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Michael Lombardi on D&C: Seahawks ‘will be a challenge’ for Patriots

10.12.12 at 10:58 am ET
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NFL Network analyst Mike Lombardi joined Dennis & Callahan on Friday morning to preview Sunday’s Patriots-Seahawks game and discuss news from around the league. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Lombardi assessed the Seahawks defense and the Patriots’ chances going into Week 6.

‘€œIt will be a challenge. We lose sight of the fact that when you talk about Seattle, and certainly [CenturyLink] Field up there, it is a tough place to play. I’€™m not saying it’€™s a tough place to win, they’€™re 6-4 over the last 10 games up there,’€ Lombardi said. ‘€œAnd this Seattle defense, because of the crowd noise and if you do things like Green Bay did and leave the edges open and allow the Bruce Irvins and the Chris Clemons to run all over the field and create plays with their athleticism, that’€™s your own fault. That’€™s really what I don’€™t think New England will do.’€

Lombardi said the Seahawks defense is physical and will be ready to play hard against the Patriots offense.

‘€œThey want to play fast, they want to play smart, they want to be able to be in the right place,” Lombardi said. “And you can tell what they’€™re going to be able to do. They’€™ve got a few blitzes. But pretty much, they’€™re not saying to you, ‘€˜We’€™re going to get in a chess match with you.’€™ They’€™re saying, ‘€˜We’€™re going to punch you in the mouth. We’€™re going to beat you.’€™ ‘€

Asked if the Seahawks are a legitimate playoff contender this year, Lombardi said the struggling offense makes that difficult to determine.

‘€œI think they’€™re borderline a playoff team. This defense is tough. When they play the good offenses in the NFL, the offenses that have a little bit more than just five or six plays in terms of trying to attack them, I think they’€™ll run into some issues,’€ Lombardi said. ‘€œBut the reality of it is, this [Seahawks] offense is not very explosive. And so because it’€™s not explosive, every game you play you could get into a situation where you could lose to a lesser opponent because you can’€™t put the game away.’€

Lombardi also talked about the quarterback situation in Seattle. Veteran Matt Flynn is riding the bench behind rookie Russell Wilson, and Lombardi said Wilson too frequently throws the ball away.

‘€œMatt Flynn is sitting there counting [team owner] Paul Allen‘€™s Microsoft money thinking, ‘€˜What does Russell Wilson do that I can’€™t do?’€™ ” Lombardi said, adding: “[Wilson] can’€™t really see down the field, and whenever he can’€™t see clearly, he tends to escape to his right and he probably has more throwaways than any quarterback in the National Football League. ‘€¦ I think we got caught up with Russell Wilson’€™s toughness, his leadership, his personality, instead of falling in love and evaluating the player on the field.’€

Lombardi commented on how the Patriots offense is able to respond to defensive schemes.

‘€œThey’€™re counterpunching you the whole way. If you come out and Seattle decides ‘€¦ to play a nickel defense against their three receivers, then you’€™re going to get a heavy dose of run game,” he said. “If you play base, then he’€™s going to throw the ball more effectively. ‘€¦ I think that’€™s what makes this Patriots offense so effective.’€

Following are more highlights from the interview.

On a potential AFC playoff matchup between the Patriots and the Texans and where the game would be held: ‘€œI think it’€™s going to be in New England. ‘€¦ I thought Houston’€™s secondary really looked a little suspect against the Jets receiving corps that wasn’€™t very good. The [Brian] Cushing injury is really going to affect Houston. ‘€¦ Andre Johnson is not the same receiver that he once was.’€

On the Jets’ problems: ‘€œI don’€™t know where they go in terms of how they fix the program. If you say ‘€˜Let’€™s put [Tim] Tebow,’€™ at this point, people will play short-yard and goal-line defense against Tebow in the middle of the field because he’€™s never going to be able to throw the ball to any of these receivers because there is nobody that’€™s going to get open. The bottom line on the Jets, and we’€™ve said this on this program, they don’€™t have a blue-chip running back, and if you want to be pounding ground without a blue-chip running back, this is what you’€™re going to have.’€

On the struggling Packers and their game against the Texans: ‘€œThey have to force Houston to play from behind. Force Houston to have to play a dropback passing game and find out, do they have enough athletes in terms of the outside receivers to really become a factor, I think that’€™s what has to happen.’€

On the Ravens, who are coming off an unimpressive 9-6 victory over the Chiefs: ‘€œWhen you break them down defensively, they’€™re not where they ever were last year. They’€™re hoping [Terrell] Suggs comes back soon. ‘€¦ They have no pass rush, they can’€™t generate a pass rush and they’€™re slow on defense in their base unit. If they can’€™t get [Joe] Flacco moving quickly early in the game and kind of get him in a rhythm, they stall themselves out offensively and I think that’€™s what happened in Kansas City.’€

On Eagles quarterback Michael Vick and his future in Philadelphia: ‘€œMichael Vick is playing for his year. If Michael Vick doesn’€™t get his season turned around ‘€¦ his contract is set up such that the Eagles can walk away from him next year without any cap implications at all. ‘€¦ If he doesn’€™t perform well, or the Eagles continue to go along this pace where they’€™re winning but really not winning, I think you’€™ll see them make a change of quarterback.’€

Read More: Andrew Luck, Matt Flynn, Michael Vick, Mike Lombardi
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