|Heath Evans on M&M: ‘Never going to convince’ Marshall Faulk that Patriots didn’t cheat in Super Bowl XXXVI||01.31.14 at 11:48 am ET|
NFL Network analyst Heath Evans, a former Patriots fullback, joined Mut & Merloni from Super Bowl Radio Row on Friday to preview the Super Bowl and respond to Marshall Faulk‘s Spygate comments from a day earlier. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.
On Thursday, Faulk appeared on Mut & Merloni and indicated that he holds a grudge toward the Patriots, who upset his Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI in 2002, implying that they gained an advantage from illegal videotaping.
“When you have that blood, sweat and tears mixed into a lost Super Bowl vs. the Patriots, and then you hear all the conflicting reports about what could be or what was or what wasn’t, the bottom line is that you just start throwing it all, ‘Well, everything they did, they won because they were cheating,’ ” Evans responded. “Well, the bottom line is, we know for a fact as a team that the day when Bill [Belichick] came in and squashed that whole thing, we know there was a whole bunch of other teams that current time, in that day and age in ’07, that were doing the same exact thing. It was just kind of the standard policy that, OK, if you get caught you take the tape and you just kind of let it hush-hush. Well, [then-Jets coach Eric] Mangini had his panties in a wad, kind of broke rank, and end of story.
“You go back to those Super Bowls, Marshall doesn’t know for a fact that anything was done. It’s speculation. Therefore, it’s a non-conversation. If it was facts, then we could argue facts. But opinions? I’m never going to convince Marshall. We’ve had these same conversations.”
Added Evans: “When you’re in it, and your life’s invested in this, and then you feel something has been taken away from you — I look back at 2007 and I listen to some of the conversations that I’ve had with Bill and the conversations we had right after that game. It had nothing to do with taping; it had the fact that we drifted away from our game plan and we fell right into the trap of what the Giants would want us to do. We became a pass-happy team instead of cramming it down [Michael] Strahan‘s throat.
“Well, it is what it is. Now we live with 18-1 for the rest of our lives. There’s nothing we can do about it. But it had nothing to do with taping some signals Week 1 vs. the Jets. We beat them by 40 points. We could have given them all our signals and we still would have beaten them by 25.”
|Marshall Faulk on M&M: ‘Just ironic’ that Patriots have not won another Super Bowl since Spygate||01.30.14 at 1:42 pm ET|
Former Colts and Rams running back Marshall Faulk checked in with Mut & Merloni from Super Bowl Radio Row on Thursday, and he made it clear he still holds a grudge for what he perceives to be cheating on the Patriots’ part before their Super Bowl win over Faulk’s Rams in 2002. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.
“Here’s the thing: In the NFL, you don’t get fined for nothing. All right? Let’s understand that. OK? We’re smart, we’re businessmen, and it’s about protecting the brand, protecting the shield,” Faulk said. “Now, you tell me, at anything that you do, if you find out somebody cheats you in any little way, that you’re OK with it. I mean, you’re not a competitor. You’re not a competitor if you’re OK with it. I’m a competitor. That’s what I am.
“It’s not like I hadn’t played that team before. It’s not like I didn’t know what they were going to do to me. That’s fine. And up until that day that we found out that information, you had never heard me say anything about that team or about what they did. And I still consider [Bill] Belichick one of the greatest coaches. I still consider Tom Brady one of the greatest players. That team and what they did, and went on that run, it was great. The only thing that bothers me is there’s something that exists that gives us doubt on why the game went the way it did.”
Faulk would not come out and directly say the Patriots cheated — and a story implying a Patriots staffer taped a Rams walkthrough never was verified — but Faulk noted that the Patriots have not won a championship since the Spygate scandal broke.
Said Faulk: “The question is, how did they become a championship team? … Listen, I’m not going to be the only one to say this: Ever since they got fined and, ‘OK, we’re not doing that anymore,’ they’ve won how many Super Bowls?”
Asked directly if he feels the facts lead him to the opinion that the Patriots have not won a Super Bowl since being punished for videotaping opposing coaches, Faulk danced around the question.
“I’m just telling you how I feel about it. If that’s your perception of what I’m saying, then that’s your perception,” he said. “I’m not taking anything away from Bill Belichick and Tom Brady; they’re great. I’m going to continue to tell you that. They’re great. They’ve won, boy, I don’t know how many games, how many AFC championships, eight? … You don’t do that without getting some things accomplished.
“I’m just telling you it’s just ironic that that’s the case.”
Carter picked the Seahawks to come away with the win on Sunday, but said there are two things the team needs to do at the start of the game in order to find success.
“Number one, from a Seattle standpoint, I’ll look at are they pinning Denver back,” Carter said. “Are they utilizing their special teams? Which I believe is an advantage in making Denver go the distance.
“From Seattle’s standpoint, people aren’t talking about their offensive line. Pass protection hasn’t been great. … The reason why [Russell Wilson is] ad libbing is because the offensive line has not been that consistent.”
Carter said the Seahawks will need to utilize Percy Harvin, who has played in just one game this season because of hip surgery.
“Hand him the football because you don’t have to have a lot of continuity,” Carter said. “Percy Harvin is one of the great runners in the National Football League — open-field running ability. … You also throw in some swing passes, don’t let the ball travel far before it gets in his hand.
“Those are the easiest ways, and you don’t have to have a lot of practice or timing with the quarterback to do that.”
|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.”
|Jack Del Rio: ‘Lot of pride’ in finally being able to knock off Tom Brady, Bill Belichick||01.28.14 at 2:27 pm ET|
Broncos defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio said Tuesday that he “took a lot of pride” in being able to execute a successful game plan against the Patriots that allowed Denver to come away with the AFC championship.
Prior to this year’s the AFC title clash, Del Rio had struggled against Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. The quarterback had won all seven matchups while completing more than 70 percent of his passes and throwing 17 touchdowns and no picks. But in Denver’s 26-16 win, Brady was limited in the first three quarters by the Broncos — he didn’t throw a touchdown pass until late in the fourth quarter, and the majority of his production came with the game out of hand. He ended 24-for-38 for 277 yards passing and a touchdown.
“It was good. We had a good plan — we went out and executed a good plan and got to advance, and that’s what it was all about,” Del Rio said. “Clearly, the combination of Tom and Bill [Belichick] has been a very productive combination and one that I hadn’t seen a lot of success against. I took a lot of pride in the fact that we were able to put together a good plan, go out there and execute, play well and advance.”
NEWARK — Wes Welker knew the question was coming.
What happened on his hit on Aqib Talib?
It was the play that knocked out the best defensive back in the Patriots secondary and changed the course of the AFC championship.
“It’s a rub play that everybody runs,’ Welker said at Tuesday’s Super Bowl media day at Newark’s Prudential Center. “It’s one of those deals where you try to get a rub on that guy and really, if you can get him to go over the top of you, the more separation the other receiver will have. That’s what I tried to do to get Demaryius a little more open and unfortunately we collided.”
Demaryius would be Demaryius Thomas, the Broncos wide receiver who dropped the pass on the crossing pattern over the middle, making the whole thing moot except for the little detail that Talib didn’t play another down after the play in the first half.
Welker was asked by The Boston Globe’s Dan Shaughnessy if if there were anything unusual about the play.
“I don’t think so,” said Welker.
Shaughnessy persisted, asking if he learned the play in New England under Bill Belichick.
“We ran the same play,” Welker replied.
Shaughnessy’s first question of the day was, “Why does Bill hate you?”
Welker dismissed that pretty much out of hand.
“I don’t know if he does,” Welker said. “That’s a question for him.”
|Tom Brady, Bill Belichick will hit links at Pebble Beach||at 11:18 am ET|
The two have committed to play in this year’s Pebble Beach Pro-Am, set to run from Feb. 3-9 in California, the tournament announced earlier this week. It’s become an early February tradition for the two of them, and they’ve been spotted on the famous course several times over the last few years.
For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.
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