Good afternoon. Just out of the Patriots locker room. Vince Wilfork, Adalius Thomas and Chris Baker some of the players drawing larger media crowds. One of the battles this week for Patriots players is not taking the 0-5 Titans lightly. Sounds like Bill Belichick has drilled it into the players pretty good, that the Titans are better than their record.
Let's get into some questions. I'll be here until 1 p.m.
Mike, what do think the odds are for Belicheck to aquire T.O. as a 3rd reciever. Mixed emotions, But, just think of the posibilities.
John, I just don't see T.O. as an option. I had said the same thing about Moss, but I see a difference between the two. Moss's prior frustrations were based on competitiveness. Owens' disruptions seem to be otherwise.
Mike, it seems to me that Brady is looking for Welker too much. It's becoming very predictable. What do you think? Welker's going to get hurt if other receivers don't pose a threat to the defense.
No question about it, Lowercaseg, and it's why I think that No. 3 receiver needs to step up, or the team needs to go away from the three-wide set and use the tight ends more. It was crystal clear to me Sunday in Denver, how the Patriots were too easily defended. Champ Bailey took away Sam Aiken, they double-covered Moss on the other side, and it left only Welker underneath as the best option.
Is Bill O'Brien taking unfair heat for play calling? Seems like execution is the key, regardless of the call, particularly on run-blocking plays where the offensive line should take pride in making it happen.
I don't think Bill O'Brien should be taking too much heat, Nick, but I think it's fair to point out that such transitions can result in some struggles. If I recall, the Patriots had similar hiccups in 2005, Josh McDaniels' first season calling plays. You seldom see a coach just step into that role and things click right away. Also, Tom Brady checks in and out of plays at the line of scrimmage based on the defensive look. So there are a lot of factors involved.
Hey Mike,Appreciate you taking time to answer our questions. I know that Seau brings in a veteran leadership. But is that worth letting go of a behemoth DL, who, if coached properly, could be a great run stuffer. Seau can just give us a few games, and Sands could have been a long term member. I feel that the cut was not fair, especially to Sands. Your thoughts?
I wouldn't rule out Sands' return, bmaddy. His nameplate is still up at his locker and some clothes are still in there. I'd reserve judgment on this one until Sands winds up elsewhere.
Hey Mike,Pats are very thin at LB position. Why didn't BB address the issue in this years draft. It is very frustrating to see LB passed over by us (Maulauga, Laurinitis), doing well for their respective teams. Ray especially has been great and tackles like a beast. Our pick Chung is not even active in many snaps. Do you think we made a mistake?
I'd say the Patriots did address it, with third-rounder Tyrone McKenzie. He would have been on the team as a top backup at ILB, and on special teams. But he tore his ACL in rookie camp. They also had Shawn Crable from the 2008 draft, so it's not like they are neglecting the position. They also have Gary Guyton, a 2008 free agent who looks like a find. Could they have picked one higher? That seems fair to suggest. I know there was some concern among teams with Maualuga's football smarts and that might have been a factor. This is a very complex defense. I think Chung is going to be a good player.
Hello Mike,Any scoop on potential trades? I heard Aaron Kampman in on the block. Could he be of any use?How about Derrick Johnson? Hell, why dont we offer a 2nd round to bills for TO!
Haven't heard anything on trades, but I have to say, it's fun to consider the possibilities. If anything, I'd think a WR would be the area to look to. Would you give up a conditional second-round pick to Seattle for Deion Branch, if Branch would reduce the final three years of his contract? I'm not sure Seattle would do it, but it seems like a win-win to me.
Do you think moss is still elite
Without a doubt.
Mike,Why does BB rely a lot on his philosophy of getting 2nd round picks and developing them into solid players? On paper, it seems great, but wouldnt he rather have someone who can contribute right away (first round choices). I know that it has worked out well in some cases. Merriweather looked lost in his first yr, but looks solid now. Maybe Chung would look great in 2011 too. But that doesnt help us this year, when we have to form a defensive team from scratch! And even if we un-earth diamonds from lower picks (Asante Samuel), we dont pay them the money they deserve and let them reap benefits elsewhere. Samuel has been great for eagles this year (3 picks). Why be so stingy with economics?
I think it's a fair point, but I'd also point out that in 2008, Jerod Mayo was the 10th overall selection. So I wouldn't say it's black and white. But this year was a good example. They had the 23rd overall pick, traded down to 26th, then traded down again. Part of that is making the determination that the quality of player you get at 23/26 is not much different than 34/40/41 so you play economics. At first, I thought maybe they could have traded up for Malcolm Jenkins, but I think they got a first-round caliber player in Darius Butler anyway. So I can't bang them too much for that.
Mike,Realistically, can we expect a 25-30 touchdown season from Brady this year? I remember some saying before the season started that anything less that 35 will be a disappointment. Right now, 25 is looking like a mile away!
I could see the number doubling the next two weeks, Rob. I think Brady will get it together. He's still finding his way.
Just curious, when was the last time a patriot had a 15 sack season? I remember Vrable had 12 in 07, but I draw a blank before that. Did we even have one?
Andre Tippett, 16.5, 1985.
Do you guys belive that adding Seau will allow the Pats to play a lot more 3-4 defense in the future? and whats your score predcictions for Sundays game?
I'd be interested in Tedy's thoughts on this one. That is my belief. I think it's important to get Adalius Thomas back into more of an attacking role. Also, I like the way the defense fits in the running game out of the 3-4 a bit better. As for a score predcition, I took the Patriots by 10. I am 4-1 on Patriots predictions this year, with the lone loss coming last week in Denver. I thought they'd win that one.
Hi Mike, on the stat sheet, Kevin Faulk's contribution is less eminent than last few years. Is this something to do with the game plan, or does he have an injury or something?
MarkJ, I don't know the answer to this one. Faulk has 20 carries for 70 yards (3.5 avg.) and 14 catches for 98 yards (7.0 avg.). I'd have to look deeper into it.
Hey mike, I agree with your analysis on the Seau signing, he will add good depth behind Mayo, and Guyton, and HOPEFULLY we play 3-4 more often than not. I feel that BB is at his best when he has good linebacker depth and unleashes a solid 3-4 game plan. Do you agree? How many snaps for Seau this sunday? thanks mike!
The thing I like about the 3-4 is that it puts a little more pressure on opposing offensive lines to identify where the fourth and extra rushers are coming from. In the four-man line, you basically declare that for them at the snap. As for Seau, my projection would be that he's in the 15-snap range Sunday.
What is the latest news on Patriots WR Brandon Tate? A lot of people think he was better than Hakeem Nicks coming out of UNC, so there is a lot of interest on whether or not he will be activated after week 7.
The word is that Tate is making progress, but I don't know anything definitive about the team's plans to activate him off the physically unable to perform list following Sunday's game.
I was listening to 98.5 The Sports Hub this morning and Tanguay and Zolak were saying that the Pats should bring in TO from Buffalo. I was curious as to your opinion on this and if it could work with this Pats locker room?
I was surprised when they acquired Moss, thinking they had lost their way. I was wrong on that one. After learning more about Moss, some of the things he did in the past were because of his competitiveness and frustration of the situation he was in. I could be wrong again, but I see Owens in a different light. I just think he's not a team-first guy. Moss, as I've come to learn, is just that.
Mike, can you tell us your opinions and/or observations on Brandon Tate? Do you think he has run routes at this point, just not in a practice setting?
JP, I don't know on Tate. I'll have to put more time into that and report back next Thursday. Apologies. It has been almost a full year since his knee injury so the projection is that he would be ready, assuming no setbacks.
is joey galloways days done in N.E. ?
I don't think so, Ron. I think this is the week to get him back in there, wipe the slate clean, and start fresh. They need Galloway if they want to be a three-wide offense. I think he's their best option at this point.
Galloway will be on the roster how long in your opinion? Will he be active this week?
I think he will be active this week, Dennis. They can't keep putting Sam Aiken (1 catch over the last 2 games) on the field as the third receiver. In terms of how long he'll been on the roster, I'm going to say all year. I'm assuming there will be no addition at the trade deadline, and that the Patriots will determine Galloway, who is guaranteed his salary, is their best option.
Randy moss is still top 3 wide outs in the league although randy moss is seeing double coverage every game dont u think tom should still be throwing the ball his way so he can make those spectacular catches i mean thats when the patrioats offense was most successful when moss was getting the ball stop using him as a decoy
I'd like to see them take a few more shots, Rob, but it's not like Brady isn't throwing to Moss. Moss is averaging 9.6 "targets" per game. But I think Brady, Belichick and Co., would agree they have to keep working to get Moss the ball.
Question regarding Galloway...is he on the sidelines when inactive? Do you see him mingling with the players much?
I have not seen Galloway on the sidelines during games Jim. I have seen him talking with his teammates, although it's been a few weeks since I've seen Galloway in the locker room during media-access time.
Mike, Love your insights. It seems like we're running mostly passing plays, because O'brien's pedigree is as a quarterback coach. I'm not sure he is totally comfortable in calling good running plays, and knowing when and how to deploy them. Your thoughts?
I thought that was the case in the first two weeks, when the Patriots had 101 dropbacks and 43 rushes. But they've since balanced the offense. Check out these numbers: Falcons (42 passes, 39 rushes), Ravens (32 passes, 30 rushes), Broncos (33 passes, 27 rushes).
I know injury information is scarce . I'm concerned about Ben Watson, he was listed as having a head injury. Does that mean a concussion? What else could it be?
He had a concussion, David. His availability is in question.
Hey Mike...any thoughts on the half-time adjustments, or lack there of by the Patriots? This used to be something the Patriots did so well, now it seems that opponents are the ones making and implementing adjustments. And it seems to be working...for them.
Good point, Willy, although I'd classify them less as halftime adjustments and more as in-game adjustments. Teams can't wait until halftime to tweak their plans/schemes. I think the Patriots have made some good adjustments this season, but other times, the opponents have had the leg up.
Do you think the Patriots should call up Seattle and offer a trade to bring Deion Branch back to New England?
I've been beating the drum on this one, but it's purely speculative. I have no information that would indicate it's even a possibility, and in fact, the feeling among Seattle-area reporters I've casually mentioned it to is that the Seahawks would probably be reluctant to make that move. Because Branch has knowledge of the system, and the Patriots have questions at No. 3 receiver, it's a unique fit. In the hypothetical, I assume Branch would have to renegotiate his contract, and the Patriots would want a condition in the deal that protects them if he has more knee problems.
ok i think that the patriots should turn into the lakers of the nfl by trading for T.O. u cant double moss nd T.O. nd having wes welker in the slot is simply unstoppable he is not going cry about getting the ball cause he will get more than he is in buffalo nd for one year why not he is not getting paid that much
Your opinion has been heard, Rob. I wish there was more real activity at the trading deadline. Fun to consider all the possibilities.
Will the Patriots push their secondary a bit closer to the LOS? Will their priority be to stop the run, be more physical with the receivers, and stop those short passes, that killed the team in Denver?
I'd say this matchup is totally different, and that the Patriots will probably be more inclined to bring their safeties into the box to support the run against Chris Johnson and LenDale White. So that would probably mean the corners stay off to protect themselves from getting beaten on the big play with less safety help over the top.
Thoughts on the Patriots devoting time to possibly seeing Vince Young? Fisher stated that Collins is the starter but was wondering if the Pats would still have to devote a decent amount of time to the possibility of Young coming in.
You are right on topic, Willy. I just blogged this before coming into today's chat.http://espn.go.com/boston/columns/patriots/blog?post=4562033&name=patriots
Just in case the link doesn't work, yes, they are preparing for Young as well. Vince Wilfork's feeling is that the Patriots are expecting anything and everything from the Titans. Everyone will play because they are fighting to save their season.
Where has Ty Warren been this season? He has made a few plays but overall I rarely notice him durring the games. The defensive plays chart you have shows he has been in for less than 50% of snaps for the last two weeks. I thought the scheme change to a 4-3 would benefit him? Is he injured again or is the absense of Seymore drawing a double hurting him?
Warren has a calf injury that limited his playtime Sunday in Denver. I was unaware of any other injuries. Speaking with NFL folks around the league, Warren is well respected and considered by some to be the team's best lineman. He has 20 tackles, one sack and four quarterback hits. That was a costly roughing the passer penalty Sunday. I personally think he's better suited to the 3-4.
what is wrong with lawrence maroney the undefeated year in the playoffs he was geting a 100 yds a game now he doesnt touch it that often that is why the patriots loss to the giants because they stop handing the ball off they stop playing playoff football
I think it comes to confidence and thinking too much. Maroney needs to let it rip. I thought he ran better against the Broncos, but he was on for just nine snaps. I'd almost give him one more shot to prove himself by feeding him the ball 20-25 times and seeing what he can do with it. Maybe that finally lights the spark for him.
If you are BB, what do you look to negate this week vs Tenn? Chris Johnson seems to be a viable target, especially when he's catching balls out of the backfield. Patriots seem to have problems with quick, RB's and he fits the mold.
Agree Tyler. This Patriots defense is big and physical, and where they sometimes run into problems is when they are playing in space. Johnson is a matchup to be concerned about. His 594 yards from scrimmage leads the NFL. He's a big play waiting to happen. Teams play zone against him, not man, because one missed tackle can mean 6 points. This defensive game plan should start with Johnson and stressing the importance of getting 11 hats to the ball on every play he touches the ball.
Mike - do you think the Pats are too vanilla in their blitzes? I notice some teams have rushers looping from behind others, where they are partially hidden and often detected too late. We seem to have speedy guys who can cover the extra ground for what seems to be an effective tactic.
I don't have a great feel for this one, Jim, as I haven't studied or watched enough of their blitzes. On a slightly similar topic, I was somewhat surprised at the number of blitzes they called Sunday in Denver. I had thought it was fewer during the game, but after going back and watching the game over, there were more of them (17 of 48 pass attempts) than I anticipated.
Mike, are you heading back to UMass for homecoming and some D.P. Dough this weekend?
D.P. Dough. Outstanding. Those calzones were $4 when I was there. No homecoming for me. With London trip ahead next week, that's going to be a family day.
Mike, The best the Patriots Defense has looked this year was against Baltimore when they were blitzing and getting prressure to Flacco, Is there any talk of them going to more of that style of defense with a healthy Mayo instead of the 8-10 yard cushion prevent the big play and get picked apart short D?
Patrick, I don't see a major philosophical change with the D. I do think the concern is not getting enough rush when sending the standard four. Maybe a shift to the 3-4 will help.
Matt Light has been up and down this year. This injury does not bode will for his consistency. Is this an open door for Volmer?
I don't think we'll see Light this week, so I'd expect Vollmer to be in the lineup. Not sure if they'll play him at LT or RT. I'd project Kendall Simmons as the third tackle this week.
What's your sense of the Pats demeanor this week - are they focused to getting back on track or deflated and susceptible to overlooking the winless Titans?
Very focused. No overlooking the Titans. This is one of the things I think Belichick does a very good job nipping in the bud early. He knows the mindset is to take an 0-5 team lightly. So he shows all the good Titans plays this season, including those against Peyton Manning, and drills it home. The players are buying it, as they should. The Titans could beat them if the Patriots don't play their game. If the Patriots do, they should win.
Why was Rob Ninkovich in the game in that 2nd quarter series?
Looked like just a standard rotation to me, Ben. I didn't see an injury. He replaced Adalius Thomas for that one series and seemed to earn himself some more time going forward. I'd like to see him get a crack at third down rusher duties too.
S. Morris or C.Johnson. Who has the better game this week? Morris looked good last week, and Johnson and the Titan's struggled. I predict 38-10 Pats
Johnson. Titans are tough to run on, allowing just 2.8 yards per carry. Part of that might be how easily they've been sliced up in the air, but they have a pretty good defensive front.
Hey Mike. Are you as disappointed as I am with the production from the Patriots' "#3 receiver"? We started with Galloway, and prior to that Lewis was penciled in. Now we have Edelman as a backup to Welker. This leaves us using 2 TEs with average speed who don't create mismatches.
Huge storyline, Jim, that I don't think should be overlooked. That was a lot of money for Gaffney (4 years, $10m if I recall), but if we knew then what we know now, I would have paid it to keep him. That's the tough part of the personnel business. At the same time, I'm not convinced that Galloway can't turn it around here. It starts this week.
is meriweather top 3 safety in the league yet i think he is because of his play against baltimore he out played ed reed that game he basically looked like ed reed
It looked like he was headed in that direction, Rob, but then he took a step back vs. Denver. Too many missed tackles. More consistency on the good stuff and he's on his way.
A question about numbers? Why Derrick Burgess has now the 53?, That number was previously assigned to Tyron McKenzie.
Tyrone McKenzie has switched to No. 44.
I'm not convinced that Junior Seau can help the Patriots but I have been wrong about since he has been here. I am I right or wrong , is he finally too old to help the Patriots?
At the very least, his presence adds a spark. Wes Welker called it a morale booster. But I think he'll help in other ways, allowing them to be a bit more flexible on defense. 15 plays, and the built-in security to know they have a solid backup in the event of a one-game emergency, is all they need.
Mike, who do you think will get the majority of the carries this weekend: Morris, Maroney or BGE?
Based on last week, I'd have to say Morris.
Do you have any idea of what type of schedule the Pats will be following next week? I assume they'll want to get to England ASAP. Have any announcements been made in regards to this.
Patriots will leave Thursday after practice.
Hi Mike. It might just be me - but I'm regularly fishing around the website trying to find the updated Pats content. For example, is your twitter account the only place to find the link to this chat? I can't seem to make sense of where to go to get a top level focus on Patriots content at espnboston. The Pats top page seems to be behind the times (doesn't have a link to this chat for example). Love the coverage - but just working too hard to find it.
Let's end on this one, Ned. First, thanks for checking the site and hanging with us. We are updated pretty regularly. One area to look is the four boxes under the main item on the page. Those are updated content. The arrows on the side of those boxes take you to more updated content. Let me know how it goes. I want to help you get comfortable with it.
Now, handing it over to Tedy. He's taught me a lot about the game already. What a pleasure working with him.
We've got Tedy!
Hey guys, I'm here, let's talk football!
Tedy, What do you think Junior can bring to our Defense? Do you think he can establish a more solid unity and communication?
Junior's role will be limited at first. His days of playing every down are over. But he will bring an emotional spark and a handful of plays every week of quality football.
Mike/Tedy,can you tell me why BB isn't using ben jarvis green ellis even though he has been pretty good when he got his chances on running the ball? thanks
The Patriots just have too many good backs. Ben Jarvis Green Ellis is a security blanket. I know LM 39 been struggling, but they may want to continue to develop him into a good runner for the future.
Hey tedy! I was wondering why the pats arent pursuing a strong defensive end rusher?
They already did in acquiring Derrick Burgess. He just has to start producing sacks and big plays.
Hey Tedy...Why choose 40 yr old Junior Seau..Didt anyone make a case for Derrick Brooks???
Derrick Brooks would have to learn the entire system. Junior Seau has two years of experience playing in this defense already.
Plus BB absolutely loves his energy.
Tedy; do you think Bill brought back Junior for a leadership reasons? Also what were your thoughts on Guyton being on the field every play last week even with a healthy Mayo back? He has been one heck of a steal!
Yes, one of Junior's biggest positives is his leadership qualities. I don't think Jerod Mayo was 100% healthy last week. That's why Guyton got all of the reps. I do think Jerod should be starting this week, with Guyton moving to OLB.
Miss ya, Tedy. So everyone and their brother has their opinions about T.O., now what say you?
Thanks Lisa. TO is a great player with a ton of baggage. He always has been.
why not force the issue (blitz more) earlier in games when their is more of an element of surprise, rather than later when the offense knows you have to? Don't you think this would help our overall ability to make a few sorely lacking game changing plays?
The Patriots are a gameplan defense. They will blitz teams they feel are suceptible to it. A blitz can be a surprise to the offense late in the game, just like it can be in the beginning.
Hey Tedy, Do you think with Seau coming back we'll finally see Burgess emerge and start getting some sacks? Or does he just look like he's on the downside of his career to you?
Don't make an early judgement on Burgess yet. It's a new defense and a new team. He was a beast with his previous two teams. I think it's very possible that he can regain that form this year. Just give him time.
Junior's signing makes no difference.
Yes I do.
Hey Tedy, Assuming the Pats play more 3-4 because Mayo is getting healthy and Seau is in the fold, How big of a factor will Adalius be in blitzing? What other linebackers are best at rushing the passer in the 3-4.
You're wrong Evan, the Patriots will continue to run a 4-3 defensive front. Mayo will now start in the middle with Guyton on the outside with Adalius Thomas. Junior will come in in a rotation.
will there be a more focus on the running game, or is the passing game a bigger concern with brady's production in question?
They have to pass the ball this week. The Titans secondary is decimated with injuries. There may be 2-3 rookies out there at once. If Brady doesn't have a big day this week, you wonder if he ever will.
Do you envision Seau playing a role like Bryan Cox did on your 2001 Super Bowl team?
Good analogy Mike. You are absolutely right. Cox played a handful of downs every game and was a strong lockerroom presence.
Tedy, Your thoughts on Meriweathers play thus far this season? Thanks!
Brandon has made great progress this season. He's shown incredible range and the ability to make a big hit. I see him developing into a premiere safety in a year or two, if he continues to work.
tedy, first of all thank you for all you did as a patriot. youve always been my single favorite football player let alone patriot. i degress... when do you predict that this teams starts to execute like it should be. like you said, the game against dever was a game of missed opportunities.
I see them getting back on track versus a below average team this week in the Tennessee Titans. When they're in London, you just want to get the victory. But after that, they have the bye and that should give them enough time to get firing on all cylinders. And thanks for the support Fowler.
Tedy, Thanks for everything you did for us. Can you talk a bit about the state of the running game with Taylor sidelined? Especially your thoughts on Maroney's progress? Thanks.
I still believe they need to make a conscious effort to run the ball. This isn't 2007 anymore. Tom won't throw for 50 TD passes. Kevin Faulk is solid. LM 39 must continue to improve. I thought he made strides last week. That's positive.
How will game planning for 2 QB's (Young and Collins) affect the pats' preparation this week? PS- I miss seeing you on that field Tedy- Happy Retirement!
Their two QBs are total opposties, so you must have two possible game plans, in terms of getting to the QB. Versus Kerry Collins, you must pressure him into the middle of the pocket. Versus Vince Young, you must be disciplined in the way you rush, because of his athletic ability. This makes this team tougher to prepare for, but they've done it before. Thanks Jon, retirement is bliss.
Tedy, in watching the team play, I see flashes of brilliance both on offense and defense, but a lack of consistency. What do you think it will take to get them rolling on all cylinders?
It's disturbing that they're not consistent and we're already in Week 6. The only thing they can do is continue to work and try to get better. I know that's a cliche, but that's just what they have to do. Unfortunately, teams like the Colts, Giants and the Saints aren't talking about consistency problems. That's why they're the best teams in the NFL.
Teddy, how do you rate the play of our corners? Any insights regarding their play, something the trained eye of a former player would catch?
They've played solid up to this point. However, you will see if they are for real when they play teams like the Colts and the Saints. I don't want to critique them yet. When we see them versus the top flight competition in the NFL, we will know.
Tedy, what was with all of the missed tackles last week vs. Denver? How do you think the defense addresses the issue and is that something that is symptomatic of the overall team or just a game to game issue?
It was just a game issue, but it can turn into an epidemic. You can't have live tackling drills during the week, in the middle of the season. So, you just stress fundamentals verbally. The return of Jerod Mayo will help their tackling problems. He's one of the best tacklers I've ever played with.
Are the Buccaneers leaving the same day as the Patriots?
I don't know.
Hi Tedy! Because all these trade talks, let me ask you this one: What do you think is the biggest need of the Pats D right now?
The biggest need is a player who can make the big play. They haven't had a defensive score yet this year. I'm not saying they need to trade for that guy, but one of the playmakers on defense needs to start making plays that change games and scoreboards.
You guys are awesome, I had a great time. See you next week!
I just wanted to thank Jeremy, who is my live chat interpretor!