Chat with Tedy Bruschi
Welcome to ESPNBoston.com! On Tuesday, 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 Tuesday at 1 p.m. ET!
Tedy (1:03 PM)
Good afternoon and welcome to today's chat.
Of all the teams you played on, which one does this year's team most resemble?
Tedy (1:04 PM)
I guess it would be 2001. The defense is definitely carrying the team and you don't know which player is going to step up to make the big play. On offense, you don't really know who is going to step up and make the play. I don't want to put pressure on them and say this is a Super Bowl team, but the way they are winning is similar to 2001.
Tedy (1:04 PM)
Also, in Brady's news conference, when he mentioned "keep grinding" that was something that was continually mentioned in 2001.
Hey Tedy, Before I get to the question, just wanna say that I really enjoy your take each week. Watching the game against the saints i couldnt help but notice how much quicker and explosive Ridley is than the other 2 backs (Blount, Bolden). Im all for a committee because it keeps um fresh but dont you think ridley should start to see more of the majority of the carries? He is a difference maker and brings the big play capability. Im hopeing it was just a case of working him in slowly after a little injury. Curious on your thoughts. Thanks
Tedy (1:07 PM)
Ryan, I thought Ridley looked good vs. the Saints. But the unit that looked great was the offensive line. I thought Mankins and Wendell played well. I thought they were scrappy. Wendell was pushing guys around in the third quarter. Mankins was being scrappy out there. That's when they are at their best, when the o-line is pushing guys around after the whistle and being aggressive. If Cannon continues to play the way he did at right guard, there are going to be problems. It looked like he blew a blocking assignment that got Brady sacked. It looked like at times he got overwhelmed. I just temper my enthusiasm on Ridley. I still don't know how tough he is.
Mr. Bruschi, the Patriots obviously just finished what is arguably their toughest three game stretch of the season with a 2-1 record, which I thought was very impressive given the difference between this year's team and last year's offensive juggernaut. From what you've seen, can we beat some of the other top tier teams in the NFL aside from New Orleans (Denver, Seattle, San Fran, Indy)? And should Pats fans look forward to another deep playoff run, or are there still areas that need to be fixed before that happens?
Tedy (1:09 PM)
I feel comfortable saying this Patriots team can beat any team in the NFL. But also, this is a Patriots team that csan be beat by a Bengals team. And I don't see the Bengals as an elite team in the NFL. So if they can put things together to beat the Patriots, other teams can too. That's the beauty of the NFL. The areas of concern for me are the loss of Vince Wilfork, how much will Tommy Kelly give you down the line, the drops from Aaron Dobson and miscommunications with Tom Brady, and of course the injuries that happened in the game (Mayo, Connolly, Amendola, Talib).
Chris (Cape Cod, MA)
Hi Tedy,Who is the more important piece to have back on Sunday to beat the Jets: Aqib Talib, or Jerod Mayo? Talib is the standout player to me, but Mayo seems to be the leader of the defense.
Tedy (1:10 PM)
Chris, that's a tough question. They are both extremely valuable to the defense. I'd lean to Mayo given how I think the Jets will try to run the football, with Wilfork out and Kelly maybe not playing.
After the first 6 games, Kenbrell Thompkins looks amazing. He looks like he could be a solid number 1 receiver in years to come. Why do you think that he was passed up in the draft and why isn't he getting more recognition as a possible Rookie of the Year candidate?
Tedy (1:13 PM)
Tom, he had didn't have a lot of production in college and he had some off-field issues that some teams were wary of. In terms of him being a No. 1 receiver, he's far from that. Is there potential? Yes. But I'd still like to see him catch the ball more consistently before we talk about Rookie of the Year.
Hi Tedy, can the Pats run on the Jets and secondly will they -
Tedy (1:14 PM)
I'm looking forward to seeing Logan Mankins and the offensive line battle Muhammad Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson and the rest of the Jets' defensive fronts. I think it's one of the better fronts in the league. That matchup is going to decide the game.
Chris R. (Charlotte NC)
Tedy,Talking WR here, should Pats coaches start emphasizing to WR's like Amendola, Collie and Edelman to avoid the big hits whenever possible?? Get open, make the catch and go to the ground or out of bounds (when they can)before taking on the big hits. Be more possession receivers, these guys are awfully small and not as durable as Welker. These slot type WR only weigh 180 to 190lbs and shouldn't be trying to take on big hard hitting safeties, LB's and big fast corners. Amendolas hit against Saints, he could have tried to get out of bounds instead of fighting for the extra 1 yard and get himself decleated, almost decapitated. Pats really need Edelman, Collie & Amendola to stay on the field.
Tedy (1:18 PM)
That's an interesting question, Chris. Sometimes you just can't change who you are. Amendola and Welker are very similar in terms of what they do running after the catch. It seems like defenders can line them up for a good hit. I've spoken with Welker in the past about possibly "saving the equipment" but they're so mentally tough and want to get every yard they can. The one difference between the two is durability. You can't fault Amendola for wanting to fight for extra yards.
Safe to say if Belichick doesn't offer Talib a legitimate contract, the Pats defense will regress? I'm thinking 4 years and at least $25M guaranteed, though obviously the language will protect the Pats in the vent Talib has a regression. Thoughts?
Tedy (1:19 PM)
Craig, I agree, it seems like the Patriots made a great move by trading for Talib last year. he is the type of corner that BB loves having in his defense. He has good size and game-plan type flexibility. You've seen all the things he can do on a week to week basis. Shutting down Jimmy Graham solidified the fact he can do pretty much anything you want him to do. His value is very high. I would think the Patriots would start early negotiations before he becomes an unrestricted free agent. But also, don't forget about the franchise tag.
Alex (Danbury, CT)
Good Afternoon Tedy, Can we finally lay to rest the questions everyone has been having about whether or not our defense is for real? We just shut down the best active TE in the league on Sunday and our defense came up HUGE twice in a row when we really needed them... Put it in the books, this defense is performing at an elite level.
Tedy (1:23 PM)
I agree with you, Alex. The most impressive part is how they've done it. The last three weeks, the game-planning changes they've had with Julio Jones, A.J. Green and now Jimmy Graham, not only does the D have talent but also the intellectual skill to be able to execute all the complex game-plans that Bill Belichick and Matt Patricia come up with. The question now is that your depth is being tested. Can your second level, the next line of defenders, perform at the same level?
Dan (LA) [via mobile]
Hi Tedy, thanks for so many great years. Out of all the teams with winning records in the NFL, would you agree that the Patriots has overcome the most adversity? Injuries, miscommunication, and rookie pass catchers. This seems like the mentally toughest team since 2003.
Tedy (1:24 PM)
The adversity this team has had to overcome this year has been great for them on so many levels. Not only have young players had to get used to playing major roles, but this team as a whole has had to get used to winning close games. That's how it is going to be in the postseason. The experience of being successful in close games will help them down the line.
We used to see a lot of chip blocks from RBs like Kevin Faulk, but hardly see any RBs in the league doing that now . . . why the change?
Tedy (1:27 PM)
KB, it's still being utilized. I've seen Jamal Charles use it in Kansas City, and a few others. The Patriots had an interesting version of it versus the Saints, on Michael Hoomanawanui's 15-yard reception on second-and-11 in the second quarter (9:03). The Saints linebackers often used a hug technique (when the offensive player you're covering blocks, you enter the rush late), so what Hoomanawanui did was give the allusion he was going to block. That's when LB Ramon Humber started to rush, and Hoomanawanui leaped into the pattern and was wide open. That's a TED route (tight end delay), and another element of the passing game that can take advantage of delayed blitzes.
Pats fans leaving early? WEAK! Those people have been spoiled.
Tedy (1:28 PM)
Take it easy on them, Matt. Maybe they had Red Sox tickets.
John (Manchester, NH)
Tedy, Belichick always preaches the "next man up" approach and demands accountability. How does that impact the locker room morale when a number of injuries start to set in?
Tedy (1:33 PM)
You only have so many players in the locker room. An injury here or an injury there, you always keep the faith that the next guy can come in and do the job. There will come a point where players will start to look around and say, "Man, what's going on, we have nobody left." Wilfork's out, and now Kelly is down. The young kids stepped in and did a nice job, but what if something happens to them. Now Mayo and Talib are hurt. It's a huge challenge to your mental toughness. I know one thing Bill Belichick has done, even with someone like Tom Brady, is that he never over-stresses the importance of one player. You saw that in his post-game news conference when talking about Brady ("he plays well in all four quarters.") He never makes it seem like you need one player to win, and that adds a level of comfort in the locker room.
Tedy (1:34 PM)
Thanks for all the questions. We'll do it again next week.