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June 2, 12:30 PM ET
Chat with Mike Reiss

ESPN Boston
  (12:03 PM)

Welcome everyone! Mike's chat is going to be delayed today due to coverage of the Patriots' informal workout. Mike will start chatting at 12:30 ... apologies for the delay.

ESPN Boston
  (12:14 PM)

For those just joining us .... Mike will begin chatting at 12:30

Mike Reiss
  (12:21 PM)

Thanks for your patience. Just back from Boston College, where Patriots were working out. Need about 10 minutes, then we'll get started. Will make up the time on the back end, but this information is important as it gives us more material for our chat.

Mike Reiss
  (12:33 PM)

About 5 more minutes and away we go. Just posted Kevin Faulk and Rob Ninkovich comments on our Patriots blog.

Mike Reiss
  (12:38 PM)

Thanks for your patience. A bit of a hectic morning.

Mike Reiss
  (12:39 PM)

Took the ride down to BC to catch a glimpse of the Patriots working out. What I saw surprised me a bit in the sense that it was extremely organized for a players-only practice. Brady getting players up to the line of scrimmage. Mayo leading the defensive huddle. These guys are professionals and you can tell they are well-drilled.

Mike Reiss
  (12:40 PM)

Saw about 40-50 players there -- veterans and rookies alike. Highlights -- Brady running the two-minute drill, Kevin Faulk looking sharp, Mallett to Slater for a 65-yard bomb down the right side, Brady talking to Solder.

Mike Reiss
  (12:41 PM)

Let's chat today until 1:40, so we make up lost time. The question asked in our Patriots blog was "How much longer do you see Tom Brady playing at a high level as the Patriots' starting quarterback?" I'll go through now and look for some of the responses, post them, and then away we go...

ej (south)

I see him playing at a level that will keep us as championship contenders for 4 years. After that we will need a lot more help for him and potentially a change in offensive philosophy with a stronger run game and more playmaking wide receivers. I could also see the patriots grooming Mallet for 3-4 years then trying to get something in return for Brady. Sounds a bit blasphemous but knowing Coach B expect the unexpected.

_bb (Hungary (originally))

Hi Mike!1. I think Brady will play out his current contract and maybe add another 2 year deal, but calling it a carreer at 37 is also in the mix for him.2. Is anyone from the Pats coaching staff a member of the NFLCA?3. If schemes are simplified because of the lockout as Belichick said, whowould get the most benefit? QBs, especially rookies because D#s would be easier to figure out?

Laurie (Moncton, Canada)

I think Brady can play out his existing contract (4 Years) at an elite level. The question marks regarding the offensive line, however, will influence the risk of injury, and the subsequent shortening of this time frame. The concerning part for me is his extreme level of competitiveness. If injuries hamper his abilities enough that Hoyer or Mallett gives the Pats a better chance of winning, how will he respond if he is not named the starter for a game or two?

Mac (S. Hadley MA)

Answer to Brady question:Realistically three years through the end of his contract. Almost inevitably we see declines at that age. Optimistically, 5 years based more upon hope than comparative history.We are conditioned to "think" there will be no "life" after Brady. Let's hope we are wrong. I think we are. We need a high caliber QB to win the SB but not necessarily the best or second best in the game. After all QB's other than Brady and Manning do win the SB. My history is I grew up with Babe Parilli in the Dark Ages and I hope we never have to go there again.

Jeff (Jersey)

I see Brady playing out his contract, being a FA and playing out west(family). His salary will be too high to re-sign. By then Mallet should be ready to take the reigns. As we saw with the Bledose situation he was traded for the new and cheaper QB and to squash any QB controversy

Max (Nebraska)

Brady's last three full seasons have been the best three seasons of his career. Two of those seasons rank among the best seasons for any QB in NFL history. Believe it or not, but Brady is in his prime. I think he can have an equally amazing 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014 season. Its hard to imagine Brady not retiring as a Patriot, but its tough to say if he'll get resigned after that. These yearly surgeries concern me.

Prasad (Brookline)

It depends on what you define as a high level. Will he be the same guy that never lost in the playoffs? Obviously not, lest we forget his uncharacteristically low throws and middling playoff performance of last year. But the team has committed to protecting him and surrounding him with versatile offensive weapons which can only extend his prime, and he is the reigning MVP. Balancing his career trajectory with the youth and talent around him and his perpetually strong work ethic...I say give him another 4 solid years of at least top-5 QB play. Truly a once-in-a-lifetime player, Tom Brady is.

munchkin (glenwood springs, co)

With all that Brady has going for him outside of football I don't know why he would want to play into his 40's. The team may renew his contract in 2013 pushing it to 2016 or 2017 but I see it ending there. Football isn't the only place for him to take advantage of his competitive spirit. I have heard some pundits say that Hoyer doesn't have an NFL arm yet in an interview on Sirius Radio a couple weeks ago Phil Simms stated that he liked Hoyer and has seen him throw in practices several times and was impressed with his skills. What improvements have you seen in Hoyer since he came into the League and what NFL QB we watch on Sundays would you compare him to?

pdxpaul (stumptown)

Based on my personal experience of having just turned 40, I give Tommy until age 38 as his last good year - with the combination of chronic injuries and offseason surgeries, there's only so much your body will put up with before it rebels on you - even with the best sports medicine treatment providers in the world and access to whatever else (wink wink) the menu has to offer. Although he's clearly not looked deeply at himself in a mirror lately, he must have the sense to know he does not want to pull a Favre or a Lance Armstrong move. I know they're worlds different, but even the Shaq story bears some meaning here. Boston thought Shaq retired last year...

Dino (NoWoCo)

On the Tom Brady question, I see him playing at a championship level for three more years before wear and tear and routine give him doubts about continuing.

Ben (LA)

I see 3 more years of the MVP caliber Brady we love and know. And, I could see Brady playing 3 more years after that if the Patriots transition to a more run-heavy attack. Brady's football intelligence, experience, game prep and leadership will prove more valuable than the ability to throw 10 passes in a row or 40 pass attempts a game.

Alvin (Deerfield, MA)

If Brady stays healthy, I see him playing at a high level for another 3 or 4 years based on his last three seasons. Altogether I see him in the league until 2018 or five rings (whichever comes first). I wouldn't be surprised if he does play 10 more years if more 2/3 TE sets are utilized during his tenure.

James (Bay Area California)

Mike, Brady can be effective for 2-3 more years as "the man". Once QBs hit the later 30s however, there is a real need to have a stud RB take the pressure off. I think AP took a lot of pressure of Favre in Minnesota during their first year, just like TD did for Elway. Elway won it at 38 and I think if Brady is to win another SB, he will need a stud RB. I hope TB can play in 2 more SBs to pass Elway, which in my mind will put him as the best QB to ever play the game.

Brian B (Pierre, SD)

Today's question: How much longer do you envision Tom Brady playing at a high level as the Patriots' starting quarterback? This will be Brady's last contract. he will be 37 and I expect a Farve - Aaron Rodgers style hand off of the starting QB job.

MarkP (Jersey)

I see Tommy Touchdown playing at a high level, barring any serious injury for the duration of his contract. He has shown no signs of slowing down and has shown that he has the will and work ethic to bounce back from smaller injuries. Also, the Patriots have made a serious effort to bulk up the the beef in front of him with Solder, Cannon, Volmer, and hopefully Mankins there. Also, it looks like we may run the ball more which would mean he takes less hits.

Brian (CT)

Hi MikeIn regards to your question I'd say best case scenario Brady is around another 3/4 years. I wanted to give a shout out to the BRUINS, hope they can get out of Vancouver with at least '1' WIN!Also I'd have to say Lou Roe would be my favorite UMASS player since I never got to watch Dr J. But here are a few names as honorable mention in no particular order: Jim McCoy, Tonie Barbie, Will Herndon, Mike Williams, Harper Williams. I'll even throw in Jeff Meyer.....

Erik Frenz (Watertown, MA)

How much longer Tom Brady plays at a high level is dependent solely upon staying healthy. He has suffered his fair share of nicks and dents over the past three years, and will need to ward off the injury bug as long as possible. I'm not sure if I'm the only one, but I'm just mildly concerned over his foot surgery this offseason, although it's promising to hear that he's leading workouts with the team at BC.

Brian M (San Mateo, CA)

I think that Brady can play another 5 years before he starts to slow down. At that point he could probably play another few years and still be an above average quarterback. That sounds crazy, right? Maybe not.Brady's best weapons are his accuracy, intelligence, and pocket presence. Yes, he can whip the ball in small passing windows when he has to, but he has proven to be successful without the deep passing game. Accuracy and intelligence are skills that age extremely well, which is why I think he can play a very long time.

Tore (New Zealand)

Tom Brady is one of the best QB's ever. Reality is he's on the wrong side of 30, and yes he can still be very effective but given his age he is much more likely to have a season ending injury. As we all know what the NFL stands for, Not For Long, get the replacement ready.

Jeff (Needham, MA)

Hey Mike, I think Brady has another 3-4 good years left. I'd like to say he'll last longer, but we've seen quarterbacks hit the wall before and with his recent history of nagging injuries I'm kind of pessimistic about him over the long term. That said, I hope that I'm wrong.

Bill L. (Fort Collins, CO)

Hey Mike... your question about how long can Brady play at a high level is a good one. Honestly, Brady has played at a high level since he stepped in for Drew, and I don't see that changing. We haven't seen him drop off in any year. Based on his off-season workouts, his TRUE desire to be the best he can be, as long as he's on the field, he'll be playing at high level at any age. He says 10 more years, I say why not.

Arjuna (Derry, NH)

Mike, as for your lead of question I'm going to answer realistically because in the end I'm a realist. I would love for Brady to play at a high level for 4 or 5 more years, but realistically I think he may start to decline in the next year or two. I think the same thing goes for Peyton Manning, though I think we started to see some of it last year. Remember that stretch of games where he threw 7 interceptions? Sure, a lot of people will blame the supporting cast, but I think he has started to slow down. Like Brady, still one of the best, but I wouldn't be surprised to see them start slowing down a bit in the next year or two.

Mike Reiss
  (12:48 PM)

Great responses. Thank you for taking the time to write those up and share the insight. I look at Kurt Warner leading the Cardinals to the Super Bowl at 38 (I believe) a few years ago and see no reason why that can't be Brady. If healthy -- and that's a big "if" for any player -- I say 40 is the number for Brady.

Mike Reiss
  (12:48 PM)

Let's chat until 1:45 or so. Happy to be able to answer some questions on the workout today at BC.

David (North Attleboro,Ma)

Do you see these player run practices as more of a PR event to show that the the players just want to play?

Mike Reiss
  (12:49 PM)

I don't think that's it at all, David. These guys want to get better. That's a big commitment to fly to the area from across the country. Impressive turnout for the Patriots the last two days.

Will (Beverly)

I heard Kevin Faulk was at workouts today. Should we read anything into that?

Mike Reiss
  (12:50 PM)

Will, I spoke with Faulk after the workout and he said, "I'm a free agent, but I'm a Patriot for life." That tells me he will be here, or nowhere. I could see him signing a one-year deal, being in camp, and then it's just a matter of who's healthy. He looked like he can still move pretty well to me.

Shaun (Melrose)

Hey Mike! Assuming you're at the Pats workout today .... how does Tom Brady look??

Mike Reiss
  (12:51 PM)

Shaun, the thing that stands out to me with Brady is how he leads on the field. I was just impressed the way he got everyone lined up in 11 on 11 work and then zinged the ball around the yard. His arm looks strong to me.

Dino (NoWoCo)

Mike, on the topic of those workouts among ~40 Patriots the other day, it is nice to hear how big the turnout was, and that the first five picks were present. I wouldn't expect Marcus Cannon to be there, but have you heard anything about Markell Carter being involved?

Mike Reiss
  (12:51 PM)

Dino, Rob Ninkovich was asked if Markell Carter was there, and he said he believed he was. For players like Ninkovich, this is also his first time meeting the rookies.

Jan (Auburn, nh)

Two players I'm interested in, any words on the OG taken in the 5th round and what about the OLB taken in the 6th.

Mike Reiss
  (12:52 PM)

Jan, spoke to a personnel guy this week who said, "We loved Marcus Cannon. Great pick by the Patriots there [fifth round]. Classic Patriots pick and the type of pick you can only make if you have a lot of selections." Don't have much on OLB Markell Carter right now, the sixth-round pick.

Boomnutz (Quincy)

Is Mike Wright participating? You might as well address all the injured players from last season

Mike Reiss
  (12:52 PM)

Wright is participating. Looks fully cleared.

Mike Reiss
  (12:53 PM)

I should say fully cleared for this type of work. No pads. No hitting here.

Boomnutz (Quincy)

Was Logan there?

Mike Reiss
  (12:53 PM)

Did not see Logan Mankins or Matt Light.

Flash (Boston, MA)

What was the most impressive part of the BC workout?

Mike Reiss
  (12:54 PM)

Overall, just the organization. No coaches, but it looked like a real organized team activity practice. Julian Edelman caught my eye in three-receiver sets.

josh (portsmouth nh)

how has ryan mallett looked so far in the workouts?

Mike Reiss
  (12:55 PM)

We saw his strong arm on a 65-yard touchdown connection to Matthew Slater down the right sideline. Also saw some standard rookie struggles with footwork and holding on to one ball too long before it was fired right into the ground.

Jim Bob (Oregon)

Was Herzlich at the Pats practice at BC?

Mike Reiss
  (12:55 PM)

Didn't see him there, Jim Bob.

Daniel (District Heights, MD)

Hello Mike. You were saying that Brandon Tate was targeted somewhere between 40-45 times. And he only caught 20 something passes. How many of those were drops versus overthrows or underthrows?

Mike Reiss
  (12:55 PM)

That would be a great film study, Daniel. I don't have the answer.

Bill L. (Fort Collins, CO)

Hey Mike, I respect your viewpoint about Brady at age 40, and while no one can predict the future, I can't see myself as a diehard Patriots fan wanting a 20-something year old QB over a 40 year old Brady who has proven to be one of the best ever. I do agree BB and TB go hand in hand, so maybe Brady's longevity is more tied to how long BB will coach?

Mike Reiss
  (12:56 PM)

Could be, Bill. I think we all probably realize the answer is unknown because it will be tied to health. Body breaks down a bit easier at 35 than it does 25; or 40 as it does 30.

Boomnutz (Quincy)

I think Brady has a 4-5 good years, he's a cerebral QB and doesn't rely on athletic ability or superior arm strength to excel. Also, he doesn't take many hits and has superb pocket presence. Additionally, we continued to bolster the line by drafting Solder and Cannon, clearly they will address the line whenever needed, which should keep Tommy off his back,

Mike Reiss
  (12:57 PM)

Thanks Boom. Never too late to jump in here...

Pete (Boston)

Mike any chance Pats sign Matt Light, switching him inside to LG? Afterall he was projected to play G wjhen he was coming out of college? He wouldn't be the player at LG that Mankins is, but eh woudl be much cheaper and provide depth/preotection at Tackles spots.

Mike Reiss
  (12:57 PM)

I don't see the Patriots moving Light to guard, but could see him re-signed. I believe both sides' mindset is that the door remains open. Looked at LT during today's workout and saw Mark LeVoir there.

Alan (Boston/CT)

How does the turnout look for the Brady-led practices? Are the players that need the most improvement making the effort to show up? (I'm looking at you Darius Butler)

Mike Reiss
  (12:58 PM)

Butler is there, Alan. Overall turnout very strong in my opinion.

joseph harding (princeton wv)

hey mike who do you see starting at de and olb and what game should i come see this year?

Mike Reiss
  (12:59 PM)

At DE, I'll go with Ty Warren and Brandon Deaderick right now. Deaderick, who was at the BC workouts, is a wild card but he did start the playoff game. Probably fits better at RDE than Ron Brace. As for what game you should come see -- I like those Jets/Cowboys games in October.

Dan (Leominster)

Mike, I guess these meaningless workouts do show us something. How hungry the media and the fans are for football! If Chris Collinsworth is right, I'll still watch the games on TV, but I'm done going to games and buying merchandise. I think it is the only way to express my displeasure, and I'm not a happy fan right now!!

Mike Reiss
  (1:00 PM)

Dan, if not for my own conflicted feelings of watching a private workout at BC through a fence, I'd be more excited today. Just seeing Brady sling it around a bit sort of stokes the passions again.

Arjuna (Derry, NH)

Mike, obviously these are informal workouts, but out of all the players who looks good and who looks a bit rusty?

Mike Reiss
  (1:01 PM)

Arjuna, I do think this is dangerous ground to start a "who looks good?" and "who doesn't look good?" category to the workout. The main thing I looked for was mental mistakes because it struck me that one of the benefits of these workouts is to keep the mind sharp. You call a play, line up correctly, and then run it. I didn't see too many mental mistakes, so I think it was a success.

Patrice Bergeron (Vancouver)

Mike Love your work. I had to ask you, if I stuck my finger in your face would you bite it?

Mike Reiss
  (1:02 PM)

Shouldn't you have asked this question in French? I believe that's what Bergeron and Burrows were talking in during the scrum/fight? Speaking as a Bruins fan here, I hope Burrows is disiplined. No place for that, even if the finger makes it way up to that area of the face.

Ben (LA)

Hi Mike! Did Kevin Faulk give an update on the health of his knee? And what kind of drills did he participate in? Kevin is one of my favorite Patriots and I'd love to see him play this season. Even if he's not the same player he once was, who else would you want mentoring the young RBs?

Mike Reiss
  (1:04 PM)

Kevin Faulk said he feels good with the knee. He participated in 7 on 7 and 11 on 11 drills. At one point, I watched him come out of the backfield and catch a pass from Tom Brady. You see that and say "Same old Kevin." He's obviously slowed down a bit, but like you say, you see him conversing with young backs like Shane Vereen and Stevan Ridley and can't help but think how fortunate the Patriots are to have Faulk around, and how lucky Vereen and Ridley are.

Andrew (Maritime Academy)

i can see him playing a good few more years at a high level (baring any serious injures). He had a great season last year, (MVP isn't given to someone who is not the best) and i truly see him competing at this MVP quality level for 3-4 more years. That doesn't say he will be a back up after 3-4 years, but that his production will start to decline. Look at Brett Farve (yah i know we all hate him) but he had some great years well into "old age" as one might call professional athletes.

Mike Reiss
  (1:04 PM)

Thanks Andrew.

Jack (NE)

Any big free agent pick ups this year?

Mike Reiss
  (1:04 PM)

I just don't see a big splash, Jack. Could see a few signings to fill voids, but not expecting a big-ticket item.

Doug (Brooklyn, NY)

Mike, my question is about the TE's. Were Gronk and Hernandez at the workout today, and if so, how did they look? Hernandez was spectacular until his hip gave out on him. And should I prepare myself for Gronk to break Randy's TD record?

Mike Reiss
  (1:05 PM)

Yes, both Gronkowski and Hernandez have been at workouts, Doug. I saw Gronkowski catch a TD pass in the back of the end zone this morning, under the goal-posts. Don't see Gronkowski breaking Moss's record.

Karthik (Cambridge MA)

How do the receivers look? Especially Price and Tate.

Mike Reiss
  (1:06 PM)

Liked what I saw of Price's hands, Karthik. Saw him run through the cone drill and then get the hands up to catch a ball fired rather quickly in his direction. I caught up with him and am going to write about him on ESPNBoston.com tonight. Check it out if you can.

Karl (Lancaster NH)

Will Jermaine Cunningham make the "big leap" this year and give us the QB pressure we need from outside? Y or N

Mike Reiss
  (1:08 PM)

Tough call, Karl. He has a great opportunity, and he was at today's workout as well. I think he's doing what he needs to put himself in position to make that jump. The way he tailed off a bit late last season might concern me a bit, but he's still the player I've pinpointed as making that big Year 1 to Year 2 jump. Let's hope I have better success on that prediction than the one from last year (Darius Butler).

Don_the_patfan (Boston Mass)

Rex Ryan had this to say this offseason:a??Without Randy Moss, the Patriots didna??t have the same vertical threat to their offense, and we planned to show them how much that hurt their offense by constantly challenging the short stuff.a??a??And we plan to go in the season with the hope that Tate becomes that guy? I think the pats need to go the FA route here.

Mike Reiss
  (1:09 PM)

Don, my follow-up question to Ryan on that quote would have been: "How did it work out in the 45-3 game?" I think reading into that one playoff loss is a bit risky. The eight games before that the Patriots had scored 30 or more points. I know I'm in the minority a bit on that thought, so it's a good debate.

MarkJ (Japan)

Watching all the Patriots beat reporters eager to tweet on the fly on Brady-led practice, I cannot stop wondering if the old good days of sports reporting has gone. I mean the meaning of news has changed a lot in the last few years. In this the new era of sports reporting? How do you think the role of twitter in your job as a reporter?

Mike Reiss
  (1:12 PM)

You said it, MarkJ. It's really something to me to watch the evolution of sports reporting. I'm 35 and consider myself relatively young in the field. But even I feel like a dinosaur sometimes. I think Twitter is important and can be a great complement to sports reporting. My struggle with it is context. It's hard to give context in 140 characters. A good example is this meeting in Chicago with Roger Goodell/DeMaurice Smith and possibly Robert Kraft/Jerry Jones etc. That's good info, but what does it mean? In the Twitter world, it makes sense to tweet it, but it begs for more explanation. That's where the old fundamentals of sports reporting come in. So I guess what I'm trying to say is that Twitter can be really good, but we still need to stay true to the basics and fundamentals of the job (reporting, developing sources etc.)

Har Journalist (Vancouver, Canada (Go Canucks Go))

Hi Mike do you think the Jets would really sign Randy Moss? Randy only seems to turn it on when he's happy and getting targets. He has shown that he doesn't have much in the tank. Would him signing in NY really hurt the Pats. Mark Sanchez isn't exactly Brady, Manning, or Brees. What do you think Mike? Check out my preview of the Canucks and Bruins series http://harjournalist.wordpress.com/ Go Canucks Go

Mike Reiss
  (1:14 PM)

Nice, Har, way to get that preview in there :) I could see the Jets signing Moss. Added bonus for them: It would be that sort of "back page" splash in the N.Y. tabloids that the team likes. Whether it would work on the field remains to be seen. I have my doubts.

Ted (Ri)

Hey Mike,What do you suppose that the patriots do about their troubles in the pass rush? is matt roth a possible option? he is certainly big enough at 6'4 275 and lots of experience in a 3-4. Is there anyone else that we would pursue such as Manny Lawson?

Mike Reiss
  (1:15 PM)

Ted, I listed Roth as a possible target about a month ago, but I don't think he comes in and immediately upgrades the rush. More, I think he's another layer of depth who could help. I don't see Lawson as being much of an upgrade over what they already have either. Just don't see a lot of answers there. My feeling is that the biggest improvement will have to come from within.

Sam (RI)

Mike, what do you think the Patriots will do with their issues with their interior line? Logan is unhappy and looking to leave, Koppen is near the end, and we need a replacement for Stephen Neal. Do they feel comfortable with what they have or do you see them picking up a guard in free agency?

Mike Reiss
  (1:17 PM)

Good question, Sam. I saw Koppen at today's workout. Ditto for Rich Ohrnberger and Ryan Wendell, two candidates to possibly play inside. I could see them looking at a veteran there depending on what happens with Mankins' contract/franchise tender.

Behn (Kitchener, ON, Canada)

When will the lockout end? What's your gut telling you right now? Mine says by the end of next week.

Mike Reiss
  (1:18 PM)

Behn, I'm going to say June 24, because that's when my vacation is scheduled. Should I keep my cell phone on when at the beach? :)

Mike Reiss
  (1:18 PM)

Seriously, I'm generally an optimist, so I'll say the end of June, right before a ruling on this court case. Let's think positive.

DALC (NYC)

Could you see Faulk being hired as an RB coach in the future?

Mike Reiss
  (1:18 PM)

Absolutely, if he was interested. Also think he'd be great working in player programs.

Scott (DE)

Mike, what notable players were NOT at the practices?

Mike Reiss
  (1:19 PM)

Scott, I didn't see Light, Mankins, Crumpler, Stroud, to name a few.

Damas (Boston)

If Mallet progresses well in the first year, can you give any idea where Hoyer might land as a trade? It's a bit early to be looking into that, but I'm sure Bill is thinking about the value he can find.

Mike Reiss
  (1:20 PM)

A lot would depend on how well Hoyer plays this preseason. It's challenging to pinpoint a team, but maybe a Washington? Just pure speculation on my part.

Arjuna (Derry, NH)

Mike, I'm going to throw the challenge flag. I respect Har Journalist's comments and insight, but that "Go Canucks Go" is unacceptable in this forum! :)

Mike Reiss
  (1:20 PM)

I think that's a good call, Arjuna. Way to stay sharp in the offseason.

Jamie (Richmond, VA)

Mike, you're in the minority with your opinion that we don't need a deep threat, and i'm with you. People are sucked in by the flash and entertainment of scoring quick points, but forget that superbowls haven't been won since our defense was the dominating side. Brady has proven time and time again he can score points with no names, we do not need a deep threat to win a superbowl. I think last year's offense was a thing of beauty, and shows Brady's true trademark as one of the best qbs ever.

Mike Reiss
  (1:21 PM)

Welcome aboard, Jamie.

Joe (SC)

Do you think the Patriots would go after free agent playmakers such as Santonio Holmes? In case of injury

Mike Reiss
  (1:21 PM)

I don't see it, Joe. I think they'd shy away because of some of the off-field "questions".

Bill (Northfield)

Mike, Do you think Ryan Mallett has the skill set to take over this team "after Brady" and do you believe that is what BB was thinking by taking Mallett (love the pick). Also was Brady open to Mallett during these practices and do you believ Brady would mentor him, unlike Favre with Rogers...

Mike Reiss
  (1:22 PM)

Absolutely Brady was open to Mallett, as well as Hoyer and Jonathan Crompton. From my perspective, you see the "team" aspect of things in these player workouts. As for Mallett, I just think it's too early to tell. I'd start the discussion with Brian Hoyer first, because I think he has a chance to be the next guy up, as she's shown a nice progression and cmmand.

Jason (Darien, CT)

FIRST TIME QUESTIONER - HYPOTHETICALLY - Can a coach be let go from the team and then be free to work/coach players? Can the coach then be rehired after the lockout?

Mike Reiss
  (1:23 PM)

Jason, thanks for asking a debut question -- I think the league would come down hard on a team for this.

Damas (Boston)

Did you notice if Brandon Spikes was at practice? He had minor trouble last year off the field, and I feel the only thing preventing he and Mayo being the top ILB tandem this year would be that sort of malarkey. If Mayo can provide some sort of guidance and Spikes buys in (i.e. goes to these player practices), we could see something special.

Mike Reiss
  (1:24 PM)

Didn't see Spikes, but possible I missed him.

Doug (Brooklyn, NY)

Was Pat Chung there? And how did our secondary look against the offense? Did they do any work out of the Nickel with McCourty, Bodden and Ras-I?

Mike Reiss
  (1:24 PM)

Chung was there, Doug. Nickel looked fine. At one point, almost came up with an interception in 7 on 7, which had all members of the offense drop down and do push-ups. Neat to see.

Pete (Vermont)

Have you heard any rumblings about which Rookie Free agents the Pats are interested in ?? David Mims, Thomas Keiser ????

Mike Reiss
  (1:25 PM)

Haven't heard anything concrete, Pete. Love the passion that we're talking RFAs.

Devin (Andover)

Hey Mike, everyone is making such a big deal about the pass rush, but suring up the secondary essentially does the same thing. If you have good cover corners that can stay with the recievers, then the extra few seconds a QB has are irrelevant. Plus, the thing the Pats DL is built for is to stop the run, not rush the passer. Obviously, the Patriots look to have a very strong secondary this year, which should make the pass rush less of a concern. Thoughts?

Mike Reiss
  (1:26 PM)

I think there is some validity to that, Devin, although I also subscribe to the theory that even the best cover people can't be asked to cover forever. So I feel it's a mix -- you need a little of both.

Don_the_patfan (Boston Mass)

What did you think of Greg Cosell's ( 32 years in NFl films) analysis of Tate that the way the pats used him last season tells him that they 'don't think much of him' ? Not trying to pile on Tate at this point but I really do not understand how we can put everything we have on HOPE that he becomes that vertical threat when so far he has shown he is too inconsistent to be that. Not to mention no offseason to improve either.

Mike Reiss
  (1:26 PM)

I thought it was a bit of a jump, Don, while also respecting the work that Greg Cosell does (he watches coaches tape and has access to quality resources most don't). Too early to make the call on Tate in my view. Still developing.

Jeff S (Naugatuck, CT)

I saw pictures of yesterday's practice at BC and noticed nobody in the picture was wearing any Patriot gear. Was this done on purpose?

Mike Reiss
  (1:28 PM)

Not sure on this one, Jeff.

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

How will the New England use QB Ryan Mallet this season?

Mike Reiss
  (1:28 PM)

Chris, I think he'll develop behind the scenes as the No. 3. Just don't see him being able to overtake Brian Hoyer at No. 2, with limited offseason work.

Marc (mass)

Mike,what do you see the pats doing with their offensive line? do you see any young guys stepping up and playing?

Mike Reiss
  (1:30 PM)

Marc, I think there are some good opportunities for some of the younger players, like Rich Ohrnberger, Ryan Wendell and Steve Maneri, as well as a few others, to possibly emerge. Maneri is a player the Patriots claimed on waivers last year, and one could make the case he got the spot that would have went to Ted Larsen (10-game starter in Tampa). So they obviously think highly of him. He's a tackle.

Behn (Kitchener, ON, Canada)

Was Hoyer at BC?

Mike Reiss
  (1:30 PM)

Yes, indeed.

Adil (London, UK)

Hi Mike,I understand the interest in the Patriots workout but by reporting on the closed session do you feel you may be betraying the trust of the players. And do you worry that will affect your relationship with those players?

Mike Reiss
  (1:31 PM)

I did have that thought, Adil. In the end, and this might sound silly, but I fall back on the Bill Belichick mantra "Do your job." Just as players have to answer to Bill Belichick, I have to answer to superiors. We discuss decisions like these and try to do the right thing. We don't always get it right, but we take it very seriously.

Eric (MA)

This lockout is seriously effecting my mailbag/chat questions. The same questions are asked everyweek... don't get me wrong, I still check every chat/mailbag but seriously- it's starting to limit us.

Mike Reiss
  (1:32 PM)

I'm with you, Eric. Any suggestions on how to freshen it up?

rick (ct)

Mike, appreciate your work. Other than unsigned players, what do you make of some players missing the workouts? Also, is this week it or are others planned in the future?

Mike Reiss
  (1:32 PM)

Thanks Rick. I wouldn't read too much into it without knowing more details regarding their absence.

Scott (DE)

Mike, the way I see it, the way this year's offense looks will be influenced by two main factors: 1) how the improved RB corp is used, and 2) if Tate and/or Price can develop enough to stretch the field as vertical threats. How do you see these factors playing out?

Mike Reiss
  (1:33 PM)

I think both factors will play out in a way that helps the offense, Scott. I'd put Edelman in the WR category as well.

Ramin (San Marcos, TX)

Mike, which rookie looked the most comfortable in the organized practice?

Mike Reiss
  (1:34 PM)

No one really stood out, Ramin. They were sort of used sparingly. They don't even know the plays.

Jim Bob (Oregon)

Mike, what are your thoughts about the Commissioner helping Rex Ryan handle Santonio Holmes, as outlined in Ryan's book? I think its appalling. I especially think it effects the Pats, with regards to spygate, as it definetly shows the Commish gives preferential treatment to the Jets and probably over reacted to the spygate issue.

Mike Reiss
  (1:35 PM)

It made me think, Jim Bob, and in the end I don't think it's anything Goodell wouldn't do for any team.

Jon (MA)

hi mike which rookie RB makes an impact this year? i think the pats are going to have an explosive backfield.

Mike Reiss
  (1:35 PM)

I'd start with Shane Vereen, Jon. Second-round pick. Smart player. I think he'll be able to pick things up in fast enough time to help out.

James (Bay Area California)

Mike, I agree with you on the vertical threat. Most teams have a shut down corner that helps neutralize the deep threat, so your battles are in the slants, curls and posts which accurate route running and acceleration is more important than top speed. having said that, why can't the pats seem to find a way to get welker and edelman on the field at the same time?

Mike Reiss
  (1:36 PM)

James, I could see that happening. Saw some 3 WR sets today with Branch, Welker, Edelman.

Sam (Birmingham, England)

Mike, while I know that Patriots refuse to overpay for anybody in FA, I feel that this year things are perfectly set up for them to have a run at one of the proven pass-rushers in this years' free agent class. If not this year, can you envision a time when the Patriots would be willing to make a splash, or have your expectation been blunted after so many years of covering the Pats?

Mike Reiss
  (1:37 PM)

They did it in 2007 with Adalius Thomas and we saw how that turned out, Sam. I just don't see this as the right year to do it. I think if they're going to make a big splash, make it with Logan Mankins.

Phil (7'th Floor, First Cube on th Left)

Hey Mike, what is the atmoshpere like at these practices? Is it more of a laid back, social feeling (as player-only workouts tend to be) or are they working as if Bill is looking over their shoulders?

Mike Reiss
  (1:38 PM)

Hi Phil, hope all is well in the first cube on the left of the seventh floor. The word I'd use to describe the atmosphere is "professional." They are working hard. It is organized. There is some spirit there. The defensive guys seem to thrive on competing against Brady. You hear some yelling, and playful banter as well.

david (cambridge ma)

i love ryan mallet. i don't understand why draft "experts" weren't sold on him.jake locker at number 8??? will be interesting to see how mallet and locker's careers compare. i believe he is the best pure passer of this class and unless cam newton does turnout to be as great as he was at auburn and blinn i think ryan mallet will be the most successful of any qb drafted in this class. tying into brady, i hope that mallet does one day become the patriots starter. 2015 maybe? hopefully.

Mike Reiss
  (1:39 PM)

David, a lot of it was off-field questions with Mallett.

Dan (Dallas)

Hi Mike. Transplant in Dallas. Belated question. Money has a time value that is easily measured due to our money markets. Draft pick value isn't as tangible as money. Why do teams place such an exorbitant premium on the present? In other words, why is a pick today worth so much more than the same pick the following year?

Mike Reiss
  (1:40 PM)

Dan, it's usually worth one round more today than it is next year. I think the way teams look at it is that they get a head start of one year to work with the player. That time spent with the player is valuable. I'd use Derek Cox, a CB with the Jaguars as an example. If I recall, the Jaguars traded a 2009 second-round pick to the Patriots to select Cox in the 2008 third round. Cox has been pretty good for them the last three years. So you get the player a year early.

James (Bay Area California)

Mike, Any comments about the LBs? I think the LBs might be the key to the post season.....

Mike Reiss
  (1:40 PM)

Eric Moore lining up at OLB was one thought that stood out with the LBs at today's workout.

David (North Attleboro,Ma)

The latest from Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter is the owner Jones,Kraft,Richardson,Rooney,Mara and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, NFLPA leader DeMaurice Smith, along with owners and players association officials met Wednesday and continued talking Thursday in Chicago to try to bridge some of their significant differences, according to multiple league sources. Any Thoughts?

Mike Reiss
  (1:41 PM)

Loved it, David. I want football and to me, it can't hurt to get together.

Bill L. (Fort Collins, CO)

Mike, Super Bowls are often won in the trenches. The best offense in NFL history lost perfection largely because of the constant pressure the NYG def line had on Brady. Belichick knows def wins championships... Dowling may be a stud and we get Bodden back healthy, but there are only so many coverage sacks your def backs will get a game... if we don't get better in pass rush with the guys we have or get in free agency, I see us struggling again in the playoffs (and that's tough for me to say)!

Mike Reiss
  (1:41 PM)

Fair point, Bill.

MarkP (Jersey)

Hey Mike, was Marcus Stroud there today or yeseterday? I think people are underestimating the type of impact he could make with us. He will be a great 1st and 2nd down run stopping DE for us and he is such a huge body that he will help to make it easier coming off the edge for our backers. Also, last year he was playing in a Bills 3-4 that was in its first year and didnt have the correct pieces to make it effective.

Mike Reiss
  (1:42 PM)

Didn't see him, MarkP, but I might have missed him.

Steve (Boston)

Hi Mike, not sure if you know the answer to this but I figure I would ask. How did the players end up at BC as opposed to somewhere else? Did one of the players contact the BC athletic department or did BC just offer up the use of their field to the players?

Mike Reiss
  (1:42 PM)

Steve, that's where the Patriots worked out when their bubble was once not usable. Patriots have good relations with people at BC. It's probably the closest facility to a pro facility in the region.

Jorge Duron (Honduras)

What's the type of leadership Mayo is taking in these workouts ?, I Read once that you said he has shown a lot of it...

Mike Reiss
  (1:43 PM)

It's easy to see, Jorge. Mayo is leading the huddle. Impressive for a fourth-year guy to have that standing with the team.

Steve (Alpharetta, Ga)

I heard Coach BB was hiding behind a bush at BC watching the practice

Mike Reiss
  (1:44 PM)

Hoodie or no hoodie?

Kreza (Poland)

Hello Mike! Do you think this team will be better than the last year team? Do you think Solder will be as good as Light was for his rookie year?

Mike Reiss
  (1:44 PM)

I think it will be better, Kreza, although the record might not show it. I have doubts on Solder's ability to step right away because of the lockout.

Arjuna (Derry, NH)

Mike, last season we signed Matt Katula as our long snapper mid-season to replace the shaky Jake Ingram. I know it's not the flashiest position, but do you think the Patriots re-sign Katula as we never heard his name ever again (which is a good thing for a long snaper)

Mike Reiss
  (1:45 PM)

He's in, Arjuna, as he had signed a 2-year deal.

James (Bay Area California)

Mike, since you are the 5th son, aren't you barred from contact due to the current lockout?

Mike Reiss
  (1:45 PM)

Penalty flag on James. 5 yards for unsportmanslike chatting :)

TB 12 (Brady) (B.C.)

Mike you may want to head back to the stadium this afternoon, we decided to impress Coach and put in a double session today.

Mike Reiss
  (1:46 PM)

That's not what you said on the way out of BC, TB12.

supwithyou (MA)

Realistically, Would Faulk get a contract anywhere for more than a year? I see him following the Bruschi/Rodney route... Try to make the team, realize he has slowed down, and then cool retirement...

Mike Reiss
  (1:46 PM)

One year, probably at the mimimum.

T (Boston)

Is there a difference between LE and RE in the base 3-4? I believe it's been said that Brace only plays LE and wouldn't be a good fit opposite T Warren (assuming Ty reclaims his position). Is that true? What would prevent him from being able to do so? Thanks

Mike Reiss
  (1:47 PM)

T, they are similar. Brace could potentially play the RDE side, although the reason I didn't project it is that I generally look for a bit more pass-rush burst out of a player at that spot.

Sean (Hudson)

Mike, I know BC usually has the stadium open to the public. Is this the case with the Patriot's workouts?

Mike Reiss
  (1:47 PM)

Sean, they closed it down today, per the players' request.

Mike Reiss
  (1:48 PM)

Let's go for another 5 or so...

Paul (NY, NY)

Hi Mike, when BB didn't take a pass rusher high in the draft, after a brief period of steaming, the consensus among Pats apologists became "well, obbviously, the OLB position is too tough for a young guy, we need veterans." If that were the case, why don't the Pats ever take a young impact pass rusher with the intent to groom him? We've taken a number of "investment" picks in the past couple years: Tate, Cannon, Mallet. Why not an investment pass rusher?

Mike Reiss
  (1:49 PM)

Paul, I think it's a fair question. They did take Jermaine Cunningham in the second round last year. I think this was a case where they just didn't like any of the options vs. what they had graded at other positions.

marcus (ny)

hey mike, I know i'm jumping the gun but since were so deep at cb's and safetys does meriwether become trade bait if rasi dowling proves he is sort of a tweener able to play both postions a la rodney harrison, i feel we can address some needs and get great value for a talented yet inconsistant player

Mike Reiss
  (1:50 PM)

Marcus, I think they keep Meriweather. In the end, I think his value to the Patriots is greater than his value on the trade market.

Dennis (WPB, FL)

Mike, do you think the Patriot players feel like fans or reporters are entering their private space by showing up at the workouts? As fans we want all the information we can get, especially with the lockout, but I can see how some players would feel this is inappropriate.

Mike Reiss
  (1:51 PM)

Sure, I can imagine some players feeling that way, Dennis. Tough call.

Lav (Milford)

Hard to believe it but our beloved Patriots are the red-headed stepchild of Boston Sports, currently holding the longest playoff victory drought of our professional teams. The longer the lock out goes on, the less opportunity there is for improvement over last year. Has anything changed in your opinion that will allow us to win our first playoff game since what feels like forever?

Mike Reiss
  (1:51 PM)

I think another year of development for the younger players helps, Lav. It's not like any of the other teams are gaining a great advantage either.

Aaron (Arlington, VA)

Biggest takeaway from the workout?

Mike Reiss
  (1:52 PM)

Patriots have a lot of players committed to getting better and the team itself.

BD (Philly)

What do you think about the possibility of the patriots base offense being a base 2 WR, 2 TE and 1 RB package with Vereen providing the versatility as a runner/receiver. I watched some tape on Vereen from Cal and was really impressed with his receiving ability. I think this offense could be very potent running the hurry up with a bunch of plays out of the balanced formation described above.

Mike Reiss
  (1:53 PM)

I don't know if it will be the base, BD, but you bring up a good point on how Vereen's versatility should help the offense be more diverse. I could envision this package being utilized at some point.

Dave (VA)

I worry about losing Mayo. Isn't his contract up after this year?

Mike Reiss
  (1:54 PM)

It's up after the 2012 season, Dave.

Arjuna (Derry, NH)

Mike, lets end on a fun, non-football note. Do you think the Bruins can win the Stanley cup, and if so how many games?

Mike Reiss
  (1:55 PM)

OK, Arjuna, let's end it here. I'm pulling for the Bruins. From my amateur view, I thought last night showed they can play with Canucks. Let's give them the Cup in 6!

Mike Reiss
  (1:55 PM)

Thanks to everyone for chatting and apologies for the delay at the start of the chat. I had to take care of the reporting at BC. Will do it again next Thursday -- at noon.