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 (12:00 PM)
Hey everyone. Just finishing up a post on Wes Welker. We'll dive into your questions in just a few minutes.
Chris Forsberg (12:04 PM)
Thanks again to everyone for dropping by. Let's get started with your questions.
Kyle (Cranston, RI)
Chris, bottom line: if Tom Brady doesn't turn the ball over this week, we win. Interceptions have taken so many points off the board / put the defense in awful field position this year, especially against the Bills and Giants. Even if we punt 5 times, I don't think Sanchez will take them the length of the field enough times to outscore us.
Chris Forsberg (12:06 PM)
With turnovers, sometimes it really is that simple. I wrote at the start of the week how turnovers were killing the Patriots (+28 last year; they are even through 8 games this season). Not hard to see why they went 14-2 last year with a defense that had similar struggles. Later in the week we focused on Brady's INTs and those 10 picks were turned into 40 points by opponents (4 FGs, 4 TDs). That's tough to overcome.
Corky (Destin Fl)
Hi Chris, I found it interesting that Tedy said he thinks Chad is going to be a big factor Sunday, why would he think that???I would be way more pumped to see Price get 6 or 7 balls thrown his way, seen way more than enough of 85 running routes...What are your thoughts on this?
Chris Forsberg (12:08 PM)
It's a tough call. I think the Patriots do want to see more of Price, but is he healthy enough to be a factor? Ochocinco, for all his struggles, truly was close to connecting with Brady last week. I think the Patriots want to continue to make that work, knowing how important it is to get a third WR involved in this offense. But if Ocho continues to not show up on the stat sheet, Price -- when the hamstring is healthy -- will start eating into those already limited snaps.
wow...alot of negativity this week chris. I can understand people's anger, but i mean, is our season lost?? Not yet. Anyways, I wanted to talk about phillip adams. He took over for molden and hasn't relented the spot yet. Honestly, Adams reminds me alot of Arrington last year (who played well, he just didnt have the numbers so he got no recognition). I dont know if Adams will ever be a starter, but he plays tight man-to-man, and he tackles well when stopping the run. I think he can be a solid 3rd option a CB, thoughts? And i just want to state that last year, the reason mccourty had the season he did, was because....wait for it... because QBs didnt want to throw at arrington! They kept throwing at mccourty, and eventually he started coming down with the picks.
Chris Forsberg (12:10 PM)
I thought Adams had an up-and-down game. Watching the film, there was more bad than good, but he certainly performed better in that role than Molden did the week before. The Patriots have really no other choice than to stick with him and hope he continues to develop. I think he does have potential, but there will be growing pains.
Who do you think has the biggest impact/best game Sunday night - Brandon Deaderick, Ron Brace, or Kyle Love? I like what these young guys bring to the table and I'm eager to see their development throughout the rest of the season
Chris Forsberg (12:13 PM)
Love. Injuries (and Albert Haynesworth's inability to stay on the field for consistent snaps) thrust him into the fire a bit and he had his difficulties early on, but I thought he had maybe his best game last week (and that was building off a solid effort vs. Pittsburgh). His pass rush needs work -- though, again, he was solid vs. the Steelers. He could be huge (no pun intended) in helping stop the ground & pound Sunday vs. the Jets. It's on that front 4 to help what will likely be a thinned linebacking corps.
What do you think the RB situation will be like this week as well as for the rest of the season? Seems like there's almost too many options back there. Last year it was BJGE and Woodhead, and that worked quite well. This year, especially with Faulk returning, it seems like there's almost two much going on. What's your take?
Chris Forsberg (12:15 PM)
The running back by committee thing has worked in the past, it just hasn't been consistent this year and injuries are probably a big reason for that (BJGE with the toe; Faulk coming off PUP; Woodhead's ankle). Green-Ellis had a monster game in Week 5 vs. the Jets, he'll get the chance to do the same here. Will be interesting to see if Faulk's ready to jump back in and how they balance the snaps for him and Woodhead. I think the team also wants to ramp up Ridley's snaps again at some point.
What's up with all this gloom and doom with patriots nation? We have EIGHT games left in the season AND we are 5-3! I remember the last time we had a shocking loss around a year ago to the browns. Turnover after turnover and poor decision's. The pats beat the steeler's in a "not as close as it looks" 39-26! Do you think this is going to be the bounce back game?
Chris Forsberg (12:18 PM)
New England in a nutshell. Two losses and we're slamming panic buttons. That's what happens when you're conditioned to winning. I agree, Patriots have lost three games by 15 points and if they hadn't put themselves in so many bad positions with turnovers and penalties, they probably could have won those games. It happens in the NFL. A better lesson to have reaffirmed now than in eight more weeks. If the Patriots rebound this week, it's all sunshine and puppy dogs again around here.
I decided to take out my panic button and dust it off. If the Jets win on Sunday, should I press it?
Chris Forsberg (12:19 PM)
You should be commended for waiting this long. Some were slamming their panic buttons even before these back-to-back losses given the defensive struggles. This is still a tough game on the road against a very good Jets team. You can slam your panic button at three straight losses if it happens, but only because it's going to be a tough race for playoff berths with so many teams in a pack.
Erik (San Diego)
Chris, from 2001-04, Weis called a lot of trick plays. He would do anything for a first down. The only trick plays in the playbook now are the direct snap to the RB, the flea-flicker (called once) or the end-around (called twice). (And I would call that a misdirection play rather than a trick.) It seems like BB's ego doesn't allow OB to deisgn and/or call trick plays. With a struggling offense that defenses seem to have a good handle on, I think trick plays could keep the D off balance more. Your thoughts?
Chris Forsberg (12:22 PM)
I'm all for a good gadget play, but I'll say this: The Patriots have had enough trouble maintaining drives and possession lately and it's probably best to avoid anything that can heighten that disaster potential. The Patriots weren't exactly going razzle dazzle at the start of the year when the offense was thriving, they were simply executing better. Let's see them start there.
Hey Chris, I've been trying to post for weeks about NE's special teams, or unspecial as it now seems. Cutting B Tate to keep Ochocinco was an obvious mistake. Now our kicker looks unreliable and his former strength (booming kickoffs) has been nullified by kicking off from the 30 yd line. Only bright spot is Mesko. Do the Pats draft a new kicker or maybe even cut Gostkowski and sign someone else like last year after he was placed on IR?
Chris Forsberg (12:25 PM)
Shayne Graham fan club checking in! I'm kidding with you. Gostkowski's had a rough stretch here, but I don't think it's anything to get too alarmed about. But your point about special teams overall is valid. Despite good punt and kick coverage (besides the last Jets game), it seems the Patriots have really struggled to get a spark from their own return game. Tracy White noted this week that it's not just the returnman and that the blocking needs to get better. The Pats seemed to make a few moves this week with the idea of giving the special teams a jolt.
Sean (Ventura, CA)
Chris,After the Giants game I heard Eli talking about the winning touchdown as an obvious passing down, there was no way they could run and then get the FG team on the field. Also heard T White say he needed to play the run and got caught on the fake. Factor in the weird clock management by the Pats around the 2 min warning and it seems that the situational football smarts are lacking on this team. Do you agree and what do you think is the issue this year?
Chris Forsberg (12:28 PM)
No doubt, the Patriots typically thrive on situational football and that hasn't exactly been the case lately. I'm sure that's been a point of emphasis, just focusing on clock and downn-and-distance situations that hurt the team the past two weeks.
As for White -- tough play for a guy who's typically not out there. Both Spikes and Guyton went down, forcing him on the field in a crucial spot. I still think Andre Carter and James Ihedgibo could have helped him out by jamming the tight end off the line, but he clearly shouldn't have been playing the run and it put him a step behind.
Hi Chris. It's hard to understand the Pats approach when it comes to the IR list. Dowling, at a position with depth issues, has a hip injury and is put on IR while Fletcher has been a ghost at a position with some okay depth (at least prior to the spike injury) and he is still on the active roster. Can you make sense of that linke of thinking?
Chris Forsberg (12:30 PM)
I think it comes down to whether the team believes the player will be able to work his way back and be a factor when the games matter most. A guy like Fletcher, who offers value on special teams, short-yardage fullback, and depth linebacker, it might be worth waiting out that injury to get him back. Whereas the team simply couldn't wait on Dowling to get healthy when his roster spot could be opened for someone like Phillip Adams.
Chris, do you think Tiquan Underwood will step right in on kick returns? They have clearly struggled in that area and need a boost, I would also like to see Shane Vereen get a shot.
Chris Forsberg (12:31 PM)
If he makes it through to the gameday roster, you gotta think there's a shot. Again, the blocking needs to improve, but the Patriots could also do that return unit a favor and settle on a single returner and allow that person to develop.
Wes (Revis Island)
Chris Forsberg (12:32 PM)
Don't sweat it Wes, you had a big game in Week 5 and Revis even admitted this week that the big play at the start of the second half was on him. But you really do need your teammates -- and not just Gronkowski -- to step up and make plays this week in order to take some pressure off the fact that you'll likely be blanketed.
Do you think Chung will play this week?
Chris Forsberg (12:33 PM)
A good sign that he was out at practice today. I think the thin nature of that position right now forces him to suit up. The Patriots just have to hope he can grind through that foot injury. We all saw how much the team missed him in taking just one snap off last week.
Bevan Manson (Santa Monica, CA)
Chris, this may be heretical or naive, but if Brady is having accuracy or strength issues in throwing long passes, what if Hoyer or Mallet steps in for a few plays to loosen up defenses? And would Underwood be a factor with his speed?
Chris Forsberg (12:35 PM)
Somewhere, a person just put their fist through their computer. Though Michael Bishop probably thinks your spot on.
Let's not get wild after two losses. And Tiquan Underwood is not your third receiver savior, but he has potential to aid special teams.
Gary Guyton (Foxborro)
You know I can't play the run, so don't expect big things from me on Sunday. Just sayin.
Chris Forsberg (12:38 PM)
About your pass defense, too, Gary... Don't let that interception against Pittsburgh get you too overconfident. I think we need to see better coverage from the linebacking corps as a whole. I'll say this, though, you had a nice game last week. Hopefully the shoulder injury doesn't prevent you from building off that.
Peter (Santa Monica)
I felt like Julian Edleman's horrible decisions retunring kicks were the main reason we lost last weekend. Coming off his off the field indiscretions, do have a sense of his status? Would hate to see him returning kicks against the Jets!
Chris Forsberg (12:39 PM)
The fumble on the punt return didn't help matter, but the Patriots haven't gotten anything out of kick returns this season, so that was hardly an issue specific to last week. That said, if Edelman's not contributing on offense, and his special teams contributions are sagging, he's going to risk being a healthy scratch again unless he cranks it up a bit.
What's going on with Brady? I don't see the same confidence from him as last year/years past. His body language after throwing some of his passes shows he is unsure of his decisions (hands up, on helmet), which I'm not used to seeing. Is he just not as good or is it just a buggy offense right now? Your thoughts?
Chris Forsberg (12:42 PM)
Just from general observations, I do wonder if he's got a little bit of an injury -- tennis elbow or otherwise -- that's not hindering him, but just nagging a bit. Combine that with some bad bounces and some bad throws that have led to the 10 INTs and he's just in a bit of a funk. The only reason I worry about the injury part is his downfield throwing has been terrible and he's missed opportunities to make big plays the last two weeks. A couple quality efforts and that mojo should come back -- no one was lamenting his play too much after the Dallas win.
Have we reached the point of the chat where we talk about hamburgers yet?
Chris Forsberg (12:42 PM)
Oh, we'll get there. Sit tight.
Ignoring the teams overall problems for a minute, which do you think is more likely---Brady setting the single season passing yards record, or Welker setting the single season receiver yards record? Both are currently on pace.
Chris Forsberg (12:44 PM)
Let's go with Brady breaking Marino's mark, but here's the caveat: There's a chance Aaron Rodgers finishes with even more yards. Welker's taking a beating and teams are going to key on him trying to limit his production as the season goes on (easier said than done, no doubt). I do think Brady would sacrifice a high passing total for a consistent running attack as the weather gets colder.
John F (Boston)
Since this year is toast, who is your favroite rush LB in next years draft that the Pats will pass on?
Chris Forsberg (12:45 PM)
John F bringing the optimism! Hang in there. I know a lot of fans feel that way, but we get so caught up on the in-season roller coaster.
Do you agree that Brady and Occho are about to click? While they haven't yet gotten on the same page I have noticed on a couple of sideline catches that Occho did make, his hands look sticky!
Chris Forsberg (12:47 PM)
I've said all along that a couple catches and things start to snowball for Ocho. Trouble is, how long can you wait. I do think last week was encouraging, but it's gotta be frustrating for both sides that -- for whatever reason -- it just hasn't clicked yet. I still wonder how different Ocho's season would have played out if he just caught the TD pass in Buffalo.
max (my cube)
Chris, can you tell us your thoughts on this switch to 4-3? I am still puzzled by Bellichick's explanation that he felt 3-4 would be tough to teach. Most of the defense had already spent a year or more in the 3-4. So why would it be difficult for them to keep the 3-4 rather than learning an entirely new system again (and making a high draft pick like Cunningham useless in the process)?
Chris Forsberg (12:50 PM)
With the addition of Haynesworth and all the talent on the d-line, I do think the Patriots thought they had a better chance in the 4-3 and the fact that it made sub packages easier to mix in after an abbreviated camp probably gave them more confidence to make the switch. I think it's shown this season, the d-line has been pretty solid (despite their inability to get to the QB early in the year), while the linebackers have struggled mightily at times.
We've covered hamburgers and burritos pretty good last week. What do you think about best hot dog joint today? Holla!
Chris Forsberg (12:53 PM)
You know, I always worry that there are people out there who get angry when we veer away from football at times, but we gotta show some versatility around here, right. It's Friday, we gotta have some fun. And let's face it, I'm not passing on a hot dog question.
1. Hot Dog Annie's -- Leicester, Mass. -- BBQ dogs are the best you'll find in the world. Yes, the world. And it's super cheap if you go on Wednesdays.
2. Coney Island -- Worcester, Mass. -- Go with like five "up." You'll thank me later. And carve your name into a booth while you're there.
Chris, love the Pats coverage. You and Mike do an excellent job. My question is this: After two gut-wrenching pass-interference penalties (one against Buffalo that ended up changing the game) and another last week vs the Jersey Giants (which most likely cost NE a win. In my opinion, the D could have held NYG to a field goal and won in overtime instead of 1-G from the 1yd.), why has Sergio Brown stuck around? I know injuries are a factor, and they were last week, but if I were BB, I'd have cut him last Monday morning. The kid doesn't know how to properly pursue and cover the deep half. Wasted roster spot IMO.
Chris Forsberg (12:55 PM)
Hard not to see where you're coming from. Brown has had two truly awful PI calls that you can make the case cost them both games (though there's plenty of blame to go around). Unfortunately, the team is paper thin at safety depth and the team obviously saw potential in him. That said, I was floored -- FLOORED -- to learn he didn't have an INT in college. How does that happen? Even still, he'll get a chance here due to injuries.
James Sanders (The ATL)
Miss me yet?
Chris Forsberg (12:56 PM)
Noooooooooo. (Yep, totally. Injuries have made the decision questionable, even if you're salary probably wasn't worth it).
Mark (Astoria, NY)
What are your thoughts about the recent signings (Koutouvides, Underwood, Moore)? Special teams boost or can they challenge the depth players like Adams, Moulden, White and Edelman?PS - Bareburger in Astoria is amazing. Organic burgers (beef, elk, bison, ostrich, chicken and veggie) - check them out when you come to see the Jets game.
Chris Forsberg (12:58 PM)
Maybe no team in the league puts as much of an emphasis on special teams. I think Underwood & Koutouvides were definitely made with eyes towards a potential spark (due in part to injuries, too, as the team can't keep leaning on guys that are being elevated to starting roles). Moore is a guy with a lot of potential who will provide emergency depth at safety and can contribute on special teams. I'll be interested to see his progress as those in Oakland were quite high on him this preseason.
Has Rex said anything this week that we can make fun of? I'm starting to miss the old Rex...
Chris Forsberg (1:00 PM)
Not much. Lot of talk about his role as a Patriots fan in the upcoming Sandler movie, but otherwise this week has been a bit of a snooze. You'd think with three straight wins he'd be ready to make an outrageous statement about his team's Super Bowl potential.
I agree with Louis on Sergio Brown. The most egregious mistake, more so than the two penalties, was the fact that he said he was SURPRISED by the PI call last week. That was textbook interference and he should know better. Ducking the blame is NOT the Patriot way. Side note--Check out Crif Dogs in NYC for some truly creative (and delicious) hot dogs. Spicy Redneck anyone?
Chris Forsberg (1:02 PM)
I'll give Brown the benefit of the doubt on saying he was surprised. Thrust onto the field for one play, he did get his head turned back, but he clearly committed an awful penalty. Maybe he's just trying to pump himself up a bit. Better than losing confidence, I suppose.
Matt (Elon NC)
Chris, don't forget to ask Ian B. in Ottawa how his trip to Moe's last week went!
Chris Forsberg (1:03 PM)
Paging, Ian B. Gotta admit, I totally forgot about this, but I'm intrigued as well. If he says he didn't like Moe's Southwest Grill, I'll be crushed.
Hot dugs huh? I forget its lunch time for you guys. We over here are still doing breakfast. Can you ever go wrong with hot dogs though???????
Chris Forsberg (1:05 PM)
I'm helping out both coasts today: Fred 62 in L.A. was a pretty dynamite breakfast spot. I'm sure there's better, but just had it while spending a day there before the Oakland game.
George C. (Brookline)
Chris- What's with the pro scouting? While more attention has been paid to the drafting, most of the best players on the team were drafted by BB. However, there have been a lot of flops in free agents or trades recently. Carter and Waters are the exception. There must have been a quality, low cost CB, S, LB or WR on the market over the last 4 years, but the Pats have struggled to find them.
Chris Forsberg (1:08 PM)
Lots of questions on the scouting/drafting this week. I don't know how quite to answer that because we don't know exactly what goes on behind the scenes and how decisions are ultimately reached (though I'm interested to read Michael Holley's War Room for that reason). In general I'll say this: Regardless of sport, it sure seems like there's a greater potential in trading a pick for a known commodity (think Welker, Moss, etc.) I'm surprised we don't see it more often. Does it always work out? (Haynesworth) of course not, but you can make the case the Patriots should have known that given his history.
Richard (Usually San Diego)
Moe's Southwest Grill and Chipotle are an insult to any sort of latin, mexican, or any type of food that comes in a tortilla shell and may have guacamole or salsa on it. If going to Moe's is a big deal experience for you, you need to get your palette checked.
Chris Forsberg (1:10 PM)
False. Let's just say there's no taco carts as I navigate the mean streets of Foxborough on a daily basis. Any fast-food join that can serve up a quality burrito -- as unauthentic as it may be -- I'll take it. You don't need to travel to Naples (or New Haven if you believe the locals) to get a good slice of pizza.
Mark (Astoria, NY)
How did Brace look to you last week? Any chance he provides more interior pass rush than Haynesworth? Also, what do you think about his comments of being in a "true 4-3" with Tampa?
Chris Forsberg (1:12 PM)
Brace looked rusty, as could be expected. Only 15 snaps, so we'll know more in the coming weeks. I think he can help. Evidently, so do the Patriots in moving on from Haynesworth.
As for Albert, fair to say he's a bit delusional. Will be fun to watch the locals up here explode if he gets a sack in his first action. Doesn't necessarily mean the Patriots cut him too soon. Let's see it consistently.
Chris, what is your predication for the Pats' record over the final 8 games? With the easy schedule, I'm saying 7-1.
Chris Forsberg (1:13 PM)
They do have the easiest remaining schedule in the NFL based on current opponent winning percentage. A win this week and I can see 6-2 for an 11-5 finish. A loss muddies it up a bit.
Question! If we stop the run do we win?
Chris Forsberg (1:14 PM)
Can't hurt. But teams have thrived against New England through the air. Gotta limit both.
You post my food suggestions two seconds after I post them, but my actually Pats questions haven't been touched since Nixon was in office
Chris Forsberg (1:15 PM)
Now I feel bad. Next week remind me and you've got one free football question.
John F (Boston)
Mr. Optomism checking back in. It's 10-6 becasue the Jets game is an L.
Chris Forsberg (1:15 PM)
Debbie Downer, everybody!
Matt (Elon NC)
A couple of hot dog places from my native CT that I absolutely love: Capitol Lunch in New Britain and Blackie's in Cheshire. If you're ever in the area, either one is absolutely delicious.
Chris Forsberg (1:16 PM)
Couldn't end on a down note. Everyone run out and get your hot dogs. Always great to chat football and food with y'all. Enjoy Sunday's game. See you back here next week!