Chat with Tedy Bruschi
Welcome to ESPNBoston.com! On Monday, ESPNBoston.com NFL analyst, and former New England Patriot, Tedy Bruschi stops by to chat about the Patriots as well as the rest of the NFL news.
Bruschi retired in 2009 after 13 seasons and three Super Bowl wins with the Patriots. He started 189 games with New England, the most for any linebacker in team history. For his career, he had more than 1,100 tackles, to go with 30.5 sacks and 12 INTs.
Shortly after his retirement, Bruschi joined ESPN's stable of NFL analysts. In addition to being a regular NFL anaylst on ESPNBoston.com, Bruschi also appears on "NFL Live," "SportsCenter," ESPN Radio and other ESPN platforms.
Send your questions now and join Bruschi Monday at 11 a.m. ET!
Tedy (11:00 AM)
Good morning and welcome to our chat. Let's roll.
What are your thoughts on Brady vs. Manning debate? Does this game contribute?
Tedy (11:06 AM)
These are two of the best quarterbacks of all-time. Being a teammate of Tom Brady's for so many years, seeing him start from a scout-team QB when he first came in backing up Drew Bledsoe to his progression of becoming a Super Bowl MVP and three-time champion is something I'll never forget. To witness his work ethic and competitiveness first-hand, it's no surprise to me that he's still playing at a high level at this point in his career. Having been an opponent of Peyton Manning so many times, especially when he was in his prime, to be on the field and marvel at some of the throws he made ... this Brady/Manning debate will last forever. Who is the best QB? Is it Super Bowls? Statistics? Who had the better teams? Strong arm? Bigger competitor? On so many of these questions, I don't believe there is a wrong answer. They are both very special players. I just feel like every time they play each other, the debate should be revisited, but it's almost like the endless debate that never has a definitive answer. This is the highest possible point they can meet. They both play in the AFC, they can never meet in the Super Bowl, so this is the biggest game they can play in, with the most on the line. Enjoy it, people.
Peter (Worcester Ma)
Tedy, is this deja vu 2006? Tom Brady leads an underdog scrappy bunch, with no-name receivers, into Peyton Manning's house against a team with loads of talent, with the AFC Championship on the line. Hoping for a better outcome this time around, but any comparisons you could draw between those two Patriot teams, and Colts and Broncos teams?
Tedy (11:10 AM)
I think there is definitely comparisons between the two Patriots teams, with the revolving door they've had at the skill positions. In 2006, we had receivers like Reche Caldwell, Doug Gabriel and Chad Jackson. The talent pool wasn't close to Peyton Manning's that year. I agree with the comparison from that standpoint, but the indentity of this offense is different because of the running game. I don't think we had a running game like this one.
Renato Santos (SÃ£o Paulo | Brasil)
Hi Teddy. Cheers from Brazil! In my opinion, one of the biggest differences between the first game vs the Broncos and the one on sunday is the presence of TE Julius Thomas. He have been a Manning go-to-guy in pressure situations like the key big 3rd downs he faced against the Chargers, and he looked for him. How do you see Pats defense matching up against him?? Its a key for our team to stop him. I can see Collins on him, but im not sure if its favorable. I also thought about Talib taking him out, but he has Demaryius to cover. What are your feelings about this? Thanks!! Go Pats!!!
Tedy (11:14 AM)
Renato, I think that's a good point. It's a big difference with him on the field because of the way Bill Belichick's defenses account for receiving tight ends. Bill Belichick-coached defenses like to defend the middle of the field first and that's where tight ends like Thomas attack. Without him on the field on Nov. 24, it allowed the Patriots to focus on other areas, like Wes Welker and Demaryius Thomas. With Julius Thomas in the game-plan, it changes the emphasis.
Tedy, Collins clearly had a big game, but I'm worried about him long term, is he too light to hold up against a Seattle or San Fran running game?
Tedy (11:14 AM)
Mike, let's not get ahead of ourselves, buddy.
Matt (East Brookfield)
Hi Tedy - to what do you attribute the sudden emergence of Jamie Collins - and can he replicate that disruptive performance against Denver or was it an anomaly against Indy?
Tedy (11:16 AM)
I don't think it was an anomaly. I think Collins just has a full season of coaching under his belt. Sometimes it takes young players a little while to understand what's asked of him in a Bill Belichick-coached defense. Matt Patricia, the defensive coordinator, has had a full season to figure out what Collins does best. The fact that Collins broke out and made some huge plays in a big game is a good sign that he's starting to understand what is asked of him and turning that into playing "free" football. What I mean by "free" football is this: Once you understand what you're doing out there, and you're not thinking, your instincts and play-making ability kicks in.
Ben (Chapel Hill)
The Broncos game this season was arguably the low point for our run D. Is it just me or have we made it back to "passable?" And if so, how much credit goes to the mystery man, Sealver Siliga?
Tedy (11:20 AM)
It was 280 total rushing yards. That just hurts me to say. Yes, they had a lot of difficulty stopping the run in that first matchup against the Broncos. Sealver Siliga can hopefully help, because the interior of the Broncos' offensive line dominated the Patriots all night. I don't see any adjustments the Patriots can make to stop it, in terms of adding an extra player in the box. Because if you add an extra player in the box, Peyton Manning will audible to the pass and attack you that way. So the way it's going to be is the way it was in the first matchup -- 6 men in the box, he'll see that favorable matchup, and they will attempt to run the ball. I remember weeks in going up against the Colts and our defensive coaches telling us, "All you're going to have is 6 in the box to stop the run. You have to get it done because we're going to have bigger things to worry about in the back end." That's just the case this week because of guys like Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker, Wes Welker and Julius Thomas.
Tedy what was your favorite AFC Championship moment?
Tedy (11:22 AM)
My favorite AFC Championship moment was when we went into Pittsburgh and won. That was a return trip for us after getting blown out there in the regular season. The odds were stacked against us going into Pittsburgh that year and we still came out with the Lamar Hunt trophy.
Chad (Denver (Beantown Native))
I think that the Pats should just run run run down Denvers throat.. you agree? why will it work or why won't it ?
Tedy (11:26 AM)
If you go by last week's game, that's who the Patriots are right now -- they are a power-running football team with LeGarrette Blount leading the way. But let's not confuse the Patriots with a team that does the same thing from week to week. This is a game-plan team and with Josh McDaniels forming the offensive game-plan as we chat, you never know what he'll come out with vs. the Broncos. There are so many different matchups in this game than Nov. 24. The Patriots don't have Rob Gronkowski and the Broncos don't have Von Miller. You ask the question, "How will the loss of both of those players affect the offensive game plan?"
Guy Smith (America)
Hey Tedy,What matchup next Sunday are you most looking forward to watch? I am very curious to see how Collins shadows Thomas, especially after his performance last week.
Tedy (11:30 AM)
I think the matchup I'll be watching, based on the Nov. 24 game, is the interior of the Broncos' offensive line vs. the Patriots' defensive line. Center Manny Ramirez had his way and I'm looking to see if it's still that way, and if the Broncos can run for 200-plus yards again.
Steve (Moultonborough, NH)
Tedy, Put yourself in the Denver OC's shoes. How would you attack the Pats D ? I might do what the Pats did on Saturday and run, run, and run some more. Despite having a HOF quarterback.
Tedy (11:34 AM)
Steve, the thing about Peyton Manning is that whatever he sees at the line of scrimmage will dictate what play is run. If there is only 6 in the box, he'll call the run. If they're having success running the ball, and then he sees a run-based defense, he'll audible to the pass. Id' definitely test the Patriots' run defense, just like they did last time. The Broncos had a lot of success. Depending on the wind, I'd like to get the ball in my playmakers' hands, like Demaryius Thomas with quick screens, utilizing Wes Welker in the slot, and seeing what plan the Patriots had for Julius Thomas.
Jim Ruggiero (Rock Hill, SC)
What do you think would be the best way to slow down Denver's offense? Blanket receivers like Welker and Decker or try to slow their running game? Are there any players we need to worry about that didnt play in our previous meeting?
Tedy (11:37 AM)
We touched on Julius Thomas earlier in the chat. From a general standpoint, I'd defend everything from the inside out. You want to make Peyton Manning make throws outside the numbers. Areas of focus: Wes Welker in the slot, Julius Thomas in between the numbers, and of course, first and foremost, stopping the run. If they beat you with 20-plus-yard throws down the field, to the outside, you have to shake their hand and say 'Congratulations.' You just have to make it tougher on Peyton Manning that way.
Tedy, Through the evening and into the morning I have heard and read several analysts and writers not give the Patriots much hope of beating the Broncos. I am sure you have encountered this during your playing years. Curious to know how a players process this mentally?
Tedy (11:41 AM)
Players in the locker room will answer that they don't pay attention to that type of stuff. That's true at times, but in a game of this magnitude that garners this much attention, you can't help but read, hear and see what others are saying. Players will use this as motivation. Coaches will use this as motivation. Coaches will tell their players what other people are saying to motivate them. The biggest motivation players can have sometimes is that "us vs. the world" mentality.
Tedy (11:41 AM)
Thanks for all the questions. We'll chat again next week. Have a great day.