Bostondotcom: Hey folks, thanks for stopping by to talk Pats-Colts... Ron is online and will be answering the first question in a minute ...
kruzy: Prior to the chargers game all the analysts were talking about how important the run would be...in order to open up things for brady...but dillon/maroney had little impact on the game...how much do u think the run will be used against the colts...given the colts recent defensive
perfomances wouldnt it be wise to open up things with three receiver set??
Ron_Borges: I belive they will run the ball and do it effectively. Certainly the Colts' run defense is improved when Bob Sanders is in at safety and the move to put Rob Morris, a former middle linebacker, at outside backer has given them a firmer edge but their basic run defense problems remain. I would attack them off play action, as they have in the past, using Maroney because of his quickness.
Anthony-DC: Ron, I've heard in two places now (profootballweekly and a NY paper) that Belichick's contract runs out after next year, and that he may leave the team for the NY Giant's. Please tell me this is an unfounded rumor and that Kraft will sign him to an extension this offseason!
Ron_Borges: His contract has a year to go plus a club option which may or may not be exercised. The possibility of his leaving for New York is a reasonable one although certainly not set in stone. If you are a coach knowing when to leave is often as important as knowing when to arrive. belichick learned exit strategy from Bill Parcells, who always seemed to know when to abandon ship.
Chris: Ron -- A question about special teams. A lot of talk about the special teams match up between the Colts and Pats centers naturally around Viniateri v. Gostowski (i.e. "Is the rookie up to the challange"). Don't the Pats have an opportunity, however, in the very important aspect of field position? Pats kick and punt coverage is average, but Colts kick and punt coverage is amongst the worst. With Maroney and Hobbs in a sterile dome environment, this could be an advantage for the Pats. Also, Saurbrun in this environment could be a factor given his most recent performance in San Diego. Thoughts?
Ron_Borges: I think Saurbrun is indeed a strong weapon. He has been kicking well in the playoffs while Hunter Smith's best days seem to be behind him. Both teams have had problems in coverage this year so I'm not sure there's a big advantage there for either team but I would give the edge to New England because you're right, their return men are more explosive than Wilkins.
indpatsfan: will chad jackson have a role in indy?
Ron_Borges: Only at dinner.
Little_Polian: Hi Ron, I don't believe the Colts defense is really as good as they've shown the past 2 games and I think the Patriots can run the ball well and score often. I also think the Colts will pass the ball well against the Patriots secondary. Do you agree that this will be a high scoring game?
Ron_Borges: I assume you're not related to Big Polian? I do think the Colts' defense has benefited the past two weeks by facing a one-dimensional offense in Kansas City and a less than explosive one in Baltimore. That will not be the case with the Patriots even though Brady has not been playing up to par himself. I could certainly visualize a high scoring game if Manning gets decent protection and New England can make use of its play action runs off of early passing success.
sbcpats70: Hey Ron, do you think people are overlooking how much better this Patriots offense is than Indy's previous 2 playoff foes?
Ron_Borges: I don't think they're overlooking it. There is no question that Indy is a different defense when Bob Sanders is at safety. he is there Harrison, as he proved in the November game with the Patriots in which he made 11 tackles and had an inteception. He played in only four regular season games all year but is back at reasonable health for the post-season and playing well. He makes a difference but he's not Lawrence Taylor. Which is why, in the end, i think you'll see the Colts struggle more defensively this week than in the previous two games.
hoey: Ron, Daragh from Dublin, Ireland here. Aside from Tom Brady, which Patriot do you see having the biggest impact on sunday's game?
Ron_Borges: Lawrence Maroney and Corey O'Dillon, two fine Irish running backs. I just think New England will hurt the Colts with the pass first and then begin to chop at them with the runs. If maroney has not hit the rookie wall (he's played the quivalent of about two college seasons this year) he could be the most dangerous player on their team in this game.
Little_Polian: It was reported by Mike Reiss yesterday that Ty Warren missed the media access portion of practice, yet his name is not on the injury report. What's the story with him?
Ron_Borges: Excused for personal reasons. Some sort of minor family issue that will not impact the game.
Armani: Last week everyone assumed that Brady just had an off day; however, one time he got tackled and the sweat band he wears on his elbow was pulled down revealing a tendinitis brace that old tennis players wear. Knowing how guarded the Pats are about injuries, isn't it possible that he is hurting a lot more than they are letting on?
Ron_Borges: It's probably likely. He has been wearing that for a while and has had prior elbow problems so it certainly seems more than likely he is playing in some pain. Either that or he's making a rather odd style statement.
lquintin: Ron, Stokely has been a go to guy on third with him not playing helps the Patriots do you concur?
Ron_Borges: Certainly their passing game is at its best with three receivers that include a speed man in the slot. But Manning has made better use of his tight end this year than he has in the past and Dallas Clark has become a solid possession receiver. Stokley certainly gave them that third deep threat but they seem to ahve adjusted their passing game to his absence.
Fred_Smerlas: Will I ever get elected to the Hall of Fame? Why are nose tackles discriminated against?
Ron_Borges: Who is Fred Smerlas? The first nose tackle to go into the Hall, if there ever is one, will be Curly Culp of the Kansas City Chiefs. Then Larry, Moe or even Fred might get a chance.
johnnydoyle: Ron, is time running out for Manning to get it done and how much patience will the fans of Indy have for this guy when he fails again on Sunday to bring the Colts to the Super Bowl?
Ron_Borges: He'll be 31 in March so he has a good five years or so more to play at or near his peak. They appear to have gotten a running back to replace Edgerrin James in Joseph Addai but they do have to concern themselves with Marvin Harrison going to be 35 next August and Wayne approaching 30. The window is not closed but the screens are on and if he isn't careful it could all pass him by. As for the fans, he's the second greatest QB in Colts history behind Johnny Unitas. Regardless of whether or not he wins a Super Bowl, that will not be forgotten in Indy the way it might be in the Northeast.
jason: how much will Belichick use the Baltimore game to help slow down Peyton?
Ron_Borges: I don't think he needs much help from Rex Ryan. Or Brian Billick for that matter. Different teams. Different personnel. Different approaches.
Texas_Red_Sox_Fan: Ron ... Can our linebackers plug the holes against Adai he ran well against us last time
Ron_Borges: The LBs will have their hands full with Addai. he is quick, powerful and has good vision. He's no LaDainian Tomlinson but he's quicker than the version of Edgerrin James who played in Indy the past few years. I believe the Colts will attack Bruschi inside and Banta-Cain on teh outside in much the same way San Diego targeted the two of them.
Samurai_Worrier: Being from Boston, I'm not used to being the "overdog" in this situation as many people are picking the Pats, but I still have to worry. As the Sox saw enough of Mariano Rivera to finally handle him, could the Colts now have a bead on the Pats or is football strategizing such that we can still unwrap some new twists and turns to keep them guessing like the "old days?"
Ron_Borges: I think there is a limit to how many strategical manuvers one can make. The familiarity between the two teams adds to that problem. Both know each other so well that I think this will be more a battle of matchups more than of strategy.
MonteeBiesel: Hi Ron, I'm on my lunchbreak since I dont play ILB for the Pats. My question is do you think Marvin Harrison is wimpy? It seemed he only got his game going when Rodney Harrison got hurt in the last game he played the Patriots. I don't think he would be spiking any balls with #37 out there. BTW, that was a good one-liner last week about Matt Light coming out of the huddle with a shotgun.
Ron_Borges: Marvin Harrison has played 11 years in the NFL, caught over 1,000 passes and s cored 122 touchdowns so wimp is not a word I'd associate with him.
toomyc: Which rookie RB do you think will have a better game this weekend? Addai or Maroney?
Ron_Borges: Maroney. It would be Addai if he was running against the Colts run defense.
toomyc: What did you think of Polians comments this week? He sounds like a sore loser and a whiner to me, if the Colts can't win, then lets change the rules to allow the Colts to win.
Ron_Borges: Polian may indeed be a whiner but he's not asking that the rules be changed. he's asking that the rules be enforced. As a law-and-order kind of guy myself, I don't have a problem with that as long as they are applied equally for both teams.
TruePatriot: Last week you suggested that I probably should double-up on my blood pressure meds while watching the Chargers game. I took your advice but fell asleep in the middle of the fourth quarter. Did I miss anything?
Ron_Borges: You did but a heart attack might have been one of those things so you showed good judgment. Double down this week. You may be asleep by halftime but you can always TIVo the game.
PatsLoyalFan: Ron, how funny is it that the "revamped" Colts defense is getting all this respect when the Patriots really have the revamped players in their wr's and safeties. Can you remember an AFC title game team ever playing four career backups and all four are doing so well, i mean the wr's are leading tha playoffs! Can they do it again?
Ron_Borges: Probably not. Look, Brady makes every receiver better but I look at New England's wide receivers the same way I look at the Colts suddenly resurgent run defense. Skeptically. Generally, as the old boxing trainer Cus D'Amato said, "Guys born round don't die square.''
MonteeBiesel: Ron, have you ever witnessed Bill Polian taking a mental fit in the pressbox? The guy sounds like a real piece of work.
Ron_Borges: I have. Very few men have a face that can turn so red so fast as Bill Polian. He makes Al Davis seem diplomatic.
johnny_ace: thanks for joining us today ron, i was just wondering if you share my concerns thatsince the colts didn't peak in november this year for a change, this could very well be their year to go all the way. hope not.
Ron_Borges: I do think the Colts are coming from a differnet place this time. In the past they were the hot team with the big offense. This year they seem, like the Patriots, to have come into this under the radar and that may have helped them mentally. Certainly I would think they understand this opportunity is not going to keep coming along much more often.
OBie: Is this a resurgent Colts D or are the a product of a one dimensional offense (Chiefs) and a weak offense (Ravens)?
Ron_Borges: Probably a little of both.
kelley: do you think it will come down to coaching in this game?
pats42colts0: all the national sports shows say that home field advantage gives the colts an advantage. But have people forgetten that Brady is 11-0 in dome stadiums? I know, "it helps Dwight Freeney", but did you see what Matt Light did to Merriman last week? Your thoughts?
Ron_Borges: I think the Dome definitely helps the Colts because they believe that it does. Certainly it helps Freeney. As for Matt Light, if you watched the game closely the Chargers inexplicably had Merriman dropping into pas scoverage 36 per cent of the time. Tony Dungy will not make that mistake with Freeney, who will be attacked by Light and a tight end in much the same way New England went after Merriman. As for why merriman was in coverage, it beats me. And it helped beat the Chargers, as well.
Cogz: Harrison at practice? Means he's playing right? Its not like he needs work on understanding the defense.
Ron_Borges: Harrison is O-U-T out.
MileHigh_Patsfan: Hello Ron. What has Peyton struggled with the past few games, and how can the Pats duplicate it?
Ron_Borges: Against the Ravens he strugglef because they're one of the best defenses in the league. vs. KC he completed 78.9 per cent of his passes. Now he did throw three picks but two were to Ty Law who seems to be attatched to his passes like velcro. I wouldn't be relying on Peyton Manning throwing 3 picks to win on Sunday, a point Mike Vrabel just made to me an hour ago in the locker room.
MonteeBiesel: Hey Ron, I just heard on the radio that Rodney Harrison was INDEED out on the practice field today. Do you think Marvin Harrison will be wetting his pants when he hears this?
Ron_Borges: No I don't. Bob Kraft as out on the practice field too and he's not playing either.
McMonkey: We always hear how the regular season means nothing once "the tournament" starts, however on both sides of the ball Indy is almost opposite what they were all year, and the Pats have certainly played differently (better) at WR and O-line, and had an off-game at D-line against SD. So which changes are the flukes, and which should we expect to see Sunday?
Ron_Borges: I think in general you can count on New England's front three to be solid and the Colts' front four to be less so, although they'll be better than they were during the year against the run. I would expect both Brady and Manning to play more like they did all year andless like they did the past two weekends because they are two great players. An off day or two is one thing. An off playoffs a bit more unlikely.
McMonkey: What's your pick for the Saints/Bears game? Who would you rather see win?
Ron_Borges: Sentimentally I like the Saints for all going to the Super Bowl will mean to that city, which remains devastated in so many areas. I visited there last fall and it was still beyond comprehension. But the Bears' secondary and that Chicago wind will be hard on the aptly named Drew Brees. Unless Deuce McAllister and REggie Bush run wild, I like the Bears in a close victory.
McMonkey: Is there a danger of a let-down game for either team after big road wins against higher seeded teams?
Ron_Borges: No. Both sides know what this game means.
frozenRope: Will D. Freeney be lined up against M. Light and does this create a Jason Taylor type mismatch, and perhaps we can ask the question regardless of whom Freeney lines up against? Or is Feeney simply not the Feeney of last year?
Ron_Borges: Freeney is the kind of speed rusher Light struggles with. He is still a force to be reckoned with. I would imagine he learned a few things about how New England may attack him by watching tape of last week's game vs. the Chargers and Merriman. It's not a matchup I like.
jerome: Ron, I always enjoy your articles. Though it's been a while since they played..Manning still owned the Pats DB's. Why would this time be any differnt? Also, E. Hobbs is becoming a real bore. For someone who hasn't done much he yaps alot.
Ron_Borges: Ellis believes boldness counts and he sees boldness as cockiness. Whatever works for you. I agree that the secondary matchup is not good for New England both from a eprsonnel standpoint and because the stricter enforcement of the chuck rule and interference has forced New England to get away from its press coverages that worked so well in '03 and '04. They are now forced to play more in space and that's an advantage for Harrison, Wayne and Clark.
Rocky: If the unthinkable happened and Brady was injured, who would go in first, Cassel or Testeverde?
Ron_Borges: That's a good question and an unthinkable notion. I would think it would be Cassel because if they put in testeverde he would have to play the rest of the game because they activated the third quarterback. That would limit their options too much, I would think.
Foxborojack: Do you think our offense has suffered since Charlie Weiss departed?
Ron_Borges: A bit on game day. Weis made excellant game day adjustments and was good at calling a game, setting up plays late in a game by things he did much earlier.
rogi: Speaking of Bruschi, he hasn't made a big play in a long time. He's certainly due. Do you think Bruschi's time is about up?
Ron_Borges: I think Tedy Bruschi has had a remarkable career in New England. I also think it's winding down. He has not been the same player since the stroke, which is to be expected. Just that he's out there making any plays is a testimoney to his perseverance.
hoops77: When I was in Vegas a few months back, I got the Pats at 9-1 to win the Bowl. How do you like my chances? I want to buy a nice big-screen plasma with my winnings.
Ron_Borges: They didn't build those big casinos by letting guys buy plasma TVs at their expense. Like every bet in Vegas, it's a longshot. But not as long as it was a month ago. Good odds at 9-1 but only if you cash.
Pats_Rule: Ron, would you agree that Bill Belichick is a little less guarded with the media compared to the first few years as a head coach with the Patriots? It seems he is a little more ?human? in recent years during his press conferences. What is the media?s perception?
Ron_Borges: That's like telling your neighbors you replaced a rotweiler with a dobermam pincher. Friendlier breed on the surface but still more bite than you'd like.
iloveron: if the patriots win their 4th superbowl in 6 years would you consider them the greatest dynasty in football history considering the roll free agency plays now?
Ron_Borges: Greatest of all-time might be stretching it but they'd have to be in every ocnversation thta included the Browns of the '50s, Packers of the '60s Steelers of the '70s, Cowboys of hte '90s and 49ers of the '80s. to be fair, the Browns of the '50s were probably the greatest dyansty in pro football history.
Pats_Fan_in_Albany: Ron, In my opinion a big factor will be whether the Pats can apply pressure on Peyton up the middle, where he is most effective. Your thoughts on their ability in this area?
Ron_Borges: That's a good point. Seymour, Wilfork and whomever else they put inside do need to push the pocket. Manning likes to step up and step into his throws and giving him little room to do that is a good way to defend him. It forces him to move more than he likes and creates problems for him looking downfield.
HighFalutin: Hey Ron. What are the chances BB is concocting a special field-goal-blocking play for this Sunday?
Ron_Borges: I would say not too likely.
Bostondotcom: Thanks for stopping by folks, we'll have the transcript live in a moment.