|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.”
|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.”
|Mike Florio on D&C: ‘The Giants are the one team it seems like it’s in the Patriots’ heads’||11.13.15 at 9:05 am ET|
Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio made his weekly appearance with Dennis, Callahan & Minihane on Friday morning to talk about Sunday’s Patriots-Giants game, the combustible situation in Dallas and other NFL news. To hear the interview, go to the D&C audio on demand page.
The Patriots head to the Meadowlands on Sunday, looking to continue their perfect season against the team that left New England frustrated in two Super Bowls.
“The teams have changed dramatically, but there’s one constant: the coaches and the quarterbacks. And those are the two more important positions on the field,” Florio said. “And when you have Tom Coughlin and Eli Manning winning three straight against Bill Belichick and Tom Brady, that’s a factor in this. It may not be a huge factor when you look at the fact that the Giants don’t have the horses they used to have on both sides of the ball — offensive line and defensive line, the biggest areas where the Giants are different, especially from that team in 2007.
“But Coughlin and Manning, Brady and Belichick — is there something there? At a time when the Patriots are in it seems like every other team’s head in the NFL, the Giants are the one team it seems like it’s in the Patriots’ heads. Specifically, Coughlin in Belichick’s head. They were colleagues with the Giants, Super Bowl 25 under Bill Parcells. I don’t know what that dynamic is, or what in the world’s going on there, but three straight wins — we overlook that regular-season game from November of 2011. That was a heck of a win by the Giants in Foxboro, late win.
“Eli Manning, the guy who’s never flustered by anything, just finds a zone against the Patriots. It’s happened enough times now that we have to take it seriously. But it may not matter if you don’t have the other pieces around Eli Manning and Tom Coughlin for it to make a difference.”
|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.”
|Florio: NFL swept Jets locker room at Gillette for bugs as part of routine procedure||10.30.15 at 5:49 pm ET|
File this under standard operating procedure.
In a story that took on a life of its own because of the teams involved, Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio reported Friday afternoon that the NFL did indeed sweep the Jets’ locker room at Gillette Stadium before last week’s game.
But Florio says, contrary to a report from Boomer Esaison, it was not prompted by the Jets.
“While continuing to make phone calls and otherwise to seek confirmation that the search happened, a source with knowledge of the situation tells PFT that the sweep definitely happened,” Florio wrote Friday. “It occurred as part of the ‘regular [and] random checks’ that the NFL conducts at all stadiums.”
As happens at many stadiums, the NFL has a standard operating game day procedure that goes well beyond looking for tapping devices. The league routinely checks electronic systems and devices at stadiums to make sure everything is in working order.
This is why the opening night snafu with the Steelers’ communication equipment was never placed at the feet of the Patriots but rather the league, which is responsible for such stadium communication and system protocols.
There will always be paranoia between the Patriots and Jets but this time, as Florio pointed out, it was nothing more than the league trying to make sure everything was in order.
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|Mike Florio on D&C: Deflategate ‘clearly one of the issues on which the NFL is tone deaf’||at 8:30 am ET|
Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk made his weekly appearance with Dennis, Callahan & Minihane on Friday morning to discuss the Patriots’ success following Thursday’s rout of the Dolphins, the unending Deflatgate drama, and Peyton Manning‘s dramatic decline. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
Florio said Tom Brady‘s performance this season might help sway some of those who believed the Patriots cheated last season. Brady threw for 356 yards and four touchdowns in Thursday’s 36-7 victory as the Patriots improved to 7-0.
“As good as ever, as motivated as ever,” Florio said of the quarterback. “You’ve got the people who will forever be convinced that there was no cheating in Deflategate, you’ve got the people who will be forever convinced that there was, and then there are the people in the middle. And I think anybody in the middle would have to conclude that there wasn’t cheating based upon the performance this year with footballs that had to be fully inflated.
“Who knows? Maybe it will pull some of the people who were convinced there was cheating over to the other side. I thought there was no way you could change the minds of anyone on either side of this thing. I personally think the evidence was inconclusive at best. But I’d like to think that if I believed that the evidence was conclusive I’d maybe be revisiting that conclusion based on what we’re seeing this year.”
In its latest legal filing, the NFL compared Deflategate to the 1919 Black Sox scandal, something Florio said continues to prove the league’s inability to recognize it needs to cut its losses.
“Here’s what happens: You’ve got the legal track on the left hand and the business track on the right hand. And once you set the legal track in motion it’s very difficult for any business of any size to pull that back based on business reasons,” Florio said. “A lot of people revisited this whole question: Why is the NFL still pushing this? Well, the NFL made the decision back in early September that led to this week’s brief. This is just a natural consequence of the decision that was made the day Richard Berman’s ruling came out to appeal this. So once you decide to appeal it, yeah, there’s going to be a brief that is submitted to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit at some point down the road.
“The true sign of wisdom for any organization would be the ability to say as this thing progresses, ‘Maybe we should not pursue this. Maybe we need to find a way out of this.’ And when you look at the body of work of Tom Brady, now seven games where it’s obvious that he’s fully capable of throwing a football that is between 12.5 and 13.5 PSI, it does make the NFL look bad for pushing this. And I just don’t think that’s something the NFL’s ever going to admit. At a time when the NFL is tone deaf on many issues, this is clearly one of the issues on which the NFL is tone deaf.”
|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.”
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