Patricia sees no issues with Manning's arm

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Patricia sees no issues with Manning's arm

All it took was one Broncos win for some to proclaim an "official" Peyton Manning comeback.

And it only took one loss for others to question the quarterback's arm strength.

The quarterback's answer to it all? "I am what I am. It is what it is."

Tuesday in New England, defensive coordinator Matt Patricia delved a little deeper into Manning's play. The Patriots will face Denver in Week 4, and as far as Patricia can see, the quarterback's most recent neck surgeries aren't affecting his throwing arm at all.

"I havent seen any issues with that whatsoever," Patricia said. "He looks like hes throwing the ball extremely well, extremely confident and getting it into some really tight locations and I just think its building every week. I think hes just doing a tremendous job out there."

Manning has completed 99 of 153 passes in four games with his new team. He's thrown for 1,162 yards and eight touchdowns to three interceptions. Opponents have sacked him eight times.

Both Patricia and head coach Bill Belichick said they see several threads of the Colts offense -- two tight ends, three receiver sets -- being woven into Denver's gameplan.

"Peyton is doing a good job of running things that theyre asking him to run and some of it happens to be real familiar with the stuff that he did previously," said Patricia.

"I think theres a good mix of the Denver offense and a lot of that has to do with Peyton Manning and the quarterback, but also like I said, the skill players really fit into a good role for him in what theyre trying to do both in the run game and throwing the ball too. But there are definitely some things there that look just like Peyton Manning."

Which can always be trouble.

Though New England's quarterback holds an 8-4 advantage in the all-time Tom Brady-Peyton Manning Bowl, Manning's team has won four of their last six meetings. Their last five clashes (including playoffs) were decided by seven points or fewer.

"Anytime youre trying to play Peyton Manning youre always trying to figure out what the best thing to do is and how to go up and challenge it and figure out how to beat him," Patricia explained. "Hes an extremely smart and intelligent football player. He has a good idea of what youre trying to do at all times which certainly makes it challenging."

Goodell or Trump? Kraft fields question on who will visit Gillette next

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Goodell or Trump? Kraft fields question on who will visit Gillette next

FOXBORO -- With NFL commissioner Roger Goodell in Atlanta for the NFC Championship game, his second visit to Atlanta in the last month, Patriots president Jonathan Kraft was posed an interesting question during his pre-game interview on 98.5 The Sports Hub.

Who would make it to a game at Gillette Stadium next: Goodell or Donald Trump?

The newly-elected president, of course, is a friend of the Krafts and a Patriots fan who has visited Foxboro for games on more than one occasion over the years. 

"I'm gonna let you," Kraft said, "place the over-under on that . . . We're happy. Whoever wants to come can come. Donald has done this [radio] show before . . . He was great. He's a big Patriot fan."

Here are a few more quotes of note from Kraft during his interview with The Sports Hub's Marc Bertrand and Chris Gasper . . . 

On the Colts firing general manager Ryan Grigson, who helped spark Deflategate: "Who? Yeah. You'd have to ask Jim Irsay about it. He'd be the one to ask. That game might've been Ryan's pinnacle, I don't know. Jimmy can talk about what's going on with the Colts. We're fortunately playing football today."

On Rob Gronkowski, who was a guest at Robert Kraft's home for a pre-AFC title game party Saturday: "He's doing great. He was funny. He was engaging with the crowd . . . He looks great . . . He didn't look like a guy who was hurting."

On if the Steelers called to apologize for Mike Tomlin's comments last weekend, calling the Patriots a-holes: "No, but we wouldn't have expected them. There was nothing to apologize for."

On his memories of the Kraft family's first postseason game (Sunday's is their 40th) as owners of the Patriots: "We went to Cleveland. It was Bill [Belichick]. Bill eviscerated us. It's nice to have him on our side this time."

Patriots make Floyd a healthy scratch for AFC title game

Patriots make Floyd a healthy scratch for AFC title game

FOXBORO -- The Patriots will go with four receivers against the Steelers as Michael Floyd has been listed as a healthy scratch for the AFC title game. 

PATRIOTS-STEELERS PREGAME

The Patriots had all five of their wideouts -- Floyd, Julian Edelman, Chris Hogan, Malcolm Mitchell and Danny Amendola -- available to them for Sunday's matchup, but they're opted to use the four who are most experienced in the team's offense. 

Hogan (thigh), Mitchell (knee) and Amendola (ankle) were all listed as questionable going into the weekend, but all have been deemed physically ready to play as their team vies for a Super Bowl berth. 

Floyd had his worst game as a member of the Patriots last week in the Divisional Round against the Texans. On two routes, both slants, Floyd ran the pattern in such a way that there appeared to be some miscommunication between him and quarterback Tom Brady. One was picked off and the other was almost picked. 

Floyd admitted as much last week, saying that there are still intricacies to the Patriots offense that he needs to pick up -- including exactly how Brady wants certain routes run.

Hogan suffered a thigh injury against the Texans last week but felt optimistic soon thereafter that he'd be good to go for the conference championship. Mitchell hasn't played since suffering a knee injury against the Jets in Week 16. 

Other Patriots inactives for Sunday include quarterback Jacoby Brissett, running back DJ Foster, offensive lineman LaAdrian Waddle, safety Jordan Richards and corners Justin Coleman and Cyrus Jones.