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.”
Pete, Thornton and Price give their final thoughts and predictions for the Super Bowl.
Gabe calls the boys to handicap one of the biggest gambling days of the year - Super Bowl 51! Gabe has all the point spread info down and gets to all of the major prop bets that interest him.
Fauria is still down in Houston and calls live from NRG Stadium to give his take on what will go down later on in Super Bowl 51. He likes the Pats and gives his reasons why, but also gets into the scene in Houston all week, famous people he met and why he is tired out from a wild week.
The NBA trade rumor mill is beginning to swirl as the deadline approaches and Picard is ready to go! He talks about the possibility of Jimmy Butler coming to Boston, why Isaiah Thomas is not getting enough respect and the future of the Celtics.
Adrian Wojnarowski has been talking about the possibility of the Celtics making a trade with the Bulls to bring Jimmy Butler to Boston. He actually thinks it may be the the marquee deal to keep an eye on this week heading into the trade deadline. Pete and Jerry discuss and give their thoughts on if they would want Butler. Pete thinks it will happen, Jerry thinks Ainge will stay put. The guys get into more Celtics, present and future and if they can battle with the best of the NBA.
Anna Horford, sister of Boston Celtics Al Horford, makes her Boston radio debut. She talks about Twitter and reacting to mean tweets about her brother. She also gives us her thoughts on the city of Boston and racism.
Rob Bradford is joined by Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia to discuss the 33-year-old's longevity, his thoughts on Tom Brady's approach and what the real deal is when it comes to who is the leader in the Red Sox' clubhouse.
Rob Bradford talks with both Red Sox pitcher Matt Barnes, and assistant pitching coach Brian Bannister, about the fascinating project the reliever undertook in the final month of 2016. Barnes explains how he, with the help of others, made a concerted effort to emulate Dellin Betances of the Yankees and how that exercise helped turn around the former No. 1 pick's season.
Bradford checks in from spring training to give us all the media dirt he can dig up...oh, and talk some baseball too.
Guys talk the Bruins season so far and the All-Star Break
Guys discuss if or when the Bruins will fire Coach Julian
Ken, Rear and Ty get into a very solid week for the B's beating St Louis and the Flyers and losing a hard-fought game against the Predators. Is this team turning things around? Krug and Marchand are kicking things up a notch. The guys also talk about Claude and Sweeney's job security before getting into some big hits around the league this week.
Hour 4. Mack Beggs should have been wrestling men. Gerry wants to put an end to women's wrestling.
Hour 3. Moonlight wins after a big mistake. Curtis's dad paid for his dog's plane ticket.
Hour 1. Reimer joins Kirk and Gerry on the Monday after the Oscars. A mistake leads to the best moment in Oscars' history.
The deadline for NFL team's to use the franchise tag is Wednesday, and the guys discuss the future of Jimmy Garoppolo and Dont'a Hightower.
Andrew Benintendi is one of the favorites to win the AL Rookie of the Year award, despite playing in 35 games last year.
Glenn, Lou and Christian recap the Celtics weekend and continue to lament the fact that Danny didn't get someone to help out on the boards.
Dale and MIchael discuss Mo Sanu playing the blame game for the Super Bowl loss, plus other Super Bowl related topics... for instance, will the Falcons EVER get over that loss?
Dale and Michael discuss the interest out there for Jimmy G, and whether the Patriots will move on from him.
Dale and Michael spend a good portion of the program discussing the Bruins. What are there chances going forward and what do they need to add?
Kirk and Glenn continue their conversation from last week. In this episode Kirk and Glenn scream at each other about the infamous "station incident", what the news of the merger means to WEEI and the Sports Hub, and Kirk tries to get Glenn to answer what the perfect "Big Show" would be. You will not find a better look behind the scenes of radio.
Kirk sits down with the legend Glenn Ordway to talk about when Glenn got fired here at WEEI, his start with the station, the controversial decisions he made when he was the Program Director, and he relationship with Eddie Andelman.
Kirk chats with David Duchovny about his current music tour, which takes him to the Wilbur on February 22nd, how David got his start in television, from his first stint on Red Shoe Diaries, becoming a superstar on the X-Files, and his hilarious appearances on the Larry Sanders Show. This is a fascinating discussion about show business and controlling your own career.
Ben, Russ, and Alex talk about the decision by the Leicester City to dismiss Claudio Ranieri just months after winning the Premier League and if Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez will sign with the MLS this summer?
Christian and Dr Gill talk about how baseball players need to stay in shape in the offseason, continuing maintenance during the season, and how Pablo Sandoval's health could be after missing nearly an entire season.
Ken Laird and Chris Curtis recap a K&C Monday with Alex Reimer joining the guys for a post-Oscar themed show
Hour 1. Reimer joins Kirk and Gerry on the Monday after the Oscars. A mistake leads to the best moment in Oscars' history.More from this show
Kirk and Glenn continue their conversation from last week. In this episode Kirk and Glenn scream at each other about the infamous "station incident", what the news of the merger means to WEEI and the Sports Hub, and Kirk tries to get Glenn to answer what the perfect "Big Show" would be. You will not find a better look behind the scenes of radio.More from this show
Hour 3. Moonlight wins after a big mistake. Curtis's dad paid for his dog's plane ticket.More from this show
Dino reunites with the guys at spring training.More from this show
Hour 2. Mack Beggs, a transgender boy, won the girls' wrestling title. Headlines with Kirk.More from this show