NFL Network analyst Mike Lombardi joined Dennis & Callahan on Friday morning to preview Monday's Patriots-Texans game and discuss news from around the league.
Lombardi looked ahead to Monday's big showdown between the Patriots and Texans and said that the team that will have the advantage is the one that can set the pace.
“I think this is going to be a fascinating game for both sides,” Lombardi said. “Both teams are the No. 1 and the No. 2 in the NFL in terms of scoring points in the first quarter and second quarter. Both teams are in a rush to establish the lead. Both teams like to play from in front. I think it’s going to be who starts fastest and who plays with a tempo and creates it and can get off the field. When you watch Houston, Houston is about winning every down. They get yards and positive yards. … I think New England’s objective is to try to get the lead, play from in front. Force the Texans to try to have to block and pass protect and go from there and utilize their physicality in terms of their defense to try to put pressure on [Matt] Schaub. … I think the one who can set the pace is going to be one who has the best advantage.”
Lombardi said the Patriots have to watch out for defensive end J.J. Watt. He notes that Watt is especially dangerous tipping passes.
“He’s a physical force,” Lombardi said. “You have to know where he is all the time. He knows the protection is always being slid to him. He understands that. I think you have to allow him, to make sure he doesn’t beat you, you’re going to double him. I think you've got to make sure you’re careful if you are throwing the football to make sure that you get it over him. He has 15½ passes broken up, 16½ sacks, that’s over 30 opportunities to create turnovers. That’s really rare in an NFL defensive lineman.”
Lombardi complimented the Texans offense but didn’t classify Schaub as an elite quarterback.
“No, but I think the offense is elite,” Lombardi said. “I think Gary Kubiak does a great job of understanding who they are on offense. Part of what I was talking about establishing the lead is critical, because they’re a run team early, they’re play-action pass team. They take shots. I wouldn’t be shocked if the first play of the game was a shot up the field. They’re going to try to make big chunks of yards. They know they need to run the ball with Arian Foster but they’re going to throw it up the field. This offense fits Schaub perfectly. ... He’s smart. He’s accurate. Does he have a gun? No. Is he the most elite athlete? No. But he’s a very productive player and they utilize him within the system extremely well.”
These teams very well could meet again in the playoffs, and Lombardi said Monday’s game will help the teams in planning for that potential playoff matchup.
“I think it will mean a lot,” Lombardi said. “Both teams will know how each one wants to play them. I think that’s going to be the chess match in the first quarter and then both teams, if they meet again in the playoffs, will have an adjustment to what they did. I think it will come down to the matchup of the players. This is a game where coaching is going to be very good on both sides of the ball. … As we get into the playoffs … is [Rob Gronkowski] back? How do they matchup to Gronkowski in the playoffs? Who they going to handle on [Aaron] Hernandez? What safety can cover him? … And conversely, how New England handles Andre Johnson, how they handle Owen Daniels. I think all of those things are going to play into effect.”
Following are more highlights from the interview.
On worrying about the gun culture as a team executive: “You have to know about the players and you have to understand the culture. … You'd better make sure you do as much reading and as much understanding to learn how you’re dealing with them. I think you really have to live in the footsteps of the person before you get them in your building and understand who they are.”
On the Jets' quarterback situation and Rex Ryan naming Mark Sanchez starter: “He had no choice. Look, Mark Sanchez is due $8.25 millon guaranteed. He gets paid it whether the Jets cut him or not. I think his cap hit is $17 million. … I mean, Rex had no real options. This is the quarterback that they made a decision to go with and I think they have to."
On this Sunday's Ravens-Redskins game: “I want to see how [Robert Griffin III] handles it. I think Baltimore is a little bit tougher than people think. I think Baltimore will bounce back this week. I think it will be a good game. RGIII threw for 167 yards last week, I think he’s going to have to throw the ball better in this game to beat the Ravens. I think the Ravens will make plays in the passing game. The Redskins defense kind of got off the hook last week, especially considering they were able to get the Giants off the field in the fourth quarter.”
On Chargers QB Philip Rivers: “I think Philip Rivers is like the boxer that’s been hit too much. Anytime a quarterback gets hit too much, it’s not good for him. I think it affects him. I think he’s seeing things and is reacting to things. I think pressure has gotten to him. … I think he’s been hit way too much. It’s going to take a rehabilitation project to get him back. He’s not nearly the elite player that he once was.”
We check in with Patriots special teams captain Matthew Slater on a Patriots Monday as the Patriots prepare for their fourth pre-season game, and are 10 days away from opening the 2015 season.
We check in with the head coach of the Patriots on a Pats Monday to get his take on the win over Carolina, pre-season game number four, and the numerous cuts to the team's roster he must make in the upcoming weeks.
Danny Amendola joined the show to talk about the addition of Reggie Wayne to the receiving group, the offensive tempo in game 3 of the preseason, and who is the most stylish in the locker room.
Jay King of Masslive.com joins the show to break down the performance of the Celtics during the NBA Summer League. Then Ben and Sam discuss the exciting possibility of a Space Jam sequel.
Michael joins Ben and Sam to discuss the wild NBA Free Agency period and the upcoming Celtics season.
How long will this rebuild take? How much money will it take to keep Bae Crowder? Are Draft Picks even worth anything? With the Danny Ainge not landing any big names in the draft, and unable to lure any big names in free agency, Sam and Ben discussed if the Celtics are doomed moving forward.
Joe Castiglione & Lou Merloni talked to the Sox outfielder, who had three hits and threw out a runner at home in the win over the Yankees.
Butch and John are talking Red Sox on the Sunday Sports Roundtable. They get into the current state of the rotation and how things have improved as of late. Joe Kelly has been on fire, but is he a trade asset? The guys discuss the starting pitchers that will be free agents this year and if any are good fits in Boston. Then they move on to the decision to let Orsillo go in favor of Dave O'Brien - Tomase has an interesting perspective on this topic.
Joe & Dave talked to the Sox starter, who pitched into the eighth inning and allowed just one run in the win over the Mets.
Don Sweeney, who was hired as the Bruins general manager yesterday speaks with Dale and Holley about his new position and where the Bruins go from here.
The awesomely knowledgeable Fluto Shinzawa calls DJ, Naoko and Pete to talk about his thoughts on the future of the B's. He discusses his column from earlier this week on Cam Neely wanting to give Claude the ax earlier in the season but not getting the ok. Fluto shares his thoughts on Chiarelli's firing, the future for Claude and where the Bruins should go from here. He also gives his opinion on potential moves the team can make, who would fit in here, his thoughts on the NHL playoffs so far and more.
In the final hour of the "midseason finale" as DJ likes to call it, the crew discuss more about the future of the Bruins franchise, the possible power struggle in the front office and who should be the head coach going forward. They talk to intelligent and talented Fluto Shinzawa about all of these thing and more in an excellent interview, and finally, DJ says THANK YOU!
The top stories of the day as recounted by Kirk Minihane.
Kirk and Dino gave their thoughts on the next move in Brady vs Goodell.
Tom gave his thoughts on what he saw yesterday in Judge Berman's courtroom.
Jay Feely explains why he was in court with Tom Brady on Monday, and what was said in the robing room with Judge Berman.
Tyler Seguin was partying all summer in Toronto. Former Toronto Maple Leafs CEO Richard Peddie tattled on him. Also, Marshawn Lynch continues to be awkward, as he sells Skittles on cable TV.
Shannon Sharpe was on First Take yesterday comparing Brady's alleged deflating of footballs, to Alex Rodriguez' admitted use of steroids.
We discuss the latest from Judge Berman in the deflategate case, and what it might mean.
We close out the Dale and Holley program with some of the best sound of the day that you may have missed.
We discuss the NFL's insistence and inconsistency when they continue to rely on the term 'integrity' throughout this deflategate process.
Chris Mortensen went on a sports radio station in Arizona today and talked about his deflate gate reporting, and said that the Krafts called him to apologize over the whole situation. Only thing is there's a report tonight from D&C saying their sources at the Patriots are saying that did not happen, could Mort be, dare I say, wrong?
Chris Villani and Lenny Megs talk with Bob McGovern about the proceedings in the Tom Brady and NFL's deflate gate court case.
Villani is in for Mikey, he's talking about Chris Mortensen going on an Arizona station and talking about deflate gate and getting an apology from the Krafts.
Ken Laird and Ryan Hannable are joined this week by special guests Jim Callis of MLB.com and Rob Bradford of WEEI.com to discuss what new GM Dave Dombrowski will do with his new prospect system. Also, do the Sox really have the best Farm system in baseball? Finally, Ken travels to Lowell to chat with Spinners' catcher Austin Rei and manager Joe Oliver.
It’s peek draft season so Jim Hackett and Pete Davidson are back with today’s Fantasy Football Podcast on Draft Strategy. Pete Davidson’s article at Rotobahn.com “The 2015 Draft Plan” fuels a deep conversation on how to approach the draft at all the key positions Quarterback, Runningback, Wide Receiver, Tight End and Defense. Get prepared and Happy Drafting!
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