Good afternoon. Just running a bit behind here. Hang with me. Finishing up a quick call.
Might be delayed for about 5-10 minutes here.
Hey Mike,Thanks for taking time to answer our questions, however dumb or redundant they might be. Hitting on the topic of Junior Seau, BB acknowledged that he indeed had a physical. What exactly happens when a player undergoes physical? Does it consist of a series of medical tests, or certain football related drills, or anything else for that matter? I am curious as I have heard plenty of news floating around about players being called in for a physical, but really don't understand what that means? Is a physical different that being in someone for a workout?
Bmaddy, a physical is purely medical, and is different than a workout when a player goes through football-specific drills at a team's facility.
Hey Mike,Any chance that Pats take a look at ostracized WR Matt Jones? I know he had his share of trouble with the law. But his physical skills makes it hard to ignore (6'6, 235lbs). He could be just given a work out and since he is a FA, could be had for the league minimum. It would give TB a big target in the end zone.
Hi madmax32. I don't see Jones in the Patriots' plans because of those off-field issues. Also, I was never really impressed with him as a receiver.
Hey Mike,I feel that our KR and PR needs heavy revamping. We have Maroney who is not doing great and in punts, Wes and Faulk are not the best in business either. In fact, I dont even recollect the last time we took either one home (Ellis Hobbs might have done one last season). In my opinion, KR really burned us in the loss against Jets. We didnt get any good field position and Kelly washington kept putting them close to 40 yard line. Do you think we should have, or should in the future, invest in high draft picks to recruit specialist KR, or PR?
Through four games, the Patriots rank 16th in kickoff return average and 23rd in punt return average. That's a dip compared to where we've seen the Patriots in past years. I don't think it's about drafting as much as better execution on the field. I think they have the talent to get it done, and if Welker is back on punt returns, we should see improvement.
Quick hit! Wheately or Wilhite?
Mike, This question is regarding Mayo. I know that he was an absolute beast last year. But the lack of sacks and int bothers me. In contrast, the 2007 DROY Patrick Willis had a phenomenal year with 174 total tackles, along with 4 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, and 5 passes deflected. 2008 was even more impressive and he already has 2 in this year Is it our defensive scheme that is stopping Mayo from blitzing or collecting int, or he skill sets are more suited to tackling?
I think it's part scheme, part player development. I sensed that the Patriots were building their defense around Mayo's playmaking ability this year, with the idea that those numbers increase.
Is Mayo going to start or even play this week? If so do we see Mayo Guyton and Thomas at linebacker when we play the 4-3? Does Galloway get a chance to redeem himself or do they start Edelman at the 3rd receiver. Aiken seems to be blocking well but he's not a 3rd receiver for a team like the Pats.
The fact Mayo was at practice Wednesday, early in the week when the game plan is being installed, was a positive sign. I wouldn't be surprised if he plays. I think Guyton moves to the outside in any 4-3 alignment. Galloway should get a chance to return to his third-receiver duties. I think they need him.
Do you think the Broncos will use a safety the majority of the time to help out Bailey or play Moss more straight up?
I think they'll gamble some by not always putting a safety over Moss, and relying on Bailey to win that matchup, similar to Darrelle Revis in Week 2.
Bringing back Seau is a good news. But who Pats will cut? Could Galloway be the odd man?
I don't think it will be Galloway, MarkJ. Probably someone from the special teams area, maybe a Bret Lockett, who was inactive against the Ravens. Injuries on Sunday could also be a factor.
I know one of the big questions we always have is about the ineffectiveness of Maroney, after his comments about plays not being blocked correctly, what is the downfall with playing lawfirm? At the very least, he will run straight ahead and get a couple of tough yards. When does BB finally pull the plug on this failed experiment? Thanks.
Can't pull the plug now, Kenny, as there are questions about the health of Fred Taylor's ankle. I saw the comments from Maroney in the Boston Globe, reported by Christopher Gasper, and it also caught my eye. I have generally defended Maroney but it's hard to do after that performance Sunday.
Pats fan in Jets country here. Do you believe the hype about what Braylon Edwards can give the Jets or is he a risk?
I think it's a great move for the Jets, Colleen.
Nice to see the chats, still a little tough to find on the ESPN pages though, thanks for posting it on twitter.Does the Broncos D do a lot of movement prior to the snap, something that might confuse Brady & the protection?
We're working through some early kinks on ESPNBoston.com, Willie, but appreciate that you visit the site and find the chat and other articles. Broncos defense, according to Tedy Bruschi, is very quick in the front seven. Said their pursuit is excellent. They do move a bit and this could be in play Sunday. ... On your second question about the pass rush, my hunch is that we'll see a defensive back-heavy plan again, with similar pressure schemes.
"Bruschi's Breakdown" will be posted later today on the site.
I have been impressed with Sammy Morris' pass-catching ability. Is this something he's been working on?
Morris has always been a good pass-catcher Tyler. His rookie season with the Bills in 2000, he had 37 catches. He's a versatile player.
I really enjoyed your coverage of Spygate two years ago. I felt you were one of the few journalists to cut through the hype and try to isolate the facts. That said, do you feel like we got the whole story from BB and the Pats...or do you suspect there was a lot more to it. Thanks again.
That is interesting Bob, because I have questioned myself in terms of if I pursued that story aggressively enough. The one thing I thought at the time was that there was too much speculation swirling around, and not enough facts. It got out of control. Like most things, I think there is more to it that perhaps we'll learn about when/if Belichick pens a tell-all type of book.
Thoughts on the likelihood of Brandon Tate playing/having an impact this year?
Really don't know, Josh, other than to say my hunch would be yes.
Things that are great about your new job at ESPNBoston? (I won't ask what's not so great)... Things you miss about Globe? Things that you don't miss about Globe? :-)
One of the things I really appreciate is the chance to learn more about the game with the resources at ESPN. For example, talking with Tedy Bruschi every week has taught me a lot about the game that I didn't know. I have more time to detail the Xs and Os, which I like. What I miss most about the Globe: The people I worked with, and the feeling I had of following some people who I greatly admire.
2009 Broncos remind me of 2002 Patriots... Starts strong, but will finish mediocre... Your thoughts?
Back to back questions for you, supwithyou. The next four games will answer the question for me. After playing Bengals, Browns, Raiders and Cowboys, they now have Patriots, Chargers, Ravens and Steelers. They win two of the next four, and I'm buying in.
Hi Mike! Do you think that when Mayo returns Guyton might have the potential to move to the outside, even in the 3-4?
I don't see it in the 3-4, _bb. I think he's more of an inside guy in the 3-4, but could play outside in the 4-3.
Hey Mike,Many think the broncos 4-0 start is a little overblown considering the teams they have played. It has been primarily the defense that has carried them, which is much improved. How do you think the pats offense will fare against the denver D up in mile high(assuming welker and taylor both play)?
I think it's going to be a tough matchup for the Patriots, and I'm thinking it's going to be a low-scoring game. I picked the Patriots, though, because I think in the end they have more talent.
Hi Mike, Thanks for taking my question. Could you comment on how well Myron Pryor played Sunday. I didn't hear mention of his name during the telecast. I'm not sure if that's good or not.
I had Pyror in for 19 snaps, playing tackle in the 4-3 and over the nose in the dime, with Banta-Cain and Burgess to each side. He finished with one tackle. I didn't notice him much.
I know this question might seem odd, but with some pretty poor quarterback play in the league in the last few years from some of the bottom-dwelling teams, how many times have the phones of Drew Bledsoe & Jake Plummer rang?
Maybe a year or so ago on Bledsoe, Anthony, but I don't think it's been ringing this year.
Last year, Bailey proved he can limit Moss's effectiveness in the passing game. Although Moss ended up with a big night against Denver, it was all after Bailey got hurt, do you feel Bailey will keep Moss in check again?
That is a huge question in my mind, Nick, and my hunch is that Bailey will follow Moss all over the field. I think players like Bailey live for these challenges, and we'll see how Moss responds. I'm not sure how it will turn out -- Revis seemed to get the better of Moss in Week 2 -- but I'm excited about the matchup.
How much of an impact will McDaniels' familiarity with the Patriots offensive scheme have on the final score of the game? I say 13-10 Broncos in a defensive thriller.
I wrote a bit on this today, as I think it's a significant factor in the game. I agree on low-scoring, but I took the Patriots.
With romeo Crennel, and Eric Mangini, both not having much success as head coaches, what do you think Josh Mcdaniels has that they dont?
That's a good question, Juan. Instead of comparing McDaniels to Crennel and Mangini, I'd just highlight what I think McDaniels' strengths are: Great teacher, communicator, offensive mind. Knows personnel.
Hey Mike, glad to see you reaching a wider audience after all this time. I was wondering if you think that Light can handle Dumervil this weekend, or if the Pats are going to stick with more of the 2 TE sets to make sure that he has help. Any chance that the Pats move Light to the right side of the line next year?
Dumerville had four sacks against the Browns and then two apiece the last two weeks. His eight sacks are tied for the NFL lead. Light did a great job on John Abraham two weeks ago, so he still has it in him to limit top pass rushers. We saw Terrell Suggs get him on a few plays last week, which happens to a lot of tackles who match up against Suggs. I think Light will get some help, but it won't be all the time. Don't see him headed to the right side next year.
Hi Mike! We have all seen that the pats main D is the 4-3 right now. But is it only temporary? Until Mayo returns, OR until Burgess/TBC/Woods becomes more dominant, OR next year (draft&FA)? Or is this the type of D that we'll probably see in the next few years? What's your guess?
When Mayo returns, it will give them more flexibility to play some 3-4. I have charted that they have only been in the 3-4 three plays since Mayo's injury.
yes or no...Galloway is active for the game?
I'll say yes. I think they were sending a message to him last week, but they need him.
Mike can you settle an argument I'm having with one of my friends. He swears that Moss was single covered against the Jets. I'm taking Moss' word for it that the Jets scheme rolled a safety over the top. I think it was subtle but Revis had help. Which was it?
At times there was help, but it was impossible for them to be double covering him all game with all the blitzes they ran. If I had to vote, I'd say it was less double-coverage.
Don't you think reacquiring Branch for a 7th would be the perfect compliment to Moss (having a second possession receiver to muddle up the safeties?)
I think Branch would be a great target at the trade deadine, but would assume there would have to be an adjustment of his salary ($4.9m). Not sure Seattle would deal him, though.
Just a reminder - you posted my question (regarding Brandon Tate), but didn't answer it. You tease! I assume it was merely a clerical error, and not some thinly veiled attempt to mock me. I therefore offer you this opportunity to redeem yourself.
Thanks Josh. Not sure what happened there. Not sure on Tate, but my hunch is that we'll see him.
Hi Mike,Maroney looked great on that pass play last week. Given that he showed he can run to (and through) a hole when not facing a defensive line, do you think we will see him in more of a Faulk type role where half of his touches are passes? Thanks and good luck with ESPNBoston!
Kevin, that's a good example of how effective Maroney can be when in space. I do think the Patriots will try to work that into their arsenal.
Back to the Maroney question, why not sit him this week and give BJGE a chance? Every game that he has played in, he has run hard and at least attributed to positive yards; he also has never accused his OL of not blocking for him.
If Taylor is healthy, then I'd consider it. But part of my thinking is also style of runner. Green-Ellis, to me, is very similar to Morris. Maroney is a different style,a bit faster, with breakaway potential. I like the idea of having complementing styles.
what's going on with Moss? He's probable for the game Sunday.
I wouldn't worry about Moss. He'll be there, Larry.
Hey Mike, if you had a chance to read Jackie MacMullen's column on Kevin Youkilis's character in the clubhouse, can you share your thoughts?
I read it this morning, Craig. I have not been around the Red Sox clubhouse at all, really ever, so I thought it gave some insight as to behind the scenes stuff with Youkilis. I liked the piece quite a bit.
Do you think Cassel's struggles in K.C. highlights how good BB really is by exposing Pioli's questionable talent evaluation skills?
I don't see it that way, Anthony. Not much protection for Cassel in KC. They are still building.
Anthony, on the other question about Ron Brace, I think Terdell Sands has jumped ahead of him. My sense is that unless there is an injury, this could be the way it is.
Any chance we see a postgame hug?
I'll go with the straight-up respectful handshake.
I'm a big Mike Wright fan now! I can't believe a guy that good was our back up for all of those years. Did he just develop behind Seymour, Wilfork and Warren? Or was he always capable of playing this way? He's leading the Pats in sacks and has provided consistent pressure in each game this year.
The biggest thing I see with Mike Wright is that he's thriving playing a different technique. Instead of the 3-4 end or nose, he's a 4-3 tackle, which seems suited for his style of play. It highlights his quickness.
I am so excite about seeing the Patriots in white throwbacks Sunday! I almost can't sleep at night. I see this as a statement game for the Patriots. After feeling their way into the season on both offense and defense, they have a chance to really play a complete game on both sides of the ball (and on teams too).Do you see any way Orton/Marshall/Royal and some banged up RBs can score on the Patriots?
Yes, Wayne, I think this offense will move the ball against the Patriots' defense. It looks like the defense is getting better, but I still have some questions when they rush four and drop seven. This offense will be a tough matchup for the Patriots.
Hi Mike, How long before Butler wins the starting job? I read your blog this morning that mentioned how well he played, considering he was not slated to play as much as he did. I think he has more big play potential than Springs at this point in Springs' career.
I see him as the starter in 2010 at the latest. Really promising talent. First-round caliber in my view.
So Mike, why do you think the offensive line chooses to only block correctly when other backs are running and not Maroney?
Good one, Keith. I like Maroney, but it turns out his bad decisions aren't only on the football field. It doesn't reflect well on him when he says a play isn't blocked correctly, as it makes it seem like he's calling out the line.
When Denver wins this weekend, will everyone finally give them the respect they deserve. They aren't losing until they play in Baltimore.
I think that will surely give them respect, Travis. That would be a huge win. Josh McDaniels deserves all the credit coming to him to this point. Great coach, great guy.
Which is the bigger concern : Moreno catching balls out of the backfield or Marshall?
Marshall first, then Moreno. Both are tough, but Marshall because of the big-play capability in one downfield chunk.
Hi Mike! What do you think of the Pats trade that send Richard Seymour to the Raiders? At first I thought Belichick got it wrong but after four games my opinion changed.
The question I had at the time, Christine, was if the Patriots sacrificed too much in the short-term for the long-term gain. I think it's early to tell, but it looks to me like they're going to ultimately benefit from the trade more than it hurts them.
This falls in line with the Bailey/Moss matchup...do you think Moss is less explosive than he was in 2007? I tend to thing he might still have that top end speed, but lost a little bit of the explosive in getting off the line (5 yard area)?
Maybe a little Nick, but I think what you're seeing more than anything is that he's being asked to run different routes. He's basically been three receivers in one -- short, intermediate and long. Still explosive.
Hello Mike,How are the Pats planning to stop Moreno? The kid looks electric and runs behind a great o-line...he's a big key for the Broncos in moving the chains. Thanks
Gary Guyton could be a big part of the plan, Andrew. We've seen him in the past against Leon Washington when it called for one-on-one matchups between a back and linebacker. That was the first thought I had.
I actually agree with Maroney. It seems like as soon as he gets the handoff, there are often defenders in the backfield right on him. But anyway, Tight Ends: how would you rate their play after 4 games?
Watson has been better than anticipated, Dave. Some big catches. Baker is solid. Matthews still getting his feet wet.
On Maroney, no question some of the plays aren't blocked well. Others, though, he can do more with.
Can you break down the special teams on Denver for us? I think Eddie Royal is a key return guy, but I don't know much besides that. How do the Pats match up there?
Their specialists are good, Matt. Prater is tied for the NFL lead with nine touchbacks and opponents' average drive start is the 21 yard-line. So they're winning the field position game. Denver's kickoff return unit ranks 30th, their punt return team 18th, while their kickoff coverage is 14th and punt coverage 21st. Should be some opporutnities there based on the statistics.
Do you think that the Ravens calling out the officials last week, will put the Patriots defense under a microscope this week? Furthermore, why were the Ravens not fined???
Not necessarily Keith. I think the NFL didn't fine the Ravens because they thought the calls weren't necessarily clear-cut.
I know it's early... But the National Football Post is breaking down their Top 30 draft-eligible. Any thoughts on the list, or possible targets in 2010?
A little bit early for me on that Matt G. More focused on the four games that have been played and this one with the Broncos. Looking forward to jumping into draft stuff after the season.
Do you see Volmer taking over for Matt Light this year? Light has been already lit up in a few games.
I'd stick with Light. In terms of percentages, he's made more blocks than he's missed. I think the perception might be different, though, because the ones he misses show up in a big way.
We'll take a few more here before signing off.
Any news on what coach is going to wear on the sidelines on Sunday? I assume it will be cold enough for him to breakout some of his throwback gear since he didn't wear any in the first game against the Bills.
Good one, Wayne. Those are usually "game-time" decisions for Belichick. :)
Do you think Kyle Orton will get his first interception of the year on Sunday? I think Bill will be able to get in his head. He'll have flash backs of playing for the Bears last year.
Patriots secondary is playing well, so I'll say yes.
Hey Mike, I think the main reasone for the Pats' winning consistency is success in player turnover. Who do you see as their current team leaders besides Brady?
Guys like Ty Warren, Vince Wilfork, Adalius Thomas, Logan Mankins, Sam Aiken were the first to come to mind in different areas of the team.
It seems to have been a little quiet lately on the contract-talk front (positive or negative) Any word on Wilfork, Mankins, Brady, anyone? Also, what it Meriweather's contract status? Thanks.
If history is any guide, the Patriots usually get talks going this month with the idea of trying to strike one by the bye. Not sure where they stand on possible extensions, but I've said all along that Brady won't be an issue. It's not a matter of "if", it's "when." Meriweather is signed through 2011.
Thanks to everyone for stopping by. We'll have another chat Friday with Tedy Bruschi. I'll hop in for the back end of the chat.
Enjoy the rest of the day.