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 (12:01 PM)
Good afternoon everybody. Thanks as always for dropping by. Let's have some fun and we'll tackle your questions -- Patriots, Tebow, and everything else -- for a bit.
jack (elon, nc)
Chris--Enjoy the work you and Mike do each week. Isn't Tim Tebow the new Joe Kapp? He was the limited, unorthodox qb with the Vikes (and briefly the Pats) and later a star of the "Longest Yard." Keep up the good work.
Chris Forsberg (12:03 PM)
I was wondering if questions on Tebow would outnumber questions on Tyler Palko today. Of course Tebow leads off. All he does is win.
Kapp, Flutie, whoever you want to call him. It's fun to watch. I agree, not sure how sustainable it is, but that final drive was fascinating.
Tim (Newton, MA)
Hey Chris,Two parter. Are you a Tebow believer?!? And are the Jets done? I'm not sure they're led by a coach and quarterback that can deal well with struggle.
Chris Forsberg (12:04 PM)
1) Not ready to believe Tebow can have long-term sustained success, but it's truly fascinating to watch. Thought he had no chance on that last drive and off he went; 2) Never count out the Jets. Tough road, but it's one of the last teams I think the Patriots would want to see sneak into the playoffs.
Tim (Newton, MA)
Hey Chris,Monday, could you see the Patriots go with the nickel a bit more with McCourty now out. I think Palko can at least sling it a little bit, and they have some talented recievers. Thoughts?
Chris Forsberg (12:06 PM)
Key defensive back question for me is whether Chung has recovered enough to get back on the field. Injury looks like the top part of the foot and he really looked gimpy in warm-ups vs. Jets. If he can't go, that leaves Moore at safety and thins the overall depth. I think Palko gets his numbers -- like all QBs against the Pats this season -- but I just don't see the Chiefs getting in the end zone much.
Kyle (Cranston, RI)
Chris, while some say that the average offenses we will face in the coming weeks will under-prepare the Pats for the playoffs, I think it is a positive. Guys like McCourty, Spikes, Chung (Mayo in terms of snap count) can rest/recover and be full force come playoff time. What do you think?
Chris Forsberg (12:08 PM)
Double-edged sword. I think the schedule can breed confidence, especially in depth guys. My concern is if the Patriots draw a decent team in the opening round of the postseason. After a string of -- let's not sugarcoat it -- cupcakes over the final seven weeks, that's a big leap (while fully acknowledging that no team in the AFC really should scare you at the moment).
How is Ron Brace doing? I thought he would be inserted into the regular DL rotation, which have not happened. Brace and Cunningham are (supposedly) two promising DL players, aren't they?
Chris Forsberg (12:11 PM)
Only three snaps last week. Team utilized Deaderick inside a little bit more given his flexibility. If Kyle Love and Deaderick continue to perform well, it's going to be tough to carve out big snaps in the middle there. I do think his role will increase, but dare I say Brace is probably still knocking off some rust (some legit rust; unlike some other departed folks).
Jay (New York)
Vince Wilfork is still mentioned as a top player, but is part of that reputation at this point? Apart from his INTs, he has not been making big plays or pushing the pile the way he used to. His ranking among DT and NY by Pro Football Focus fell from 9th in 2009 to 24th last year to 37th this year...do you think that this is a function of him being over-used, the quality of the players around him dropping, him being a better fit in the 3-4, him backing off after getting his big contract, natural decline with age, or a conbination. What do coaches (NE and opposing) say about his level of play?
Chris Forsberg (12:14 PM)
Not a great week for Vince vs. the Jets, but didn't exactly hurt the team. I think we've seen that he really thrives when keeping those snaps low. Patriots should have depth to keep him fresh if Brace comes along. Despite a couple hiccups, I think Vince has still had a decent year overall.
hernandez has been a little quiet lately. Dd you think its more to do with game planing, or do you think he might still have some lingering effects from the injury?
Chris Forsberg (12:16 PM)
I do think the knee is probably nagging at him a bit, but he's still been more productive than some of the other depth pass catchers. I also think Brady is so locked in on Gronk and Welker at times, it's just thinning the number of balls in other directions.
Chris: First - thanks for a great job covering the Pats! you have been adding a lot to the already terrific job Mike and Rodak have been doing.I was wondering if you think they can use Cannon as a center and not as a guard as many project him. C seems to be the weakness of the line and Cannon is big enough not to be pushed back by the offensive lines the pats are likely to see in the playoff (Baltimore, Pitt). Do you think BB might get creative on this one?
Chris Forsberg (12:17 PM)
They've been so cryptic on his potential position, I'm left to guess they are working him out throughout the line. I think in these early days in the league, they like the potential for him to provide depth at each spot on the line. That said, it's hard to imagine a college tackle moving to center -- not impossible, and we all know that versatility can open doors for young players around here.
Dan (Leominster, MA)
Maybe Revis fell asleep, maybe he didn't, but I did. Right after the Bronco's fielded the punt on their own 5 with 6 minutes left. Did I miss anything?
Chris Forsberg (12:19 PM)
When the Broncos punted the ball on the drive previous to that, I turned to the imaginary other person in the room with me and said, "That's the only way they can move the ball downfield in a hurry." When he got the ball at the 5, I thought it would be hard to just get a shot at a long field goal. But they played that clock perfectly. Kinda surprised when Revis didn't even try to put a lick on him during one of those scrambles.
Andre Carter (Sackapolooza, IL)
When does Ross Ventrone lose his practice squad eligibility?
Chris Forsberg (12:21 PM)
Bonus points for the location, Andre. I'm always down for a fun -palooza reference... As for Ventrone, they can keep this up all season. I'm not sure the magic number of games on the active roster before you lose prax squad availability the following year, but he's gotta be at or past it. So next year the team will have to find a new running transaction joke.
Hey Cris,Do you believe the rash of defensive injuries for the pats ends up being a long term blessing in disguise? By plugging in second and third string players, the patriots seem to be creating not only depth but competent depth by getting these guys real game experience which can't be simulated in practice. If a starter goes down mid game in the playoffs, a weak link may not be the result.
Chris Forsberg (12:25 PM)
I've always subscribed to the ol' "injury can be a blessing" theory. That said, it's never a blessing to have injuries in big spots and -- ultimately -- in-game experience or not, guys have to be ready to step up on this team.
Tron (Waltham, MA)
Hey Chris, Great job with the weekly chats! Do you think if the Pats jump out to an early lead-and assuming he's active- Taylor Price may be worked into the mix to see what he's got. It would be good to see him go up against a solid corner in Brandon Flowers.
Chris Forsberg (12:26 PM)
I've said, in general, it would be good for the Patriots to get an early lead in ANY game that way they could experiment a little more with guys like Price, Ocho, Ridley, etc. All the guys that have limited roles when the team leans on the starters in clutch situations.
Chris, what is your tebowest moment in your life?
Chris Forsberg (12:27 PM)
When I can figure out how to use Tebow as an adverb. Looks like we've figured out ways to use it every other way.
Seeing the success the pass rush had against the Jets, do we continue to see sustained success? and besides Carter and Anderson, who is the next best option at pass rusher
Chris Forsberg (12:30 PM)
Given the schedule, why not? Carter said all along he was this/close. Well, he's proving it. Would be good for the team to get Shaun Ellis or another end going. Would be nice to see the Patriots get creative (and healthy enough) with linebackers up the middle, we saw a bit of Mayo thriving in that role in the preseason.
Hey Chris, have u heard or seen anything of note from Markell Carter in your time covering the Pats? I know he has earned a few practice honors and was wondering if he has the ability to make the roster at some point, maybe next season as an OLB/DE. Andre Carter is a beast, but is on the backside of his career and Jermaine Cunningham doesn?t seem like a player the coaching staff has confidence in anymore.
Chris Forsberg (12:32 PM)
Has that ideal OLB frame with 6-4 height, but had a disappointing preseason. Encouraging to see him show up as practice player of the week recently. At least suggest he's making progress, which is all you can ask for from young players.
Chris do you think Pats fans overreacted to the Jets win? Before we were one and done in the playoffs, then after the win it was SB talk. After seeing the Jets implode in Denver it makes me think we just beat a mediocre team and not a good measuring stick of how far they can make it. I guess its all about matchups and thats what makes the NFL much more interesting to watch. I still see this team as one and done. Glass half empty view. Feel free to fill up the other half.
Chris Forsberg (12:36 PM)
The fan base definitely rides the regular-season roller coaster, which only naturally sees everyone get too high and too low after wins and losses. It's easy to fall into the trap based on one performance, but you really gotta try to stay even keel. From what we've seen from this team over nine weeks, I think you can be more encouraged than one-and-done, but part of that might be the overall strength of the conference, too.
Peter (Plainfield, CT)
How is BJGE feeling and will he get more touches this week?
Chris Forsberg (12:37 PM)
BJGE stiff-arms any questions on his toe. I think this week is a decent opportunity for the Patriots to re-establish that running game. It's should be a primary goal over the next seven weeks. Balance and the ability to eat that clock as the weather gets cold could go a long way.
I've also been thinking about the time of possession issue. When you?re talking about the no huddle/fast paced offense, I think it?s more relevant to consider # of plays run rather than TOP. If the Pats ran the same # of offensive plays, but used more of the play clock on each play, does that make them more effective? One may argue that the no huddle gives the opposition an extra possession, but I?d argue that it also could give the Pats an extra possession.
Chris Forsberg (12:39 PM)
I'm not sure I really came to any hard conclusion examining the T.O.P. stats in the blog today. I just thought it was noteworthy that the Patriots are 28th in the league this year and I do think that's contributing to some of the defensive struggles overall. Now, that said, it might simply be contributing to the cringe-worthy yardage totals; The points per game is still right in the middle of the pack in the NFL. I just wonder if, overall, it bodes well for the team to find ways to give that defense some additional rest moving forward.
Brian M. (Cincinnati, OH)
Chris, how many more games of poor kickoff returns do you think it will take before we see Shane Vereen given a chance ? Or is it foolish to think it's going to happen at all this season? Also, how close is Taylor Price to recovering from his latest hamstring injury ?
Chris Forsberg (12:41 PM)
See, I think the problem with trying Vereen back there is that there's no guarantee the Patriots have enough room to carry him each week. So it's more likely to see Ridley or Edelman or Slater back there since they have larger potential roles. On Price, probably best to just lower expectations until he's actually out there on the field.
Chris there is a lot of discussion about KC and whether we have a problem with new quarterbacks but doesn't this have the potential to be one of those Brady Blow Out Games? I could see him dropping a double nickel on them just out of spite...
Chris Forsberg (12:43 PM)
The Bernard Pollard revenge game? I don't think that's too much motivation considering the team's played him before (not with the Chiefs). In the blog last night I took a look at Belichick vs. first start QBs: 0-4, including Green Bay's Flynn last year. Not a huge sampling, but should be enough to calm the "Patriots struggle with young QB" talks.
Are the Pats going to continue to flop the 3-4,and the 4-3 the rest of the year?Secondary concerns?
Chris Forsberg (12:45 PM)
Just don't see how switching your base defense in Week 10 would be a good thing. Stick with what you've been working at and hope it improves.
SK (Buckeye Nation)
Hi Chris, Do you think Marcus Cannon will get any snaps in this game. Where do you see him potentially starting? Would they try to incorporate him on run plays and see if he helps them there?
Chris Forsberg (12:46 PM)
This game? I would doubt it. Even though PUP guys got thrown right into the fire, just not sure it makes sense to rush a rookie who's gone through what he has. I think he works with the active roster and gets thrust into potential action later in year only if emergency depth is needed.
Serious question: Would you rather have Mark Sanchez or Tim Tebow as your QB?
Chris Forsberg (12:47 PM)
What's Option C? I supposed I'd go with Sanchez, he has helped that team to playoff success in recent years. But if Tebow keeps winning...
With all of the decnt records thus far in the AFC do you foresee anyway that the East gets a wildcard team this year, my felling is if your in the East you need to win it to make the playoffs, if the season ended today only the division winner would be in, do you see any of that changing moving forward
Chris Forsberg (12:49 PM)
Before the Jets lost the other night, the Patriots were like an 88.8% favorite to win the division based on Accuscore simulations. That number probably only went up. I do think the East could produce a wild card, but it would take some help from the rest of the AFC beating each other up. If you're worried about the Patriots and the potential for Buffalo to win the division, I think their schedule is soft enough to ensure a wild card even if Buffalo found a way to win the division.
Nick (Somerville, MA)
Do you forsee the Pats losing any of the remaining games on their schedule?
Chris Forsberg (12:50 PM)
Yes, just don't ask me which one. I think that Eagles game on the road is still tough, regardless of Vick plays. I guess we have to say the game in Denver is somewhat daunting after last night. But I do see one hiccup along the way.
Jarrad Page (No where)
I'm looking for work and know the system, it would seem to be a no-brainer with the injury situation. Any interest from Foxboro?
Chris Forsberg (12:52 PM)
Just a guess that there would be some interest, especially if Chung's injury was a concern. That said, not terribly surprised you cleared waivers. Your numbers haven't been great this season, but not like the Patriots safeties have been that glossy, either.
Mark Sanchez (NJ)
I just wanted to drop by to let everyone here know that I am not good. That is all. Thanks for your time
Chris Forsberg (12:53 PM)
Hang in there, Mark. They love you when you win.
The odds seemed daunting, but Forsberg Teblowly transitioned from basketball writing to football writing! Hows that for an adverb?
Chris Forsberg (12:54 PM)
Perfect (aside from the extra "l" in Tebow).
Chris does it bug you when the national TV guys say the Patriots have "the worst (ranked) defense in the league" matter-of-factly? They're the worst yardage wise but they totally ignore points-per-game.
Chris Forsberg (12:56 PM)
No, I'm fine with that. They should clarify what metric they are using to avoid confusion, but when have talking heads ever avoided hyperbole? It's a good story for a 6-3 team to have the "worst defense" in the league, but we all know the defense has been better than it's showed in yards allowed.
Ian B (Ottawa, ON)
Hello Chris, sorry I missed last week, the holiday threw off my normal schedule. Did hit Moe's. Did get a delicious burrito. Thanks for the reccomendation. Gonna try and sneak a question in too. I saw that WW was limiited in practice yesterday with a knee issue. Any word? Same knee?
Chris Forsberg (12:58 PM)
Ian! Huge. So glad you liked Moe's. Thanks for checking back with the update. Hope you go back again.
I think Welker's dinged up all over at this point. Team sure seemed to bring down his snaps a bit last week. I don't think it'll keep him off the field completely, but wouldn't be surprised if they give him some more snaps off with the goal of letting him heal a bit.
I know injury related questions are pretty much unanswerable when covering the Pats, but based purely on speculation do you think Tom is nursing an injury? It hasn't been mentioned much but some of his medium to long throws have looked way off recently and he has that brace for tennis elbow.
Chris Forsberg (1:00 PM)
Yeah, I'm subscribing to the "he's at least not feeling 100 percent" bandwagon. That tennis elbow brace tells me his arm is at least nagging him a bit, seemingly on downfield throws at least. But then he goes out and has a near-flawless second half against the Jets and you think, 'OK, maybe he's fine.'
Randy Moss (Boston)
Just popping in to say hi in my weekly chat appearance!
Chris Forsberg (1:00 PM)
Appreciate it, Randy! Might be time to latch on with a contender if you're getting bored.
Dan (Leominster, MA)
Doesn't it work both ways on TOP? A bend don't break defense that allows a lot of third down conversions is going to be on the field longer, too.
Chris Forsberg (1:03 PM)
Absolutely. But, to me, an offense that's prone to short drives -- regardless of whether they score or not -- is contributing to that, too. Still surprises me that the only three games the Pats were over 30 minutes was twice vs. Jets and vs. Bills.
Ken (Rhode Island)
Hi Chris, just a followup on the Jets-Pats game. On the safety, did the Pats coaching staff make a mistake knowing the Jets would likely be blitzing and at the same time having Woodhead back there as the single back? Seems to me that anytime you are in that kind of situation you want Faulk or BJGE in there because both are superior in blitz pickup. What do you think?
Chris Forsberg (1:04 PM)
Yeah, curious decision on Woodhead. Looks like Vollmer expected another blitzer off the edge as well. Just not a great play all around.
Mike Reiss (Boston)
Get back to work Chris
Chris Forsberg (1:05 PM)
This is work! Isn't it? You commenters always trying to stir up trouble :)
grandjordanian (San Diego, CA)
Kudos, your chats are progressing quite Tebowly week-to-week. Never going to match Reiss in his answer rate, but you find a way to please anyway.
Chris Forsberg (1:06 PM)
I'm working hard to get on Reiss' chat level. But he just picks those things apart. Doesn't even break a sweat, either.
Tim (Newton, MA)
Updated prediction on the NBA season?
Chris Forsberg (1:07 PM)
I've said February from the start. Looking more and more likely, even as everyone expects the worst at this point.
You didn't think you'd get through a whole chat without a lockout question did you? Gosh it looks bad right now. I don't see much progress being made. Your thoughts? (PS good bye banner 19)
Chris Forsberg (1:08 PM)
Hey, at least you get Rajon Rondo's charity game tomorrow night at Harvard, right? Ugh. Talk about a tease. I just can't get excited for anything NBA related right now. Product is killing itself with this fiasco.
Chris Forsberg (1:10 PM)
I feel like I let the lunch crowd down. No real food topic this week. Rodak and I fully disgusted Reiss by eating a McRib at a rest station in Connecticut, then devouring 10 White Castle burgers in New Jersey while driving down to MetLife last Saturday night.
Hey Chris, working in the media where do you think there is the biggest disconnect between the people in the locker room and those on the outside? (Fans, reporters, etc.). Injuries? Game Plans? I've just always thought it's interesting that no matter how much coverage there is (more than ever), you can never really say you know much about anything because it's all told through a filter.
Chris Forsberg (1:12 PM)
Great question that deserves a longer answer. I'd say the hardest thing for reporters (and fans) is that we're left to make a lot of assumptions based on what players are willing to reveal and what we see. It's hard to really know what goes on behind the scenes, particularly with a team that's so guarded like the Patriots.
Are MCRibs really that good????
Chris Forsberg (1:13 PM)
Listen, it's probably not the healthiest thing to be putting in your system, but hot damn is it delicious. Probably for the best that it's only a limited time thing in these parts. At least for my cholesterol.
As a reporter, would you prefer to cover Rex Ryan?
Chris Forsberg (1:15 PM)
See, I get the other side of things with Doc Rivers. He's not quite as bold as Rex, but he keeps things loose and has fun with the media. I enjoy both sides of the coin.
Jim's Boss ("Work too")
Hey Jim, get back to work! Three questions is enough!
Chris Forsberg (1:15 PM)
Andy (Vestal NY)
The number # of questions I have gotten answered looks like a typical 1st half Tim Tebow Statline 0-7 with 2ints. However my defense and special teams are carrying me so I'm good..keep up the good work guys.
Chris Forsberg (1:16 PM)
Like Ochocinco, you just keep working hard and it'll click eventually. Just keep your feet inbounds.
Chris Forsberg (1:17 PM)
Let's wrap it up there. You guys rock. Tons of good questions that I couldn't get to this week. I feel guilty leaving 'em on the table. Let's do it again next week.
Chris Forsberg (1:18 PM)
Happy Thanksgiving to you all as well. Bring a stack of McRibs to your family gathering and you'll be the talk of the party.