|Bill Belichick says Peyton Manning is ‘the best quarterback [he has] coached against’||10.29.14 at 10:05 am ET|
As he did during a conference call on Tuesday, the Patriots coach said the Broncos quarterback presents multiple challenges.
“He’s great. He’s obviously a great quarterback, the best quarterback I’ve coached against. He does a tremendous job,” Belichick said.
Belichick was asked if he gets more fired up to come up with a game plan to deal with Manning.
“Everybody is tough. I’m just saying relative to the Montanas or the Marinos or the Elways – and I’m not taking anything away from those guys – but this guy is tough.
“He’s good at everything. He’s good at everything. I see no weaknesses in his game.”
Sirius XM radio host Chris “Mad Dog” Russo joined Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday to discuss a variety of topics, including the Tom Brady-Peyton Manning debate and the situation with the Jets. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
Over the last decade, most of the conversation about the best quarterback in the NFL has surrounded Brady and Manning. While there still is doubt as to which one will leave the better legacy, Russo emphatically selected his go-to quarterback.
Said Russo: “No question about it, it’s Brady. He’s been in five Super Bowls, he’s won three. Manning is 11-13 in the postseason and Super Bowls. He’s a tremendous regular-season quarterback, but he’s not as good in the postseason. You have to give him a pass in the Seattle game last year. Seattle, they were beating anybody that day, so I don’t think Peyton gets any grief there. But again, you’ve got one guy who’s been in five Super Bowls, has won three of them. You’ve got another guy who’s been to three Super Bowls and has lost two of them. That’s how you get graded, that’s all there is to it.
“I put Brady right up there at four, five [in the top quarterbacks of all time]. And I put, myself, and a lot of people think I’m nuts, but I put Manning down there at eight, nine. They’re both great, but look who Manning’s had to work with, with Marvin Harrison, Reggie Wayne and good linemen and good conditions indoors. And Brady, name me a hall of fame receiver — Moss the one year. … Even in one of the losses in the Super Bowl, he was super. Manning, I can’t say that.”
Down in New York, the Jets have more than struggled this season and sit in last place in the AFC East. Most of the blame has been placed on coach Rex Ryan and general manager John Idzik. Russo said Idzik’s ineptitude has caused much of the problems.
“Idzik is overmatched in New York City,” Russo said. “He doesn’t know how to handle the media, his drafts have been terrible, they don’t have a quarterback. … Woody Johnson, nobody has a lot of confidence in him. I wouldn’t consider him a big-time owner. He kind of hides behind philanthropy. I think they’re definitely afraid of firing Rex Ryan because all of us know that if Rex gets another job, he’s going to do good. He’s a good coach. I know he’s had a terrible year, but he doesn’t have a quarterback — Mark Sanchez, Geno Smith, Michael Vick. Even [Bill] Belichick‘s not winning with that consistently.”
|5 things you have to know about the Broncos||10.28.14 at 10:57 pm ET|
Here are five things you have to know about the Broncos, who will travel to Foxboro this weekend for a game against the Patriots.
1. Their receiving depth will present the greatest challenge of the season for the Patriots
No team New England will face all season will feature the sort of depth in the passing game that the Broncos do. Denver has three legitimate threats in wide receivers Demaryius Thomas (47 catches, 767 yards, six TDs) and Emmanuel Sanders (47 catches, 634 yards and four TDs), as well as tight end Julius Thomas (30 catches, 327 yards and nine TDs). If you’re doling out defensive assignments for the Patriots — with the understanding that it won’t be purely man coverage all afternoon — it might come down to Demaryius Thomas-Darrelle Revis and Sanders-Alfonzo Dennard (if healthy), while the bigger Brandon Browner could be assigned to try and slow down the sizable tight end Julius Thomas. (Linebacker Jamie Collins has struggled in coverage for much of the year, and had plenty of issues trying to slow down Thomas in last year’s AFC title game.) Everyone knows Peyton Manning‘s greatness (2,134 passing yards, 69 percent completion rate, 22 TDs and only 3 picks through seven games), but on the flip side, if there’s a pass defense in the AFC that can slow down the Broncos, it just might be this one. This year, through eight games, the Patriots remain the only team that has yet to allow a pass play of 40-plus yards. They’ve allowed 210.9 yards per game passing this year (second-fewest in the NFL) compared to 239.0 (18th in the NFL) last year. Also, passes of 20-plus yards are down significantly — 74 in 2012 (worst in NFL), 55 last year (tied for 20th), 23 this year (tied for 15th). Simply put, the Patriots went out and got Revis and Browner for games like this. They are difference makers, and need to play as much on Sunday. (One more idle thought: Will we see the Patriots try and imitate Seattle’s Cover 3 approach on Sunday, going with press coverage off the line and a single safety deep? Food for thought.)
2. They are really good against the run
The best way to beat Manning is to keep him off the field, and New England can accomplish that with some extended drives. At the same time, don’t expect anything like the 15-play scoring sequence it had last week against the Bears, the longest scoring drive of the season, because when you’re talking about the Patriots trying to control the tempo against the Broncos, it’s easier said than done. New England has lead back Stevan Ridley sidelined for the season, while the Broncos are the No. 1 run defense in the league, having yielded an average of 72.4 rushing yards per game. (Over the last four games, Denver has allowed 191 yards on 67 carries in that stretch — 2.9 yards per attempt.) It’s understandable that the Patriots probably don’t want to go toe to toe with the likes of Terrence “Pit Roast” Knighton, so there could be some misdirection when they try and run the ball with a cast that will include Shane Vereen, Jonas Gray and Brandon Bolden. There’s also the possibility the possibility of utilizing the short passing game, trying screens and quick outs with short and intermediate routes. It would help Brady get the ball out as fast as possible, keep the tone and tempo in the hands of the Patriots and keep Manning and the Denver offense on the sidelines as long as possible.
|Bill Belichick: Peyton Manning has no weaknesses||at 3:47 pm ET|
As far as Bill Belichick is concerned, when it comes to Peyton Mannng, it’s pretty simple.
“I don’t think there are any weaknesses in his game,” Belichick said on a conference call with the media Tuesday afternoon.
The 38-year-old Manning, who has thrown 41 touchdown passes in his career against the Patriots, will get a chance for a few more Sunday when he leads the Broncos into Gillette Stadium for another clash with the Patriots.
“I think it doesn’t really matter who is out there with him,” added Belichick, who — when teamed with Tom Brady — is 10-5 as a head coach against Manning. “Whoever it is, he finds a way to utilize them. He’s had different players at different positions and different combinations and guys have been out and other guys have been in and all that. But no matter who it is out there, he does a good job of finding ways to utilize the skills of the particular group that is out there relative to their defensive matchup.
“It seems like he causes every defense a problem every week for the last 15 years or however long it’s been. You have to know who the other people are out there. Everybody has to do their job to defend them. You can’t just stop one guy or one thing. But he does a great job of utilizing his players, his resources relative to what the defense is giving him and what looks best — a combination of his personnel versus where the defense is soft. He’s good because he does everything good.”
For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.
|Pro Football Focus’ Sam Monson on D&C: Tom Brady in October ‘possibly the best quarterback in the NFL’||at 10:26 am ET|
Sam Monson of Pro Football Focus joined the Dennis & Callahan show on Tuesday to give his evaluation of Tom Brady so far this season after writing in June he was on the decline and no longer a top-five quarterback. He also touched on the play of Darrelle Revis. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
In June Monson wrote that Brady has been on a significant decline in recent years and no longer belongs in the upper echelon of elite quarterbacks such as Peyton Manning, Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers. Following Brady’s impressive month of October — based on the month alone — Monson acknowledged the veteran is playing at an elite level.
“I think it depends by what you mean by current. The Tom Brady of October is possibly the best quarterback in the NFL,” said Monson. “I’m not sure there is anyone that has played better than him the last three or four weeks, but the Tom Brady of September was a totally different guy. That was a guy who wasn’t anywhere near that top-four list, so the question is going to be what is the Tom Brady we are going to get in November, December and maybe January.”
With Brady’s struggles in the first four weeks of the season many blamed the poor play of the offensive line as well as the quarterback still building chemistry with his receivers. Monson said that wasn’t everything and Brady still shared some of the blame.
“I don’t think it’s true to say it had nothing to do with Brady,” Monson said. “There hasn’t been that much of a change between the supporting cast around Brady in September and the supporting cast around him in October. The bottom line is he is just playing an awful lot better. I’m sure obviously more familiarity with those receivers is going to play into that, [Rob] Gronkowski getting healthier is obviously a big factor and the offensive line has definitely improved certainly from the first game. It hasn’t become a fantastic line — it’s certainly given him problems. Brady is overcoming them way better than he did in September.”
Monson also touched on the play of Revis, as he included him in a piece that called him a player who has regressed this season. Monson doesn’t believe the “real Revis” has been showcased so far this season.
“[Revis] is another guy who had a great game against the Bears, but that is a case of who didn’t?” said Monson. “Before that, again, he hasn’t really done an awful lot to suggest that was wrong. I don’t think we’ve seen the real Revis so far this season, except against the Bears.”
|Bill Belichick on D&H: End of half was ‘big turning point in the game’ against Bears||10.27.14 at 6:37 pm ET|
During the victory, New England played a well-balanced game that saw the team get positive play in all areas of the game. From Tom Brady to the defensive line, the team’s overall effort made Sunday’s game a blowout.
Said Belichick: “I thought we had our moments. But we did get contributions in all three phases. The sequence at the end of the first half where we were able to score, have good kickoff coverage, have a good punt return, score, turnover on defense. That was obviously a big turning point in the game after they’d cut it to 17-7. You get something that skews the game a little bit, I think it was more competitive game that that. But I think our guys, we had a lot of energy. We were able to score first, get it back, get some points on the board early, score on eight of nine possessions offensively, had couple of turnovers on defense. There were good contributions everywhere.”
Brady had one of his best offensive performances this season Sunday when he completed 30-of-35 passes for 354 yards and five touchdowns. He spread the ball around, as six players had at least one catch. Belichick said he doesn’t look as much at what his quarterback does, but rather how the team as a whole performs.
“In evaluating how our team does, it’s points is the name of the game — scoring and giving them up,” Belichick said. “Nothing more important than that. … Move the ball between the 20s, and then not be able to convert in the red area. It’s good, but it’s not good versus being able to get the ball in the end zone, and finish the drive and complete it. Whether that’s on a big play or whether it’s on a conversion in the red area, low red area, whatever it happens to be, those are the plays that end up resulting in points and make a difference.”
Continued Belichick: “I’d say Tom made a big jump from ’01 to ’03 in that two years. I think he’s continued to make jumps. I think he continues to improve, he works hard. He’s always working on little things, situational things, technique things, reading defenses, finding matchups, all of those things. He works very hard at it. I don’t think that’s ever been a weak point, but it continues to get stronger.”
Aqib Talib is returning to Foxboro.
The former Patriots corner, who signed with the Broncos as a free agent in the offseason, will be making his first trip back to New England since joining the Broncos. The eminently quotable Talib was at his best when he met the Denver media on Monday to discuss his return.
Talib, who played a year-plus with the Patriots — he was acquired from Tampa Bay in a trade deadline deal in 2012 — isn’t sure of the sort of reception he’ll get when he takes the field, but he’s pretty sure he’ll be amped come Sunday afternoon.
“I don’t know. We’ve got to put an amp meter on me or something,” he told reporters Monday. “I don’t really judge my ‘ampness’ for the game.
“But yeah, I get pretty excited for every game, though. So if I’m a little more juiced for this game, I guess you all will be the judge of that.”
Talib said Monday he enjoyed his time in New England, which included two trips to the AFC title game.
“Just the repetitions — the experiences,” he said when asked what made him a better player and better person in New England. “[When you] get older, you grow. I had a great coach, Bill Belichick — great coach. Playing against [QB] Tom [Brady], you learn stuff. Just getting older.
“It’s a real good atmosphere,” he added when asked about playing in Foxboro. “They play real well at home. It’s definitely hard to play there. They’ve got a great crowd. They’re going to be loud. They know when to be loud; they know when to get quiet. So it’s going to be a great atmosphere. It’s going to be a challenge.”
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