|Mike Lombardi on D&C: Rams going to take their shots in fourth quarter||10.26.12 at 10:01 am ET|
NFL Network analyst Mike Lombardi joined Dennis & Callahan on Friday morning to preview Sunday’s Patriots-Rams game and discuss news from around the league. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
Some have speculated that overseas trips help teams to bond, but Lombardi said he didn’t believe so.
“The Patriots, the Rams, they’re not Boy Scouts,” Lombardi said. “Trips that go away are not bonding trips. What bonds a team is what Tom Brady did at the end of that Jets game. Coming from behind, kicking that field goal, winning the game. Those are the kind of plays that bond teams. This whole going away stuff, I’ve never bought into it.”
Asked whether the Patriots’ use of a conservative defensive scheme, one that doesn’t blitz, is partly to blame for their inability to close out games, Lombardi said the responsibility starts with the offense.
“The Patriots team this year has given up 58 points in the fourth quarter alone,” Lombardi said. “They’ve only given up 61 points in the first half alone. Because the offense hasn’t extended the lead, whether it’s Seattle where you’re up 23-13, or the Jets game where you’re up 23-13. You’ve got a chance. Put the game away, make it a 30-13 game. They didn’t do it, they made it a closer game. Same thing in Seattle, same thing in Baltimore. And I think that becomes the problem for them, when the offense doesn’t put the game away, then all of a sudden things start to fall apart. That’s really what’s happened.”
Lombardi predicts the Rams will attempt to take advantage of New England’s unimpressive defensive secondary by airing it out.
“I think they’re going to,” Lombardi said. “The Rams have a unique team. What the Rams are saying when they play you is, ‘We think you’re going to mess up. So we’re going to be as conservative as we possibly can be. We’re not going to blow this game. We’re going to try to get this game to the fourth quarter, we’re going to take our shot.’ And I think you’ll see them take shots up the field.
“I think they will throw it down the field if they can make a few plays. That’s part of what they want to do, anyway. They know they’re not good enough. They know their offensive line is really a work in progress, and that’s being polite. … They have to control the ball, stay in a lot of third-and-shorts, keep 10-play drives, and really the Rams don’t mind if you keep the ball for 10 minutes, either. They just want to keep you out of the end zone. They’ll let you have a field goal if you keep it for 10 minutes.”
Asked whether the Rams have any receivers who the Patriots should watch out for, Lombardi said that the Patriots’ inability to cover anyone overshadows opponents’ talents.
“Anytime you watch the Patriots secondary play, you never really notice the talent of the receivers that they’re playing against, you notice the inability of the defensive backs to make a play,” Lombardi said. “Every team has players that can make plays.”
Following are more highlights from the interview.
On Rams CB Cortland Finnegan: “Cortland Finnegan is a physical player. Dirty is a step across the line. I think he’s a physical player, he’s going to challenge you to the whistle. I don’t know if he’s still the same player he was three years ago. I think sometimes guys carry their moniker around long after its been gone. “
On who will be making trades before the deadline: “Now that the deadline is moved back, you would think Carolina. But they don’t have a general manager. They’ve come to the realization that, you know what, we’re not running the wishbone here. Maybe we shouldn’t have paid all three running backs this amount of money. Maybe we should trade DeAngelo Williams now and we’ll take him for whatever we can get at this point. … St Louis has talked about, ‘Make us an offer on some players and we’ll listen.’ … I would think Jacksonville would make the same thing. Cleveland, I would think, would make the same thing. If you’re not going to the playoffs, and you have a guy who is potentially a free agent and you’re not going to sign him, why not liquidate now?”
On the Jets-Dolphins game and whether the Jets are headed back to mediocrity: “The Jets gave it a heck of a shot on Sunday. I think the Jets gave it their best punch. … I think this will be a really good game. Miami has had a week off. Miami understands that Ryan Tannehill seeing the Jets blitzes will make him a lot better.”
On what game to watch this weekend: “I’m going to be fascinated to watch the Eagles [vs. the Falcons]. … I think Michael Vick’s career in Philadelphia is on a game-to-game basis, so I’m always going to want to watch Philadelphia. I want to see how that goes.”
On the Broncos-Saints game: “I think this is going to be an absolute up-the-field offensive explosion. It will be fascinating to see if Denver can get off to a fast start. But this is going to come down to which defense can turn the ball over, which can gain an extra possession.”
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