Good afternoon. Hope everyone is well today.
Going to start this about 5 minutes late. Going to post a quick blog entry on LB Gary Guyton getting a $650K signing bonus, as part of a contract that extends through 2011. Not major news, but a solid move by the Patriots that creates goodwill between the team and player.
Guyton was an exclusive rights free agent, so it's not major news. He was going to be in New England regardless. But a $650k signing bonus is something that is good for Guyton in the short-term and also helps the Patriots, potentially, in the long term.
All right, I'm ready to roll. Let's plan on chatting until a little past 1 p.m. Thanks for the patience on this "delayed" kickoff.
Hi MikeI was wondering if during regular season games, are players available at all for autographs? My boyfriend and I have never been to a game due to our location but this Thanksgiving we're driving up to Detroit!! Can't wait. I was hoping maybe to catch some players signing stuff. I'd really like to get Kevin Faulk before he retires. Love him! Thanks.
Usually not at the games, Staci. The best time for autographs is during the team's training camp, if you could ever make it up to New England.
Single tickets are still available, and I'm wondering if I might go Foxboro, and I mean it.Which section of the stadium would you recommend, and which home game would you recommend when you consider both the opponent and the weather?
Good stuff, MarkJ. If you're coming in from Japan, that's an impressive trip. I love the home schedule this year. My favorite games are usually in September/October, because you have the best chance at a solid game/nice weather. As for recommendations on where to sit at the stadium, I'm not the best person to ask. Let's toss that out to the readers, as I've only had one consistent experience in the stadium, and that's in the press box.
Hi Mike. Given that our defense seems to be making up the majority of our youth portion on the team, is it realistic to say that come the second half of the season they will be beginning to make strides? Statistically, I predict big things considering our final five games are cold weather games. What do you think? I think we have the building blocks for something super on defense - maybe not this year but for many years to come.
I like this thought, Adamante. I'd go along with it. I've always felt that a Belichick-coached team generally gets better as the year goes on. Last year didn't necessarily turn out that way, but when looking at the past 10 years, that's generally been the trend.
Quick timeout here...
... Apologies, just have to take a quick call. Will make up the time on the back end of the chat.
Mike, Given that state of the league and the lack of a slary cap this year, do you see more teams than usual cutting veteran players and "dumping" their contracts once they see how their rookies and less pricey players are performing? It doesn't seem like much of that has happened so far. Thanks PS Why aren't you on vacation now that everything is so quiet? :)
I do see more veterans being cut as we get closer to the start of the season. Because there is no salary cap, teams can absorb more of those contracts right now until they see how some other players, mostly younger players, on the team develop.
Mike, did you notice the Pats making any extra commitment to working under center in mini-camp? I think working too much out of the shotgun, while dynamic, makes us very predictable at times.
Kyle, because there seemed to be a daily segment on the running game, there was plenty of work with the quarterbacks under center. But I don't think we can read too much into that.
I hoping with Crowin Brown's teaching ability he can convince Meriweather and some of the younger players just to make the tackle rather that going for the big ESPN hit . What kind of impact to you think Brown's presence on the staff will be.
I think Brown will be a solid addition to the coaching staff, David. At the same time, I think it's ultimately about the players. I think back to 2008 when Dom Capers joined the staff. I was very high on that move, but it didn't unfold the way I thought it would.
Mike how are you? Here's a question for you,are the patriots going to bid on Unga?? I keep hearing they need a RB,and though they may want to draft Ingram next spring,they could blow everyone out of the water by offering their first round pick in next years draft as they have Oaklands also...
I've been looking closer at Unga the last few days, Charles. If I had to guess, I think the Patriots would only "bid" a late-round pick. They have never made a supplemental draft choice in Belichick's tenure, and I think there are a few reasons for that: 1. Keeping future flexibility in the next draft; 2. How far behind the player would be by missing all of spring camps, making his potential contributions as a rookie limited.
Hi Mike, thanks for the blog piece highlighting the Pats RB draft picks during BB's tenure. I feel the low number of RB picks when compared to OL has to do with career expectancy and getting the most out of your 1st rd picks. A franchise LT could potentially be with the franchise for 10+ years. With a franchise RB, you are talking maybe 5 years of solid production, because of the physical abuse at the position. To me, RB is a position you draft once everything else is set. Do you think career length factors in BBs decisions, or would you go ahead and draft an RB knowing that you will probably need a new one in 5 years? How long does BB expect/want his 1st rounders to be on the team for? Do contract issues prevent the Pats from projecting a player much beyond his rookie deal? Thanks!
I think this is a good point, Nate. I also think some of the reader comments in that blog entry made some good points. With five offensive linemen spots to fill and one running back, that also helps explain the difference in numbers when looking at the number of offensive linemen selected in Belichick's tenure vs. the running backs selected.
How has Edelman looked during this off season? Do you think he can handle the "Welker" roll if Wes is really out the first few weeks, or do you think someone else could snatch that job?
I have been impressed with Edelman, Jay. I think he can thrive in that role. It's still a step down from Welker, but I really like Edelman.
Just a couple of questions on some of the def. players. Reports have mentioned that Chung is lining up in numerous places as a safety. Might they use him like Rodney several years ago? Many comments about Butler during the camps. Does he appear more athletic then current/recent patriot corners? In limited duty, last year I liked Ninkovich. I remember someone calling him a poor mans Vrabel. Any comment or observation?
Bo, I could see Chung playing a similar Harrison-like role. I think that is a good comparison. Harrison offered a lot of flexibility to the defense, sometimes playing down in the box in almost a linebacker-like role. As for Butler, he's been one of the most impressive players I've seen on the field. It's easier to see the athleticism of cornerbacks/safeties and receivers/tight ends and he seems to cover a lot of ground. As for Ninkovich, I think he shows some signs of being able to help on third down, but I wouldn't put him in the same sentence as Vrabel right now.
Mike,It seems as though alot of people are upset that we did not address certain positions that have question marks or lack quality players/depth. ie: DE, RB, WR, OLB. I agree these are areas of concern however I believe that these will be upgraded in the next draft. With the Patriots having two 1st round & two 2nd round picks and with talk about the 2011 draft being deeper than this past draft, will they be the 1st priority going into next year? What's your thoughts of these 4 positions being filled with the following players? DE - Robert Quinn, RB - Mark Ingram, WR - Jonathan Baldwin, OLB - Von Miller
I was thinking about this recently, Ravi, because the more I watched Devin McCourty in spring camps, the more I came away impressed that the Patriots made a sound decision. But public response to the move was not favorbale from what I saw. In the end, I think that reflects how teams can't just fill a need to fill a need; the key is picking talented players. If you go the need route in the first round, chances are you'll be back in the same spot the next year. As for the players mentioned next year, I don't know enough about them right now to have an informed opinion.
With gary guytons new contract extention do you see him and jerod mayo as a tandom for the next two years or do you think Spikes or someone else can take that role from him?
I could see a mix there, Jackson. I don't see Guyton with the 84 percent playtime like he had in 2009, but maybe 50-60 percent.
Also don't forget 2009 third-round pick Tyrone McKenzie.
Hey Mike, based on Logan's comments I find it hard to believe that the situation will be repaired.With this in mind, might it be more prudent for the team to acquire an impact player and then an additional draft pick for 2011 or 2012.I'm not keen on just getting another 2011 1st rd pick.Losing Logan will hurt but an impact player might ease that loss for this year.Thoughts?
At this time, I also find it hard to believe the situation will be repaired. But the challenge on this one is what impact player? Most teams that have them want to keep them. We've talked about the hypothetical of someone like Vincent Jackson, but there is risk there as well -- both in cost and not fully knowing the player (e.g. Adalius Thomas). In the end, I think the most likely play will be a draft pick, if there is a trade.
Mike, during the no-pad sessions who was returning punts and kickoffs? We lacked explosiveness last year and could really use a boost.
Edelman, Faulk and Tate were the main returners, John.
Some seem to think it's not a slam dunk Tom Brady resigns with the Pats AND that he's disgruntled with the organization. Can you comment?
I think it's a slam dunk, Mark. I take Robert Kraft at his word when he says the team wants Brady and Brady wants to be with the team. So I'm buying the idea that the deal gets done; the only question is when. I think we're in the middle of a negotiation, and my sense is that Brady might be a little frustrated. But disgruntled seems strong to me.
Mike,Looking at our division, where do you think we stand? We keep hearing so much hype on the Jets with their "great" additions this off season. Considering they were only a 9-7 team last year, what do you think of them? I still think the Pats dominate. Thanks man.
I believe the division still goes through New England, Tony. While I think the Jets and Dolphins are tough, I think the tie-breaker goes to the Patriots at the quarterback position, the most important position on the field. I like Tom Brady over Mark Sanchez and Chad Henne.
So Mike, what is up with Tom Brady and the contract situation? Will this prove to be a distraction in any way and do you think he will be a Patriot come next year??
I think the sides will continue to talk leading up to training camp with the hopes of hammering things out. If nothing is completed at that point, then I think the question is if Brady decides he doesn't want any negotiations during the season, to avoid the potential distraction. From what I've witnessed of Brady, he is one of the most mentally tough players in the game. I can't imagine he would let it get in the way of his performance.
Hey mike how is marques murrell looking i know he was a sack specialist at Appalachian st and hes a big guy at 6-2 250 could he be a surprise breakout player or can we only expect special team duties from him
I see him in that core special teams role, Marcus. Probably not a big impact on defense. Almost Larry Izzo-like.
Mike, do you think the trading value for Jammal Brown should have the Pats reconsider what they could get for Mankins? Obviously, Brown was coming off injury and Mankins is healthy, but Brown is also a left tackle.
I see differences in the situation, John, mainly with the injury. So I wouldn't use Brown as a comparable player.
Lots of debate about the receiver position in the breakdown you posted earlier this week. Moss will obviously be a force this season but who backs him up in stretching the field? Tate? I'm not sure Edelman would be great at spreading the defense, unless it was just to pull attention from Moss. Can Holt be that guy? Price maybe? Seems like we have a lot of slot guys but not many for the edge.
Tate is fast, so I'd put him in there. I don't see Holt as a stretch-the-field guy, more of a savvy route runner in the short and intermediate areas. Price is fast too, so he could be in that mix.
Mike, I'm pretty upset this morning, just bought a football magazine, and it has the Pats finishing 3rd in the AFC East, and missing the playoffs, yet the Texans getting the 5 seed. Should I burn it? Dolphins ahead of us? BECAUSE OF MARSHALL? Come on
Any chance you still have the receipt, Johnny? It's always returnable. On a serious note, I wouldn't "read" too much into what a magazine says. A lot of people have been predicting the Patriots' demise over the last five years. This is still a good team in my opinion, and the opinion of many league observers I've spoken with in recent weeks and months.
The quotes by Guyton's agent stood out to me. It seems like part of Guyton's contract extension was that his agent had to praise the Pats front office because how negatively they have been viewed in the Mankins situation? What do you think?
I don't think so, chains18, mainly because we're talking about two totally different contract stratospheres. Guyton, in the NFL world, was a "short-money" deal. Mankins is a top-of-the-line deal.
Personally im very disapointed in Mankins, and Haynesworth both are painting a bad greedy light on the game we love. I really believe Mankins has overstayed his welcome with New England and shopping him for a first round pick sounds like great compensation. We could end up with 3 first round picks next year, i might not mind it this time, i hated the Seymour deal even if it made sense.
If that's the way it unfolds, I think it's a hit to the current team. I do think the Patriots can still win with Nick Kaczur at left guard, but it's a downgrade.
Hey Mike, love the blog, check it daily! I feel that Mankins contract issues have burned the bridges between himself and the Patriots. Does Mankins leaving make it much more likely that New England can sign Randy Moss to a long term deal? Maybe another three year contract?
I think there is something to that, Robby. But first things first will be getting that Brady deal hammered out.
I'm not a big T.O. fan but he can still play. Stick him in a tight end roll where the ball doesn't have to go far to reach him i think he would be great. I know it wouldn't work with BB and the other receivers but it would be nice to see him run after a short pass from TB. What do you think?
I wouldn't do it, Tony. I just don't see Terrell Owens putting the team first, which is one of the core tenets of the Belichick system. It might be an unfair opinion based on never having covered Owens, but that's my perception of him. I wouldn't swim in those waters if making decisions for the Patriots.
Are there any teams you would consider especially likely to trade for Mankins? Either teams with a need or teams we often trade with.
No team stands out, although I wanted to look closer at Kansas City or Atlanta as possibilities. Part of the thinking is that there are Patriots ties in those organizations, but I need to brush up on both of their depth charts.
Mike, Do you think Brady will want a lot of money (like record breaking)? Part of me thinks not since he does very few (if any) commercials unlike Peyton and I believe if Brady really wanted a lot of money he could've signed up for lots of commercials etc..
A fair deal. In the end, I don't think Brady is thinking about re-setting the market or a hometown discount. I think he will want to be paid what a player of his caliber is worth. That, in and of itself, should be a significant figure ($15 to $18 million per year, I would guess).
Would you say the Guyton news is more goodwill by the team or an endorsement of his talent (as in...making him the front runner for the other ILB spot this year)?
More goodwill, Mike. I think they like Guyton and want him on the team. But I don't think the deal means Guyton will be starting necessarily.
Who's the long-term answer at ILB? Guyton? Mayo? McKenzie?
Mayo is definitely a long-term answer, Ben. As for the other spot, I think in 2010 we'll see a mix of Guyton, Spikes and McKenzie. Then it's a matter of who emerges from there. I need to see more of Spikes and McKenzie to have an informed opinion.
Great news! I'd love to see them sign Mankins but i think that ship has sailed,whats your take?
My sense is that the ship has sailed. Sometimes a player can soften his stance when football season arrives and the checks aren't coming in. But my sense is that Mankins isn't that type of person.
Mike, just a technical question here. If there does happen to be a lockout in 2011, do players that are signed to long term deals still collect their money (in 2011) and the teams essentially lose that year from the player?
Graham, players would not receive any money in that scenario.
Hi Mike - In the past few years, it seems like the secondary has been the weak link on the defense, but I think the 2010 unit could be the strongest. Your thoughts?
Agree, Mike. I think the secondary has the potential to be very good. A better pass rush would also help, and that remains a question mark in my view.
Mike, it seems since the Patriots started winning the correct call for who would win the Super Bowl was whoever was the most "complete team". In my opinion, the Patriots are not there if only because you can immediately cross off pass rushing as an area of concern. With this said, who is the most complete team in the NFL today?
Great question, Sonny. That's a real tough one. I'll just go with the first thought that came to me: New Orleans Saints. Certainly the most complete offense in my view. But the most complete team? I'm not sure, but I'll go with it.
Mike, do you think the NFL's proposed change to an 18 game schedule, with only 2 preseason games, is a good idea. It seems very disingenuous to me, as starters rarely play more than a half in the preseason anyways, and even then it is not at the same intensity as a regular season game. To me, if the NFL wants to expand the season, it needs to have a much more robust health insurance policy for veterans and retired players, one that compensates and cares for their normally crippling post-career health problems.
I think something would have to give Mark D. I agree that it is disingenuous to say there is no difference between a 16-game regular season/4-game preseason setup and an 18-game regular-seaosn/2-game preseason setup.
I know this is stupidly early, but what are your top ten team power rankings, and do the patriots make the cut?
I don't get into my own power rankings George and slap me if I do. I know they can be fun, and provide us with some context about how the league stacks up, but I just don't think they apply to what the NFL is all about. It's how the individual opponent matches up with you. To play along, yes, I see the Patriots as a top 10 team.
Hey Mike, Do you see Patrick Chung starting this season?
I do see Chung starting. I think he makes a big leap this year.
Which do you see as having the highest probability? Danny actually making a pick at 19, trade away altogether, trade up or trade down?
Dave, my basketball knowledge is limited. If I'm not mistaken, the last time the Patriots had the 19th pick, it was Acie Earl in 1993. I thought it was a good pick at the time. It obviously wasn't. I think I better stick to the football.
I agree that a Belichick coached team improves as the year goes on, but is that because Belichick tends to hold back in the begininng of the year, to pace the season as well as not "give away" certains schemes...or is it because he is "learning" what his team does best and how to apply that on the field...I tend to think its a combination of the two, but 2007 seemed to be a year in which the team held nothing back out of the gates and slowly trended downward (obviously not losing games, but cutting it a lot closer)...what are your thoughts on this?
I think 2007 was unique, Nick. Overall, I think it's a pacing thing. Almost like a horse race. There is a build-up process over the course of the year, and knowing when to "whip" and when to scale back. I have thought Belichick is good at managing that aspect of the grinding season.
Honestly Mike/MarkJ, you can sit anywhere in the stadium and you will likely have a good seat. Even the 300 level seats are angled so that the game is easily viewable...But my favorite place to sit was the 200's, right around the 50 yard line because you are angled up and can pretty much see everything!
Thanks Nick. Appreciate you chiming in on that. That's a long flight from Japan and I'd hate to see him in a bad spot.
My suggestion would be in the first section underneath the mezzanine. If it does rain, that's a nice place to be. I've been down close to the field and up near the very top and really all I would avoid is the seats closest to the field. You can still generally see from way up top, but you can't really see anything from a lower perspective. Though the brand new screens should help.
Mike, is Brian Hoyer the quarterback of the future?
I still think it's Brady for the next 5-8 years.
I noticed that several picks have been devoted to the defensive line over the past few years. How did this become a trouble spot when so much time and treasure has been spent on it?
I don't really see it as a trouble spot, Josh. I think with Ty Warren and Vince Wilfork, they have two of the spots decisively locked down. That other spot would have been in good hands with Richard Seymour, but then economics come into play.
Hey Mike, just curious what your take is on the Running Back group this season; are we looking at all 5 returning? Maybe one of the new guys makes it? Or could they go with a lighter group (maybe 3-4) with players like Dan Connolly/Thomas Williams/Aaron Hernandez filling in at Fullback when necessary?
Really like this topic, Jeff. I think we could see four. Something has to give somewhere if they keep 3 tight ends like I project they will. If it's four, that means someone like Fred Taylor/BenJarvus Green-Ellis could be on the bubble.
I always felt the rise of the Patriots as winning, passionate group was associated with the removal of the artificial turf. I have a cold spot in my heart for soccer, as the grass at foxborough could not hold up in the cold for both sports. I feel like the change back to artificial turf has hurt the team, as indicated by a recent finding of the U.S. orthopedic surgeons that devastating knee injuries, (MCL, PCL, ACL), have increased 88% with Field Turf, as opposed to grass. Do you think there is any chance the Pats will do the right thing and go back to grass?
I think the turf is here to stay, orthopedic mike.
Hey Mike, who do you see winning the battle for the starting outside reciever spot opposite Randy Moss. Branden Tate or Taylor Price?
I'd go with Tate right now, but there is a long way to go.
Zac Robinson only received bad criticism over the OTAs. Do you think he will develop as good as [insert any late-round or undrafted Patriots QB like Brady, Cassel, Hoyer]?
I'd give Robinson a little more time in the system before making a call on him. That only seems fair.
Hey mike how much do the Crafts pay you to never say anything negative about them or the patriots franchise?
Chris, I just try to be fair. Play it down the middle as much as possible.
Re a Brady deal, an analyst I read somewhere said something to the effect that the Patriots would be wise to strike first in terms of a deal with Brady instead of letting a Manning deal set the standard. I think he might have a point. What do you think?
I think they'll be in the same ballpark, Della, so I don't think it's a necessity. But I do think it would be smart business to get the deal done before Manning.
Do you think the Pats should check out Bobby McCray? He was recently released by the Saints and has decent age and size (29 at seasons' start & at 6'6 260 lbs). And has shown moderate pass rush abilities.
Looks to me like he'd duplicate what they already have in Derrick Burgess. I'd guess that they pass on signing him.
Hey Mike! I noticed you think Chung starts...do you see him make the switch to FS and B-Merri staying at SS? Thanks!!
Chung would be more of the SS.
Mike, How would you rank the CB's on the roster as of right now? Any chance you could do a early 53 man roster projection?
Butler, Bodden, McCourty, Wilhite, Arrington, Wheatley.
As for the 53-man prediction, it's something I'd like to do in the coming weeks.
Hi Mike I struggle with the Pats philosophy of accumlating draft choices
Probably the biggest value is two-fold: 1. The draft is a crapshoot in many ways and the more darts you get to throw at the board, the better chance you have of hitting the bulls-eye; 2. Economics, as the draft is the best place to find quality talent at the best prices.
Hey Mike. This is similar to a question you answered in your mailbag, but do you think Belichick is more reluctant to give the title of "offensive coordinator" or "defensive coordinator" to his assistants because it makes them more likely to be picked off by other teams looking for head coaches? This seems possible given how many Belichick assistants have been hired away by other teams.
I really don't, Tedy, but perhaps I'm naive in this area.
Hey Mike, if the 2011 lockout were to happen, would the Raiders pick carry over until 2012. And also, what is the sticking point between players and owners? A lockout seems to be a lose-lose situation for both sides.
The 2011 draft will take place, regardless.
Let's go for another 5...
Hey Mike....love the blog, love the chat. Can the Pats really afford to lose Mankins? When you look at some of the defenses they play, in particular the Jets twice, aren't you concerned about Brady getting crushed. There is little to no run game to keep the defenses honest...doesn't that line need all the help they can get?
I think it's a hit if they lose Mankins, but it's my opinion that they can still win.
Mike, i'm a longlime pats fan and watching the team last year frustrated me to no end. I really feel like we were a lot better than our 10-6 record indicated. I thought the biggest problem with the team was the inability to finish games. Brady's interception inside the 5 yard line in the second dolphins game, maroneys goal line fumble against the colts, bradys fumble on their last possession of regulation against the broncos. I even thought they should have won in week 2 against the jets eventhough they weren't playing well that day. With all these things considered, I believe with all of their young players on defense gaining another year of experience and Brady in his second year removed from the knee injury I believe the team is primed for a 12-4 season and possibly a deep playoff run. That have a tough schedule but I think they can overcome that eventhough they might not have welker for the first month of the season. Brady has thrived without great receivers before and he still has moss. What is your prediction for the season?
The good folks here at ESPNBoston had me go through every game when the schedule was released, and I had the Patriots at 11-5. I even had to predict the scores of games.
That was painful.
So tired of Tom Brady contract talk. On another subject, physically, does Sea Bass look any different than last season (ie msucle, quicker, etc)? He was a beast as a rookie, real excited for year 2!
I can't notice anything physically different from Vollmer, but it seems to me he's in good condition.
My question deals with Taylor Price, is he is fast on the field as he was in the combine. I believe he had one of the fastest times at the combine 4.33. Does he have a shot of being a returner as well. Note: I completely understand speed in pads is different as without, also I know that speed does not necessarily mean to much)
Still tough to tell Ryan, because he's not facing jams at the line of scrimmage. Will be easier to see in training camp.
Can Bill Belichick and Pepper Johnson get the most out of Gerard Warren? He could be nice on first and second downs.
I wouldn't count Warren out as a third-down option. I think he can help them as part of a rotation.
Mike, what about a Ray Edwards for Mankins swap? Edwards has the size the Patriots covet in their OLB, was tendered at the same level as Mankins and won't be receiving a long term contract from the Vikings. The risk would be in the transition to playing on his feet rather than with a hand on the ground, but Edwards was fairly athletic coming out of college.
I'd do it. Edwards helps the pass rush.
Mike, what do you think Logan Mankins could net the Patriots in a trade? A first round pick? Second?
Ideally, I think the Patriots would like to get a 1. But as we saw in the Matt Cassel/Mike Vrabel deal, the market ultimately dictates. That deal was for a high 2.
I've heard that Ninovich had added some weight. How does he fit in with Cunningham, Banta Cain, Alexander, Crable, and Woods. Who starts?
If the season started today, I think it would be Burgess and Banta-Cain. But I think we'll see a wave of players in there, which includes Ninkovich.
Mike, do you see Ted Larsen as a player that could take over the center position in 2011? Also, is there any chance he would end up on the Practice Squad this year, or is he someone that if cut another team would quickly scoop up - which would mean he'd have to be kept on the 53-man roster.thanks
Quite possible, JT. I think the Patriots felt he was a player who had mid-round quality, and they were surprised he was there in the sixth round. I see him on the roster, not the practice squad. Don't think he'd make it through waivers.
Mike I was thinking that the pats secondary could be a top five unit in the nfl. Having bodden, butler, and mccourty should be good enough to cover most wr groups in the league, especially as mccourty can use his size to match up favoribly with bigger wrs. if chung can make a second year leap we will be a great unit. given that meriweather needs to learn to get into position on plays and turn into the tackling machine he was at miami, do you think this top 5 thinking can be legit for the season, or wishful thinking? thanks
Maybe a little optimistic, Ben, and part of it is tied to the pass rush. You almost can't have one without the other. But I see this group on the rise.
Mike, I thought your blog post about the Pats drafting only 6 RBs during BB's tenure was very interesting. It led me to wonder what the expectations were when Maroney was drafted (I've only been following the draft closely for a year or two). Were fans excited about his ability, or was he an underwhelming first round pick, much like the McCourty pick seemed this year. And for the record, I personally think the McCourty pick and the Patriots draft in general were fantastic. Thanks!
Let's end on this one. Expectations for Maroney were extremely high. He had a solid preseason if I remember -- with one powerful stiff-arm -- and there was a lot of excitement around him. As for McCourty, I won't soon forget the reaction of the pick. I'm a strong believer that you take the best player in the first round, regarless of position, and that you can't go wrong by doing that. I thought the Patriots followed that approach. They will ultimately benefit from it.
Thanks to all for chatting today. Apologies on the early delay, but it was an important call to take. We'll be back at it again next Thursday.