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Eric Mangini on M&M: Loose officiating benefited Ravens defenders

01.21.13 at 2:45 pm ET
By
Eric Mangini

Eric Mangini

ESPN analyst Eric Mangini, the former Jets and Browns coach, joined Mut & Merloni on Monday afternoon to offer his take on the Patriots’ 28-13 loss to the Ravens in the AFC championship game.

Mangini said the Ravens borrowed a strategy from the old Patriots playbook by being aggressive toward receivers as they come off the line of scrimmage — and seeing what they can get away with.

“There were a bunch of times yesterday when the officials were just letting the teams play,” Mangini said. “There were times when Brandon Lloyd got hit in the face, there were times where he was hit well after five yards. But as Bill [Belichick] always says, ‘We do business as business is being done.’ So as long as they were letting it happen, Baltimore was going to do it. That’s the feel that it had.

“I think what you have to do against a team that can fast break like New England is you’ve got to find some way to slow down the well-oiled machine. And one of the best ways is to get up and instead of trying to cover them down the field — because it’s hard to match Wes Welker, it’s hard to match Aaron Hernandez, but if they can’t get started, that’s your best shot.

“Every time that Baltimore’s played New England — even looking back at last year’s matchups — they were hitting guys out of the backfield, they were hitting guys at the line of scrimmage; it was a very similar program. And Dean Pees [the Ravens defensive coordinator who is a former Patriots assistant], he knows that as well as anybody.”

Belichick was criticized for refusing to give a postgame interview to CBS sideline reporter Steve Tasker on Sunday. Mangini, who famously had a falling-out with Belichick when he left the Patriots staff to become coach of the Jets in 2006, said he can relate.

“Being a person that’s taken a lot of flak from the media in the past and now having a little bit different role, sometimes that can steamroll, and sometimes something that’s small can be blown up to be a lot bigger than it is,” he said. “I think it’s really a difficult time when you lose a game, and you lose a game like that. With the track record that they’ve had … that stuff hurts. As great as you are and as much of a Hall of Famer as you are and much as everybody says you should act this way, everybody responds to that stuff differently. I’m not defending it [but] I get it. It hurts a lot. But at the end of the day, you have take care of that stuff. You’ve got to do that interview. I think maybe he’d like to have that back.”

Asked about his own future, Mangini implied that he’d like to return to the sideline at some point.

“I go through the whole range of emotions,” he said. “It’s one of those things where I’ve loved this [broadcasting] experience for what it’s allowed me to do with three young boys — I’ve got 9, 7 and 4 — but I miss a lot of it. So if I could get with the right people and the right team, I think I’d strongly consider it. But it has been pretty amazing from the perspective of having a chance to see my kids grow up.”

To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page. For more Patriots news, visit the team page at weei.com/patriots.

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