By: Steve Grogan & R.R. Marshall - Presented By Frank 106.3 Frank FM
January 17, 2014

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Here are some additional thoughts from former Patriots quarterback Steve Grogan, who sat down with R.R.Marshall earlier this week and talked about this weekend's match-up.

R.R.Marshall: The prevailing theory is the Patriots will have to put up a lot of points in this game and try to outscore the Broncos like they did in the regular season meeting. Is that you're view of the game as well?

Steve Grogan: I would think if the weather is in the 50's and fairly nice, I would think you're going to have to score in the high 30's low 40's if you're going to beat the Broncos.

RRM: Again, the other prevailing theory is the Patriots will come out and try to pound the ball like they did against the Colts. But if the Broncos pack the line of scrimmage like they did against the Chargers, I wouldn't be surprised to see Brady put it up over 35 times in this game?

SG: More than likely he'll do that although when you go into a game against Peyton Manning, everybody's talked about it for years, the best way to keep him from scoring is to keep him on the bench. So if they can run the ball, if they can come out early and control the line of scrimmage, get first downs, control the clock and stay close, I think that's the way they'd like to attack them. If the Broncos get ahead early, you're going to have to throw the running game out the window and start flinging it around the field and see if you can come back.

"I think people are starting to realize again that running the football is a big part of the game and it can take a lot of pressure off of your quarterbacks." - Steve Grogan
(USA TODAY Images)
RRM: What about the idea that the Patriots are basically playing with house money, all the pressure's on Denver, Peyton's playing for his legacy in the playoffs so the pressure's really on the Broncos to win this game and not on the Patriots?

SG: Well, there's always pressure on both teams in a Conference championship game, but I would say that's got some validity. Manning's only won the one Super Bowl, Brady's won three. It's coming to the end of both of their careers and Manning really needs another Super Bowl win to put himself in the same category as a lot of the other great quarterbacks. He's not the kind of guy that's going to let pressure bother him, but I'm sure he wants one badly.

RRM: I'm surprised to hear you say that because we know he's a great quarterback just by watching him play, and yet everybody points out only the one Super Bowl, the 10-11 record in the playoffs, but a lot of that is circumstantial and you can't take away his accomplishments on the field, can you?

SG: No, you can't. Like I said, he's one of the best of his era or maybe all time but people still look at playoffs, playoff records, Super Bowl wins, when it comes to ranking the greatest of all time. I mean Dan Marino during part of my time with the Patriots was probably the best thrower in the game but he only went to one Super Bowl and didn't win any and he still gets his accolades but not like a Joe Montana that won all those Super Bowls or maybe even a Jim Kelly that went to four Super Bowls and lost all four of them. I just think Manning needs to get back to that Super Bowl to kind of solidify his standing in NFL history.

RRM: Steve in three of the four winning teams this weekend, their quarterbacks threw for under 200 yards. Are we seeing "a back to the future" move here in the NFL going back to the 70's with grinding it out on the ground behind star running backs and letting the quarterbacks just manage the game as the Patriots did?

SG: Well, we're definitely not going to see the three yards and a cloud of dust because everything's artificial these nowadays. I think people are starting to realize again that running the football is a big part of the game and it can take a lot of pressure off of your quarterbacks. It's not going to change it that much, they're still going to wing it around the field during the regular season. But I think people have been saying for years that you have to be able to run the football in January when the playoffs start and of course we saw that last weekend.

RRM: It's also the train of thought that defenses are getting smaller and more mobile as opposed to the big seven defensive fronts. So it's inviting to run the ball, so I guess that has a point too?

SG: Things kind of cycle every few years in the NFL and that is a great point that they're all coming up with smaller guys on the outside that can rush the passer. But the smaller they get, the harder it is for to stop the run. So offensive coordinators are taking advantage of that.