|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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|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.”
|Tim Hasselbeck: Patriots’ reaction to Colts’ fake punt proves ‘brilliance of [Bill] Belichick’||at 10:18 am ET|
Colts coach Chuck Pagano has been taking a lot of heat for his team’s poorly executed fake punt that ended in disaster, setting up the Patriots for a key touchdown late in the third quarter of Sunday’s 34-27 New England win.
ESPN’s Tim Hasselbeck, however, credits Pagano with trying to be creative in a game in which his team clearly needed to come up with something special to pull off an upset.
During his appearance with Dennis, Callahan & Minihane on Monday morning, Hasselbeck — whose brother Matt is Indianapolis’ backup quarterback — defended the embattled Colts coach.
“I know everyone’s grilling Pagano about the call,” Hasselbeck said. “I think it was pretty evident how the Colts felt about this game, when you look at that situation and then you look at the onside kick [in the second quarter]. I think Chuck Pagano had a good plan for the night. He said, ‘Look, here’s the deal: We’re playing a team that’s better than us. And to beat a team that’s better than we are, we need to take a couple of chances and get a couple of breaks. We got a dropped pass that goes back for a score. We follow that with a surprise onside kick. Then we’re going to have this punt play that’s going to have different elements to it.’
“He said, ‘We’re an overmatched team, this is my plan for it, this is how we’re going to attack it.’ And I have zero problems with that whatsoever.”
Looking at the other sideline, Hasselbeck said the play demonstrated the greatness of Bill Belichick.
“I think this is the brilliance of Belichick,” he said. “The Colts have never ever shown that look this season, or going back to last year. His team — Belichick’s, that is — is prepared for it. So between Belichick, his involvement in teams, and his special teams coordinator, the players that they have out on the field that are both offensive and defensive players, the fact that they adjust to the shift properly is why he’s the best coach that I’ve ever seen.”
Added Hasselbeck: “That’s why Belichick’s the best, and it’s not close. I would argue that over half of the teams in the National Football League would have burned a timeout or lined up incorrectly. In fact, I think two-thirds of the NFL would burn a timeout or line up incorrectly. Whether people don’t like Belichick because of how he deals with the media or whatever the situation is, if you can’t respect that, then you’re not paying attention to football. He’s amazing at that.”
|Tim Hasselbeck on D&C: Peyton Manning ‘definitely not right’||at 10:04 am ET|
ESPN’s Tim Hasselbeck checked in with Dennis, Callahan & Minihane on Monday morning and talked about the struggles of Peyton Manning, noting that the Broncos quarterback is “definitely not right” after his latest unimpressive performance. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
Although the Broncos managed to improve to 6-0, Manning threw three more interceptions Sunday against the Browns, putting him at 10 interceptions vs. seven interceptions on the season, with a 72.5 quarterback rating that ranks him 33rd in the league.
“He’s definitely not right,” Hasselbeck said. “And his throwing motion is so jacked up, and his ability to manipulate the ball the way he once could is lost. And if he doesn’t fix it, you’re going to continue to see him struggle the rest of the year. … The situation with him in terms of him throwing the football, whether it’s bad habits because of the injuries or whatever it is, he can’t do it anymore as he once could, which is why you’re seeing him play as he’s playing.”
Manning’s fall from grace is a dramatic one, made more noticeable in part because he was so good not long ago.
“It is shocking,” Hasselbeck said. “Listen, when you guys wanted to bash [Tom] Brady last year, if you remember what I said to you, it’s what I said about Drew Brees, and that is whether it’s Tom, or whether it’s Peyton, whether it’s Drew, those guys are so good at so many things about the quarterback position. So many elements of the quarterback position they excel at. Whether it’s adjusting pass protections, whether it’s playing with anticipation, whether it’s gathering information pre-snap, so many different phases of playing the position those guys are good at.
“So that when things start to leave them, just because of time, because it happens to everybody, the reality for them is they do not fall off the cliff the way that Matt Schaub or you take somebody like Jake Delhomme, like the way that those guys fall off the cliff, because they’re not as good, or never were as good at all of the different things that the quarterbacks I just mentioned are good as doing.
“So when you factor that in and you see the way that Peyton is struggling right now, this is about as fast of a fall that I could have every imagined for Peyton Manning.”
|Colts P Pat McAfee on botched punt: ‘It turned out to be one of the most failed fakes, probably of all time’||at 2:04 am ET|
INDIANAPOLIS — Late in the third quarter, the Patriots led the Colts 27-21 and Indianapolis was faced with fourth-and-3, with the ball on Colts’ 37-yard line.
Instead of the Colts just punting the ball back to the Patriots, they tried a fake punt, which failed and completely changed the momentum of the game.
The Colts lined up like a normal punt, but then nine players sprinted toward the right sideline and lined up there, leaving only Colt Anderson under center. The Patriots didn’t panic and lined up how they thought they should against the formation, with two players over the ball at the line of scrimmage.
Anderson eventually took the snap and was tackled in the backfield for a loss by Brandon Bolden. A flag was thrown for an illegal formation due some of the players not lining up on the line of scrimmage, but the Patriots declined the penalty and took possession.
LeGarrette Blount recorded a 11-yard touchdown reception two plays later and the Patriots went up 34-21, all but sealing the win.
(See bottom of post for video of the play)
“OK, so we started working on that play last year and then we put it back in this week,” punter Pat McAfee explained. “It’s a play where you try and take advantage of numbers. We try to kind of confuse the defense and hopefully get an edge number-wise. The look was not there that we normally have in practice for it to go. There must have been some miscommunication between the snapper and [Anderson]. It turned out to be one of the most failed fakes probably of all time.
“It’s one of those things where you work and hope you get the numbers. We didn’t get the numbers. It was a miscommunication. As you saw, the results weren’t good.”
|Mike Florio on D&C: Patriots ‘would score a hundred’ against Colts if they could||10.16.15 at 8:50 am ET|
Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk checked in with Dennis, Callahan & Minihane on Friday to preview Sunday’s Patriots-Colts game and predicted Andrew Luck will sit out and the Pats will show no mercy in Indianapolis. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
Florio said he doesn’t see a way the Colts win this game.
“The history is there,” Florio said. “And what have the Colts done to address their biggest flaw as it related to playing the Patriots? They’ve done nothing. What have they done? They had opportunities to go after Ndamukong Suh, although that could have been a cap problem for them; they could have traded for Haloti Ngata, they didn’t; they could have signed Vince Wilfork after he was cut by the Patriots, they didn’t. How are they going to stop the running game?
“And I expect LeGarrette Blount to be the battering ram again. He hasn’t done much this year, but this is the opportunity for him to run between the tackles and do exactly what the Patriots have figured out works against the Colts. And I’m amazed other teams haven’t done the same thing each and every week until they prove they can stop it. Isn’t that the essence of football? If you find something that works, you do it until the other team proves they can stop it.”
If the Patriots do rout the Colts, Florio said it’s not likely New England will pull back in the fourth quarter.
“No. Hell, no,” Florio said. “[Bill Belichick] doesn’t call off the dogs when he’s just playing the Jaguars and has no reason to be upset with anybody. So he’s not going to go easier when he need goes easier on anybody. If anything, he’s going to find a way to put the foot on the throat and press down. And they did score 59 against the Colts in Andrew Luck‘s rookie season. So maybe they do try to go for 60 or more, or just keep going.
“Now, the desire to score as many points as possible, that doesn’t mesh with the idea that they’re just going to run the ball, run the ball, run the ball some more. But they scored over 40 running the ball heavily against the Colts in recent years. So I think they’ll score as many points as they can. If they could score a hundred, they would score a hundred.”