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Peter King on M&M: Patriots need fast start vs. Broncos

12.16.11 at 12:50 pm ET
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Peter King of Sports Illustrated and NBC Sports checked in with the Mut & Merloni show Friday for his weekly discussion about the Patriots and the NFL.

Looking at Sunday’s game against Tim Tebow and the Broncos, King said one coach told him, “You always talk about getting off to a fast start. This is the one week you have to get off to a fast start. Whether it be no-huddle, whether it be varying how quickly [Tom] Brady goes to the line, whatever it is. He said just play fast and get out to a big lead. Score the first two or three times you have the ball. Then you change everything about Denver’s plan. Because the last time they got behind a lot was the Detroit game. Tebow threw the ball I think 39 times. It was a disaster. They don’t want to play that way.”

The Broncos are expected to counter by trying to slow the game down.

“I think they’re going to try to run the ball and bleed the clock,” King said. “My belief is that John Fox has a number in his head of possessions he wants Tom Brady to have. I think he would love it if Tebow’s snapping the ball as the play clock is down at four, three, two, every time. He wants to bleed the clock and he wants to hold Brady to whatever, seven or eight possessions. That’s easier said than done, but I think that that is what he’ll try to do.

“I think they’re going to try to bash them with Willis McGahee, if he’s healthy enough to do that, and just make sure that Tebow gets enough touches and is able to carry the ball the way he has in the last few weeks.”

Following are more highlights from the conversation. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.

On Tebow’s future with the Broncos: “I think they want to be disciplined and wait and see the entire season before they make that decision. But I think it’s highly unlikely they’re going to be able to go into this offseason with the idea of having another guy quarterback this team. I would be stunned if they replaced him now. ‘€¦ I think that he’s played so well, especially down the stretch. And the fan base is so enamored with him.”

On Bears receiver Sam Hurd’s arrest on a drug dealing charge: “This story is going to flesh itself out soon, but I know, having talked to [a reporter] in Chicago last night, there are some drug dealers in Chicago who didn’t even know who Sam Hurd was. For somebody to be moving that amount of drugs in the city of Chicago or in the environment of Chicago ‘€¦ you’ve got to figure that the drug kingpins would know. And evidently some of them didn’t even know who this guy was. I’m not saying that it is true that it’s exaggerated; I don’t know whether it is or not. The only thing I would say is I think it’s probably safe to say that some NFL players are going to be in trouble, but I’m not sure that Sam Hurd was the drug kingpin of Chicago. I guess that’s the way I’d put it.”

On Ben Roethlisberger’s status for Monday night’s game against the 49ers: “He’s going to try to practice tomorrow. ‘€¦ If he cannot protect himself and if he can’t move around in any way to protect himself, then Mike Tomlin is not going to play him on Monday. But I believe that Roethlisberger is going to give it a really good effort and try to play. What I have been told about this particular game is that the Steelers are really hesitant to play him in this game because San Francisco has a really good pass rush and they’ve got a great run defense. And at some point, the quarterback’s going to have to make some plays. He’s going to have to move around to make some plays. ‘€¦ I think it is a huge huge mistake for Roethlisberger to try to play in this game.”

Read More: Ben Roethlisberger, John Fox, Sam Hurd,
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