Last night, I had the pleasure of attending a special playoff preview event put on by Comcast SportsNet and featured on-air personalities such as Tom E. Curran, Mary Paoletti, Mike Giardi, Gary Tanguay, Fred Smerlas, and Steve DeOssie. I got to meet and chit-chat with most and they’re all really nice, down-to-earth people that also know their Patriots football.
The Comcast crew discussed various topics surrounding the Patriots and the upcoming playoff game with Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos and took some questions from the crowd. Here are some points that stuck out to me:
- Fred Smerlas feels that ever since Charlie Weiss left the Patriots, Tom Brady has really been the offensive coordinator and Josh McDaniels and Bill O’Brien have been “consultants.” It’s an interesting take.
- Steve DeOssie feels that Josh McDaniels can’t add much more information on the Denver Broncos than what the Patriots don’t already know. He noted that there’s not much more that he can add that’s not already on tape.
- The panel seemed to agree that it’s not a lack of maturity that is holding back the Patriots’ defense, but a lack of overall talent.
- The last time the Pats played the Broncos, Wes Welker and Rob Gronkowski had relatively quiet days while Aaron Hernandez had a big game. A question was asked about how to get Welker and Gronk more involved this time, and the point was made that it doesn’t matter who gets more attention from the defense, there are other guys (like Hernandez last time) that will get open and make plays.
- There was some debate on whether the Pats need an effective running game in the playoffs or rely on Tom Brady’s arm. Tom Curran said that it depends on the opponent, while Mary Paoletti mentioned that establishing the ground game early has helped Brady’s passing attack, including the play-action.
- Curran believes that Tim Tebow will be a top 10 quarterback in 3 years.
- All the panelists believe the Patriots will win Saturday.