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What pundits were saying about Patriots on Sunday

11.25.13 at 6:27 am ET
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Here’€™s a quick rundown of what some NFL analysts were saying about the Patriots before and after Sunday’€™s game against the Broncos.

Marshall Faulk on NFL Network before the game:Wes Welker‘€™s knowledge of the Patriots is going to trump Bill Belichick‘€™s knowledge of Peyton Manning.’€

Marshall Faulk on NFL Network following the game: ‘€œPeyton Manning’s passes were contested [by defenders] and Brady was throwing to open guys; [those were] totally different [situations].”

Deion Sanders on NFL Network following the game: ‘€œTom Brady rises up to the occasion and plays well. That is just who he is.’€

Scott Pioli on the Patriots on NBC before the game and what they need to do to win: ‘€œFirst thing they are going to have to do is slow down this illegal pick play that they (Broncos) have. So, I wouldn’€™t be surprised if Bill Belichick and his assistant Ernie Adams are in there talking to the officials right now, and talking to them about looking out for this pick play because the offense under Peyton Manning is a little bit different than it used to be. He is throwing more shorter passes. He’€™s doing a lot of things underneath. So, I think they will be trying to slow those things down.’€

Pioli on if all the pick plays are illegal: ‘€œThere’€™s a lot that are definitely illegal that aren’€™t being called.’€

NBC’s Cris Collinsworth on the Patriots before the game: ‘€œThey can do it because they know how to do it legally. They are very good at it and very seldom do they see physical contact. It’s more just sort of rubbing as they go by.’€

Pioli on why Patriots didn’€™t re-sign Welker, speaking prior to the game: ‘€œI can only speculate, but my understanding would be that our business model, when I was here, was that you don’€™t want to pay in the future for past performance. Wes had done some great things, but he’€™s also getting a little bit older, and with his style of play, his chance of being durable over the years; there’€™s probably not a lot of longevity when you play as hard and as tough as he does, and as physical as he does.’€

NBC’s Tony Dungy on Patriots-Broncos before the game: ‘€œIt’€™s going to come down to who performs in the red zone.’€

Pioli on the Patriots, before the game: ‘€œIt’€™s difficult sometimes for people to have close relationships and friendships when they are this high a level of competitors, but a lot of that changed when Tom Brady was hurt. The first call he got, or one of the first calls he got, was from Peyton Manning. Peyton Manning called several times after that. It kind of changed Tommy’€™s thoughts toward Peyton. And then when Peyton got hurt, Tommy reached out to him. The injury and the realization that their football mortality someday would end really changed the two and how they approach one another. They started sharing more information. And Tommy told me this week that one of the most interesting things was when Peyton Manning was getting ready to make a decision as to who he was going to sign with, he reached out to Tommy and wanted to exchange information, and he wanted to know what Tom thought would be a good idea for him to do. Amazing how this relationship has evolved over the years from two top competitors.’€

Dungy on the Brady-Manning relationship, before the game: ‘€œI can’€™t tell you how many times Peyton would come in on Tuesday and tell me, ‘€˜Yeah, I talked to Tom and he says we can get this against this defense. We just played these guys; you can run this play on them.’€™ So, they did share a lot of information.’€

ESPN’s Tom Jackson on Wes Welker, before the game: ‘€œHe had 672 catches contributed over a period of years when they had tremendous success. I believe he would like to play really well tonight.’€

ESPN’s Cris Carter on Welker, before the game: ‘€œThe other veterans who left New England, the big difference was they had Super Bowl championships. Wes does not have that Super Bowl championship, so he’€™s more motivated about getting that championship than he is revenge.’€

ESPN’s Mike Ditka, before the game, speaking about Welker and the Patriots: ‘€œThere’€™s no loyalty in football guys. Get over it. When it’€™s time to go, you’€™re going to go. When it’€™s time to stay, you’€™ll stay. He had his time for him to go. They made a decision.’€

ESPN’s Keyshawn Johnson on Welker before the game: ‘€œHe’€™ll be very close to getting that Super Bowl ring in Denver. He can’€™t let the emotions of going back to Foxboro get in his head because the one thing I do know is Bill Belichick is going to spend plenty of time trying to take him out of the game in particular because he does not want to see him succeed.’€

Johnson on the Patriots model, before the game: ‘€œYou’€™d like to see New England make more of a financial commitment to players that have been in the organization that helped them win football games, but that’€™s not the way this game works.’€

Ditka on the Patriots model, before the game: ‘€œSame thing happened with the 49ers. Bill Walsh got rid of a lot of guys. ‘€¦ They could still play but one or two years later they weren’€™t going to be the same players.’€

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