AFC Championship Q & A with Adam Caplan

Patriots Fans had an opportunity to ask NFL Insider Adam Caplan questions about the New England Patriots - Indianapolis Colts AFC Championship game. Caplan addressed questions on Adam Vinatieri, The Colts run defense, Marvin Harrison and more. Get inside to learn what this NFL Expert had to say about Sunday's game.

Adam Caplan is a national reporter from Sirius NFL Radio and footballinjuries.com and has been a contributor to Scout.com for many years. He has been a source for many free agent signings stories for the scout.com network, especially with the Patriots.

While he tracks the NFL players year-round, he also attends the Senior Bowl and NFL Combine, among other league functions, and has numerous contacts in the NFL.

Here are the questions along with Adam's anaswers:

Name: Jon S.
Town: Stonington, CT
Question: Adam, Is there an issue with the strength of Vinatieri's leg at this point in his career, and do you think that will be a factor in the game on Sunday? Against Baltimore he barely made a 51-yarder , something he's had little trouble with in years past.

Answer: No signs at this point of him slowing down. He's as good and accurate as ever. Anything over 50 yards has a chance to come up short in cold weather.

Name: Josh B.
Town: Concord, NH
Q: Adam, With the recent play of New England's secondary, and Rodney Harrison coming off a knee injury what are the chances that Rodney is starting on Sunday against the Colts and could this interrupt the play of the secondary instead of enhancing it?

A: Harrison won't be playing so there will be a big drop-off again from him to S James Sanders. When you consider FS Eugene Wilson is also out (on IR), that's going to be hard to overcome against the best passing game in the NFL.

Name: Steven H.
Town: Houston, TX
Q: Adam, Is the Indy run defense of the last two games for real or will NE be able to run the ball?

A: They haven't changed the scheme at all. It's just a matter of the 11 starting defenders sharpening up on their fundamentals plus getting back FS Bob Sanders has really helped.

As for running the ball, we're sure the Patriots will try but if they aren't successful early on, look for the intermediate passing game to be a big part of their offense.

Name: Larry B.
Town: Palmdale CA
Q: Adam, though the Colts appear to be peaking at the right moment, I contend that their offense is not as strong as in prior years, and their defense still has some definite holes despite the performances of the past 2 playoff games. What is your assessment?

A: You're not seeing the big games from their running backs on a consistent basis as they got from former Colt RB Edgerrin James and until you see that on a more consistent basis, it's harder to set up run and play action-passing game.

As for their defense, the players are tackling better and their ends are playing the run better which has also helped. Instead of just trying to get up field and tackling on their way to the passer, Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis are playing their run responsibility much better.

Name: Morpheus
Town: Boston, MA
Q: Adam, it seems that Samuel is covering Harrison this Sunday. Do you think that is playing directly into the Colts hands? Wayne will have a good day verses Hobbs and Harrison thrives best when your not physical with him and Asante most likely will play off of him giving Harrison 5-7 yards before he steps out of bounds.

A: It's hard to tell for sure as no one has access to their game plan but we would expect Samuel to be on Harrison quite a bit. It would be a surprise if the Patriots didn't get physical with him and Wayne. That's the best way to play them and get them re-routed.

Name: Andrew M.
Town: Latham/Watervliet NY.
Q: What do you think the key, key matchup in this weekends game? And do you truly believe that this the real "superbowl"?

A: The Patriot defense must get physical on the Colt receivers to slow them down which was a big problem in the regular season matchup. They also must make Peyton Manning get rid of the ball before he wants to. They have to be careful though of when they blitz.
Yes, whoever wins this game should win the Superbowl.

Name: Ryan
Town: Norfolk Virginia
Q: Who do u think has the best chance of winning this game and why?

A: Colts because the game is on their home field on a fast track and not having Rodney Harrison will prove to be a big problem for the Patriots.

Name: Shane L
Town: Bangor, ME
Q: With the big game tomorrow and many people sitting around wondering what is the fate of either team, Do you think that the Indianapolis defense is as good as people are preaching them to be seeing as to how they gave up around 180 yards of rushing a game all year until the playoffs .. Do you think the running tandem of Maroney and Dillon will be able to expose the possibly fraudulent rush defense?

A: Their secondary, without having any big names, rarely gives up big plays. They do an excellent job of keeping receivers in front of them and not in back of them. TE Ben Watson is a player who could do well in this game as the Colts will give up space in the intermediate passing game. Also, when FS Bob Sanders is in the box, they have to exploit that and get Watson involved.

As for the run defense, there isn't a reason at this point to see why they would change up what they're doing as they run a straight 4-3 and have the lowest blitz rate of any NFL team. They haven't shown any signs of regression the last two weeks so the Patriots may not have a good day on the ground.

Name: Jason S.
Town: Falls Church, VA
Q: Will the team that wins tomorrow (Patriots/Colts) win the Super Bowl? Rex Grossman concerns me. I think he'll lose the Super Bowl to the winner of the Patriots Colts game if the Bears do beat the Saints.

A: Yes, I see whoever wins that game winning it all. I wouldn't trust Grossman against either defense (Colts or Patriots).


Be sure to check back often as Adam will be our guest for post game reaction, the Patriots offseason roster needs, and scouting the players as we approach the 2007 NFL Draft. If you want to ask ADAM question about the Draft or other topics after the game, you can reach him here ASK ADAM. MySpace users can add PatriotsInsider as a friend and pose questions that way if you prefer.


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