|Mike Florio on D&C: Patriots ‘not going to call’ Terrell Owens||11.27.15 at 8:45 am ET|
Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk and NBC Sports made his weekly appearance on Friday morning with Dennis, Callahan & Minihane guest hosts Butch Stearns and Chris Villani to preview Sunday’s Patriots-Broncos game and discuss other NFL news. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
The Patriots put their perfect record on the line Sunday night, with a lineup that is depleted due to some key injuries, looking to keep some distance between one of the challengers for the AFC’s top seed.
“It’s a big game,” Florio said. “And this Broncos team, we saw what they did to the Packers on a Sunday night when Green Bay was undefeated. It was one of the best games of the year for Peyton Manning. It’s easy to have a good game when your defense is suffocating — they held Aaron Rodgers to 77 yards passing, which is just incredible. Now they’re still missing DeMarcus Ware, but the rest of the defense largely [is] healthy. And Brock Osweiler [is] running that offense the way Gary Kubiak envisioned it. And Osweiler looked great against the Bears. The way the Bears played last night against the Packers I think makes that Broncos performance in Chicago in hindsight look even a little better.
“And even though Gary Kubiak has struggled against the Patriots during the time that he was the Texas head coach, Kubiak was the Ravens offensive coordinator in January when Baltimore twice had a 14-point lead in Foxboro [in the AFC playoffs]. And I think that no one would credibly argue that the Broncos team that Kubiak’s with now isn’t better than the Ravens team that played the Patriots. I think the only position where there would be a question is quarterback, with Osweiler vs. [Joe] Flacco. But Osweiler looked the part last week. If they keep him calm and keep him focused and make it as simple on him as they can — because you know Bill Belichick‘s going to do everything that he can to confuse Brock Osweiler — the Broncos can win this one.”
Should the Patriots improve to 11-0 Sunday night, Florio said the last two weeks could be the most likely opportunities for New England to lose.
“Those last two games, at the Jets, at the Dolphins, you’re talking about extra incentive for your division rivals — who may be in lost seasons at the time — to just try to put a feather in their cap before the end of the year,” Florio said. “The Jets have really faded, but they gave the Patriots everything they could handle when they came to Foxboro. And the Dolphins, Mercury Morris will probably go in there and have them all cranked up, because that’s the Dolphins’ chance to try to derail another shot at a completely perfect season — not just regular season but postseason as well.”
With the Patriots receiving corps hard hit by injuries of late, 41-year-old Terrell Owens has said he would be interested in a tryout. Florio said that’s highly unlikely.
“They’ve never called him before,” Florio said. “Now how old is he, 50? They’ve never called him before. They’re not going to call him now.”
|Steve Young on OM&F: Tom Brady deserves MVP because he ‘carries as much water as anybody who ever played the game’||11.23.15 at 2:36 pm ET|
ESPN NFL analyst Steve Young checked in with Ordway, Merloni & Fauria on Monday afternoon to preview the Patriots-Bills game at Gillette Stadium and discuss why he believes Tom Brady is the leading candidate for league MVP. To hear the interview, go to the OM&F audio on demand page.
The Patriots look to improve to 10-0 but enter the game shorthanded after some key injuries. The Bills are 5-4 coming off two straight wins.
“To me, it’s really about the wounded Patriots is the story,” he said. “How wounded are they? What are we really going to see offensively? Can they put the numbers up? Are they just going to pound it, try to shorten the game? How are they going approach the fact that they’ve lost some guys? That should be an interesting kind of question to me.
“The Bills, I thought they’d be better. And I thought they’d be much better defensively. That’s been the shock to me, is wherever Rex [Ryan] goes, usually a defense follows. The defense has been mediocre. I know they’ve been hurt and they’ve had some problems. But more than anything I think the chance for the upset is really about the Patriots being wounded then the Bills being this giant-killer.”
Cam Newton is getting a lot of buzz for league MVP as he’s led the Panthers to a 10-0 record. However, Young said Newton has not had to do nearly as much as Brady.
“To me, it’s who’s carrying all the water. And Tom carries as much water as anybody who ever played the game, and continuously does. So if you’re talking about MVP, Tom’s the MVP,” Young said. “But that’s the interesting thing about the Coach of the Year. Well, Bill Belichick should be the Coach of the Year. But a lot of times it’s someone new, someone different, someone who’s a new story. So Cam’s new, no one’s thought about him as the MVP before. So there’s going to be a lot of hype about it, because he’s been great. But he doesn’t carry that water that Tom carries. That’s just the case. That’s just what different teams ask different guys to do different things. And sometimes it’s about capacity.
“So for me, as a quarterback watching quarterbacks, I’m always going to vote for the guy who’s carrying the most water.”
|Mike Florio on D&C: ‘I’m not as concerned about the slot receiver role as I am about [replacing] Dion Lewis’||11.20.15 at 8:56 am ET|
Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio, making his weekly Friday morning appearance with Dennis, Callahan & Minihane, said he believes running back Dion Lewis will be tougher for the Patriots to replace than standout receiver Julian Edelman. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
Florio said the presence of Danny Amendola should make it easier for the Patriots to adjust to Edelman’s absence.
“Remember when Wes Welker was on his way out the door [in 2013], the Patriots preemptively signed Danny Amendola, and nobody expected Julian Edelman to become Wes Welker. He just did,” Florio said. “Now Amendola has the chance to be the guy that everybody thought he was going to be when he was brought in just a like a day or two before Welker split for Denver. So, I’m not as concerned about the slot receiver role as I am about Dion Lewis.
“You just can’t replace Dion Lewis. I know [people say], ‘James White’s going to …’ — no, he can’t. You just have to work around it. You have to do something different. You have to run with LeGarrette Blount. You have to do different things. Whether Blount picks up the slack, whether the ball gets thrown to other guys, we’ll see.
“But the one thing about Bill Belichick, he designs a game plan specific to each opponent at each given time, whatever the circumstances, whatever he thinks is going to work. And it may look a lot different than what we saw back in Week 2.”
With the Patriots getting ready for a Monday night game against the Bills, Rex Ryan is making news again. On Thursday he became frustrated with the New England media on a conference call, adding another chapter to the Ryan legacy.
“We praise him for being authentic. But sometimes, depending on who you are, being authentic isn’t the right way to go,” Florio said. “You just kind of say whatever you want, do whatever you want, act however you want, have no filter — ‘Hey, he’s being authentic.’ Well, yeah, but that may not help the situation.
“He’s just a guy who I think had two years in New York at the end of his tenure where he was muzzled and he was different, and I think he’s vowed to never be that guy again. Because he is who he is, and he’s not capable of changing that and still being comfortable. So he’s just going to be who he is, good, bad or otherwise.”
|Rodney Harrison on OM&F: Bills coach Rex Ryan should ‘just shut up,’ stop overhyping his team for Patriots game||11.18.15 at 12:36 pm ET|
ESPN’s Rodney Harrison checked in with Ordway, Merloni & Fauria on Wednesday to discuss the latest news from Foxboro and around the NFL, including the Patriots’ injury woes and the Peyton Manning issue in Denver. To hear the interview, go to the OM&F audio on demand page.
A week after losing running back Dion Lewis to a season-ending knee injury, the Patriots on Sunday saw Julian Edelman go down with a foot injury that is expected to at least keep the receiver out at least into January.
“To me, outside of [Tom] Brady, that’s the heart and soul in Edelman. I love this kid. I think he is a special, special player,” Harrison said. “I know [Rob Gronkowski] gets all the attention, but this kid is really, really a good football player. The work ethic — you saw Tom [Brady], I heard him on the radio or I read some of his quotes, he just looked so despondent because of the loss of Edelman.”
Harrison said Danny Amendola likely will become the focal point of the passing game in Edelman’s absence.
“It’s one of those things where other guys are going to have to step up, whether it’s [Brandon] LaFell, or Amendola’s a guy that, he’s been hurt, now it’s more pressure on him to make sure that he stays healthy and he can produce on a consistent basis because now, outside of Gronk, he’s going to become the No. 1 target,” Harrison said. “And I think he’s starting to gain a lot of confidence. But I’m telling you, the mindset is different when you’re a second or third guy compared to being that No. 1 look, and that’s what he’s going to have to become. I think he can do it. I think Tom is starting to really believe in these guys.”
The Patriots next host Rex Ryan and the 5-4 Bills in a Monday night game.
“The team has been so inconsistent,” Harrison said. “Obviously Rex brings a lot of garbage with him, a lot of fanfare. It’s one of those things where I still think the Patriots flat out are a better team. I think they’re a better-coached team. Rex, he’s going to have those guys pumped up, he’s going to blow them up with a lot of B.S. to say, ‘Hey, you guys can beat the Patriots.’ If the Patriots just do what they do, they should win this football game. Buffalo’s a very undisciplined team. They give up a lot of big plays. offensively they rely on a couple of shots and Tyrod Taylor extending plays. This is not a really good football team. Do they have good athletes? Yes. Will they compete? Yes. But this is not a good football team to me.”
Harrison said he doesn’t agree with Ryan’s strategy to hype up his team so much.
“Just shut up,” Harrison said. “You just don’t need all that from a coach. You can’t treat one game more special than the other, in a sense. When you start doing that, you put a lot of pressure on your players, and now all of a sudden they get nervous. Will they become overaggressive, or will they be a little bit more relaxed, or will they be more a little hesitant? It’s just one of those things. Don’t treat the Patriots like the Super Bowl. Because when you lose it, it’s devastating to your team.”
|Danny Amendola on OM&F: ‘We should have punched that in’ on long punt return||11.16.15 at 3:42 pm ET|
Patriots wide receiver Danny Amendola, who made a few big plays in Sunday’s 27-26 victory over the Giants, checked in with Ordway, Merloni & Fauria on Monday afternoon to discuss the game. To hear the interview, go to the OM&F audio on demand page.
On the game-winning drive, the Patriots started with three straight incompletions (including one that almost was intercepted). On fourth-and-10 from the New England 20, Tom Brady found Amendola for a 12-yard pickup to keep the drive alive. Amendola had two other receptions on the drive, including a 9-yard pickup in the closing seconds that put the ball at the New York 36-yard line, setting up Stephen Gostkowski for the game-winning field goal.
“It was a hot read,” Amendola said of the final reception. “They blitzed off me. Tom hit me quick, and I [was able] to get around the linebacker, so it worked out. … I knew we had to get as many [yards] as we can and then get down, because time was winding down. We were going to have to spike it. I couldn’t run around forever, which was planned going into the play. It ended up working out.”
Amendola’s other huge play was a punt return midway through the third quarter, when the Patriots were trailing by 10 points and struggling offensively. He caught the ball at the New England 11-yard line and proceeded to run across the field to the left sideline and up the field to the New York 7. The run ended when he was tripped up by teammate Duron Harmon, who was cutting behind him.
“I saw [Duron] kind of running towards me. And we kind of made eye contact,” Amendola said. “He was running at an angle behind me, so I thought somebody may be behind me and was trying to get them. And then next thing I know I hit the ground. We should have punched that in. But we got some good yards out of it.”
Amendola said he was almost out of gas as he approached the end zone.
“I felt like I was running the last hundred yards on a 400-meter, like I had a monkey on my back,” he said. adding: “I’ve just got to pick my feet up and score, man. I was only 5 yards away. . . . [But] Tom Brady took care of it, so we’re good.”
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|Tom Brady on D&C: Stephen Gostkowski ‘just so clutch. It was awesome’||11.16.15 at 9:10 am ET|
Coming off Sunday’s dramatic 27-26 victory over the Giants, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady made his weekly appearance with Dennis, Callahan & Minihane on Monday morning and talked about his key interception, the injury to Julian Edelman and his relationship with ESPN, among other things. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
Brady wasn’t at his best, fumbling the ball twice and throwing a goal-line interception when the Patriots had a chance to go up by two scores midway through the fourth quarter. He then started the game-winning drive with an underthrown pass that was almost intercepted, but he rebounded to drive the team 44 yards, converting a fourth-and-10 in the process, and set up Stephen Gostkowski for a 54-yard field goal with a second remaining.
“There’s different elements to the season. There’s different ways to win, and so forth,” Brady said when asked if this type of grind-it-out win could be considered more satisfying. “I think every game is going to be different to some degree, and you’ve got to find ways to win them. Ultimately, winning the game is most important. I don’t think I’ve every really thought about it like that. You’d love to be flawless every time out, but that’s not the way the NFL is. You just try to grind your way when things are kind of stacked against you. We never really got the game on our terms the way we hoped. They made it tough on us. I thought our guys really down the stretch the defense came up huge at the end, the special teams made some huge plays. We just made that last drive and Steve made that great kick at the end to save the day.
“That’s what football’s all about, especially the NFL. Every game you wish it could be a 50-point win, but it’s too hard. And the season’s too long. You endure a lot of different things over the course of the season with game plans and injuries and all different things. You’ve just got to kind of figure out different ways to win.
“Just a great team effort. We knew it was going to be tough. I’m just glad we came out on top.”
Intended receiver Brandon LaFell took some responsibility for the fourth-quarter interception at the goal line, but Brady implied that it was a mutual problem.
“It wasn’t a good throw. That’s what my responsibility is,” Brady said. “And he and I are always working to get on the same page. It’s just one of those things that just happens in football. And you certainly don’t hope they come up at critical times. But I certainly could have made a better throw.”
Brady said Bill Belichick talked to him before the final drive about where the offense needed to get the ball in order to feel comfortable that Gostkowski could win it.
“We always talk about where we’re at in terms of which direction we’re going in,” Brady said. “Last night was actually a beautiful night for football. It was perfect weather conditions. Steve’s got a great leg. You don’t want to stretch it too far beyond where we were at, but we knew if we could get it down or around the 35 we knew he’d have a great opportunity. Certainly the leg strength to do it. It’s just, the further you get out, those things get tough to make. A game-winner from 53 or 54, whatever it was, he’s just so clutch. It was awesome.”
|Jerod Mayo on OM&F: ‘There’s definitely a respect level’ for Giants||11.13.15 at 12:00 pm ET|
Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo checked in with Ordway, Merloni & Fauria on Friday to discuss the Patriots’ upcoming game against the Giants. To hear the interview, go to the OM&F audio on demand page.
Much has been made of the fact that the Giants own a three-game winning streak over the Patriots, including two Super Bowl wins, as the Pats take a perfect record to the Meadowlands for Sunday’s matchup.
“There’s definitely a respect level for this team,” Mayo said of the Giants. “They’ve been playing well for a long time. But honestly, looking back then, there’s nothing for us, because these two teams are totally different. I think we probably have, what, like seven or eight players on this team now that were on that 2011 team. And the same with them. So you’ve got two different teams, both prepare well, both coached well, and it will be a good game.”
Mayo wouldn’t buy into the thought that the Patriots are gaining extra motivation from the previous losses.
“We want to win every game,” he said. “We want to win every game. You use the word ‘incentive,’ but we want to win every game. Getting another victory is the main goal this week.”
For more Patriots news, visit the team page at weei.com/patriots.
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