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September 16, 12:00 PM ET
Chat with Mike Reiss

Mike Reiss
  (12:00 PM)

Good afternoon. Just back from Patriots locker room. Wes Welker held court with reporters, as did Fred Taylor. Good stuff from Welker. Thinks it will take a year to get back to form. Doesn't want to play with knee brace but knows he probably has to (e.g. Kris Jenkins). Going to take a quick moment to gather my thoughts and will be back shortly.

Mike Reiss
  (12:10 PM)

All right, thanks for the patience. Sometimes you just need to get all the notes together and process what you just heard. I wanted to review some of Welker's remarks. They were just posted to our Patriots blog.

Mike Reiss
  (12:11 PM)

Let's chat until 1.

Har Journalist (Vancouver, Canada)

Hi Mike we saw Joe Flacco throw the ball to his WR that were covered by Cromartie, and Kyle Wilson on Monday Night. Do you see the Patriots and Tom Brady going with that same strategy or will they try and get Moss to beat Darrelle Revis?

Mike Reiss
  (12:12 PM)

I think it has to be a balance, Har. You want to give Moss a chance to make some plays. At the same time, the matchups should dictate where the ball goes, too, and Cromartie and Wilson looked shaky in that Monday night game. I don't think it's one or the other. Should be a mix.

Andrew (Leominster, MA)

Mike, I was very intrigued to see that the Pats worked out 2 punters recently. Is BB sending a slight message to Mesko that his job is not guaranteed? Or is it simply keeping their emergency list fresh? Hunter Smith caught my eye in particular.

Mike Reiss
  (12:12 PM)

I believe it is solely for the emergency list, Andrew. I wouldn't read too much into it. This stuff happens every year around this time.

Juan Rodriguez (Cicero,Illinois)

Now that laurence maroney has been traded, where would you place the running back position as far as needs in the upcoming draft? I think defensive end in the 3/4 and a pass rush linebacker can also be in the conversation, but do you see the running back position being a priority in the next draft?

Mike Reiss
  (12:13 PM)

Juan, I would put it in the "high" need category. Fred Taylor, Sammy Morris and Kevin Faulk are all in the last years of their contracts.

Chris (c'ville, Va)

I was downright giddy about the Pats game on sunday. The WR screen to Welker with the 2 TE out front blocking, Gronk going up high to pull in that TD and the explosiveness Tate showed on that return really showcased the difference we have this season in playmaking ability and the variety these guys add to the offense. I always wear a Moss jersey on gamedays, but now with all these new studs I need to pick up another. My brother wears a Welker jersey, sister a TB12 and Dad sports his cut-off hoodie. I was thinking maybe a defensive guy, what do you suggest?

Mike Reiss
  (12:14 PM)

I'd say Wilfork, Mayo or Chung would be good choices.

Paul (right here)

Will we be able to get the ball in the endzone vs the tough D in the meadowlands? I think we can keep them from scoring with a weak offense but i know they are very stingy on D. who do you pick and why?

Mike Reiss
  (12:15 PM)

I think the magic number is 20. If you think the Patriots can score 20, then I think it's a win. If not, I think it's a loss. I think this Jets defense is very good. I'm going Patriots 20, Jets 17.

Ken (CT)

After Welker's performance against the Jets last year, I would be surprised if Revis didn't cover Welker instead of Moss. Do you see that happening?

Mike Reiss
  (12:16 PM)

I've thought about that, Ken, and wouldn't be surprised if it happens. I'd like to brush up on the history of the Cromartie/Moss matchup to know how much success Cromartie has had against Moss.

Andy (Lowell)

Given the Jets struggle throwing the ball and the Patriots seemingly solid defensive backfield, what defensive package do you expect to see on Sunday? Will they primarily be focusing on stopping the run?

Mike Reiss
  (12:18 PM)

I would think the base 3-4 will show itself more in this game, or perhaps a four-man line in a 4-2-5 nickel type look. I think priority No. 1 has to be stopping the run. The Jets offense looked paralyzed when they had that taken away from them on Monday night. The Jets do want to take more shots down the field, and David Clowney has been re-signed (he's a vertical threat), so that is something that will still have to be accounted for.

dan boston [via mobile]

Which receiver do you think Tom Brady will be able to utilize the most on Sunday since Revis will most likely cover Moss?

Mike Reiss
  (12:18 PM)

I'd have to say Welker, Dan. The 15 catches last November really hurt the Jets that day.

BK (Boston)

Hi Mike! I know Cunningham got in for around 20 plays against the Bengals last week. Did you see him as being effective int he pass rush after you reviewed the tape? Do you expect he'll see more field time this week? thanks!

Mike Reiss
  (12:21 PM)

BK, he was really asked to do one thing -- rush off the defensive left edge. It was hard to take anything definitive away from the performance. Some good. Some not so good. I expect him to be active on Sunday and more part of the 3-4 alignment, assuming that is what they play. It will be interesting to see how he fares when asked to set the edge against the run.

Nick (Plymouth)

On your PodCast with Tedy, you said the magic number for the Pats was 20. If they score more than 20 points, they win. With all the weapons the Pats have (Moss, Welker, Edelman, Faulk, Tate, Gronk, Hernandez) is there any way the Jets D can hold them to less than 20 points? The Pats put up 31 on this same defense at the end of last year, no?

Mike Reiss
  (12:21 PM)

Nick, I think the Jets have one of the best defenses in the league, so I could see them holding this Patriots offense down.

Brian (Derry, NH)

Hey Mike, I think the tight ends will play a huge role in the Pats game plan for the Jets this week. Between creating mismatches in the secondary, and providing extra protection for Brady against the blitz happy Jets, they should be one of the biggest keys to victory on Sunday. What do you think?

Mike Reiss
  (12:23 PM)

Completely agree, Brian. The first thought I had was Rob Gronkowski in the red zone. We could go back to the Week 2 Patriots loss to the Jets last year and they moved the ball but couldn't convert when they got deeper into Jets territory. That will have to change this year if the Patriots are to win.

Ted (DC)

Hey Mike. Do you expect to see Meriweather on the field more this week?

Mike Reiss
  (12:24 PM)

Meriweather still played a lot last week, Ted, even though he wasn't on the field in the initial base 3-4 alignment. Part of the reason is that the Patriots were in sub so much after jumping out to the 24-0 lead. But he did play in the base at times, so it looks like a clean three-man rotation at this point.

Moe (Springfield)

Hi Mike. Do you think Belichick has any animosity towards the Jets since Mangini left? Or is this just like any other divisional game to him?

Mike Reiss
  (12:25 PM)

I would say it is not like any other game to Belichick. Tedy Bruschi tells a neat story on this week's podcast about why the Patriots, and Belichick, aren't big fans of the Jets.

Eric (Andover, MA)

I heard reports that the Pats are most likely going to promote RB Jarrius James from the practice squad to fill Maroney's void. Belichick mentioned it would be filled "by the end of the week." Any chance or rumors of some sort of a trade in the works to bring in a RB, OLB, or other position that you know of? Just seems odd that it's taking so long for this decision to be made.

Mike Reiss
  (12:26 PM)

I'm not so sure on James getting the promotion, Eric. It looks to me like it will either be a practice squad promotion or a Marques Murrell re-signing. I haven't heard of any trade chatter.

Ken (CT)

The Coach said earlier in the week that the 53rd roster spot (Maroney's) would be filled by the end of the week, is there even a 1% chance that it will be Logan Mankins. It seems like they may be up to something with cutting Murrell they day before and letting Prince Miller go to the Ravens. Doesn't sound like he would wait unitl the end of the week just to promote a guy from the practice squad.

Mike Reiss
  (12:26 PM)

Ken, these things can change fast, but right now there is nothing happening with Mankins.

AdamM (Edinburgh)

Hi Mike,Just wondering what you think will happen next with the Mankins situation - from the outside it seems the Pats haven't been entirely truthful about what's been going on, but I'm still hoping to have Mankins on the team.....

Mike Reiss
  (12:27 PM)

I still think Mankins plays for the team this year. To me, it was significant that the sides had talked within the last few weeks.

corky decker (destin)

Hi Mike where do you see Green- Ellis's on the depth chart now, I have always liked his running. Can he fill that spot that Lawarnce never did, or is this just asking too much?

Mike Reiss
  (12:28 PM)

I see him in the No. 4 spot, contributing primarily on special teams and as a spot ball-carrier.

Adam (Hamden, CT)

Mike, no matter how you look slice it having 3 OLB's on the roster (Banta-Cain, Ninkovitch, Cunningham) is a big risk. Have you heard any murmurings of a roster move being made to bring in another OLB?

Mike Reiss
  (12:28 PM)

Adam, I think they'd look at their depth chart as four-deep, counting Shawn Crable on the practice squad. I haven't heard of anything in terms of outside help at this point.

Big Mike (The True Home of the Presidents)

Hey Mike, I don't believe the Pats got value in the Maroney Trade especially looking at a team like a Green Bay who lost their starting RB and is in need of a quality back. Can you share your thoughts on whether Pats got value in the trade?

Mike Reiss
  (12:29 PM)

To me, the value will be determined in part by if Taylor, Morris, Faulk and Green-Ellis stay healthy. I thought Maroney was a solid insurance policy. By trading away that insurance policy, the team is assuming some risk.

James (Derry, NH)

Hey Mike, How much playing time will Ojinnaka see this week? I could see him coming in as an extra blocker for max protection scenarios, or unbalanced line situations a lot this week.

Mike Reiss
  (12:30 PM)

I think he's likely to be the top reserve guard, replacing Ryan Wendell. It looked to me like Wendell struggled a bit in the few snaps he played in the season opener.

Johnny (Rutland, VT)

I don't understand why Quinn Ojinnaka would have voluntarily restructured his contract to reduce his base salary nearly threefold from $1.759 million to $640,000. I realize he could get more with incentives but still that seems like a big risk. He said he just wants to show Mr. Kraft that he's not greedy, but why just give up money to your boss?

Mike Reiss
  (12:30 PM)

Johnny, maybe because the team told him he would be cut if he didn't.

Matt D (Portland, OR)

Seems like the Pats showed us that they are who we thought they were: a team with a dynamic offensive and a young defense with the potential for big plays and lapses. Are the Jets better or worse than the Bengals, given their performance against the Ravens?

Mike Reiss
  (12:31 PM)

I'd say the Jets are better. I expect them to play a better all-around game this week. Going to be a battle.

MIKE (JERICHO)

Mike, what is your interpretation of the entire slouch situation. Do you think Randy Moss is going to put on a show on Sunday or will it turn into the Wes Welker show? How will Revis Island look after Sunday?

Mike Reiss
  (12:33 PM)

Revis held Moss to nine catches for 58 yards in two games last season. Exceptional work by Revis. I think Moss will be ready to go, and he'll make some plays, but I expect Revis to hold his own and not allow Moss to be a huge factor in the game.

Mike O'Brien (Pflugerville)

Hey Mike it has been awhile. We traded for Page from KC did we really need him and do you see the team really using him? Also Mankins will this guy be traded this year and if so which team do you think will bite and for what kind of compensation

Mike Reiss
  (12:35 PM)

Mike, Page played on special teams and came on for five snaps at the end of the season opener in the seven-defensive back package. I think we'll see his role grow as he gets more comfortable in the team's scheme, especially as an in-the-box type option. As for Mankins, I think he'll ultimately be playing in New England. I'm sticking to that. If there is a trade, my prediction would be Dallas, but I still see that route as unlikely.

Thunder McAwesome (Earf)

What do you make of Tom Brady's comments about the fans?

Mike Reiss
  (12:37 PM)

Those comments were echoed by Wes Welker today. From the stadiums I've visited, I'd rate Gillette in the lower half in terms of home-field advantage.

Brian (CT)

Hi MikeAfter reading your recent Blog post 'Re-setting Patriots 2011 draft picks' I have to wonder if the PATS will move away from there best player available philosophy and draft for need. I have a feeling the may take a offense play-maker say RB Mark Ingram instead of taking a STUD OT to protect Brady for his final 4 years. Any thoughts on this way to early projection?

Mike Reiss
  (12:39 PM)

Brian, in the first round, I think they stay with the philosophy of taking the best player. We see how that turned out with Devin McCourty this year. Then in rounds 2 and beyond, I'd say you can start focusing more on need.

Prasad (Boston)

How will Kris Jenkins' absence impact both teams? Will the Pats emphasize the run off the bat? And the Jets were still very successful without Jenkins last year; how will they adapt this year?

Mike Reiss
  (12:41 PM)

I thought the Jets looked just as ferocious without Jenkins on Monday night. I still expect the Patriots to attack through the air. The Jets are tough to run against. They held the Ravens to a 1.4 yard rushing average on 35 carries the other night. Impressive. I think the Jets are going to be OK without Jenkins.

Hoogie (Lexington)

Mike, there has been recent talks of The Pats possibly trading Mankins to the Cowboys, who are in desperate need of a quality lineman. Is there any truth to this rumor, or is it just purely speculation?

Mike Reiss
  (12:41 PM)

Speculation, as far as I can tell.

Mitch (Boston)

Hi Mike. Going back to the week leading up to the opener, I was wondering how the Patriots can have enough info on a guy like Steve Maneri, who they added to the 53-man roster over many of their own linemen, even though he was in the Texans' camp all summer. Can you illuminate me?

Mike Reiss
  (12:43 PM)

Mitch, part of that comes through the pre-draft scouting process. Like they had with all prospects, I'm sure they had a large file on Maneri. Then they watch him in preseason games, and add that information to what they had in the pre-draft process.

PatsFaninDFW (DFW)

What do you think the offensive game-plan should be against the Jets? For all the talk of the Jets secondary falling apart, in my book they were extremely physical with the exception of some mental mistakes. With Kris Jenkins out, their line is bound to have some missteps, so will the Patriots try to establish a running game primarily or will they try to attack the secondary?

Mike Reiss
  (12:45 PM)

I think the Patriots have to make it happen in the passing game, while mixing in the run just to keep the Jets honest. I like some of the matchups on the outside and in the slots with Welker, Edelman and the tight ends. A 2 WR/2 TE set in a spread look could be tough to defend, as the Jets linebackers in space could struggle.

Leigh (Boston)

Mike,If these two young kids continue to perform at a good level at CB all year, do you see me getting my starting spot back next year? Or the team going in favor of youth.

Mike Reiss
  (12:46 PM)

Hi Leigh (Bodden). Tedy Bruschi has said that teams need three good corners and I agree. So I think you'll be a "starter" whether in the 1, 2 or 3 spot.

Prasad (Boston)

What are your thoughts on the Chiefs reassembling the old Patriots OC/DC combo of Weis and Crennel?

Mike Reiss
  (12:47 PM)

I thoroughly enjoyed watching that game Monday night. What energy in Arrowhead Stadium. At the end, I thought to myself, "Good for the Chiefs. That had to be a special night for them." That team looked to be well drilled on both sides of the ball, so I think seeing Weis and Crennel back is a good thing for the Chiefs.

Veeru (Boston)

Mike, Is Edelman healthy to play this week? Clearly, Jets are strong on defense and their offense struggled against Ravens. I think with Revis covering Moss and Cromartie covering Welker, we'll have to depend heavily on our tight ends. If Edelman is back, that'll give us another option to play with. Your take on that please.

Mike Reiss
  (12:48 PM)

I think Edelman will play. He spoke with reporters in the locker room today, and that is often a sign that the player has the green light. He was a game-time decision last week, so it makes sense to think that with another week to rest, he'll be cleared to play.

Ben (Germany)

I'd rather say ironman McCourty is a candidate for DROY, he showed great skills for a rookie. In opposite to that, Spikes didn't play as much as expected. Any thoughts?

Mike Reiss
  (12:49 PM)

Part of it was that the Patriots weren't in their base 3-4, Ben, instead spending most of the last 2.5 quarters in sub. McCourty looked good, although I think it's fair to expect some ups and downs from him.

dan (boston)

Hey Mike, why is it just assumed that benjarvus is a better special teams player than maroney? I feel like special teams is based on effort and just because benny has always been on them shouldn't mean he's necessarily a "better contributor" on special teams right?

Mike Reiss
  (12:50 PM)

Dan, I think Green-Ellis offers more versatility on special teams, such as playing on coverage units. Maroney isn't a factor in that aspect.

Frazier (Philly)

The Jets trash talking arrogance is entertaining no doubt, but I hope the Patriots slaughter them Sunday, and send the "paper champs" to 0-2. Onto the question, do you agree with many ESPN analysts that Mark Sanchez's has confidence issues that will cost that team?

Mike Reiss
  (12:51 PM)

Frazier, I'm not close enough to the Jets, and haven't talked to anyone there, to have a really good vibe on that one.

Don (Marlboro)

Mike I usually hate "what if" trade talk but what about Logan Mankins of the Pats for Vincent Jackson the Chargers gifted wide out. Neither is in camp because of a contract dispute. The trade seems to make some sense to me. The Pats appear to need another big wide out if Randy continues to be "unhappy" because he is worried about feeding his family

Mike Reiss
  (12:52 PM)

Don, I think some of the clouds over Jackson from an off-field perspective would stop the Patriots from making that move.

Tim (Chicago)

Will Wheatley be available for This Sunday's game?

Mike Reiss
  (12:52 PM)

Tim, I don't think Wheatley will be ready to go.

MarkJ (Japan)

Sending out draft picks for players is not the usual BB style. Does he know that 2011 and 2012 draft class is not as good as 2010 so he try to get some quality players with these picks?

Mike Reiss
  (12:54 PM)

I think it's more a result of the run of injuries the team had, MarkJ. They had their depth really taxed with the Mankins contract standoff, and then Kaczur, Bodden, Warren and McGowan. Those are five players who would be on the 45-man game-day roster. So trading a future late-round pick for an NFL ready player was deemed the best course of action. To me, it's a good reminder that the Patriots' decision-making can't be pigeon-holed into one specific way. They adjust, like other teams, based on the circumstances around them.

Tony (Worcester)

Hey Mike, it seems like the Pats' road woes last year have been a forgotten story line heading into this week. How much do you think this game will serve as a litmus test for whether that problem has been corrected or if this team will have the same Achilles heal?

Mike Reiss
  (12:56 PM)

The Patriots were 2-6 on the road last season, if we count the win over the Bucs in London. Only four road teams won on opening week. So I think you combine those two factors and it's a big test for this team. I think it's fair to say this game will be a good reflection on the improvements the team made in that area.

Brian (Route 1 Traffic)

If I'm the Pats, one concern I would have about offering Moss a contract would be this: if you don't offer him enough, there is a huge risk he shuts down for the rest of the season. I would prefer to hear him bemoan the fact that he hasn't had an offer than hear him talk about being disrespected by what he may consider a "low-ball" offer. Thoughts?

Mike Reiss
  (12:57 PM)

Great point, Brian. Some players can compartmentalize and keep the business apart from the Xs and Os. For others, it's more challenging. Based on what I've observed, I'd put Moss in the latter category.

Michele (Derry, NH)

Hi Mike, How important will Kevin Faulk be in Sunday's game? I see screens and draws playing a big part in trying to slow down the Jets pass rush.

Mike Reiss
  (12:58 PM)

I would expect Faulk to play more than any running back, Michele, just as he did against the Bengals. He is the Patriots' best pass-protecting back they have and pass-protection will be key against the Jets' blitz-heavy attack.

Mike Reiss
  (12:58 PM)

Let's go for another 5 here...

sully (wilmington ma)

Mike, Logan Mankins for AJ Hawk, who is open to a trade. Yes or no?

Mike Reiss
  (12:59 PM)

Sully, I see Hawk as an ILB in the 3-4 here, and they look pretty deep and talented with Mayo, Spikes and Guyton. I'd look for a better trade option.

George (Boston)

Hi Mike,Thanks for all the level-headed reporting. I didn't remember seeing much of Hernandez out there last game. Do you think he'll be more active this one?

Mike Reiss
  (1:02 PM)

George, I expect to see a lot of Hernandez. I counted him on for 29 of 62 snaps (penalties included). He creates matchup problems. The question the Patriots will want to see the answer early is how defenses defend him -- as a receiver or tight end? Then they can figure out how they plan to attack.

Geoff (Waltham, MA)

Hey Mike, Pat Chung looked great last week... is he for real? Can we expect similar performances from him each week or will game planning create significant variance? Will he remain the Patriots every-down safety?

Mike Reiss
  (1:02 PM)

Patrick Chung is for real, Geoff. I think we can expect some ups and downs -- he's still young -- but he's an every-down guy in my book.

Matt from phoenix arizona [via mobile]

Hey mike I have a quick question about the patriots new tight end rob gronkowski. I am a u of a alumni so I know what this guy is capable of. Do you see him becoming an elite tight end with the pats over the next few seasons?

Mike Reiss
  (1:03 PM)

Matt, I do think Gronkowski has the tools to potentially reach that level.

Arjuna (Derry, NH)

Mike, what team surprised you last week?

Mike Reiss
  (1:03 PM)

In the podcast with Tedy Bruschi, I picked the Texans.

dan (boston)

Mike, on a scale of 1 to 10, just how excited are you that you get to spend Thanksgiving in Detroit?? haha

Mike Reiss
  (1:04 PM)

Let's end on this one, Dan, with the idea that I try to pick the final question as one that makes me laugh. Tough draw for the Reiss family this year, Dan, but we aren't complaining. We feel very fortunate on many levels.

Mike Reiss
  (1:06 PM)

Thanks to everyone for taking the time to submit questions. The questions totaled 443 for the hour, and the reason I mention that is that it's hard to get to even a small fraction of them. The goal is to try to pick a variety of topics, but even that is hard when trying to keep the chat moving at a quick pace. So there are other ways to ask questions as well, such as the Patriots mailbag and on Twitrter (@MikeReiss).

Mike Reiss
  (1:06 PM)

Have a great day and we'll be back next Thursday for another chat.