Good afternoon and welcome to today's chat.
Just had a little something come up. Let's plan on kicking off around 12:10/12:15. It is showing me that auto update is on.
Another 5 minutes or so... We'll make up the time on the back end.
OK, just settling in. Curious to hear what's on your mind today.
Hey Mike! Let's play Mike Reiss, the Patriots GM game... Who gets the next big contract extension? Welker, Spikes, or someone else? Thanks!!!
Bill, I still believe Welker will be here in 2013 and beyond. It's solely a belief, and not based on any inside info. I just think the sides will ultimately find a common ground for 2-3 years. Makes most sense for both of them.
Tougher match-up for Pats, Niners game or Texans game?
I'll say Pats-Texans, even though that's the Texans' third straight road game. They look a little more balanced to me -- offense and defense -- than the 49ers.
first time asking question: Do you see Dowling back with team next year? and will Patriots make any trades?
Ricardo, I view Dowling in the same category as Terrence Wheatley from 2010. Wheatley was a 2008 second-rounder and he was entering his third season in '10 and had to prove he could stay healthy and play at a high level. He was ultimately cut that year. Not saying it will happen to Dowling but I think he has to prove that he belongs. He's no longer on scholarship.
Hey Mike - it seems like the defense has played BETTER with McCourty at saftey. I think his ceiling is HIGHER at corner BUT i think that he has shown the ability to be an above average Saftey...I also think Patrick Chung is gone next year.
Charles, McCourty has settled down the back end in his time at safety, I don't think there is much doubt about that. But to me the issue becomes, "If you leave McCourty at safety, who are your top corners?" If you feel confident you can win a Super Bowl with a Dennard/Arrington combo, then you go with it. I think the idea is to get your best four DBs on the field and I see the pieces fitting better with McCourty at CB this year.
With the initial hint of Dom Rodgers-Cromartie possibly being and option for the patriots how do you see him fitting in NE? Also what draft picks do we have to give up as it was mentioned a mid rounder might work.
John, the DRC blog post was really pure speculation. It was a writer having some fun. As for how he would fit, he'd be a starting cover corner who would provide the team the flexibility to keep McCourty at safety if it so desires. CBs are like pitchers in baseball -- never can have enough.
Hey Mike! Long time since I've been able to participate and ask a question. What did you think about Gronk's TD celebrations? I personally loved them, but I could see how maybe the coaching staff might not have like it.
Robert, I thought the first one was the funniest thing I maybe have ever seen on a football field. Classic. Belichick had a good smile after the game when it came to Gronk.
You've been on record saying that Boyer was a good, solid coach -- do you think it is time to revisit your assessment?? We have a guy like Dante Scarnecchia, who is able to coach up his players and turn linemen water into wine. Make no mistake about it, as much as BB is a genius and the primary driving force (along w/ Brady) of their long run of excellence, Dante is right their alongside them. He is truly genius. And then...you have a guy like Boyer. If there is a mirror opposite of Scarnecchia, it is Boyer. Our players have continually regressed under his watch. What gives??
Josh, I file this one under the category of "everyone needs a scapegoat." This is the easy answer, and I think it's wrong. How many of the players who have regressed under Boyer have gone on to greater things elsewhere? None that I can think of. That tells me it's not a coaching issue, it's a personnel/evaluation issue. Also, and I mention this every time Boyer's name comes up, the Patriots had Dom Capers as their secondary coach in 2008 and he is one of the most respected assistants in the game. The secondary might have been worse in '08 than it has been this year.
Boyer has been hand-picked by Belichick to coach the position. He's come up through the team's system and been coached by Belichick as to how the job is supposed to be done.
Mike do you think we'll see more of Bequette?Other than just garbage time in Wembley. I'd like to see what he has in him...?
I don't think so, Peter. He's No. 6 on a pretty deep depth chart with Chandler Jones, Rob Ninkovich, Jermaine Cunningham, Trevor Scott and Justin Francis ahead of him.
Pile on Josh Boyer day. I just looked @ his profile. Apparently he had been DB's coach since 2008 and this past year it changed to CB's coach. Isn't 2008 when it really went downhill for this unit?? We had Asante before that.
ECF, I think you're helping me make my point. Lose Asante, the performance dips. It's about the players more than the coaching. They had Corwin Brown back there as a coach a few years ago. That didn't work out too well either.
Why do we need 5 Tight Ends?
Watson, part of it is because of the versatility they provide. You could almost call Hernandez a WR and Hoomanawanui a FB. If you do that, you really only have 3 TEs. I wouldn't get caught up in pigeon-holing the players based on the positional designation in front of their name, as much as focusing on how they are being utilized on the field.
When the Patriots spread it out, they cant be beat, am I right?
I think they can, Jay. They're on a nice little roll with the spread offense over the last 5 1/4 quarters (last drive of 4th quarter vs. Jets; overtime vs. Jets; four quarters vs. Rams). But I thought they tried to spread the Cardinals out in Week 2 and it didn't look so good.
Mike, prior to the season the o-line had been one of the biggest concerns, At the half way point what do you think?
Dave, I'd say you have to tip your cap to the o-linemen. They've come through. Nate Solder for Matt Light transition has been smooth. All that concern proved unwarranted.
You're right, a huge problem with the secondary is personel/evaluation and that's on BB. He's the GM and really, he needs to give that up.
Since 2007, they've had seven defensive backs drafted in the first or second round. First rounders -- Meriweather/McCourty. Second rounders -- Wheatley/Chung/Butler/Dowling/Wilson. They also rewarded CB Leigh Bodden with a four-year, $20m plus deal after 1 solid year. That's not a very good success rate.
I don't think its fair to put all of the blame on Boyer for the DB situation in New England. The more I think about it, I feel like it has to be significantly scheme related. I think of other defenses I've seen this year, and their defensive backfields are not exactly chock full o talent. Somehow, their players dont get beat/called for interference on p of deep balls though. It isn't a Boyer thing, its definitley somewhat a talent thing, but scheme deficits MUST play a role here, too.
Zack, I do think the scheme is something that warrants a closer examination to ask "is this bringing out the best in our players?" I personally don't know it well enough to have a strong opinion. But it's something I've wondered about.
Mike, Is there any trade rumors around the Patriots today?
Haven't heard any myself, Danny.
Mike, regarding the point that the DBs let go from NE didn't have success anywhere, do you know of cases where players have been let go from NE (at any position) and have had success elsewhere? Where I'm coming from is, when such players leave NE, perhaps it is not as simple as hitting a reset button with a new team, but maybe they have regressed in NE so much that they can't succeed in any system. I have trouble believing that the Pats whiffed on DB picks year after year after year. Bad coaching seems more plausible to me than consistently failing on high picks at the same position.
Max, Asante Samuel, David Thomas and Jeremy Mincey are three players who immediately come to mind as players who have either sustained or raised their level of performance outside of New England. BB doesn't miss on too many of those evaluations, but no one is perfect.
I think the release of Moore tells us that Gregory, Chung and Arrington are close to game ready, especially with the loss of Ras-I Dowling. Moore offered both safety and corner help so, in order to release him, there has to be depth there. I think people should be happy when the team releases players they pick up during the season because it can only mean one thing: the team is getting their original starters back to health. Good bye Carpenter, hello Tracy White.
Eric, I understand the viewpoint, but I was really surprised at the Moore decision. Just because those players are coming back doesn't mean you dump your nickel back who has played 43 percent of the snaps. Why not dump DB Malcolm Williams, who was just promoted from the practice squad? I'm anxious to learn more about the team's thought-process because that one came out of nowhere to me.
Mike, first of all, I hope you and your family are doing well. Sterling Moore, wow, I did not see that one coming. In an area where I feel our team is the weakest, is there something we don't know??
Thanks for the thoughts. Let's see if Moore is claimed by another team. If he isn't, the Patriots can bring him back on the practice squad and it's a double victory -- they get to address a different need while keeping Moore for depth. If not, the only conclusion we can draw -- assuming Moore is healthy -- is that the team doesn't think he is very good.
Hey Mike, would you agree Brady, McDaniels and the offense are most comfortable in the 3 WR set with Welker in the slot mixing in the run? Whilst Hernandez is undoubtly a great player do you think his presence causes the offense to change its indentity and confort to accomodate him?
Interesting thought, Michael. I view it a little differently and think they are more effective when both Welker and Hernandez are on the field. But I can understand where this one is coming from, the idea that maybe Hernandez and Welker duplicate themselves a bit.
Do you think the Patriots are still Super Bowl contenders even though they have been inconsistent through the first half?
Absolutely Michael. If they play like they did on Sunday, they'll be tough to beat. That's why I thought that game was important for them -- it showed them what they are capable of.
Hi Mike,I know you like to do the gut-reaction 3 up/3 down after every game. Can I get you to do a gut-reation 3 up/3 down at the half-way point for the season?Thanks for all the pats coverage!
That's a good one...
Up: Rob Gronkowski, Chandler Jones, Nate Solder
Down: Kyle Arrington, Patrick Chung, Ras-I Dowling (pre-injury).
Any word on Bolden? Also, I like what I see from Vareen, especially in the passing game. Why not more touches for him?
AJ, saw Bolden in the locker room today. Looks like he's close. Vereen will get his touches. They're pretty loaded at RB and a lot of it game-specific. For example, they went 13-13-12 (Ridley-Woodhead-Vereen) with first-half snaps last Sunday vs. Rams, before Ridley got 17 of the second half snaps and Woodhead and Vereen got seven apiece. It was time to bring down the hammer so you go to the hammer-back in Ridley.
No doubt the Aaron Hernandez has the talent and versatility needed to be a good player but does he have the durability needed playing so many position including running the ball like he did last year.
Fair question, David. That's one thing I think gets overlooked with Welker. Durable. It's proven. Hernandez hasn't proven that through 2-plus seasons.
Mike, what did you hand out last night to the kids...DOTS?
Steve, we're a game-plan specific house. Depends on who was at the door. LOL.
Is Jones your choice for ROY?
Runaway choice for defensive rookie of the year.
Mike,You ok? The chat just slowed down to Forsberg speedAny reason Ron Brace is still with this team because there are plenty why he shouldn't be!
Hey, back off on Forsberg! Brace's time could be short-lived. Just hasn't seemed to be able to take that next step. The one thing that helps him is that it's not easy finding 6-6, 330-pound guys. But to the layman, his technique seems inconsistent.
I think spikes is a primier MLB In the NFL, your thoughts
Have to love the energy and physical presence he brings to the game, but until he rounds things out from a pass-coverage perspective, I think premier is too rich.
On to the topic of Brace, where is Myron Prior? Also, when do you expect to see Viasnthe Shaincoe to make his Patriots debut?
Pryor popped into the locker room today. I think he's close. I'd think we see Shiancoe vs. the Bills.
Hey Mike, love Branch-great guy and had some great years with the Pats, but doesn't look like he can beat his man any more.. Might Salas get a shot now? And question on OT rule.. when Ninkovich got that fumble recovery-Jets, to end the game.. was play dead immediately when he gained possession.. could he have scored..if he recovered and ran in for a touchdown..? could he have fumbled himself? or play just dead when recovered-game over..? just curious.
Mike, based on my calculations, if Salas is activated next week, he only needs to average 7.62 catches per game to reach the 61 I predicted him for. LOL.
Seriously, I don't see them moving away from Branch at this point. The comfort level Brady has with him is obviously very valuable. ... Not sure on Ninkovich play. Would have to check.
Come on - has to be Ridley on the up !!
Ridley solid, but limited to 3. And think of some of the ends the Patriots have faced -- seems like a tough matchup every week.
Can I just point out that Welker would have sprained his ankle too if Edelman fell on it like that? (Sticking up for Hernandez's durability)
Sometimes it's just the breaks, Paul. Injuries/cause is always a tricky subject. After three years, the missed games start adding up and it's part of a player's resume, fair or not.
We must beat either the Texans or 49ers if we are to be considered legitimate SB contenders. Thoughts?
I don't think so, Chuck. As the Giants have shown us, you just have to get in the playoffs and be playing your best at that time. All this talk about "identity" and "elite" is a bit overblown from this perspective.
Why not Wendell on the up? His play so far has to have been unexpected. Gronkowski's play we expected.
Wendell has exceeded expectations, but if we knew the pain was Gronk was in, I think we'd appreciate his effort/performance that much more.
Mike, you defended Boyer by saying that even when Dom Capers was coach in 2008 they had a poor secondary. Actually, in 2008 they had the 11th best pass defense, and in 2009 they had the 12th best. In 2010 it dropped all the way to 28th, and last year to 31st. Seems like a direct correlation to when Boyer took over. I'm not saying it's all Boyer's fault, but I don't think he is helping at all. In the current mess that the secondary is in, I think it's going to take a combination of getting rid of mediocre players like Arrington as well as getting some new coaches in there. It certainly can't get any worse.
Kyle, if we go back to 2008, did we really think that defense was going to stop anyone when it had to? Part of those numbers were a result of a little bit of an easier schedule. They had Deltha O'Neal at LCB and Ellis Hobbs at RCB. To me, it was about the players more than the coaching.
The Pats front 7 looked more aggressive on Sunday. New mind-set or a specific game plan because the Rams O-line is so awful? I'd like to see us play that way more often.
I agree Andy. I like the pressure approach, and the general idea of trying to dictate what the offense does by speeding up their decision-making. That said, I think the approach was game specific. I'm not sure we'll see a heavy dose of blizting against the Bills. They vary it up from week to week.
Mike - love your work. Do you have any info on Josh Boyer being demoted from the full DB coach to just the cornerbacks coach, as was reported in the Globe this morning. When did it go into effect? Also, did you also ever check into how he coaches them to not look for the ball? While warranted in certain situations (e.g. when you're beat and need to play catch-up), it seems he overdoes it and many of the Pats don't look back even when they are "in-phase", causing numerous unnecessary PI calls and completions when the players could've knocked the ball down if only they turned their heads.
Henry, Boyer wasn't demoted. They shuffle the responsibilities around each year. On looking for the ball, Bill Belichick explained it. Will try to dig up the link now.
Is Chandler Jones meeting your expectations on his rookie debut? I remember you told me your estimated sacks would be 8, and he already has 6. I believe he will most likely be in the double figures soon!
He's been great, Paul. I think a lot of people, including me, missed on the fact that this was a player that supposedly needed more seasoning. He's been a beast.
Everyone needs to relax about our DBs. There's a chance they will pull a 2009 Saints on us and lock it up late in the season. And if not, this team is better than the squad that came within inches of a ring last year. Young guys screw up and they learn and improve. I'm excited to root for it to happen. And I say that as a guy who had to watch the Seattle game unravel in person, wearing my McCourty jersey in a sea of Seattle fans.
Bold with the McCourty jersey. I've heard stories of people getting razzed with those ... in Gillette Stadium.
Mike, my father used to tell me. When everyone seems to disagree with you, the issue is probably your own. So Boyer, honestly is terrible. I don't get how Wendell, McDonald are seen as PREMIER talent for Dante to work with. Boyer gets the same talent as Dante gets. But he cannot deliver on it.
Hey, I respect a difference of opinion. But one thing I won't do is change my opinion to appease others. I have a belief and I stick with it. Scarnecchia is coaching within a potent offensive system that has one of the greatest quarterbacks in the history of the game. You get the ball out quick, you can protect your linemen. Give me the Giants front four from 2011 and put them on the field with the Patriots' secondary, and Boyer might be in the running for assistant coach of the year.
This isn't to say Boyer is the perfect coach. But this idea of pinning it all on him is way off in my view.
Why would the Pats waive Moore? Seems that in a secondary with as many injury concerns as the Pats' you would want to hold on to durable, adequate cover corners. BB really needs to get his act together with this secondary. If they fail to win a Championship this year and the primary reason is the secondary I think things could get ugly for BB. Thoughts?
I was surprised too, Aaron. Could be tied to practice squad eligibility. They might not view him as a player with a high ceiling, and if he played one more regular season game, his practice squad eligibility woul dhave been affected.
Hi MikeVery pre-mature here but I think it is time for Belichick to do a Dimitroff in the draft and go get a stud high in Rd 1. I know that is against everything Belichick has ever done but this team is solid and if we can get a high impact play maker on defense or the next Randy Moss then I think it is worth it. Our team is young and we have the talent locked up for awhile (The TEs Brady Mankins, Mayo, McCourty etc..) Bill's record in the 2nd round is spotty so why not try to go up high. His record in the early part of the first round is pretty good.
Rick, isn't that what he basically did this past year with Chandler Jones and Dont'a Hightower. These two guys are difference-makers, right?
Mike, please tell us what kind of city London is. Have you enjoyed the extended stay there?
Mark, that was a very nice visit. People were great. Saw some great history, with a highlight Churchill's war bunker.
Quick follow up.. You may not change your opinion to appease others but is it possible you dig in when challenged and won't open your mind to the fact that you are just dead wrong about our secondary and coaching?
Bob, I feel like I'm a pretty open-minded guy. I try to respect others' viewpoints. What I don't like is the need to find a scapegoat, and how nasty it can get. Then what happens is maybe one problem gets rectified and we move on to the next one with no regard for the absolute bomb that was dropped on someone. It's not right in my book.
I believe in accountability and fairness. Won't always be right, but I'll dig deep and try to get to the truth in the most fair way possible, without dragging someone through the mud unless it is warranted.
I think most of the problem with our DBs is that they have to cover too long. I don't think that there are many DBs in this league that can cover effectively when they have to stay with the receiver as long as ours do. We need to be more agressive up front which will help our DB play.
Steve, BB always says it -- better pass rush leads to better coverage, and better coverage leads to better pass rush. You have to marry them up. It's a fair point.
Hi Mike, I'm joining in the chat in the 4th quarter but wanted your opinion on the NFL trade deadline, will the PATS ever be a participant and if you have any idea what the percentage of TEAMS that actually participate?
Brian, they've made some deals (Deion Branch), but usually they are like other teams -- a non-participant. That would be my expectation this time around.
Mike, not a question but a comment. I'm with you on Boyer. BB always talks about complementary defense. The fact is, our pass rush isn't great, which makes the secondary look worse. A pass rush is considered effective if it gets to the passer within 2.5 seconds. we don't see that very often. I'm with you. If we had a front 4 of the giants, our secondary would look quite beastly. this isn't on Boyer.
Jamie, I was thrust into the "defend Josh Boyer" camp today. I've talked with Boyer over the past few years and see a lot of Belichick in him. He lives football. He's putting everything he has into it, and anyone who knows what it's like to work under Belichick knows that's the only way it can be. I'm sure there are some things he can do better, but at the end of the day, I don't think he is the issue. I respect others' viewpoints, and I'll be the first to admit when I'm wrong, so let's leave it there today.
Let's go for another non-Boyer 5 minutes :)
I like the Wilson / McCourty combination at Safety - is it a foregone conclusion that it will be broken up when Chung and Gregory return, or is there hope that the combo remains?
BB will play the best 4, regardless of draft status. Those puzzle pieces could come together in a variety of ways. I don't think anytihng is a given.
C'mon Mike- give me your prediction of our 2nd half record with who our losses will be to, if anyone
Steve, I predicted 13-3 at the start of the season, so I'll stick with that. That means they run the table. Tough challenges ahead, but 5 games at home, 3 on road is a nice split.
We've killed this Boyer topic. Let's analyze Ridley. He's overrated and Bolden is our true no. 1 back...discuss
LOL Nick. Like the passion. Bolden has played 72 snaps this season and it's just not enough for me to say No. 1 back.
Is it just me or is Gronk running a little slower than last year? (Although still playing well)
Absolutely Chris. Hip/back injuries -- he's been playing through them. Tough, tough player. Lot of respect there.
Mike, What are your thoughts on Denard moving forward? Do you see him as a legit starting cb?
AJ, I like how Dennard is around the ball. I think he has a chance to be a top-3 guy.
How do you see the secondary positions lining up? Could the Patriots be playing a 3 Safety set? I believe Chung should be used as close to the LOS as possible. Leave McCourty back at FS and rotate Gregory/Wilson. Your thoughts?
Danny, in the base, I could see a McCourty/Dennard combo at CB, with Gregory/Chung at safety. Arrington comes on in sub for the "star" position in slot, with Wilson the dime back.
Did @mrs75 buy a new car while the team was in London? :) what a great quote from wilfork!
That was great, Bill. I ran into Bianca Wilfork and here's my inside scoop: She's an online shopper! LOL.
He Mike,Why is it that there are not many trades at the deadline? The DRC piece makes so much sense for this team. (could that be why a bunch of shuffling happened yesterday). I agree it probably won't happen. But if this was baseball, this would be the kind of move that would give a contender on the bubble the extra lift they need. The only thing I can think of is that it takes time for new players to learn systems and in football, there is not much time in the middle of a season. But with a cover corner, can't you just say, go cover the best receiver? This could be the difference in a title run.
I think you nailed it, Jim. Not like baseball where you can hand the ball to the pitcher and put him on the mound right away. Much more complex in football. That's why Deion Branch had more value to the Patriots when they traded for him. Past knowledge of the system.
Do you see anything happening for the Pats before the trade deadline?
Never say never, Bobby, but I'd be surprised.
Mike, the patriots should trade for a decent corner! And I dont understand the fuss about Chung and Gregory, I thought they were decent at times, especially Gregory, seems to be at right place, right time
Paul, I think Gregory is a settling presence at safety. Gets everyone lined up. That said, the Jones 68-yard catch-and-run in the Buffalo game was a reminder that we're not talking about Ed Reed here.
Mike...love your work, read it every day. I see that BB gave the players the week off with the exception of today. Why not give them the whole week? What is one practice on Thursday going to do? Is this more of a running/conditioning practice or will they talk about game planning for the Bills?
Let's end on this one, Dave. I think the main thing is to keep a little bit of the momentum/physical conditioning heading in the right direction. The other part is self-evaluation. This is a rare chance to look back at 8 games and address some things that would otherwise get overlooked because the team is in the game-to-gamd mindset. It won't be Bills specific today, but more Patriots specific. Anyone banged up won't be pushed hard.
Fiery chat today. Appreciate all the passion and differing viewpoints. I think it's good to disagree and share our opinions respectfully. If we all agreed, that would be boring. So thanks for that, and enjoy the weekend.