NFL Network analyst Mike Lombardi made his weekly appearance on Dennis & Callahan and talked about the Patriots' outlook as well as the struggling Jets and their future.
Lombardi took a positive approach to the Patriots' 41-34 loss to the 49ers on Sunday, a game in which New England trailed by 28 points in the second half before rallying to tie the score.
"In the past when teams have tried to play the Patriots in a certain style -- like the Jets did in the [January 2011] playoff game -- the Patriots didn't seem to have an answer for it," Lombardi said. "I think they did have an answer for it [Sunday night]. It took a little while. Maybe the lights were too bright for some of the young players, and they turned the ball over way too much. But once they got into a groove, once they got comfortable, they got themselves back to 31-31. … I think what you saw was a Patriot offensive attack that can score rapidly, that has mental toughness and has the will to keep fighting. And I think it's going to benefit them come playoff time."
Looking at the situation in New York, Lombardi said the focus on the quarterback situation doesn't paint a clear enough picture of the issues that surround the Jets.
"I think people are missing the point here on the Jets," he said. "It starts with their cap. They're $20 million over going into next year's cap with the players they currently have. And some of those players that they currently have on their team have guaranteed contracts. That's skill, injury and salary cap, which means you can't get rid of them. Sanchez, for example, has that in his contract, as does Tim Tebow. They're going to have to have somebody take him off their hands and rid themselves of him, but they're going to eat the cap charge essentially. It's really problematic in New York and it's going to be interesting how they solve these riddles.
"I think what people misconstrued is last offseason after they didn't make the playoffs, the Jets put together what they thought was a two-year plan for their football team. Part of that two-year plan was guaranteed contracts of a lot of players. Now what we're seeing is those plans and the players they counted on to be effective who they guaranteed are no longer effective players. So the two-year plan is no longer in place, but the money's still in place. That's going to affect them. Next year's going to get worse than it was this year for them."
Added Lombardi: "You're not going to fix the Jets in just one year. … It's going to take some cleaning up to do, and it's going to take some losing of games before you're going to fix the Jets' mess."
Lombardi said the Jets are trying to emulate the Patriots, but they're not going about it the right way -- especially when it comes to the Tebow situation.
"I think the Jets are a reactionary team," he said. "I think they want to be like the Patriots, they really think they can be like the Patriots because some people in their building have had association with people at the Patriots. But the reality of it is they don't understand the core element of what the Patriots do. And therefore they always are trying to find ways to be creative. And they confuse hope for a plan. They were hoping Tebow could come in and help them. But there was no plan for Tebow to come in and help them.
"Is it really Tim Tebow's fault that you have a press conference for a backup quarterback? Is it really Tim Tebow's fault that you make him available after practice every day for an interview? Do you think that's the Patriot Way? No, I don't. So, I don't know who made this decision, but I think the plan was flawed. I think they didn't have it really ironed out. And I don't think the planning of their football team, the building of their football team has been very effective. I think if you look at their team the last three years, they have steadily gotten worse every single year."
Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels is rumored to be a hot candidate for a head coaching position. Lombardi said McDaniels' performance as head coach in Denver from 2009 to 2010 should be put in the proper perspective.
"I think Josh has got unique skills in terms of his vision of football, his ability to command and the results he's proven on the field," Lombardi said. "He starts out 6-0 in Denver, things fall apart. A lot of times we confuse youthful mistakes and we think they're permanent -- and they're not. I think we all are growing and we all are learning and we all are understanding each day what we can strive to get better at and perform at. I think the work Josh has done this year in New England proves beyond any reasonable doubt that he's an outstanding football coach. And he's made an offense that was outstanding better."
WEEI.com's Mike Petraglia and Chris Price discuss the latest development at Patriots training camp. Chris says Darrelle Revis has looked great, and that his impact on the defense is actually being underplayed nationally.
WEEI.com's Mike Petraglia and Chris Price discuss Rob Gronkowski's meeting with the media on Friday. Gronk said he doesn't anticipate changing the way he plays, noting that he wants to "keep smashing and dashing."
Julian Edelman joins Merloni, Fauria, and Benz after Patriots training camp.
Jackie Mac joins the guys to discuss her thoughts on a possible mid-season tournament in the NBA, LeBron's return to Cleveland, trade rumors with the Celtics and Red Sox, and Darrelle Revis' contract situation.
Jackie MacMullan of ESPN Boston to talk about the Lebron James Saga, the possibility of Rajon Rondo being traded, and the future of Marcus Smart.
Former coach of Celtics 1st-round pick Marcus Smart, Travis Ford joins MFB to talk about what Celtics fans should expect from the strong point guard. Among other things, Coach Ford says Smart will be a hard worker, and will improve his shooting ability.
Tim Kurkjian joins the program to discuss the Red Sox options at the trade deadline.
Kevin Millar joins Merloni, Fauria, and Benz to discuss David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia's struggles, and Jon Lester's contract.
Rob Bradford is joined by WEEI.com Bruins beat writer DJ Bean, as well as Boston sports fan/blogger Turtleboy to talk all things Bruins free agency. With the B's recent moves, the conversation turns to where the Bruins might next turn and what kind of dent losing Jarome Iginla and Shawn Thornton might make.
DJ discusses Shawn Thornton's new deal, and the on going negotiations with Jerome Iginla
DJ Bean joins the program to dismiss the recent rumors that the Bruins are in discussions to trade Brad Marchand to the Sharks for Patrick Marleau
John, Gerry, and Steve DeOssie discuss Tom Brady's impact on the rest of the Patriots, plus Steve tells tales from his old days as a NFL linebacker
A whale watch boat is stranded overnight in Boston Harbor
Clay Buchholz and Felix Doubront certainly put on quite the pitching performance, as the Red Sox were trounced by the Jays. Does this change the team's approach to the trade deadline?
Christian tells a story about taking his girlfriend to see "Jersey Boys" in NYC, but he leaves out some crucial details. Luckily, she was listening and called the show to clarify exactly what kind of shenanigans he was trying to pull.
MFB discuss a Peter King article that suggests many NFL coaches and assistant coaches have felt increasing pressure over big-money fantasy football players. Christian also weighs in specifically on how his knowledge of game-plans resulted directly in him winning his first season as a fantasy football player.
The Sox lost 14-1 as Clay Buchholz and Felix Doubront both had awful performances. On the heels of the loss, rumors began to fly regarding Jon Lester and John Lackey possibly being traded.
The tweet is a little ominous sounding. Dale, Buck and Greg Dickerson discuss what very well could be the end of the Jon Lester era with the Boston Red Sox.
We tackle four topics all sparked by the Red Sox worst to first to worst run in 2012-2014.
We talk about the latest news surrounding Jon Lester and the Red Sox. Could he be dealt to the Dodgers?
Mut and Villani are talking about whether the Red Sox will give Jon Lester the type of contract he is looking for, or whether they might be shopping him with rumors of the Red Sox scouting Cole Hamels.
Mut and Villani are talking about the MLB All Star Game, Adam Wainwright and Derek Jeter, and what are some of the worst ideas in sports.
Sam and Zach discuss changing the format of the Podcast, the Chris Archer-David Ortiz debacle, and LeBron James being a super genius
Particularly in a year where the Red Sox have struggled while trying to integrate numerous young players into regular big league roles, accusations that Red Sox prospects are overrated -- whether by the team or writers -- have been widespread. Jim Callis of MLB.com joins the show to take stock of the matter, and to discuss the team-building impact of overrating and underrating prospects.
With the trade deadline looming, the next few days will be defined by how teams value prospects -- and their potential long-term contributions -- against big leaguers with established track records who can address immediate needs. Are prospects being valued accurately? Red Sox left-hander Andrew Miller -- once one of the two key chips that sent Miguel Cabrera from the Marlins to the Tigers -- assesses the matter.
Rob gave the latest on Jon Lester trade talks and the flap between Ortiz and the Rays.More from this show