Wilfork sees 'a lot' of Colts offense in Broncos offense

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Wilfork sees 'a lot' of Colts offense in Broncos offense

FOXBORO -- Much has been made of Denver's current offensive system, which is now controlled by Peyton Manning, of course.

The comparison to Manning's old Indianapolis Colts offensive system was first brought up on Monday -- in New England, at least -- by Patriots coach Bill Belichick.

Since then, some have agreed. Others have refused to give away too much.

On Thursday, Patriots veteran Vince Wilfork acknowledged just how much of the old Colts offense he sees in Manning's current Broncos system.

"It's a lot, it's a lot," said Wilfork before Thursday's practice. "It's a lot of stuff that he's accustomed to. It's a lot of stuff that made him Peyton Manning, that he's running. And it's very successful. He won a Super Bowl running it.

"When you have a guy like that, you have to be able to change up, and Denver has done a real good job of actually letting him come in and do what he does best, running things the way that he knows how to run it," added Wilfork. "I'm not saying that they totally threw away their game plan that they've been having, but you have to respect a guy at that level. And they have."

Wilfork said the strategy on Sunday will be to give Manning different looks, and to make it hard on the veteran quarterback who he knows will be well-prepared.

"He's one of the best," said Wilfork. "He works his tail off, and he's just a tough competitor. He's probably one of the toughest guys. You know, Philip Rivers is pretty competitive when you talk about quarterbacks. Tom Brady is very competitive. But that's what puts these guys in a whole different league, because they take it so seriously, and they want to win every down. They want the best out of everybody around them.

"It's never easy to prepare for this guy, never. He does a lot of things on the run. He brings the play count down to almost zero before snapping the ball, so he wants to make sure that he's got the best play called, to put his team in the best situation."

That, like everyone in New England saw when Manning's Colts teams would come to town, is no different.

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.