Hall of Fame wide receiver Jerry Rice chatted with Mut & Merloni on Thursday to give his prediction for Sunday’s AFC championship game and discuss other NFL news.
“I know you guys are in Boston, but this is going to be a great game between the New England Patriots and the Baltimore Ravens,” Rice said. “I know the last game was questionable just a little bit. I think Tom Brady‘s going to come out and exceptional like he always does, but I think they’re going to get edged out a little bit by the Baltimore Ravens.
“I think the Ravens right now are just playing exceptional football. I look at Joe Flacco and the thing that really impresses me with him is that he doesn’t have any INTs. Ray Rice is running the ball well, and all of a sudden Torrey Smith — they stretch the ball downfield, throwing it deep, he’s making plays. I’m sure Anquan Boldin‘s going to be a factor. On defense, Ray Lewis and [Ed] Reed, those guys are going to be ready and I think they’re inspired with this might be Ray Lewis’ last football game. They feel like they have an opportunity to do something special, so it should be a great football game.”
Reed and his fellow defensive backs will attempt to shut down Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker. Welker had eight receptions for 131 yards in this past Sunday’s win over the Texans.
“I don’t like him breaking my records,” Rice joked. “I had an opportunity to meet this guy, he’s such a great individual, he’s a hard worker and you just cannot cover this guy one-on-one. He’s going to continue putting up big numbers like that if you try to line him up with a linebacker or safety because he’s just too quick off the line of scrimmage and he’s too explosive and he’s going to make plays.
“He can pretty much take over a ballgame, and that’s really what you ask for in a playmaker that’s a receiver on the football field, and he’s capable of doing that. Like I stated, he is not going to be covered and I know Tom Brady is always going to go to him. He’s like that security blanket for him and he knows that this guy is going to get open and make plays. So, I think he pretty much has earned his money and they should pay him a lucrative contract.
“I think he’s in the top five [receivers in NFL] without a doubt. What he brings to that team, and also he sets the standards. The way this guy prepares, his preparation, his hard work during practice, and that carries over to the game on that given Sunday or that Monday. Those are the types of guys you want to give the big contracts and you want the other guys to look at these guys and say, ‘Wow, this is the way to be a professional and this is how you should conduct yourself.’ ”
Following are more highlights from the interview.
On current NFL rules: “I think with football today, it benefits the wide receivers because I think the defensive backs, defensively they have to be on the same playing ground. They have to be able to be physical at the line of scrimmage, but after five yards they have to take their hands off the receivers, or if they’re downfield past five yards they can’t touch the receiver. I preferred it back in the day where I knew exactly where the defensive back, where he was at, at all times by being physical downfield. So, the game has changed a lot, but overall they’re trying to protect players and do all of that, but still it boils down to playing football. I think defensive backs need to be on a level field as the wide receivers are.”
On Colin Kaepernick: “You see a lot of the wildcat happening out there with the San Francisco 49ers. Forty-five percent of their offense last week was wildcat against Green Bay. So you’ve got to deal with Kaepernick, you’ve got to expect this guy to be able to get outside, extend plays, but also he can win a football game with is feet. … With these quarterbacks running with the football, they’re going to be looked at as a runner and you’re going to have defenses that really start teeing off on these guys and hitting these guys no matter if they have the ball or if they don’t have the ball.
“I think he’s going to go [to Atlanta] and he’s just going to play football. He’s way ahead of his time, he doesn’t get rattled. When he threw that interception to Sam Shields I said, ‘Oh man, here we go.’ But this guy came right back and moved the ball downfield and scored. So, he believes in himself, there’s a swagger to this team and they really look at this like, ‘We can go into Atlanta and win this football game.’ ”
On which rookie quarterback he would put the most stock in: “I would go with the guy that’s going to be around a long, long time, and that’s Andrew Luck. I think with [Robert Griffin III], Russell Wilson, Kaepernick, all those guys, they have shown something that’s right now caught everyone off guard. I remember when Tim Tebow was running the wildcat, everybody just went crazy over that. But now you have these guys that can run the pistol, the read option, but they can also throw the football. So there’s now that extra threat there, but I just feel like [Griffin, Wilson and Kaepernick] are not going to last that long and they’re going to be susceptible to injury.”
To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page. For more Patriots news, visit the team page at weei.com/patriots. WEEI-FM 93.7 will broadcast the AFC championship game between the Patriots and Ravens on Sunday at 6:30 p.m.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Rob Bradford is joined by Tom Caron, the man responsible for guiding the ship when it comes to Red Sox pregame and postgame shows, along with various other important duties with the New England Sports Network, including offering the play-by-play for both TV and radio throughout spring training. Tom and Rob discuss a variety of topics, such as nickname conundrums, radio vs. television, criticizing the team, behind-the-scenes for the broadcasts and where the industry is going.
Rob Bradford is joined by two-time All-Star outfielder Carlos Quentin, who is attempting a comeback with the Red Sox this spring. Quentin's path back to baseball involves almost quitting the game less than a year ago, losing 40 pounds and trying to sell himself to general managers all over Major League Baseball. Quentin explains his journey, which has led him to the back fields at JetBlue Park.
Rob Bradford catches up with Clay Buchholz to discuss the former Red Sox pitcher's new lot in life with the Phillies, while reflecting on his up and down tenure in Boston. Philadelphia general manager Matt Klentak also joins the podcast to discuss his team's pursuit of Buchholz.
Hour 4. Albert from RI battles Alex, who is actually Tomase, over racism in Boston. Kirk says he has great gaydar, proving it by identifying who is gay at the station. A high school coach in Washington put his hot dog in a bun.
Hour 3. Tomase reiterates that white people cannot speak on racism in Boston. Tomase thinks Bomani Jones may have a better perspective than Kirk and Gerry.
Hour 2. Kirk, Gerry, and Tomase discuss the ongoing Hernandez trial. Headlines features Ellen’s finger injury. Tomase says that getting mad at Bomani Jones for calling Boston racist means you’re racist.
HOUR 4 - The guys get into more talk about the negative ramifications of LaVar Ball's antics, and whether NBA teams will be hesitant to draft Lonzo, LaMelo, and LiAngelo. Also, the argue whether or not trading Isaiah Thomas is an option.
The No Fun League will be posting a "Do's and Don'ts" video to help NFL players prevent themselves from getting flagged for excessive penalties. Another Cleveland journalists says the Browns will make a run at Jimmy G next week at the NFL owners meetings. LeBron James fires back at LaVar Ball.
HOUR 2 - The ESPN talking heads think that Colin Kaepernick is getting blackballed. The guys talk about the type of team that he COULD thrive on. Jason Whitlock compares Kaep to a former Patriot QB.
With so much legal stuff swirling around New England sports right now, Dale, Michael and Rich spoke to Michael McCann, law professor at UNH to get his insight to it all.
Dale, Holley and Keefe discuss the Bruins on the heels of a bad loss at home to the Senators.
So the Patriots knew all along that Aaron Hernandez was murdering people and still gave him a contract extension? That's what some folks would like you to believe. Dale, Michael and RIch Keefe delve in to the Hernandez talk to dissect what's real from what's BS
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.
SI's Richard Deitsch returns to the podcast to talk with Kirk about the K&C casting couch, how ESPN wimps out when they are called out for slander, what's going on with Bill Simmons, and the rise of podcasting.
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.
Rich Keefe & Ryan Davey rank the Quentin Tarantino movies and discuss how they all connect in the Tarantino-verse. Plus "This Week in #DORK," "Davey's Video Game Minute," "Pick of the Podcast," and "Black Panther Reads iTunes Reviews."
Ken Laird & Chris Curtis recap a Wednesday K&C with John Tomase back in for the first time in several months to discuss Boston’s reputation of race among other items.
Uncle Buck, George, and Nick "Fitzy" Stevens talk about Boston Sports Movies, the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Hour 1. Alex Reimer joins Gerry and Kirk the morning after Kirk’s epic Early Edition. Kirk gave quite a performance on Comcast and says he’s officially done with TV. Gerry is in a bad mood because of the A-hole tournament. Jared Carrabis took down Pete Abraham in a blog on Barstool.More from this show
Hour 4. Kirk said goodbye to Comcast on Monday night. It was great television.More from this show
Hour 2. Kirk, Gerry, and Tomase discuss the ongoing Hernandez trial. Headlines features Ellen’s finger injury. Tomase says that getting mad at Bomani Jones for calling Boston racist means you’re racist.More from this show
Hour 3. Pete Abraham tried to defend himself on Brand X. Pete’s explanation for calling “Brad T” the grand wizard was embarrassing. Gerry, Kirk, and Alex argue about Kaepernick and whether or not the national anthem is important.More from this show
Hour 2. Brady’s jersey was found in Mexico. In Headlines, Gerry is angry at Chelsea Handler for a tweet. Ken Laird says he’s worried the Bruins won’t make the playoffs.More from this show