Sports Illustrated NFL insider Peter King made his weekly appearance on Mut & Merloni on Friday morning to talk about Sunday’s Patriots-Texans AFC playoff game and other news from around the league.
King said the key for the Texans to avoid a repeat of the Dec. 10 shellacking at the hands of the Patriots is to limit Tom Brady‘s opportunities.
“The only way I see it being close is if Houston really limits the number of possessions by the Patriots, which I think is going to be hard anyway,” King said. “And even if they do that, part of me thinks that Brady with eight possessions is still going to be able to put up enough points on the board. If I’m Houston, I’m playing the four-corners offense that Dean Smith used to play at North Carolina. You’ve got to slow the game down. You’ve got to play the way the Giants played the Bills in the Super Bowl 21 years ago.
“I would also make this point, that I think one of the things during the course of the year that has really become noticeable: No matter who’s on the field for New England — whether they have [Rob] Gronkowski, whether they don’t; whether [Aaron] Hernandez is healthy or not — they’re still running fast and running a lot of plays. I was amazed when I looked this up this week: The New England Patriots ran 13 more plays a game in 2012 than in 2010. They ran 205 more plays this year than they did just two years ago.
“It’s just another instance of Bill Belichick learning as he gets older as a coach. You’re never finished learning in this business, because once you think you are, some new Chip Kelly or some new defensive guy comes in there and makes your job a lot more difficult. Hats off to the Patriots for basically advancing the ball down the field really in a schematic sense.”
King said he expects Texans defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, known for being reliant on the blitz, to avoid being as predictable as he has in the past.
“I think he’ll change up from the first game they played,” King said. “One of the things I think they’ll emphasize, a change in this game I think is going to be a healthy Brooks Reed, assuming that he is. And Connor Barwin coming as well as J.J. Watt and occasionally Whitney Mercilus.
“I think that one of the things you have to look at if you are the Houston Texans is you’ve got to make sure that your linebackers are going to be cognizant of the intermediate stuff. And they’ve just got to clog the field. To me, when you play Tom Brady, I couldn’t agree more: I think blitzes — I’m not saying they’re fruitless, because you have to do everything. But I think you’ve got to clog the middle of the field against him because he loves doing so many things with a guy like Gronkowski. I’m not sure about this, but I heard Connor Barwin on the radio saying yesterday he’s never played Gronkowski before. So, there’s a newness to this. There’s going to be a feeling-out early that’s going to be an interesting thing in an X’s and O’s sense to watch.”
Following are more highlights from the conversation.
On how Peyton Manning will handle the frigid temperatures in Denver for the Broncos-Ravens game: “It’s going to be very cold for this game. It’s going to be 19 degrees, 30 percent chance of snow. This is going to be a different game for Peyton Manning than ones he’s played in the playoffs before. But if you look at his history, he’s also come up small at home, in the dome. The game against San Diego a few years ago, a playoff game where the Colts lost. He has not always played great in or outside. I would be really surprised if that played any factor int his game on Saturday.”
On if Colin Kaepernick gives the 49ers a better chance to win than Alex Smith: “I’m not sure that you could convince me or convince any real football person, really, if Alex Smith would give them a better chance to beat the Green Bay Packers tomorrow night. That’s because I think that Colin Kapernick is going to be able to run around better and evade Clay Matthews and the occasional blitzing from the secondary — which they’re going to get from [defensive coordinator] Dom Capers. He’ll be able to avoid that and make plays. So, I won’t be one of the ones who would second-guess [Jim] Harbaugh, but I’m sure a lot of people will.”
On the pressure on the Falcons to avoid another playoff upset: “Matt Ryan and Mike Smith are the two guys who, it looks to me, enter this weekend with kind of an anvil in their shoulder pads, at least for Ryan. It obviously is something that not only have not played well, their last two playoff games have been terrible, have been embarrassing. Right now I think it’s incumbent on them to come out and at the very least with Seattle have a fight to the finish. Seattle might win the game, but they’ve got to show up and play really well.”
On Bill Parcells’ chances of getting into the Hall of Fame this year: “Obviously, I backed Parcells, I’ve spoken up for him, I’ve written about it. I think it was shortsighted and not smart on our part that we don’t have a guy who gets four teams to the playoffs, two teams to Super Bowls and wins two Super Bowls, that we don’t put him in the Hall of Fame. But again, I’m one of now 46 [voters]. … Other people feel strongly about other guys. All I can do is state my case. … The one thing that I think you have to remember that’s very important is that there’s 15 guys on that list. I looked at it when it came out this morning. I support 12 of those people on that list. If they came up, if they were in the final five, any of 12, I’d vote for them. … There are more qualified candidates than we can put in. Period. We can only vote for five every year. We can only induct five modern-era candidates every year out of the 15. So there are going to be quite a few every single year that get left behind. That’s just the way the committee works. You can rail against it, fight against it, but unless the bylaws ever get changed, I’m not sure that anything’s ever going to be done about that.”
On former Jets special teams coach Mike Westhoff saying Friday that the team never practiced Tim Tebow in the wildcat: “There are things that happened during the course of this year that you could just tell that this staff was not together and there was a disagreement right from the start on a lot of things, but none bigger than Tebow. When you look at the Jets’ season and how it crashed and burned, it’s a perfect illustration why. They trade for Tebow, and then they don’t follow through with the plans from September on. I think Westhoff provided a little window into the Jets’ soul. And it just proves what a dysfunctional family they were in 2012.
“I’m sure it makes every Patriots fan deliriously happy that they’re bringing Rex Ryan and a fractured coaching staff back. I don’t know how going forward right from now with like their eighth choice for general manager — they’ve gone past the B and C list, they’re on the F list. The Jets are totally screwed up right now.”
We had an impromptu visit from Peter King from SI / MMQB to our Fenway Studios and decided to talk some NFL and Patriots with him.
Pete talks with The Senator, Phil Perry about the Patriots trading for Dwayne Allen, ruling out a return to New England for Martellus Bennett. They also talk about the potential future of Patriots backup QB Jimmy Garoppolo and some of the big names in NFL free agency
Pete, Thornton and Price give their final thoughts and predictions for the Super Bowl.
Dale, Holley and Rich Keefe discuss NBA lottery pick Lonzo Ball with his very outspoken father Lavar Ball. The guys touch on the Celtics, his feud with his sons' high school coach, Lonzo being better than Steph Curry and much more.
Kirk, Gerry, and Alex Reimer discuss whether or not Isaiah Thomas will win a title in Boston.
Gerry, Kirk, and Trenni react to the Celtics loss against the Suns.
Dale, Michael and Rich Keefe catch-up with former Sox GM Theo Epstein who is in town with the World Champion Cubs to take on the Sox this weekend.
We sit down with the manager of the Sox, John Farrell, for our weekly interview.
Rob Bradford is joined by Minnesota Twins relief pitcher Craig Breslow, who is one of the foremost authorities among professional athletes when it comes to understanding how charities work. Not only does Breslow head up his own charity, the Strike 3 Foundation, but also proactively has taken the Boston Globe to task via a letter to the editor after a 2013 article criticizing the allocation of funds for high-profile athlete's charities. Breslow digs into the recent controversy surrounding Tom Brady's affiliation with Best Buddies, explaining why the recent Globe article was misguided.
Gerry and Kirk read some inspiring quotes from Tony Robbins and Curtis is all set to see the man himself in June.
Tony Robbins fans were sent to the hospital after getting injured walking over coals and Pat is a massive fan of Tony Robbins.
Gerry, Kirk and Arcand react to Brady getting into a business relationship with Tony Robbins.
Night 1 of the draft has passed and Jimmy Garoppolo is still here. The general consensus on the Bears was that they screwed up their draft. And Larry Bird is out in Indiana. Is there hope for Ordway's Paul George dream?
The offensive issues for this Red Sox team are becoming more and more obvious. We also react to our interview with Pedro Martinez.
Chris Sale basically took on Tanaka and the Yankees by himself last night. And the Sox hot corner of days past seem to be gone as far as third base goes.
Final two hours of Dale and Holley with Keefe for a Friday.
Dale, Holley and Keefe discuss a variety of topics for the first two hours of Freestyle Friday.
We close out the week with another edition of the madness and LAROY!!!!!!!!!!! takes you into the weekend.
Kirk Minihane, Springsteen super fan, is joined by Garry W. Tallent, founding member of the E Street Band. Kirk and Garry talk about what it's like on tour with Bruce, how the band goes about selecting songs for the tour, Garry's projects away from the band, and Garry's upcoming solo tour that will bring him to the New England area.
Kirk Minihane, future radio hall of famer, sits down with current radio hall of famer Howie Carr. Kirk and Howie talk about Howie's latest book Kennedy Babylon. If you like famous people engaging in sex scandals, hard drug taking, and murder this is the podcast for you. Its a fascinating look at Boston's most famous family and the problems that took the family down.
Kirk Minihane, host and overlord of the morning show, brings Gerry Callahan and producers Chris and Ken into the studio to hear his show proposal. Kirk is thinking about making some changes to the morning show and wants to hear his crew's opinion.
Ben and Alex talk to Charlie Stillitano, the man responsible for the International Champions Cup. He has created tournaments for the biggest teams in the world to be played in the US every summer. This year he will bring Juventus and Roma to play in Foxboro on July 30th.
Ken and Chris have the Good Weekend recap of a Friday Christian Arcand edition of K&C.
It’s Day 1 of the NFL Draft tonight so Jim Hackett & Pete Davidson offer a little pre-draft fodder for you featuring the Top Tight Ends and Top Wide Receivers. It’s Day 1 of the draft so there’s a lot of focus on the Top Tier talent who you could see drafted tonight including analysis on OJ Howard, Evan Engram & David Njoku; all Tight Ends that could be drafted in tonight’s 1st Round – a rarity. The analysis deepens with more focus on the Top 10 Tight Ends including Jake Butt, Bucky Hodges and Jordan Leggett. Then the boys turn to the Top Wide Receivers, including John Ross, Corey Davis, Mike Williams and JuJu Smith-Shuster. We’ll see where these guys land tonight, but you can learn more and have a few laughs right now.
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