Chat with Chris Forsberg
Welcome to SportsNation! On Friday, ESPNBoston.com blogger Chris Forsberg stops by to chat about the New England Patriots.
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 noon ET!
Chris Forsberg (12:05 PM)
Hey everybody. Sorry about the brief delay. We'll be starting up shortly. Sit tight. We'll get cranking on your questions soon.
Chris Forsberg (12:09 PM)
Alright, we're settled. Thanks for your patience. Let's dive into your questions for a bit.
Paul DeMiere @pdemiere (Alexandria, LA) [via mobile]
In Superbowl XLII, Brady was man-handled by the Giants' pass rush; how will the O-Line hold up in this matchup? Will the duo of Gronkowski & Hernandez be used more in pass blocking/run blocking, or running routes to pose a short/medium yardage pass threat? Can we expect some deeper passes from Brady if given time in the pocket?
Chris Forsberg (12:11 PM)
That might be the biggest area to watch in this game. The offensive line has struggled in recent week (11 sacks in last three games after allowing 2 in the first four). Clearly the Giants are going to try to send four and drop seven into coverage, hoping they can still generate pressure. I think we can expect plenty of Kevin Faulk in pass protection to help out.
Frank (Worcester, MA )
Chris, any chance of McCourty finally coming up with that big INT and getting some confidence going? This secondary needs a lift!! Will we see it Sunday???
Chris Forsberg (12:13 PM)
Someone in the chat mentioned it last week, but McCourty really turned it on late in the season last year, so maybe he can do the same this time around. Maybe one interception provides the confidence boost he needs to pick up his play. Maybe that'll help the number of targets against him start to dip.
Hi Chris, With all of the talk about Taylor Price this week, what do you think he brings to the table? Obviously he's got speed, but do you get the feeling that he can contribute on a meaningful level in this offense?
Chris Forsberg (12:14 PM)
Good size, speed. Has the ability to be a more vertical threat than say Branch and Welker. That said, he's also played a mere 30 snaps in his career. Everyone who expects him to step in and get 10 passes in his direction Sunday needs to step back a bit. If he's on the field for 15 snaps and gets a couple passes in his direction, it's progress.
Who do you feel is a natural playmaker on this defense? Instinctively you?d probably pick Mayo, right? Well, 50 career games 0 INT and 4 FF. Sure he?s a tackling machine but the man?s not a playmaker. Media and fans make this guy out to be Ray Lewis but he?s not.
Chris Forsberg (12:16 PM)
I understand the argument against him, but he still led the NFL in tackles last season and really excels running sideline to sideline (when healthy). If we're pinpointing weaknesses in the defense, I don't start with Mayo. Watching this team tackle sometimes, his ability to do such is valued.
Chris... half way through the season, how big does the myron pryor injury look? when he was on the field, he showed he could put pressure on the qb from the tackle spot, which changed the look of our d-line. Anyways, IF (big IF) hanyesworth can start getting some more pressure from the inside, how beneficial would the be to the rest of the defense?! Him and pryor coming on for 3rd downs cudda been exciting to watch :/
Chris Forsberg (12:18 PM)
No one was more on the Pryor bandwagon after Week 1 than me. Thought he had a phenomenal game. That said, I think Kyle Love has played adequately. I see progress there with more snaps. I think we'd all like to see Haynesworth on the field for more snaps, but he's still having an impact when he is out there. That said, it's Week 9 now. It's time for Haynesworth to knock it off with the "knocking off rust" lines.
I understand people are dissapointed in Ocho; however, it is not his fault that the defense can't stop anybody and that the line is sprouting leaks all over the place. Also, people want to see him be a deep threat, catch touchdowns, move the chains...ect, but how can he do that if he is NEVER on the damn field because Tom doesn't trust another soul on the planet to catch any of his balls besides Deon Branch, Wes Welker, and Aaron Hernandez (Why don't we hear more about his case of butterfingers...tipping INTs to the defense...fumbling all over the place...ect?). Can somebody please stand up for Ocho and stop using him as the scape goat for all of the Patriots problems? The real problem is that BB can't get the defense working which is compromising the offenses effectiveness because they don't have the ball for more than 10 minutes a game. So can we all stop pretending that Ocho is dooming the team's performance and that cutting him will magically solve all of our issues when he is never actually given more than sparing opportunities because no one save Branch and Welker have been found worthy to catch Tom's passes?
Chris Forsberg (12:21 PM)
Woah, did I stumble into a meeting of the Ochocinco fan club? I'm kidding, Jack.
I don't think anyone's blaming Ochocinco for all of New England's troubles this season. Like you said, he doesn't play defense. But he's become a colossal disappointment at receiver. Sure, he's not getting many reps right now -- he doesn't deserve them. That wrong-way route against Dallas -- cringeworthy. Not being anywhere near that deep ball vs. Pittsburgh -- it was enough for Bill O'Brien to jump on the Taylor Price bandwagon.
Corky (Destin Fl.)
Hi Chris: Are there any free agent DB's out there that are worth even a look at this point? Or is there anyone on the offense that can pull Troy Brown duty and play both way? We are only an injury away from- yikesss!!!
Chris Forsberg (12:22 PM)
Leigh Bodden? **rimshot** I'm here all week people. Tip your waitstaff.
Adam (Broomfield, CO)
Chris, has Rodak moved on? I miss his quarterly "picked up pieces" game reviews, although I am thoroughly enjoying your play breakdowns as well. Keep up the great work. Defense listens to Rodney and stiffens up, BJGE runs for 80 and a TD, and Tom Terrific spreads it around. Pats 38 Giants 24
Chris Forsberg (12:25 PM)
So we brought Rodak on the road this week during the craziest October snowstorm in recent memory. I believe he ended up visiting like six different cities just making the trek and I'm talking outposts like Cleveland, Atlanta, maybe even Reno. Don't ask me how it happened. Rest assured, his quarterly breakdowns will be back this week without travel woes.
As for your game breakdown, I can see that all happening. Let's see if the whispers from Harrison and Hines Ward bring out the best in this defense.
Kyle (Cranston, RI)
Chris, do you think facing 3 consecutive games (Jets, Cowboys, Steelers) of solid pass rushing scheme and talent has the Patriots prepared to deal with the Giants defensive line? Brady needs time for our offense to get back on track.
Chris Forsberg (12:25 PM)
It certainly can't hurt. That said, the Patriots have to do better than they have the last three games (11 sacks). I thought Sebastian Vollmer was a liability out there last week and Mankins had a rough game with penalties.
D. Laflamme (Coleraine, Canada)
Hi Chris,Please, explain to me. It's difficult to understand recent moves by the Patriots. Are Phillip Adams or Molden better than Leigh Bodden? Are Ihedigbo and Brown better than Meriweather and James Sanders?
Chris Forsberg (12:29 PM)
The way I look at it, if Bodden wasn't buying into his role and giving everything to being a No. 3 corner on this team, the Patriots felt it was better to simply cut ties and go with younger players that were giving 110 percent. Yes, because he cleared waivers, the team is on the hook for money this year. But there will be a savings next year -- I believe he had the second highest cap hit on the team this year behind Brady. Are Molden and Adams as good of players as Bodden right now? No. But the Patriots hope they can develop with the reps that would have been wasted by a player not willing to accept a diminished role.
Momma Price (Boston)
How many snaps will my baby play Sunday?
Chris Forsberg (12:31 PM)
Let's say 15, jumping up a touch if Welker is in any way limited by the neck injury. I don't expect anything crazy, but it'll be interesting to see what he does with potentially increased reps.
Al (Newark, NJ)
Hi Chris,Matt Light has been a fixture on the O-Line for many years, but I feel like he's allowing alot of pressure on Brady. What do you think of starting Solder at LT and Vollmer at RT, with Light rotating in?
Chris Forsberg (12:32 PM)
Especially going up some very talented players in recent weeks, I think Light has more than held his own. Heck, he was on one ankle doing enough to stop Ware in the 2-minute drive to win it vs. Dallas. I think the Patriots need to lean on Solder more until Vollmer's 100 percent healthy. He just didn't look it last week.
my toe is fine! give me the rock and let me truck some fools!!!! get that #33 off the field.
Chris Forsberg (12:34 PM)
I think you forgot the E... but your point is valid. Patriots did little to establish the run last week. They really had no choice finding themselves down 10 and forced to play catch-up from the start of the second quarter. Expect more balance if they avoid an early hole.
Chad (da bench)
Question. If I don't drop that long ball in Buffalo, do people even know Taylor Price's name right now?
Chris Forsberg (12:36 PM)
Great question, Ocho. Don't have an answer for you. It really depends on if that catch would have been enough to make your production snowball. I'm inclined to say that one big touchdown catch could have helped turn that season around, but then I watch those Dallas and Pittsburgh errors and I just don't know.
Rex (New York)
Chris, can you please specify which toe is hurting Ben-Jarvus Green-Ellis? If you could include a pic, that would be much appreciated ;)
Chris Forsberg (12:36 PM)
Save it for next week, Rexy.
As the season has gone on, the pass rush seems to have gotten better, but the secondary is still getting torched. Is it time to scrap the soft zone and start manning up and challenging receivers on the outside? Its not like it could get any worse on the back end.
Chris Forsberg (12:37 PM)
You saw the first couple weeks of the season, no? The man coverage didn't work out so great, either. Careful what you wish for. At some point, you gotta pick something and stick with it.
Mike W. (Bethlehem, PA)
Chris,The secondary is getting a lot of criticism (rightfully so) but my question has to do with the defensive line. Why can't they generate a consistent pass rush as I thought this was a point of emphasis this season?
Chris Forsberg (12:38 PM)
See, I don't have a huge issue with the line. I think they've actually been pretty solid. Andre Carter has been maybe the team's best defensive player; Wilfork has been his usual self; Haynesworth has shown up in small doses. I think they need a bit more production off the other side. Shaun Ellis and Ninkovich as a rusher could use more production.
bill obrien (foxboro)
why the hell did i open my mouth about price...i think we are gonna lose ocho now...im a dumbass (although i gave up on ocho 3 weeks ago)
Chris Forsberg (12:40 PM)
You know what, the old way of pumping his tires wasn't working. Maybe a little tough love will. Maybe O'Brien throws the old curveball, talking up Price all week, then throwing Ocho a few extra snaps this week.
grandjordanian (San Diego, CA)
Chris, as Mike tweeted yesterday, it seems like expectations are impossibly high for Taylor Price, like him getting a handful of snaps is going to swing our fortunes. Granted, if he DEVELOPS into a deep threat, it will help the offense in opening up the middle of the field, but unless he's suiting up to play cornerback, linebacker, or defensive end, we probably need to give the kid a break, not expect much, and take whatever positive plays he gives us as gravy. Having said that, I love the thought of making Ocho inactive and saving him from here on out for injury emergency. Thoughts?
Chris Forsberg (12:43 PM)
Like I said, just get him on the field with a little bit more regularity and hope that he develops. No one should expect a savior. The offense doesn't need one. I don't think making Ocho inactive is going to help his confidence. I think you actually have to hope there's a lopsided game with a chance to ramp his snaps up, even if it's trash time.
PeterBGoode (Montpelier, VT)
Do you expect to see more 3 WR/1 TE/1 RB sets in this game? Or will the Pats look to pound the ball?
Chris Forsberg (12:44 PM)
I'm expecting a steady dose of the Pats' preferred 2 WR/2 TE/1 RB. That allows them to kick Hernandez out and use Gronkowski as a blocker at times. That will help in pass protection.
David (North Attleboro,Ma)
On this blog many fans have criticized the media the other day for asking questions about Edelman that many knew that Bill Belicheck wouldn't answer. To me that was too big of a story to ignore. Should the media have asked the question anyway? How do you try to handle that situation?
Chris Forsberg (12:47 PM)
I don't have any problems with the questions. A news reporter came out and his job is to fire away with those questions. It's Belichick's job to respond to them -- even if it's just to stiff arm them as he did.
Danny Woodhead (bench)
Hey Chris, yesterday Mike didn;t really give me any confidence when I asked whats going on with my playing time. Maybe you can elaborate why I can't be the producer I was last year
Chris Forsberg (12:49 PM)
A little slow out of the gates this year, Danny, so that's probably not helping your cause. Faulk, who wasn't around last year when you were, is going to bite into your time as well. Your best bet is trying to make the most out of kick return duties, and value every offensive snap you see.
are they considering darren sharper at all? he might not be able to run like he used too but atleast we know he'd be running in the right direction unlike sergio brown, inhedigbo, barrett etc etc
Chris Forsberg (12:50 PM)
Adding veterans midseason can be hit or miss. I don't think the Patriots are at the point yet where they need to reach for a Sharper. I think the team still has hope that someone like Josh Barrett can win that starting job opposite Pat Chung when healthy.
Ian B (Ottawa, ON)
I've never really thought about the coin toss as being important before but using last week as evidence doesn't it make sense the Pats want the ball first from here on in.
Chris Forsberg (12:52 PM)
No, you gotta have faith that your defense won't allow an 80-yard march on the first series. Having the ball out of the half is far more valuable in my mind. Patriots have always preferred to defer.
Matt (Elon NC)
Over/under on "helmet catch" references during the broadcast on Sunday?
Chris Forsberg (12:52 PM)
Might want to go ahead and test that "MUTE" button right now.
Do you think Brady places enough trust in his young receivers? We've always heard about earning Brady's trust but I feel like it may be a 2-way street. We've seen Chad Jackson, Brandon Tate, Julian Edelman not developing into consistent receivers. Is there something Brady can be doing better?
Chris Forsberg (12:54 PM)
I don't know, Edelman had a pretty solid rookie season. And no one ever used to complain about the likes of Reche Caldwell and Jabar Gaffney having to earn Brady's trust, it just worked back then. I think it's on the receivers. I mean, if he's the best QB in the game, how hard can it be to catch the ball?
Joseph (Newton, MA)
Hello Chris. What changes, if any, do you think the coaching staff will make to address Brandon Spikes' inability to play coverage zones?
Chris Forsberg (12:55 PM)
Trouble is that Gary Guyton -- interception last week notwithstanding -- wasn't much better. Linebackers have really struggled in coverage, which is what I think Belichick was harping on when he spoke up for the corners this week.
Chris, can we really expect to win the superbowl or make a push at it at least with this defense?
Chris Forsberg (12:56 PM)
Absolutely. They're still middle of the pack in points allowed, which is a far more important metric than yardage (as cringe-worthy as those numbers are to this point). A great offense can make a middle-of-the-road defense look just fine.
Ross Ventrone (Unemployment Line)
Do I have Stockholm Syndrome? Why do I keep coming back to a team that's not committed to me?
Chris Forsberg (12:58 PM)
I think the team is committed to you, Rusty. I think they very much appreciate your flexibility and unselfishness in bouncing between practice squad and active roster. I don't think you mind too much given all those active roster game checks you've collected. You've done well in the role they've asked you to fill.
Brandon Tate (Cincy Endzone)
Just wanted to say thanks for essentially swapping me with Chad OchoDroppo. While he's done nothing, I was recently named special teams player of the week for my 56 yard punt return touchdown.
Chris Forsberg (12:59 PM)
Best "location" of the week, Brandon. Well played. If your kickoff returns hadn't fallen off a cliff from midseason last year -- and the NFL didn't change up the rules -- you'd probably still be around.
Our kick returners stink. Ridley and Woodhead can't get past the 20 if their life depended on it and Slater shouldn't be allowed near the football anymore after his predictable fumble. Edelman is the only guy who can get it to the 25 but he doesn't have any breakaway ability. We need Vereen out there.
Chris Forsberg (1:01 PM)
I'm with you. Special teams has been a bit of a disappointment, especially last week in Pittsburgh. Not sure what the solution is on kick returns, but the Patriots need to find someone they can rely on and provide the occasional big play burst.
Troy Polamalu (Pittsburgh, PA)
Just wanted to shout out to my boy Roger for not fining me--or even penalizing me--for that tackle on Wes!
Chris Forsberg (1:03 PM)
Like New England fans needed ANOTHER reason to be mad at the refs in that game.
Chris Forsberg (1:04 PM)
Alright, let's starting winding it down. Cool down mode. Anything goes for questions.
glenn davis (space)
i opened my mouth about the lockout...am i really that stupid or should KG really just punch me in the face?
Chris Forsberg (1:05 PM)
It's Shaq that wants to punch you in the face (though I'm sure KG would too at times). That said, I'm amazed you found a way to make headlines even without a season. That said, I kinda agree with your sentiment. The NBA just needs to find a way to make a deal.
Ian B (Ottawa, ON)
What should I have for supper tonight???
Chris Forsberg (1:06 PM)
Is there a Moe's Southwest Grill in Ottawa? Best burrito joint in the world.
Mel Kiper (Bristol CT)
Chris I'm tired of trying to predict the direction of BB in the draft. Where do you see him using his picks this year? Do we finally see him take two first rounders? Does he keep investing in the secondary? Maybe an OLB/DE pass rusher?
Chris Forsberg (1:08 PM)
Whatever you think is most likely, bet on the exact opposite. At some point, I do wonder if the Patriots will take the Mayo approach and use all their high picks. All depends on how much they like what's on the board.
Would you rather have a Pats Super Bowl win or an NBA season?
Chris Forsberg (1:09 PM)
Can we get both? It'd be fun to cover a lengthy Pats run and I really do hope we see some semblance of the NBA this season.
Who u got Alabama or LSU?
Chris Forsberg (1:11 PM)
I'm the world's most under-informed college football fan. I saw the prices those tickets are fetching on eBay and I'm baffled. I just hope the game is worth the price of admission.
THE HOMEWRECKER (MOE'S)
Chris Forsberg (1:11 PM)
The correct answer is the Joey Bag of Donuts. But as long as you're going to Moe's, you can't go wrong.
Dave from Allston (Brighton)
It's hard to get fresh tomatoes this time of year in Boston. What's your favorite brand of canned?
Chris Forsberg (1:12 PM)
Maybe I should have specified on "anything" goes.
Ian B (Ottawa, ON)
I just looked it up and we gots one. I'm all in!
Chris Forsberg (1:13 PM)
Woah, you made me Google it, too. I'm stunned. Consider yourself lucky. Seriously, go at some point. And report back on your experience.
Going to the game Sunday and I expect a ticked-off Patriot team to play well. I am hoping to see more of the young players play: Price over Ocho in 3 WR sets, Brace and Deaderick in the subpackage, and I really want to see Cunningham get a chance to rush the QB. This team is desperate for some edge rushing speed and Ellis hasn?t been working. I believe this defense is better than they have shown against the pass. They just need to step up and be more aggressive on D and challenge every play. It appears that they ?let up? (the underneath route) at times and that is unacceptable.
Chris Forsberg (1:14 PM)
Don't hold your breath on Cunningham, but I do think you'll get inspired defensive play. If not, then this team might truly have some serious issues.
Can someone send me some dunkin donuts coffee please
Chris Forsberg (1:15 PM)
Tell you what, you send me some In N Out burger and some L.A. sunshine, and I'll send you as many Boxes of Joe as you want.
Chris Forsberg (1:16 PM)
Little practice squad news as we wind down: Patriots have done yet another Malcolm Williams/Josh Victorian swap. Third time in two weeks, I believe. I'm somewhat intrigued by what that means for Ventrone.
3 reasons I expect a win on Sunday: (1) they played poorly AWAY and still had a chance to win. (2) they don't lose at home (3) they don't lose back-to-back games.
Chris Forsberg (1:17 PM)
I'm with you on Nos. 2 and 3. As Tedy Bruschi pointed out, streaks are meant to be broken this season, but I do think the Patriots win this game.
One thing that frustrates me about the D is that they weren't given the time that everyone knew it would take to "gel." Everyone says "look at the first couple games, the man coverage was awful" except that we KNEW it would be bad. When we get burned in zone coverage I can never tell if it's physical or mental and it seems like the coaches don't know either.
Chris Forsberg (1:19 PM)
I agree to some extent. I do think the Patriots need to give things time to gel. Injuries have made that very difficult.
Matt (Elon NC)
I've never had In-N-Out, but I have had Five Guys. How do they compare?
Chris Forsberg (1:20 PM)
Some people swear Five Guys is the best. These people are crazy and/or have never had In N Out. There is no comparison.
How can you not pick a Pats Superbowl over NBA seasonSuperbowls trump everything else!
Chris Forsberg (1:20 PM)
Even Super Bowl XLII?
Chris Forsberg (1:21 PM)
Alright, let's wrap it up there. Thanks for the lighthearted finish, always like to mix it up a bit. It's good to get away from the gridiron a bit and talk burritos and burgers. You guys rock as always. Let's do it again next week.
Chris Forsberg (1:22 PM)
Enjoy the Patriots-Giants game, everybody.