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NFL on FOX: Troy and Jimmy give their preseason predictions

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NFL on FOX lead analyst and Hall of Famer Troy Aikman, two-time Super Bowl-winning coach Jimmy Johnson, FOX Sports rules analyst Mike Pereira, along with FOX Sports President Eric Shanks and FOX Sports Vice Chairman Ed Goren, previewed FOX Sports' NFL coverage and the 2010 season on a press call Tuesday afternoon.

A replay of the entire call is available by clicking here.

TROY AIKMAN ON HIS SURPRISE TEAM IN THE NFC

"The team I like in the NFC ... and I don't know if they're going to surprise anybody ... but I like Atlanta, as far as those teams that maybe didn't do it last year. I expect Matt Ryan to have, really, a great year ... They've got some good pieces around him, and I think they've sured some things defensively that helped them as well."

AIKMAN ON HIS ONE DISAPPOINTING TEAM

"I'm intrigued right now by the Jets. They seem to be a fashionable pick out of the AFC to go to the Super Bowl, and I wouldn't agree with that. I like them. I like Rex Ryan ... but a lot changes if Darrelle Revis isn't on that team, I promise you that. And it's also a team that not only didn't win the division, but were fortunate to get into the playoffs. I can see them having a tougher year than most people think."

AIKMAN ON THE NFC NORTH

Packers – “I like Green Bay. Aaron Rodgers is playing as well as anyone at the quarterback position. I would expect his play to continue for the Packers. Green Bay is the team to beat in the NFC North.”

Vikings – “Minnesota is awfully good, but I’m a little concerned with Sidney Rice (hip surgery) going down. Percy Harvin (migraines) is a concern, and that’s got to be a little unsettling as a quarterback. Chester Taylor is a guy that they lost that’s more significant than what a lot of people have talked about.”

Bears – “I have tremendous respect for Mike Martz and the job that he’s able to do on the offensive side of the ball. The turnovers and interceptions, in particular, are what needs to be cleaned up from Jay Cutler’s game, and getting sacked as much as he has in a limited amount of time is another concern. The Bears are a few players away from being able to contend.”

Lions – “Detroit is going to be a fun team to watch. I have a vested interest in Matthew Stafford, a local kid from where I live now, and would love to see him do well. I think the Lions are starting to slowly put some players around him. The Lions could surprise a few teams.”

JIMMY JOHNSON ON THE PACKERS, VIKINGS, COWBOYS & NFC EAST

Packers – “I really like what Aaron Rodgers did last year and how good he’s looked in preseason. The Packers have all the weapons offensively and I like their scheme on the offensive side of the ball. I am a little concerned with some of the problems that they could have injury wise on defense.”

Vikings – “Even though they do have some concerns with the receivers, they still should be able to run the ball extremely well and they still play outstanding defense with the way they rush the passer.”

Cowboys – “You can’t be impressed with what the Cowboys have done in preseason, but make no mistake about it, that team is filled with talented players on both sides of the ball. Work ethic, toughness and chemistry on your team are what allow you to go out and play week in and week out. The Cowboys are talented enough to turn it on once the season starts, but I don’t know if they’ll have the consistency. I am concerned about that offensive line and whether or not they can open up the holes and protect Tony Romo.”

MIKE PEREIRA ON UMPIRE REPOSITIONING

“The NFL first started experimenting with this in 1998 in NFL Europe and some preseason games. Over the last year, they looked at the number of times the umpire got knocked down and felt that something needed to be done. Now, we’re seeing that a couple things need to be worked out and maybe some things that weren’t anticipated. They need to figure out how to signal to the quarterback that the umpire positioned behind the offensive line is ready, thus allowing the quarterback to snap the ball. Secondly, they’re going to have to define what is normal position for the umpire in a hurry-up situation. Everyone knew adjustments were going to have to be made. It’s good they happened in Week 3 of the preseason, so once we get into the season I don’t think it will be much of an issue.”

AIKMAN ON HIS EXPERIENCE OF STARTING AS A ROOKIE

“I was 0-11 as a starter. When you put the time in each week and you come off the field on Sunday and have nothing to show for it, it’s hard. The hard part for a young QB is not to lose confidence. For me, fortunately, Jimmy and the rest of the personnel people were able to put some good players around me in a short period of time, so the struggles didn’t last that long. I always considered that rookie season a blessing. It made me realize that winning in the NFL is hard. Even when we were winning Super Bowls, every week I knew that winning was hard.”

AIKMAN’S IMPRESSION OF SAM BRADFORD & REACTION TO HIS WEARING NO. 8

“Sam is going to get hit. The Rams haven’t been very good. They have to get better players around him. You don’t want to see him get banged up, but if he goes through this experience with a team that isn’t very good, he’s learning and not holding back a team that has high expectations. I like him, a lot. I was surprised when I heard he choose No. 8 because of me. I had no idea that he even knew what I had accomplished as a player. It’s a big deal. Here you have a guy who’s had great success. He’s won the Heisman, he’s been the No. 1 pick in the draft and for him not to take his college number and take a number and say it was because of him looking up to me, it means a lot. I think he’s a heck of a talent, I like his demeanor and I like his athleticism. I think he can be a real superstar.”

2010: A SCHED ODYSSEY

 
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JOHNSON ON HIS EXPERIENCE OF STARTING AIKMAN AS A ROOKIE QUARTERBACK

“We not only had a rookie QB, we had a rookie owner, a rookie head coach, a rookie running back and Troy’s backup was a rookie. I didn’t have a lot of choices. We were a young team that was going to take some hits, but I thought that was the best way for us to get better. I felt bad for Troy, especially in the Philadelphia game. But in the long run, it made Troy a better player quicker than what he would have been if I put him on the sidelines. It made our team better because they all came together to where we had a chance to make the playoffs the next year if Troy had stayed healthy. Then we did make the playoffs and won the Super Bowl. We got good in a hurry because we played so many young guys.”

AIKMAN ON REPEATING AS SUPER BOWL CHAMPIONS

“The reason not many teams repeat is because it’s hard to win it the first time. To get everything right and win a world championship is extremely difficult. There’s a tendency to look at a player say that he’ll be fine because he’s proven he can do it. You don’t put as much emphasis on getting it right the first time. There has to be more of a self scouting and self awareness on how you are playing. When we were able to repeat we worked as hard, if not harder, after we won our first Super Bowl. A lot of it had to do with Jimmy and a lot of it had to do with the type of players we had. When we starting going downhill, even with the same guys in place, we didn’t put as much emphasis on the little things.”

Tagged: Falcons, Bears, Cowboys, Lions, Packers, Rams, Vikings, Aaron Rodgers, Sam Bradford

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