Chat with Mike Reiss
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, ESPN NFL Nation New England Patriots reporter Mike Reiss drops by to chat and answer all of your Patriots questions.
Reiss joined ESPNBoston.com in September 2009 and is a native New Englander. He first started covering the Patriots in 1997 with the team's official newspaper, Patriots Football Weekly, before moving on to the MetroWest Daily News in his hometown of Framingham. From 2005 to 2009, he covered the Patriots for The Boston Globe, while also writing on the NFL. He started his popular Patriots blog in 2004.
Send your questions now and join Reiss Thursday at 11 a.m. ET!
Mike (10:30 AM)
Good morning. Headed to Gillette Stadium now. Might start slightly after 11 a.m. ET. Catch up then.
ESPNBoston.com (11:10 AM)
Welcome folks. We're experiencing some technical difficulties, please stay with us as we work on the problem.
Mike (11:20 AM)
Hello!!!!!!!!!!!!! Apologies for the delay. Just spent 20 minutes trouble-shooting some wireless issues.
Mike (11:21 AM)
This is going to be a shorter chat, around 30 minutes. We have media access at the stadium. Then I'll plan on circling back tomorrow with another 30 minutes.
Mike (11:22 AM)
Let's get right to it.
Jamal (Hoover, AL)
How much of OTAs, camp, practices, etc. will you and Field Yates be able to witness and report on? I want to know how well players are performing. Do you usually just observe at-large? Or come in with specific players and 'battles' in mind?
Mike (11:23 AM)
Jamal, we'll get to see one complete OTA each week (3) and then the full three days of minicamp (3). These are mostly teaching sessions, so we're not going to get too deep into position battles as much as get a feel for players' traits, how well they move etc. Would be dangerous to read too much into anything in that setting IMO.
Could Andre Johnson become a Patriot.
Mike (11:24 AM)
Brandon, anything is possible, but I'd rate it as a longshot. If I'm Houston, I'm not trading Johnson within the conference.
Dominic (Broomfield, CO)
Alright Mike, you already sort of answered my first question in one of your posts. Which was, what position(s) was/were most interestingly impacted by the draft (draftees and UDFAs). Second question, which position are you most interested in watching unfold through OTAs and Camp? For me, receiver. There's too many people, and lots of intriguing unknowns (Harrison, Dobson health, Boyce devel, Gallon (who I'm very high on).
Mike (11:26 AM)
Dominic, I'd put TE at the top of the list of those positions affected most by the draft. By not picking a TE, it raises a lot of questions as to where the team goes from here. I wouldn't be surprised if they sign Dustin Keller. Or maybe they just become more of a 3-WR offense. As for the position I'm most interested to watch unfold, I'd stick with WR. Have to see how those second-year guys develop.
David (Portsmouth, NH)
I have seen tweets about an UDFA TE named Joe Don Duncan from Dixie State that states that he is going to the Pats. There has been no follow up to this player as yet. No other teams seem to have claimed him. He is a physical beast and the Pats could use another TE canidate. Any news on Joe Don?
Mike (11:28 AM)
David, I don't think he's coming at this point. They signed three other undrafted free agents at the position.
Ryan (Auburn) [via mobile]
Who do you think will be the most valuable UDFA this year? Also, James White or Roy Finch?
Mike (11:29 AM)
Ryan, I'd follow the money on this one to start, and go with LB Cameron Gordon. He received the most guaranteed money from the team among undrafted free agents at $35,000. Usually that tells us there was the most competition to sign him, which often means he was rated the highest by the team. ... As for James White, I think he will help this team. Also interested in Stephen Houston. Big back. I have a little bit of a soft spot for the big backs (and the small ones too, I guess).
Hi Mike, Are you aware of any good move TEs, or other TEs that can catch a lot of passes that might be available to the Pats by way of trade? From what I can tell there aren't any great options by way of Free agency.
Mike (11:31 AM)
Steve, if they're comfortable with Dustin Keller's medical situation, that's the guy. I'd also suggest to Bill Belichick, respectfully of course, to give Mark Harrison a look there. He's a big receiver who was getting looks as a move TE by other teams last year as an undrafted rookie before signing in NE. The 49ers, for example, envisioned him as a possible Delanie Walker type. But BB said Saturday that isn't in the cards right now.
Evan (Michigan )
Mike, I can't believe anyone makes light of how poor this draft is. How can we draft three OL and not adress linebacker, or Tight End? They were so agressive in free agency and then let the rest of the NFL catch us in the draft. We only have Revis for a year. We struggled every gave without Gronk. So why do we think its unimportant to address this need. Doubtful to start the season, but that's ok. More doubtful Gronk finishes the season! No solid LB depth, so are they going to play 100% of the plays without getting hurt as well? Solid offensive lineman were available late and undrafted. They could have at least drafted one dominant Offensive Lineman to start this year. How do you justify drafting for next year when this years team has holes? What happens if you don't draft for next year? You may have a hole next year, but you still have next years draft and free agency to cover it. They became complacent after they picked up Revis and Browner.
Evan (Michigan )
Mike, I'm disappointed with the undrafted free agents they picked up as well. I'm a Michigan fan, but Camron Gordon is not as good as Max Bullough who signed with the Texans. Max was the second best defensive player on the number one defense in the nation (Michigan State). Hard to give credit to State. Tennessee OT Antonio Richardson went undrafted and he was projected to be drafted in the second or third round. Many many more talented players they missed.
Mike (11:36 AM)
Evan, there is a lot to digest here. I'd start with this: You don't want to force needs. I spoke with several scouts, personnel folks, GMs and those two positions -- TE/LB -- were considered two of the lightest in the draft. As for the overall picks, I think I expressed going in that it would be tough for many of these players to become immediate starters like we saw with Jerod Mayo and Devin McCourty. I can't change my tune now. Also, with specific players like Richardson, often times we don't have all the information on the media side. Could be medical. Could be something else.
corky (NPR Florida)
Hi Mike, draft over, bruins done, I'm going fishing...
Mike (11:37 AM)
Disappointing for the Bruins, Corky. I felt like the Canadiens just played a little bit better over the length of the series. Deserving winner, IMO. That's one thing where my view of sports has changed a bit over the years -- can't get too upset if the team doesn't really put forth its best effort. The harder losses to take are those when the team lays it all on the line and still doesn't get the reward. Not sure if that makes any sense, but that's the way I feel about the Bruins.
john f (walpole)
Is Armand Armchair... er Armstead working out yet? Lot of hype on him last year and then he went into the Witness Protection Program.
Mike (11:38 AM)
Yes, John, taking part in the voluntary offseason program. Bill Belichick previously called him a top-3 DT when factoring in the 2013 depth chart. Curious to see what that means for 2014.
Peyton (Ware, Ma)
Talk to us about Brady's cap number this year and what your thoughts are regarding him playing at those low future dollars later in his contract
Mike (11:39 AM)
Peyton, call me naive, but I don't think there is any issue with Brady's contract. I think he plans to play at those numbers. I think the team plans to have him play at those numbers. Guy just craves another ring. Everything else is secondary. Only has so much time left to make it happen.
Dan (Leominster, MA)
Mike, I think Caserio tipped everyone off about looking to the future with draft picks by stating they felt they had a competitive team already a couple weeks ago. I'm not sure i agree, but obviously he and BB think what they had after Free Agency was all they need to make a run at it again!
Mike (11:40 AM)
I didn't take it that way, Dan. I just took Caserio's comments more to mean they could draft at any position in his view.
Liri (Malden, Massachusetts)
Mike, what is the game the Pats will definitely lose the season and why?
Mike (11:41 AM)
I'll go with the Lambeau Field game in late November against the Packers. Tough, tough place to win, Liri.
Mike (11:41 AM)
And Packers, of course, a very good team.
MikeHow will Belichick fill the power RB position? BB didn't trust both Ridley and Bolden last year, so doesn't he have to go get a big body outside the organization?
Mike (11:42 AM)
Tanner, let's keep an eye on Indiana's Stephen Houston, who was signed as an undrafted free agent. He's 230 pounds. Could he be the next BenJarvus Green-Ellis? He received $22,500 in guarantees, the second-highest total among the undrafted players. That tells me there was probably some competition to sign him.
Rob (Borough of Manhattan)
Hi Mike, thanks for chatting today. It must be tough after that tough B's loss last night... At this point, what do you think BB has planned for Logan Ryan? Do you think he's destined to pair with McCourty at safety?
Mike (11:43 AM)
Rob, I think the thought with Ryan is that, 'he's too good to not have a place on defense, and if Revis, Browner, Arrington and Dennard are healthy, maybe Ryan helps us more at safety.' So I think they'll work him at both spots, consider different packages on a weekly basis, and thus Ryan could be more of a flex guy. Similar to Devin McCourty in a lot of ways, circa 2011/2012.
Whats going on with Mallett
Mike (11:45 AM)
Nothing, Brandon. And I'm not sure there was ever anything going on from a trade perspective. I feel like I'm pretty well connected to both teams here and I just can't substantiate anything there in terms of serious talks. An agent might say otherwise, but I think that's shakier ground to be standing on from a reporting perspective.
Mark (Nashua, NH)
Hi Mike. I think when people evaluate the drafts one important aspect people forget is how these rookies can positively affect the cap management in the future. For example, maybe by saving money on the offensive line, running back, and backup quarterback next year, these players can help the Pats spend more elsewhere, such as on Revis. I'm not saying this is the only reason these players were drafted because they need to adequately replace their counterparts; but it does factor in when evaluating the draft in the future. Do you agree? Thanks.
Mike (11:46 AM)
100 percent agree, Mark. Economics are a big part of team-building. Well said.
What role is Jake Bequette being groomed for, if not DE? Rather puzzling why he is still on the roster. Did past seasons' defensive schemes not allow for him to be inserted into the lineup or, is it more likely a developmental issue BB believes will be overcome this training camp? Fans, I think, would like to see Jake in a more contributory role this season. Mike, what say you?
Mike (11:50 AM)
Hank, my take on Bequette is that he's now a longshot to make the roster. Zach Moore, the sixth-round pick out of Concordia, now has the inside track on that developmental spot. I think they were hoping he'd develop but it just hasn't happened at this point. At DE, you have Chandler Jones, Rob Ninkovich, Will Smith, Michael Buchanan, Bequette and Moore. Not all can stick and Bequette looks to me, right now, to be the odd-man out.
Tim (Newton, MA)
Hi Mike, Who has the inside track to compete for the returning duties? I assume Edelman will still return punts, but KOs? Gallon? Boyce? White?
Mike (11:50 AM)
Tim, I think Boyce would have the inside track, but he's not the only option, as you mention. James White could also get a look, among others.
Brian Ehlers (Caymen Islands)
Two big money contracts for DBs this past week. Revis is one and done for NE....right? Will BB ever break the bank on a non QB?
Mike (11:51 AM)
Brian, I would lean in that direction, but probably one that's best to let play out. Let's see how Revis looks this year. He's a bit older than the other players who signed as well, which is a factor to consider.
Mike, Dave Guglielmo era offically begins at OL coach and with the 3 OL draft picks, could it be an indication of an imminent scheme-change for the OL.
Mike (11:53 AM)
Jack, I have the same question, because I'm not sure the Patriots select a few of those OL if Dante Scarnecchia is here. I asked BB that question and he said it was more about the players than scheme, but that is something I'll be watching closely.
Mike (11:54 AM)
Going to take a few more...
I am excited about the Pats 6th round choice Moore. Seems to have upside which does not seem the case with any on the other rookies beside Easley. BTW any word on Colt Lyerla
Scott Richman (Delray Beach)
Is Zach Moore destined for the practice squad this year?
Mike (11:55 AM)
Moore has unique physical traits that I think they're excited to try to develop. I don't think he'd make it to the practice squad.
Chance (Savannah, GA)
The Hernandez headlines today seem to mostly keep the Patriots out of it (though the articles mention the connection). Looks to me that the Pats cutting him immediately after his arrest was the smart move, and those who wrote to say he could play again and the Pats made a mistake were wrong. How would you rate the Pats management and PR handling of Hernandez?
Mike (11:57 AM)
Chance, I don't know how to rate the PR aspect of it, to be honest. I think they acted decisively, which is always good. They could have waited for salary cap purposes, but decided that wasn't worth it.
Do you expect any league punishment for Dennard for the upcoming season?
Mike (11:57 AM)
Let's end it here, James, and then we'll pick more up tomorrow. I don't think so, but let me dig a bit deeper into it to be sure.
Mike (11:58 AM)
Thanks to all for chatting. We'll do it again tomorrow. Off to media access.