill Belichick, just with a different face and a different spin on it. So I think they will be successful long term.
Well, I mean, she's a megastar. It's hard to grow the game of American Football, and it's hard to grow it, especially within North America. Her being at the games, you know, to me it doesn't grow the game, because I think that when she's in or out of the game then her fans are going to be in or out of it. I think the game is sustainable in itself. With the characters, the teams, the uniforms, the rivalries, the way the game is staged, the quarterbacks we have playing the game, the drama that's involved, it's unpredictable. You know, it's a great thing. So I think that all those things are so superior to who Miss Swift is, and her relationship with Travis Kelce.
No, I don't think he's distracted. He got injured before the season started and he struggled in the first part of the season. So he's been a star since he came into the league. He's a great guy. He's handled the media excellently. When you're playing, he plays this game at a high level, and you're one of the marquee players, if you get injured, your numbers could be affected by it, regardless of who you're dating and who you're not dating, all those things. You know, this is the natural flow of a career.