Chat with Chris Forsberg
Welcome to SportsNation! On Friday, ESPNBoston.com blogger Chris Forsberg stops by to chat about New England Patriots' season.
Forsberg has been reporting on the Boston sports scene since 1999. With his video camera in tow, Forsberg covered everything from Massachusetts high school sports to Boston's pro sports teams. Follow him at his Patriots blog.
Send your questions now and join Forsberg Friday at 1 p.m. ET!
Chris Forsberg (1:01 PM)
Happy Friday everybody. Let's dive into your Patriots questions for a bit (unless you really want to talk about the NBA cancelling training camps).
Robert (Altus, OK)
Chris, it's great to have you on the Pats blog! I love how you pointed out the Patriots are secretly closing in on the 14 games with over 30+ points. I keep seeing people's predictions having the Pats with less than 30 points and it just seems ridiculous if they would look at the Pats team and the defenses they are facing. Don't you agree that the 30 points a game would more than likely end against a good defense like the Raiders or Jets... rather than the Bills?
Chris Forsberg (1:03 PM)
Considering the injuries on defense, the Patriots are probably going to need to score some points this weekend if they want to pack a win back from Buffalo. I would be very surprised if this 30+ streak lasts much longer, especially with the Jets looming in Week 5. Still amazing that this offense has put together a longer streak than that 2007 squad (and flirting with the Greatest Show on Turf).
Patrick (Keene, NH)
With Hernandito out do you think we will/should see more of Slater?
Chris Forsberg (1:05 PM)
With all the defensive backs dinged up, I actually wondered if we'd see Slater taking defensive reps again this week. I think you're more likely to see a heavy dose of Ochocinco and -- if he's healthy enough -- a little more Dan Gronkowski.
Brandon (Bolton, MA)
Hey Chris, I would say there is more negativity surrounding the Pats this week as opposed to the first 2 weeks. Is this because of the injuries or are there legit concerns about this team? Say on defense?
Chris Forsberg (1:06 PM)
See, I think people were far more concerned about San Diego (or even playing in Miami). It seems like fans are worried about the injuries, but think that Buffalo hasn't shown enough to prove they're a true contender yet. But as Belichick noted in the documentary last night after a 2009 win in Buffalo, it's not always easy up there. I think the score stays close.
Chris (Charlestown, MA)
Chris, who needs to step up on D this week? Give me your defensive stud this week who will have a big game. Thanks
Chris Forsberg (1:08 PM)
It'll be hard to top his interception from last week, but Wilfork will be key to slowing Fred Jackson and the Bills rushing attack. Mayo had a kinda quiet fantastic game last week. He's just so important this week, especially in coverage.
Tim (Taunton, MA)
Who are you most disappointed with so far through 2 games? What Patriot has been the biggest surprise to you? Thanks Chris
Chris Forsberg (1:10 PM)
Disappointment? You can point to the defensive backs. I think McCourty, Arrington, and Bodden have all been up and down. Biggest surprise? Just how effective the tight ends have remained. Thought teams would figure out a way to slow them, but when both are healthy, they make this offense so much more dangerous.
What's the deal with Chung? If he can't play, the Pats are in deep trouble. He has really stepped up this year
Chris Forsberg (1:12 PM)
He was back at practice today. We'll have to wait for the injury report, but I'm guessing he'll be listed as a limited participant and probably questionable (or even doubtful) for the game. If he can't go, you're right, the Patriots are mighty young at safety. Puts a lot of pressure on Josh Barrett and Sergio Brown, along with James Ihedigbo.
What's your opinion of the revamped D-Line? Have not really noticed any improvement so far. It's also tough to really notice a DLine as they are not the real stat producers.
Chris Forsberg (1:14 PM)
As a group, they were better in Miami than vs. San Diego. Losing Myron Pryor hurt because he was phenomenal in Week 1 and had a chance to be a big part of the defensive rotation. But as Shaun Ellis has stressed, that group is still really finding its way together. Once Ellis, Haynesworth, Wilfork, and Carter click, that's a daunting front 4. Mix in Anderson on third-down rushes, and young guys like Kyle Love making plays in rotation, and there's a lot of potential there.
One thing I don?t understand is the decline of Cunningham and how he can only play 1 play against the Chargers. I compare that with Ellis who I think was a good pick-up but is not a good pass-rusher. He adds some beef to the D-Line at DE but looks slow rushing the passer. Why not give him a breather on 3rd down and give Cunningham a shot. Is he that much of a liability? I would like to see more of him. We know Bill loves his vets but I think a good move would be to play Ellis 1st & 2nd down and play Cunningham on strictly passing downs.
Chris Forsberg (1:17 PM)
Considering Cunningham played nearly 600 snaps last season, it is odd to see how little he's been used. It's something to watch moving forward. The Patriots have eased guys back in a bit, so let's see if his snaps jump up this week. As far as Ellis, watching him chase Drew Bledsoe in the 2001 clip reminds you of the burst he used to have. Remember, too, he's still not exactly where he wants to be physically.
On what date DST ends this year? (wink wink)
Chris Forsberg (1:19 PM)
Nov. 6 and Bill Belichick is already dreading it. Those damn car computers.
Ras I Dowling (foxborough)
Pretty humbling to be a d-back with one less interception than BIG VINCE
Devin McCourty (foxborough)
Ditto to what Ras I said
Chris Forsberg (1:19 PM)
Hang in there guys. You've had some tough assignments to start the season. Not saying it's going to get any easier, especially with all these injuries, but it bodes well for New England's secondary that two young corners started outside on opening day.
Steve K (Woburn, MA)
Hey guys keep up the great work! Just wondering who will be punting on Sunday if Zoltan can't do it? Thanks
Chris Forsberg (1:21 PM)
Belichick admitted today that Gostkowski as an emergency punter could be a possibility. It's not ideal, but would save the Patriots from making a roster move and exposing someone to waivers for the sake of a short-term move. With the way the offense is performing, it might be the best idea for this team.
Chris Forsberg (1:21 PM)
And, to that end, maybe they dress Mesko on Sunday. Let him kick if he's up to it, and still have him as available holder.
chris - dont you think this will be a breakout game for OCHO? two tight end sets will be used less with the injury to hernandez opens the door does it not?
Chris Forsberg (1:22 PM)
The Patriots used a ton of 2-tight end sets last year vs. Buffalo. I do think we'll see more 3-wide this time around, maybe even full-on spread, but the 2-tight worked so well the first two weeks, there's no reason to go reinventing the wheel too much.
Kyle (Cranston, RI)
Chris, put yourself in BB's hoodie for this week against the Bills: What is your approach on offense and defense?
Chris Forsberg (1:24 PM)
Offensively, 2-tights worked well up there at the end of last season, so I wonder if they're inclined to stick with what works. But one of these weeks, they're going to come out in spread and show the versatility and remind teams they can't key on one formation... Defensively, the injuries in the secondary are concerning. If Buffalo spreads you out, you almost have to put the likes of Antwaun Molden and Phillip Adams into the fire and hope they can help cover.
Ben (Smithtown, NY )
Chris,It is pretty wild how many injuries there have been thus far. Specifically, muscle related issues. Would you say the increased amount of injuries is directly related to the lack of off season work outs?
Chris Forsberg (1:26 PM)
No. We've seen guys like Arrington get concussed by lowering his head, and hand injuries like the one Chung has are going to happen in this league.
Matt (Elon NC)
Chris, do you have any thoughts on possible roster moves leading up do the Buffalo game, what with Chung and Hernandez being injured?
Chris Forsberg (1:28 PM)
If DGronk82 is limited by his hamstring, the team could always pull Garrett Mills off the practice squad. I think, in general, the team has made so many moves already, they'd probably prefer limit the activity. Outside of an emergency punter, I'd be surprised to see anything non-practice squad related. Especially this late in the week.
Matt (Elon NC)
With all the hype about today being the 10th anniversary of the Mo Lewis hit on Bledsoe, what are your thoughts on Drew's impact in New England?
Chris Forsberg (1:31 PM)
As someone that grew up in the region and was 12 when the Patriots drafted Drew, it was pretty cool to see him go into the team's Hall of Fame last week. As usual, he was incredibly professional about the entire experience and seeing him tear up during the halftime ceremony was pretty cool. As Robert Kraft said, the franchise might be in St. Louis now if not for Bledsoe and his impact. It's a shame that today sorta reflects how it took him getting hurt to really turn the corner with Brady, but you absolutely cannot understate what Bledsoe meant to this franchise. He revitalized football in the region.
Kyle Love needs to hear more love from the fans. He is an unsung hero and a great find for this team. Right now he's playing many more downs than Haynesworth and doing a good job.
Chris Forsberg (1:33 PM)
No doubt. He's making plays when he's out there -- the second-down stop on the goal-line stand and a late fumble recovery. It's a huge benefit that the Patriots can bring in guys like him to spell Haynesworth. Tough to see Myron Pryor go down, but Love deserves the attention as well.
what are your thoughts on the new quarterback rating system and will you/mike/the powers at espn be transitioning to this throughout the season?
Chris Forsberg (1:35 PM)
We've got a lot of very smart people in our Stats and Info group and as a bit of a stats nerd, I welcome it with open arms. I know some fans aren't thrilled with another QB metric, especially one with so many variables, but I like anything that can put into perspective how well a player is performing. Is it perfect? No, nothing will be. I do think it's better than regular QB rating and I think it'll be fun to track it all season.
Matt (Elon NC)
Quick q: How many passing yards for Brady this week? And who's his top target?
Chris Forsberg (1:38 PM)
Let's say a "mere" 325 and Welker's the main target (though Ochocinco gets more targets). I'm taking the easy way out, but those passing numbers *gotta* come down at some point and even in a game where I think there will be a lot of points, I think the Patriots show more balance than past weeks.
Chris what are your thoughts on Albert Haynesworth's play so far and what impact you expect as the year moves on ??
Chris Forsberg (1:40 PM)
Up (Miami) and down (San Diego) so far. Like the rest of the new faces on the D-line, I think this is going to take some time to click, so he's met expectations. Again, it's still so early in the season. You really need four weeks or so before we'll know if some guys are playing to their potential.
In order to appreciate Drew enough, I think people need to see the film that starts the Hall of Fame tour! Brings tears for sure (if you're old enough to have lived through the olden days).
Chris Forsberg (1:42 PM)
Seeing all those No. 11 shirts -- especially how tattered they were -- in the crowd Saturday at the Hall of Fame ceremony showed his legacy here.
Chris do you think Shane Vereen or Ridley will have much of an impact on the Patriots this year ??
Chris Forsberg (1:44 PM)
Ridley got a couple carries last week. I think his role could ramp up. The Patriots have brought both the rookie backs along slowly because they have Green-Ellis and Woodhead to shoulder the load.
What's up with Black Sheep Gronk? Can we expect him to play even though he hasn't practiced this week due to Hernandez being out and having no TE depth?
Chris Forsberg (1:45 PM)
Woah, woah. This isn't Cooper Manning. I do think DGronk gets more reps this week. Don't expect a Hernandez-like workload in the passing game, but assuming his hamstring is OK, he'll get a chance to dazzle the hometown crowd.
Taylor (Oregon (via Gloucester))
What are the chances Solder is used as pass-catching TE in a red zone/goal line area? I've read he's got good hands, not to mention size, and I doubt opposing defenses would see it comng.
Chris Forsberg (1:47 PM)
I was joking with him about that today, asking if it's possible to "forget" how to be a tight end. He said the last pass he caught was probably back his freshman year of college. I wouldn't be surprised if he gets a Vrabel-like grab at some point, but I also don't think you risk your future left tackle in passing routes unless you're confident he won't get covered. So if he's on the field, expect it to be in pass protection ... until the Patriots need his hands the most.
Chad Henne (Miami, FL)
I am really jealous of TB12s uggs commercial. Do you think there is hope for me, could i land a payless shoes commercial? GO PATS
Chris Forsberg (1:48 PM)
I'm sure Tom would help out a Michigan guy.
brendan (south boston)
Chris, what are the odds that mike wright plays another down in the nfl, also I'm not convinced that this defense is as bad as all the "experts" say and I think this game could be lopsided if they come out and finally have a break through day with the pass rush. Thoughts?
Chris Forsberg (1:49 PM)
The fact that Wright hasn't gone on IR yet seems to suggest they are either still gathering info to make an informed decision, or they are comfortable with him returning later in the year. Like all head injuries, they'll exercise extreme caution (especially after last season). As for the defense, if the pass rush improves, it'll take some stress off the secondary (and vice versa). I'll be interested to see where this group is collectively midseason.
I meant play - I never said anything about Herandez type reps. I'd like to see the Pats use the Gronk bros and Solder in a 3 TE set a few times again.
Chris Forsberg (1:51 PM)
Absolutely. I can see that happening. Running at a left side with, say, DGronk, Solder, Light, and Mankins, that's quite a wall to run behind.
Brad (Beverly, Ma)
Were you as shocked as me when Randy Moss asked Bellichick to his Halloween party on the Bellichick special last night?
Chris Forsberg (1:52 PM)
No, one thing that stood out during the doc was Moss's relationship with Belichick. Inviting him to the party, flipping his hood up as he ran off the field -- it's clear that they had fun together when things were going well.
Jason Elite (Boston, MA)
Based on what we say in the documentary last night-Is Bill preparing son Brian for the Patriots Head coaching gig in 2030? I sure hope so..
Chris Forsberg (1:54 PM)
2030? Belichick is 59 and said he doesn't want to be coaching into his 70s. Be prepared to toss those keys a little earlier. Maybe coach Kevin Faulk will be ready by then (anyone that made him coach in Madden 11 knows he's a fantastic option in franchise mode).
Jason J (NYC)
Hi Chris, I know this is a Pats chat, but how bummed are you by the NBAPA and the owners right now? Celts could be in big trouble with a compressed season and shorter free agency.
Chris Forsberg (1:55 PM)
What's this basketball you talk of? Very sad. NBA doesn't realize there's not going to be people banging down their doors hoping for basketball back the way people were freaking out at the idea of no football.
Chris Forsberg (1:56 PM)
Let's wrap it up there. I'll spare you the questions comparing the Patriots defense to the Red Sox pitching staff.
Chris Forsberg (1:56 PM)
Thanks to everyone for sending in questions. Let's do it again next week.
Chris Forsberg (1:56 PM)
Enjoy the game vs. Buffalo.
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