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January 28, 12:00 PM ET
Chat with Mike Reiss

Mike Reiss
  (12:00 PM)

Good afternoon.

Mike Reiss
  (12:00 PM)

The plan today is to go from noon-12:30. Hopefully that will keep the content fresh and we'll cover a lot of ground.

Andrew from Haverhill (Haverhill, MA)

Hey Mike I was away when Brandon Tate was injured. Is it the same knee he hurt in college and how serious is the knew injury. What is his expected recovery?

Mike Reiss
  (12:02 PM)

Andrew, I'm told it was the opposite knee. I believe he had an ACL tear, but am not 100 percent sure of that. I don't know the expected recovery, but considering he went on IR in November, that would give him 8-9 months to training camp. I assume he should have a chance, barring any setbacks, of being there for the start of camp.

joshua goulart (bristol ri)

ok now the offense needs some help how about trading the 2011 first rounder for boldin and maybe picking up a 3rd or 4 th rounder from arizona and grabbing jorden shipley from texas in the 2nd round this year, what are yor thought on this?

Mike Reiss
  (12:03 PM)

I think that's too rich for Boldin, Joshua, especially considering you would have to sign him to a big extension. I'd rather see the Patriots take that money they would give to Boldin and focus on Brady and Wilfork and Mankins and Gostkowski. I like Shipley.

Bharat (RI)

Mike, it seems like Wilfork is looking for a deal that Pats may not offer. Keeping this in mind, would it be outlandish to think they should tag him and trade him for picks in this draft? I personally think that is a better option than tag him and let him walk next year for nothing like Asante. Also, can we some how get a 1st and 3rd for him, and if lucky maybe a 1st and 2nd? This year's draft is deep and we sure could use additional picks to get quality players.

Mike Reiss
  (12:05 PM)

I sense the same thing on Wilfork, Bharat. I don't think there is any question that Wilfork will be tagged. As for a trade, I think a pick or picks in this year's draft makes sense. I don't see anyone giving up a first and second for him.

Craig (Norwich, CT)

How do Tyrone McKenzie & Shawn Crable fit into the Patriots' plans for next season?

Mike Reiss
  (12:05 PM)

I think both would enter training camp as backups at their respective positions, Craig. Then you hope they stay healthy, coach them up, and see how they compete.

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

Which College Football player that is currently playing in College do you think will be a perfect fit for the New England Patriots?

Mike Reiss
  (12:06 PM)

Brandon Graham, Michigan. Explosive player. Pass rusher. Energy. Fast. The type of defensive playmaker I think they need.

Asad J. (New York)

What up Mike! Do you see Brady taking another "hometown" discount so that the Pats can go after other players, or are those days over Will he look to break the bank as the top paid QB in the league?

Mike Reiss
  (12:07 PM)

I still think Brady will work with the team, Asad. I don't think that means there will be a discount, per se, but I don't see him holding them ransom.

Mike (Chicopee)

Mike, what is your take on the overtime system? Does it need to be changed?

Mike Reiss
  (12:07 PM)

I like Belichick's suggestion. Put seven or eight minutes on the clock and play out the entire overtime period. Belichick has a lot of interesting suggestions on stuff like this.

Tommy Guns (Ashland)

Hi Mike, from the forgotten town of Metrowest. Do you see Floyd Reece having a bigger impact in his second season here with respec to talent evaluation, or is he more of a contract negotiator?

Mike Reiss
  (12:09 PM)

Why is Ashland forgotten, Tommy? People have to respect Clocker country. I was thinking about this the other day and it's a question I have for Belichick. It makes sense to give Reese a bit more of a voice in the personnel evaluation. My interpretation is that he was mostly contracts in 2009. I wonder if Belichick will move Nick Caserio back to coaching and thus give Reese some more latitude on the peronnel side.

MarkJ (Japan)

Mike, how DL work in the trench is often hard to understand in TV. So, please tell me, NT and DE, how are they different in Pats system? Mike Wright or Vince Wilfork have played both positions and they have been more than good. Could we draft a good DE and move him to NT?

Mike Reiss
  (12:11 PM)

The main difference, MarkJ, is where they line up and how fast things happen at the position. The nose tackle is over the center and has both the center and guards to deal with at the snap. The ends have a little more space when locked up against tackles. Arm length is important at end against those bigger tackles. Being "squattier" and keeping a low center of gravity is more important at nose. Some ends could play nose, but it's a tough role to fill.

Walter (NH)

Mike,Don't you think that Vince Wilfolk is wasting his time saying the franchise tag is a slap in the face and the Pats will tag him anyway if they don't sign him? The Patriots have always handled business as business and won't let emotion or anything else guide their decision.

Mike Reiss
  (12:13 PM)

The Patriots will tag Wilfork if they can't work out a deal by February, I have no doubt about it. At the same time, I can't say that Wilfork is wasting his time because it might be part of his overall negotiating strategy. I assume he wants the Patriots to know there is no more "Mr. Nice Guy."

Peg (Waltham)

Mike, which hot topics are you most tired of talking about: leadership, pass rush or Vince's contract situation?

Mike Reiss
  (12:13 PM)

Good one, Peg. I don't get tired about talking about the Patriots. I feel pretty fortunate to get paid to do this.

John (Topeka, KS)

What are your feeling with the Vince Wilfork situation? Also, will the Patriots look to free agency to sure up any defensive needs or continue to try and draft and develop the young talent?

Mike Reiss
  (12:14 PM)

Here are a few thoughts on Wilfork: 1) Surprised it has gotten to this point; 2) Think Wilfork is in a tough spot leverage wise; 3) This will get uglier than it already is; 4) Wonder if the team could have extended itself more with Wilfork a year ago to avoid this. ... On the defensive needs, I see the primary source being the draft, with free agency used to supplement.

Butter (Chelmsford)

Mike, I love big Vince asmuch as any player on that team. However, do you see big nose tackles being phased out of NFL defensive schemes, as more more stadiums have filed turf and more offenses are pass happy or derivatives of the west coast attack?

Mike Reiss
  (12:15 PM)

I think a player like Wilfork can be successful in any defense -- 3-4 nose, 4-3 defensive tackle, 3-4 end. I wouldn't pigeon-hole him and say his style of play is being phased out. I actually think he could play more on third down and be effective.

Seth (Bangor, Maine)

Many see the Jets as the new power in the AFC East. Many Dolphin fans felt that way last year after winning the division. With free agency, tougher schedules and simple change (retirements, new coaches, the draft, etc) is it too eary to predict who will be the power in this division next year?

Mike Reiss
  (12:17 PM)

Well said, Seth. I think some people forgot that on Nov. 22, the Patriots beat the Jets 31-14. The Jets got hot at the right time and caught some breaks at the end of the year. They will be tough going forward. But to call them the new power of the AFC East makes me channel my inner Ed Hochuli and call a false start. Too early to tell.

Sal (Dedham)

Mike - can you touch on Nick Caserio's role on this team? Is he a jack of all trades, or does he have his hand in too many aspects of team management and coaching to be effective?

Mike Reiss
  (12:18 PM)

Very unique, Sal. Nick Caserio oversees the personnel department but is also heavily involved in coaching. It's a rare position. I have wondered if we might see some changes with this going forward -- one or the other.

the Cat (Brookline)

Mike, recent Pats players that have held out (Branch, Seymour, Samuel) have gotten what they wanted in the end (either money or freedom). Is this is the path that Vince will take?

Mike Reiss
  (12:19 PM)

I have no doubt about it. If the Patriots tag Wilfork and there is no trade with another team, I wouldn't expect to see Wilfork until the last possible moment. I think he's digging in.

Farina (Chicago)

Mike, do you think that Ron Brace can make the jump from a non-playing rookie to an impact second year pro if Wilfork holds out or is no longer on this team?

Mike Reiss
  (12:20 PM)

Not at this point, Farina. That would be one of my bigger concerns from a coaching perspective. Brace only played 50 snaps by my count this season. I think it's a big jump to project him as a starter at this point. Improved football figures to be one of Brace's top priorities this offseason.

Tyler (Stratham, NH)

Hey Mike, whats with all the talk about Tebow coming to NE? I know we have three 2nd round picks which is around where he is being projected, but we have far more important needs in other areas than QB. Last time I checked we had a pretty good one starting for us and it sounds like all of Tebow's weaknesses (accuracy, timing, etc.) would be exposed in our offense with his strengths (power running) under-utilized. I know he's a big name but I would be incredibly surprised and disappointed if we used one of our second round picks on this kid.

Mike Reiss
  (12:21 PM)

Tyler, I tend to think the same way you do, but I have to say that I am still getting up to speed on the prospects. I saw where Mel Kiper listed Tebow as a second-round possibility to New England. One factor to consider is that I think the Patriots are quite pleased with Brian Hoyer as the backup QB, so they'd have to see something unique and different with Tebow to go there.

Hal (Canton)

Mike, just for speculative purposes, do you see next year as being Moss' last year as a Patriot?

Mike Reiss
  (12:22 PM)

I'll go with a yes on that one, Hal.

Ira (Newton)

Mike, I've read that Peyton Manning spent countles hours throwing to rookie receivers (like Garcon and Collie) as soon as they were drafted and he was able to develop great chemistry with them. Does Brady take the time to do this in the offseason? I remember a story on 60 minutes years ago about he and Branch used to do this. Does it still happen?

Mike Reiss
  (12:23 PM)

It still happens, Ira. I wouldn't question Brady's work ethic. He still gets after it. What he developed with Welker, that special connection, was from all the time put in behind the scenes.

Harry (Framingham)

Mike, does the fact the Dean Pees did not a DC positin with another team (and in fact took a lesser job with the Ravens) signal to you that perhaps he was asked by the Pats to leave?

Mike Reiss
  (12:24 PM)

I saw it the other way, Harry. In the end, I think he wanted a change. Sometimes people look down on those who don't take the same position with another team, but I sensed that Pees is a guy who is comfortable with himself and at this stage of his career was happy to be a spoke in the wheel instead of being the guy to hold it together.

Sean (Darien, CT)

Mike, with respect to the upcoming labor negotiations, what do you envision happening first, the players giving up slotted salaries for the draft or the owners giving up the franchise tag?

Mike Reiss
  (12:25 PM)

I can't see one happening without the other, Sean. If forced to pick one, I'd say the players going for the slotted salaries in the draft as long as there is language that ensures owners will spend it on veterans.

Mike Reiss
  (12:26 PM)

My sense on the labor stuff is that if we go uncapped in 2010, spending will go down, not up.

Matt (Plattsburgh, NY)

Mike, why wouldn't the Patriots make an offer to big Vince that is at or very close to his market value? He's a proven player and is the anchor of our Defense. Spending big doesn't always bring wins, but I think had New England been willing to spend a little more to retain Asante Samuel, who had also proven himself, our defense would be in a much better position. Now they're in this similar situation with Vince, and it seems the organization is moving along with business as usual.

Mike Reiss
  (12:28 PM)

Extremely tough to answer Matt, without knowing the details of any offers. I think there was some momentum in the middle of the year, but not at this point. I agree on Samuel; knowing what I know now, I thought the team dropped the ball and could have extended itself earlier.

Norman (Pawtucket)

Mike - I believe that the Pats were way ahead of the curve with signing mid level free agents to build a dynasty, however that strategy has not panned out in the last 4 or 5 years, as other teams in the league have used this and the game has sigificantly changed during that time (rule changes, stadiums, offensive schemes). What do you envsion as the next trend in NFL team-building, and does Belichick have what it takes (staff, personal drive, etc.) to make it happen?

Mike Reiss
  (12:29 PM)

My sense, Norman, is that we'll see a shift back to the draft and player development. I think overall salaries are going to go down, so there will be less spending on the open market and more focus on the cheaper, younger talent. So developing them will take on added importance.

John (Manchester, NH)

Mike, as a leader among the NFL owners, how much of a "responsibility" does Bob Kraft have in setting a tone on the CBA negotiations? Furthermore, how do you think any tone he intends to set would play out in terms of the Patriots offseason strategy? (signing free agents, extending players, etc) Thanks.

Mike Reiss
  (12:29 PM)

I personally think it's significant John. Great point. It's probably not a stretch to think it's why there hasn't been a Brady extension at this point and why Brady is entering the final year of his contract for the first time as a Patriot.

David (North Attleboro,Ma)

Ok Mike. The Patriots trade Seymour because they didn't think they could afford to resign him. They are in store for a increasingly contentious negotiation with Wilfork. With no CBA they don't have to pay Mankins until next year and can drop Adalius Thomas and save 4.9 million without future payments to him. Julius Peppers will be too much money. So the question is besides Brady who do the Patriots spend their money on?

Mike Reiss
  (12:31 PM)

David, if things don't work with Wilfork, they could focus on Mankins and Gostkowski. Just because those players are under contract for multiple years in an uncapped environment, being proactive earlier in the process could lock them up for longer than that before the prices skyrocket even higher.

Rene (Auburn)

Do you know if Belichick is heading down to the Senior Bowl? I understand he was there last year kicking the tires.

Mike Reiss
  (12:32 PM)

I don't know for sure Rene, but my hunch is that he isn't going to the Senior Bowl.

Clark (Muncie, IN)

It has been said if Pepper Johnson gets passed over he may want to go elsewhere. Would it play into BB's decision to promote Johnson? If so is there any threat of loosing Patricia? Is there a way to keep them both happy. I like Pepper. He's been here a long time and the players seem to respond to him.

Mike Reiss
  (12:33 PM)

I think that Belichick is smart and will weigh all factors in his decision-making. A good manager, in my opinion, can always find ways to keep his/her employees motivated. So with some creativity, I see no reason why the Patriots can't keep both Johnson and Patricia.

Mike Reiss
  (12:33 PM)

Let's go for another 5...

BruceM (Cambridge, MA)

Isn't the "new" Pro Bowl format quickly becoming a joke? The Super Bowl player won't play and anyone injured in the playoffs won't heal in time. By my count the Pro Bowl will be missing 3 of the top voted AFC QBs, the 2 top NFC QBs, 3 of the top AFC WRs,...etc...it's hardly going to be the best of the best. Do you think they will change it back next year?

Mike Reiss
  (12:34 PM)

While the NFL has sold tickets for the Pro Bowl, and surely they are happy about that, I agree that this system doesn't work. I think they go back to Hawaii in the future, and play it after the Super Bowl.

Evan (Boston)

Do you think the Patriots alter their draft strategy this year. Picking players that aren't their desired size but can play? I know they interviewed Brandon Graham and I think he would be a perfect fit for this team

Mike Reiss
  (12:36 PM)

I don't know the answer Evan, but I think it's probably the topic of the offseason to me: Do the Patriots lessen their standards at certain positions. Graham is a great example. Not as big as they'd like for an OLB, but maybe you sacrifice size for the speed and explosiveness that he gives you on third down. So he wouldn't project as a three-down player right away, but maybe you could develop him into one.

Mike Reiss
  (12:36 PM)

In general, the Patriots want a three-down player in the first round.

Tim (Abington, Ma)

Mike, With the patriots first round pick what do you think the chances of them drafting Clemson RB CJ Spiller? And do you think he would be a good fit?

Mike Reiss
  (12:37 PM)

If the background checks out, and he's there at 22, I thikn it would be a great addition to the offense Tim.

Mike Reiss
  (12:37 PM)

That's the type of explosiveness and playmaking I think the team needs.

Nick (Montreal)

Hi Mike, the general feeling is that Ben Watson won't be back, but isn't that a mistake considering they only have 1 other TE on the roster. They will probably draft a TE, but it will take time for that player to learn the offense. They can go via free-agency, but from a receptions standpoint, we all know how the Chris Baker signing turned out.

Mike Reiss
  (12:37 PM)

My general feeling is that a fresh start is probably best for both sides Nick.

Tom Ryder ( Nantucket)

Do you think Bob Kraft is being fair to pat fans by cheaping on signing our free agents?I would hope he would tell B.B. to get these players signed.It cost an arm and leg to park and go to these games so we should get a first class team And please don't tell me were up to the cap because,compared to teams like the Jets,who are loaded with high draft choices and free agents we should have plenty of cap room.

Mike Reiss
  (12:39 PM)

Tom, I can see what you are saying and the Krafts are going to have to battle that perception. I personally believe it's less about spending and more about spending smartly. The Redskins are a good example to me of how spending by itself isn't enough. In terms of pure money spent, I don't think the Patriots and Jets are that far apart over the last five years.

Frazier (Philly)

What position(s) do you think the Patriots will address with their 4 picks in the first 2 rounds? Im all for a trade to move down and acquire a stud talent or two

Mike Reiss
  (12:40 PM)

Let's end on this one. I like LB, TE, DL, RB. Could see a WR in there if it's the right fit. Really enjoying getting into the draft prep over the last few weeks and look forward to keeping it going in the weeks to come.

Mike Reiss
  (12:41 PM)

Thanks to everyone for chatting today. Will look forward to doing it again next Thursday at noon.

Mike Reiss
  (12:52 PM)

Reading over the chat, one edit on Ron Brace. Improved "footwork" will be a focus this offseason.

Mike Reiss
  (12:53 PM)

Also, it should be noted that the Pro Bowl is going back to Hawaii next year. But we'll see how that plays out in the future.

Mike Reiss
  (12:53 PM)

Thanks again to everyone for participating. Let's do it again next Thursday.