Bill Romanowski on M&M: Patriots need to ‘have more talent around Tom Brady’
|01.29.14 at 2:08 pm ET|
Former NFL linebacker Bill Romanowski joined Mut & Merloni on Wednesday to talk about the Patriots offense moving forward, the NFL trying to make the game safer, and Super Bowl story lines. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.
Romanowski, a former Boston College star, believes the Patriots winning ways have led to a reputation that it’s Super Bowl or bust for the team, making Wes Welker‘s departure in free agency slightly perplexing.
“To let Wes Welker get away, mind-boggling to me,” Romanowski said. “That really is, that move. But you have to be able to make tough decisions as a head coach. … You may have an off [year], do you call the AFC championship an off year? On some level, when you’re the New England Patriots, you do. OK, not winning and getting to the Super Bowl is an off year. And it should be that way because you built a reputation of being one of the best organizations, you clearly have, still, one of the best quarterbacks.”
Despite the Patriots not making the Super Bowl, Romanowski was impressed with what they did with a shorthanded squad.
“They had a lot of injuries, and you take away those injuries, and even one of the big injuries in the game, we all know the matchup with Demaryius Thomas, and them losing [Aqib] Talib, that right there,” Romanowski said.
Looking at next season, Romanowski said New England needs to take a page out of what Denver did this year and load up at wide receiver.
“The game is about the horses,” Romanowski said. “You’ve got to have the talent, bring in the talent and make sure you have more talent around Tom Brady and to me, look at what the Denver Broncos did. They made sure they were deep at receiver and they win games by outscoring people. That’s usually what New England does. Hats off, though, to New England with what they were able to do, change things and turned themselves into more of a conventional offense, phenomenal coaching.”
Romanowski is convinced Bill Belichick will continue to add pieces to the team through the draft, getting players who will step up and became the future of the franchise.
“They didn’t get it done this year, they came up short in the AFC championship game, you live and learn. You’re Bill Belichick, you learn from this year. I think he’s going to learn, and I think he’s going to make some moves. You’ve got to do that through the draft. You’ve got to do that by really cultivating young talent. … These young guys … they’ve got to step it up and be the future of the New England Patriots.”
Following are more highlights from the interview. For more Patriots news, visit the team page at weei.com/patriots.
On if Peyton Manning would be considered one of the greatest ever if he wins the Super Bowl: “You know what, absolutely. I say this, sometimes it becomes a season-to-season thing. I look at Brady, and I just have to be honest with you, I don’t think he was real accurate this year.”
On Brady having a down year: “To me, you’ve just got to call it what it is, and if I’m Tom Brady, I’m stepping up and saying, ‘You know what? I need to be better.’ I always had that approach every year I played that me, did I make that play or didn’t I? Did I miss that tackle or didn’t I? And for him, did he make the throw or didn’t he? He can only say ‘team’ so much, you’re the quarterback. On some level, you are the team.”
On if the quarterback overshadows the rest of the team: “When the New England Patriots were kicking ass, winning Super Bowls, think about that defense. … It does get overshadowed, but your real football people, the real guys that really know the game, know that they couldn’t have done it without that defense because they haven’t done it since. … In San Francisco, when we were winning Super Bowls, Joe Montana and that offense, that West Coast offense was getting all the hype. Guess what, we always had top-one, two, three, four defense. … You just realize that’s the way it goes.”
On the NFL creating a strike zone to protect offensive players: “It’s hard, but being a professional athlete is hard. There are certain things you’ve got to do. You have to learn, you have to learn how to tackle differently. If those are the rules, you have to be able to play within them so you don’t hurt your team.”
More on the strike zone: “You could go low when I played. There were guys like Andre Waters … he used to fly up and take them out low. … I think the turf has a play in this, too. Because a lot of people have more the artificial turfs than they do the real grass. So there’s a lot of things. At the end of the day the league is trying to make the game safer. That is the goal. And if you look at if the intentions are real, and if they are good, then you’ve got to say, ‘Hey, they are trying to do the right thing.’ ”
On what it would be like to play in the NFL today: “I just have respect for the game, I really do. I have respect for the NFL, I have respect for what they’re trying to do. They’re trying to make a game that is violent, safer. Guess what? They really haven’t, on some level. It’s all PR. It’s all money. It’s all about money and trying to say they’re doing the right thing. At the end of the day, this is a violent sport. Guess what? A lot of times, the most violent teams win. So get violent players that know how to hit and still hit violently, but in a strike zone.”
On if the Seahawks have enough violence to win the Super Bowl: “Absolutely they do. To me, I think this is a game that can come down to knocking a guy out. If Seattle is able to knock out one of those receivers, and I say one of the three. So you’ve got [Eric] Decker, Demaryius Thomas, Wes Welker, one of those three, I think will get hit and hit hard. And if they get knocked out, that’s where I give the edge to Seattle. If they don’t knock a guy out straight up across the board, I think the Denver Broncos are going to win this football game.”
On if Manning plays well but still loses the Super Bowl: “At times, and you’ve seen this, they’ve been taking a lot of field goals when they get in the red zone. It seems like the last part of the season, it’s gotten a little tougher for him to score touchdowns.”