As we move through the week up to Sunday’s AFC Title showdown in Denver, the storylines are everywhere, while as usual, the actual analysis is harder to find.

Everywhere you turn you hear talk about legacy. Brady’s legacy. Manning’s legacy. Belichick’s legacy.

I don’t know about you, but I find this sort of discussion, especially in the middle of a game week to be extremely tedious, especially when there’s a fairly good chance we’re going to have this very same discussion all over again a year from now.

A few quality links to check out:

Why Belichick Really Is a Mad Scientist – Jonathan Clegg and Kevin Clark in the Wall Street Journal look at some of the practice squad players the Patriots have brought it who have startling physical similarities to players like T.Y. Hilton, Demaryius Thomas, Jamaal Charles and Andre Johnson.

Question – no one local could figure this out?

AFC Championship Preview: A Whole New Ballgame – Bill Barnwell says that this Brady/Manning matchup will be like none we’ve ever seen before.

Robert Kraft steady at the helm – Jackie MacMullan has a long interview and feature on the Patriots owner.

Patriots rookie LB Jamie Collins, who has quietly been a star in practices, is on the brink of breaking out – Nick Underhill says that teammates have been watching the rookie make plays all year long. Erik Frenz looks at the toughest challenge that Collins will have faced yet, Denver TE Julius Thomas.

Pats’ roster philosophy in full bloom – While some insist that the Patriots current style of play is more luck and being forced into it, Mike Reiss notes that this season is a great example of the roster flexibility and construction that the Patriots strive for. Michael Whitmer says that the team tries to always have a contingency plan.

Denver faces D-lemma – Karen Guregian says that the Patriots running game could force the Broncos to try and let Tom Brady beat them.

Pressure’s on Peyton Manning – Jeff Howe looks at how New England will attempt to defend Manning.

Rajon Rondo will make his return to the Celtics tomorrow night against the Lakers. The Celtics traded away Jordan Crawford yesterday, picking up yet more picks for the future.

Latest deal a no-win proposition for Celtics – Steve Bulpett says that the trade is yet another move for the future.


15 thoughts on “AFC Title Week Rolls On

  1. I enjoyed the WSJ story and think that creating replicants are a good practice strategy, but the three most recent examples, Hilton, Thomas and A Johnson, amassed nearly 300 yards against them.


    1. I thought the biggest point was more this:

      Since 2011, the league’s collective-bargaining agreement has limited the number of practices a team can hold, particularly in full pads. But within those constraints, Belichick has remained committed to practices that simulate game conditions.

      By bringing in players who are the same size and speed as upcoming opponents and instructing them to run plays the coaches have identified from film study, the Patriots say they are able to get an accurate idea of how to attack or defend a specific player. The team also can try out different blitzes and coverages.

      Specifically the last sentence. It might help to get a player with the same physical attributes for man coverage, but it also benefits the team coverage, being to know perhaps what can and can’t be done.


      1. Bruce

        The reason the local media did not have this story is because that requires work and dealing with facts. Why bother with facts when they know what they believe.


      2. I agree with all of that and that Belichick is consistently innovating to stay ahead of the competition. Brady isn’t the only reason the Patriots have been so much more consistently successful than any other team for the past decade-plus. Belichick emphasizes things so (seemingly) obscure that other teams don’t even know to ignore.
        I just thought the stats didn’t tell the story. They should have put Hilton’s 94 yards in context, because he was by no means a dominant player last week. And, lastly, the reason local media didn’t write this story is partially laziness but more because they are loathe to credit Belichick with anything unless they absolutely have to.


  2. Bruce these same guys you rip on in the media are the reason this site has followers. You also come across as a huge patriot honk. As much as you rip felger mazz or who ever you need them to be who they are to keep this site going.


    1. Brilliant.

      Of course, the site was successful long before Felger and Mazz came on the scene.

      Why so sensitive, Matt? It’s clear you’re a bigger fan of Felger than you are of sports, and that’s fine, but am i supposed to be insulted by you calling me out as a Patriots fan? Honk, sorry. A phrase directly out of the Felger dictionary. Your hero will be proud. I’m a Patriots fan, that’s no secret.


        1. I think Felger bought them all.

          My sources have told me that Jerry Thorton is hoarding some in a warehouse, however.


  3. From the perspective of the columnists and radio hosts, the impact on legacies (of non-retirees) is the most exciting aspect of the AFC champ. game. It’s a fantastic simpleton’s narrative.


  4. not to sound like a “football snob” but the guys who write/talk so much about Brady/Manning “legacies” do so for 2 reasons. #1 they are lazy.. #2 they cater to the “casual fan” those are the ones who really get into the Brady vs. Manning thing.

    Both of these guys are 1st ballot Hall of Famers what more needs to be said?…you’re really going to wrack you’re brain over the “who is better” ? debate? (I vote Brady but I digress..)..I find the whole discussion boring and tedious.


  5. I honestly think the best analysis of the actual game is being done by Gresh and Zo. There is no one on the air in New England that knows the X’s and O’x better than them. I don’t like the fact that they have Shank on once a week but no one is perfect.


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