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May 10, 2:00 PM ET
Chat with Mike Reiss

Mike Reiss
  (1:59 PM)

Good afternoon. Hope everyone is having a nice day. A little change today with the chat at 2 p.m. ET instead of noon. Let's roll over the next hour. What is on your mind?

Mike (Ireland)

Mike,What are your thoughts on the Pats re-signing Andre Carter? I thought he was arguably our best defensive player during the regular season in 2011. Let's assume that he will be fully healthy by training camp. His position looks a bit crowded with Jones, Bequette and Ninkovich as locks and Scott, Cunningham and Markell Carter seemingly battling for the final roster spot. Would you pull the trigger in bringing in Carter and let the competition play itself out during training camp? Put a percentage on him resigning.

Mike Reiss
  (2:00 PM)

Mike, two things have happened over the last few weeks that I think reduce the chances of Carter's return -- drafting of Jones/Bequette and the Ravens losing Terrell Suggs to a torn Achilles. I thought it was a slam dunk. I'm not so sure any more. If I had to put a number on his return, I'd say 25 percent. Complete guess.

Kenny (MaINE)

Hi Mike, thanks for the chat you provide. Is Danny Woodhead a lock for the team or does the addition of Addai and udfa Brandon Bolden push Woodhead out the door. Hope not, I like watching the midget go through holes.

Mike Reiss
  (2:02 PM)

Kenny, I thought Woodhead played well at the end of the year. He had an ankle injury that really nagged him during the season and it looked like it affected his explosivenss. When healthy late, I thought it showed he can still help this team. Is he a lock? Probably not a lock, but I put him on the roster in my last projection. As for Bolden, I think there was a reason he wasn't drafted, and it wasn't because of what happened between the end zones. Scouts had off-field questions. Some risk there, and to rely on him comes with a "buyer beware" label.

James (Derry, NH)

Hey Mike, I was thinking about BB drafting Dont?a Hightower. Do you think he sees a player like he hoped he would get when he signed Adalius Thomas? Someone who can play inside, outside, and rush from the edge, but this time with the proper attitude. He may have the most positional versatility on the defense. As always keep up the great work.

Mike Reiss
  (2:03 PM)

Good comparison, James. Bill Belichick himself used the comparison of Mike Vrabel in terms of versatility. So there you have it, right from Belichick himself.

laxattack21 (Chicago)

Mike, who are you looking forward to see play most at training camp and this upcoming season?

Mike Reiss
  (2:04 PM)

Everyone really. Training camp is my favorite because we get to watch practice and I get to play amateur scout. But to pick one player -- Shane Vereen. Fast. Can he stay healthy and how much will a year in the system help him?

Neil (Pountney)

Mike, it has been great to see so many depth players added to the roster but I am personally still very concerned at the safety spot. Do you think there is any possibility of the team trading with someone to bring in another experienced, quality player or is the solution already on the team? Cover three a possibility???

Mike Reiss
  (2:06 PM)

Neil, I think those concerns are fair. I'm not sure they've done enough at safety and there is always the possibility of an addition. The problem, as I see it, is that any addition isn't necessarily going to make you any better. It's not like there is top-shelf quality out there to bring in. That is part of what makes this Tavon Wilson so fascinating to me. As a second-rounder, they are counting on him to be a big part of the solution. Other teams I spoke with didn't have him rated that high. Let's see how it plays out.

Bob (Portland, ME)

Hi Mike, any idea when the first rookie contracts will start to be signed for the Patriots? Many NFL teams already have a head start.

Mike Reiss
  (2:07 PM)

Bob, I'll be honest, I have no idea. I used to pursue those aggressively, but my feeling is that it is more of a formality in most cases. If there is the possibility of a holdout/contract impasse, that's when I try to jump in.

Jesse (Cape Cod)

Hey Mike since the rookie camps are upon us, can you give us an idea of what the coaches are doing with them/looking for? Also are veterans allowed to participate in the camp?

Mike Reiss
  (2:08 PM)

Great question, Jesse. This is "Patriots 101." You are introducing them to life as a Patriot -- everything from "Here is the locker room" to "Here is how we want you to line up in our most basic defense." Think of the first day of class in college. You get a syllabus and it sort of maps it all out for you. That's what this camp is, with Professor Belichick.

Steve (Florida)

Mike, in your last couple roster projections, you've left Cunningham off the list. In 2010, Cunningham was the lone bright spot in regards to QB pressure, despite not having a lot of sacks. Then in 2011, he was the victim of BB's attempt at a 4-3 base and the additions of Haynesworth, Ellis, etc. Given the apparent swap back to 3-4 base (which ultimately will be majority subpackages), how does Cunningham's success in 2010 not lend itself to him finding a spot on the 53 this year?

Mike Reiss
  (2:10 PM)

Steve, I'm glad you brought up Cunningham. He'll be another good one to watch this year. You nailed it -- solid 2010, fell off the map in 2011. What will be get in 2012? I'm not sure how anyone can say it with certainty, but from my amateur scouting perspective, I just didn't see any explosiveness out of him last year in camp. Regardless of scheme, that would be a concern to me going forward. I wouldn't write him off (even though I did in that "ridiculously early" roster projection), but leaving him off was more of a reflection of the uncertainty surrounding him.

Dr. B (Barnstable)

Mike-With all the "concussion discussion" in the news, can you provide an update on the well being of Ted Johnson? I really haven't heard much about him and was rather surprised considering the problems he was experiencing in the years after his retirement. Is he part of the lawsuit against the NFL regarding their alleged knowledge of the potential problems related to head injury? Do you know if he has a suit against the Pats? If not, are the Patriots doing anything for him (I assume he still suffers some of the symptoms described by others)? Lots of questions on a topic I haven't seen discussed.Dr. B.

Mike Reiss
  (2:12 PM)

Just saw John McClain, the great reporter for the Houston Chronicle, tweet yesterday that Ted is living in Houston and working at his family's restaurant. One of my all-time favorites. One of the few players I'd talk to in the locker room where the discussion wasn't about Xs and Os, but about self-esteem and family. I've been in and out of contact with Ted, but I was real happy to read John McClain's tweets that made it sound like Ted is hanging in there. I also heard Ted on WEEI (Boston sports radio) recently. As for any of the legal stuff, regarding Ted, I am not sure.

Derek (Des Moines, IA)

Hey Mike, Im a big fan of yours and i was wondering where you believe the Pats offense and defense will rank compared to our team last year? Thanks.

Mike Reiss
  (2:14 PM)

Thanks for being a fan, Derek. That is nice to hear. In terms of the offense and defense, here is one thing we can take to the bank: The third-down defense will be better than it was last year (28th overall) and in 2010 (last in the NFL). More athletes to play in space. More focus on the sub defense. I also see no reason the offense won't be similar to last year, as long as things come together up front.

Jean (NYC)

Hey Mike, we lost Carter and Anderson who totaled quite a few sacks last year. That seems like quite a bit of pressure for these rookies to live up to. Can the new players really make up that large of a gap?

Mike Reiss
  (2:17 PM)

Jean, 22.5 sacks is a lot of production to replace, but I think it's important to look at the context of those sacks. Some were "clean-ups" created by other players. Some came late in games. That's not to take anything away from Carter/Anderson, who I thought both played very well for the Patriots in 2011. And no doubt, there is an element of the unknown with Chandler Jones/Jake Bequette/Markell Carter/Trevor Scott, but I think in most cases the upside is higher than what you had in Carter/Anderson. That's the trade-off you make to get younger/more athletic. Let's also not forget that Anderson was an afterthought when he signed here last year. If we go back to some of the reporters' roster projections in training camp, many had Anderson cut. So I think you invest in the young guys, coach the heck out of them, and see where it leads.

Tek420 (Easton, PA)

Hey Mike with the rookie camp coming up what is the format? Is it mostly administrative and orientation or is there any kind of Xs and Os practices or walkthroughs going on? Also I've been hearing about a ton of rookies already signing and some teams have almost all of them under wraps from what I hear. Any reason it seems nothing from the Pats on that front yet?

Mike Reiss
  (2:18 PM)

Some very basic Xs and Os as I understand it. This is like building a house. They are just starting to lay down the foundation.

Shawn (Athol,MA)

With the re signing of jabar gaffney, the patriots have one of the deepest early rosters of wr in the league. Smells a whole lot like the record setting offense of '07 that Mcdaniels and Brady ran to perfection(there was no Super Bowl that year). Do you think there is a chance the pats could be poised to break some records next year and finally give tom brady that elusive 4th ring?

Mike Reiss
  (2:21 PM)

Shawn, I think they could. But let me present the one potential kryptonite -- protection up front. Still some moving parts up there and a new left tackle. As a reporter/analyst/fan of the game, Super Bowl XVII has forever left an impression on me that you can have the best skill-position players but if you crumble up front, the whole house is coming down. So let's just remember that o-line/protection aspect when we talk about a record-setting offense.

Ramin (San Marcos, TX)

Done with classes, so I can finally join back in the chat every Thursday! Mike, besides Jones and Hightower, which rookie do you see making the biggest impact this season?

Mike Reiss
  (2:21 PM)

Ramin, let's go right to Tavon Wilson. Second-rounder, 48th overall, should be on the 46-man game-day roster if the team's evaluation was correct.

Erich (Bedford)

Mike, I noticed recently you took a guess at the Patriots 53 man roster and I noticed you left off Brian Waters from the OL and had Wendell making the team over him. I was surprised to read that from you. Is Waters still considering retiring? He played so well last year I would be shocked if he didn't give it one more year and make the team.

Mike Reiss
  (2:23 PM)

Erich, I took the easy way out and assumed Waters decided he doesn't want to play, even though there are no signs that is definitively the case. Was just illustrating some of the tough decisions that lie ahead for the team, and the reason I kept Wendell is center/guard flexibility and contributions in future years. I hope Waters is back. I thought he played well for them last year.

Brian (Oxford, CT)

Okay, Mike, my whole afternoon has been thrown out of order by this 2 pm start time! But anyway, we always hear about the benefits of a player having a "year in the system" - Chad Ocho, for instance, and you've mentioned Vereen. My question is - do you think there are specific positional groupings for where a year in the system REALLY makes a difference. I'm guessing kicker, not so much. Outside linebacker, absolutely. Which positions do you feel are strengthened the most/least based on getting to go through (multiple) camps?

Mike Reiss
  (2:25 PM)

Brian, you've got to be able to play at all times -- 1 p.m., 4 p.m., 8:20 p.m., 8:30 p.m. I threw the 2 p.m. at you today to see how you'd respond. Nicely played by you. Way to battle through. As for the positions that would help the most, receiver would be the first to come to mind. Inside linebacker, because the whole defense runs through your spot, would another.

Matt (Syracuse)

What are your thoughts on Nate Ebner? After watching some rugby clips, I'd say coach him up and try him out in kick returns. Guy's got burst.

Mike Reiss
  (2:27 PM)

Matt, quite a few have mentioned returns for Ebner, but I think I see similarities to Slater in that regard. Fast, fearless, but more in a coverage sense than a return sense. Let's see how it plays out. And while we do ... a shout out to Tom E. Curran of Comcast Sports Net -- good friend and funniest guy on the Patriots beat -- for getting Mike Vrabel to comment on Ebner. Solid stuff to read here:

Anthony Powell (Boynton Beach, Florida)

Mike how do you think this Wes Welker thing is going to turn out do you think they will sign him to an extension or will they agree not to franchise him next season which is what they did with Asante Samuel

Mike Reiss
  (2:27 PM)

Anthony, I think Welker will play for the Patriots in 2012. My guess would be it's on the franchise tag. After that, I think anything is in play.

Dimitar (Manchester)

If the 2012 offense is better than before and the 2012 defense is better before, can this team go undefeated? I know the season is long and every game is a different chapter, but can this Patriots team do what the 2007 team could not? Thanks Mike, you rock.

Mike Reiss
  (2:30 PM)

I think what we saw in 2007 is unique and that it's unlikely, Dimitar. It's just so hard to be at that "A" performance level over the span of 17 weeks, and you just never know health-wise how it's all going to go. That said, the AFC is down, the schedule doesn't have too many short weeks/tough stretches, and so it sets up nicely for a solid season. I predicted 13-3. Wow, the bar has been raised high here in New England.

Peggy (NY, NY)

How come no one ever mentions the one thing John Elway and Peyton Manning have in common is they both have some 'differences' with the Irsay family. Elway in the '80s. Manning now. How much do you think this influenced Mannings' Denver decision at all?

Mike Reiss
  (2:30 PM)

Peggy, from afar, I just don't think that's why Manning went to Denver. I believe it was more the Elway connection and that Elway, more than anyone, could relate to Manning because he once walked in those shoes.

ronfromwestroxbury (NYC)

Have the draft choices been taking part in the off season program already or will that begin on Friday?

Mike Reiss
  (2:31 PM)

Rookies arriving today for minicamp.

Eric (MA)

My 4 reasons why this is the last yr for Welker as a Patriot: (1) they do not want to overpay for a slot receiver no matter how great he has been in the past. (2) they are grooming other slot WRs to step in when needed ? Edelman (who will not be taking snaps on D so he will be focused on O) and Ebert also. Neither are as good as Welker or ever will be but with the added threats around them, neither will have to be as good as Welker. (3) Let?s not forget the Amendola story where it was hinted at that the Pats were interested in him. He?s a FA after this yr and he would be a great Welker II for much less money. (4) With the addition of Lloyd, the slot WR will have an easier time getting open because the safety won?t be able to help out ? he?ll be worried about the deep pass to Lloyd.

Mike Reiss
  (2:32 PM)

All fair points by Eric, and if I'm Welker, these are all on my mind when I consider any longer-term extensions I am turning down. Said it before, there is an element in play where it's not just the team investing in the player, but the player investing in the team. Not sure if that makes sense, but I think Wes needs to be careful here.

Nick(The_Boston_Elite) (VA)

With 10-12 WR's on the roster I'm interested to see what the Patriots really think about them. How do you think it will shake out?

Mike Reiss
  (2:33 PM)

Nick, assuming good health, I like a depth chart of Welker, Lloyd, Gaffney, Branch, Edelman and Slater. That makes Stallworth, Ochocinco and Gonzalez tough cuts. One injury alters the picture.

Damian (Birr, Ireland)

Hi Mike, What is the status with rookie signings ahead of camp tomorrow. Will they all be there?

Mike Reiss
  (2:34 PM)

Damian, all the rookies will be here. They don't have to be signed to participate in these rookie minicamps.

Michael (New York)

Give me one surprise from this year's BB draft...and one person who you thought will be a star or superstar and the patriots whiffed on

Mike Reiss
  (2:34 PM)

Michael, can we answer this one a few weeks into training camp? I like the idea of watching them for a few weeks before making the call.

Nate (Oxon Hill MD )

Hi Mike, what do you think of Ebert in case Wes walks? And if we keep four RBs and a FB, I'd rather Bolden than Addai. Thanks.

Mike Reiss
  (2:37 PM)

Nate, Ebert is a developmental prospect. Seems like a good kid, but with respect to Welker, I don't think we should be mentioning them in the same sentence at this point. At running back, Bolden gets a fresh start here, but this is a prospect who comes with some marks on his resume. Some risk there. Agree that a younger back with promise seems like the right call, but let's see if he keeps his nose clean before we just hand him a coveted spot on the 53.

Megan (Lynn, MA)

Mike what is your favorite sport? (other than football, of course!)

Mike Reiss
  (2:37 PM)

Football :)

Mike Reiss
  (2:38 PM)

Seriously, Megan, my favorite sport to attend is baseball. Something special about a night at the ballpark.

Tron (Waltham, MA)

Hey Mike, With rookie mini camp coming this weekend I just wanted to point out how awesome its been to follow the rookies on twitter. As we all know, the Patriots keep their rookies awfully quiet which hasn't let the fans get to know them too well in their early years. Twitter has changed that. Following the likes of Jones, Hightower, Wilson and Dennard has let the fans see how excited these guys are to be Patriots and has even shown a bit on how they are interacting with each (via tweets). Their excitement is also a reminder that while they are being paid large sums of money and are playing a game that people take (way to) seriously, they are still 22 year old kids who are starting their first jobs. Really humanizes them to a degree and will make me a bit more sympathetic if they don't pan out or struggle early. Just my two cents but thought it to be an interesting point from a media/journalistic perspective and a fan perspective.

Mike Reiss
  (2:38 PM)

Thanks for mentioning it, Tron. And I might add: Enjoy it now, because when Professor Belichick lays down some groundrules in this rookie minicamp, the students might not have as much time on Twitter (LOL).

Chris W. (SW CT)

Hiya Mike. Does the media have any access to rookie mini-camp? Do you watch the first few minutes of practice, or not at all? Anything you're looking for specifically this weekend? thanks!

Mike Reiss
  (2:40 PM)

Yes, Chris, we will be at each practice for about 40 minutes. For me, it's more about the eye test. You can't tell much here. I always remember how enamored we all were with Chad Jackson in 2006. Sounded like the Jets reporters had a similar experience with Stephen Hill last weekend. I will be watching general movements, fluidness, athleticism.

Paul (Nantucket)

Can Chandler Jones make an immediate impact? Do you see him more of a hands in the ground DE or a stand up OLB?

Mike Reiss
  (2:41 PM)

Yes, Paul. They need Chandler Jones to make an immediate impact. This defense needs help, and they didn't trade up to select him at 21 with the idea of waiting a year. I could see him playing both roles -- DE or OLB. And then some more creative stuff in sub packages.

Robin Ranzinski (Medfield Ma)

are there any concerns heading into the season with Nate Solder and Sebastian Vollmer as the starting tackles on this team? Solder showed that he fully capable of doing the job last year but with Light retiring does Vollmer move to left tackle and Solder to right? also because of his size, Vollmer's back problems may never go away and I am not sure he is withstand a 16+ game season. Your thoughts?

Mike Reiss
  (2:42 PM)

Very fair concern here, Robin, and that's why Marcus Cannon could be a very important player for the Patriots. And here is another young tackle to keep on the radar -- Matt Kopa. Spent last year on the practice squad and seems to have some upside. Stanford kid. I'm glad you brought it up, Robin. Maybe bump into you at the "Blue Moon" in Medfield sometime.

originaldb (Boston)

Mike it does bother me a bit that in the end we will have to cut a Stallworth,Gonzales,(if healthy young with upside) for Edelman, Slater. We all know that Slater wont even help at the WR position, Edelman unless Welker goes somewhere wont see the field. Not to mention if healthy Gonzales is a better WR then him. Heck if Ocho turns it around in mini-camp I would take him over Branch as there is more upside there if he gets the offense. Branch is in his last legs. My 6 would look like this: Lloyd,Welker,Gaffney,Stallworth,Gonzales,Ocho( if he shows up, otherwise Edelman in his place). Although am sure BB wont see it that way that WR group is deep and dangerous. What are your thoughts?

Mike Reiss
  (2:45 PM)

Receiver is intriguing, isn't it? You're not alone in the thoughts on Branch. I have been in an ongoing debate with a family member on if he makes the club -- I say yes, Papa Reiss says no. I still think Branch has value and that part of the reason he slowed down late in the season was that he was used too much. 76 percent of the snaps for Branch is too much, and it was a result of Ochocinco never breaking through. As for Slater, he will be on the club, mainly for his special teams prowess. I feel quite certain about that one.

EZ_Jaybird (S.F. CA(Umass))

Slater has great vision, and runs well in lanes on special teams, what specifically prevents him from translating that to Safety? Bad reads are obvious, but are there other issues? At WR he is pretty much a deep decoy at best.

Mike Reiss
  (2:46 PM)

Much more reading and diagnosing and reacting at safety than on special teams.

Evan (Marblehead)

Will Tavon Wilson see the field? If so, do you project him as a corner or a safety? Are you content with Chung and Gregory as starting safeties? Any chance of bringing back veteran Ihedigbo?

Mike Reiss
  (2:47 PM)

Evan, safety for Wilson. And if he doesn't see the field, that will reflect poorly on the Patriots' personnel acumen. You don't pick a player 48th overall with the idea that he sits. Could be a matchup guy in sub against TEs. Here is what one scout described to me about Wilson: Tough. Long. Little stiff. Tweener guy. Sounds like a TE matchup to me.

Ben (The Town)

Mike, Great work as always...Love to hear your thoughts on our back up qb's. Did you get the sense that other teams in need of qb help were tempted to reach out to the Pats to see if they could acquire the likes Hoyer?

Mike Reiss
  (2:48 PM)

No, Ben, I didn't get the sense that there was any interest in Hoyer or Mallett. Like them both myself, but believe this might be a case where we are looking so closely at one team and maybe overrating the value of a player from a 32-team perspective.

Josue Lynn [via mobile]

Hey mike do u think with patriots stock piling on receivers that there preparing themselves for a welker holdout?

Mike Reiss
  (2:49 PM)

Josue, other than the Gonzalez signing, I don't think the moves have had much to do with Welker. They couldn't have predicted that Gaffney would be available, for example. I just think those moves are more about adding some diversity to a WR corps where the targets were a bit too similar last year.

Pete (Vermont)

Any news on how Mike Wright is doing ??

Mike Reiss
  (2:50 PM)

Pete, I haven't heard anything on Mike Wright. Apologies.

Tim (Newton, MA)

Hey Mike,I follow Chandler Jones on Twitter, and follow the UFC, and knowing the family and what I see early on from him, great kid, super hard worker, and competitive. My question is concerning his frame. I kept hearing thoughts of adding 15 or so pounds, and being more of a Seymour type guy on the end, but I think (and hope) they leave him as is (gain strength but not necessarily weight) and be the athletic guy he is. Thoughts?

Mike Reiss
  (2:51 PM)

Tim, when Bill Belichick calls Chandler Jones an end-of-the-line player, he isn't thinking Seymour style. He's thinking more Willie McGinest/Andre Carter end of the line. So while he could add some weight, we're not heading into the Seymour 300-plus range.

Josh (Amherst)

How about a shout out to the #1 UMass lax team taking on Colgate Saturday? Any chance you make it out to Amherst for the game?

Mike Reiss
  (2:52 PM)

Josh, all the best to Greg Cannella and the Minutemen. I consider Greg a good friend and he knows I'm pulling for them, and support him win or lose. On Saturday, the Patriots have their rookie minicamp.

Ramin (San Marcos, TX)

How did the Brandon Bolden signing slip past me? Was it ever announced officially?

Mike Reiss
  (2:53 PM)

Not announced yet, and some confusion because some thought he was going to the Redskins. I backed off and decided to wait for an official announcement because of the confusion. Better to be safe and right than quick and wrong. Bolden comes with some risk, and to be honest, I had some doubts they'd go there.

Mike Reiss
  (2:53 PM)

Let's go for another 5.

Brad H (Brookline, MA)

Hey Mike What are your thoughts on the teams late picks / undrafted free agents. I know last year the patriots drafted some players who might have been able to make solid contributions to the team had they been able to sign with the practice squad instead of subsequentially being picked up by other teams. I didn't know if you had any thoughts on any players this year who fit that category and or who will be targeted by other teams if they don't make the 53-man roster. Thanks for everything

Mike Reiss
  (2:55 PM)

Brad, the TEs stood out to me last year, with Lee Smith (5th round) claimed by Buffalo and Will Yeatman (undrafted) claimed by Miami. CB Alfonzo Dennard (7th round) would be a candidate to get claimed IMO. Otherwise, I think you have a chance to get S Nate Ebner (6th round) and Jeremy Ebert (7th round) onto the practice squad.

KTP (Wonderland, Blue Line)

Mike - Are the Pats finally fully "reloaded" after the 2007 season. It seems like 5 years later they are rebuilt for a final 5 years of great (TB 12) football.

Mike Reiss
  (2:56 PM)

I think that's fair. Any objections? Five more years of Brady. I'm planning on enjoying them.

Rich (Boston)

Hey Mike, What is the chance of Chandler Jones and Hightower making an instant impact on defense? Does Hightower take away from Spikes now?

Mike Reiss
  (2:57 PM)

Rich, instant impact IMO. On Hightower/Spikes, I could see that. Let's also level on Spikes, he has been a bit up and down in the dependability/injury department over the last two years. So I view Hightower as steady insurance there. But if Spikes plays like he did in Super Bowl XLVI, there is no way he is coming off the field. Best defender on the club IMO in that game.

Dan (Leominster, MA)

Mike, You killed me this week. Work gets in the way when it's not at noon! My question: Has Bill just built a lot of competition in camp, or is he really worried he doesn't have enough talent at these positions (secondary, linebackers and wide receivers) to win? Seems like he's "hunting with buckshot"

Mike Reiss
  (2:58 PM)

Dan, I believe it's more competition and depth building. And not just building depth on the 53-man roster, but thinking about 65 deep. Some players that get cut will be back during the year when the inevitable injuries hit.

Grandpa Billy (NJ)

Mike, why no Shane Vereen love? He's clearly the most dynamic rb the Patriots have had in a long long time and is poised for a breakout in 2012. Archive this chat and we'll check back in January of 2013. Get on board the Vereen train early as there are still plenty of good seats.

Mike Reiss
  (2:59 PM)

Grandpa, did you happen to notice the player I mentioned as the one I'm most excited to watch in training camp? Let me get you your bifocals (LOL)

Pappy (Panama City Beach, Fl)

Are you getting more sleep lately? Good luck withthat? What happens to your depth chart at receiver if Ochocinco comes in knowing his play book at is his old reliable self? Do the Pats have a problem cutting Branch aftyer Bradys reaction the last time.

Mike Reiss
  (3:00 PM)

Pappy, the sleep has been hard to come by. I'm breaking down depth charts at 3 a.m. every night in between diaper changes. Don't think they'd have a problem cutting anyone in this type of scenario. Track record is proven in that regard.

Professor Frink (Springfield)

OK Mike, time to be held accountable for your statements. Last week you said $18M guaranteed wouldn't be enough to sign Welker, but the other day you said 3 years at $27-$30 would probably get it done. So, how much of it is gonna have to be guaranteed, and if your Welker's agent what's the argument that he deserves more than what Desean Jackson got?

Mike Reiss
  (3:02 PM)

I like it when the Accountability Police turn on the sirens and hunt down a suspect. Let's guarantee $22m of that three-year deal. Fair? As for Welker's agent in relation to DeSean Jackson, here are the key numbers -- Welker 31, Jackson 25. Age is a big consideration here.

Rob (Borough of Manhattan)

Mike - I liked your "way too early" 53-man roster projection but w/ one exception: Bobby Carpenter. I think Carpenter will make the roster and have a role on this team. He can add some speed and coverage capabilities to the linebacker spot that the team didn't get out of Gary Guyton last year - particularly in sub packages. He can also bring something to the table on special teams. It's hard for me to see him losing out on a spot to Jeff Tarpinian. Other than that, I think the roster you laid out will be pretty close to reality, absent injuries/holdouts.

Mike Reiss
  (3:03 PM)

Thanks Rob. Hope all is well in the Borough.

Nemanja (Vranje, Serbia)

Mike, what can we expect from the Patriots in this month? More free agent signings, trades or maybe someone will be cut from the roster?

Mike Reiss
  (3:03 PM)

More starting the process of getting the rookies indoctrinated. Focus within.

Paul (Oxford, CT)

Mike, Why would BB sign Addai over Faulk?

Mike Reiss
  (3:04 PM)

Paul, maybe a little more gas left in the tank.

Eric (Indianapolis)

Belichick and Matt Light didn't seem to have glowing comments about their relationship with each other during the reitrment announcement. I'm not naive enough to think everyone gets along but was somewhat surprised by the comments they had as I thought they got along well. I only was able to read their entire transcript so I may be interpreting this wrong, but is it correct that they did not get along real well? If they didn't, did this ever affect their professional relationship/performance in your opinion?

Mike Reiss
  (3:06 PM)

Eric, you are very perceptive. I thought that ceremony was real. Tremendous stuff. And honest. Bill Belichick will be honest if you ask him at the right time -- he's a tough guy to work for. But while Light/BB didn't always see eye to eye, I still saw respect between the two. Great respect. Now that you said it, I think that was one of my favorite parts of that ceremony. It really captured how no relationship is perfect, and there is stress on those -- often times daily -- but you find a common ground and keep working for the same goal. Great stuff.

Mike Reiss
  (3:07 PM)

Just the fact BB was there, and said what he said about Light, tells me there is great respect there. BB doesn't do that for everyone. He wanted to honor 11 years of service.

Dan (Denver)

I read that Logan Mankins missed a season in college due to a torn ACL. Do you know if his current injury is the same knee? What is the status of his recovery?

Mike Reiss
  (3:07 PM)

Dan, Logan is making good progress. Not sure if it's the same knee. Expect to hear more from him in the coming weeks. He's one tough guy.

Bill Belichick (Foxboro)

Mike, my draft focus wasn't on subpackages. It was on getting athletes who can perform in my base 3-4/ 4-3 hybrid so that I don't have to use sub packages on every passing down. I can be a lot more creative with pressure and coverages out of the 3-4.

Mike Reiss
  (3:08 PM)

Thanks Bill. Nice of you to drop in.

rick (ct)

Mike, were you able to fine anyone between pick # 48 and 63 who would have selected T Wilson?

Mike Reiss
  (3:08 PM)

No, I was not, Rick. Seems fairly clear the Patriots had Wilson rated higher than most, if not all.

Joe (Connecticut)

Mike, I'm interested in Josh Barrett this year. Belichick obviously saw something in him after snagging him from Denver, and I think he would be a good pair with Pat Chung. He's big, athletic, strong, and just needs to stay healthy.

Mike Reiss
  (3:09 PM)

Joe, I like Barrett, but I didn't think he played as fast as his 40 time. Didn't always think he took the best angles either. I could see him competing for a spot, but I think the addition of Gregory and Wilson could mean trouble for him, assuming good health for all.

Wayne (Framingham)

Hi Mike,With Koppen and Connelly resigned, will the Patriots move one of these centers to a different position on the offensive line

Mike Reiss
  (3:10 PM)

Wayne, it would be Connolly to guard. I think Koppen, if he makes the team, is locked in at center.

Sam (Wrentham, MA)

Mike, do you see Nate Ebner developing into something more than just a special teamer and helping out in the secondary?

Mike Reiss
  (3:11 PM)

Sam, I'd say it's too early to tell. One thing I've learned from listening to BB is that at that point in the draft, you're looking for one thing -- one trait or characteristic -- that you think you can work with. Ebner has some special qualities on special teams. Then you work with it and see what develops.

Wayne (Bridgewater, MA)

Markell Carter? You've mentioned several times that Pats are high on him. Your thoughts? I know you left him off your projected roster.

Mike Reiss
  (3:11 PM)

I see him on the roster bubble right now. With Jones/Bequette as locks, it makes it more of an uphill climb. Excited to watch him play.

Alittlecynical (BB's mind)

Should we worry about the Gronk's proliferation of off-field activities? Has gronk had his best year, considering this and the make up of the receiver corps?

Mike Reiss
  (3:13 PM)

I've wondered the same thing. By all accounts, he puts in all the work and puts the team first, so he gets the benefit of the doubt for now. But I wouldn't be surprised to learn that part of the appeal of Daniel Fells as a free agent was to add a solid veteran to the room to maybe provide a good influence.

mpc12pats (Work)

Mike - Got a new puppy and have to go home over lunch to walk her. Moving the chat to 2pm was great for me today! Thanks! My question is this - If Welker plays this year under the tag, and they haven't signed the Dynamic TE duo to long term deals, that means at least 1 of the 3 is gone within the next 2 years, yes?

Mike Reiss
  (3:14 PM)

That's why we moved the chat. Got the scoop on the puppy and wanted to free you up at 12 p.m. If Welker plays under the tag this year, I do think that makes him more of a flight risk next year because I have doubts they'll tag him again. I think the two TEs will be here.

Jake (Palmyra, NY)

Hey Mike, work is boring lately, you need to post more on the blog.

Mike Reiss
  (3:16 PM)

Jake, let's end on this one. Will have to spark it up a bit. We have a good team with Mike Rodak and Field Yates contributing, and that has helped as I'm adjusting to life with two kids at home. Appreciate you reading the blog, participating in the chats, and keeping it lively.

Mike Reiss
  (3:16 PM)

Thanks to all for a great chat. I'll try to circle back and answer some more questions on the blog over the next few days.