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Peter King on M&M: ‘Lucky’ Patriots benefit from ‘very advantageous schedule early’

09.13.13 at 1:12 pm ET
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Sports Illustrated’s Peter King joined Mut & Merloni on Friday to talk about the Patriots’ ugly 13-10 victory over the Jets on Thursday night.

Said King: “As far as lucky schedules in NFL history, to open with two rookie quarterbacks, one of them on a short week, and then follow that with a long week and then the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at home, I don’t know what lucky star Robert Kraft‘s been under, but he used it. He used a few of his nine lives this week, to mix metaphors there. The Patriots are lucky that they have a very advantageous schedule early. They’ll pay for it a little bit later. I think they have Atlanta, Cincinnati, New Orleans in the three after that, so that’s not going to be very easy.

“Last year I remember when [Cardinals quarterback] Kevin Kolb went into Foxboro and beat Tom Brady, and everybody is thinking, ‘Is this is for the Patriots? They finally have reached the nadir.’ To me, I kind of look at that and I say you’re never going to be the same in September and December. Tom Brady has a chance to see that Kenbrell Thompkins can turn the right way on a pass route, that Aaron Dobson gets the point about if he’s going to run a 12-yard curl it’s got to be 12 and not 11½ or 13. I’m sure those are the problems that are happening right now.

“You just have to go by history. And there’s two things in the Patriots’ favor. Number one, [Bill] Belichick and Brady have been a winning combination over the last 12 seasons. And two, the AFC East, as usual, stinks. And it stinks out loud, so that’s what they’re fortunate to be in with. And they’re fortunate that the best of the three teams, Miami, they don’t have to play right now. Because their pass rush would really kind of get to Brady and really hurt them.”

Wide receiver Danny Amendola, coming off a gutsy performance in Sunday’s opening victory over the Bills as he played through a groin injury, missed Thursday’s game. That has led to renewed criticism of the Patriots for allowing the durable Wes Welker to leave as a free agent and sign with the Broncos.

“This was a bad decision on the Patriots’ part to let Wes Welker go. It was in March, it is in September,” King said. “Wes Welker games missed since the start of 2011: zero. Danny Amendola: 21 and counting. Part of being a good player is showing up and being there, we all know that. ‘€¦

“[Amendola] turned in one of the great, Audie Murphy performances on Sunday. When he starts grabbing his upper leg in the end zone in Buffalo the other day, in the second quarter, I said, ‘Well, that’s it, he’s gone for six weeks.’ And he shows up in the second half and I think catches seven balls. Just a fantastic, very courageous performance by Amendola. But the human body can only take so much. And Amendola is evidently one of those guys whose body fights back, because it certainly has in the last three or four years.”

Looking back at the negotiations between Welker and the Patriots, King said: “I think it remains murky, and I think all sides want it to remain murky. But I think that Welker just thought that the offer that he was given was not commensurate with what he had contributed to the Patriots. He pushed the envelope, pushed the envelope, pushed the envelope, the Patriots said, ‘We’re not going any further.’ The Patriots had started negotiating with Amendola, John Elway steps in and he gets a gift.”

Touching on the Jets’ quarterback situation, King said Mark Sanchez is considering playing through the torn labrum in his right shoulder, despite reports that surgery is the only fix.

“It seems like an odd choice to me, but he’s got to have some doctor saying that, “Oh, you can definitely play by the middle of October with this shoulder,’ ” King said.

If Sanchez does return this year, King said that while some in the Jets organization would like to see Geno Smith get his chance during what appears to be a rebuilding season in New York, it should not be a surprise to see Sanchez back under center.

Said King: “It’s easy to sit here and say, ‘They’re not going anywhere, play Geno Smith.’ But you also have to say to 52 other guys in the locker room, to 18 coaches, to everybody in the organization, ‘I know we’re not playing the best guy, but we’re playing for the future.’ Teams don’t generally do that. And I can tell you Rex Ryan absolutely, categorically won’t do that. If he thinks the best chance to beat, let’s say, the Dolphins on November 8th or whenever it is they play them is to play Sanchez, he’s not going to care that they’re 1-9 and they should tank the season and play the kid. He’s going to try to win every game they can.”

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.

Read More: Bill Belichick, Danny Amendola, Geno Smith, Marck Sanchez
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