Former Patriots offensive lineman Ross Tucker, now a SiriusXM NFL Radio host, joined Mut & Merloni on Wednesday to talk about the Pats and news from around the NFL.
Tucker said the Texans are playing the best football in the AFC, but he'd be hesitant to predict Houston to knock off one of the perennial conference powers and reach the Super Bowl with such an inexperienced team.
"If you said, 'Hold it Ross, you've got to [bet] your daughter's 529 plan on it,' I wouldn't go with Houston. I'd go with New England probably," he said. "Because I've got to believe that [the Texans] can win those two or three playoff games in a row and get there when I see it. I still feel like in an AFC title game against Big Ben [Roethlisberger] and the Steelers or against Tom Brady, I'm sure they can do it, but teams like that -- and I feel the same way kind of about the Bears on the NFC side; and I think the Bears are the best team in the NFC -- it's just, for me, with them or Atlanta, it's just so hard to pull the trigger. Because you haven't seen them do it. You haven't seen one of those quarterbacks get it done against one of those other quarterbacks when it matters the most."
The Patriots made news last week with their acquisition of Buccaneers cornerback Aqib Talib, but Tucker said New England's recent history with other team's castoffs makes him wary.
"If he's playing at a high level and he's eligible to play, then I think it helps them, because it gives them a guy that really is that talented to cover people one-on-one. But who knows with that guy?" Tucker said. "Plus, who knows with these reclamation projects that the Patriots bring in. They got nothing out of [Albert] Haynesworth and Chad Ochocinco last year when everybody and their brother was rushing to praise them for it. So, I'm not going to give them any credit for this or say they're going to get anything out of it until I actually see it."
Tucker again had high praise for offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia, calling the longtime Pats assistant the best offensive line coach he played under during his seven-year career with five teams (and nine O-line coaches).
"I didn't always care for his motivational tactics, and I didn't always agree with some of his techniques or schemes, but Dante Scarnecchia was clearly to me the best offensive line coach I had," Tucker said. "I think he gets the most out of the talent he's given. I don't know what they pay him there, but it's not enough."