Good afternoon, everyone. Hope you're planning on relaxing a bit during this bye week. Let's dive into your questions for a bit.
Thoughts on Albert Haynsworth?
Probably hasn't lived up to the expectations of most, but I think he's coming along. The back injury clearly set him back a bit. Had a strong opening game vs. Miami, then regressed. Earlier this week we highlighted the triple team that aided Andre Carter's second sack vs. Dallas. Listen, that's partly on the Cowboys, but Haynesworth was still pushing three guys backwards. Don't judge him solely on stats.
Chris, how do you envision the role of Kevin Faulk on the field? His resume is impressive, but with the influx of young RBs,I cannot see his role clearly at this moment.
I can see his role really ramping up late in the year. The team just has so much confidence in him, even after the long layoff. He can pick up blitzes, catch passes, and even add sure hands on punts if you need him. I see limited roles for the rookies when the games matter most.
Hi Chris: I really liked how Spikes played last week, he was a force, with Mayo returning , who will play the inside spot? Any chance we will see some 3/4 to get both of them together; anything to get more pass rush cranked up?
I'd like to see the Patriots try to get Mayo and Spikes on the field at the same time, just to see the results; 4-3 certainly makes that more difficult, but not impossible.
Why weren't we more aggressive with getting Brandon Lloyd from Denver. A 6th round pick is all it took and we were left holding the bag as usual.
Not enough reps to go around here in New England. Ochocinco and Taylor Price can't find reps, not sure how you find them for Lloyd as well. It's tough for anyone that's not Welker, Branch, Gronk, or Hernandez to get reps without injuries.
Hi Chris, love the blog pieces and the chats! How's this for a conspiracy theory: Chad O is being played minimally and when he does play, appears clueless, so that when the playoffs come around, they can spring him on unsuspecting teams who won't game plan for him or put their best coverage on him? What do you think???
Now that's an optimistic view. Just not happening. Listen, I do think the topic is drawing way too much attention, but that's what happens when you have a big ticket fifth receiver. I think he can still carve out a role here and thrive. Just needs one game to get the weight of the world off his shoulders.
Let's switch it up for the bye week: Assuming divisions shake out like they stand now, who gets the two wild cards in your opinion among Jets, Bills, Bengals, Steelers, Texans and Raiders?
Raiders should challenge for their division title, especially if Palmer can acclimate quickly. I think the Jets and Steelers are still there in the end. Too much experience and talent.
What can we expect from Brace in the next few weeks?
If he's truly healthy with almost 10 months to recover from his elbow injury, I think we can expect both him and Deaderick to carve out spots in the defensive line rotation. Already down Pryor and Wright, I think there's spots for them to contribute. Just a matter of overall health for this team and how many D-linemen they can carry.
Howdy Chris. Since your team's on vacation this week I'm hoping you can indulge my slightly off topic question. What is the big deal with Andrew Luck? No prospect has been this unconditionally lauded and drooled over since...well, since me. And I've done some research. He's ranked 19 for yards, 8 for rating, 5 for TD, and 3 for percentage. None of those numbers are 1. So why do you think there's so much love? Maybe it's his intoxicating cologne?
You sound a little nervous, Peyton? I don't think you should be. I think Mr. Luck's going to end up taking his talents to South Beach after watching that Monday Night paint-dryer. I've said in the past I'm not a huge college football guy, so I'm also baffled by the overwhelming hype. Just seems like we're setting the bar extremely high for him.
I've suggested in comment threads a couple of times that activating Faulk from the PUP list may be a case of Belichick keeping his word, but that it doesn't actually guarantee he'll see the field. If practice shows that he can contribute as a 3rd down receiver or in blitz pick-up, great. But as Mike Reiss said, he had lost a step even before the injury. Do you think it's possible that after a couple of weeks Belichick may say, "Kevin, it's time. Here's your coach's whistle, and remember that coaches get rings too."
Certainly can't rule it out. Faulk is 35 coming off an ACL injury. That's not a recipe for success for running backs. Alas, I think he can mask any regression in talent with his experience and knowledge. Let's see what he's able to do on the field, but I can certainly see him carving out a role.
Big fan chris,our def. is playin better, you turn on espn and listen to the experts and its the worst def. they ever saw. Now the more they play and play together, they are doing great and on 3rd down they are getting off the field. Do you get the vibe they are getting more confident ? How about being there live? do they seem different from the beginning our the year? #1 pats fan in tennessee
I think it's rather remarkable that the Patriots are 32nd in the league in total yards allowed, but are 5th in total yardage differential. Speaks volumes about how the offense shouldered the load early on. That said, the one number I focus on is points per game. Patriots are now 14th in the league (22.5 points per game) and that's encouraging progress given the rocky start.
Hi Chris. Love your X-and-O and statistical analyses. Not trying to get you in trouble with your employers, but don't you agree that the new QBR that ESPN is so excited about was debunked by the fact that Sanchez vs Fins rated higher on it than Brady vs 'Boys? Anyone who knows football and watched those games realizes that Brady played way better. A good total QB stat would have to take into consideration the strength of defense and be tempo-adjusted, at least. Agree?
Coming from covering basketball, there are so many metrics -- most of them very good -- for judging how hoopsters play. With football, there are so many more variables, it makes it virtually impossible to find a metric that's foolproof. I actually like QBR, but acknowledge it has its flaws (every stat in football does). I do think we have to keep in mind that -- before that final drive -- Brady was pretty off his game.
Chris! Love what Brandon Spikes brought on Sunday. It seems like he's the enforcer this team needs. He was taking the Cowboys to the shed all game long.
Agreed, now I want to see him do that consistently. Re-watching the tape, he showed up on a lot of plays. Maybe his best one was the screen pass that forced the Cowboys to settle for a field goal in the second half (check out Andre Carter on the play, too, amazing how much ground he covers to stop the play).
In all seriousness my new favorite defender on New England is James Ihedigbo, while he has let up some plays he also has been consistent from my perspective and got thrown in the mix quickly going from 10-15 plays to a starter, where did this come from he looks so comfortable out on the field and looks like a starter.
Ihedigbo has put together two solid games -- two of New England's best defensive games of the season. I think it's hard to argue that -- whether it's because of injuries that Barrett and Brown have nursed -- Ihedigbo and Chung have been the best safety combo. I do like Barrett's potential when healthy, but it's Ihedigbo's spot to lose at this point.
From the dog house to the pent house, baby! I'm back! By the way, I know the Cowboys' center was MIA during the game, but I just found him out here...
I wrote a couple of weeks ago about how i thought people (especially in the media) were reading too much into the numbers with the patriots defense. Its understandable given the yardage they were allowing, but do you see that perception of our D changing? Am i going to be able turn on NFL Network and not have hear how the patriots defense is the worst in the NFL?Just a side note, if our defense keeps improving, then i think we're the best team in football. I can't judge the packers because...lets be honest, that's a cream puff schedule they're playing.
It's this time of year when the stats start to level off and we see exactly a more honest reflection of teams. Just like Tom Brady's stats are slowly coming back to earth, the defense did the same after a poor start. I think it's safe to watch the NFL pundits again. At the end of the day, that Patriots defense helped them get to 5-1.
Chris, any chance the three returning PUP guys not including Cannon don't make the roster for the rest of the season? Thanks Brian
The fact that all three were out there on the first possible day tells me they are all healthy and all have a shot to make the roster. I think the injury situation on the d-line aids the cause for Brace and Deaderick. Faulk just has to show he hasn't lost too much of a step after the ACL injury. I think all three are in the mix.
Why am I ruining labor NBA labor talks, and whose idea was it to even let me in the room? Go Pats!
Nothing wrong with a 40-game season for a veteran team, right, Big Ticket? But seriously. Maybe just hang out in Malibu for a bit and let the suits get a deal done. See you in February!
If Hanesworth production is consistent with his Dallas performance, is that worth the money we are paying him?
Absolutely. People need to remember his cap figure is only $1.5 million this year. This isn't an Ochocinco situation. His production should exceed the price tag by year's end.
Chris--It seems like Bill has whiffed on several 2nd round draft choices in recent years (Das Rowling, Cunningham, etc.) but, maybe I'm over looking some great pickups--can you think of many?
Let's remember that Chung, Vollmer, Gronkowski, and Spikes were all second-rounders in recent years. Jury's still out on the likes of Brace and Dowling, and even Cunningham still has time to eventually get back to his rookie level.
Hey Chris, I only read the transcript you guys posted from Kraft's interview with WEEI, but I didn't get a definitive sense Welker will be getting his well-deserved extension this week. Are you picking up any vibes around the stadium? If Welker doesn't get it this week, would you expect Mayo to?
The one thing I'm wondering is whether Welker's value could ever be higher given his amazing start (and, conversely, with Mayo sidelined, maybe his value is slightly lower right now). That said, it's not like you sign a contract based solely on what you've done lately.
Hey chris. What's the must see matchup for you this weekend with the Pats being on bye?
My wife and my daughter (how's that for trying to get family brownie points). I'll admit, I'll probably be watching some of the games this weekend, but quiet Sundays are rare this time of year and I'm hoping to limit the pigskin. Might even get together with some friends for Saturday morning football at the old neighborhood park, which means I might be in the treatment room on Sunday.
I had a great time at your retirement ceremony a couple weeks ago. Thanks for your commitment to the organization. How many points do you think the Avs finish up with this season?
I've got No. 21 hanging on the wall in my house. I fully admit to being a huge Peter Forsberg fan based on name alone.
Hey Chris, one way to get both Mayo and Spikes on the field at once in the 4-3 is to move Mayo to the WILL, have Spikes at the MIKE, and Nink at the SAM, with Guyton coming off the bench in sub / passing situations. Thoughts??
I'm all in. I think that's the best possible lineup at this point for the Patriots. Guyton can still be a help on third down, but I actually really like the idea of keeping Mayo/Spikes on the field for three downs to build continuity in that LB spot.
One thing that you DIDN'T learn about the Patriots, but want to?!
Oh, you'd like me to <a href="http://espn.go.com/boston/nfl/story/_/id/7128983/five-things-learned-patriots" target="new">shamelessly plug</a> our columns today on five things we've learned. We'll have five remaining questions later this weekend, but I'll give you a hint on one: Can the Patriots keep up a balanced attack throughout the season? Can this running game take the pressure off of Brady's arm when the weather gets ugly?
What does your gut tell you about Ron Brace? Does a return to a 4/3 revive his stalled development? The guy was highly touted by Mayock coming out of BC.
I think 4-3 helps his chances of getting on the field. I think he's athletic enough to really thrive in certain situations (you can drop him into coverage at times and mix up the rush). It's all about health. I want to see his conditioning after all that was made of it last season.
Great work as usual Chris. Any insight on Mayo's status for the next game? Our defense is picking it up and with Mayo back, we shold be pretty close to turn the corner. Your thoughts?
With him back at practice late last week and again this week, I'd be surprised if he's not back on the field vs. Pittsburgh, even if it's a slimmed-down role. Again, the Patriots trainers are magicians with knees considering the progress from Hernandez and Mayo. And, heck, Brady and Welker look no worse for the wear after those ACL injuries.
What do you think Spikes' special move would be if he was a wrestler? It almost looks like he's powerbombing someone every time he does his celebration move. Second career in the ring!
His celebration last week vs. the Cowboys was definitely picking an opponent off the mat and slamming them right? My WWF-nerd meter started flashing immediately. Hey, if he keeps making big plays, he can do whatever jig he wants out there. (And speaking about the WWF, someone ask me about the Razor Ramon E60 doc; this needs to be discussed).
Does it bug you when people call Dowling a bust? We're 6 games in his first season!
And he started the first two games of his pro career?! Let's give him some time. I think people are frustrated because he had a label of being injury prone out of college and he's battling the hip right now.
Chris, do you eat lunch before, after, or during these chats?
Just like Belichick on the conference calls, I'm motoring through some chicken nachos right now. Any time there's a lull I either spilled hot sauce or my 2-year-old is screaming to re-start the movie Rio.
Scott Hall looks like he's aged well. Not sure what he's "oozing" these days, but it certainly isn't "machismo" Discuss in 3...2...1...
Bunch of us were talking at dinner about this last night because the E60 was the highlight of my week -- maybe my year. One of my friends made the case that we pretty much knew everything in the documentary, except Scott Hall killed a guy!? How was this not a bigger story? As a kid who thought Razor Ramon was the coolest thing ever (even if I didn't know he was pushing 40 at the peak of his career), that Fall River stuff was tough to watch.
Alright, a few more questions, all topics covered (sorry if you're here for just football; they've got me worked up on wrestling).
Give me 5 Former or Current Patriots players that you believe will get their number retired, within the next 15 years.
Tough to answer off top of my head. Should be really fun at Patriots Hall of Fame over the next decade or two, especially if the Drew Bledsoe ceremony is any indication. So many guys that could end up there.
Brady has the better career, but who's better now, Brady or Rodgers?
I'd like to see Rodgers against some tougher competition before we know that for sure. But Rodgers is playing some inspired football for sure.
Bear with me here Chris. The way I view this Patriots offense is kinda like how I view my Madden offense. A lot of weapons on paper but a handful of plays/players always seem to get the job done. The top 4 targets are the bread and butter.
I think that's fair. Patriots are not immune to this idea. Think about 4th-and-2 in Indy, they've run that play a million times.
Stephanie McMahon-Helmsely said they've spend "over 6 figures" for Scott Hall to go to rehab, by far more than anyone else, and all of this after he stopped working there. A) Pretty darn good employee policy wouldn't you say? and B) NFL - be humble for once, adopt this policy now.
Definitely good of the WWE to stand behind one of its formers stars like that. Just not sure Scott Hall can be saved and even he admits it. Sure is tough for these wrestlers once the spotlight fades.
Chris In your video's after the Dallas game, was that a faux-hawk, or just really windy, in both directions?
Total fauxhawk. Not my best, but solid after like 10 hours at the stadium.
Whats wrong with #32 ? I thought we had found our next Shutddown CB
He got picked on early, but he's improving. Did get caught guarding the run on a Witten TD this past week. I'm not overly concerned.
who's most fun to interview on this pats team?
A lot of these guys are incredibly engaging and funny. Off the top of my head, Gronkowski, Hernandez, and Fletcher like to keep it light. Always some laughs there.
The most fun to interview must be The Gronks, Welker, Hernandez
Wow, you pretty much nailed it before I answered.
Mayo is a natural W linebacker. When he comes back, him and spikes will definitely be on the field together whether it is 4-3 or 3-4
Saw good results in the preseason, especially when Mayo had more freedom to rush the QB. I'm intrigued to say the least.
Alright, let's wrap it up there. Have a great bye week. Again, get out of the house, enjoy the weather and get yourself ready for the second half of the season.
We'll see you back here next week as we get ready for the game in Pittsburgh.
Thanks for all the questions everybody. Great stuff as always.