|Mike Florio on D&C: ‘I’d be shocked if [Washington] can stay within 25 of the Patriots’||11.06.15 at 8:38 am ET|
Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio made his weekly appearance on Dennis, Callahan & Minihane on Friday morning to talk about news from around the NFL, including the surprising decline of Andrew Luck and the Colts. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
The Patriots host Washington on Sunday, and it could get ugly — reminiscent of the teams’ matchup eight years ago when the Patriots were rolling to an undefeated season amid the Spygate controversy.
“[A score of] 52-7 in 2007. An apples-to-apples comparison from a couple of middle-finger tours through the NFL,” Florio said. “And I don’t think Washington, even though they are 3-4 and they are in theory in position to win the NFC East, I’d be shocked if they can stay within 25 of the Patriots on Sunday.”
Looking at the situation in Indiapolis, Florio said Luck’s demise is a mystery.
“Nobody really knows, because late in these games the last couple of weeks he’s found the gas pedal and he’s gotten it done. It just hasn’t been enough to win the games,” Florio said. “Early in games he’s not playing well. It just looks like a regression in the fourth year of his career. And a lot of people are pointing out, ‘Well, in Year 4 of Peyton Manning‘s career he regressed, the coach got fired, and then once it went from Jim Mora to Tony Dungy everything was fine again for Peyton Manning. So maybe this is just part of a strangely shaped career arc for Andrew Luck.
“But if he is healthy, there’s something’s wrong. And if he is injured, he’s finding a way to pull it together in the fourth quarter, adrenaline or whatever, and play as well as he should have been playing all game long.”
|Gregg Doyel on D&C: ‘Totally believe’ Andrew Luck playing through broken ribs||11.03.15 at 10:13 am ET|
Indianapolis Star columnist Gregg Doyel joined Dennis & Callahan Tuesday morning to discuss the Colts, specifically Andrew Luck and his reported fractured ribs. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
Over the weekend it was reported by FOX Sports that Luck has been playing through fractured ribs since Week 3. Both Luck and Colts head coach Chuck Pagano didn’t address the matter following Monday night’s loss to the Panthers.
Doyel believes Luck has been playing with fractured ribs.
“Based on Luck’s answer and even Pagano’s answer because Pagano wouldn’t deny it either, I totally believe he’s been playing through broken ribs,” Doyel said. “I totally believe that.”
Luck’s reported injury was never listed on the injury report. Many have wondered if the league would look into the matter, as it interferes with the integrity of the game. Doyel wouldn’t compare it to Tom Brady and the Deflategate matter.
“Think about what I am going to say to you: All cheating, all rules-breaking, all law-breaking, whatever we’re talking about is not equal,” Doyel said. “In other words, if you jaywalk that’s not as bad as robbing a bank.”
“There’s no question about that, but is that anywhere near the level of doctoring a football in the game before the Super Bowl?” he added when pressed about the Colts not listing the injury on the injury report.
The Colts are currently 3-5 on the season, a year after they reached the AFC title game. Doyel discussed who in the Colts organization is to blame for their poor start.
“First of all, I’m not sure we can blame Luck’s injury for all his numbers,” he said. “He was bad in Weeks 1 and 2 against Buffalo and the Jets. Bad. As far as we know, he was hurt in Game 3 against the Titans. He was bad anyway. He was bad in those games because the offensive line was horrible. He took a beating, was on the run and was just horrible.
“I thought all along that the guy to credit the most for the way the Colts went from 2-14 to 11-5 three years in a row — if you’re going to rank them in order, Luck deserves the most credit for the rise, if you’re going to rank among Luck, [Ryan] Grigson and Pagano the coach. If you rank them them in order for who deserves the most blame — Grigson. Everybody knew the Colts offensive line, no good. The defensive line, no good and this offseason he did very little to improve either one. So if you have to blame somebody first, he gets the blame first, but there is a lot to go around.”
Doyel also floated out the idea that Peyton Manning could become the Colts’ general manager if he were to retire following the season.
“One thing that will be really interesting around here is if Peyton Manning retires after this year. What if he does and what if the Colts need a GM? What if Peyton Manning becomes the Colts’ John Elway? That makes a lot of sense to me,” he said. “We will see.”
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ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter joined Dennis & Callahan Tuesday morning to preview the NFL’s trade deadline, which is set for Tuesday at 4 p.m. and also to discuss other matters from around the league. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
The NFL’s trade deadline is Tuesday at 4 p.m. and while Schefter said he wouldn’t get his hopes up, he said he wouldn’t be surprised to see a few trades made. He also noted the Patriots are always among the teams who are looking to improve their roster.
“First and foremost we should point out we’ve already seen trades, more trades in the NFL over the last few weeks than we probably have in recent times,” Schefter said. “The Patriots went out and traded for Jon Bostic. The Panthers went out and traded for Jared Allen. Yesterday the Denver Broncos traded for Vernon Davis. Right there we’ve probably seen more trades than football usually yields. I love the trades. I think it’s great. Today, I think we could see some things, depending on the day goes. I wouldn’t get my hopes up. I spoke to a bunch of teams yesterday. Everyone is looking around, sniffing around.
“I think the Jets would love to be able to trade for a quarterback, but you tell me who. I think the Patriots are always making calls to upgrade their roster. I think the Broncos are still in the market for another offensive lineman if they can find one. It will be very difficult to do that. Panthers could be in the market for a wide receiver.”
“Look, everybody needs depth on the offensive line, but [the Patriots’] young linemen have done a great job this season,” he said. “Yes, they could use another guy — a swing tackle maybe, a guy that can play a couple of different positions. No question about it. Again, to Tampa, they aren’t trading Logan Mankins.
“If you watch on Sunday during the game, Kwon Alexander lost his 17-year-old brother on Saturday. He was beaten up in a fight and killed in Alabama and [Kwon] played the game of his life on Sunday — 11 tackles, a forced fumble, a recovered fumble, an interception, a whole bunch of big plays. After the game, postgame in the locker room, Lovie Smith stood up, called out their captain and their leader to present the game ball to Kwon Alexander — Logan Mankins. You think they are going to call him up on Sunday after a big, inspirational win when this team is making a playoff push and turn around and trade him? Not going to happen.”
|Bill Belichick on D&H: ‘Our phone lines are open’ as NFL trade deadline nears||11.02.15 at 4:21 pm ET|
Patriots coach Bill Belichick joined Dale & Holley with Thornton on Monday to look back on last Thursday’s win over the Dolphins, to look ahead to Sunday’s game with the Redskins and also to discuss other matters surrounding the team and the league. To hear the interview, go to the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.
The NFL’s trade deadline is Tuesday at 4 p.m. and with the Patriots making trade deadline moves each of the last three seasons, Belichick was asked if the team would be doing the same this year.
“We’re always open to discussions,” he said. “I think everybody in the league probably knows that. Our phone lines are open. Who knows? It’s hard to tell. It takes two to make a deal and it has to be the right situation and all that. We’ve already made a couple this year. I think it benefited us to make those early because we’ve had now a number of weeks with some of those players. Guys like [Jon] Bostic and [Akiem] Hicks, guys like that so they’ve had an opportunity to get acclimated and to contribute to the system. Opposed to bringing them in now, we’re already three, four, five weeks ahead of that pace. That was good, but we’ll see what happens.”
The coach was also asked about the recent report of the Jets’ locker room being swept for listening devices prior to last Sunday’s game at Gillette Stadium. The NFL responded and said these types of checks are routine, although Belichick said he has no idea if that is indeed the case.
The coach was also asked if he needed to speak with the team about these sorts of incidents and tell them to “ignore the noise” from the outside. The coach acknowledged he’s had that type of conversation in the past, but this most recent situation was not one of them.
With the Patriots’ 36-7 win over the Dolphins Thursday night, they won two division games in a matter of five days to improve to a perfect 7-0 on the season, which opened a substantial lead in the AFC East just eight weeks into the season.
“They did a good job. It’s good to get two division wins in five days. That was great,” Belichick said.
Following are more highlights from the conversation. For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.
|Tedy Bruschi on D&H rips Colts’ failed fake punt: ‘It was just comical in my opinion’||10.19.15 at 10:20 pm ET|
Former Patriots linebacker and current ESPN analyst Tedy Bruschi joined Dale & Holley with Thornton on Monday to review Sunday night’s Patriots win over the Colts, specifically the botched fake punt play. To hear the interview, go to the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.
Bruschi said he’s seen the play run before, but never as bad as the Colts ran it.
“Not that much of a debacle, I’d say,” Bruschi said. “That’s something that has been done for a long time, especially in college football. I remember us going over that when I was with the Patriots sparingly, but mainly in college football you go over the swinging gate in terms of getting your numbers. You want to out-number the center and the so-called quarterback, whatever it is. You want to matchup on all the offensive linemen. You want to have a guy right on the edge of the offensive line in case they do a quick snap to the right because there’s no rule that says the snap has to go in between the legs. What they could do is just flip it behind that wall of linemen and that is why you want someone there ready to jump that pass, that possible diagonal, 45-degree snap. There’s so many things that can go on, but usually if you matchup numbers and you out-number them, then it usually discourages them from running it.”
Bruschi said the play ultimately falls on the heels of the coaching staff, led by head coach Chuck Pagano.
“The call from the official gave me a chuckle when he signaled illegal formation and he said, ‘The whole right side of the line was not on the line of scrimmage.’ The whole right side. I don’t know what these coaches are doing,” he said. “That’s not only a testament on someone probably in a high pressure situation that snaps the ball. It was a receiver that is playing center. That is just a detriment on him. He got eaten up by the pressure, but also the fact you don’t have your punting unit on the line in a legal formation to at least give the illusion that it could be a legitimate play.
“That is a joke of a play and I can’t believe they would put that kind of play out there to even just force a timeout, get 12 men on the field. I heard Pagano last night. I think that is a testament to the coaching staff on how poor of a job they did on one particular play. It was just comical in my opinion.”
|Snap Judgments: Patriots outlast Colts to gain revenge for Deflategate drama||10.18.15 at 11:55 pm ET|
INDIANAPOLIS — It wasn’t the vengeful blowout that some were hoping for, but the Patriots were still able to extract their pound of flesh Sunday night in Indy, locking the Colts down in the second half on the way to a 34-27 win over the 2014 AFC finalists.
Tom Brady struggled at times in the first half but still managed to finish 23-for-37 for 312 yards and three touchdowns with one interception. Danny Amendola had seven catches for 105 yards, Julian Edelman had six catches for 50 and a touchdown. LeGarrette Blount had 16 rushes for 93 yards and a touchdown and also caught a touchdown pass. Meanwhile, the defense didn’t allow a single Indy point in the second half.
The Colts hung with the Patriots in the early going — Indy’s first-half leads of 14-10 and 21-20 (at the half) marked the first time all year New England trailed after the first quarter. Luck, Gore and Hilton all combined for an impressive offensive performance that allowed Indy to hang around through much of the first two quarters and keep the crowd in the game.
But the Patriots took the lead for good at the start of the second half when Brady hit Rob Gronkowski for a 25-yard touchdown pass on the first drive of the third quarter to make it 27-21. After a quiet first half (no catches and one target in the first two quarters), Gronkowski asserted himself down the stretch and made an impact in the second half with three catches. (He had 50 yards on the night.)
The biggest play of the game came when New England then took advantage of an Indy brainlock. With just over a minute remaining in the third quarter and facing a fourth-and-3, the Colts tried to run some sort of fake punt play where nine of the players were huddled near the Indy sideline and two players — wide receiver Griff Whalen and defensive back Colt Anderson — stuck at midfield. The play misfired (Patriots special teamer Brandon Bolden almost took Anderson’s head off on the tackle) and New England took over on downs near midfield. Brady then struck quickly — a six-play, 35-yard drive ended with an 11-yard TD pass to Blount — to make it 34-21.
Indy got a late touchdown when Luck found Whalen on an 18-yard scoring strike to make it 34-27. Jamie Collins blocked the extra point.
The Patriots improved to 5-0 on the season, while the Colts dropped to 3-3.
The Patriots lost Marcus Cannon (toe) and Jabaal Sheard (ankle) on the evening. In addition, special teams captain Matthew Slater was shaken up in the fourth quarter and had to be helped from the field by his teammates.
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|Setting the scene from Indy: How much will Patriots score as they look to run through Colts again?||at 11:26 am ET|
INDIANAPOLIS — There’s a chill and a feel of fall in the air as the Patriots come calling at Lucas Oil Stadium for the game everyone has had circled since “Deflategate” became a regular part of American discourse.
The 4-0 Patriots take on the 3-2 Colts in a game that is expected to feature the return of quarterback Andrew Luck from a right shoulder injury after a two-game absence.
Of course, it’s the other quarterback that will draw most of the attention.
Tom Brady heads into the game with everyone, including his own dad, wondering how many points he and his offense will be able to put on the board after enduring an offseason of seemingly endless Deflategate attacks on his character. Brady insisted during the week that his motivation is no higher this week than it usually is for any game he plays.
It was against this same Colts team that Brady had one of his best days ever in Nov. 2012. In a 59-28 romp at Gillette on Nov. 18, 2012, Brady was 24-of-35 for 331 yards, three touchdowns, no interceptions and a 127.2 rating, the second-highest he’s ever had in 17 lifetime games against Indianapolis.
It hasn’t been the Patriots passing game that’s dominated the previous two encounters, though. Last season the Patriots rushed for 246 yards in a 42-20 romp in Indy that featured four touchdowns from Jonas Gray. In the AFC championship, LeGarrette Blount had 148 yards and three touchdowns as the Patriots ran for 177 yards.
The Patriots are looking to start the season 5-0 for the just the fourth time in team history, having won their first five games in 1974, 2004 and 2007.
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